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 sherbetbizarre » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:58 pm

DJBenz wrote: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.
After paying almost a fiver for a Smirmoff Ice, I never troubled the bar staff again...

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by DJBenz » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:02 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:After paying almost a fiver for a Smirmoff Ice, I never troubled the bar staff again...
Really? Sheeit, I dodged a bullet then. Mind you, I'm sure I had a bottle of Stella at one point and didn't feel mugged (all things considered).

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by The Soapmaker » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:12 pm

The complaints about the Discovery Screen ticketing "fiasco" seem to be from people who tried to get all their Disco tickets as early as possible on day one.... but I thought the whole point of the system was that you didn't need to do that, you could pick them up whenever you liked (so long as tickets were still available).

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by IndianaM » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:26 pm

I think people started getting all of their discovery tickets on day one so that they didn't have to join this queue day after day. Better to get it all done in one hit.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by DGB » Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:07 pm

My understanding before we got there was that the tickets would be on sale at 6pm, for the day after only.

When we arrived, we were told it was any time during the day - but I still believed it would be for the day after.

Having joined the queue on Thursday evening (for a ticket for Julia on Friday) it soon became apparent that people were buying them for all days, not the day after.

We did manage to get them on the Friday morning - due to there being plenty of seats available - however, as that's not always definitely going to be the case perhaps a firm set of rules - which staff adhere to - is required.

The Thursday evening was very frustrating, queueing for half an hour to abandon the wait because the next film was starting. Frankly - it may sound selfish - but with travel, accommodation, food, tickets and the sleepy queue, my wife and I spend well over £1000 to attend, and I don't expect to have to waste time trying to get into the films I want to see.

It's better than previous years, as I got to see the films I wanted, but it could be a much more pleasurable experience.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by The Soapmaker » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:57 pm

Not being a big user of the Disco screens, it's hard to think of a much better way of organising it..... surely it's better than the old system of having to turn up early each morning in the hope of getting tickets for that day? The few times I tried that in the past, everything I wanted was sold out. I just gave up trying in the end.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by ChrisReynolds » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:12 pm

The Discovery tickets were inititally a bit of a disaster. The automatic ticketing machines need to be sorted out for next time. Tickets for the Discovery Screens were available from the tills in the bar area too, but this wasn't properly explained, both to the people in the even longer queues down in the foyer or to the people queuing up for drinks without realising they were in a ticket queue. The Vue Staff were helpful in that one of them walked down the line asking people to circle the on their program the Discovery films they wanted to see so it could speed up ticket sales. The queue still moved like molasses though and there wasn't anything that could be done when you're standing behind someone who seems to be spending the entire festival in the Discovery Screen. Several things could be done to alleviate the problems:
  • Stick to the plan of only having tickets available for the following day.
  • More information about what was going on.
  • Get the ticketing machines working.
  • Move some of the better Discovery Screen films to the main screen. The Canal, Creep, Coherence (an actually good sci-fi film) and Digging up the Marrow were all getting good word of mouth, and would have deserved to play the main screen much more than Nymph, I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, and Shocking Darkwank 3D.
I had a misplaced panic about Discovery Screen Films selling out and having seen the disaster of the original weekend pass sales I wanted to get all the ticketing done as soon as possible. I'll be more relaxed about it next year.

Some of my favourite things about the festival:
  • Actually being able to get tickets to the Discovery Screen films I wanted to see.
  • Comfy seats.
  • Lots of toilets that never got too crowded.
  • Pleasant atmosphere. I was in Screen 7 and I was never hot, even when wearing a velvet jacket and woolen waistcoat. I presume the heat people are complaining about was a problem limited to Screen 5.
  • The bar area is brilliant for talking to and meeting people and is a huge improvement over experiencing the crush in the Empire lobby or the rain and smoke outside. In fact it's so good that I wouldn't want Frightfest to move to an cinema
  • For people who are smokers or who want fresh air the covered area outside is very good and its proximity to Burger King meant that it was possible to get over there in the pouring rain without an umbrella.
  • The Duke Film Party was good fun and I'd like to see it again next year.
  • After the opening night, the staff were very good and getting into a cinema was easy and was minimal hassle.
Things that could be improved next year:
  • Showing less sci-fi films. I appreciate the broad choice of the festival but especially having The Signal as the closing film where there was no choice of Discovery film instead took something away from the identity of the festival. If it was an excellent film I could understand making an exception for it (as was the case in programming The Raid at the Glasgow festival, but The Signal wasn't particularly good and Shocking Darkwank 3D was one of the worst films I've ever experienced. The same goes for the dire Hammer of the Gods last year.
  • I like the idea mentioned above of having three midnight films that rotate around the screens for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thoughtful films like The Samurai and The Babadook aren't really suited to a rowdy late-night atmosphere and stop the guests giving a Q&A afterwards. There's no reason why the daytime films could easily rotate in groups of five rather than three.
  • Put short films back on the main screen! It doesn't seem like a proper festival without them. Having two short film showcases was good in that we got double the number of shorts, but I'd like to have one of those shorts showcases on the main screen and then an addtional showcase of Discovery shorts (in the larger of the discovery screens as screen 8 was packed).
  • Encourage the guests to mingle with the crowd in the bar area more rather than being ensconced in their little VIP room. If autograph hunters are a problem they can be dealt with by someone in authority.
  • There was some lack of atmosphere and a more subdued crowd. I don't think it was helped by an opening night which lacked a really good film combined with people being exhausted by ticketing problems. I really felt the old atmosphere was back during the screening of Housebound which was a real crowd-pleaser and was intended for the Thursday night until Sin City 2 had to be moved there instead. Even so I think the atmosphere was still a bit subdued throughout the festival - there audience seemed less inclined to react to the gory scenes. Hopefully this will be better next year.
  • One night I bought a cup of tea from the bar and then was told they didn't have any milk so I was sent downstairs to the Ben & Jerry's stand to get some myself. After paying £3 for a cup of tea the least I would expect is for milk to be available.
Last edited by ChrisReynolds on Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by hingethunder » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:14 pm

The Soapmaker wrote:Not being a big user of the Disco screens, it's hard to think of a much better way of organising it..... surely it's better than the old system of having to turn up early each morning in the hope of getting tickets for that day? The few times I tried that in the past, everything I wanted was sold out. I just gave up trying in the end.
Oh, it was definitely an improvement - the problem was that on Thursday night the change at short notice meant everyone panicked! If the system is the same next year I suspect there will be no problem as everyone knows there were tickets available for most of the Disco screen films throughout the weekend.

Only film I heard was sold out was Nightmare on Elm Street - anyone know of any others?

Agree with the points above about the late night films - I never tend to stay for them, and I felt I was missing a "Proper" film rather than a "late nite fodder" film as in previous years.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by ChrisReynolds » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:17 pm

The Soapmaker wrote:Not being a big user of the Disco screens, it's hard to think of a much better way of organising it..... surely it's better than the old system of having to turn up early each morning in the hope of getting tickets for that day? The few times I tried that in the past, everything I wanted was sold out. I just gave up trying in the end.
Now there are more discovery seats there's no need for early morning queuing. I'm usually too tired to attend the first film of the day and last year I'd come in before the second film and try to get Discovery tickets only to be told they'd all sold out. This year I got to attend six Discovery Screenings and it made for a much more pleasurable Frightfest experience.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by The Soapmaker » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:46 pm

hingethunder wrote:Agree with the points above about the late night films - I never tend to stay for them, and I felt I was missing a "Proper" film rather than a "late nite fodder" film as in previous years.
Yeah, it would be a good idea to designate three or four films specifically for the late night slots. I never stay for them so I don't know how well-attended they usually are, but I do watch them later on DVD so I know they tend to be less, er.... challenging material. Like Zombeaver or I Survived a Zombie Holocaust.

As it happens I wasn't bothered about missing most of the late night films on Screen 7 this year, but it might have been different in the other screens.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by soberdave72@hotmail.com » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:58 pm

I think the vue is a massive improvement on the empire, and all in all, I think the festival has maintained its atmosphere. Ian, Paul and Alan have done a superb job in making sure Frightfest has kept its identity. So Well Done Guys.

I was in the Film 4 screen, and there was no bad behaviour from the crowd inside for the festival, no phone issues (apart from the italian director of Open Windows who had to be told three times during The Samurai Screening) and no chatting during the films which was often a problem in the empire.

Films themselves, were the usual eclectic bunch, some Great (Among The Living,Green Inferno,Stage Fright, The Signal,The Guest) and some not so great (Shockwave Darkside....).

The only moan I have over the whole weekend was the Bodyguards/PA People around Robert Englund, Sub-Human Sc*m. Okay, Professional autograph hunters are a nuisance, because they run into the screens and have no interest in the films themselves, but the way Englund's people shoved people around and played the heavy were not acceptable. Englund himself looked like he was willing to sign things, but his people were not having it. The only way to do Frightfest if you are a actor, is the John Landis/Kane Hodder approach.

Apart from that, a Brilliant Weekend.
Last edited by soberdave72@hotmail.com on Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by jonbly » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:01 pm

Generally, worked really well.

Staff were laid back about pass checking.
Simultaneous start of the first movie was a traffic jam, though.

Bizarrely bad labelling of screens - would have been better to just leave the numbers up.

Nice to have the bar area available.

Some pretty poor seats jammed into the front corners. They shouldn't be foisted on passholders.

Screen 8 always had a queue for some reason (whilst the others were walk straight ins)... which given that one of the loos is up there, made for an annoying traffic jam.

Oh dear God find some better way to do Discovery Screen tickets. (And the festival passes for that matter...)

Like the rotating late night movie concept.

But 97% positive.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by The Aylmer » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:51 pm

soberdave72@hotmail.com wrote:The only moan I have over the whole weekend was the Bodyguards/PA People around Robert Englund, Sub-Human Sc*m. Okay, Professional autograph hunters are a nuisance, because they run into the screens and have no interest in the films themselves, but the way Englund's people shoved people around and played the heavy were not acceptable. Englund himself looked like he was willing to sign things, but his people were not having it. The only way to do Frightfest if you are a actor, is the John Landis/Kane Hodder approach.
Agreed. Although this also happened when Eli Roth turned up at the Empire. There was an arranged autograph signing session but the security surrounding Roth and co. were overly eager when it came to shoving people around (I think it was done with the excuse they needed to keep the line moving, but to me it looked more like they didn't want anyone getting near the guy). All of which led to the bizarre chat I had with him which started out normally then got ever louder as security kept pushing me further away resulting in both Roth and myself eventually shouting at each other in order to finish the conversation off. To be fair to Roth he looked as perplexed about the heavy handedness as everyone else. When I saw the same sort of mayhem going on around Robert Englund I did a half hearted wander over hoping to get a quick photo on my pocket camera but wasn't even allowed that pleasure, even though I was nowhere near the guy. Alan had already told me there was no chance of an autograph so I cut my losses and took some pictures/video from the comfort of my own seat during the Q+A for The Last Showing instead. I'm quite pleased I did now as when we went to the Phoenix on Monday night we got chatting to one of the guys who usually does the official Frightfest filming during Q+A's, and he reckoned they hadn't shot much at all this year due to the staggered nature of the screenings/interviews, and anything that was shot would have been during that media scrum in the downstairs foyer. All I can say is thank god for zoom lenses. Aylmer 1 - Security 0 :)

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by The Soapmaker » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:59 pm

soberdave72@hotmail.com wrote:...no phone issues (apart from the italian director of Open Windows who had to be told three times during The Samurai Screening)
Funnily enough, the director and producer(?) of The Samurai were at the screening of Vigalondo's Extraterrestrial, and somone had to ask her to turn her phone off. Tit for tat?

What is it with "industry insiders" not respecting other people's films? The director of Discopath was talking all the way through Mark of the Devil at last year's Allnighter.

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Re: Thoughts on FrightFest @ Vue so far..

Post by Malky » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:14 pm

Lovd the fest, the bar area and thr disco ticket system. I admit I panicked and got 6 disco tickets on opening night which I was told was the maximum as I was paraniod I would miss Wolfcop but I really the festival was a massive hit with everyone I spoke too. The only nuisance was the super creepy/smelly guy who was in my screen and a couple of the disco films I attended. Overall the festival was brilliant and I saw all the films I wanted to see. Thank you very much Ian, Paul, Alan & Greg.

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