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!

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