FrightFest 2021 announces its format, and the first wave of its programme
Horror thrives on uncertainty. It is the genre that confronts its viewers with irresolution and ambiguity. It derives its power – its very meaning – from the darkness. It culls the confident while allowing to survive only those flexible enough to channel, mirror or adapt to the unknown.
FrightFest, the UK’s largest festival of fantasy and horror, has itself had to adapt to the complications of Coronavirus – a shape-shifting pandemic killer which does not recognise the principle of ‘safety in numbers’, and makes festival gatherings a risky business. So while the August Bank Holiday weekend is always the centrepiece of FrightFest’s annual events, and in normal times sees a flood of genre freaks pouring into Leicester Square, last year it moved entirely online, in a format which guaranteed that a selection of new horror titles could be viewed while social distancing was also observed.
This year, as the vaccine takes hold and restrictions are lifted, FrightFest 2021 is coming to us in hybrid form. The live event will be returning from 26th to 30th August, showcasing 50+ new fantastique features from the UK and around the world, as well as shorts, trailers, Q&As – and for those then unavailable, unvaccinated or otherwise anxious about joining crowds, or just for those who want to catch up on what they have missed, the films will also be available to view online the following week (1st to 5th September)
In keeping with this biform nature of FrightFest 2021, its programme is also being split into two parts, with the first tranche of 25 features announced on their website today (including Neill Blomkamp’s opener Demonic and Rob Jabbaz’s closer The Sadness), and the remainder in a few weeks. Given the precarity of these uncertain times, the August live event – though always the festival’s most desirable instantiation – comes under something of a shadow, but no matter what happens between now and then, FrightFest has us covered. Conversely, I’ll have FrightFest covered, right here.
For programme and booking details, visit FrightFest’s official website
© Anton Bitel