It’s that time of year again when Glasgow welcomes gore whores, horror hounds and ghouls for a weekend of unrelenting terror and good scary fun. That’s right: FrightFest is back.
Featuring a myriad of top notch scare fare bound to send chills down your spine while subsequently creeping into your heart, this year’s line-up is stacked. Whether you like your fantastical cinema terrifying, disturbing, hilarious or just downright weird, there’s something here for all tastes to enjoy, and if you’re a horror fan you owe it to yourself to pop down and spend the weekend with some like-minded sickos.
A CURE FOR WELLNESS (9.00 PM)
Gore Verbinski returns to horror for the first time since his outstanding 2002 remake of The Ring. The film follows a young executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a a remote “wellness centre’’ in the Swiss Alps on behalf of his work.
It doesn’t take long for him to realise that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests there waiting for a cure.
PHANTASM: REMASTERED (11.20 PM)
Freddy? Jason? Myers? While all three of those guys are iconic terrifying villains in some of the genre’s most beloved films, they don’t hold a candle to the Tall Man.
Making its European premiere, the original film – which has been digitally remastered with stunning 4k resolution by Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company – looks set to scare audiences all over again, like it did in 1979.
Phantasm spawned four generation-spanning sequels, culminating with last year’s Ravager. It’s a bona fide horror classic and you owe it to yourself to see it in its best presentation to-date.
THE WARRIOR’S GATE (1.30 PM)
Written and produced by Luc Besson, The Warrior’s Gate is a sci-fi epic starring Guardians of the Galaxy alumni and former WWE superstar Dave Bautista. It
tells the story of a video game-addicted teenager who is magically transported to China, where he is forced to apply his gaming skills to the art of Kung-fu.
The film has been compared to cult classics The Last Starfighter and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This has fun written all over it, and definitely marks a light start to the day to prepare audience members for the scares to come later.
IT STAINS THE SAND RED (4.00 PM)
The latest from Grave Encounters directors The Vicious Brothers (their films are much tamer than their name suggests), It Stains the Sand Red is one for you zombie aficionados. Set amidst a flesh-eating apocalypse, Molly (Brittany Allen) finds herself stranded in the desert with a hungry zombie hot on her high heels.
That’s dedication right there, and by the sounds of it the film is quite a unique take on a repetitive sub-genre.
THE TRANSFIGURATION (6.30 PM)
A hit at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, The Transfiguration centres around a young boy with an obsession for vampire movies – so obsessed, in fact, that he thinks he is one and goes around drinking stranger’s blood. To be fair, it sounds like just another night in Sugar Cube on a Thursday night.
But when he befriends a young girl, his road to redemption begins. This sounds quite similar to Let the Right One In, so fans of that flick should find some harrowing joy in The Transfiguration.
SHIN GODZILLA (9.00 PM)
This is my most-anticipated movie of all-time, and for the first time in 13 years, a Toho Godzilla movie will be playing on the big screen in the UK. By now you’ll all be familiar with the Godzilla concept: a big monster crushing a city is the general cusp of it.
That said, giant monster movies are full of intelligent socio-political subtext, and with Japan’s recent issues with natural disaster and misguided bureaucratic government, Shin Godzilla sees the monster returning to his roots as a manifestation of contemporary allegorical horror. Plus, we’ll get to see G tear it up.
HAPPY HUNTING (11.20 PM)
This just sounds wonderful: Warren is a degenerate drifter. On his way down to Mexico he finds himself stranded in Bedford Flats, a one-horse town deep in the American desert. Unfortunately for him the town’s pastime is rounding up drifters and hunting them as part of an elaborate sporting event.
This most dangerous and deadly game and bloody fight for survival is about to begin! Human hunting movies are always a blast; from Most Dangerous Game to Predator to Hard Target, you can always bank on some blood-drenched thrills and a substantial body count.
CAGE DIVE (10.00 AM)
Saturday morning gets underway with a film about nature’s most terrifying beast: sharks. The story follows a troupe of reality show contestants who go to Australia for some shark cage diving.
But it doesn’t turn out the way they planned, leaving them stranded in the water with a posse of hungry sharks looking for a human buffet. This will wake morning punters up more than a Starbucks.
FASHIONISTA (11.45 AM)
Simon Rumley doesn’t make straight horror movies, but his films are as horrific as they come. In 2010 he helmed a dark dramatic thriller called Red, White & Blue, and it’s one of the best – and most disturbing – films you’re ever likely to see.
Go seek it out – you’ll never want to have unprotected fun time with a stranger between the sheets for a few weeks afterwards. His latest film, Fashionista, is set in the fashion world and has drawn comparisons to the cinema of Brian DePalma, so expect something stylish, nightmarish and uncompromising.
BLOODLANDS (2.20 PM)
Speaking of intense, disturbing movies: if you haven’t seen Australian revenge thriller The Horseman, then find it ASAP but go in with the understanding that it’s not a pleasant experience.
Bloodlands is the new film from its director Steven Kastrissios, and it’s a surreal fantasy about warring clans in Albania based on the country’s local mythology.
DETOUR (4.30 PM)
Detour is the latest feature film from UK genre director Christopher Smith, who over the course of five films, has proven himself to be a consistent emblem of unpredictable brilliance. Detour sees him enter thriller territory with a Hitchcockian-inspired tale of revenge and mystery.
The film has already garnered rave reviews for its unconventional bending of traditional narrative and genre tropes, as well as for its stand-out performance from lead star Tye Sheridan.
RAW (6.55 PM)
A coming-of-age tale of growing up and discovering cannibalism, Raw made headlines in 2016 after paramedics were called in to the Toronto International Film Festival when it was playing as it caused audience members to faint.
The cynical among us will call that a publicity stunt, but there is no denying that it makes the film, like the human flesh its protagonist consumes, a delicious prospect.
HOUNDS OF LOVE (9.00 PM)
Inspired by real life crimes, Hounds of Love revolves around a teenager who gets kidnapped by a couple of serial killers and must find a way to survive by playing them against each other.
This doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience, but it could be enthrallingly disturbing, which is just as good sometimes in a grim way.
THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN (11.20 PM)
FrightFest 2017 comes to a close with a film about my high school prom… oh wait, never mind. It actually follows a lad who tries to lose his virginity with an older woman.
Before he knows what’s happening, he’s whisked to Medea’s filthy apartment where sinister Asian artefacts adorn the shelves, cockroaches crawl the floors and an ancient prophecy rears its head along with the rowdy gay neighbours and a very jealous ex-boyfriend.