Thursday 23rd August
Okay. I'm in Central London, it's the August Bank Holiday weekend - and it's time to watch a lot of horror movies at the Film4 FrightFest.
The bright orange pass around my neck says one thing: I'm a glutton for punishment. As for the zombie Spider-Man shirt... well, that's open to interpretation.
The first film of the weekend was the New Zealand-made creature feature Black Sheep. I can only assume these guys were there to promote it; otherwise, that's just kind of weird. A growing crowd were milling around the outside of the cinema, most of whom had the same orange passes around their necks that I did.
I tried to take a picture inside the cinema of the 700-odd strong audience, but my camera doesn't like places without much light and the pictures didn't come out. So you'll just have to take my word for it: there were a lot of people there, and they all laughed and clapped and cheered through the first movie. It was a really good start to the weekend.
After the movie, Black Sheep t-shirts were thrown out into the audience. I actually didn't catch this, but I'd spent about five minutes whining that I really wanted one, so when it fell into the gap between my boyfriend and the guy next to him, they let me take it. Thanks guys!
The less said about the second movie of Thursday the better. Black Water is probably the most boring film about a killer crocodile you'll ever see.
Friday 24th August
The first film of Friday was another screening of Adam Green's Hatchet, which actually showed at last year's FrightFest. This year's screening was different, though: it was actually being filmed as a DVD extra, with Adam Green and festival organiser Alan Jones performing a live commentary from the side of the stage. Adam Green is a really, really funny guy, and seems really nice, too - he spent the entire festival hanging out, talking to fans, signing autographs and watching movies.
Anyway, moving on, the next film was a Russian fantasy called The Sword Bearer. And it was very long, very self-consciously arty, and not very good. Hmph.
Reinforcements were needed by mid-morning. This is the Mega Sizzler: the only way to get through a weekend-long slog through horror movies. It's sort of become a bit of a tradition.
Yum yum. (Blech.)
Next up was The Signal, in which all the world's electronics start broadcasting a signal that causes people to go crazy and kill one another. Something about the mixture of paranoia and absurdity didn't quite work for me, but everyone else loved it.
Alan Jones introduced probably the festival's most unremarkable film, 1408. Which isn't to say that it's bad, but that it just... is.
Director Mikael Håfström fielded questions from the audience after the movie, though I'm not sure anyone really needed to know anything about it. As evidenced by the fact that someone asked about John Cusack's personal chef.
After all that excitement, Friday afternoon saw the traditional FrightFest goodie bags being handed out. This picture shows a selection of the loot, after I'd got home, rooted through it and thrown out the stuff I wasn't interested in.
Saturday 25th August
I, um, overslept on Saturday morning and missed the beginning of the first movie. So while I waited for it to finish and for people to emerge from the cinema, I sat down with a Ben & Jerry's milkshake and tried to figure out which movies I'd end up skipping...
And then I got bored and decided to take a couple of touristy photos of Leicester Square to include in my photo diary.
Charlie Chaplin. Nuff said.
I'm trying to think of something to say about Saturday afternoon's next two movies, Joshua and Storm Warning. But they weren't very good, so I'll leave it.
Kirin was one of this year's festival sponsors; and, on the way into Wrong Turn 2, everyone was handed a free can of beer. Awesome. (And it's actually really nice beer, so the promotion seems to have worked, because I'll definitely choose to drink it again in the future. Maybe I'm just a sucker for freebies?)
David McGillivray and Alan Jones hosted the annual FrightFest quiz on Saturday afternoon. Although I liked my answer to the first question ("What was the original title of the script for Saw 2, before it became an official Saw movie?" "Another Derivative Piece Of Old Shit" - my boyfriend went for "Wankers in a House") I knew so few of the other answers that I didn't even hand in the answer sheet. Bah!
Wrong Turn 2 director Joe Lynch takes a picture of the audience while Pervirella star Emily Booth explains the Zone Horror Cut! short film competition. Basically, you need to make and submit a 2-minute horror movie, and, if the panel of judges think yours is the best, you win £5,000. Coincidentally, this is the amount of money necessary to hire Sean Pertwee for a day's filming...
Wrong Turn 2 was fun, but the free beer had reminded us that alcohol existed, so we retired to the cinema bar afterwards to mingle with fans and film-types rather than sticking around for Disturbia. My boyfriend wanted to take a picture with Emily Booth. So, here they are. Awwww.
This is the faintly nauseating, Escher-esque view of the multiple staircases from the bar. Arghhhhh...! (Actually, there's another level of stairs that I couldn't fit into this picture, but you get the idea.)
Joe Lynch's Wrong Turn 2 production diary was featured in the FrightFest programme. One of the anecdotes in it was about sharing a maggot with Henry Rollins. As a result, we thought it'd be funny to get Joe to autograph a can of white chocolate maggots...
It says "Eat yer maggots!" which I find almost unreasonably funny.
And then some dude scribbled on my programme!
Neil Marshall, director of Dog Soldiers and The Descent, was at the festival to present some footage from his new movie, Doomsday. I may have been slightly starstruck when I met him, because, dude - Neil freakin' Marshall! *isn't worthy*
Sunday 26th August
The highlight of Sunday for me - and indeed the whole festival, for me - was the Uwe Boll double bill of Postal and Seed. Boll introduced both movies, and answered questions from the audience after each movie...
Postal went down extremely well, while Seed caused some controversy - but that's kind of to be expected, right? A lot of the audience seemed won over, both by Boll's new movies and by the man himself. In person, he's entertaining, personable, and very likeable, and this came across in the Q&A. I can also exclusively reveal that Boll's ice-cream preference is for nut-covered chocolate Magnums.
Before the next movie, Waz, the director, writer, and some of the cast of The Cottage turned up to promote their movie. Unfortunately, it looked like a pile of wank; if I hadn't been sick of mutants-in-the-woods slasher movies before FrightFest, I would be now, so the prospect of yet another one (with, surprise, comedy and mayhem... yawn) wasn't enormously exciting.
Waz was the only movie I walked out of halfway through; I'm not sure it was actually worse than some of the films I saw through to the end, but it was the last straw. Sunday ends here for me... and you'll have to wait for part 2 of this photo diary for coverage of the last day of the festival - and the zombie walk world record attempt.
Thursday 23rd August