Films

The 10 scariest, must-see horror movies at London’s Frightfest film festival

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Gary Ogden
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I love scary movies, but because I’ve seen so many of them, it’s made me ultra, mega hard and now nothing scares me anymore. The latest Insidious chapter? Easy. The Conjuring 8? Reckon I can handle it. Some 12A remake of a classic? Don’t even need to bother.

So where do I go for my proper horror movies? I go to the Horror Channel Frightfest, every year, that’s where I go. Where else am I going to find all the latest, top-dollar horror flicks if they’re not appearing in my local multiplex?

The Horror Channel Frightfest is the UK’s biggest horror film festival, and takes place over five days during the August bank holiday weekend, this year rolling into the Cineworld and Prince Charles cinemas in Leicester Square. It’s chock-full of celeb appearances, Q&As, DVD/merch stands and probably like one or two people who really smell (me).

You can grab tickets to individual films, full days or – if you reckon your arse can handle it – a whole weekend pass.

Anyway, to whet your appetite, here are the films you’ll want to be checking out this year…

1. Death Note

I know what I just said about remakes (instantly contradicting myself, that’s real journalism), but this one looks great. It’s based on the Japanese manga series and essentially revolves around a young bloke who finds a book that kills whoever’s name is written inside. So he obviously murders a bunch of people with it. The original was hella creepyand this update is directed by Adam Wingard, who you’ll know as being the scary-pants man behind scary-pants films like Blair Witch and You’re Next. So fingers crossed for more hella creepiness.

 

2. Replace

Wouldn’t it be bad if all your skin just started falling off one day? Yes it would, it would be very bad. But what if you found that if you took other people’s skin, you could replenish your own? Would you go on a killing spree? Maybe, but let’s not get into that, I’d rather you kept that to yourself. Either way, that’s what this disgusting film is all about.

 

3. It Stains The Sands Red

Did you see It Follows? If so, you’ll know that sloooow can be just as scary as fast. Never stopping, always shuffling forward, no escape. This post-apocalyptic zombie flick takes that idea and, erm, walks with it, as we follow a poor young survivor as she’s relentlessly pursued across the desert by a single, determined zombie. It’s like that person who continually messages you on Tinder even though you’ve ignored their last 30 messages.

4. Killing Ground

The Aussies are great at horror, but you often don’t get to see their stuff unless you actively seek it out. However, one of the breakout hits from Down Under was Wolf Creek, a terrifying outback-set thriller about a group of backpackers being hunted a psychopath. This film looks to share the same kind of feel to it, as well as seeming like a bit of an Australian Eden Lake. And from my complex deductions, I can therefore state that it will be “good”. Most likely “great”.

5. Double Date

Bit of light relief for you now – always nice to have a chill out session in between all the death and despair. A good comedy horror is hard to do right (*ahem* Lesbian Vampire Killers) but this one looks like it might be on the right track, and main star Danny Morgan is a very underrated actor. The story follows a desperate bloke who is determined to lose his virginity before his 30th birthday, only this is a horror film, so things obviously go wrong and chances are he probably gets his knob ripped off or something.

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6. Mayhem

Imagine your office suddenly becoming infected with a mega virus that made everyone turn into base monsters fuelled only by their deepest urges?

IT WOULD BE LIKE THE CHRISTMAS PARTY ALL OVER AGAIN, PLONK!

But no, that’s what happens in this mega gore-fest starring poor old Glenn from The Walking Dead, that looks to play like a cross between Office Space and Battle Royale – so, very similar to this year’s Belko Experiment. That was quite good though, so hey, this one might be too.

7. Cult Of Chucky

Look, you can’t go wrong with a Chucky film (OK, Seed of Chucky not withstanding), and the last entry, Curse Of Chucky brought the franchise back to its scary roots after the har-de-hars and yuk-de-yuks of Bride and Seed. It was way better than anyone thought it’d be, and somehow they managed to wring a bunch of genuine scares out of a character whose rep wasn’t exactly as strong as some other franchise linchpins. The same team are back, both in front of and behind the cameras, so I’m confident we’ll get another strong entry with this one.

 

8. Leatherface

There are only three good Texas Chainsaw Massacre films: the first one, the second one, and yes, the remake. All the others are pretty dire, as it happens. But hey, this one is directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the guys behind the French shocker Inside (the remake of which is also showing at this year’s festival), so it’s certainly in capable hands.

This one goes right back to before Leatherface was Leatherface, so hopefully it’ll look at the characters and story with a different angle than usual. Either way, I’m excited.

Of course, whenever I get excited about something, it’s always a let down, so I might as well apologise in advance. Sorry.

9. Boots On The Ground

Hmmm, found footage movies. Often shit, rarely good. However, sometimes good (The Blair Witch Project, REC, V/H/S, Lake Mungo). This one, who knows? The trailer looks promising though, and I’m still behind the whole soldier-horror sub-genre, so that’s not stale yet – hopefully both the features will meld to make a good one. 

Also, I do noooot like the look of that thing at the end of the trailer. Reminds me of an ex.

 

10. Meatball Machine Kodoku

I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE BUT I WANT TO SEE IT.

That’s a good lot to be getting on with, and really, it’s just a tiny handful of the 50+ movies playing over the weekend. To check out the rest head on to the Horror Channel Frightfest site over here, and to grab your tickets, head here.

See you there! Bring nappies!

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", PDAs, not having eczema anymore, hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the eczema thing though. @garyblogden

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