Thursday, 25 August 2016

Frightfest 2016 Day One

It's time for House of Mortal Cinema's annual trip to London for Frightfest, this time held in the sunny surrounds of Shepherd's Bush. Five days of movies, many of which are world premieres, plus guests, surprises and free stuff (so far I have CELL T-shirt, a rubber heart, a CELL phone case, a Horror Channel T Shirt, and a collection of postcards. I didn't say the free stuff was actually covetable). 

          The festival kicked off with Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson giving us the welcome news that Lionsgate are going to film their stage hit GHOST STORIES, with Nyman and Dyson directing and Martin Freeman featured in the cast. The short clip they then showed proved to be the highlight of the evening, as the films on offer to kick off the festival were, to be charitable, all strictly 'B' grade material. Here's what I thought:

My Father Die

Continues the Frighfest tradition of the opening film being, well, not terribly good, really. In the scuzzy deepest depths of the deep south, deaf and dumb Asher learns that the father who deprived him of his hearing and killed his brother has been released from prison 'because of overcrowding'. He leaves his enormous bedridden mother, puts a wolf on his head, and catches the bus into town to beat his father's head in. He doesn't quite hit him enough times with the spade, however, allowing the film another hour of miserable characters wallowing in their own grimness, peppered now and again with voiceovers and shots of classical paintings to make this picture seem a bit more profound than it actually is. Can you guess this one ends badly?

Alternate Title: "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, You're a Hillbilly Rapist And I'm A Bit Miffed About it Actually"


Nowhere near as bad as many reviews will have led you to believe (thank goodness), this starts well, and then follows the time-honoured route trod by movies and TV shows like THE CRAZIES, THE CHANGES, 28 DAYS LATER and even QUATERMASS (that ending). The problem is that all those productions did this idea better, and that's a shame, because CELL had the potential to be as good as any of them. But it isn't. Sadly, the film is saddled with a weak script that could have done with some ruthless editing (that whole Stacy Keach bit needed to go) and some extra bits to help it all make a bit more sense.

Alternate Title: It's For You

Let Her Out

Sadly nowhere near as sexy or weird as the poster art up there promises, LET HER OUT starts off with a memorably sleazy prologue but doesn't go anywhere much at all after that, other than giving us a dull retread of THE DARK HALF. After Mr King and Mr Romero's epic, and Takeshi Miike's IMPRINT episode of MASTERS OF HORROR several years ago, LET HER OUT feels like a seriously retrograde step in the 'twin growing in my brain' subgenre. Some splatter and a semi-transformation scene at the end are all too little, too late, and the characterisation here is strictly one note as well. Shame.

Alternate Title: Splatter Sisters 

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