Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend, 21st - 25th August 2014
Lost Highway
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Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by Lost Highway » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:01 pm

I just got the catalogue for this years BFI London Film Festival, which answered my question as to where several films I would have expected to see at this year at Frightfest were. It Follows, In Darkness We Fall, The Man in the Orange Jacket, Kirsty, When Animals Dream and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night are all horror films I've read glowing reports from other festivals about, which were conspicuous by their absence. I suppose there is little Frighttfest can do about it, when a film-maker gets the offer to premiere their film at a more high profile festival in the UK, then they are likely to go for that.

Which makes me wonder if it would be an idea to rethink Frigthfest and move it away from The London Film Festival date, as this will be an ongoing problem. I found the selection of films at this years event disappointing. There have been future classics like The Devil's Backbone and Let the Right One In at Frightfest in the past, but these type of crossover art-house horror films are getting few and far between. The likes of Dead Snow 2 are fun, but horror films can be so much more. I'm starting to doubt that I'll discover the future Rosemary's Baby or Don't Look Now at Frightfest.

There also seems to be some agreement on these forums that in several cases the festival got its programming wrong in terms of the main and the discovery screens. What were films like Shockwave Darkside 3D, Nymph and I Survived a Zombie Holocaust doing in prime spots when far better received films like Coherence, Wolf Creek 2 and The House at the End of Time were shunted onto the discovery screen ?

Don't get me wrong, I don't underestimate how much work goes into planning the event and how challenging it is to get great films for the festival, but I think something could and should be done to improve the quality of films.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by Jon H » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:01 pm

This is a great post and debate starter.

I would agree with much of it – it was particularly disappointing not to have It Follows at Frightfest – if it was ready for LFF, it was ready for FF.
My immediate thoughts are that this is very much bound up in what sort of festival FF perceives itself to be and what it wants to be in the future. To me, Frightfest is currently a hugely enjoyable ‘genre’ festival – a place you can see many films that you simply will not see in a cinema again and to share the experience with fellow genre fans in a great atmosphere. It’s unique and a very special event.

What Frightfest increasingly isn’t – is the place where you will see the ‘best’ in new horror. I’m not qualified to judge the reasons for this – whether the proximity to LFF is a significant factor, or whether the films you mentioned are simply not offered to Frightfest in the first place (do distributors fear their films being pigeonholed as genre pieces rather than good films in their own right?)

Overall, I didn’t find this years FF disappointing – but I know exactly where you are coming from and I do agree that the overall programme would be better balanced with a few more quality films. However, I doubt the organisers feel differently – doing it is obviously much more difficult than just saying it.

One thing I would throw in which may link to your overall point and specific point about LFF. How concerned are we about everything at FF being a premiere? Obviously, we don’t want stuff that’s been on general release for two months, but I’m personally not concerned if something has already played at other UK festivals (even FF Glasgow!)

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by bounce08 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:45 pm

Good post and for the most part, I agree.

On the whole, there were some great films chosen this year across the weekend, and generally everything I wanted to see aside from 'It Follows', was on at FrightFest. I was very happy I got to see Coherence and The Green Inferno on the big screen, with TGI having release problems it was a quite exclusive screening.

However..

I'm quite disappointed that LFF does seem to be showing some very decent 'festival circuit' horrors so close to FrightFest.

The problem is, that most of the big genre festivals and festivals in general are in the first half of the year, and therefore all of the big/hyped horror releases are either at these well known genre festivals early on, or, as in this case, delay showing in the UK until LFF. I believe the reason given for not showing It Follows at FrightFest was that it "interfered with the distributors planned UK release schedule" - I guess this means they didnt want to bother with FrightFest and would have rather waited for LFF due to more exposure.

I really feel it would be a good thing to bring the main FrightFest forward each year closer to BIFFF and other Spring festivals to give it more of a chance of tying in with UK schedules, so there is a big gap between it and LFF/TIFF/After Dark.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by bounce08 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:50 pm

Also, the quantity of shit, b-movie and plain trashy films at FrightFest increases year on year. This year, with Nymph, Shockwave etc on the main screen, far more respected and talked about films were shunted to lesser screens. The main screen should be reserved for the main lineup and well received films from other festivals.

Maybe when FrightFest gets bigger and adds another screen, that extra screen (the B movie screen?!) can screen exclusively that...B-movies, tongue in cheek etc like Zombeavers.


It can be hassle getting disco tickets and some like myself would prefer to stay in one screen throughout the day, and for that reason the festival pass would benefit from the main screen being solely well reveived films from other festivals or premieres.

It would have been great if the main screen had lineups like The Green Inferno, followed by Coherence, followed by The Babadook, followed by It Follows etc not interrupted with shit like Nymph, Zombeavers, Shockwave Darkside etc

I know it all comes down to personal preference but I hope people see what I'm getting at.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by sherbetbizarre » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:56 am

Jon H wrote:One thing I would throw in which may link to your overall point and specific point about LFF. How concerned are we about everything at FF being a premiere? Obviously, we don’t want stuff that’s been on general release for two months, but I’m personally not concerned if something has already played at other UK festivals (even FF Glasgow!)
All Cheerleaders Die was an exception this year, as it already played LFF in 2013.

I was happy about this, and happy I didn't spend £12 last year to see it.

(And after sitting through All Cheerleaders Die, I was VERY happy I didn't spend £12 on it... :s )

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by DJBenz » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:28 am

I think there's probably a lot more to getting films to play at a festival than we give the organisers credit for. Let's not forget that the FF team is out in Cannes early in the year, trying to get the jump on what might be the next big horror thing. Some of the films aren't even finished when they're presented at Cannes.

I was disappointed too that we didn't get It Follows, but I disagree that the festival should drop (or even segregate) B-movie horrors in favour of the more 'serious' stuff that's playing LFF. It's about balance; I do like the variety on offer at Frightfest and I felt this year was particularly strong across the board. Whether the quality was in the "right" screen could be debated to death, but personally I wouldn't like to see
bounce08 wrote:lineups like The Green Inferno, followed by Coherence, followed by The Babadook, followed by It Follows etc
as I think it would be too heavy going and take the fun out of it with too much serious horror.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by Rue-morgue Jay » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:29 pm

Dj Benz is right. I've spoken to Ian for example at one time about getting films for frightfest and its very much a 'Studio' thing of why sometimes they can't always get films that everyone expects them to get. And as far as the BFI film festival, i've seen quite a few over the past few years that could TOTALLY be frighfest films. Here's an example; AWAKENING, ANTI-VIRAL, BLACKWOOD, GRAND PIANO, ROOM 237 (which was awful anyway), LET ME IN (the LET THE RIGHT ONE IN REMAKE), UNDER THE SKIN and THE BODY (El cuerpo) (which i was supposed to see but weather put a stop to that) ETC...

But its all down to what the film studio's will allow them. The remake of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is playing the BFI (which i hopefully will get to see) is TOTALLY frightfest film, but again its down to the studios.

And as for having "bad films" like DARK SIDE SHOCKWAVE (which i never saw but i've heard all about it) segregated or even dropped, again its all about VARIETY. One man's "bad film" is another's GOLDMINE.

90% of what the BFI shows would NEVER play frightfest, and that 10% that does... its just unfortunate that the BFI got it and frightfest didn't...

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by DJBenz » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:37 pm

Rue-morgue Jay wrote:One man's "bad film" is another's GOLDMINE.
Generally I agree, but in the case of Shockwave no-one's come forward as a prospector yet. :lol:

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by Lost Highway » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:49 pm

Rue-morgue Jay wrote:Dj Benz is right. I've spoken to Ian for example at one time about getting films for frightfest and its very much a 'Studio' thing of why sometimes they can't always get films that everyone expects them to get. And as far as the BFI film festival, i've seen quite a few over the past few years that could TOTALLY be frighfest films. Here's an example; AWAKENING, ANTI-VIRAL, BLACKWOOD, GRAND PIANO, ROOM 237 (which was awful anyway), LET ME IN (the LET THE RIGHT ONE IN REMAKE), UNDER THE SKIN and THE BODY (El cuerpo) (which i was supposed to see but weather put a stop to that) ETC...

But its all down to what the film studio's will allow them. The remake of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is playing the BFI (which i hopefully will get to see) is TOTALLY frightfest film, but again its down to the studios. 90% of what the BFI shows would NEVER play frightfest, and that 10% that does... its just unfortunate that the BFI got it and frightfest didn't...
I think everybody is aware of that. Almost any studio will chose the LFF over Frightfest, because it has a much higher profile and is far more "respectable". That's why I think Frightfest would have a pick of better films if it was moved to a date where it doesn't have to compete with the LFF.
Rue-morgue Jay wrote:And as for having "bad films" like DARK SIDE SHOCKWAVE (which i never saw but i've heard all about it) segregated or even dropped, again its all about VARIETY. One man's "bad film" is another's GOLDMINE.
I read this notion that there is no such thing as a "bad film" a lot on forums, but if that was the case, we could do away with programming and curating entirely and just pick films randomly, as any film is a potential GOLDMINE. But I don't buy that and there is a consensus as to which were the films that were liked and which were the ones that were hated and it's not that difficult to figure out in advance. I'm not saying every film at Frighfest should be a potential masterpiece and I certainly enjoy trashy horror films, but at the moment the festival strikes me as skewed toward the later, with very few films of a higher standard.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by bounce08 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:15 pm

DJBenz wrote:
Rue-morgue Jay wrote:One man's "bad film" is another's GOLDMINE.
Generally I agree, but in the case of Shockwave no-one's come forward as a prospector yet. :lol:

I genuinely LOL'd all over the shop with that quote. This should be on the poster!

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by ChrisReynolds » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:46 pm

DJBenz wrote:
Rue-morgue Jay wrote:One man's "bad film" is another's GOLDMINE.
Generally I agree, but in the case of Shockwave no-one's come forward as a prospector yet. :lol:
This reviewer raves about it, praising the 3D and character building, with his only caveat being that what he terms "the average dumb-as-dirt Joe Punter" might be confused by it (I have great difficulty relating the film he descibes to the one I actually saw): http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/shockwave-dar ... ie-review/ :eek: :lol:

The distributors shouldn't be so worried about premiering at Frightfest. The London Film Festival I find very impersonal: people generally turn up to watch a film and then go home with little difference from a normal night out at the cinema. I went to see All Cheerleaders Die last year and it was a very poor experience. I know it was a bad film, but at least in Frightfest there would be applause and a level of engagement. Everybody just sat and watched it in silence and occasionally people would get up and leave.

I don't think Frightfest should move. There's obviously some give-and-take with horror films but Frightfest has scored some big coups in the past with Pan’s Labyrinth and Let the Right One In, but films as good as that just don't come along every year.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by Malky » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:45 pm

ChrisReynolds wrote:
DJBenz wrote:
Rue-morgue Jay wrote:One man's "bad film" is another's GOLDMINE.
Generally I agree, but in the case of Shockwave no-one's come forward as a prospector yet. :lol:
This reviewer raves about it, praising the 3D and character building, with his only caveat being that what he terms "the average dumb-as-dirt Joe Punter" might be confused by it (I have great difficulty relating the film he descibes to the one I actually saw): http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/shockwave-dar ... ie-review/ :eek: :lol:
That reviewer uses the word "spoiler-ize" and therefore the entire review can be disregarded.

FF should defintely not move having it on a bank holiday means I have to take one day less annual leave. Where would you move it too?

The guys can only show what is offer and great films don't come around that often. The LFF may get the more prestigious titles but FF do a great job in my opinion.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by powerpopkid » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:45 am

Do crap films like Shockwave and I Survived a Zombie Hollocaust pay some sort of fee to get screened? Can think that is the only way anyone in their right mind would show them.

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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by AndyJWS » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:12 am

Not sure if time of year really plays that big a part - if the distributor wants to show at LFF they will even if Frightfest is several months earlier/later surely? (Pushing earlier would mean several of the titles "in mind" wouldn't be finished, later would mean they would already have been released... personally as it happens, I found the It Follows footage underwhelming after all the hype!
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Re: Frightfest quality of films and clashing with the LFF

Post by brad1000 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:23 pm

If Frightfest stopped showing utter garbage then it would improve it's reputation and be able to attract better films.The fact it missed out on It follows speaks volumes.
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