Friday, 5 July 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 announces 20th year record-breaking line-up

The UK’s biggest and boldest horror and fantasy film festival is celebrating its 20th bloody year. Since 2000 it has made its indelible mark, not only on the ever-burgeoning horror community but also on the UK genre landscape as a whole. The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre, its reinvention and its growing importance in the cultural landscape and this year is no exception.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from Aug 22 - Aug 26. Hosting a record-breaking seventy-eight films, embracing fourteen countries and spanning six continents, this year’s five-day fear-a-thon includes 20 World, 20 International / European and 28 UK Premieres.

As previously announced, this year’s festivities begin with the UK premiere of Ant Timpson’s deviously edgy stunner COME TO DADDY, starring Elijah Wood and reaches its bloody conclusion with the World premiere of Abner Pastoll’s superbly crafted crime story, A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND. Other main screen international attractions include producer Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal’s SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, producer Sam Raimi and director Alexandre Aja’s gruesome ‘gator yarn CRAWL, the Radio Silence gang’s lethal thriller READY OR NOT, director Kiah Roache-Turner’s futuristic Ozploitation classic NEKROTRONIC, Pedro C. Alonso’s startling captive chiller FEEDBACK, with a career-defining performance from Eddie Marsan, Kirill Sokolov’s splatterpunk action comedy WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! and Jason Mewes’ insanely brilliant MADNESS IN THE METHOD, starring Mewes, Vinnie Jones, Kevin Smith, Teri Hatcher, Dean Cain and with a final on-screen appearance from Stan Lee.

Making their second, very welcome appearance at the festival will be The Soska Sisters, attending for the World Premiere of RABID, their eagerly anticipated re-imagining of the Cronenberg classic. The sisters will also introduce a special retrospective screening of the original. Also attending is the legendary Dario Argento, here for a special screening of his giallo masterpiece TENEBRAE. He’ll also be in conversation with Festival co-director Alan Jones and signing copies of his autobiography, ‘Fear’, which Jones has adapted and edited. More attending guests will be announced later this month.

FrightFest’s 20th year sees the return of directorial alumni like Adam Egypt Mortimer with his provocative psychological horror DANIEL ISN’T REAL, Christian Alvart with his twisted blockbuster CUT-OFF, Lucky McKee with the startling KINDRED SPIRITS, starring Thora Birch, Joe Begos with his terror trip BLISS, Larry Fessenden with DEPRAVED, a post-modern take on the Frankenstein legend, Padraig Reynolds with belligerent creature feature DARK LIGHT, producer Eli Roth with the grindhouse-inspired HAUNT, The Pierce Brothers’ bring us their chiller THE WRETCHED, Dan Bush is back with seat-edge shocker THE DARK RED, Jordan ‘Zombeavers’ Rubin teases us with tongue-in-chic horror comedy THE DRONE and ‘Level 16’ director Danishka Esterhazy gives us her fun-packed body-counter THE BANANA SPLITS. There is also the UK premiere of GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR, the directorial debut from returning producer Travis Stevens and DARLIN’, the directorial debut of past FrightFest ‘darling’ Pollyanna McIntosh  Plus, those fur balls with teeth are back. CRITTERS ATTACK!, with original star Dee Wallace, will enjoy its European Premiere.

FrightFest continues to present the films that are currently shaking up the genre scene and allowing it to transform and continually excite. Like Michael Goi’s MARY starring Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer, the inventive EAT BRAINS LOVE from Rodman Flender, Seann William Scott’s stunning serial killer turn in BLOODLINE, Chelsea Stardust’s hilarious SATANIC PANIC, the unforgettable coming-of-ager KNIVES AND SKIN, THE BLACK STRING, marking the comeback of Frankie Muniz, Kelola Racela’s lustfully demonic  PORNO, the incredible animation attraction TO YOUR LAST DEATH, Emma Tammi’s critically acclaimed THE WIND, Fernando Alle’s Troma-inspired MUTANT BLAST. and the two craziest Midnight Movies you will ever see – Valeri Milev’s fabulously inventive BULLETS OF JUSTICE and Fabricio Bittar’s Brazilian gorefest GHOST KILLERS VS. BLOODY MARY.

The genre scene in the UK continues to innovate and thrive, reflected in this year’s FIRST BLOOD strand. Life coaches become dead coaches in Staten Cousins-Poe’s gem of a feature debut A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE and Graham Hughes’ viral mockumentary DEATH OF A VLOGGER, gives the found footage format a much-needed shot in the arm. Then there’s Samuel Gridley’s darkly funny CRIMINAL AUDITION, Magnus Wake’s cleverly plotted and heart-pounding DARK SENSE and making up the fearsome five is Fredi Nwaka’s ARE WE DEAD YET, a cleverly crafted supernatural comedy-crime thriller.

Other home-grown selections include the European premiere of TALES FROM THE LODGE Abigail Blackmore’s portmanteau shocker, starring Mackenzie Crook and Johnny Vegas, Carl Strathe’s disturbing DARK ENCOUNTER, starring Laura Fraser and Alice Lowe, and the world premiere of Charlie Steeds’ flesh-eating horror THE BARGE PEOPLE. There are also world premieres for Justin Edgar’s nail-biting suspense thriller STALKED (AKA ‘Unseen’), Tom Paton’s heightened horror STAIRS and producer/director Lawrie Brewster’s FOR WE ARE MANY, in which directors from around the world unleash a legion of demons.  And let’s not forget director Jack McHenry, who makes a welcome return with his crowd-pleasing HERE COMES HELL, which made huge waves at our Glasgow edition earlier this year.

Over the years FrightFest has showcased the best genre films Canada has to offer and this year a special strand has been created – ‘Canadian Chills’ – to highlight an exceptional bumper crop, which, apart from RABID, embraces the International premiere of Colin Minihan and director Kurtis David Harder’s smart chiller SPIRAL and the UK premieres of Tony Dean Smith’s sci-fi mind-bender VOLITION, Ray Xue’s entertainingly nasty EXTRACURRICULAR, starring Luke Goss, Chad Archibald’s deadly thriller I'LL TAKE YOUR DEAD, Cameron Macgowan’s dark comedy chiller RED LETTER DAY and Jordan Barker’s unrelenting assault of pure terror, WITCHES IN THE WOODS. Then there are World premieres for Jay Dahl’s malevolent HALLOWEEN PARTY and Braden Croft’s compelling TRUE FICTION, Completing the line-up are Zack Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s FrightFest Glasgow hit FREAKS, the International premiere of Rob Grant’s sick, sea-faring adventure HARPOON and the UK premiere of the sinister and challenging HAPPY FACE, this year’s Duke Mitchell presentation.

Another country with a fine FrightFest pedigree is Argentina and this year is no exception; with the World Premiere of producer Javier Diment’s chilling chamber piece ROCK, PAPER AND SCISSORS, plus the European premiere of Herman Finding’s IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES and the UK premiere of Pablo Pares’ apocalyptic powerhouse I AM TOXIC.

The global cabinet of fear holds more…Tunisia is represented for the first time with the UK premiere of DACHRA, an intense folk horror that has broken box office records in North Africa and Japan offers up a forgotten musical cult gem from 1985 - THE LEGEND OF THE STARDUST BROTHERS. Ireland’s entry is Paddy Murphy’s THE PERISHED. Mixing horror and pertinent social issues, the film marks the debut of a new Irish genre voice.

Further indie discoveries on the monstrous menu are: Australian chase chiller THE FURIES, the elegantly scary THE SONATA, social media shocker DEADCON, DRIVEN, a smart, meter-running battle against evil, Eric Pennycroft’s brooding SADISTIC INTENTIONS, with Larry Fessenden, the horrifying Christmas cracker I TRAPPED THE DEVIL, the quirky, cutting FINGERS and THE DEEPER YOU DIG, a Coen-Brothers-esque story of grief and survival  from Toby Poser and John Adams.

Documentary lovers will enjoy Dima Ballin’s THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION OF MICHAEL REEVES, charting the life and early death of the man who gave us WITCHFINDER GENERAL and two documentaries from director David Gregory, MASTER OF DARK SHADOWS , an in-depth look at the talents of Dan Curtis, the ‘King of TV horror’ and SICK! SAVAGE! SENSUAL! THE REEL LIFE AND GHASTLY DEATH OF AL ADAMSON, which tells the bizarre and grim demise of one of Hollywood’s exploitation bad boys.

In a first for FrightFest, there will be a special preview of MAN OF MEDAN, the first game in The Dark Pictures anthology. This will be followed by a Q&A session with the key development talent behind the game. The much anticipated interactive narrative horror adventure, developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe, brings supernatural horror on board a ghost-ship adrift in the South Pacific. It is set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Aug 30, 2019.

Festival co-director Alan Jones, said today: “Over the last two decades we have tirelessly introduced our committed audiences to every trend, every new talent and every innovation that has put horror back in the collective cinephile conscious. Even after 20 years. FrightFest’s August event remains a key destination to see the latest genre movies in the manner for which they were made - on the Big Screen surrounded by fellow fear-mongers. Remember, it’s our party and we’ll scream if we want to!”

This year’s guest list, special events and the Short Film Showcase entries will all be announced in the coming weeks.

Festival passes will go on sale Sat 6 July at noon and will only be available to buy online:

Single tickets will go on sale on Sat 20 July from 9am.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Interview with Richard Alan Scott by David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing? 

I have been writing since I learned to do it, at six years old. I wrote a story on our old typewriter called The Zany Zoo-lion. I even did Richard Alan Scott for the byline. That story became the film Madagascar. No, it didn't, and my Mom is the only person who ever read it. But the lion ran away from the zoo and joined the circus. I had a lot of comments on my writing down through the years, and I've talked all about them in a blog on my website. At 20, one of my stories was held for a long long time by Twilight Zone Magazine, but eventually rejected. That was Rod Serling's wife Carol running that. My blog is about how many times I was encouraged but didn't believe it, so we come to age 49 and my resolve to take the business seriously.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

As a kid I was just in love with The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. I was the baby and had three older brothers. My brothers and I all loved horror and science fiction, and read everything we could. We passed along most of the books in Paperbacks from Hell. Once when I was about seven, my Mom walked into the living room and I was sitting there looking at Playboy. My brothers were a lot older and one of them left it out by accident. I was actually reading a short story by Ian Fleming in there. I had no clue about the naked ladies, hahaha. But she went berserk.

My first book I can remember reading was a Burroughs. We couldn't get enough of that stuff.

Tell us about your first publisher. 

I got a story into Ireland's premiere magazine for Horror, SciFi and Fantasy, called Albedo One. One of the editors, Frank Laidlaw, sent me a very long letter about how my submission had woken him from a numbness looking at all the regular submissions. That sent me reeling. There was a stringent set of rules they followed to accept a submission, and one of them was that it had to go through 3 editors and get the okay. My story was called "Stoker's Benefactor" and was about Bram Stoker, who worked as the manager of a theater, having the real Count Dracula coming in to donate money because of his being enchanted with one of their actresses. Well, one of the editors I had to go through was a Stoker expert, and it took me quite a while to make enough changes to get his approval. Of course it then appeared about a year later and I was stoked, stokered I guess, to get my name on the cover. That was about ten years ago. I thought writing is going to be great, and always like this. I've only had about 4 acceptances since then, ugh.

How would you classify the genre you write?

There are so many labels I can't keep up with them. My stories start in a place of complete reality and I work hard to get that right and believable. Then they go off into magical realism or fantasy while trying to stay within the boundaries I set up. I've heard that called slipstream but I am not sure if that's correct. I really have always shot for writing a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode as a story. I always have an ending, which I'm sure drives editors crazy, since they all seem to be in love with ambiguity. But I write so that people like me will like it, the sort of working class guy or gal, and no one I know likes that cryptic or ambiguous stuff except other writers. I'm not writing to get their approval. I want the regular schmoe to read my stories or novels and say, "Man that was good. And what a great ending."

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

I think with the baby boomers like me passing on this stuff, it is even more popular. My daughter is a reader and she is not opposed to some paranormal or supernatural elements sneaking in to anything she reads. The main reason it's always been around and will never go away is that we are all fascinated with the unknown part of death. That taps in to the universe and what exactly is out there, the constantly progressing idea of multi-verses, what happens when you die, our unknowns. I started this quest to get closer to the reality of death, and to my surprise, I ended up becoming an Atheist. My search for all of it led me to see that there really is none of it. But it didn't change my enjoyment for the subject. If anything it got stronger. I love shit that takes me all over the place in the human experience.

What inspires your stories?

It's that "what if" which drives, I guess you could say speculative literature. What if Bram Stoker met the real Dracula, and was forced to deal with him. What if Mercy Brown (a Rhode Island legend) was really a vampire and H.P. Lovecraft had to fight her whole family? What if a demon that thrives on tears was born out of the muck during the crucifixion and still haunts Palestine? What if Innsmouth was real and your car broke down there?  What if a banshee was real and a man fell in love with her? What if a particular strain of lepers were really visitors from the future to the time of Christ? And so on. If any of your readers find these questions interesting, know that I get very very close but the editors who hold sway ultimately stop you from seeing my work. It's that simple.

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?

We come to an interesting conundrum here. Three of my six sales, and I do mean sales, as in, we give you money, not "placed" at a "for the love" market, happened in the UK. I believe that the people over there are "old school." They grow up with a respect for the classics, the gothic and folklore. It's ingrained in them. They just seem to "get me" and my work more. I believe they respect the writer more, and understand the skills. They don't mind vampires and werewolves and they enjoy your spin on them, they enjoy a great old tale by the fire.

In the USA, everything is a microcosm of the Hollywood ideal. It is a huge popularity contest. It is a party and you are not one of the "cool kids" invited. This could be a national release or something even in your local region. Once you've made it into the cool kids, send whatever you want. They're thrilled to add your name to the same list everyone else has. Oh, I know Josh Malerman, I hang out with him" He's made it to Netflix, you see. Granted there are people who are old school and try to respect your effort, like Ellen Datlow and Tom Monteleone.

They are constantly showcasing new writers. In the trenches there are a lot of very nice people who are editing, but they can't resist it. They have to get those same names in there, and you're out. You can come and set up chairs but you aren't invited to the party. And now with the political correctness off the rails, many people have a say, that should have nothing to do with writing. Writing is raw and comes from inside you. You can't change every other word to suit the
tender sensibilities.

I may very well go down as a name in England before anyone here will publish me. and as a reader I am more interested in the next Stephen Volk or Tim Lebbon, to be honest.

What are your favorite horror books?

Well Salem's Lot and Ghost Story had a huge effect on me, especially since I was a kid when I read them. Then the Exorcist came along and blew me out of the water as they say. We were Catholic and we were believers so nothing since has scared the shit out of me like those three. Also, I've read and seen everything horror. When everyone goes gaga over someone's book, I always feel like, were these readers just born? It's the same old same old. It always comes back to who do they want to be seen to drool over. I am in the search for a book that will please me to no end. And it's why I write, to please myself. If I had to name someone now, it would be Michael Faber and Lynda E. Rucker. They hit me on a certain level I can't get. These anthologies people put out are a dime a dozen. Do they get bought and read outside of the circle of friends? Who knows?

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

The Exorcist, Halloween, Jaws. I like things A-24 has been doing like A Ghost Story, Ex Machina. Under the Skin has been my favorite genre fair in years. I'm a Universal and Hammer kid, through and through. I like Danny Boyle and Alex Garland's Sunshine.  I love The Wicker Man and Kill List. I thought The Witch was the most perfect film since The Shining.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

For now, it just has to be that I have not given up on my dream to appear in the top magazines and to have my novel traditionally published by one of the big publishers. I do not share table space with the cool kids at conventions yet.

Also, just finishing a novel with the size and scope I wanted for myself. That encouraged me.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

I've often said I would never, because I am just some regular schmoe who grew up in a project and right outside that project. Personally I don't subscribe to much in the way of advice, because I break it all anyway. Jack Haringa and Nick Mamatas were my initial guardian angels.

"...the idea that giving away stories (i.e. for the love and non-paying markets) to websites in exchange for exposure will actually help one's career. Those who neither write well nor publish well of forums and the shadowy fringes of many writers' conventions, and their advice useless." Jack Haringa, Writers Workshop of Horror, 2009 Woodland Press, ed. Michael Knost, article, The Agnotology of Horror. or Lies the Internet Told You

"What do these days off matter...If the novel sells and is well-received, taking days off is, by definition, a successful strategy for writing a novel." Nick Mamatas, Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life, 2011 Apex Publications

I know two women here in New England, one who has at least 40 credits in her Bio, which appears on her book. I checked them. They are all non-paying but for one which proffered her $5 to $10. To me, that is a fraudulent Bio that gives the appearance of professional success, when it is precisely the opposite.  Another lady of my acquaintance once boasted, "Nominated for a Pushcart Prize." She had hoped we'd forgotten that the nominating entity was a website run by her best friend, for which she had also done work.

This is fraud, and it is a reflection on your integrity, and hurts other serious, professionally paid writers.

What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

In accordance with all I've stated above, RUBBISH, which gluts the market for those with serious ambitions and skills. And if your "Independent Publisher" is your best friend, well, you are not far from self-published.

What are your current projects?

A literary novel for which I may swallow my pride and seek out an independent who doesn't know me from Adam, because I consider it a side project.

And a huge trilogy about psychics and Russians and a down and out family with some inconvenient gifts.

Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work. 

I have about twenty short stories and one novel, meticulously researched and written, waiting for homes that will care for them. I had a thirty year career in the professional theater and I am a member of the Actors Equity Association.

I am 62 years old and I started writing seriously at about 49. I think I am cool, though I have a bad heart and diabetes and every allergy you can imagine.  I have very little stamina. When my wife says "Let's go upstairs and make love," I have to reply, "It's either one or the other."
Nevertheless my mind is all there, lol. I think I can write up there with anyone half my age.

I described my work above and my ambitions for it. I really don't begrudge anyone for whatever they want to do with their work, it just isn't for me. So don't be upset, I'd say the same if we were talking one-on-one.

I love movies and books and music, though it's tough to find good cinema amidst the absolute dredge of remakes and sequels. There is very little original work in Hollywood. That's why I wait for Christopher Nolan and Refn and Von Trier and Lynch and the like, and some newbies like Villeneuve and Robert Eggers.

I challenge my fellow writers to aim for the public arena, with real pro editors and publishers, and top paying markets. If I die having never been discovered, I'll know I reached for the top.

Check out Richard's site at