First of all, an apology; I promised I would deliver the Fantasma podcasts on Wednesday, however the audio/visual key-keepers have been otherwise engaged until today. By the time this blog is posted, I’m hoping it will include a link to the newly updated podcasts page. Fingers crossed…
First film of the day was Psycho. The screening was preceded by an original trailer featuring Alfred Hitchcock, which I would have liked to have seen, but alas, 11.00 was not a sensible hour for me to get into Bradford that day.
Sarah Crowther (aforementioned horror expert) managed to make it in a little earlier and watched Patrick, a rarely screened Aussie horror which pays homage to Hitchcock in its visual style.
On Sunday evening, I attended the Stanley Long Screentalk. Stanley is a veteran of British sexploitation movies; credited as director, producer, writer and/or cinematographer during a 46-year career in movies. He is responsible for the “Adventures of…” series, and dipped his toes into the world of horror with The Sorcerers, The Blood Beast Terror and Screamtime.
Stanley also worked on Repulsion with Roman Polanski. In the following clip from the Screentalk, Stanley discusses the infamous writer-director and his pranking tendencies.
During the conversation with Benjamin Halligan, Senior lecturer at the University of Salford, Stanley also talked about the science of making people jump (though he doesn’t reveal the tricks of the trade), his healthy attitude toward sexuality in films, and the obstacle of today’s health and safety laws.
Stanley offered this advice to budding film-makers: “A small budget film starts with the script; it has to take the budget into account from the start... You wanna know how to make a low budget film? Keep it in one place.” Which invited a fitting conclusion from Benjamin: “It’s not the size of your budget, but what you do with it.”
After the Screentalk, Stanley stayed to sign copies of his new book “X-Rated: Adventures of an Exploitation Film-maker”.
I spoke to Sarah the following day about what she’d seen during FFW2010 day 3. She only managed to only catch the last half of Robocop, a National Media Museum archive print which received high praise for its quality.
Here’s what Sarah had to say about The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue:
“[The film] proved a fitting closure for the Fantastic Films Weekend, which celebrates rare, classic – and dare we say kitsch - horror and fantasy alongside new and exclusive releases. Although shot in England (the film’s key scenes were filmed in St Michael’s Church in Hathersage), the 1974 film has the very European feel of 1970s zombie films. Indeed, director Jorge Grau is Spanish and the cast hail from all over Europe. Interestingly, the film’s original title Don’t Open the Window is rumoured to have inspired Edgar Wright’s 2007 fake trailer Don’t which featured in Grindhouse.”
I asked Tony Earnshaw, FFW Artistic Director, about his festival highlights. He offered the following:
“Two veterans of the once booming ‘60s/’70s UK horror scene were reunited at the 9th Fantastic Films Weekend. Exploitation king Stanley Long and writer/director Michael Armstrong recalled the gory, glory days of movies like The Sorcerers and Mark of the Devil, both of which screened during the weekend. Personal faves of the artistic director included Jorge Grau’s tremendous zombie shocker The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and a spankingly good re-release of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Undoubtedly the film of the festival was the rarely-seen portmanteau gem Three Cases of Murder, featuring Alan Badel in three roles and a deliciously sinister rendering of Roderick Wilkinson’s short story In the Picture. FFW regulars also lapped up Horror Express, a perennial favourite and one of many titles forming part of the National Media Museum’s growing and unique print archive.”
That’s all for FFW2010. Thanks to all the regulars and new faces for your support. Don’t forget that you can add your photos from the event to the FFW flickr group, and check out videos from the festival on the National Media Museum YouTube page.