Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Open Letter of Thanks to FRIGHTFEST UK (repost)

Dated August 28th, 2007 8:24 a.m.


It's way too early and im sitting in Heathrow, cranking Otis Redding and Static-X though my ipod to drown out the human traffic as I await my flight back to the dregs of real life, my heart still swelling with so many wonderful memories of the previous 5 days of cinematic madness and mayhem at FrightFestUK and i felt the need to express them to you. Sorry in advance, cause this might get mushier than your wonderful peas...

Like I've professed to arguably every person I had the honor to talk to and geek out with over the past few days (including that drunken chap on the flattened cardboard box in the park, who ended up having a wonderful take on THE 400 BLOWS), this was a dream come true for me to bring my first film, WRONG TURN 2, to the country that coined the phrase the "Video Nasty", I had a good feeling about how my labor of bloody love would be received with a 5 horror crowd, even as you witnessed me losing 10 pounds on-stage from sweating (damn you humidity...or was it my thyroid?). But I had never expected the rapturous response the fans and even some skeptics gave the film, something I still think Im in mild shock from. Yet, the World Premiere has come and gone, and while it was quite the honor to bring you all my love letter to the "Video Nasty/Splatter" era to the home where it was coined, and I'll never forget the sheer joy in watching the audience jump, laugh and cheer in all the right places, my sadness in leaving you all stems much further.

I remember Green saying how gracious and welcoming the horror community was in the UK, and man do I believe it now more than ever. As Im waiting for my flight to whisk me back to bills & bullshit, Im both saddened to leave you all today after a week of great films and great people to enjoy it with, yet so proud and happy to have experienced it with all of you as well, since I was there really for one day of "work" (but was it really?) and 4 days of remembering why I love communal horror experience. How awesome were some of those movies? There's nothing worse than seeing a great flick with a bad crowd (and vice versa) and I don't think we ever had a moment there. We were all in it together, like a bloody family(literally), and I/we felt so welcome to be there with you, screaming, tensing up and even laughing throughout the entire time, be it grandiose russian fantasy epics to intimate character thrillers to all-out grue-fests to even a double dose of Dr. Uwe Boll (for better or worse of course).

Plus, with what we saw this weekend as evidence, Horror is FAR from dead.

This was by far the most well programmed and organized festival I'd ever seen or been part of, and many thanks are due to all the hard work, tenacity and patience the FF team all had with everything from botched formats to bothersome talent. Seriously, I don't know if it's just in the water (Smilex, Anyone?) or you all hid your frustrations or true feelings so well, but i can't think of one moment anyone WASN'T smiling throughout the fest. You UK horror fans out there should count your lucky stars (or severed toes) that you have such an esteemed and dedicated team who strives to bring you the best and brightest in Horror each and every year FrightFest unfolds.

So, please bear with, as these are just some of the people that truly made my time here one of the most memorable few days in what has already been a surreally spectacular year.

Paul, Ian, Greg & Alan - 4 Horror film lovers and the grand pubas of this sick cinematic celebration, who programmed the best festival I have ever been to thus far, hands down. It was almost unfortunate that my flick was playing, because as excited i was to see it on the big screen for the very first time with the TRUE demographic, I think I was even more excited to just kick back and be sledge-hammered by great new horror, both long and short. Ian & Paul, thank you for believing in me and my first work, even when things were looking grim due to red tape bullshit, but you held fast and cleverly made it work out, and I am forever bowing my respect to you and hopefully we'll be swapping more lewd stories in Austin soon. Alan, for keeping me frosty and laughing the whole fest and for being such a great host the entire time. I know I'll catch SOME shit for this, but I already miss your beautiful bald head (insert insinuation here). Greg, thank you for being the ever-smiling ringleader; i dont think there was one time admist the chaos you didnt keep your cool. You guys were the heart of the show, and the UK fans are again lucky to have you.

Suzy, Shaun, Jen, Suzi & Amanda - The REAL reason this festival went off without a hitch. I don't know if you fans got to see it, but these lovely ladies were the backbone of the festival. They were there at the ass-crack of dawn and were tireless in making sure everything went smooth. Why did you have plenty of swag? How did those beers get in your hands during the movie? These girls were truly the "A Team" and hopefully will be back again to keep the blokes above in check! You all were so nice and hospitable to this stinky, sweaty yank, and first round is on my at the Phoenix upon return so i can have my "moobs" poked again. Good times.

Green - My partner in crime at the fest and the true rock star of the weekend. Thanks first for putting the bug in Ian, Paul and Alan's ear about the film and believing in it enough to put the "Green Battered Seal of Approval" on it. Plus, its always great to see great cinema with a like minded madmad, and I couldn't have had a better movie buddy throughout the festival and glad we got to roam the streets and just geek out the whole time. Seriously, the only thing missing from this were backpacks, The Slaughtered Lamb, talking about Debbie Klein's body & not sticking to the road...oops.
You are a true mate, and I thank you for that.

Everyone at Horror Zone - Why don't we have this in the US? There's been plenty of attempts, but it seems that HZ has cornered the market in bringing you guys some great grue on the boob tube, you lucky bastards. If everyone at HZ are as dedicated and awesome as the field crew that planted themselves at the Odeon to get all the events that unfolded, then you really do have a winner of a channel. To Emily and the amazing crew there, cheers for making me feel so comfortable and hope I didn't screw up the "Cut" presentation at all.

Liz @ Fox - Thanks so much for being part of this amazing experience, making sure the film and the badges (see? I didn't say buttons, ha!) and posters were there for everyone, and for making sure everything went smooth with my trip and other happenings, I really appreciated all your hard work and sacrifices over the weekend. I hope to work with you again, maybe for the UK release!

Neil, Axelle, Jake, Jonathan, Ailsa, Matt, Chris (both Smith & Stapp), James, Mike, Uwe, Tom, Adam (of course), J.A. and all the other filmmakers I met there- It was great to commiserate with you all at the waystation for horror, so awesome to experience all of our films together there both as artists AND as fans. I really do with you all the best of luck and hope we can pow wow with our wares again soon. In a perfect world, a future FrightFest!

The Fans - Now, YOU guys.
My people.
My friends.
My family.
To experience not just my world premiere, but ALL of the films I got to see with all of you, FrightFest regulars and newbies alike, was such a thrill. Seriously, no sucking up here, it was just like being with the best bunch of friends you can gather, people you knew "got it" and wouldn't scoff at our love for the fringe, the k up and the frightening, and just kicking back and wanting some fresh meat. I'd be here for hours and miss my flight if I started to name everyone who were so nice and gracious to me, who didn't mind me spewing the finer points on CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, EXORCIST 3, Val Lewton and of course MANIAC COP 3, so please accept one big juicy virtual hug from me to you. Also, thank you for being so receptive to my little flick, what was probably one of the question marks of the festival. Im sure plenty of FF fans said "Whuut??" when it was announced, so thanks for believing in this scrappy little splatter-coaster and giving such a memorable World Premiere. Even if you stone cold HATED the film (again, Im sure there's plenty that did), you were very repsectful and overall, I didn't meet one person who wasn't loving to be there & so kind and welcoming to a Yank hillbilly like myself. I will see you all again soon, promise.

I know Im forgetting so many people here to thank (still running on fumes) so my apologies to anyone I've missed, but please know that I will never forget this past 5 days. It was an honor to be there and be part of such a grand celebration of the Horror genre, and come hell or high horror (or if that remake of EBOLA SYNDROME works out) I be drinking plenty of beers and enjoying more horror with you all next year....if I can get out of Heathrow first.


"See You Next Wednesday..."

AKA: Another American Werewolf


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home