Starting Friday 6th July 2012 and running all weekend with events up to Thursday 12th July, the 2012 Shock and Gore festival organised by the bods at the Electric Cinema, Birmingham, kicked off with a showing of Theatre of Blood starring Vincent Price (1973).
I attended a number of the events at the festival last weekend, and the Electric Cinema had put a lot of effort into making the festival fun and atmospheric, with Halloween-esque decoration throughout the cinema and staff behind the bar dressed in blood drenched garb.
I started my Saturday evening with the Birminghampremier of the film Inbred with a Directors Q & A. Alex Chandon’s new film, which will be released officially in October, was a masterpiece of horror comedy.
Four young urban offenders and their care workers embark on a community service weekend in the remote Yorkshirevillageof Mortlake, which prides on keeping itself to itself. Visiting the local pub, they quickly realise they’ve made the wrong holiday choice, a minor incident with some local inbred youths rapidly escalating into a blood-soaked, deliriously warped nightmare for all involved. You can view the trailer at Inbred Trailer Official HD 2012 – YouTube.
The young cast is remarkable, whilst the actors playing the ‘inbreds’ are hilariously OTT. This is a film well worth watching.
Following the film viewing, director Alex Chandon took part in a Q&A (he was interviewed by Electric owner Tom Lawes) giving viewers the chance to ask him questions about his film making career.
Chandon first had the idea eleven years ago creating a treatment, which was originally quite ambitious. Not all of the imagery managed to make it into the final product, though Chandon was particularly pleased to see the decapitation scene included.
In his 1997 film Pervirella, a certain Jonathon Ross, who had a small cameo in the movie, described the Director, Chandon, as “a strange, wild hairy bloke gesticulating a lot.” That description seems to summarise Chandon quite aptly. He certainly came across as passionate and lively during his Q&A, as he talked about Cradle of Fear and other projects, the use of red camera, low budget film making and his post production work.
Watching Inbred, I had to wonder how American audiences would react to such a thoroughly British film. Would they get the jokes?
According to Chandon, Inbred was actually sold to our American cousins last week and although the accents may be a bit of a challenge to them, they “pi***d themselves laughing” at this gem of a movie. Germany was apparently the hardest sell. In fact, the blending of horror and comedy was discussed as Chandon shared an anecdote about a showing of Bad Lieutenant where only himself and a friend laughed out loud at a particular scene with Harvey Keitel, and director Abel Ferrara wanted to know why no-one was laughing. It seems only Chandon and co got the joke.
OMG! Paddy Dingle . . . with a Chainsaw!
Talking about the script, 80% of it was written brilliantly by Chandon with some neat suggestions by Jo Hartley, who “gave me loads of advice about letting people embellish dialogue”. Room was left for improvisation, especially in the delivery of performances. Whilst the kids and care workers were encouraged to play it straight, the ‘inbreds’ played magnificently by actors including Dominic Brunt (Paddy Dingle from Emmerdale) were told to go as OTT as they liked, to really ham it up big style, which I can assure you they did. And it worked wonderfully! The film was inspired by the likes of League of Gentleman, Deliverance and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, it really is like Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a dose of Shaun of the Dead all set in an English,Yorkshire village.
So what actually scares Chandon? Films such as Session 9 and Jacob’s Ladder are up there with Exorcist and Jaws. And Chandon really wants to do something scary next, but his humour keeps breaking through.
Is Chandon happy with the final product? Quoting another famous director, he says “a Director never finishes a film, he just gives it up.” But with Inbred, Chandon is about as pleased as he can be, which is 99% of what he imagined. There will always be some mistakes, which no-one really notices, but the director always will.
As far as this writer is concerned, 99% happy with the film should be enough for Chandon, because truth be told, it’s destined to be an effing cult classic!
Nicolas Cage, yes the Nicolas Cage took centre stage at the close of Saturday night. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t come to Brum, but he did have a place of honour as the Shock and Gore awards included awards such as the ‘Nicolas Cage award for worst film 2012’ and the ‘Nicolas cage award for taking the pay cheque’. Yet the best part of the awards and subsequent showing of films, was the winner of the short film award. This was French flick Baby-Sitting, which was a sublime piece of horror.
Other events taking place were the late night showing of The Evil Dead or the chance to see mad magician Dr Gore in action, both of which were spectacular fun.
This Is Horror
Sunday evening kicked off in style with an evening of horror writers presented by Jasper Bark and This is Horror. Featured guest writers doing readings include David Moody, Sam Stone and John L Probert. According to host Jasper Bark, the reading went really well with a “very dramatic and vivacious performance from John L Probert, a very glamorous turn from Sam Stone and an understated, but nonetheless really gripping reading from David Moody. All three authors gave very considered and intelligent answers to the questions I posed, both individually when I interviewed each of them after their reading, and then again when we ended with a group discussion of horror in general.”
This was followed by Moody introducing Tod Browning’s classic film Freaks, and the re-showing of the 1991 episode of Ghostwatch.
Bark, who caught the Ghostwatch event said it “was terrifying and Stephen Volk’s Q&A afterwards was highly illuminating. Especially as he told us that it was the only programme to be mentioned in the British Medical Journal for causing Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in children. Many of those children were now adult members of the audience.”
All in all, this was a great festival and there is still more to cpme, s it finishes Thursday with a horror quiz. Be sure to get in there quick and book some tickets!