Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend, 21st - 25th August 2014
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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by MrsBBC » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:33 pm

adeyboy99 wrote:We were informed to join one at the Ben and Jerry's area and seemed to be there for ages whilst a young member of vue staff (that honestly admitted he had no idea about this "frightfest stuff") appeared to be using vue's main website to book up this persons endless list of films.
I don't know who these guys were but they were most definitely selfish c**ts.
They were kind enough, after 30 mins, of getting tickets for the entire week, to make a joke about not getting their final 2 tickets (because there was about 3 mins to film time), as if it was the most selfless, and amusing...? act of festival kindess.
Well f**k off!
It's a shame that the staff member (who was lovely, professional, and overwhelmed) didn't ask them to re queue after their... I don't know, 5th film?

After failing 3 times to get a ticket for Honeymoon, and after well over an hour of total queue time, I pegged it over to Honeymoon, and just took a seat... should have done that for every Discovery film... except I'm not a total ass who's looking to bring down the ticket system on its debut.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by kickasschewgum » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:57 pm

I'd like to second the previous poster's request to please resist the urge to fix what ain't broke.

Now that this year's festival is done, I have to say that I (and the 5 other people that were with me) definitely prefer the Vue incarnation of FrightFest over those at any of the previous venues (yes, even the hallowed Empire).

With the exception of the one night of Discovery Film ticket queues (which will be easy to correct for next year) and the online ticketing issues (which is also easily solvable by raising the allowed payment limit next year), the entire Festival ran like clockwork, offered more choice than ever before and, I'd argue, by Day 3 had pretty much completely restored the atmosphere of past years. As people may recall several attendees complained that the festival had lost its intimate atmosphere when it moved from the Odeon West End to the Empire too (and it took a few days to get it back to the same energy then as well).

The films pretty much all started on time, the rotating films on all three screens actually ADDED to the fun of the conversations between movies, the offset on timings allowed for less frantic traffic passing through the cinema at any one time, the toilets were lacking the idiotic queues of previous years, the bar area was great for those that wanted to hang out between films, the films were probably the best selection in FrightFest history, the staff were great, the projection and sound were excellent (although a few films were a bit too loud (Late Phases, The House At The End Of Times)) and the Discovery screens were easy to get tickets for and were FAR better screens than in years past.

And, unpopular as I may be for saying this, I (and the other 5 guys that came with me) did NOT miss the quiz and far preferred the short film showcases being in the Discovery Screen this year.

Frankly, it was damn near perfect.

So a HUGE thanks to Paul, Alan, Ian and Greg who all work tirelessly 365 days a year to bring such a great festival to life. Very, very impressive work.

I'm looking forward to next year already (and October/Glasgow inbetween). Hopefully this new format at the Vue will be the FrightFest model for many years to come!

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by The Soapmaker » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:23 pm

leytonrocks wrote:I like the fact that give or take ten mins the films start at their allotted time - that never happened in the last couple of years at the Empire
This is a very good point, timing at the Empire used to sometimes drift a great deal. Irritating if you have a last train to catch or have just nearly choked yourself speed-eating some crappy burger because the last film overran but you have to assume the next one won't. Sometimes there was barely time to queue up for a piss before the next (theoretical) start time.

I almost hesitate to suggest it, and don't want to sound too ungrateful for previous years.... but perhaps it was a good discipline for the organisers to be running back and forth between the three main screens (plus the disco screens) making sure everything fitted together this year.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by TheDukeAbides » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:49 pm

I loved the Empire Screen 1, just for the grandiose nature of it, as an entity I was sad to see it go.

I did think only having a 1/3 of the people in the 2 big screens would lose the atmosphere, but it didn't really feel that way.

I was in Screen 5 (Film Four) so can't comment on what the link-up was like.

After a large queue to get in on Thursday I honestly thought that I couldn't deal with this every film.

Instead Vue staff seem to go the other way, come the rest of the festival I only ever had my pass remotely looked at one more time - so, in a purely financial sense (plus the automatic doors on the ground floor) it could have been particularly easy to see most of the films for free, with the only drawback being told you were in someone's seat, but given the nature of the film staggers, there was always going to be empty seats. I doubt any major money was lost, but staff went from being a massively heavy firewall to none at all.

Of course, with the announcement that you could get Discovery tickets at any time, of course what was always going to happen with a load of geeks with paranoia about previous ticketing issues - massive and self-imposed queues. People do need some patience. Though of course Vue need more people on, at least for the inevitable rush on the Thursday and Friday.

Another big plus was taking in any food that we could, again I was paranoid about this, but the staff did seem to just relax.

Sometimes I did feel it was very loud, in all Screens I went in.

The festival in general...

Positives:
I never heard anyone shout "turn your phone off you..." - then again I saw no phones on anyway.
Vue staff and the volunteers were excellent.
I liked the first floor bar.
More toilets + staggered times is a massive help.
Getting Discovery tickets whenever meant more time in bed - always a good thing.

Negatives:
No back print on the FrightFest 2014 T-shirt - what the hell was that about?
Only showing Discovery Screenings once meant missing double the films. I appreciate that "showing over 60 films in 5 days" sounds and reads well, it became less about the seats selling out and more about playing 3 films off against each other rather than 2.
No FilmFour Frightfest intros (not even in Screen 5) - though I may have got as sick of these as the Strain and Arrow ones (well, not so much the Arrow one, I loved the music to it).
Very bad handriers - the ones in the Vue pale in comparison to the ones in the Empire.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by IndianaM » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:56 am

I've taken a couple of days to recover from this year's Frightfest - literally, as it left me feeling unwell on Monday evening, not through film content, but because it was so damned hot in the screen - and feel I can now give my thoughts on it.

First of all, the venue change worked out pretty well. The thing with us Frightfesters is that we get used to things, and set in our ways. We love our community, and when things change it can be unsettling. This year, instead of all of us being in one main screen, as we were at the Empire, we were split across three screens. But I found that you still had that Frightfest spirit, speaking with your seat neighbours, everyone laughing, or groaning together at what transpired on the screen, and discussing the films at depth afterwards.

Things I felt were improved was the bar/seating area upstairs, which was quite spacious, until everyone came in from the torrential rain that we had over the last couple of days, then it got a little crowded, but there was still more room than at the Empire.

The Discovery Screens were also much larger than before, allowing more of us in. The area outside Screen 8 at the top of the stairs had little space for queuing, and when a popular film like The Shining screened it became very crowded there. However, the screens themselves had a very nice atmosphere.

Although this was touted as one of Frightfest's strongest line ups, I personally felt that it was one of their weakest. Many people I have spoken to did not have a 'wow' film of the festival, as in recent years.

It was great to have a retro screen day at last, where I caught A Nightmare on Elm Street on the big screen for the first time in 28 years, and The Shining, which I had never seen on the big screen, and was unfortunately not the lengthier cut as billed. I would love to see John Carpenter attend next year, with a decent amount of Q&A time allocated.

Things that I feel still need addressing, and I raised this point so many times during the festival to both Frightfest staff, and the VUE staff - who simply shrugged their shoulders - is the deluge of autograph dealers that enter the building, pissing off the staff and the guests so much, that when legitimate festival pass holders attempt to meet the cast and crews, we are told that we can't, and to stop bothering them.

This really needs to be addressed in some manner. We wait patiently, out of the way while the cast work the media wall, and do other interviews, but we're not allowed near them, yet we are the people who pay for festival passes, and have supported the event over the years, while these dealers are there purely for profit and have not contributed to the festival in any way.

What would be nice is if guests could be encouraged not to sign in the foyer, but upstairs for paying attendees, or perhaps a signing session could be set up after the films, especially for popular guests such as Robert Englund, as it was with John Landis etc over at the Empire.

Although it was a good idea to allow all discovery screen tickets to be collected in one go, this led to huge queues in the foyer after The Guest, as attendees waited then took their time choosing screen seats at the tills. I waited for almost an hour, missing a huge chunk of Sin City 2 - which I eventually gave up on seeing. I think it may have been better to allow their sale earlier in the day, so that those of us who get in early, can get it out of the way without disrupting our scheduled screenings.

Also I found it to be unbearably hot in the main screen (5) over the course of the weekend. I can't remember the air con being on at all, and over a while this left me not only tired, but feeling pretty rough by the end of the festival, so much so that I gave up and missed the last film, as I just wanted to get home and to bed.

Despite these points, I felt the festival worked very well at the VUE, and I look forward to returning next year.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by DJBenz » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:18 pm

IndianaM wrote:Things that I feel still need addressing, and I raised this point so many times during the festival to both Frightfest staff, and the VUE staff - who simply shrugged their shoulders - is the deluge of autograph dealers that enter the building, pissing off the staff and the guests so much, that when legitimate festival pass holders attempt to meet the cast and crews, we are told that we can't, and to stop bothering them.

This really needs to be addressed in some manner. We wait patiently, out of the way while the cast work the media wall, and do other interviews, but we're not allowed near them, yet we are the people who pay for festival passes, and have supported the event over the years, while these dealers are there purely for profit and have not contributed to the festival in any way.

What would be nice is if guests could be encouraged not to sign in the foyer, but upstairs for paying attendees, or perhaps a signing session could be set up after the films, especially for popular guests such as Robert Englund, as it was with John Landis etc over at the Empire.
I witnessed the rush first hand as Robert Englund was coming into the front of the Cinema and the autograph dealers mobbed him. However, there also seemed to be a few genuine fans there who didn't appear to have festival passes so is it wrong to deny them the chance to get an autograph from their idol? It's a tricky one for sure, no-one likes to see the leeches who are just going to chuck the stuff on eBay for profit, but how do you let the genuine (non festival) fans through?

I heard through a friend, who tried to get something signed after The Last Showing, that Robert Englund wanted to sign for fans but was being ushered away by his people.
Also I found it to be unbearably hot in the main screen (5) over the course of the weekend. I can't remember the air con being on at all, and over a while this left me not only tired, but feeling pretty rough by the end of the festival, so much so that I gave up and missed the last film, as I just wanted to get home and to bed.
As a non-Londoner I always find the city unbearable sticky and uncomfortable so I spent the entire weekend in shorts and t-shirt. I was concerned that I might be cold in the cinema due to air-con but I found it just right. I can imagine with long trousers and top I might have found it a bit hot though. As crazy as it sounds, the air-con at Vue Leicester Square is controlled from Manchester. :eek:

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by Bearded Avenger » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:24 pm

On the whole didn;t really feal that different from previous years. I only missed one thing, and that was the traditional OTT last film . How about having three films chosen for the last slot of the night and then rotating them between the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by TheDukeAbides » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:38 pm

I'll also add to the uncomfortable lack of air-con in Screen 5.

Made all the more noticeable when met with a nice fresh atmosphere in both Discovery screens.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by pauluspink » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:56 pm

IndianaM wrote:
Things that I feel still need addressing, and I raised this point so many times during the festival to both Frightfest staff, and the VUE staff - who simply shrugged their shoulders - is the deluge of autograph dealers that enter the building, pissing off the staff and the guests so much, that when legitimate festival pass holders attempt to meet the cast and crews, we are told that we can't, and to stop bothering them.

This really needs to be addressed in some manner. We wait patiently, out of the way while the cast work the media wall, and do other interviews, but we're not allowed near them, yet we are the people who pay for festival passes, and have supported the event over the years, while these dealers are there purely for profit and have not contributed to the festival in any way.

What would be nice is if guests could be encouraged not to sign in the foyer, but upstairs for paying attendees, or perhaps a signing session could be set up after the films, especially for popular guests such as Robert Englund, as it was with John Landis etc over at the Empire.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I love to meet and chat with the talent involved with the films at Frightfest but there were rarely any opportunities to do so. I was really pissed off with the dealers who would clog up the media wall area which stopped us genuine fans/FF pass holders to get anywhere near them. I also heard that a couple dealers managed to sneak in and hang around the bar area to get autographs. The only time I managed to get autographs was straight after the Q&As, but rarely had enough time to chat, ask questions, and network. I noticed that a lot of these dealers managed to bag Robert Englund's autograph (some got several off him) but I didn't get any. I addressed this to Alan and all he said was that he was refusing to sign anything because he generally charges $300 in America. Obviously this is not true, because I could see that Robert wanted to sign for us but his security men kept ushering him off. Also to note, Robert only charges £20 for an autograph at conventions so the whole $300 response was obviously just to keep me away. We had proper organised signing sessions for the bigger names in the past (John Landis, Dario Argento, Tobe Hoopers etc.) so it was really disappointing to see this didn't happen with Robert Englund.

Something needs to be addressed with the dealers who are there to make a quick buck.
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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by IndianaM » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:05 pm

DJBenz wrote: I witnessed the rush first hand as Robert Englund was coming into the front of the Cinema and the autograph dealers mobbed him. However, there also seemed to be a few genuine fans there who didn't appear to have festival passes so is it wrong to deny them the chance to get an autograph from their idol? It's a tricky one for sure, no-one likes to see the leeches who are just going to chuck the stuff on eBay for profit, but how do you let the genuine (non festival) fans through?

I heard through a friend, who tried to get something signed after The Last Showing, that Robert Englund wanted to sign for fans but was being ushered away by his people.
I think it's the guest's personnel who need educating on who the genuine fans are and who the dealers are, and if possible police this. (Dealers are very easy to spot with their stacks of photos).

But, to be fair, I personally still think that festival ticket holders should be given some kind of priority over fans who haven't paid, especially as we are missing out on our chance to meet the guests, after all, we are fans too! ;-)

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by pauluspink » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:14 pm

Positives
* Better and more comfy seats
* Vue venue layout and more space in the bar area
* Improvement in break times to allow time to eat, socialise etc..
* Number of toilets (rarely had to queue)
* Improvement in Merchandise / Cinema Store (although I did see Cannibal Holocausts' bluray price fluctuate frequently at £30 & £40 :?: )
* Friendly and helpful Vue staff

Negatives
* Lack of opportunities to meet the talent involved. They kept on being ushered into the green room and the dealers (who have no tickets/pass) left a bad taste making it worse for us.
* No organised signing with the main guest, Robert Englund, like they used to do at the Empire cinema.
* Discovery Ticket fiasco causing huge and unnecessary queues
* Finding people in seats they shouldn't be in (including Vue/FF staff)
* Soap/toilet paper occasionally not replenished in the toilets
* No short films in the main screen
* Lack of variety in adverts and trailers (too much of The Strain)
* The screening of Shockwave Darkside 3D - the first time I've ever walked out on a movie since attending FF (and I've attended all of them since the first ever FF)
* Lack of true horror films - a lot of films that should have screened but I guess they couldn't get (i.e. REC 4, new Phantasm movie, See No Evil 2, etc).
* No Q&A (if they had one) for the last screening of the evening. Screen 5 didn't get one for The Samurai but luckily I met the talent involved at the Phoenix after party to ask questions.
Last edited by pauluspink on Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by domdunc » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:32 pm

Pros of the Vue setup:
-being spread over 4 floors meant that it was much easier to move around the cinema and the queues were much smaller overall, less time spent queuing is good.
-easier to get hold of discovery screen tickets after the initial rush


Cons:
-it was pot luck which films would clash/who you would get in a Q&A
-the smaller screens seemed less atmospheric (less applause, cheering etc)

overall I think it worked out well and will hopefully be great once the bugs are ironed out next year!

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by xLeft For Deadx » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:33 pm

Having been to Frightfest since its residency at the PCC, I had no particular attachment to the Empire, so didn't mind the move.

Overall, I thought things ran incredibly smoothly and the split into three screens didn't disrupt things as much as I thought they might. Yeah, it's not as great as everyone being in one screen, but it's the best that can be achieved with what's available. I still managed to meet up with people not in my screen in between films or at breakfast.

Biggest pro I saw with the festival was the tickets for the discovery screens; I was able to choose right at the last minute to get tickets for the discovery screens if I wanted to, and was always able to get a ticket. Only minor quibble I had was that on one occasion, our seats had been double booked - but in retrospect, the film was so goddamn awful I now wish that I hadn't got a seat.

Looking forward to next year.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by DJBenz » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:51 pm

IndianaM wrote:I think it's the guest's personnel who need educating on who the genuine fans are and who the dealers are, and if possible police this. (Dealers are very easy to spot with their stacks of photos).

But, to be fair, I personally still think that festival ticket holders should be given some kind of priority over fans who haven't paid, especially as we are missing out on our chance to meet the guests, after all, we are fans too! ;-)
I've no argument with any of that. :)

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by DJBenz » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:54 pm

I think it's been mentioned a few times, but the staff at the bar seemed to move at a glacial pace getting people served. I gave up a few times because a queue of three people in front of me was taking 10+ minutes to clear and I had to get to a film starting. It's one thing the Empire seemed to manage a bit better.

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