Is mad Martin the ex-soldier keeping a monster in the basement of his isolated cabin in the woods, or is he just, well, mad? And either way, can his straight-laced brother and alcoholic screamy whiny druggie sister help him? Low budget horror with a cast of five, including this year's first appearance by Larry Fessenden, POD isn't top notch horror, but it's a reasonable time-waster and the revelation of what actually IS locked in that basement room did keep me guessing right up to the reveal.
Alternate title: Monster in the Cabin
Pregnant teen gets threatened by ghost children wearing an array of sacks, buckets and various utensils on their heads in a movie filled with some lovely dreamlike imagery all spoiled by an ending that will have you shouting get stuffed (or worse) at the screen. After this & CHERRY TREE I really hope this isn't going to develop into Teen Pregnancy Fest. If only John Carpenter had directed this one. Exploding pumpkins and gratuitous llama placement do HELLIONS no favours either.
Alternate Title: Halloween Blood Moon Spawn
WORRY DOLLS opens with a sequence so crackingly brilliant that you wonder how the rest of the film is going to top it. Sadly it doesn't, but this tale of cursed Guatemalan dolls that make you kill anyone you're slightly annoyed with is still reasonable pulpy fun, even if it does overdo the broken family stuff when a movie like this should be getting on with the murders and the monsters.
Alternate Title: Curse of the Death Dolls
Wow. Oh yes, this is what Frightfest is all about - subtitled Russian art house horror that you'll probably never get the chance to see again. In a Russian village people are dying from an unexplained malady. The only way to cure it is to obey the village priest's instructions and enter the subconscious of the afflicted. Cue loads of scary, bizarre, and often overwhelming imagery that doesn't necessarily form a cohesive narrative but which looks amazing. Best film so far, and most likely the best all weekend to have been made with a budget of 15 000 Euros.
Alternate Title: Beyond the Horrors
Michael Pare stars as a down and out who ends up reliving his past sins in a deserted house from which there seems to be no escape, except perhaps the obvious. Not bad, with definite talent behind the camera, but the real star here is Pare who makes this film worth watching. So far the winner of the Most Self Loathing In A Film, and also the film with the most biblical quotes and references. Could there be a connection?
Alternate title: Dying for Your Sins
We Are Still Here
A tribute to Lucio Fulci's HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY starring Barbara Crampton means this one was already winning with me even before the credits rolled. Paul and Ann Sacchetti (nice) move into a chilly Boston house that just happens to harbour Horrible Burned Things in the basement. Plenty of macabre backstory, some outrageous gore, loads and loads and loads of B&J whiskey consumption (well done chaps) and plenty of in-jokes for Fulci fans makes this one of the highlights of the festival.
Alternate Title: House by the Crematory
And that's it for day two as I finish typing this at just after one in the morning.