Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

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DJBenz
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Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by DJBenz » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:00 pm

So I'll start by saying I spent all of my time in the Main Screen, except for dipping out for the Women in Horror Panel. I thought this year was a good year, nothing I really disliked intensely, probably Abbatoir and Director's Cut were my least favourite films, but I didn't despise them like I have some films in the past.

A good year, yes, but not a great year. There didn't seem to be any movie that really got the audience going like films such as Deathgasm, Turbo Kid, Tales of Halloween and a Christmas Horror Story did last year. In fact the crowd in the Horror Channel screen seemed a little flat; rarely applauding and cheering the gory deaths and giving a restrained round of applause after each film.

My phrase of the festival seemed to be "Yeah, it was alright" with varying degrees of enthusiasm to that statement. Not sure if it's just been a middling year for horror or if it was just a case of the Main Screen titles being that way. From feedback I've read it seems there were a lot of favourites in Discovery, and some that sound as if they would have been better as Main Screen titles (Night of Something Strange, for instance, seems like the ideal last film to have the audience cheering in the Main Screens).

Thumbs up for the new venue, there seemed to be a bit of "Ugh, Shepherd's Bush" from some commentators, but I didn't think it lacked anything that the West End offers - except ridiculous prices, obviously. Staff were great, I'm going to try and dig out an email for the manager at SB Vue and drop him/her a line to compliment the staff on making it a great weekend.

Definitely wouldn't complain if it's proposed to hold FF there next year!

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by Oswald Cobblepot » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:38 pm

Like you I spent pretty much all of my time in the Main (Arrow) screen with the exception of skipping Sadako vs. Kayako to see the extra screening of Beyond the Gates as I couldn't stick around for it as a late film.

The screening rotation format across the main screens seems to be working well, although it does sometimes end up with films I wanted to see being relegated to late night (Beyond the Gates/Pet) that are not in the other main screens, and something else suited to late night being screened during the day. But I guess that's my issue with not being able to stay for the late films.

Sticking to the timings seemed to be good this year, had no problem with the venue. Toilets a bit of a problem, but plenty available in Westfield, and as usual some of the gaps between films were a bit random and not conducive to having much time to eat.

I do think the choice of films this year wasn't great, definitely a below average year. Maybe there's not much around, but when I hear people raving about things in the Discovery Screens when we had to suffer through House on Willow Street, Downhill, Blood Feast, Abattoir, and others, then I do question the logic of showing these in the main screen. When I look back at last year's line up there were a lot more 5/6 out of 10 films each day, whereas this year there were a lot more 4s in my opinion.

If we are at Shepherd's Bush again next year it would be good to make use of the extra unused screens to have additional screenings of Discovery films that are popular choices and sell out quickly.

But, it's Fright Fest, I love it, and I appreciate the huge amount of work that goes into organising it. I'd probably still buy a weekend pass if they were going to screen Shockwave Darkside/ Nine Lives for the whole weekend..... well, maybe not.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by morralex » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:42 pm

Venue was great. A lot cheaper with on-site spoons, poundland downstairs and cheap pints from the bar in the cinema. Also much bigger disco screens was good - there was always room and you didn't even need to have a ticket.

Thought the line-up was ok but to be honest i think it has gone downhill in last few years, with a lot more filler. some really good stuff this year: girl with all the gifts, under the shadow, we are the flesh and train to busan but a lot of rubbish on main screen. I know everyone says this every year but why on earth is rubbish like house on willow street, abbatoir, windmill massacre, sadako, (and by all accounts blood feast) on main screen when some far better films on smaller screens? it seems like the main screen is a bit dumbed down.


...they should have put we are the flesh up there to freak everyone the fuck out and get people talking.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by DucDeRichleau » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:26 pm

morralex wrote:I know everyone says this every year but why on earth is rubbish like house on willow street, abbatoir, windmill massacre, sadako, (and by all accounts blood feast) on main screen when some far better films on smaller screens? it seems like the main screen is a bit dumbed down.


...they should have put we are the flesh up there to freak everyone the fuck out and get people talking.
I absolutely agree with this. I wonder if there are politics involved in Main Screen film bookings that means the fest has to accept certain duds to get films they really want? Who knows what wranglings go on with film companies behind the scenes, but yes, it's completely ridiculous that something like Downhill gets a Main Screen placing (particularly after the director's previous Frightfest appearance with the execrable Hidden In The Woods) when something as inventive and spectacular as We Are The Flesh is relegated to a Discovery slot. I really believe that film would have been a major talking point of the festival if it'd reached a wider audience via a bigger screen.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by benj » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:29 pm

Agreed the better films seemed to be on the Discovery screens. I think if I'd just sat in the main screen for the whole thing I'd've felt a bit stiffed on the scares front at the least and, final day aside, on the quality side too.

Was delighted pre-booked tickets for Discovery screens didn't seem to matter a jot. Only one film I went to see in Discovery actually had our tickets checked- everything else I just turned up early enough and walked into in spite of not being able to get a ticket beforehand. I'm tempted to say why bother with the Discovery screen tickets at all (aside from for those who've just paid for the one film)- it seemed to work out well enough with people just turning up. Only on Found Footage 3D did the film seem to be over-subscribed.

The screens were not at all well marked. I shouldn't have to seek out a FF volunteer to find which the Horror screen is- there should be a big sign or something. The Discovery screens were the same but at least were eventually labelled. And even then they were subject to change (in the case of FF3D- presumably because of the 3D setup), meaning a bunch of us queued outside screen 6 for 10 minutes before being told we all had to go to screen 4 whereupon most of the prime seats had already been bagged by people who had somehow not been thrown off by the signage.

Wasn't too impressed with the seat positions. This is the first time I've bagged a front row seat and instantly regretted it when I found out how close the front row was to the screen. And I'm one of those people who loves the front row. If the venue is the same next year I'll be going at least 4 rows back.

The talks were excellent even though they passed too quick- I could easily have sat and listened to James Moran or Dan Martin for another hour at least. I'd love to see more of this sort of thing, but hopefully without missing too many great films (as someone else suggested- more screenings?)

Still loved the whole shebang however- these minor quibbles aside, the organisers did a fantastic job of running what must be an absolute nightmare to organise every year.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by dundermifflin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:45 pm

Got to say, in terms of the films chosen, this is probably one of the worst/most underwhelming in terms of quality for a few years. No real standout films, a lot of dross and mediocrity and quite a few poor films. Feel like there weren't any tentpole films like we've had in previous years when we had films like The Babadook, You're Next etc. This year was just....pfffffff. None of the films I would rewatch or reccomend in all honesty and really feel we could (should) have had films like DON'T BREATHE or BLAIR WITCH in the lineup. I know that deals don't work out, but IMO festivals like this rely on having a couple of tentpole films and sort of takes away a bit of the reputation of the festival when other festivals get the big films and Frightfest misses out for whatever reason. I really hope next year that Frightfest gets a couple of real coups and lands a couple of the big films for next year.

Also guests wise - lots of guests, but not really anyone well known apart from a couple like Dominic Monaghan. Would really like a few "bigger" name guests next year.

On to the positives...

The venue is great. Love it, right up there with the old Empire cinema. The bar was convenient and a good focal point, the foyer was a decent size and having all of the screens on the same level was a big improvement on all of the escalators from last year. I also thought all of the screens were a very reasonable size. Also enjoyed having the shopping centre and a few pubs/bars etc close by. I still miss the Empire, but this was a huge improvement on last year's cinema.

Overall....

A very nice environment to be in for 5 days, the venue is a massive improvement and I have no complaints about it at all. But the films were generally very poor, no standout or tentpole films, and the standard feels lower than previous years. I fully appreciate the level of effort and organisation required for something like this, but the priority (for me) for next year would be ensuring the festival gets films of the level it deserves and aspires to, and securing them early on, even if it means other films miss out.

5/10

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by oddo » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:49 pm

Although there is not much to do around Shepherds Bush to kill time between screenings, the venue is great and the organisers are extremely helpful and friendly.
It was difficult at first to find the right screens and I am not sure why I bothered pre-booking discovery-screen tickets...they were never checked once.
I am always excited to attend Frightfest and I expect to see some duds as part of the mix (downhill, 31, white coffin), as long as I am able to discover some great movies as well (train to Busan, Mercy, The Master Cleanse, Johnny Frank Garret's Last Word, Man Underground).
So 2016 did not really disappoint me in that respect, yet I must agree with previous comments about the main screens offering being a mixed bag while some of the best movies were only on the Discovery screens.
Besides I wish I could have seen Beyond the Gate and Pet but the screenings were way too late for me.

Once again I had a great time during a few days inside this' horror bubble', a world away from it all.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by ian » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:28 pm

benj wrote:The Discovery screens were the same but at least were eventually labelled. And even then they were subject to change (in the case of FF3D- presumably because of the 3D setup), meaning a bunch of us queued outside screen 6 for 10 minutes before being told we all had to go to screen 4 whereupon most of the prime seats had already been bagged by people who had somehow not been thrown off by the signage.
if you had bothered getting a ticket for FF3D it said in bold letters "FOUND FOOTAGE 3D (SHOWING IN SCREEN 4)".

i bagged a prime seat by reading the website as i ordered the ticket and reading the ticket too. and waiting at the door for about 30 minutes prior to the screening...

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by benj » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:11 pm

ian wrote:
benj wrote:The Discovery screens were the same but at least were eventually labelled. And even then they were subject to change (in the case of FF3D- presumably because of the 3D setup), meaning a bunch of us queued outside screen 6 for 10 minutes before being told we all had to go to screen 4 whereupon most of the prime seats had already been bagged by people who had somehow not been thrown off by the signage.
if you had bothered getting a ticket for FF3D it said in bold letters "FOUND FOOTAGE 3D (SHOWING IN SCREEN 4)".

i bagged a prime seat by reading the website as i ordered the ticket and reading the ticket too. and waiting at the door for about 30 minutes prior to the screening...
You have a really inconsiderate and sucky way of phrasing things. I went on the booking website as soon as the tickets were released but unlike you was not one of the fortunate few to get a ticket and so was not privy to this exclusive knowledge. Nor were the other 20 or so people stood there waiting. All we had to go off was the festival guide which said Discovery screen 3 and the sign outside screen 6 reading Discovery screen 3. I don't think it's asking too much for the guide to actually have correct information in it.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by sherbetbizarre » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:36 pm

If you all missed out on tickets, why would you still be entiltled to choose "prime seats"?

Sounds like it all worked out fine!

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by benj » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:16 am

sherbetbizarre wrote:If you all missed out on tickets, why would you still be entiltled to choose "prime seats"?

Sounds like it all worked out fine!
When did I say I was entitled to choose? I just got there early in the hopes of getting a good seat and it was frustrating to have been stood outside the wrong screen. Absolutely, those with tickets should get in first but when there's no-one checking tickets you can't blame people for simply turning up early instead, especially so when those tickets cost nothing.

But yep- agreed, it did work out fine :)

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by Persephone » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:27 am

I enjoy Frightfest every year and expect to see some good films, some surprising films and a fair bit of dross. This is probably the first year I've come away thinking that next year I really need to have a plan and properly research all the films so I can book and see more in the Discovery Screens. I only saw two Discovery screen films - The Neighbour and Lost Solace - both of which were great.

There were quite a lot of titles on the main screen this time that were pretty weak - Downhill, Cell, The Chamber, Blood Feast, Mercy, Sadako v Kayako, Director's Cut and words cannot express how much I hated Abbatoir. I can understand the programming of some of these but with others I just found myself thinking "Really? Are the Discovery screen films honestly poorer than this?" I expect to see 3/4 weaker films but there was more of them this year. Last year we had Turbo Kid, Deathgasm and We are Still Here - didn't seem to be anything to quite match that this time. I think losing Blair Witch hurt the programming a little and I would have liked Don't Breathe to be shown.

I don't want to be all doom & gloom. I still had a fab time. Train to Busan was superb and I love discovering films that I probably wouldn't have heard about or watched otherwise like Pet, Beyond the Gates, The Master Cleanse, ReAlive, Lost Solace and Monolith all of which I thought were fantastic. I just dislike coming away feeling that perhaps if I'd researched more and booked more discovery screenings I'd have had a better time. There is this feeling (rightly or wrongly) that I missed out. Certainly it was a very scare light year. So I had a great time but perhaps not overall a vintage year.

In terms of the venue I thought it was great and the staff are lovely but I hate Shepherds Bush. Not the greatest place to hang out in between films. If we could find somewhere in the West End that allowed us to take over the whole cinema that would be ideal for me.

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Re: Thoughts on Frightfest 2016

Post by ThisisLukeOwen » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:31 am

Loved the new venue, but maybe that's because it was only a 15 minute tube ride for me. However I really dug the Spoons nearby, cheap beer in the cinema, coffee downstairs and the fast food joints across the road. I've never had an issue with Shepard's Bush, but I've heard it can be a bit dodgy at times. Also didn't have any issues with my seat in the Arrow screen, getting my ticket or getting DS tickets. All ran really smoothly.

There weren't a lot of duds at the festival (though I wasn't keen on Mercy, Abattoir, Creature Below or Red Christmas), but there wasn't a great amount of 'great' films. I really loved Pet, My Father Die, Director's Cut and Train to Busan, but I struggled to fill out a complete top 10. Dug 31, ReZort, Sadako vs Kayako, though. Like some have said above, it's likely a distribution thing with the main screen. "You can have X film, but you also have to put on Y and Z film."
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