Pigeon Shrine FrightFest 2023 Delivers Ghouls, Ghosts, and the Greatest Geek Year Ever

With a new headline sponsor and 70 films more than worthy of fear-fare fans’ attention, London’s Pigeon Shrine FrightFest is set to deliver another amazing festival filled with genre film goodness. From world premieres of cutting-edge offerings to anniversary screenings of classics and favorites, the fest is serving up slashers, monsters, the supernatural, and much more. Following is the official press announcement.

FrightFest, the UK’s biggest, best and most beloved community-driven horror & fantasy film  festival, returns in a blaze of gory glory to the Cineworld Leicester Square, London, for its 24th edition, this year with pioneering technology & entertainment company Pigeon Shrine as its  headline sponsor. The company is the brainchild of Tom Paton, working alongside industry  finance veterans Jamie McLeod-Ross and Charley McDougall.  

Running from Thursday August 24–Monday 28 August, Pigeon Shrine FrightFest is a  joyful big screen celebration of genre cinema, offering a carnival of carnage, a smorgasbord  of shock and a tableau of terror. This year, over five days, audiences can explore the magic  of menace, mayhem and mischief with seventy films programmed across four screens. There  are twenty-five world, twenty-three International / European and twelve UK premieres, with  fourteen countries represented, spanning five continents. 

Co-director Alan Jones comments: “FrightFesters will experience an amazing variety of films,  in an eclectic line-up which serves as a powerful tool of democracy, activism, diversity,  inclusivity and social awareness. As always, FrightFest is keen to show, through an open minded philosophy, that the most unexpected and delightful discoveries happen when wide ranging topics, different people and varied cultures come together in horror harmony”.  

The festival opens with the European premiere of SUITABLE FLESH, the latest shocker from  FrightFest favourite Joe Lynch, who has created an outlandish love letter to the late, great Re Animator director Stuart Gordon; a new body horror take on H.P Lovecraft-minded cosmic  mayhem that’s a must-watch for fans of raunchy 80s horror. Co-producer and co-star of the  film, the genre screen icon, Barbara Crampton, will be returning to FrightFest for the third time. 

The Closing night film is the European premiere of THE SACRIFICE GAME. Director Jenn  Wexler’s demonically stylish second feature, following FrightFest smash The Ranger, is  another wild, thrilling ride and a tribute to the beauty and boldness of classic 1970’s horror. It  stars Olivia Scott Welch, who also takes a leading role in genre-bending, fantasy thriller THE  BLUE ROSE, a debut feature from 18-year-old George Baron, receiving its World premiere.  

Another 18-year-old making her FrightFest debut with the European premiere of possession thriller T BLOCKERS, is transgender filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay. Her Australian trans  horror was shot with a predominantly queer, non-binary, and trans cast and crew. And  transgender icon Eddie Izzard takes on the title role of Nina Jekyll in DOCTOR JEKYLL, a  bold reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, which receives its World premiere.  

FrightFest has teamed up with Warner Bros to celebrate their centenary with two fabulous anniversary retrospectives. James Wan’s THE CONJURING turns ten this year and we are  delighted to showcase it as we did back in 2013 at a very special FrightFest screening. It’s  also the 50th Anniversary of William Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST and our exclusive  presentation of ‘The Version You Never Saw’ will be hosted by Mark Kermode, the world  expert on this classic shocker blockbuster.  

This year’s line-up reflects the festival’s legacy in championing emerging and established  voices from across the world and sees the return of many talented filmmakers discovered over  the years. Xavier Gens (Frontiere(s), Cold Skin and The Divide) brings his latest French deadly  blockbuster FARANG, writing/director duo Erik and Carson Bloomquist (She Came From The  Woods) return with holiday slasher FOUNDERS DAY. FrightFest also welcomes back The  Adams Family (acclaimed chiller The Deeper You Dig), who unveil their latest creation,  WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS, which follows a family of murderous sideshow performers.  Plus, Marcel Walz, the cult director of Blind and Pretty Boy, is up to more splatter mischief with  THAT’S A WRAP, as is Mexican bad boy Alex Kahuam, director of Forgiveness who brings  us Ted Raimi on top form in FAILURE!, shot in one single take. 

This year also sees the return of popular UK filmmakers such as Andy Edwards with seaside  slasher PUNCH, Mitch Jenkins with futuristic thriller A MILLION DAYS. Stuart Sparke with the  flesh-eating HOW TO KILL MONSTERS, Airell Anthony Hayles with biting horror caper  WEREWOLF SANTA, Sean Hogan with eerie folk horror mini feature TO FIRE YOU COME  AT LAST, and Nicholas Vince, in the director’s chair for the filmed version of his  autobiographical one-man show I AM MONSTERS!  

Scottish filmmaker Graham Hughes is also back, following his well-received FrightFest 2019  Death of a Vlogger with HOSTILE DIMENSIONS, a fun and twisted multi-verse thriller and  Jake West makes a welcome return with the World premiere of his superb documentary  MANCUNIAN MAN: THE LEGENDARY LIFE OF CLIFF TWEMLOW. And actor Richard  Brake makes a welcome return in James Bushe’s campfire chiller LORE.  

The Main Screen plays host to seven World premieres including Nick Psinakis’s supernatural  take on infidelity, CHEAT, Matt Sampere’s Halloween slasher CREEPING DEATH, Raymond  Wood’s vitriolic feminist revenge-fantasy FACELESS AFTER DARK, Steven Pierce’s zombie  survivalist thriller HERD, Michael J. Hurst’s wild science fiction shocker TRANSMISSON, chilling serial killer two-hander COLD MEAT and the haunting, nerve-tingler HOME SWEET  HOME: WHERE EVIL LIVES. 

Other main screen titles include Paris Zarcilla’s breakout SXSW sensation RAGING GRACE, Bishal Dutta‘s impressive directorial debut IT LIVES INSIDE, shot through a unique diversity  lens, Anthony Waller’s supernatural chiller PIPER, starring Elizabeth Hurley, underwater  frightener THE DIVE, NEW LIFE, John Rosman’s tense thriller of apocalyptic proportions.  Quarxx’s aesthetically stunning and relentlessly macabre PANDEMONIUM, the darkly  claustrophobic sci-fi chiller MONOLITH, Barnaby Clay’s stone-cold survival shocker THE  SEEDING and Samuel Bodin’s ghostly gripper COBWEB, which will also have an additional  Closed Captions screening.

The range of documentaries on show this year proves how buoyant and important to film  historians the genre strand has become and how influential it can be in our daily lives. Perhaps  the most moving documentary on show this year is OTTO BAXTER: NOT A FU**ING  HORROR STORY, which explores how director Otto Baxter, who has Down Syndrome, uses  his short horror film, A PUPPET ASYLUM, to explore his birth, adoption and epic battles.  FrightFest will follow the doc with a screening of his short film. Other docs include: [REC]  TERROR WITHOUT PAUSE, which explores the seminal Spanish horror classic, THE J HORROR VIRUS, which delves into the world of Japanese supernatural chillers, THE  DARKSIDE OF SOCIETY, an exploration of the appalling truths behind the making of Society,  1982: THE GREATEST GEEK YEAR EVER!, a celebration of one of the greatest years in  movie history, when genre fandom was in its infancy, KIM’S VIDEO, a playful documentary  on the quest to track down Kim’s legendary collection of rental videos. And we also enter the  crazy world of Bruceploitation with ENTER THE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE.  

Asian genre cinema is also richly represented with the return of Japanese visionary Takeshi  Kushida, who wowed FrightFest with his debut feature Woman of the Photographs. He now  unleashes his latest amazing masterwork, MY MOTHER’S EYES. There is also quirky fantasy  RIVER, from Junta Yamaguchi, director of Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes, THE GHOST  STATION, a fright night hybrid of Korean and Japanese eerie atmospherics and a FrightFest  first entry from The Philippines – the white-knuckle action thriller TOPAAK / TRIGGER.  

Scandinavian horror makes a welcome entry with Norwegian director Viljar Bøe’s riveting  GOOD BOY, where puppy love isn’t quite what it seems, and in THE KNOCKING, the debut  feature from Finnish directors Jonaas Pajunen and Max Seeck, family drama and damaged  relationships enter new threatening realms of horror. 

This year there are three Discovery screens and films to look out for include quirky action  comedy fantasy, MINORE, FrightFest’s first Greek entry, POUNDCAKE, a killer satire mixing  stalk-and-slash with political discourse, edgy noir thriller WHAT YOU WISH FOR,  hallucinogenic psychological horror BLACK MOLD, paranormal thriller SPOOKT, bloody sci -fi shocker THORNS, FrightFest Glasgow hit HERE FOR BLOOD and THE BLACK MASS, the highly anticipated true-crime directorial debut of genre staple Devanny Pinn.  

The States, always brimming with genre talent, continues to provide sparkling examples of  innovation including Zach Passero’s THE WEIRD KIDZ, where adventure, urban legend and  horror blend into a wonderful comedic animated experience. There are also World premieres  for Clare Cooney’s DEPARTING SENIORS, a deft melding of knife-edge terror with the  horrors of high school, and Ariel Vida’s TRIM SEASON, inspired by the true story of missing  women from Humboldt County, California. Plus, there ‘s an international premiere for Austin  Jennings EIGHT EYES, which twists into nightmarish new shapes.  

FrightFest’s First Blood strand continues to thrive and will showcase four films from hot new  directors – Chris Cronin’s haunting THE MOOR, Tariq Sayed’s ISAAC, starring Johnny Vivash  and Catriona MacColl, Tony Devlin’s THE GLENARMA TAPES, the latest film to be produced  through Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus initiative, and Dominic O’Neill’s HAUNTED ULSTER LIVE, inspired by the iconic BBC series Ghostwatch.  

Pius, there is a special retrospective screening of Lewis Teague’s 1980 cult monster movie  ALIGATOR and an exclusive IT FOLLOWS 4K RESTORATION World Premiere event.  

The festival guest line-up and full details for the Short Film Showcase events will be revealed  soon.

Passes on sale from Sat 15 July, noon  

Single tickets on sale from Sat 22 July, noon  

For booking and programme details: https://www.frightfest.co.uk 

Twitter: @frightfest | IG: @frightfestUK  

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.