FrightFest 2022 wrap-up

Another FrightFest has come and gone. And boy howdy, this was a good one! The best of new horror cinema was being premiered in London, and I heard some whisperings about some really good films coming our way.

My budget (as usual) was too small to see a lot, but the four films I did see all left me feeling very satisfied. Long live horror, ya’ll!

Dark Glasses (Occhiali neri) dir. by Dario Argento

It has been a decade since the maestro came out with a film. This time, we see Argento returning to his giallo roots. Dark Glasses follows a sex worker as she is pursued by a killer. One of the attacks results in her being blind, forcing her to rely on others for help and learn to manoeuvre the world in the dark.

Dark Glasses has many of the usual Argento hallmarks: children being pals with blind people, German shepherds, excellent soundtracks, etc. However, the film lacks style. It’s not a particularly beautiful film to look at. While set in Rome, there is very little use of the Roman architecture. The story is solid, but perhaps nothing that we haven’t seen before. (Bad pun not intended.)

But it is good to have Argento back. The last I saw him at FrightFest, he was there to promote his new autobiography (Fear, which I recommend if you can find a copy) and tease this film. He exclusively revealed that he will be working on a film in Paris next year, supposedly a remake of a 1940s Mexican thriller. As long as he’s willing to work, I’m here to watch.

Watch the trailer here. Coming to Shudder on 13 October.

The Cult of VHS dir. by Rob Preciado

“It’s like vinyl if vinyl kinda sucked.”

VHS collectors seem like a nice, but odd bunch. Director Rob Preciado introduces us to some of them from around the world in his documentary The Cult of VHS.

The documentary covers the passionate collectors as well as topics like the Video Nasty era in Britain, SOV films and cover art. It’s a nostalgia-soaked ride through video stores and garbage bins.

I was shocked to learn how many films have never been given a digital transfer. These collectors may well be the protectors of the history of cinema! But beware: this documentary may give those of us who love physical media the desire to pick up a new bad habit.

Watch the trailer here.

Torn Hearts dir. by Bea Grant

Ambitious country duo Torn Hearts are looking for their big break in Nashville. And they think they might have found it when one of them finds the address for a genre icon. But the Torn Hearts find more than they bargained for when they arrive at Harper Dutch’s front door.

This is a wild and crazy ride. Katey Sagal gives one hell of a performance as Harper. But beyond the Sunset Boulevard-style story, there’s plenty of subtext here about how industries like country music pit women against each other. If you’re looking for a fun thriller (with great music and costumes to boot), Torn Hearts is for you.

Also: more regional horror like this, please!

Watch the trailer here. (Beware: it gives a lot away!) Available to buy, stream and rent in the US now. No UK release date.

Barbarian dir. by Zach Cregger

Reviews on Barbarian are currently embargoed until the 9th. But honestly, I’m not sure I would want to say anything that would give away this totally, utterly bananas movie.

I will say this: Barbarian surprised me at every turn. Go see this one blind. Don’t even bother with the trailer! Without a doubt, I know this movie is making my top five of the year.

In US theatres on September 9th. No UK release date.

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