Monday 30 July 2018

Horror Channel unleashes monstrous FrightFest Season

To celebrate FrightFest 2018, taking place in London during the August Bank Holiday, Horror Channel is dedicating thirteen nights to past festival hits.

Amongst the twenty-six fear-filled favourites, the channel will air four UK TV premieres: Simeon Halligan’s ‘terror-torial’ home invasion shocker WHITE SETTLERS; Jeff Maher’s crowd-pleasingly ghoulish orgy of sex and gore BED OF THE DEAD; Chad Archibald’s breath-choking supernatural thriller THE DROWNSMAN; and the hauntingly sinister NIGHTWORLD, directed by Patricio Valladares and starring horror icon Robert Englund.

Plus, the channel is broadcasting three network premieres; Alberto Marini’s sly and witty scaremonger SUMMER CAMP; Bernard Rose’s FRANKENSTEIN, a stylishly smart update of the classic myth, starring Xavier Samuel, Danny Huston, Carrie-Anne Moss and Tony Todd, plus RUPTURE, a surreally spooky sci-fi horror from Steven Shainberg (Secretary), starring Noomi Rapace.

The double bills airing every night from 9pm from August 17th – 29th also feature FrightFest crowd-pleasing classics such as the pulsating, blood-soaked ‘80s homage TURBO KID; Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s stunning contemporary occult tale of Hollywood ambition, STARRY EYES; the terrifying anthology V/H/S, which pushes the genre in a fresh direction; Lowell Dean’s rage-fuelled WOLFCOP; Franck Khalfoun’s superior psychological horror MANIAC starring Elijah Wood; and Paul Hyett’s hairy horror and bloody action adventure HOWL, starring Ed Speleers, Shauna Macdonald and Sean Pertwee.

Full film details in transmission order:
Fri 17 Aug @ 21:00 - SUMMER CAMP (2015) *Network Premiere
Sat 18 Aug @ 21:00 - FRANKENSTEIN (2015) *Network Premiere
Sat 18 Aug @ 22.50 - RADIUS (2017)
Sun 19 Aug @ 21:00 - WHITE SETTLERS (2014) *UK TV Premiere
Sun 19 Aug @ 22:40 - THE LESSON (2015)
Mon 20 Aug @ 21:00 - CHERRY TREE (2015)
Mon 20 Aug @ 22:45 - MANIAC (2012)
Tues 21 Aug @ 21:00 - THE POSSESSION (2012)
Tues 21 Aug @ 22:55 - SOME KIND OF HATE (2015)
Wed 22 Aug @ 21:00 - CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013)
Wed 22 Aug @ 22:55 - TURBO KID (2015)
Thurs 23 Aug @ 21:00 - THE STRANGERS (2008)
Thurs 23 Aug @ 22:40 - HONEYMOON (2014)
Fri 24 Aug @ 21:00 - BED OF THE DEAD (2016) *UK TV Premiere
Fri 24 Aug @ 22:40 - THE DIVIDE (2011)
Sat 25 Aug @ 21:00 - RUPTURE (2016) * Network Premiere
Sat 25 Aug @ 23:00 - I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (2013)
Sun 26 Aug @ 21:00 - THE DROWNSMAN (2014) *UK TV Premiere
Sun 26 Aug @ 22:45 - LATE PHASES (2014)
Mon 27 Aug @ 21:00 - NIGHTWORLD (2017) *UK TV Premiere
Mon 27 Aug @ 22:55 - STARRY EYES (2014)
Tues 28 Aug @ 21:00 - THE EVIL IN US (2016)
Tues 28 Aug @ 22:50 - WOLF COP (2014)
Wed 29 Aug @ 21:00 - KNUCKLEBONES (2016)
Wed 29 Aug @ 22:40 - V/H/S (2012)

Horror Channel: Be Afraid

TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138


Friday 27 July 2018

Interview with Padraig Reynolds - Director of Open 24 Hours

OPEN 24 HOURS is your third time being represented at Frightfest. Why is it important you show your movies at the UK’s premier festival?

FrightFest is the best horror festival in the world.  It has the best fans and the best organisers a genre director could hope for.   There is so much love and care that goes into the festival and I’m honored every time I get to be a part of it.  I’m just happy that they let me keep coming back and showing my films.   Everyone involved has become like a family to me and I really can’t thank them enough for helping me with my career and showing my films.   

Where did you get the story concept for OPEN 24 HOURS?

The idea of ‘Open 24 Hours’ came to me while I was shooting my first feature “Rites Of Spring” in Mississippi.  We were scouting locations for the movie and came across this time worn Gas Station on a lonely rural road.  This gas station was a character of itself and I knew that it would make a great self-contained horror movie.  I went back to my hotel room and began writing the script.   I knew I wanted a strong female protagonist to be as lonely as our main location.  Mary is a damaged woman in a thrift store dress.  She is desperately trying to put her life back together after years of abuse from her Serial Killer boyfriend who made her watch while killing people.  She gets a job and feels that her haunted past is finally behind her.  But on a cold rainy night the past returns with a vengeance.

How much did the story change from first treatment to finished screenplay?

I wrote the overall script nine years ago and most of it never changed.  I added some gags and tweaked some dialogue.  We were going to change the ending but we left it alone.

Is the Rain Ripper based on any particular serial killer from criminal history?

This is a funny story.  An ex-girlfriend asked me one night if I was a serial killer who would I be?  I said the Rain Ripper and I would only kill when it rained.  She thought that was really scary and I kept that element for years and plugged it into Open 24 Hours.  The killing with the hammer part came from The Yorkshire Ripper who use to kill off his victims with a variety of blunt objects.   

You play with reality, illusion and delusion within the movie, was that the biggest challenge?

Actually, it was a blessing because you can get away with so much more playing with reality and  illusions. I really wanted to push the illusions into territories we haven’t seen before but try to keep them grounded. 

We love Vanessa Grasse because of LEATHERFACE and IT CAME FROM THE DESERT. Why did you choose her to play Mary?

She gave a killer audition and her look was exactly what I had always envisioned for Mary.  Mary is a great female character.  A well rounded protagonist that you feel for and you want her to conquer her demons.  I think Vanessa really knocked it out of the park.   I was blown away by how well she could switch her accent from English to American as well.         

Did you build the garage/gas station from scratch? And where did you shoot the movie? 

I had a full Gas Station that I could use in Mississippi but the producers wanted to shoot in Serbia.   So my production designer, Jelena Sopik, and her team built me the exact Gas Station that was in Mississippi in Serbia.   It was crazy but really cool.  It gave me the freedom to put more rooms in the Gas Station for more cat and mouse play.   I really can’t thank them enough.  They really made the movie special since the Gas Station is basically a character in the film. 

When directing a Psychological Horror  film like OPEN 24 HOURS, what do you have to bear in mind?

You want to keep the audience guessing as to what is real and what is not.  You also want to deliver the thrills that they expect when they come into a horror movie.

Were you influenced by any past horrors in either the look or tone of OPEN 24 HOURS?

John Carpenter’s Body Bags episode ‘The Gas Station’ and ‘High Tension’ for sure.  Since we shot in Serbia in the winter I really wanted to capture the cold and the rain.  I really think that added a nice element to the film.

What are your opinions on the state of the current horror genre?

I think horror is so great now.  You have all these different avenues where your film can be watched.  Netflix, Amazon, Shudder, Theatrical,  Hulu, You Tube.   It’s just crazy how many places where your movie can be played.  And this year has had some killer horror movies already. ‘A Quiet Place’, ‘Sequence Break’, ‘Mohawk’, ‘Downrange’, ‘The Ritual’.

OPEN 24 HOURS plays at Arrow Video FrightFest on Mon 27 August, Cineworld Leicester SQ.


Monday 23 July 2018

Interview with Jenn Wexler - Director of THE RANGER

What is it about the Punk movement you like so much? It informs so much of THE RANGER…

I’m incredibly drawn to punk’s spirit of rebellion and its embracing of individuality.  Growing up in the suburbs, there was so much pressure to fit in, to be seen as “normal,” and going to punk shows was thrilling for me because it helped me realize it was okay to want other things. I went to college in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts and studied screenwriting, where my classmate, Giaco, wrote a script that would eventually become THE RANGER. I fell in love with the concept of a group of punks going up against this figure of authority, someone who deems them less than, because they don’t conform to what he values as worthy.  I find personality types like this terrifying-- ones that say you have to fit into some cookie-cutter mould or else you’re living your life wrong. Punk is all about fighting that.

You started out at Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix in the marketing department and moved on to producing. But was it always your ambition to direct?

I’ve always wanted to direct and was directing shorts while working in marketing, but to direct a feature, I wanted to first understand as much as possible about filmmaking. Producing films like DARLING, LIKE ME and MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND was invaluable, it taught me so much. When you’re a hands-on producer, you’re in the trenches with directors, helping them realize their visions, weathering the pitfalls and celebrating in the triumphs through every stage of the process.

THE RANGER is your feature debut so what was important for it to be about and what did you want it to achieve artistically? 

I wanted to combine the outrageous, absurd humor of 80s punk movies with the thrill of the slasher, all circling around a girl who’s trying to figure herself out in the face of others telling her who she should be. Throughout the film, Chelsea is trying to unravel memories about her childhood, which informed the bubblegum, candy

colored aesthetic — sweet on the outside but getting sour the more her memories are revealed. Overall I wanted the film to have an EC Comics vibe, to feel larger than life, with the world of the punks and the world of the Ranger colliding, both visually and musically. We start the film in the punk club, with all these insane colors, and when the punks escape to the woods they bring those colors with them, invading The Ranger’s rustic, Smokey-the-Bear parkland.

Should we make something relevant out of SCREAM being the first horror film you ever saw?

I’ve been drawn to scary stuff since I was a kid. I was obsessed with the television show ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK and would try to get my friends to hang out with me in graveyards after school. I was 10 years old when SCREAM came out, and I remember overhearing a conversation between my mom and one of her friends about how utterly horrible this new movie was, my mother completely disturbed by the description of the sweet little girl from ET hanging from a tree with her insides out. 

My curiosity was more than piqued. At a sleepover party soon after, someone had the VHS. I felt a supreme sense of rebellion watching the movie, knowing how much it would freak out my mom. It became more than rebelling against my parents, though. It was like an entirely new world had been revealed to me. SCREAM ushered me into adolescence, and I became obsessed with the teen horror movies of the time, including THE CRAFT, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, URBAN LEGEND, DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, THE FACULTY, with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER my favorite TV show.

As with my discovery of punk, they offered me a sense of adventure and an emotional escape from the tedium of being a kid in suburbia. Eventually they gave way to my discovery of the rich history of the genre. I think a lot of what you see when you’re in your early adolescence informs your development as an artist and as a human, and I can say the 90s teen slasher craze informed mine.

Why did you choose Chloë Levine as Chelsea and Jeremy Holm as the Ranger?

Jeremy is a friend of co-writer Giaco Furino, so we wrote the part with Jeremy in mind. I was a fan, watching him in HOUSE OF CARDS and MR ROBOT. When at long last we showed him the script, we were very happy to find out that he loved it! We had a meeting and we all clicked. He was the first person we cast.

We worked with casting director Lois Drabkin who suggested, while I was at SXSW 2017, I check out Chloë Levine in THE TRANSFIGURATION. Her performance was mesmerizing, and we ended up having a meeting at the festival. We bonded over the character, and I could tell she would bring so much nuance to the role.

Does Larry Fessenden always insist being in every production, or does he actually wait to be asked?

Larry is the last person who would ever ask for a role. It’s just all of us filmmakers who love and admire him who keep asking him to be in our movies.

Did you worry that there’s been quite a few other 80s slasher homages recently?

No, if a concept speaks to me—and THE RANGER is one that wouldn’t let me go—I’ll follow it through. Projects may have similarities on the surface, but when film is being made from a sincere place, each one will be so informed by the specifics of the people who make it.

You used the term ‘80s Dreamland’ during shooting on the Hunter’s Mountain locations, what did you mean exactly?

As we were prepping for production, a few of the actors and crew members asked what year the film takes place in; the kids have no cell phones and there’s a boombox, so they guessed sometime in the 80s. I expressed that the film doesn’t take place in the actual 80s, but just to the left of reality, in a comic-book, fairy-tale-esque world that I dubbed 80s Dreamland. In my mind’s eye, it was a world where 80s punk movies like RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, Smokey-the-Bear PSAs, and Lisa Frank colors collide.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from your first time behind the horror camera?

Anytime I make a film I feel like someone has drilled a hole into my skull and poured information into it. THE RANGER was exciting because, while I’ve certainly worked across departments before as a producer, it was my first time working with department heads from a creative perspective. Collaborating with our DP, production designer, costume designer, composers, and more to realize the film was such an incredible experience. At the end of the day I learned that directing was just as intense and also just as rewarding as I hoped it would be.

All that Punk music but Charlie Rich’s 1973 hit ‘The Most Beautiful Girl’ makes the biggest impression. WTF?

I really wanted the music in the movie to feel like a mix-tape. When the punks are in control, the soundtrack is primarily punk music, but as they get deeper into the woods and lose control, The Ranger’s music of choice takes over. Jeremy would use ‘The Most Beautiful Girl’ to get into character, and he was always singing it on set. Our on-set editor, Kyle Mumford, dropped the song into the cut just to see how it would feel, and immediately we were all obsessed!  But my personal favorite song on the soundtrack is “The Good The Bad and The Kowalskis” by The Avengers, which plays over the closing credits. I feel The Avengers are Chelsea’s spirit band.

THE RANGER opens Arrow Video FrightFest on Thurs 23rd August, Cineworld Leicester SQ.


Competition: Win It Lives on DVD

It Lives is out on DVD on 6th August 2018. And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies on DVD to give away.

A lone scientist maintains a bunker in preparation for a coming nuclear disaster. Isolated deep underground his worst fears are realised when communication is lost and he is trapped with no knowledge of events on the surface. The walls begin to close in and a terrifying series of events make him question his sanity. But is he losing his mind, or is there something else in the bunker with him?

Starring Andrew Kinsler & Peter McCrohon

Click here to buy from Amazon (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-08-18
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Thursday 19 July 2018

Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 announces guest line-up, additional films & Long List for Screen Genre Rising Star Award

Two extra films have been added to the record-breaking 2018 line-up: PIMPED is director David Barker’s modern transgressive erotic thriller, an Hitchcocktail of elevated suspense and shock in the revered style of Brian De Palma, And If you’ve never seen John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN on the big screen, now’s your best chance. The inclusion of this 4K restoration needs no explanation in anticipation of a new Michael Myers slasher being released in October.  Check screening details on the FrightFest website.

Ahead of single tickets going on sale from Sat 21st July, we’re thrilled to announce our current slate of guests, which includes Poldark star Aidan Turner, who will be with his co-star Caitlin Fitzgerald, director Robert Krzykowski and composer Joe Kraemer for THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT.

Leading ladies shine this year. Joining THE RANGER director Jenn Wexler on opening night is The Transfiguration star Chloe Levine. Also delighting audiences are Brittany Allan (It Stains The Sands Red and Jigsaw), attending with director Colin Minihan to support WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE. Shauna McDonald joins director Paul Aviary for WHITE CHAMBER, HERETIKS star Hannah Arterton is in the house to support director Paul Hyett, Imitation Girl Lauren Ashley Carter and action heroine Angela Dixon accompany director Tom Paton for BLACK SITE and director Issa Lopez flies over from Mexico with her sensational TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID,

Plus, The First Lady of FrightFest, Barbara Crampton is back!. The beloved Re-Animator legend will be introducing her new movies PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH and DEAD NIGHT. With the former she will be united with Italian composer extraordinaire Fabio Frizzi and with the latter by her Heroes co-star Brea Grant. Also returning is THE CLEANING LADY producer and Goddess of Love star Alexis Kendra.

This year there are more International directors attending than ever before. Acclaimed music video and film director Joseph Kahn (Detention, Torque) joins us for BODIED, RKSS personnel François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell will be rocking in for SUMMER OF 84 and UPGRADE director Leigh Whannell, the creator of SAW and INSIDIOUS, will light up FrightFest’s Saturday night.

Also guaranteed to liven up proceedings are THE GOLEM helmers the Paz Brothers, alongside producer Shaked Berenson, CULT OF TERROR director Gustavo Leonel Mendoza, DEMENTIA PART II director Matt Mercer with stars Graham Skipper (SEQUENCE BREAK), Suzanne Voss and Najarra Townsend, HELL IS WHERE THE HOME IS director Orson Oblowitz, MEGA TIME SQUAD director Tim van Dammen, OPEN 24 HOURS director Padraig Reynolds, HAMMER HORROR: THE WARNER BROS. YEARS director and Dr. Who author Marcus Hearn, LIFECHANGER director Justin McConnell, SECRET SANTA director Adam Marcus, SEEDS director Owen Long, THE MOST ASSASSINATED WOMAN IN THE WORLD writer/producer David Murdoch, VIDEOMAN director Kristian A. Söderström, CRYSTAL EYES directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leondro Montejano, and WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS director Andre Gower (THE MONSTER SQUAD).

Also attending is writer/director Axelle Carolyn (Soulmate, Tales of Halloween), author of THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO GHOST MOVIES, who will be signing copies exclusively at the event.

Homegrown talent will be present in abundance this year. Actor and director Matthew Holness brings us his much-awaited POSSUM, AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS will spring director Johnny Kervorkian, his producer Jack Tarling (God’s Own Country) with stars Holly Weston, Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters and Kris Saddler. And a warm welcome for BOOK OF MONSTERS director Stewart Sparke, CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES director Mike Mort, FRANKENSTEIN’S CREATURE director Sam Ashurst and RAVERS director Bernhard Pucher, who will be attending alongside the cast including Vikings star Georgia Hirst.

The FIRST BLOOD strand goes from strength to strength and all the helmers will be around, supported by their cast and crews. CTRL director Harry Lindley, F.U.B.A.R. director Ben Kent, PERFECT SKIN director Kevin Chicken (with Games of Thrones star Richard Brake) and THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY director Aislinn Clark.

Also present will be writer/director Roxanne Benjamin (XX, SOUTHBOUND, V/H/S), presenting an exclusive screening of FINAL STOP, a must-hear horror short produced by Sennheiser and Soapbox Films. Shot entirely on smart phone, and recorded in full binaural audio using the AMBEO Smart Headset, the film is designed to be watched with headphones (which will be supplied), so audiences can immerse themselves in the story and its terrifying 3D soundscape.

Equally terrifying is GHOST STORIES and we have co-directors/co-writers Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson hosting a live commentary on their mega-successful stage show-turned-major movie. Get ready for sly humour, fun facts and plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets!

Established in 2016 to celebrate the work of emerging UK genre talent, FrightFest is proud to team up for the third year running with Screen International to present the ‘Screen Genre Rising Star Award’. This year’s long list salutes the work of Kevin Chicken, director of PERFECT SKIN, actresses Hannah Arterton and Ella Hunt, Aislinn Clarke, director of THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY, Mike Mort, director of CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES, actress/producer Marcia Do Vales and actor Sam Gittins, The short list will be announced prior to the event. Previous winners include Alice Lowe Danny Morgan.

Keep watching the official twitter @frightfest for even more guest announcements in the coming weeks…

Arrow Video FrightFest runs from 23rd -27th August 2018 at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema.

Single tickets go on sale Sat 21 July at noon and, alongside the few remaining Festival and day pass sales are available to buy online:

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Interview with Andrew P. Jones - Director of "Darkness Reigns"

Did you write the film as a vehicle for Casper Van Dien or did you simply realize, looking back, that he was the best man for the job?

We looked for a celebrity actor who would play himself and have fun doing it.  That takes a special kind of actor who can push his own ego aside and just go along for the ride.  Casper was perfect for that because he’s such a talented, fun, and incredibly nice human being which is important on a low budget set where the creature comforts are very limited compared to those you might find on larger productions.

Do you recall how and where you pitched Casper the movie?

I like to meet and socialize with my “name” actors before I cast them to see I how it will be working with them, especially since with "Darkness" we would be in a closed, haunted, old hotel with no air-conditioning, in Missouri, in the middle of August.  So, our casting director set up a meeting at a restaurant with Casper and his fiancé Jennifer Wenger, my wife and producing partner Linara Washington, and myself.  And we all really hit it off,  like we’d known each other for years.  I knew right then that Jennifer, who is well known in the horror genre, was perfect for the role of Rebecca Long, the movie star.  And I knew Casper would have a great attitude and sense of humor about playing himself.  And in fact, that friendship has continued now nearly two years later and I can't wait to work with them both again.

Did Casper struggle with anything on it? Did he make any suggestions to improve scenes? 

Casper is not only an actor, but an accomplished director, so he knew what I was dealing with and did everything he could to make my job easier and keep things light and fun.  He is the consummate cheerleader on set and makes the entire crew feel good.

Is he the type of actor that tends to stay in character between takes? Which, in this case, means he simply stayed… himself? 

Casper was playing a slightly surrealistic version of himself, or as we joke - an “asshole” version, which he had a lot of fun with.  He’s been acting a very long time and has the ability to slip in and out of character with no problem, whatsoever.  He is a lot of fun on set.

Do you click on and off easily after shooting a film? How did you personally wind down after shooting?

There is very little “wind down” time for me on my movies because I go right into post.  I give myself maybe a week to unwind but then, honestly I can’t wait to start editing because that's when the real work starts.

Tell us how many hats you wear in this movie. A lot, right?

I have worked in film and TV for over thirty years now, and I started my career doing special effects – puppets, makeup effect, miniatures etc.  So, with my films I do wear a lot of hats; writer, producer, director, editor, sound designer, sometimes I score - but not on this one, and I help out with a lot of the makeup effects.

What’s the best thing about being a producer on your own movie? I imagine it means you get more say at the table?

As my own producer I have no push-back.  I have no one telling me "no."  I do surround myself with other producers who I bounce things off of, and who once we’re in production, allow me to just be creative and thankfully they take on the headaches.

And finally, just how haunted was the place you shot the movie in? Even if it isn’t, I imagine nobody will be willing to step one-foot into it now!

One of the really uncanny things about making this film was that there were many things that happened in the script that also ended up happening in real life. Even Casper at one point said, “be careful what you write, you’re really powerful.”  The script originally was written to be in a hospital, but we couldn’t find one that worked, and then we found an old hotel that was closed, so it was an easy re-write to set it there. 

It turned out the hotel was, in fact, thought to be haunted and many people who used to work there had all kinds of experiences, many of which were similar to things that had already been written into the script.  As these things kept revealing themselves, the crew was getting increasingly nervous since there we were making a horror movie about a film crew making a horror movie in a haunted location – and everyone dies.  I had written a running gag about Casper’s flight getting messed up and guess what?  His flight was horribly messed up the night before he was to begin working and it was a miracle he made it to location.  There was a long list of “coincidences” that were unnerving to say the least.

Wednesday 4 July 2018




After the success of last year's inaugural 'New Blood' search for new writers in the horror genre, the hunt is on for another batch of scribes to cook up a potent cauldron of original ideas and devilish tales. And the search starts today!


New Blood 2 finds FrightFest once again teamed with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures, which aims to find new writers and nurture their project from script to screen.


One of last year's entries, thriller BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION, is now in pre-production, and is one of Queensbury Pictures' first titles out of the traps. Written by Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall, it will be directed by Jacob Gentry (The Signal, Syncronicity).


Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures said: "2017's edition of New Blood threw up a slew of vibrant, bold and riotously diverse pitches. But the hunt for great material doesn't pause for breath. Projects that strive to enthral critically, perform commercially and that will entice a global audience hungry for thrilling new voices in the realm of fiercely entertaining genre cinema: that's the hallmark of Queensbury Pictures and of New Blood."

Ian Rattray, co-director of FrightFest commented: "The fact that Queensbury Pictures have taken last year's winning entry to the stage where it is about to go into production vindicates our decision to partner up with them again. It's not only an exciting venture but also an important one to help discover and nurture new talent"


Greg Day, co-director of FrightFest added: "What's so exciting about this initiative is that it allows talented UK-based writers to interface with a US-based production company and get invaluable feedback and encouragement, knowing that it comes with a state-side commercial sensibility which is complimentary to the further development of their scripts."


The successful shortlisted applicants will workshop their ideas in a group setting under the guidance of top industry professionals and genre experts which this year includes BAFTA-nominated UK producer Jack Tarling (God's Own Country; Await Further Instructions) who is joined again by horror icon Barbara Crampton, director (The Ranger) and producer (Psychopaths) Jenn Wexlerand Queensbury Pictures' Giles Edwards. 


The New Blood networking and workshop event will be held at on Thursday 23rd August, the opening day of this year's festival, in a Central London venue


Applications are open from Wed 4 July with potential participants asked to submit a 200 word proposal through Film Freeway. The deadline is Thurs 2 August.  All successful applicants will be notified by Mon 9 August.  All participants are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation.


For full application requirements and to apply:

Interview with Andrea Mugnaini

Ouija Séance : Origin of Evil filmmaker Andrea Mugnaini explains that she’s always been fascinated with the world of the paranormal.

How long have you been on the film for now, Andrea? 

I was 19 when I was attending the first year of “science of communication” at the University of Florence. In the café of the University there was an advertising poster of a local film school that often caught my attention. I decided to go and take a look, a few months later I shot my first short film and now that I’m 36 I’m still shooting.

Was it an idea you came up with?

Yes, I’ve always been very fascinated by the world of paranormal since I was a child.
Once, at a dinner party, I had the opportunity to chat with a girl who had personally experienced a Ouija session that had gone wrong. She was really shocked by the incident and her story struck me deeply. I few days later I started writing the script.

Where did you get inspiration from?

After the first chat with the girl at the dinner party I interview many other people. I wanted to speak with different people to observe as many points of view as possible regarding this phenomenon. So, during the first year of researches, I spoke with people of different nationalities, ages, religion, culture, and social status. The amazing thing is that their stories were all very similar despite the big differences of the interviewees.

Did you have to do any research into the world of Ouija boards and communicating with the afterlife?

To get a more scientific opinion on this phenomenon I also wanted to talk with a couple of psychologists. I was very happy to find out that one of them had a direct experience with a Ouija board. It was not easy to convince him to talk about his personal experience but in the end the information I gathered was very important for the development of the script.

What were your initial plans for it? To sell it to a studio or did you always intend of doing it independently? 

I always intended to do it independently, from the beginning of the project, in order to maintain control over the film artistically and productively.

Any hiccups along the way?

When you shoot an indie movie it’s very normal to get some hiccups along the way I guess. In any phase of production we encountered some problems, sometimes bigger sometimes smaller but I must say I got an incredible crew for this project and all together we have solved all the issues. In particular I’m very grateful to Monica Sperandio, the executive producer, without her this project would have hardly seen the light… she always found the right syrup for each type of hiccups.

How did you go about getting distribution?

After the long phase of postproduction I went to “Le Marché du film” during the Cannes Film Festival. Was my first time there cause “Ouija Séance” was my first movie produced for an international distribution and everything was a new discovery for me. So I filled my backpack with an hard disk containing the movie, a PDF of the project and a lot of hope. This is when I met Galen Christy, the founder of High Octane Pictures. We were in tune from the beginning  and I loved his enthusiasm and his ideas about the distribution of OUIJA SÉANCE . I’m very happy to have chosen High Octane Pictures and very proud to have been chosen by them.

Some beautiful locations there. Which city was it shot in?

The movie is set in Italy, my wonderful Country,  and more precisely in Florence and Vallombrosa, an amazing ancient forest not too far from the town. Vallombrosa translated means literally shady valley and it’s a place with an unique atmosphere. It’s an area rich of legends and folklore so it was the perfect location to set my movie. Despite the difficulties to shoot in a place with practically no streets, no electric energy, no hotels or restaurants within many miles, I really wanted to capture that atmosphere with my camera.
Also, the Villa where it takes place a big part of the movie it’s been the witness of a brutal murder back in the 80’s and I could breath some kind of energy there.. hard to explain, but definitely that was the perfect location for my movie.

If you were going to watch Ouija Séance : The Final Game in a double feature with another film, what would you consider be a perfect second film?

The perfect second film would be “Profondo Rosso” by Dario Argento, probably the best Italian horror film director. “Profondo rosso” means “deep red” and despite the fact that it’s been released more than 40 years ago it’s still very modern in its language. I think that this movie deeply influenced me and increased my passion for horror genre. The use he does of music it’s incredible and I think that it’s a must see for all the horror fans.