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Live for Films at Film4 FrightFest 2015: The Top Five

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One week on from the culmination of another vintage Film4 FrightFest and I still can’t believe it’s all over. It really flew by this year – probably because it was amazing – but now I’ve caught up with my sleep, and had a think, it’s time for a Top 5, and some awards.

That’s a lie. Two lies. I didn’t need a think, my Top 5 was easy to pick. And there are no awards, just some made up titles I am going to pretend bestow on some horror films. So let’s do that.

Best Side Character

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I don’t know what it is about horror films and great side characters… Actually, yes I do. It’s a bit of relief isn’t it? When all about you are losing their heads, literally and metaphorically, a bit player that’s funny or weird or both takes the edge off and gives the audience an outlet for a tension relieving laugh.

RUNNER UP
Nikolai – The Diabolical

WINNER
Apple – Turbo Kid

Obviously Apple wins. Laurence Leboeuf’s ass-kicking sidekick slash love interest slash damsel slash rad robot slash naïve nutter is the real star of Turbo Kid. A pink-haired future warrior that holds not only Turbo Kid’s heart, but the hearts of every audience member in her unicorn-gloved hand.

Nikolai, played by Arjun Gupta, is Madison’s (Ali Larter) boyfriend in The Diabolical. An ex-physicist with a secret, he is the most loving and supportive boyfriend in the world, but, most importantly, his face when he finally sees what’s haunting Madison’s family is priceless.

Best Line

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At a film festival showing genre and horror films, there are always going to be some cracking lines. Be they clever one-liners when the final girl offs the killer, or the barmy rantings of a mad man.

RUNNER UP
“How do you like them bath salts, bitch?!” – Hellions

WINNER
“THIS IS MY GNOME STICK!” – Turbo Kid

Hellions might have been a bit pink for me, but Bruce McDonald’s follow up to the awesome Pontypool had a zinger of a kill-off line. Finding out that the evil kids laying siege to her house melt when they are salted, our heroine Dora (Chloe Rose) gleefully utters the above after she boots one of them into the bath she’s just stepped out of.

Dammit. Apple from Turbo Kid again. Apple had a lot of cool lines, but yelling the above after receiving and practicing with an improvised weapon that consists of a gnome gaffer-taped to the top of a broken baseball bat was my favourite.

Best Kill

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RUNNER UP
All of them – Turbo Kid

WINNER
Helmet barbecue – Cherry Tree

I’ve had to discount Turbo Kid from this. Simply because it’s not fair. People get chopped into two bits every possible way, and one guy gets his guts slowly pulled out by a bicycle. Saw blades get shot into peoples faces, and our hero zaps tons of baddies into goopy oblivion with his laser blaster. So, Turbo Kid, yeah, you actually win this by a mile, but let someone else have a go, yeah?

So step up, Cherry Tree. You knocked a fifteen-year-old teenage girl to the floor in a petrol station, picked up a petrol pump nozzle and squirted her motorbike helmet face opening full of diesel. Then lit her up to scream in melting visage agony. Jeez. Way harsh.

Top 5

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Enough messing around, here are the five best films of Film4 FrightFest 2015

5. DEATHGASM
4. TURBO KID
3. REMAKE, REMIX, RIP-OFF
2. WE ARE STILL HERE
1. FRANKENSTEIN

Deathgasm and Turbo Kid were everything I hoped they would be – brütal as fück, and totally rad, respectively. Both are non-stop barrages of loveable characters, buckets of humour, and even bigger buckets of brilliantly conjured blood and gore and kills.

Remake, Remix was a huge surprise. I would never have thought a documentary about the rise and fall of the Turkish movie industry would be one of my favourite films at a FrightFest, but the (re)mix of colourful characters and crazy clips relaying the tale of a portion of wild cinematic history that I didn’t even know existed until then blew me away.

We Are Still Here is excellent. The four mature leads, including FrightFest honorary guest Barbara Crampton, are all brilliant and prove that cabin-based horror doesn’t always have to be populated by teens – and is actually better when the characters know what to, and what not to, do – and better still when they still unleash demons and have to kill their possessed friends anyway.

Frankenstein. Wow. Bernard Rose’s Frankenstein is stunning. Wall-to-wall pitch-perfect performances from Danny Huston, Carrie-Ann Moss and Tony Todd, headed by a blistering turn by Xavier Samuel as the monster. This modern-day telling of Mary Shelley’s literary classic is heartbreaking, horrific and magnificent. The best Frankenstein – and Frankenstein’s monster – in years. You can read my full review here.

Massive thanks to the tirelessly-working-to-make-everything-amazing-and-keep-everyone-happy founding fathers of FrightFest: Paul, Ian, Alan and Greg; Clout Communications; The Horror Channel; all the staff of the Vue Leicester Square; the bar lady at The Imperial who seemed to work a five day shift; and Pret for all the hot wraps. I wouldn’t have been there at all – let alone been able to cover the festival – without you. Loved it, and love you.

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