To end another amazing year at London's Film4 Frightfest was another host of horror excellence. A disgusting creature feature, a fresh werewolf horror experience, an erotic psychosexual thriller, and another well received anthology helped finish off another great year for the long running event.
Fun werewolf creature feature set on a broken down train. Joe (Ed Speelers) has to work a double shift, the last thing he needs after being passed up on a promotion. It's the midnight service from Waterloo, which breaks down far out of London where there are no mobile signals. Joe and the remaining passengers have to work together to avoid being picked off by a werewolf. The cast is decent and elevates what could have been a fairly generic film. It's fairly exciting, gory and the creature is great mixing prosthetics with CGI. Director Paul Hyett talked about being influenced by 'The Fog' as the creature is glimpsed in the mist, its eyes glowing which is very well done and creepy.
Bite was a difficult ticket to get hold of. Reports from the Fantasia Film fest had audience members vomiting in the aisles. Could it possibly be a marketing ploy? I mean when does PR ever lie? I put off eating lunch just to be on the safe side but I needn't have bothered. 'Bite' isn't a bad film but it isn't a particularly good one either. .... As the lead is decent enough, after a nasty insect bite in Costa Rico she starts to transform Kafka-style into and insect-like creature. Along the way she leaks pus and excretes various fluids turning her apartment into a festering lair much to the horror of her friends and fiancé. The characters are paper thin, the women all pretty hateful and one-dimensional. That aside it just wasn't that disgusting. If you’re going to all the effort they went to make a women-are-gross-out movie you might as well really go for it. I walked out unsoiled and disappointed.
Goddess of Love 3.5/5
When I saw the words ‘unstable stripper’ and ‘psychosexual insanity’ in the film’s description I knew I had to see it. Introduced by star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra. The film came from a desire to create role that Kendra wanted to play but wasn’t being offered. She clearly has a lot of love for erotic thrillers and it really shows. Kendra plays Venus, a stripper with some serious issues. When she’s not dancing in the club she’s drinking wine out of the bottle and smoking crack to stop the audio/visual hallucinations that plague her. One night whilst giving a lap dance she meets grieving widower Brian. Their relationship seems to be going well until Venus suspects he’s seeing another woman and her decent into insanity deepens. ‘Goddess’ is at its best in the higher energy scenes, the hallucinations are fantastic, some surprising and always weird. My only quibble would be that I would have liked a lot more of this and I almost forgot she was stripper until she went back to the club nearer the end. It’s a well-made and beautifully shot film. Kendra is charismatic, sympathetic and engaging. The erotic thriller is a much-maligned genre but Kendra does it justice and is clearly having a great time, Nomi Malone would be very proud. This is in my top five of the festival.
Tales of Halloween 3/5
The closing film of the festival was an anthology tale from Axelle Carolyn set in one all-American town on Halloween night. 10 different stories, loosely connected are all by different directors. It’s a fun movie my favorites being the comic ‘Billy raises Hell’ and a Hansel and Gretel themed piece that I can’t say I really had much of a clue what was going on but a central performance from Pollyanna Mcintosh as a batshit crazy witch made it my favorite. It’s a lot of fun keeping an eye out for genre stars; Barbara Crampton, Lisa Marie, Cerina Vincent and Lin Shaye as well as John Landis and Joe Dante. ‘Tales’ is a fun movie and a real crowd pleaser. A lot of love and effort has gone into its production and it looks like everyone had a great time making it. The third film that has played homage to John Carpenter’s ‘The fog’; ‘Tales’ is narrated from over the radio waves by the wonderful Adrienne Barbea, brilliant. A great end to the festival.
Report by Richard Mansfield (@mansfielddark)
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