Now in its 19th year The Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 has announced its line-up and will run, as is now traditional, over the August Bank Holiday weekend from the 23rd to the 28th at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema.

And with the genre in rude commercial and creative health, thanks to good box office returns for IT, A Quiet Place and Hereditary (among others) combined with (generally) positive critical reception, there’s a genuine feeling of anticipation and expectation surrounding this year’s festival.

Of course, we have been here before. Horror as flavour of the month and, as is the way of things, the zeitgeist will move on. However, this isn’t a zero point; quality genre films were being made (and so was money) before, and inventive, challenging and intelligent films will continue to be made after.

However, there is a real buzz about horror at the moment and there will be some, curious about the festival and tempted to see what it’s all about. They should do so, to paraphrase Helllraiser’s Pinhead - there are such sights to show you!
The Ranger kicks of proceedings with director by Jenn Wexler’s - who if the first female director to open FrightFest - debut 80’s punk and horror influenced slasher. Closing the festival is Gaspar Noé’s Climax. Noé’s reputation as a singular auteur goes well before him and this is probably one of the most anticipated films this year.

Female directors have always featured highly at FrighFest and this year, there are European premieres for Mitzi Peirone’s Braid, Aislinn Clark’s possession tale The Devil’s Doorway, and contributions to the anthology The Field Guide to Evil which receives its UK premiere.

The Raw Talent strand I would suggest is probably one of the most important giving up and coming talent a valuable platform. The four films Perfect Skin, The Devil’s Doorway, Ctrl and F.U.B.A.R are incredibly diverse. Linked to these from my personal point of view are the three short film showcases which I suspect will have a mixture of experienced and new filmmakers grappling with this challenging format. This is always a highlight and details will follow as soon as they are released.

There’s a plethora of foreign language films; the curious The Most Assassinated Woman in the World from Belgium. Terrified from Argentina seems to be doing just that - watch the trailer, while Crystal Eyes looks a gialloesque sparkler.

Documentaries? There’s Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years and one about the festival itself, FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema. And with the Scala Cinema having such close links to the origins of the festival there are two films typical of that venue’s repertoire Blue Sunshine and The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle.
Others that catch the eye are Stewart Sparke’s Book of Monsters, Heretiks, and the South African debut Tolkolshie. Animation is riding a creative wave so Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires could be interesting.

There’s also interviews, special guests and events, strange and not so strange giveaways at some screenings. These all go towards creating an inclusive and friendly festival ambience that other festivals don’t quite manage.
Festival and day passes are already on sale, with single tickets available from 21 July.

The official FrightFest 2018 painting is by Graham Humphreys.