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'.