Earlier this year, I found myself talking with Alex Davis, the organiser of Edge Lit and horror columnist at Ginger Nuts Of Horror, about American Guinea Pig: The Song Of Solomon (currently running an Indiegogo campaign here). As he was describing the film, I thought ‘I don’t think I need to see this’ and it was at this point I decided I was no longer the person to be programming a monthly horror film strand!
So as of 23rd June and Fright Club’s screening of Creepshow, I will be handing the programming duties over to someone new, Adam Crowther (long time Fright Club fan and QUAD staff member). Darrell Buxton will still be on hand to offer programming advice and deliver his in depth introductions to the films placing them in context in the world of horror so no need to fret.
The first couple of new Fright Club films will be announced at the screening of Creepshow on the 23rd June.
Finishing up programming this strand got me thinking about if there is anything that I wanted to screen but didn’t screen during the 7 years of programming this strand. Anyway what started as an idle wondering over the films I had screened turned into a trip down memory lane of the first 7 years of Fright Club and over 160 films.
The early rumblings of a dedicated night for horror films at QUAD started during the summer of 2009. Screenings of Maytrs (2008), Orphan (2009) and the Coffin Joe film Embodiment Of Evil (2008) on release starting the gears turning. In October that year, I programmed an Extreme season which incorporated Salo (1975), Seul Contre Tous (1998) and In The Realm Of The Senses (1976). It was also the month that Dead And Breakfast, the all night horror marathon began (zombie themed for the first year – Brain Dead (1992), The Return Of The Living Dead (1985), Pontypool (2008), Colin (2008), Shaun Of The Dead (2004)).
On the back of the success of Dead And Breakfast, we launched a four week film course entitled Fright Club. To accompany the course we screened four films including Vinyan (2008), The Pit And The Pendulum (1961), Thirst (2009) and The Thing (1982).
After judging the success of these screening we launched as a monthly night mixing classic horror fare with new releases. Our first film was Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) in February 2010. Followed by two month of new releases with the British horror Exam (2009) and Ti West’s The House Of The Devil (2009). In September of 2010, we went weekly! We screened 25 films between September and Christmas 2010. Then in the 2011 we experimented with Double Bills and had a run of six months of pairing new horror with old.
There is a list of all the films that we screened at the end of this piece but I thought I would pick out some highlights. We had a couple of Director Q&As including the late Robin Hardy for a screening of the Director’s cut of The Wicker Man and a Skype Q&A with director Lewis Jackson.
As anyone who has attended a Dead And Breakfast all nighter knows I like a gimmick or two. For one of the Friday the 13ths we screened a retro 3D screening of Friday the 13th Part 3D, we set up the Box as a Video Shop for a rare screening at Fantastiq of Siege (aka Self-Defence) (1983), we headed out of the QUAD building for a screening of Planet Of The Vampires (1965) at Derby’s Museum And Art Gallery and we gave away free bubble gum for a screening of They Live (1988).
Personal highlights for me are seeing Dario Argento’s masterpieces like Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980) and my fave Deep Red (1975) on the big screen. Screening both the original Cat People (1942) and the Paul Schrader remake from 1982. Having the opportunity to see horror classics like The Exorcist (1973), Hellraiser (1987), Dawn Of The Dead (1978), The Brood (1979) as wells as discovering new horror like Pontypool (2008), The Strange Colour Of Your Bodies Tears (2013), It Follows (2014), Housebound (2014) and the massively underrated Excision (2012). It has been a great run of programming and has been a genuine delight bringing horror back onto the cinema screens in a regular fashion.
I do regret not being able to screen a season of Universal Horror Films that we had lined up for June 2017 (embargoed due to the new Tom Cruise Mummy film). And I always wanted to show Bride Of Chucky. Who knows maybe I can still squeeze some of these into the Dead And Breakfast line ups.
Of course this is just the end for me programming Fright Club, it is not the end of Fright Club. I’m really looking forward to attending future screenings as a punter and having other people introduce me to new and old horror films.
-Adam J Marsh