This bank holiday weekend, Empire Leicester Square is once again haunted by the annual Film4 Frightfest. Five days, three screens and a few dozen premieres, debuts, sequels and rereleases – there should be plenty to keep horror aficionados safe from the holiday sunshine.
It all kicks off with Thursday night’s premiere of The Dead 2: India, Howard & Jon Ford’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed original which screened at Frightfest 2010. As the title suggests, the zombie outbreak has bestowed itself upon India, so expect to see hero Nicholas Burton trek across some striking landscapes, albeit tailed by a zombie horde.
There are many more sequels on offer, including the return of one infamous killer doll in Curse of Chucky; V/H/S 2, a follow-up to last year’s most popular horror portmanteau; and I Spit on Your Grave 2, the sequel to a remake that left a bad taste in many a mouth.
A number of films with recent stateside releases have found their way across the pond in time for the festival. Comic book adaptation R.I.P.D., starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, is due its UK premiere at the festival – let’s hope it improves on the source material. Then there’s You’re Next, a much-hyped horror from Adam Wingard about a family trapped inside their own mansion as seemingly unmotivated killers in animal masks attack from outside and within.
Also set for its UK premiere is Cameron & Colin Cairnes 100 Bloody Acres, an Australian comedy-horror centred on an organic bone fertiliser business and featuring ‘one of the most hysterically disturbing sex scenes in cinema history’. Renny Harlin’s The Dyatlov Pass Incident has met with international acclaim so far in 2013. Set in the Ural Mountains, it follows five young filmmakers trying to unravel the mystery surrounding the deaths of a group of hikers in 1959.
British talent arrives in the form of Jeremy Lovering’s In Fear (reviewed earlier this year at Sundance London), Kit Ryan’s deranged Dementamania and Farren Blackburn’s feast of ‘gratuitous Saxon violence’, Hammer of the Gods. But perhaps one of the most popular events will be the Variety Spotlight, whose subject this year is Ben Wheatley, rising star of British cinema and the creative mind behind Kill List, Sightseers and recent hit A Field in England.
Of course, a horror festival wouldn’t be complete without some certified genre classics. Consider the Discovery sidebar for screenings of Roger Corman’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright, or a restoration of F.W. Murnau’s silent masterpiece Nosferatu. These genre cornerstones screen alongside a plethora of features from burgeoning horror talent across the globe, among them Hansel and Gretel: The 420 Witch, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman, and the especially cringe-inducing On Tender Hooks.