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Kicking off in 2000 in the humble Prince Charles CInema in the heart of London, Frightfest has been the burning bastion of horror and cult cinema in the UK for the past eleven years and is now in the lead up to it’s twelve come August bank holiday weekend.

During that time its been forced to relocate to larger and larger cinemas, resolving in a hostile takeover of London’s biggest cinema – the Empire a few years back which it stuffs full with passionate geeks, devotee film-lovers, hordes of critics and press and celebrity guests. It’s been called by Time Out London “The best thing to do all summer long” in our bustling city. But why does it garner such incredible praise and attendance?

It could be the insanely long list of incredible UK, European and even Worldwide Premieres it secures (Pitch Black, The Eye, Insomnia, Pan’s Labyrinth, Disturbia, Pontypool, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Scary Movie are just a smattering of titles) or it could be the constant stream of directors bringing along test cuts of films in post-production to share an exclusive taster with us. Maybe it’s the goodie bags stuffed with dvds, t-shirts and books, or the freebies given away before and after most films. Perhaps the celeb attendance and Q & A sessions (who could say no to Selma Blair, Ron Perlman, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle, Gareth Edwards and hell even La Roux and Derren Brown turn up for the weekend)? Or, in recent years, the now integral attendance of Adam Green (Hatchet) and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2) who always bring their purposefully shot hilarious short film skits to each day to prelude the evening screenings.

But no, what makes Frightfest such an incredible experience is the atmosphere, the comradery and the buzz built by its endlessly enthusiastic and entertaining trio of presenters / organisers and created by the droves of fans who buy their weekend seat and attend every film, every single year. Unlike most festivals you don’t wander in and out of screenings, each filled with new cinemagoers – Frightfest is over 50% yearly devotees guaranteed every time you attend and it’s this sense of friendship and stability that turns it into a huge five day long party rather than just a viewing experience.

But where would it be without the films? So below I’ve compiled my personal favourites from all the eleven years of the festival (despite the fact that I’ve only been attending the past nine).


01 MONSTERS (2010)


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04 MY LITTLE EYE (2002)


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05 DONNIE DARKO (2002)


06 BURIED (2010)


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08 OLDBOY (2004)


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09 ILS (2006)


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