Tuesday, January 12, 2016

frightening things.

It's that time of year again when hundreds of horror 'enthusiasts' (plus the usual half dozen sweaty, high waisted folk who live at home with their disabled mums - who, by the way will never die!) descend on my fair city ready to soak the streets (and seats) with the unmistakable smell of sweat, shame, semen and tears for a celebration of all things fright and gory-full.

Which can only mean that our lovely pals at Frightfest have announced the line-up for sunny Glasgow.

And what a line-up it is!
Kicking off with the by now traditional Thursday night pre-fest film (especially for all you soft southern shites who are too feart to go to the pub) THE FOREST, this year promises a record thirteen films, a selection of unmissable (probably) shorts, guests, give-aways, a sneaky peek at Paul Hyett’s HERETIKS and a chance to buy me a drink to show me how much you like the t-shirt design this year.

Well, it's worth a punt.


You should be.

So, as Jennifer Anniston used to say "Pay heed to my words for here is the science!"

Which means here's a list of the films on show.

First up (at 9pm on Thurs 25 Feb fact fans) is the UK Première of the aforementioned THE FOREST starring Game of Thrones smirking sexpot Natalie Dormer as a young American woman, Sara, who is desperately searching for her twin sister in and around Japan’s most haunted location, the spookily monikered (yet amazingly high Scrabble scoring) Aokigahara Forest.

"Put it in me!"

For those of you who don't know the famous forest, which is just below the northwest base of Mount Fuji and across the road from the big Aldi superstore has always been linked to the Japanese belief in the paranormal, especially those legends pertaining to the 'ubasute' (ghosts of old women abandoned by their families - a bit like your mum) and the 'yurei' (those of lonely suicide victims).

But what, I hear you cry do these supernatural spooks have to do with the Sara's sisters disappearance?

Expect bumps, bangs and the best tree-based horror since The Evil Bod.

Which has been turned down again by the organisers for being just too crap.

Oh well, there are plenty of DVD's still available for anyone who's interested.

Evil Bod...Not as shite as the remake and only a fiver to buy. Bargain.

Anyway on to Friday’s first fright and another UK Première, this time it's the tongue tripping THE HEXECUTIONERS, director (and sometime holiday specialist) Jesse Thomas Cook’s trouser-soiling story of state sanctioned euthanasia where the young and inexperienced Malison (Liv Collins, daughter of drummer Phil and ex-Eastender Michelle) alongside seasoned suicide specialist Olivia (Sarah Power) are sent to the remote estate of the mysterious Milos Somborac, whose deathbed wish is to die via the Tibetan death ritual known as the Yotar Sky Burial.

Which sounds fairly legit if I'm honest.

Sexy redhead in sensible knitwear?....Check! That'll be the best movie of the weekend sorted.

Soon tho' the real reason as to why this arcane method has been chosen becomes clear as the death-dealing duo find themselves fighting a whole host of scary spirits whilst attempting to look good in a variety of sensible knitwear.

How can you possibly follow that? I hear you cry.

Easy, is the answer, with the UK Première of Sonny Mallhi’s ANGUISH, which has been described as the creepiest and most resonant American independent horror since It Follows.

Blue is the warmest colour.

Which is a shame really but to be honest there's no way it could be as arse-numbingly awful as that so I'm actually quite looking forward to it especially as the main character is a troubled teen with a dissociative identity disorder which makes her susceptible to seeing dead people.

Which is nice.

A quick fag and toilet break may be in order before the next film wish is the much-anticipated (it says in the press release and who am I to argue?) World Première of Stephen King adaptation CELL starring John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, everyones favourite freaky foster kid Isabelle Fuhrman and - wait for it - STACY FUCKING KEACH!

Stacy Fucking Keach.

When a powerful signal is broadcast across the worlds mobile phone networks worldwide, every user’s mind is dangerously re-programmed turning them all into crazed killers.

Think that woman who plays Candy Crush on the train opposite you every morning but with better teeth.

As civilization crumbles and the bloodthirsty ‘phoners’ attack anything that moves it's left to artist - how cool is that? you hardly ever get artists as the hero, I love it already - Clay Riddell (Cusack), a man desperately searching for his wife and son alongside a ragtag group of survivors - including Tom McCourt (Jackson) to battle against the high as a kite horde whilst looking for the mysterious 'Raggedy Man’, a man (who is raggedy) who may just have the answers to what the hell is happening.


Next up is the Scanners-tastic THE MIND’S EYE, directed by Joe (Almost Human) Begos.

Set in snowy 1990 New England, this big smoochy lip-smacking tribute to David Cronenberg (when he was good) and Brian De Palma tells the story of telekinetic fugitive Zack Connors (Begos regular Graham Skipper), a man who can move and destroy objects with his mind.

And probably undo ladies bra's but I'm not sure.

The Mind's Eye...Just not this one.

Picked up by the authorities our hero is sent to a research institute run by the diabolical Doctor Slovak who, despite promising that he’ll reunite Zack with his girlfriend Rachel (The Woman's Lauren Ashley Carter) is in reality using his patients to create a synthetic mind-control serum for his own power-crazed use.

As you would too if you're honest with yourself.

Rounding off (as opposed to polishing off) Friday is the European première of Tyler MacIntyre’s love letter to Frank Henenlotter, PATCHWORK.

"Scabs roon' mah mooth!"

More lie back and bitch than Lilo and Stitch, this sexy spin on Mary Shelley mixes gore and guffaws to comic (horror) effect as three young women - queen bitch Jennifer (Tory Stolper), airhead Ellie (Tracey Fairaway - so close) and button-nosed weirdling Madeleine (Maria Blasucci) wake up after a night out to find themselves not only in a strange laboratory but also hastily stitched together in one body.

Discovering that they share thoughts as well as arms and legs (but not alas three arses) will the women manage to co-operate long enough to not only make their escape but extract shevenge on the mad scientist responsible for their condition?

You'll just have to wait and see.

Or at the very least wait till someone else has seen it and ask them.

There's time for a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle in your crummy, lice infested hotel room (you'll not sleep, the couple next door will see to that) before Saturday's programme burst into action with the Scottish Première of Roar Uthaug’s water-based disaster epic THE WAVE.

Norway's biggest hit of last year - and a Scandinavian smash to boot - The Wave finds bearded geology bloke Kristian working at an early warning centre in the small town of Geiranger keeping an eye out for rockslides, lost sheep and the like.

Here come The Belgians!

Unfortunately the calm and quiet is soon shattered when the a fjord called Geiranger (bless you) breaks (you can tell that geology was my strong point at school) creating an 85 metre high tsunami.

Expect damp seats, woolly jumpers and children in peril.

Next up is a slice of pie that is the portmanteau horror SOUTHBOUND, five interlocking tales of terror from the makers of (gulp) V/H/S that follow the fates of a group of travellers over one long night on a desolate stretch of desert highway.

Southbound....and we all know what that means.

Promising supernatural horrors haunting a pair of blood bathed blokes, an all-girl band discovering the true meaning of family values, a home invasion and a botched rescue mission, Southbound should have something for everyone.

Everything that is except arse-kicking martial arts action possibly but fear not because it's followed by the high-kicking Hong Kong hit SPL2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES.

Less Strictly Come Dancing more violently come on my face.

Director Soi Cheang's tale of Thailand’s criminal underworld sees undercover Hong Kong cop Kit isent to a terrifying Thai prison after his cover is blown during a botched operation where or bowl-haired hero discovers that the jail is really a cover for an organ trafficking ring run by a group of sweaty bad men.

Luckily there's one honest guard in the prison (and he's played by Tony Jaa - how lucky is that?) setting the scene for an top-tier, turbo-charged excuse to watch grown men kicking seven shades of shite out of each other in a variety of ever more amazing ways.

There's just enough time for a quick wee before director Johannes Roberts presents the European première of his spooktacular shocker THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR.

Distraught after losing (as in he died, not in a McCann way) her son, India-based antiques dealer Maria (Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies) discovers a dark rite (there's always one) that will let her to say goodbye to her dead child and hopefully find closure.

Unbeknownst to her husband Michael, she travels to a remote temple (tho' probably not by public transport) where the it is said that the barriers ’twixt the world of the living and the dead is at it's thinnest.

Being a girl tho' Maria messes up the ritual allowing the spirit of the evil goddess Myrtu to enter our realm and roam the earth once more.

Now Maria must protect her daughter Lucy from this netherworld nasty whilst trying to explain all this to my nan.

Ramping up the gore factor by 73.6% is Can Evrenol’s (Can Evrenol what I hear you ask....who knows?) Turkish delight that is BASKIN

"I think I'll have strawberry milkshake!"
 Packed to the rafters with bizzaro chills, an atmosphere you can cut with a knife and lashing of perviness, Evrenol’s mental mix of everything from Coffin Joe to H.P. Lovecraft and HP Sauce possibly (via Argento and Barker - Clive not Ronnie) promises a terrifyingly taunt tour-de-force of ultra-violence and extreme horror that sees an unfortunate police squad stumble upon a Black Mass being performed by a nightmare cabal of subhuman cannibalistic freaks with a thing for imaginative blood ceremonies. 

And frogs.

Jack the lad need not apply.

A wee history lesson now as we travel back to 2008 and Pascal Laugiers  MARTYRS, controversial on release it's best known for having a top plot, a great beginning, shocking middle and incredibly satisfying ending.

Unfortunately Laugiers decided to stick another ending on top of that which turned a nice little religious shocker into a tediously overblown 'O' level dissertation into the existence (or not) of God that managed to piss any goodwill or enjoyment you may have had up the wall.

Now our American cousins come to the rescue (in much the same way they did in WW II) with the UK première of the highly anticipated remake.

Directing siblings Kevin and Michael Goetz have promised a bold reimagining of the source material rather than a slavish remake so this might be worth a look.

Or then again, it might be rubbish.

Two Martyrs yesterday (that probably only works if you say it out loud).

Either way there wont be much time to argue about it as this year’s (Henry) cavalcade of carnage climaxes with a bloody big bang of heavy metal fuelled murder and mayhem with the UK première of Sean (The Loved Ones) Byrne’s THE DEVIL’S CANDY, which by all accounts is meant to be rather good.

Rather rubbish artist (is there a theme this year?) Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry) alongside his wife Astrid (Ex-All Saint Shiri Appleby) and metal-head daughter Zooey (Kiara - I belong to - Glasco) moves to a house in Texas, unfortunately (for them that is) the house has a violent past.
Owen Wilson - The pikey years.

 By that I'm assuming that bad things happened in it and not that the actual house itself got up off its foundations and ran amok, tho' that would be worth seeing

It's not long before his paintings start taking on a darkly disturbing turn when a drifter called Ray turns up on their doorstep wanting to move back into where his parents tragically died.

Nope, sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

And if that list of frankly magnificent movie mayhem isn't enough to tempt you then frankly you're beyond help.

Tho' I'll forgive you if you buy a T-shirt.

FrightFest Glasgow runs from 26th and 27th February and tickets are available here.

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