Friday, 24 August 2012

Fright Fest Day 1

The build up to today started way back at the end of June in the Fright Fest sleepy queue. All night anticipation to pick up the coveted weekend pass allowing you access to every main screen nightmare, every discovery screen, well, discovery and all the Q&As along. 

With the line up of films having just been released you find yourself already trying to plan your weekend of films.  What can you miss, what is unmissable! Where can you get out of food, where can you have a lie in or where can you get to the pub early!  I ended up putting all the films on a spreadsheet, showing me where and how long all the breaks were and what films clashed.  An yet turning up on the day I still haven't decided on everything.

You end up catching buzz about certain films you initially had no intention of watching and terrible word of mouth about others you were really excited about.  All your planning destroyed!! Ah well.

On the day you carefully think about what t-shirts to where (well at least I do) - are they horror enough?! You pack, you travel, you check in to your hotel. Then for some of us it's off to the pub for a few pre fest drinks.  Here you meet up with friends from previous festivals and say hello to people you've never met.  Some of which you only know by their names on Twitter. 

Then at around 6pm the time comes.  You make your way over to the Empire cinema in the heart of Leicester Square, the anticipation building inside you for the start of your 5 day journey into visual Hell (well Heaven really but it's often a bit too disturbing to actually use that word for it). 

The crowds have gathered, the atmosphere is electric and everyone is shuffling their way into the cinema.  There are poor members of the public just there to see the general release films getting caught up with the festival crowd who have bewildered looks on their face.  Yes the horror geeks have descended (and believe me if you thought you knew a lot about horror before - think again).

You get your drink, popcorn or whatever your snack of choice may be, walk through the doors to the screen, find your place that you will call home for the next 5 days.  You and your seat will become very well acquainted. The lights go down and the Fright Fest team step up to the stage.... hang on, this isn't the team.... oh it's only Ross Noble!!

This was a very pleasant surprise as Ross begins going along some very bizarre tangents about beheading orphans (you really had to be there to understand that it actually was very funny).  After Ross reeled himself back in, reminding himself that this wasn't actually one of his stand up shows (although I'd have happily watched him do another hour!) but he was there just to kick things off, he introduced the Fright Fest team.  The four guys that dedicate so much time and effort to ensuring we get an incredible festival.

They bring on the cast and crew of our opening film The Seasoning House.  The crowd whoops and cheers as each person is brought onto the stage.  And then it's film time.  The hush of the audience descends and we are reminded once more to turn off our bloody phones (via an excellent little piece of film with a phone offender being decapitated).

Check out the review of the film on this site. 

Once the end credits roll, the crowd cheers, the film was an undoubted success.  The cast and crew are brought back on stage to answer a few questions, then the screen empties as people head for smoke breaks, toilet breaks and beer toppage. Soon enough we're doing it all again for the next Film, Cockney's vs Zombies.  A surprisingly fun look at what would happen were the zombie holocaust to begin in the East End of London. There was laughs and gore aplenty (full review will be up soon).

As with The Seasoning House, the cast and crew came back to the stage for a few questions, including the legendary Alan Ford (who you saw when he was signing autographs was more or less playing himself - such a great character).  Then ensured the same routine, fag, beer, toilet, stretch the legs.  And back in for the final film of the night.  Grabbers was a sci-fi, horror comedy.  A fun end to the night and this ended up a superb opening night trio of films.  This has now set the bar so I can only hope the rest of the days live up to what went before. 

So for my little tale of the opening night it is over and out and I will see you all on the flip side, when no doubt I will be increasingly tired, unshaven and most definitely fatter.  But I love it all!!

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