What is it like to be a horror reviewer? 10 hours a day, up to five days per festival, watching your favorite genre and then writing about it – doesn't it sound like a dream job?
The festivals have apparently been suspended due to recent events, but the virtual ones are continuing, as shown by the FrightFest virtual demonstration last month.
Horror reviewing is fun, but you need to be organized. Before the festival even starts, you are expected to plan your sightseeing for the entire festival to make sure nothing is overlooked, especially controversial films.
You will then sit down at 9am to take notes on a slasher while most (normal) people finish breakfast. You will review five features per day plus short films and lectures, and then conclude with a midnight screening – – and expects to take accurate notes on all of them! After a review for Horror-on-Sea, FrightFest, and the former Bram Stoker International Film Festival in Whitby (the writer's favorite vacation spot), there are a few short cuts I can pass on.
Usually there is an opening night dressup, so you will need a horror outfit. If you've always wanted some false claws as Freddy, a baggy sweater as Nancy, or a creepy nurse from Silent Hill, this is your chance. During horror talks, you'll hear directors and writers talk about what inspired them and when they wanted to give up on the set and go home.
There are the great films that you will remember all your life, as well as the slightly surreal moments when you find yourself in the audience alongside the Human Centipede trilogy Laurence R. Harvey. There are the nice people you will meet, the freebies to collect (themed t-shirts, hospital bags for the audience, key rings) and even the memorable hecklers in the audience. You will meet filmmakers and film haters and see the disasters why someone wrote or even made this film in the first place.
Festivals also have disadvantages. There is little time for toilet breaks and long queues for the loos between the performances. Therefore, examiners must remember not to drink too much water or energy drinks to survive these midnight performances.
Another disadvantage is the lack of sleep after a few days, which can make it difficult to sit through what is still shining Another Film about whatever your least favorite genre is. If you hate slashers (say) and have to see three a day – screeching girls in need being sliced and diced by masked killers – your idea of a good time is not good, be ready to sit tight .
There can be some disturbing moments in real life, such as when, in a large, packed demonstration, a user collapsed and his moans for help merged into the feature's screening sound effects so well that no one noticed. Fortunately, after an ambulance called, it was announced that, to everyone's relief, they would be recovering.
Greg Day, MD of Clout Communications and Co-Director of FrightFest said:
“At previous FrightFest events over the years we have had print, broadcast and digital journalists who return to the festival every year. They say they enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere and have become part of the FrightFest family just like the fans. We have some who have been with us for years. "
“Since our August event was virtual this year due to the pandemic, we suffered from print (reporting) but the amount we received from websites and blogs has increased. Much more reviews were also published as reviewers didn't have to pay for travel or accommodation to watch our movies. So there was a level playing field for everyone. "
About Nina Romain
Nina Romain is living proof that young kids in Alabama shouldn't be treated as trick or treating in the 1980s – they tend to be obsessed with the creepier side of Halloween! Her horror shorts are typically shot half on the sour side of Los Angeles and half on the darker side of the UK, including the UK's "busiest" village at Fright Corner.
She recently completed her latest LA found footage of a romantic Valentine's Day going terribly wrong and shot it in Lockdown London (www.raindance.org/shooting-in-a-ghost-town). More information is available at: www.girlfright.com