Saturday, September 30, 2006

Movie Haiku - Clerks 2

Dir: Kevin Smith

Cast: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman

They serve at Mooby's

watch a man and his donkey

Dante makes right choice

soulmining rating: ****

Friday, September 29, 2006

Juliette & The Licks at the Concorde

What a top night out this was! So I probably won't be rushing out to buy the new Juliette & The Licks CD next week, but live... they rock! Juliette Lewis has star quality and that voice is made for rock 'n' roll. Couldn't tell you what songs they played but I enjoyed it immensely and had a great time catching up with good friends. Met a really cool girl too who kinda made me forget all about last weekend... just a shame she's married with two kids!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Perils of Internet Dating

I've been thinking that all I ever seem to post nowadays are movie haikus and gig photos, so here's a more personal tale just for a change.

So I met this girl online (let's call her V) on a dating website fairly recently. She found me actually, I was intrigued and sent her a message... we exchanged email addresses and so began a seven week courtship of emails, instant messages, then later, texts and a proper chat. Always tinted with sarcasm, often flirty, our banter was fun and seemed to be leading somewhere. We arranged to meet - a weekend at V's was on the cards. Fast forward to last Saturday; armed with a bunch of flowers I made the journey to her city, 90 mins north of London. It was a comedy of errors as I arrived at the bus stop and she wasn't there... then arrived at her place to discover she'd gone to the bus stop! We met on a bridge and she was exactly as I'd imagined - bright (she's just got her MA degree), funny, a thick Eastern European accent and incredibly beautiful with the most gorgeous blue eyes you've ever seen. We had a drink in the nearest pub, then strolled along the river and through the park as it was a lovely sunny afternoon, talking all the way. Everything was fine, or so I thought... then we got back to the bridge and V told me that she didn't want me to stay and she didn't think it was working out. That kinda knocked the stuffing out of me! Call me a typical bloke but I thought we'd been getting on okay. I asked her if I was different to what she'd expected but she said no, she couldn't really put her finger on what it was... so I'm still a bit baffled. I guess what hurt most though was that she didn't want to hang out as mates, regardless of whether there was a spark or not, and to me that felt like a rejection of our whole friendship. In her defence V had friends moving into her flat that afternoon so she was feeling stressed about that (plus it could have been awkward if they stayed over that night too) and she had a pile of work looming on Sunday afternoon, but even so, she knew all of this before I came... Oh well, I guess you never really know a person until you meet them in the flesh. V warned me to approach our date with zero expectations and in retrospect I was unwise not to heed her advice... more fool me.

So what have I learnt from this experience? Well, getting rejected sucks, but I knew that already. Seriously though, we should never have arranged to meet up for a whole weekend. V actually said that she normally only meets for a coffee on a first date and that sounds a lot more sensible, so quite why she agreed to our plans I don't know, but I suppose I was coming quite a distance. That's another thing - long distance. Always a tough one that. It was never going to work... well, it would taken one hell of an effort. Meeting up maybe one out of every three weekends is no way to begin a new relationship, what was I thinking? Local girls in future then... or maybe London, hey, it's only an hour away. Anyway... it's times like these when you're at your lowest that you appreciate your true friends and thankfully I had two in the shape of Dolores and Mike in London who came to my rescue on Saturday night and made sure I had a smile on my face before I made my way back home to Brighton.

As a postscript to all this V said she'd keep in touch. I emailed her on Monday but said I'd understand if she didn't want to reply. There's been no response.

No regrets though.

[ Updated 2nd October: I received an email from V today apologising for what happened. There were other factors at play on that Saturday which I'm now aware of and I can understand why she'd been so distracted... I just wish she'd said something at the time. Anyway, I'm glad we're back in touch and she's not as cold-hearted as I perhaps made her out to be. ]

Monday, September 25, 2006

FrightFest Review on EMB

(photo courtesy of

It's taken a while but I'm sure you'll agree it's been worth the wait... Yes, the official Eat My Brains FrightFest round up is now online! You can read my daily summaries along with short reviews of each film from Mike, Russ and myself by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Movie Haiku - Children Of Men

Dir: Alfonso Cuaron

Cast: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Future without kids

refugee camp in Bexhill

keep pregnant girl safe

soulmining rating: *****

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bic Runga at the Concorde

Hey, it was so good to be out watching live music in the city last night, I've really missed that buzz over the Summer months. Last night it was Bic Runga at the Concorde, a mere four months since she played at the Spiegeltent. This was a little different however as it was just her, solo. She played an hour's set, quickly diverting from her set list and inviting requests from the crowd which naturally included some of her more popular songs like Sway and Drive. However it was her more recent material which impressed me the most, especially Birds, the title track of her latest album. A welcome reminder of why I love live music so much!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Movie Haiku - DOA: Dead Or Alive

Dir: Corey Yuen

Cast: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Eric Roberts

Girls in bikinis

fight lots and play volleyball

what more do you want?

soulmining rating: ***

Movie Haiku - The Black Dahlia

Dir: Brian De Palma

Cast: Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank

Solve starlet's murder

film is all over the place

just watch the trailer

soulmining rating: *

Friday, September 15, 2006

Play It Cool in September

I'm still listening to the great albums from last month's selection, but there's been a few new additions to my playlist in the past couple of weeks. So here's my pick for September:
  • The Sleepy Jackson - Personality (One Was A Spider, One Was A Bird) (Virgin)
  • Lily Allen - Alright, Still (Regal)
  • Tina Dico - In The Red (Finest Gramaphone)
  • Tristan Prettyman - Twentythree (Virgin)
  • The Dandy Warhols - Have A Kick-Ass Summer (Me & My Friends) single (Parlophone)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Movie Haiku - Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Dir: Adam McKay

Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole

He lives to drive fast

thinks he's on fire after crash

races gay Frenchman

soulmining rating: ***

Movie Haiku - Pulse

Dir: Jim Sonzero

Cast: Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder, Ron Rifkin, Christina Milian

Ghosts in the machine

and in the tumble dryer

get red gaffer tape

soulmining rating: ***

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Movie Haiku - Right At Your Door

Dir: Chris Gorak

Cast: Mary McCormack, Rory Cochrane, Tony Perez, Scotty Noyd Jr

Dirty bombs downtown

seal all your windows and doors

is the ash toxic?

soulmining rating: ****

Movie Haiku - Little Miss Sunshine

Dir: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Cast: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano

Push the camper van

road trip to beauty pageant

she's a super freak

soulmining rating: ****

Monday, September 11, 2006

Man With A Movie Camera

Back in the summer of 2003 I was working with Chris (pictured) on a short film project by the name of Sunday Matinee... we spent ages working on a script, got a couple of local kids in to read for the two main parts and even managed one day of filming in Peacehaven. But the camera was duff, the actors weren't ready, and then Chris became a dad...

Three years later and the time feels right to revive our project, so yesterday Chris and I went over to Newhaven to test his 16mm camera and shoot some footage. We learnt a very important lesson - shooting on 16mm is NOT a practical or cost effective method for an amateur filmmaker! So, Chris has finally bowed to pressure and has agreed to shoot on DV instead. We now have a newly revised script and a possible new female lead, so what happens next... watch this space!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Movie Haiku - The Sentinel

Dir: Clark Johnson

Cast: Michael Douglas, Keifer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Kim Basinger

Shags President's wife

and suspected of treason

good cast weak story

soulmining rating: **

Movie Haiku - Crank

Dir: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam

He's Chev Chelios

injected Chinese poison

keep moving or die

soulmining rating: ****

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Nerina Pallot at Regents Park Open Air Theatre

Edited 11/09: Have just found this photo taken by naughty boy Adz!

Something a little bit different on Sunday night... Dave and I went up to Regents Park in the afternoon to watch Nerina Pallot play at the Open Air Theatre. What a lovely venue tucked away amongst the greenery and duck ponds... and the weather stayed fine too! We had the best seats in the house (front centre) but unfortunately weren't allowed to take any photographs :( Nerina was wearing her posh red frock and high heels and played a 16 song set with her band, including a couple of new songs Everything's Illuminated and Heidi which sounded amazing. Another fine concert performance for a late Summer's eve, just a shame I can't share any pics with you... (well, okay I can now thanks to Adz!)

Movie Haiku - The Wicker Man

Dir: Neil LaBute

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Beahan, Leelee Sobieski

Cop seeks missing girl

acts so wooden he'll catch fire

12A sacrilege

soulmining rating: *

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Serena Maneesh at Madame Jo-Jo's

Last Tuesday then... the day after FrightFest so I enjoyed a very welcome lie-in until midday. Headed into London town and parted ways with my co-conspirator Steve, grabbed a bite to eat and then met James for a drink in Holborn. The pair of us then went to the Knowledge Lab at Birkbeck to take part in a two hour focus group on Ichi The Killer for the University of Wales' Extreme Films Research project which was really interesting. I should have gone for a quick drink with Lisa afterwards, but no, live music was calling me... so I ended up paying a fiver to get into Madame Jo-Jo's in the heart of Soho to catch the very noisy and wonderful Serena Maneesh who I first saw supporting the Dandys last year. Their appearance was to help launch their new single Sapphire Eyes and formed part of the White Heat club night, so they only played for forty minutes - but what a forty minutes! Although they didn't play Drain Cosmetics. Which was a shame. And then, finally, I was free to return home to Brighton...

Monday, September 04, 2006

FrightFest Day 4 - Monday

Outside the OWE (photo by Ian Rattray)

And so to the final day of this year's festival! Monday began with a short film Missed Call which was about infidelity and was pretty decent. The first feature of the day was the Spanish serial killer drama H6: Diary Of A Serial Killer which was quite unpleasant to watch but didn't really take the viewer anywhere... it just got boring in the end. Loads of us ended up chatting outside in the interval and Ian was doing the rounds with his camera getting some more snaps for the FrightFest website. With the Pang Brothers' new film Re-cycle turning up without subtitles a last minute change to the schedule was made, with Thai chiller Ghost Of Mae Nak stepping in to take its place. I think I was probably the only person to have heard of this one, let alone seen it (twice!) but I was quite pleased as it gave me the opportunity to catch up with director Mark Duffield who I'd previously spoken to about the film last year. Before Mark introduced the film we were treated to Deadly Tantrum, the short which we'd been given a copy of on DVD - thankfully this comedy/slasher was a hoot and went down very well with the audience! We also saw the new trailers for Transformers and Pulse.

Mark Duffield with Paul McEvoy

I wasn't sure if I'd sit through Ghost Of Mae Nak for a third time, but after ten minutes it had drawn me in and I stayed with it until the end. Crowd reaction seemed mixed, but at least it was something a bit different and in fact was first Asian film of the weekend. You can read my haiku here and my review for Eat My Brains here. Mark returned for a short Q&A with Paul McEvoy so I helped out by asking the first question. As I walked out of the cinema for the next break I spotted a familiar figure by the ticket desk - P director Paul Spurrier who I'd spent quite a bit of time with when I was out in Bangkok in February. He told me about the work he had lined up here for the next couple of weeks and discussed the ongoing saga of P getting a DVD release and the latest happenings with P2 - basically the script is now written but the film all hinges on securing a financing deal, and if that happens then he hopes to begin shooting in February 2007. Back inside we had the surprisingly tasty trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and the Puritan crowd turned up to introduce their film.

Puritan (l-r): David Soul, Georgina Rylance, Nick Moran and Hadi Hajaig

Puritan wasn't a disaster, in fact many people liked it, but it just wasn't my kind of film. To be honest it's something I'd like to see again and perhaps re-evaluate. Alan Jones conducted the Q&A afterwards with director Hadi Hajaig and actors Nick Moran, Georgina Rylance and David Soul and that was certainly a lively affair; one American lady was desperate for Nick to name the American studio movie he'd been shooting in Russia which he loathed (he wouldn't) and another guy simply voiced his opinion that he didn't believe the story which was a bit harsh and uncalled for. David was also presented with a huge card which we'd all signed as it was his birthday, much to his embarrassment! I'd been planning to get a decent meal during the next break but with Paul Spurrier around that got shitcanned in favour of a quick trip to the pub and a chat about all the latest happenings in Thai cinema. We made it back just as Troma's Poultrygeist trailer was playing, and then settled down for more of Ian's Trailer Trash - Red Sonja actually broke in the projector, but once that had been fixed we got a bit of Amin: The Rise And Fall and the always entertaining Death Race 2000. It's a shame director Scott Glosserman couldn't make it for the screening of Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (he'd broken his leg, or similar...) as this part-
documentary, part-slasher film was an ideal choice for FrightFest and went down a storm. I managed a quick run to Subway and then it was back for the final film of the festival - and a welcome second showing of the Charley Says FrightFest trailer. Korea's mega-box office hit The Host was a fine closing film and sported an amazing first half hour as the creature goes on the rampage (no slow build up in this one) but then settled down into a much subtler family-orientated picture. Good fun though!

Post-FrightFest party at the Phoenix Club

And that was it for another year... well, not quite, as Ian, Paul & Alan had kindly invited us all to a party at the Phoenix Club on Charing Cross Road. This proved the perfect way to wind down, relax, sink a few beers and chat to old and new friends from the weekend. I finally got the opportunity to catch up with Rachael and also had fun talking to Michael, Charlotte, Dave, Paul, Richard, Lauren and Ian. A final thank you speech from Alan and then we were kicked out onto the streets at 3am and reluctantly said our goodbyes. A fantastic end to a fantastic festival! Roll on Halloween and the mooted one day event at the ICA...

FrightFest Movie Haiku - The Host

Dir: Bong Joon-ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Byeon Hei-bong, Park Hae-il, Baeand Du-na

Everyone panics

fish beast swallows his daughter

let's go rescue her

soulmining rating: ****

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon

Dir: Scott Glosserman

Cast: Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Robert Englund, Scott Wilson

Film crew follow him

as he explains tricks of trade

you know he'll sit up

soulmining rating: ****

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Puritan

Dir: Hadi Hajaig

Cast: Nick Moran, Georgina Rylance, David Soul, Ralph Brown

Other chap from Lock, Stock

travels in fourth dimension

I get all confused

soulmining rating: **

FrightFest Movie Haiku - H6: Diary Of A Serial Killer

Dir: Martin Garrido Baron

Cast: Fernando Acaso, Angel Alarcon, Raquel Arenas, Ruperto Ares

Wants to cleanse whore's soul

tied to table in room six

then gets the chainsaw

soulmining rating: **

Sunday, September 03, 2006

FrightFest Day 3 - Sunday

Broken (l-r): Abbey Stirling, Eric Colvin, Nadja Brand, Simon Boyes and Adam Mason with Paul McEvoy

One of the best things about FrightFest 2006 is the way the forum community has developed and expanded, so whether outside the OWE or up in the bar there's always a group of like-minded souls ready to swap opinions and stories. On Sunday we arrived at the cinema early as I needed to find Kim and lend her some books which she'd been seeking for her degree course. After a quick chat with the Broken team it was inside for their introduction, preceded by another entertaining short, Snatching Time. Whilst it's no masterpiece, Broken is a huge leap forward from Adam's early work and is quite an achievement considering its tiny £10,000 budget. I spent some time talking to Simon and Eric up in the bar and various proud parents until Alan Jones caught me and asked why I wasn't in watching The Living And The Dead. I really wasn't feeling confident about this one but as I'd only missed a couple of minutes I thought I may as well give it a try. In fact it turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival; a completely different kind of horror which many - myself included - found very difficult to watch.

Simon Rumley and Kate Fahy with Alan Jones

Director Simon Rumley and lead actress Kate Fahy took to the stage afterwards for a Q&A with Alan Jones where they received much praise for their work - I also spotted Jonathan Pryce in the audience lending his support. James had texted me to say he was in town to catch Severance with his sister so I spent the next break meeting him for a coffee. Next up was In The Place Of The Dead, the latest short film from FrightFest favourite David McGillvray whose banter with Alan Jones had us all in stitches. French chiller Them was a tense affair and should play well when Metrodome release it here in the UK next January - we all had to fill in questionnaires giving feedback after the screening.

Guillermo Del Toro meets his fans

Guillermo Del Toro was seated by the Cinema Store stall during the next break ready to meet his fans and sign an array of cards, posters and DVD sleeves. Very affable, talkative and enthusiastic - as indeed he was at the Hellboy signing two years ago - he proved to be a big favourite with the FrightFesters.

Simon Boswell with Alan Jones

Before the next film there was a special appearance by composer Simon Boswell (who did the legendary Hardware score, amongst many others) who talked about his new album Close Your Eyes which mixes music from his soundtracks with newly recorded vocals - and we also got to see his first music video from the album, directed by Richard Stanley which featured the sight of Dario Argento doing a spot of rapping! Fascinating stuff and welcome surprise to the day's packed programme. After another dose of Trailer Trash, including such gems as Abby, Home For The Intimate Ghosts and Vampire Kids, it was straight into Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story, the boring cinematic account of the real life case of the German cannibal who advertised for a willing victim on the internet.

Edgar Wright with Paul McEvoy

The FrightFest team had some more surprises up their collective sleeves before the next film. First NZ director Chris Graham turned up to talk about his forthcoming horror film The Ferryman, and then Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead) took to the stage to introduce two trailers for Hot Fuzz which of course got a great reception. The Lost was one of Mike's tips for the weekend and didn't disappoint, a brutal little film based on the novel by Jack Ketchum bolstered by some terrific performances and a stellar soundtrack. With all the extra guests and surprises which had been squeezed in to Grim Sunday, it was no surprise that the timetable was running late by this stage. Just time for a quick dash to Subway and then back for the midnight screening of Sheitan, a wacky French horror starring a grinning Vincent Cassell which had 'cult movie' written all over it. Bonkers from the first minute I loved every moment! A fantastic finale to a bumper-packed day of entertainment.

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Sheitan

Dir: Kim Chapiron

Cast: Vincent Cassell, Olivier Bartelemy, Roxane Mesquida, Nico Le Phat Tan

Visit her village

goat farmer and doll maker

Cassell's gone bonkers

soulmining rating: *****

FrightFest Movie Haiku - The Lost

Dir: Chris Sivertson

Cast: Marc Senter, Shay Astar, Alex Frost, Robin Sydney

Crushed cans in his shoes

he'll flip out and kill again

while flies keep buzzing

soulmining rating: ****

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story

Dir: Martin Weisz

Cast: Keri Russell, Thomas Kretschmann, Thomas Huber, Rainier Meissner

German cannibal

seeks willing victim online

based on true story

soulmining rating: **

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Them

Dir: David Moreau & Xavier Palud

Cast: Olivia Bonamy, Michael Cohen

French couple at home

suffer invasion by them

who or what are they?

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - The Living And The Dead

Dir: Simon Rumley

Cast: Leo Bill, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Kate Fahy, Sarah Ball

Trigger's stately home

his son is mentally ill

harrowing to watch

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Broken

Dir: Adam Mason & Simon Boyes

Cast: Nadja Brand, Eric Colvin, Abbey Stirling, Megan Van Kerro

Girl wakes in coffin

he keeps her chained up for days

what a nasty man

soulmining rating: ***

Saturday, September 02, 2006

FrightFest Day 2 - Saturday

Billy O'Brien with Paul McEvoy

I'd forgotten to set my alarm, so we were late getting up on Saturday, and late getting into central London to meet some of the others for breakfast. This was then compounded by sluggish service at the pub, which meant we completely missed the introduction to Isolation from director Billy O'Brien. Luckily he returned after the screening - which was great, imagine Alien with cows - for a short Q&A with Paul McEvoy and then we were free to collect our FrightFest goodie bags which this year included a couple of DVDs, a Lady Vengeance t-shirt, a Them stress ball, the featured short Deadly Tantrum on DVD, The Wicker Man matchbook and a few other assorted bits and pieces.

I'd already taken the decision to skip Earthlings: Ugly Bags Of Mostly Water (a documentary about Klingons) long before the weekend started, so instead had arrangements to go for a meal with about a dozen other FrightFesters in order to celebrate Lauren's birthday (left). Preceding the formulaic The Marsh was the Cut! Competition Showcase, the ten best short films submitted for this two minute horror film competition with Robert Tapert, Lloyd Kaufman and FrightFest's own Alan Jones making up the panel of judges. The standard of entries was pretty high but the deserved winner was Aloysha Saari's Kasting, a dark satire on the audition process, and a special mention should also go to Jahari's A Very Grimm Fairytale for its jet-black humour which was another popular finalist with the audience. Director Jordan Barker appeared afterwards for a short Q&A with Alan Jones although sadly Gabrielle Anwar was unable to attend as she was reportedly suffering from laryngitis. After discussing the merits of The Wicker Man remake in the bar with Christopher Fowler and Graham Humphreys it was back into the auditorium for this year's devilish FrightFest quiz, a chorus of Happy Birthday for Lauren who'd been dragged on stage by Ian Rattray, and then See No Evil starring WWE wrestler Kane. After a few year's sabbatical Ian's Trailer Trash made a welcome return to this year's FrightFest programme, with his first selection of trailers including such gems as Karate vs. Tiger and Island Of The Fishmen - which ironically the Eat My Brains guys had just watched recently as part of their latest Zombie Club double feature! Adrift was up next with director Hans Horn going AWOL (possibly for the best judging by the muted reaction from the FrightFest audience) although I much preferred it to Open Water, despite the repeated stupidity of the main characters. The next scheduled short was a no show so instead we had a bonus dose of Trailer Trash, this time featuring the enticing Gwendoline (causing the Cinema Store stall to sell out of all of its DVD copies) and a trippy teaser for The Exorcist. Despite many laughs from the trailer selection, the hilarity unfortunately didn't extend to the final film of the day, Snoop Dogg's Hood Of Horror which was a major disappointment, particularly coming in the coveted midnight slot which Monster Man and 2001 Maniacs had filled so triumphantly in previous years. And so to the madness of the night bus and home to prepare for 'Grim Sunday'.

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Snoop Dogg's Hood Of Horror

Dir: Stacy Title

Cast: Snoop Dogg, Ernie Hudson, Danny Trejo, Pooch Hall

Three tales from the hood

artist becomes own painting

should have shot this dog

soulmining rating: *

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Adrift

Dir: Hans Horn

Cast: Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis

Open water too

six f*ckwits jump off the yacht

forget the ladder

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - See No Evil

Dir: Gregory Dark

Cast: Kane, Christina Vidal, Michael J. Pagan, Steven Vidler

Clean up old hotel

big bald wrestler lives upstairs

pokes out their eyeballs

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - The Marsh

Dir: Jordan Barker

Cast: Gabrielle Anwar, Justin Louis, Forest Whitaker, Joe Dinicol

Writer sees some ghosts

her tight white top distracts me

world's loudest movie

soulmining rating: **

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Isolation

Dir: Billy O'Brien

Cast: John Lynch, Essie Davis, Sean Harris, Marcel Iures

Barnyard alien

cows go mad on Irish farm

who wants a burger?

soulmining rating: ****

Friday, September 01, 2006

FrightFest Day 1 - Friday

I wasn't overly fussed about catching the day's Hammer films retrospective which was perhaps just as well when I awoke after the Severance party with the hangover from hell. That was The Hound Of The Baskervilles wiped out right there. After a much needed fry-up with Steve we managed to get ourselves to the Odeon West End in time for Countess Dracula but I was still feeling very hungover so instead spent the duration of the film sat in the centre of Leicester Square talking to an elderly lady from Oregon while nursing a large bottle of water. After posing for Rachael so she could take some pictures of my Snakes On A Plane t-shirt I met up with a number of FrightFest regulars who were also planning to skip Twins Of Evil so joined them for a bite to eat in the aptly named Crypt café adjacent to Trafalgar Square. I was still feeling queasy but thankfully Dolores took pity on me and was on hand with a stash of tablets to get me through the evening. Back outside the cinema I caught up with the EMB guys who were also feeling the worse for wear. Mike (top left) was doing good business trading his original FrightFest-approved GIVES YOU THE WILLIES! t-shirts which he'd designed especially for this year's event.

Alan Jones with Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro received a rapturous welcome as he took to the stage to introduce Pan's Labyrinth, the first public showing since its Cannes screening received a twenty minute standing ovation. Guillermo was joined by producer Alfonso Cuaron (director of the forthcoming Children Of Men) who explained his working relationship with the director. As the lights dimmed we got our first treat of the weekend - a FrightFest trailer put together by sponsors Zone Horror which faithfully recreated an old seventies Charley Says public information film. In this hilarious clip Charley and the young boy are playing in the park when the Grim Reaper approaches and invites the boy to FrightFest. The boy is about to go with him when Charley stops him with his usual miaow... and so the boy and the Grim Reaper tie Charley to a tree and chop off his head. Honestly, this was hands down the funniest thing I saw all weekend! This was followed by trailers for Saw III and The Wicker Man, the latter of which was greeted with a chorus of boos and a loud cry of "sacrilege" from the guy sitting along the row from me. Pan's Labyrinth was simply amazing, the best film I've seen all year - part fantasy, part civilwar drama - it was a magical experience. Guillermo then returned for a lively Q&A with Alan Jones after the screening in which he talked about working with the various actors and how he's relying on our word of mouth to help market the film in November.

Adam Green with Alan Jones

After a short break it was the turn of director Adam Green to take to the stage to introduce Hatchet which was a real old school comedy/horror. He returned for a Q&A directly afterwards and then Mike and I caught up with him for a quick chat in the foyer, before going back into the auditorium for the first short film of the festival - a fairly routine zombie piece entitled Gasoline Blood. Final film of the night was Frostbite, a Swedish vampire flick which featured some talking dogs. A great start to the weekend!

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Frostbite

Dir: Anders Banke

Cast: Petra Neilsen, Grete Havnseskold, Emma Aberg, Jonas Karlstrom

It's Swedish vampires

take pills have bloody party

now dogs are talking

soulmining rating: ****

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Hatchet

Dir: Adam Green

Cast: Joel Moore, Tamara Feldman, Mercedes McNab, Kane Hodder

Bored of Mardi Gras

boat breaks down in haunted swamp

meet ghost with large axe

soulmining rating: ***