Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK’s biggest horror and fantasy film festival, is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square from Thurs August 26 – Monday 30 August, 2021 for five days of the very best of global genre cinema.
The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre and, despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, this year is no exception as the twenty-five films to be presented in the main screens are revealed. They include four world premieres and eight International / European premieres.
Global events over the past eighteen months have not only altered most people’s lives but have had a profoundly influential effect on a lot of genre filmmakers and both the opening and closing films this year reflect that.
The festival opens with the European premiere of DEMONIC, the latest, highly anticipated and petrifying new vision from artist Neill Blomkamp, director of District 9. Shot in secret last summer in British Columbia, Blomkamp takes us on a unique voyage into a world terrifyingly similar to our own as he expertly juggles a thought-provoking crossover between forward thinking science fiction and hi-tech horror.
The Closing night film is the UK premiere of Rob Jabbaz’s feature debut, THE SADNESS, an instant cult classic that’s relentless, merciless and already being hailed as a bloody masterpiece. After a year of combating a pandemic with relatively benign symptoms, a frustrated nation finally lets its guard down. This is when the virus spontaneously mutates, giving rise to a mind-altering plague. The age of civility and order is no more. There is only ‘The Sadness’.
Gunslingers, ghosts and cults…welcome to the insane visual madness of a Sion Sono movie and the latest memorable slice of Nicolas Cage rage in the UK premiere of post-apocalyptic Grindhouse classic PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND. Another independent-spirited actor firmly established within the genre is Elijah Wood and he is on top form as an FBI profiler assigned to interview Ted Bundy in NO MAN OF GOD, which will receive its European Premiere.
Comic book icon Alan Moore was last at FrightFest in 2014 with Show Pieces and he and director Mitch Jenkins team up once more to present the UK Premiere of mystery fantasy THE SHOW. Then there’s the world premiere of British chiller THE KINDRED, with many of the stars attending, including James Cosmo, Steve Oram, April Pearson and Samantha Bond. Other World premieres include the shellshock creature feature CRABS!, the hilariously gory crowd pleaser THE RETALIATORS(featuring cameos and music by Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach) and FrightFest favourite Dominic Brunt is back with EVIE, his thrilling and frighteningly sinister take on the shape-shifting Selkie myth, co-directed with Jamie Lundy and starring Michael Smiley.
BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION, the first feature to proudly spring from FrightFest’s innovative ‘New Blood’ initiative with Queensbury Pictures / MP Media, will receive its UK Premiere, as will the unbearably tense, electrifying thriller COMING HOME IN THE DARK, the one-take time travel suspense comedy BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES and from Kazakhstan, the cruelly comic misadventure SWEETIE, YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT.
Other UK premieres include ‘sonic slasher’, SOUND OF VIOLENCE, Alex Noyer’s extraordinarily eye and ear-opener, supernatural Thai slasher THE MAID, the South African fantasy GAIA, the award-winning boy meets monster indie sensation SLAPFACE, THE ADVENT CALENDAR, which heralds the return of outré French horror and the oddest US genre entry for years, the extreme comedy KING KNIGHT.
A prime example of the Mexploitation New Wave is THE EXORCISM OF CARMEN FARIAS and FrightFest will be presenting the International premiere of Rodrigo Fiallega’s blood-drenched shocker. There are also International premieres for Julien Knafo’s mutant-tastic BRAIN FREEZE and OFFSEASON, director / writer Mickey Keating’s quantum leap into the big time with an astonishing slice of Southern Gothic,
There are also European premieres for Edoardo Vitaletti’s THE LAST THING MARY SAW, a Canadian dark tale of witchcraft, black magic and possession starring Rory Culkin, the German 70s nostalgia-fest DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES and Rob Schroeder’s startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery, ULTRASOUND.
Finally, as part of the main Arrow FrightFest line-up, three sensational shorts will be screening: the World Premiere of MASK OF THE EVIL APPARITION from Alex Proyas (I, ROBOT, THE CROW) part of his DARK CITY cinematic universe, STUFFED from Theo Rhys, a fantastic full blown musical extravaganza, and the World Premiere of Scott (SINISTER / DOCTOR STRANGE) Derrickson’s SHADOWPROWLER, a distinctive take on the home invasion thriller.
Festival co-director Alan Jones, said today: “Like every other film festival this past year, the Arrow Video FrightFest has had to adapt to the difficult circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our last three events may have taken place entirely online but you can’t keep a commended vanguard of international genre cinema down for too long and Team FrightFest has been working tirelessly to make sure our banner 22nd event will tick every box you’ve been desperately missing.
Let’s face it, for the past year it has felt like we’ve been extras in the longest, flattest and most boring sci-fi movie ever, but now we are free at last to meet up with our Arrow Video FrightFest friends and acquaintances again for a much needed and well deserved in person horror fantasy binge”.
Over the next weeks Arrow Video FrightFest will be revealing the line-up for their pioneering Discovery and ‘First Blood’ strands, when passes and tickets go on sale, plus the much much-loved Short Film Showcases, special events, this year’s guest list, and the make-up of their Digital event, which takes place from Wed 1 – Sun 5 September.
The line up for Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 is looking great already and we can’t wait to see all these terrifying new films!