Film & TV

Mayhem Festival 2011 – Preview

If you’re a fan of shocks, guts and gore then pause that VHS copy of The Evil Dead and get on down to Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema at the end of October – the Mayhem Horror Film Festival is back and it’s bigger than ever. Supported by BAFTA and EM MEDIA, not only is this one of the biggest events in Nottingham’s cultural calendar but also one of the fastest growing film festivals in the UK. Running at Broadway Cinema for five days from Thursday 27th to Monday 31st October (seriously, when else would you hold a horror festival?) punters are promised exclusive previews, Q&As with the filmmakers and some very special guests. In the following article IMPACT takes a look at what’s on offer this year.

Initially, on Friday 7th Oct at 10.30pm there is a ‘warm-up’ screening of the ultra-creepy The Woman, from director Lucky McKee. It’ll be a chance to pick up a hard copy of the festival brochure and there will also be some prizes to accompany the film.

The marquee attractions of any Film Festival are of course the exclusive previews of upcoming films, some of which won’t be on general release till 2012. And this year Mayhem offers some real gems. Opening the festival, BAFTA presents a new British feature called The Awakening, from first time feature director Nick Murphy. Starring Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina BarcelonaThe Prestige) and Dominic West (300The Wire) – set in post First World War London, this is an old fashioned ghost story about a teacher determined to disprove the supposed haunting of a school, there will also be a Q&A with director Nick Murphy after the film. Incidentally, the screenwriter of The Awakening, Stephen Volk, will be hosting a screening of his still-banned-on-the-BBC Ghostwatch.

Perhaps the most tantalising prospect of this year’s events is a screening of The Wicker Tree, the long awaited follow up to the British cult classic The Wicker Man (no, not the Nicolas Cage one). Director Robin Hardy will be there to discuss the new addition to his cinematic legacy of eerie, religious, Scottish horror. Not a sequel in the strictest sense of the word, this promises to be a satirical companion piece to its predecessor that only lat week scared this writer half to death.


This brings us to one of the festival’s highlights, the intriguingly named Theatre Bizarre. Here’s the description from the press release…

Breathing new life into the anthology film with a series of stunningly effective tales from a terrific line-up of directors and a blend of brutal, bloody and brilliant stories – the most essential slice of genre cinema this year.

This is one not to miss. Not only does it include a cult cast and a narrative that asks about the very nature of horror cinema itself, but it also made two patrons faint at a cinema in Germany – reason enough for horror-fans to give it a go.

Another for fans of all things spooky is the aptly named Ghost Stories for Halloween, starting at 8pm on Monday 31st October, the final day of the festival – leading horror author Niki Valentine will host an evening of haunting tales and live readings, as well as a series of screenings of cult television ghost stories. This is one of the festival’s free events, others include the ‘Laser Maze – a fear filled fun house of ghosts and games’, and a party in the Café Bar to celebrate the centenary of Vincent Price with prizes for the best fancy dress.

Hopefully this little preview has wet your appetites and believe me, having read the six-page press release I can tell you what I’ve mentioned so far only scratches the surface. Impact will be running live-coverage during the event, in the meantime: full listings, ticket prices and booking can be found by clicking the link below:

And here’s the link to the Mayhem Festival official website, complete with all the info you could want:

Keep an eye on the Impact website, within the next couple of weeks we will be running a competition to win a FULL FESTIVAL PASS to Mayhem this year, value of £55.

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Tom is a budding film reviewer, hell bent on providing informed opinions on the latest movie releases to those who need them, whether they like it or not.

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