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Leeds Horror Film Festival 2015

Leeds Horror Film Festival 2015

Sunday 26th April saw the Cottage Road Cinema in Headingly host the first Leeds Horror Film Festival.

This year the film festival has branched out to include films from all aspects of the horror genre, rather than focusing solely on zombies as it had done in previous years.

The choice of films was well spread, definitely including something for everyone, although it may mean that you get a couple you don’t enjoy as much, part of the enjoyment of this festival is the atmosphere, and this alone can brighten up even the worst films…..

First up was night of the demon, a British horror from 1957.  The film was ok, but I tend not to enjoy really old horror films due to the crappy special effects, stiff acting and general lack of scary…. True to form the special effects were terrible, the demon itself was completely ridiculous, the acting wasn’t actually as bad as some I’ve seen, but it definitely wasn’t scary. One of the good things about old horrors however is that all the things I don’t like about them, can become quite funny, and it made for an amusing start to the festival.

Next up was Demons, an Italian horror from 1985. Now this one picked it up for me, a gory horror with a great soundtrack. There were plenty of cringe moments, lots of bodily fluids and decaying flesh, and a great amount of comedy thrown into the mix. I’m not sure I would ever watch it again, but Demons was good fun and a welcome addition to the list.

Last before the dinner break was the Exorcist. A great classic that I was actually lucky enough to have seen on the big screen before when it was re-released in 2000. Despite being 16 I still managed to bag myself a ticket, and was shocked at how many people left the cinema mid film, even 27 years after its initial release the film held its shock value. The Exorcist will always be one of my favourite possession films, with few since managing to come close to how amazing this film is.

After dinner we watched my favourite film of the festival this year. Dead Snow 2 is a great modern horror comedy, combining great special effects, funny characters and lots of action. In fact, I think I actually grew quite attached to some of the zombies in this film, and the big fight scene at the end was incredibly shot, with great choreographing and fast paced action. I’m not shy of foreign language films, but having a mix of Norwegian and English (mostly English) makes it easier for the sequel to play on the comedy side of the film, and it’s executed brilliantly.

We also got to watch some Lee Hardcastle shorts, which were quite frankly, brilliant! you can watch some of Lee’s Claymations and other shorts on his YouTube channel here.

Next up was probably the most controversial film on the list, Charlie’s Farm. This one was a UK premier the organisers managed to bag for us, but unfortunately were not able to vet before screening. The common consensus on this film was pretty poor, and that’s putting it politely. I didn’t love Charlie’s Farm, but I didn’t hate it as much as everyone else seemed to either. There were some funny parts, and it was easy watching. The castration scene was pretty good and I can’t stop staring at anything Tara Reid is in to try and work out why she looks like she has a saggy crotch. For those of you interested I’ve decided that she’s really out of proportion, her torso is super long, she has no hips, and her legs proportionally short, so her crotch looks too low down on her body.

Last up was American Werewolf in London. Being from Yorkshire I of course loved all the scenes on the moors, and could you get more Yorkshire than Brian Glover? Extra points for squeezing in Rik Mayall & Frank Oz, and of course, how can we not mention the special effects. The 7 minute transformation scene was amazing, and not just considering that it was filmed in 1981, the effects were solid by even today’s standards. The added comedy aspect was brilliant, and although this one wouldn’t have been my choice of headliner, it was a good film to have on the bill.

The horror fans this festival attracts are always a great bunch, and each year the costumes are so inventive and well done. Just take a look at some of the costumes from this year!

A few tips if you fancy coming along next year but you haven’t been before;

1. It never starts on time, so don’t expect to be out by midnight, I think this year it was after 1am the last film finished, but there is usually an after party in the pub once it’s all over.

2. The pub across the road allows you to pre-order dinner, take advantage of this, the food is reasonably priced and tastes lovely, and it saves you having to wait so long you may miss the next film.

3. Bring plenty of snacks, the cinema is licensed and sells pop and sweets, but there’s no other shops around close by open Sundays, so we always bring a packed lunch for during the first film and sweets to pick at throughout the day.

All in all we had a great day, I personally would like to have seen more recent films included than older B movies, but with 6 films to show it’s unlikely that everyone will enjoy all of them, and the organisers to well to find something for everyone to be included on the bill.

My votes next year goes to showings of Alien & Child’s Play!!!!!

Massive thanks to David Mabbley for allowing the use of his pictures, and if you would like to see a video review of this year’s Horror Film Festival, and of the previous Zombie Film Festivals, please visit his YouTube channel TheBigDaddyDReviews1.

Hope to see you next year, mwahahahahahaha…..

Thanks for reading!
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