Awards & Festivals

THE MINDS BEHIND THE MAYHEM

Ahead of this years Mayhem, we spoke to co-founders Chris Cooke and Steven Sheil to find out a little more about the festival and gain insight into their horror tastes.

How did the Mayhem Film Festival come about?

Steven Sheil: It came from talking about festivals we used to go to and thinking ‘why isn’t there something like that here?’

Chris Cooke: We used to do all nighters at each others’ houses where we just used to watch loads of films. It’s nice to be able to sit with audiences and show films that aren’t going to be released until 2014, and to bring in guests who have made those films, who want to represent them and tell stories about how they were made.

What sort of films can we expect from this year’s Mayhem?

CC: We’ve got Spanish, American, French and Belgian cinema next to brand new British stuff. It’s about giving people that variety. It’s not all gore and demons, but we’ve got that. It’s not all naked space vampires, but we’ve got that too. It’s also thrillers, science-fiction, ghosts and things that are genuinely unsettling. Everything is completely different and original.

It’s not all gore and demons, but we’ve got that. It’s not all naked space vampires, but we’ve got that too. It’s also thrillers, science-fiction, ghosts and things that are genuinely unsettling.

What films are you most excited about at this year’s festival?

SS: Wake in Firght. It’s an Australian film from the 70s which was lost for decades and recently got rediscovered. It’s a fantastic grim story about a teacher who has an awful weekend in an Australian town. It’s a great film about Australia and masculinity, and it’s beautifully shot.

CC: Delivery is also a really refreshing found-footage film. It’s formatted like a pilot to a reality TV show about a young couple having their first child, only everything goes horrendously wrong. It’s genuinely disturbing. The director is coming over from the States to introduce and talk about the film, so that’s well worth watching.

When I got my first portable TV, all I would watch was old, black-and-white Universal monster movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and Wolfman.

What were the films which first exposed you to the world of horror?

CC: When I got my first portable TV, all I would watch was old, black-and-white Universal monster movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and Wolfman.

SS: My first exposure was the Video Nasty era, that came in conjunction with us getting our first VHS player and there was only a handful of tapes you could get: Halloween, Evil Deadm Scanners and the Exterminator.

Who would be your dream guest at a Mayhem screening?

SS: Dario Argento or John Carpenter, both would be very good.

CC: Peter Cushing. It’s his centenary this year, he’s a great horror icon.

Sam Todd

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