Friday, August 31, 2007

FrightFest 2007 - Day 5 (Monday)

Send... More... Paramedics...

Bank Holiday Monday meant one thing - the zombie walk! Mike's sterling efforts to break the World Record for the biggest gathering of zombies had us up at the crack of dawn preparing our costumes (with grateful thanks to Chrissy) and applying a slap of face paint. My 'brains' recipe worked a treat too - mixing crushed bananas with maple syrup and a dash of red food colouring... I certainly did 'eat my brains' that morning! Steve and I met Sheena & Ashley outside our B&B at 8am and then walked to Leicester Square together in full make up which was great fun. The gathering itself was quite overwhelming - so many people had made such efforts to get dressed up and there was a real carnival atmosphere. I've never been asked to pose for so many photos in my life and we got interviewed by a couple of film crews as well. Sadly we didn't break the record, but it was such good fun nevertheless. You can spot me in the video clips on both CNN and Zone Horror, and there are more professional pictures at Getty Images.

Me and Emily Booth in Leicester Square

Of course, the zombie walk was also arranged to highlight the first screening of the day, The Zombie Diaries. Having previously met Kevin and Sophia I was keen to see this one, and I quite enjoyed its refreshing take on the genre, very much in a similar vein to The Blair Witch Project. After a lengthy clean up and change of clothes we had the ghostly Km 31 but it was just as if every J-Horror cliché was on holiday in Mexico. I couldn't get into it at all, so I walked out about half way through. Not a bad move judging from some of the other comments afterwards. In the break Steve and I joined David & Sophie for a pint in one of the nearby pubs which provided a welcome intermission. Then it was back to the OWE for Adam Green's Spiral, as different a film to Hatchet as you could imagine. Very slow and moody, with a jazz soundtrack, it took me a long while to settle, but the ending really won me round and it seemed to be a favourite with the FrightFest crowd - as was Adam himself who afterwards told his inspiring Dee Snider story to much applause. Next up was Mike Williamson to introduce his 20 minute short In The Wall which was pretty good and then it was the turn of Day Watch (you can read my haiku here). I wasn't sure whether to see this again but was glad that I did - second time around it made perfect sense and the addition of the snazzy subtitles was a marked improvement on the dubbed version I'd seen back in April. And so to the closing film, the one which certain people had been tipping all weekend to be the best of the bunch... and they had it spot on. The World Premiere of The Orphanage was outstanding in every way and gave us at least two shocks which made us quiver in our seats. It was lovely having director Juan Antonio Bayona there in person to witness the reaction to his film and he gave a gracious Q&A after the screening.

Paul McEvoy, Me and Ian Rattray in the Phoenix

Needless to say the evening didn't end there... a sizeable crowd made their way to the Phoenix where we drank and partied until the early hours. A cracking end to yet another cracking FrightFest!

And next week I get to do it all over again in Toronto...

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