It’s October and again we find that Halloween is creeping up on us like Max Schreck up that shadowy stairway, and if you live in the midlands of the UK it is a time to celebrate because Halloween brings with it one of the greatest horror film festivals in the world, The Mayhem Festival.
Last year’s Mayhem was a roaring success, screening world exclusives, fantastic retrospectives and even setting up a filmmaking workshop with Monsters director, Gareth Edwards, but this year’s event promises to be bigger and better in every conceivable way, with more films more guest speakers and more special events.
Here’s a quick rundown on what’s screening.
The Awakening: The event kicks off with the BAFTA presentation of this chilling ghost story followed with a Q&A with writer/director Nick Murphy
The Theatre Bizarre: A late night screening of a film that is trying its luck at bringing the anthology back to the fore, with entrees by such directors as Tom Savini and Douglas Buck.
The Devil’s Business: The first of a UK double bill of lowish budget horrors; mixing hitman antics with Devil worship, this screening is followed by a Q&A with director, Sean Hogan and producer, Jennifer Handorf.
The Wicker Tree: Genre legend Robin Hardy (The Wicker Man) is appearing in person to present the ‘spiritual follow-up’ to his seminal work.
Helldriver: No doubt the oddest film in the event, not to mention goriest, the insane team that brought us Tokyo Gore Police now bring us their take on the zombie movie (God help us).
The Whisper in Darkness: The H.P Lovecraft society offer up their first ‘Talkie’ adaptation of one of the horror master’s works, filmed in Mythoscope (?!).
A Horrible Way to Die: No horror festival is complete without a serial killer movie, and here we get to see an unassuming man hack his way through the American mid-west.
Saint: Those crazy Netherlanders ruin Old Saint Nick for us in this comic/horror tale that sees Santa in command of a horde of zombies.
Revenge: A Love Story: Last years screening of Dream Home was one of the high points of the festival, and this time around the Hong Kong based team aim to really shock us with a serial killer that targets pregnant women.
Scary Shorts: A selection of horror shorts, of varying sub-genres, from the world over.
Theatre of Blood: The hectic day of screenings climaxes with a late night retrospective of this Vincent Price classic.
Tomie: Unlimited: Another mental Japanese director (Noboru Iguchie – Machine Girl), weirds us out with this revival of the Tomie series. Everyone who loves her wants to kill her.
Eyes Without a Face: Another retrospective, this time from 60’s France, will put you off your Sunday lunch with its surreal terror.
Little Deaths: This time the Brits show us what they can do in the festivals second anthology flick.
Ghost Watch: Anyone who was a kid when this 1992 Halloween special aired on British TV will no doubt still get goosebumps at the memory of it. Co-writer Stephen Volk Presents a re-screening of the show then speaks about his career in the film and TV industry.
The Last Employee: Closing out the festival is a German outing that aims to outcreep the Japanese at their own J-Horror game, with this claustrophobic, office based ghost story.
Woven amongst the screenings are a number of fun events, contests and parties that together make the whole package easily worth the price of entree, and then some. Singular day, and screening tickets are also available to those who don’t have the stomach or time for the full event, so there isn’t an excuse, if you’re living in or visiting the UK around the Halloween weekend, get on in to Nottingham, be scared stupid and have a lot of fun.
For further information and details visit the Mayhem website.