• Martyn Wakefield

10 frightening Frightfest facts (FEATURE)

Updated: Aug 19


#1 Frightfest has been running for 21 years


Wow! The small festival of one screen, 16 films and 3 men with a dream all gathered together and 21 years later now have 3 screens, over 60 films and a team of adorning fans, the festival is bigger than ever and still going strong. A festival that opened with the likes of SCARY MOVIE, RINGU 2 and PITCH BLACK still has its roots in mainstream horror of now but has always been planting the seed for the future, nothing shows that more than the New Blood initiative with the first graduates showcasing their debut alongside Neill Blomkamp and Nicholas Cage.


#2 Frightfest has always been based in London


The capital of Horror! It hasn't always been at Cineworld, in fact it's covered more distance across London than Jack the Ripper. Housing the festival has been The Prince Charles Cinema for it's first 5 years, often trekking back since, followed by the Odeon until 2009 after audiences grew. In 2009 it moved to the Empire where it expanded to two screens and remained until 2014 when it moved to the Vue expanding further to 3 screens. Due to refurbishment of the Leicester square site, in 2016 the festival was held in Vue Shepherds Bush with a return to Prince Charles Cinema and adding Cineworld Leicester Square in 2017 where it has called home ever since.


#3 Famous people go


It's a film festival so what do you expect, big name directors and actors have all introduced their films with notable appearances being Danny Boyle, Rob Zombie, The Soska Sisters, Park Chan-wook, Christopher Nolan and Guillermo del Toro just to name a very few.


#4 Frightfest is not just movies


Across the weekend, amongst the mountain of films there are special events. A quiz hosted by Andy Nyman debuted in 2010. An evening with Jessica Alba was showcasing THE EYE but also including a night with the Hollywood starlet. In 2013 there was a Variety Spotlight interview with director Ben Wheatley and in 2016 there was a horror writing master class with James Moran as well as a Women in Genre panel.


#5 It's not just in August


Oh no! Frightfest is also an extension of the Glasgow Film Festival since 2006 and has included screening of AFTERSHOCK (with writer Eli Roth in attendance), TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID with director Issa Lopez, SAINT MAUD, REC and THE LORDS OF SALEM.


On top of that, Frightfest presents many Halloween all-nighters and special events previewing and premiering the best in horror


#6 Frightfest is bigger than the cinema


Once the films are shown that's not the end. Frightfest branched out with Frightfest presents in 2005 for a short lived distribution deal with festival favourites. In 2015 the label was revived and has since releases AAAAAAAAH!, AFTERDEATH, LANDMINE GOES CLICK, EMELIE, THE LESSON and ESTRANGED


#7 ...and they don't just produce great films


In 2012 Frightfest released a limited number of art posters for genre classics were released and sold out immediately. Our firm favourite is this beauty for AMERICAN MARY.


#8 There's a mascot


There are no sports stars or cheerleaders but if you look hard enough, the brain peaking demon is the face of Frightfest. The nameless one (we call him Jack) was created by Graham Humphrey's who has painted the poster for every since 2008. He has adorned his own fan club and actually came to life thanks to Ben Anderson who became the walking embodiment of the creature in 2015. As you can see, Frankenstein and his monster captured in 2019.


#9 Even horror fans can party


Each year there's an opening party where fans and film-makers collide. The opening is a free for all and everyone is welcome. Well, the tension has to be relieved somehow and where do you think the next film ideas are shared?


#10 It's all about the fans


Frightfest would not be the towering success over 20 years later without the people and while the films can stand on their own, the rapturous applause from a packed out cinema is better than any award nomination. Year after year the queue starts building and the fun begins as soon as the ticket sales are announced and it's actually become the Glastonbury of horror with tickets being sold before the films announced.



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