FrightFest was originally conceived by Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray and Alan Jones and staged its first event in 2000 at the Prince Charles cinema, off London’s Leicester Square. Its August Bank Holiday weekend date has remained a fixture ever since. Greg Day, their long-serving PR man, joined the company as a co-director in 2006.
The objective of FrightFest was to provide the UK with a horror fantasy festival of similar stature to the market leaders in Europe, Sitges (Spain) and Brussels (Belgium). FrightFest has since evolved into a community where audiences and guests alike travel from all over the world to be part of the event’s unique atmosphere.
Due to rapidly increasing audiences and its burgeoning reputation as a must-attend event, FrightFest moved home to Screen One of the Odeon West End, Leicester Square in 2005 and staged the LAND OF THE DEAD premiere, with legendary icon George Romero in attendance. 2006 found FrightFest having to move again to the larger Screen Two auditorium in the Odeon West End and extending its length from four to five days. This was a banner year with the second only screening of PAN’S LABYRINTH after its Cannes Film Festival debut. Director Guillermo del Toro attending for the second time that year called FrightFest “The Woodstock of Gore” and the audience sang Happy Birthday to 'Starsky & Hutch' icon David Soul.
2009 marked Film4 FrightFest’s biggest leap in their 10th anniversary year. Moving just a couple of hundred yard across Leicester Square, the festival upgraded to the UK’s largest traditional cinema screen at the Empire Cinema. This heralded the most ambitious line-up of new genre movies ever presented in the heart of London’s glittering West End. A second and third screens soon followed with the addition of the popular Discovery and ReDiscovery strands
After five exciting years at the Empire Cinema where additional films and extra screenings were added to the line-up, FrightFest was on the move again, this time 100 yards along Leicester Square to the VUE, West End, a state of the art multiplex. There FrightFest settled into five of the cinema's nine screens. Taking advantage of the additional space FrightFest expanded again increasing the number of films featured to 74 over the event's action packed five days.
Outside of the main August event FrightFest also stages a Halloween extravaganza and hosts a regular two-day terror-thon at the Glasgow Film Festival every February. FrightFest also organises special events, which have included Dario Argento at the Coronet, Notting Hill Gate, DRAG ME TO HELL with Sam Raimi, HOSTEL Day, DEAD Day, An Evening with Jessica Alba, Clive Barker in Discussion, COLD IN JULY with director Jim Mickle and co-presenting the Italian rock band Goblin in concert. FrightFest has also launched Jake West's two VIDEO NASTIES documentaries and hosted the world premieres of Neil Marshall's THE DESCENT and Chris Smith’s BLACK DEATH starring Eddie Redmayne,
Ian Rattray is a film booker, film distributor, filmmaker and designer with almost thirty years experience within the UK film industry.
Ian runs his-own film booking and distribution company and also makes transport films that sell around the world.
He is the editor of this website, which he has also built and designed.
He manages several other website and is also the co-editor of the Strathspey Express.
Alan Jones is an internationally renowned journalist, broadcaster and author on the fantasy, horror and sci-fi genres in all media. He has written seven books including the best-selling THE ROUGH GUIDE TO HORROR MOVIES, DARIO ARGENTO: THE MAN and THE MYTHS & THE MAGIC.
A mainstay of the genre press for over 40 years he has also contributed to ‘Empire’, ‘Total Film’, ‘Wonderland’, ‘Heat’, ‘GQ’, ‘The Independent’ and ‘The Guardian’. He is a member of the London Critics Circle and has been on the juries of every major global fantasy festival including Sitges, Avoriaz, Fantasporto, Buenos Aires, Trieste and Rome.
He is currently a film critic for ‘Radio Times’, is executive producer of the BLOODY LONDON anthology franchise and has just collaborated with DRIVE director Nicolas Winding Refn on the art project THE ACT OF SEEING to be launched late 2015.
Paul McEvoy is one of the original founders and a co-director of Film4 FrightFest.
He was Programming Co-ordinator for the UK Horror Channel and for many years was co-owner of the highly successful Cinema Store.
He is now freelancing on various film and television projects.
Greg Day is an experienced film and Television publicist who has worked with Dario Argento, George Romero. Alejandro Jodorowsky and Columbia Pictures.
He is a former head of entertainment publicity at Channel 4 and head of Dram and Entertainment PR at FIVE.
He currently runs Clout Communications Ltd, whose current clients include Derren Brown, The Horror Channel, Nucleus Films, film directors Howard Ford, Simon Rumley & Jake West, and actress/presenter Emily Booth.
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