Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mayhem III: Chucky, ghosts and pig-man freaks

Last night was our third annual Mayhem Horror Film Festival at Broadway in Nottingham. We screened a 100 minute programme of local, national and international shorts, featuring killer clowns, zombies, pig-man freaks and a shot of a small child repeatedly punching an equally tiny Satan in the face. I think we (me, Chris Cooke and Gareth Howell, the co-directors of the festival) put together a really strong programme this year and the audience response seemed to bear that out. We had great numbers for the night as well - nearly sold out (in fact if Arcade Fire hadn't been playing just round the corner on the same night, I'm sure we would have done (selfish bloody French-Canadian alt-rockers and their cinematic, folk-influenced chamber pop)). After a brief intermission, we came back with a special preview screening of 'All The Boys Love Mandy Lane', a new American slasher film. I hadn't seen the film before last night (having been cruising with Goths for a couple of weeks) so I was keen (and slightly apprehensive) to see what it was like. Luckily for us it was great - really well shot with a great soundtrack and a real black heart. It's got twists, but ones that you kind of have an inkling of by the time they come, so there's no moment (unlike in, say, Switchblade Romance) where the film is in danger of alienating its audience by totally pulling some revelation out of left-field. In fact, the actual key moment of turnabout in the film is so brilliantly shot and staged, and the subsequent fall-out so black, bloody and pessimistic, that it doesn't really matter if you've seen it coming. While not exactly a gore-fest, there are a couple of really horrible moments, including one that made me suck air in through my teeth (a reaction I think I last had watching Takashi Miike's 'Imprint') and although it featured a typical bunch of selfish, sex-obsessed American teens, for some reason it didn't have me willing them to die quickly (like in 'Cabin Fever'). All in all, I think it went down well, although I know some people found it too generic and didn't think it pulled off what it was attempting. I think it came close enough.

After the screenings, Broadway bar were having a Halloween party (which we'd organised to have some kind of synchronicity with Mayhem) which featured a lot of fancy dress. Winners of the first prize were Sam Hawker (runner on 'Deliver Me' and "Mum and Dad', and local filmmaker) and his girlfriend Claire who came as Chucky and a very bloody Red Riding Hood. Second prize went to a man in a neck brace and blood all over his head (I think he was in fancy dress, it could have been that a taxi driver was taking the piss and had dropped him off telling him it was A and E) and third prize went to an actual ghost:I don't know if you can make it out, but if you squint you can just about see its outline hovering in the background between me and Cooke...

No comments: