With Halloween this week, one director's screening at Southend's annual horror festival is ready to scare with a short film - set around an event most of us know only too well. The Horror-on-Sea festival will feature short "Fugly" directed by Mark Benmore, who has created the ultimate blind date from hell. Screening on Sunday, 21st January and shot in just one day in a tiny London flat, the short features a young woman welcoming in a young man for a drink before things go very, very wrong.
Mark explains: "Writer Soneil Inayat and me wanted "Fugly" to be very claustrophobic, shot in just two rooms in a tiny London flat and only two characters. It's got the sort of starkness Hitchcock used in "Rear Window", with no glimpse of the outside world.
"We only had one day to shoot it and as the whole film takes place at night, we had to block up every single window to keep the daylight out, using huge amounts of tin foil.
"All horror shoots are creative chaos, and to add to the fun, our final scene involves a grisly death, so we had fake blood splattered everywhere. It was a nightmare to clean up for our poor location manager! You might think you can see what's coming, but no one guesses the the twist ending.
"The whole crew is looking forwards to seeing "Fugly" in Southend in January, after last year's screening of "The Legend of the Mad Axeman" with Brighton horror icon Billy Chainsaw, who was also in Horror-on-Sea's LA-shot short "U Never Listen"."
Running from 19-28 January 2018, Horror-on-Sea has featured entries from all over the world, as well as talks by horror experts, and comedy gore; fans can expect a combination of scares and sociability in equal measures.
The festival features beloved genres of zombies and serial killers as well as original takes on horrors inspired by a social media version of 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears', or a pitchblack comedy with a feminist look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, in the short 'Bride of Frankie'. If something a little more unexpected is your horror bag, there are movies centred around killer sharks, cannibal families and World War 2 bunkers. And here's hoping that some of these titles will be around by the Christmas period.
Festival organiser Paul Cotgrove added: "With its sixth consecutive year coming up, Horror-on-Sea is getting booked in all horror fans' calendars with its combination of scares and sociability."
The festival will also have local filmmaker Pat Higgins, who has been in the bsiness of scary movies for over a decade as screenwriter and director. He will offer a 'class in fear', so horrorhounds can work on creative exercises, and hear stories from the front lines of independent horror.
For more information on the festival, please visit: www.horror-on-sea.co.uk