Thursday, February 22, 2007

FrightFest in Glasgow

The FrightFest regulars (l-r): Lauren, D, Kim, Rachael and Alex

Last weekend I ventured north of the border to Scotland for the FrightFest all-dayer in Glasgow. Yes, it was a long way to travel for just a weekend, and yes it was expensive (although the ticket price was a very reasonable £20 for a day pass) but I figured what the hell, I wasn't going to Thailand this winter so I could afford to treat myself. I met up with D bright and early on Friday morning at Gatwick and we had a relatively smooth flight up to Glasgow, although I was horrified to discover that D was seriously contemplating seeing Epic Movie this week and wouldn't be persuaded otherwise. Once we arrived at Buchanan Bus Station we realised that our hotel (The Holiday Inn) was just along the road and handily adjacent to the local Cineworld! I have to say I was impressed with my choice of hotel and it was ideal for our needs.

After a quick scout about we met up with Lauren, Kim and Rachael who'd caught later flights up, and once they'd checked in we headed into the city centre. We'd decided to see the late night screening of Hot Fuzz so joined the snaking queue outside the cinema where we immediately bumped into Alex who was booking up to see a preview of Rescue Dawn. He then joined us for a walk around town and that's when the bad news came in - Rob phoned to say he'd lost his passport and wasn't going to be allowed to fly. With Easyjet not budging an inch he was screwed, so sadly he had to concede that he wouldn't be able to make it up to Glasgow. This put a bit of a dampener on our evening to say the least and we were all very subdued as we ate our dinner. No-one was really up for boozing it up, so we retired to our rooms then met up later for a quick livener at the bar before the excellent Hot Fuzz, which was showing in the biggest screen in the UK. As we left the cinema in the early hours we were greeted with the sight of a drunk man being chased down the road by four policemen... all rather appropriate really!

The "full Scottish breakfast" was just what we needed to set us up for Saturday and we arrived at the Glasgow Film Theatre at 11am to meet up with Alex and Evrim, who'd flown up that morning. Nobody could decide what they wanted to do before the films started, so in the end we just split up and went our own separate ways. Back at the GFT for 1pm we caught up with the FrightFest trio of Paul, Ian and Alan, then grabbed our seats in the front row ready for the day's first film, The Tripper. The cinema was lovely actually; very comfortable with nicely tiered rows and a huge gap from the front to the screen - the only downside was the aircon which gusted icily across our row when the room got too hot. I wasn't too taken by the opening movie - a slasher film involving a killer wearing a Reagan mask attacking a field full of hippies - but it had its moments and everyone else seemed to like it.

In the pub with Paul McEvoy (far left)

S&Man was better, a documentary about underground film-making which was pretty disturbing and certainly caused much debate after the screening. We continued our discussions over a quick pint in the nearest pub before returning for The Messengers, the first English language film from the Pang brothers. It was pretty generic stuff (a haunting at a sunflower farm) but I quite liked it - although judging from the reaction of the rest of the audience, Alex and I were in the minority on that one. My teeth were chattering from the freezing cold aircon by this time, so after grabbing a quick bite at Subway I dashed back to the hotel to pick up an extra layer.

Next up was Turistas, a backpackers-in-trouble flick from the master of the bikini shot, John Stockwell (he directed Into The Blue and Blue Crush). This proved to be my favourite film of the day and was generally well received by everyone. Our group missed out on the freebies given out in the next intermission, but I did get my hands on some Sheitan posters which was cool as it's the one with my quote on it! And so to the closing film of the evening, Motel Hell. This was an inspired bit of programming as this 1980 classic brought the house down with its mix of outlandish characters and hilarious dialogue - not to mention a chainsaw fight at the end! A fitting finale for an excellent day's entertainment and not a cinematic clunker amongst them.

Of course our evening didn't end there... our little gang then headed off with Paul and Ian to the Buff club in Bath Lane to unwind with some northern soul and alcoholic refreshments. As always, this social side to the FrightFest screenings is a huge part of why we all make such an effort to go to these events, and we had a lot of laughs... which then continued back at Ian's hotel room where we did him a kind favour by helping him drink his bottle of vodka until the wee hours. With just three hours sleep we were all shattered the next morning as we prepared to head back to the airport to catch our lunchtime flights home. But it was all worth it, another fun packed FrightFest event with some great films and some great company.

And we get to do it all again this Saturday at the Lionsgate Horrorthon in London!

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