Quality of films this year

All the news, gossip and information about FrightFest 2016
ChrisReynolds
Running Zombie
Running Zombie
Posts: 214
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:01 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by ChrisReynolds » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:19 pm

I don't think there was any problem with the quality of films, just where they were shown. With lots of the best films shown on the Discovery Screen, a lot of them will be missed due to preferring to stay in the main screen. Conversely a good main screen film will be missed because of a clash with a Discovery screen. I've realised in the last few festivals that I essentially have to research the Discovery Screen films by checking for buzz and reviews from other festivals. I try to avoid world premieres. I don't think this is how Frightfest should be, the main screens should be a curated selection of the best films the festival has to offer.

Imagine if the opening night had been, for example Girl With all the Gifts (British talent showcase), Under the Shadow (high quality and critically acclaimed) and Night of Something Strange (fun midnight film) instead of what we actually got; the festival would have been buzzing rather than faintly depressed (and I think I enjoyed My Father Die more than most people). Then the next morning all three main screen were low quality before things suddenly picked up in the evening with lots of good stuff being shown across all screens at once.

If film distributors don't want their films to play at Frightfest then that's a big problem. We had Blair Witch being pulled, Girl With all the Gifts playing as a surprise screening and something like Don't Breathe not playing at all even though it's released two weeks after the festival and in theory should be perfect.

All that said, Train to Busan is a modern zombie classic and one of the best Frightfest films for years. It was a big coup to get that.

dundermifflin
Fresh Meat
Fresh Meat
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:32 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by dundermifflin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:38 pm

DJBenz wrote:
dundermifflin wrote:Last year was bad with Shockwave Darkside and others,
Shockwave Darkside was 2014.
Yup you're right, I'm still damaged by it. But my point still stands, last year and this year were poor.

ChrisReynolds
Running Zombie
Running Zombie
Posts: 214
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:01 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by ChrisReynolds » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:44 pm

dundermifflin wrote:
DJBenz wrote:
dundermifflin wrote:Last year was bad with Shockwave Darkside and others,
Shockwave Darkside was 2014.
Yup you're right, I'm still damaged by it. But my point still stands, last year and this year were poor.
Both 2014 and 2015 had poor lineups in my opinion. I definitely think this year was an improvement on 2015, most of that was so mediocre, and though 2014 had a lot of good stuff, it balanced it out with some really awful stuff like Nymph, X Moor, VHS Viral, and the infamous Shockwave Darkside.

2012 and 2013 were both good lineups and above average. The gold standard should be 2008 which included Eden Lake, Time Crimes, Mum & Dad, The Chaser, Let the Right One In and Martyrs.

Alex J
Undead Horde
Undead Horde
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:30 pm
Location: The Back Of The Beyond

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by Alex J » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:23 pm

I'm sure some will find my ratings overly generous, but I'd like to think I'm reasonably consistent in my scoring and interestingly both this year and last year I rated seven films at a score of 8 or higher, which suggests from my POV at least there was no real drop in quality year-on-year.

However, having said that it did feel like we were maybe missing one more film that caught the audience's imagination - whether Blair Witch would have filled that void remains to be seen - it may turn out to be worse than Book of Shadows yet!

Of course, there were several films in the disco screens that seemed to generate a good buzz so it may simply have needed a slightly different choice of the films available to have created a more memorable year.

I do agree with the above point that 2008 was a golden year and whilst we can hope that each year will be as good perhaps we also need to be realistic that was the exception rather than the norm - plus even that year had some clunkers!
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

User avatar
The Soapmaker
Undead Horde
Undead Horde
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:50 am
Location: London

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by The Soapmaker » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:31 am

ChrisReynolds wrote:The gold standard should be 2008 which included Eden Lake, Time Crimes, Mum & Dad, The Chaser, Let the Right One In and Martyrs.
Gosh yes, that was a good year!

Although I'm sure there was some dross as well if I could be bothered to look it up.... what year was Bubba's Chili Parlor?

ChrisReynolds
Running Zombie
Running Zombie
Posts: 214
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:01 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by ChrisReynolds » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:44 am

The Soapmaker wrote:
ChrisReynolds wrote:The gold standard should be 2008 which included Eden Lake, Time Crimes, Mum & Dad, The Chaser, Let the Right One In and Martyrs.
Gosh yes, that was a good year!

Although I'm sure there was some dross as well if I could be bothered to look it up.... what year was Bubba's Chili Parlor?
Yep, that was 2008 as well, as was Scar-3D and Bad Biology. The worst of the worst has tended to improve as the years have gone on, as the weird ultra-low-budget films have also been shuffled off into the Discovery screens.

Oswald Cobblepot
Walking Dead
Walking Dead
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:00 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by Oswald Cobblepot » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:04 pm

I think this year we're at a bit of a watershed point. Ever since leaving the Empire there has been a definite shift in the split and quality of films between the Main and Discovery screens. We are always reassured that we will continue to be able to keep a seat for the entire weekend in the Main screens, but in the past that meant seeing the best films but with the opportunity to see something else if that didn't appeal. That no longer seems to be the case. If having a guaranteed seat means not seeing the best films, then what is the point of it ?

We always hear about Fright Fest audiences being the best in the world, but if those Main screen audiences are abandoning their seats to go to Discovery films then the Main screens will be half empty and the atmosphere is lost. In many cases both this year and last the films playing in Discovery were far superior to the Main Screen offerings.

I think we need to go one way or the other. Either we get back to the best stuff being on in the Main Screens, and trust that the organisers have curated the selections in that way on our behalf, or we move to a system of entirely Discovery based screenings and no seat for the weekend.

The problem with the latter is that every film becomes a first come first serve bun fight, and many people may be left seeing the worse selections as that's all they can book in any particular time slot. This would only be overcome by multiple screenings of the best films.

Jon H
Twitching Corpse
Twitching Corpse
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:39 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by Jon H » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:06 pm

We have this conversation every year – not sure what that says other than it clearly is a genuine concern of FF-goers, but it also might mean we have selective memories.

There are always average / mediocre films at Frightfest. I think people just forget about them. It’s obvious why just a few days after the 2016 festival, it doesn’t seem as good to some people as the festival of five years ago – what sticks in the memory from older festivals are the films you really liked (or occasionally the shockingly bad stuff!). What fades away are each years equivalent of Downhill, Abattoir etc. – but they were there!

It’s possibly a fair point that there have been more average and mediocre films recently. I also agree with the points made by others about the relationship between the main and discovery screens. I hope if the organisers look at anything in terms of next year, it’s this.

Other than that – I’m not sure what can be done. I think its clear to many of us that certain distributors don’t want their films to premiere here. I believe that was the inference in Alan Jones’ HP article. There is no logical reason why ‘Don’t Breathe’ was not at FF, other than the studio being concerned it would ‘ghettoise’ their film from a wider audience.

I don’t know enough about the commercial side of things to understand if more money is a factor. No-one wants to see price increases but FF is still incredibly cheap for what you get. Is quantity of films becoming more important than quality? Does the festival actually need to be over 5 days? Would it be better to have fewer, better quality films, over a 3 day festival?

Questions, questions – I don’t know the answer, though I’m sure there will be lots of views!

Diggler81
Fresh Meat
Fresh Meat
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:45 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by Diggler81 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:21 pm

I do believe it would be great to have more honesty over why a film was chosen. I appreciate that not all four of them have seen every film that will be shown however one of them at least made the choice and decision to select said film and that person should be the one to introduce the film and perhaps explain why it ticked the FF box.

I was at the Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies screening and Ian basically said it could be a 'pile of shite' now that clearly shows he has not seen and did not choose it so how did it make its way on to screen? There was also some guy in glasses who introduced a few films, I'm sorry I don't know his name, and he clearly had no clue as to what some of the films were about.

As for Downhill I chose to miss that for a nap and by all accounts was a good call however how anyone associated with Hidden in the Woods was allowed to show a film at the festival again is beyond me!

I did say what you said I did, but it has been taken out of context. What I was alluding to, is the joy of the FrightFest Discovery Screens. I was going on about how good the title was and how often films with great titles turned out to be..... I had seen Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies and enjoyed it as others did at the screening if you read the posts elsewhere on this forum.
Ian

dundermifflin
Fresh Meat
Fresh Meat
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:32 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by dundermifflin » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:20 pm

I'm sure one of the organisers said recently (might have been on here) that not all of the films selected are unanimously picked, and that one of them might really like it, and the others might dislike it etc.

But that doesn't explain why so much shite gets through. For a group of blokes that have seemingly watched hundreds if not thousands of genre films over the years from classics to more modern films, from critically acclaimed to pure shitefests, you would think they would know which films are definitely too shit to show at the festival.

I mean, seriously, Shockwave Darkside - who in their right mind would watch that and think "this would be great at our film festival!"? I know that was an extreme example, but you have to wonder how some of the films this year and last get approved by at least one of the hard working blokes that watch all of the submissions.

User avatar
The Soapmaker
Undead Horde
Undead Horde
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:50 am
Location: London

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by The Soapmaker » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:21 pm

I've just been discussing the Main vs Discovery screens situation again with my brother and I'm really starting to wonder if it's time for something to change.

Booking for FrightFest is essentially the same as it's always been - we pay for a guaranteed seat in a Main screen, for the whole weekend. But we're now at a point where roughly two thirds(!) of the films - including, apparently, a large proportion of the "better" ones - are actually shown on the Discovery screens, which are booked in a last-minute scramble and where the seating is on a first come, first served basis so unless you're early you end up stumbling around trying to find a seat somewhere in a back corner. On top of which, apparently, no-one was actually checking tickets at the Discovery screens so in fact you could just stroll up and take pot luck.

Meanwhile, back at the Main screens, large numbers of seats at many of the films were empty because people were more interested in seeing (better?) alternatives in the Discovery screens. That guaranteed seat for the weekend becomes something of an irrelevance.

It doesn't change the great atmosphere of the weekend as a whole, but I think it does change the atmosphere in the actual screenings.

I don't know what the solution is. You could reduce the total number of films, concentrate on quality not quantity and reinstate the role of the Main screens so they really are showing the better films (and not shying away from the more controversial stuff). But that is, in a way, something of a backward step.

Or you could just ditch the whole Main/Discovery concept and show films on, say, six screens, with two screenings for each film if possible. You could still pay a lump sum for a weekend pass but you'd have to book your individual films and seats in advance. Which I'm sure would be a logistical nightmare, I know how stressful it is just booking for the London Film Festival every year, god knows what it's like for the people who actually have to organise it.

I'm really sorry this is such a negative post. I actually massively enjoyed FrightFest this year, just as I always do, but the quality and scheduling of the films themselves was a real source of frustration.

User avatar
DJBenz
-----
-----
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:12 pm
Contact:

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by DJBenz » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:46 pm

dundermifflin wrote:I mean, seriously, Shockwave Darkside - who in their right mind would watch that and think "this would be great at our film festival!"?
As I mentioned in another thread (may have been this one), Shockwave Darkside was the same production company as Banshee Chapter. The latter had its world premiere at Frightfest 2013, with the former playing the main screen in 2014. I can only surmise it was a case of get a world premiere if you agree to show our new film next year.

dundermifflin
Fresh Meat
Fresh Meat
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:32 pm

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by dundermifflin » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:42 pm

DJBenz wrote:
dundermifflin wrote:I mean, seriously, Shockwave Darkside - who in their right mind would watch that and think "this would be great at our film festival!"?
As I mentioned in another thread (may have been this one), Shockwave Darkside was the same production company as Banshee Chapter. The latter had its world premiere at Frightfest 2013, with the former playing the main screen in 2014. I can only surmise it was a case of get a world premiere if you agree to show our new film next year.
Must have been a lot of similar deals this year...

MalJutley
Running Zombie
Running Zombie
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 11:55 am

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by MalJutley » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:11 pm

My two pence on this is that they can only show what is available this year and whaht deals they can strike with studio companies. The Woods was scheduled to be shown but it transpires that the studio wanted the premier stateside instead. Last year instead of Cherry Tree we were supposed to see Cooties but again the studio's decided they wanted the premier elsewhere, probably based on deals etc. The organisers are more often than not at the mercy of the studio companies. Some movies get shown on main screen because they maybe the studio companies says thats the only way you are getting the film at the festival.
Some of the discovery films were strong this year but talking to the organisers its not always easy to guage which ones will play well on the main screen 3 times effectivley and audiences are split on opinion too what i like, others may hate. Had The Woods been in as originally planned (but taken out at against the will of the organisers) some people pribably still would hve said "meh" to it.
I will admit there was nothing majorly stand out in terms of blow the roof off the place type movie apart from Train to Busan for me but managing to mix it up in Discovery Screens i did get a fair few pretty godo movies to watch. Main screen doesn't always mean the best movies. Cruel Summer was oustanding for me and was on Discovery Screen.

Good topic to discuss actually

FranksWildYears
Walking Dead
Walking Dead
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:45 am
Location: Scarborough

Re: Quality of films this year

Post by FranksWildYears » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:45 pm

I'm in the minority along with the poster earlier, but I had a terrific weekend and saw some great films - a couple of so-so ones certainly, but the only real clunker for me was Abbatoir and even that gave me chance to leave and have a good sit down meal instead. I did think the opening night could have been stronger, but nothing was that terrible compared with the likes of Dead 2, say.

That said, 12 of the 25 films I saw were in the Discovery screens and I didn't see any of the ones coming in for the most stick (Blood Feast, Downhill, Sadako etc) plus everybody's taste varies. I didn't mind Hidden in the Woods, but I haven't the slightest interest in seeing The Woods/Blair Witch and I skipped Turbo Kid and Deathgasm last year (the latter at three different festivals) as I know I wouldn't have enjoyed them. I didn't mind Cell either, even if it was a bit Bank Holiday Channel 5.

Obviously I got lucky and chose well, but for me it was a vast improvement on last year and with the likes of Cruel Summer, The Unkindness of Ravens, Devils Candy and The Evil In Us in Discovery along with The Master Cleanse, Pet and Train to Busan in the main screen I've no major complaints :).

Post Reply