“No Selfies on the Red Carpet” says the 2016 Cannes welcome package this year contained in the OK tie-in shoulder bag. In a variety of colours, including two shades of blue, yellow and pink. You can imagine the favourites, with theushers in their swanky new blue and white outfits (so that’s where all the money goes!) already bored with everyone swapping wanting the darker blue version.

So here we are, Team FrightFest is back in Cannes to take a look at all the new genre movies on offer. In truth we had already seen a lot before arriving mainly because we wanted to be as organized as possible. There’s enough to do this year what with the Shepherd’s Bush move and everything else. But a few of the higher end titles escaped us mainly because their sales agents insisted on us seeing them on the biggest screen possible.  Fair enough. Shock horror though, one of our favourite cinemas, The Star, that has been the location of our best viewing experiences on the French Riviera has closed down, meaning the market hub is now solely the Olympia multiplex on the Rue D’Antibes, or in the Palais du Festival itself.

Every year they change the ticketing system for some reason. This year they think that putting repeat showings of all the competition movies straight after their world premieres is going to ease demand and cause less stress. Also some people can pre-book tickets, others can’t, and many arguments have been breaking out over who exactly chooses what seems to be an arbitrary pecking order. Let’s see if that situation does mean less flashpoints. Frankly there are only three movies I want to see in the Cine Lumiere and that’s Steven Spielberg’s hugely anticipated THE BFG, Pedro Almodovar’s latest Spanish flop JULIETA and of course my friend Nicolas Winding Refn’s THE NEON DEMON, that everyone is expecting to be ‘le scandale du Festival’ due to a sex scene I won’t describe until after it has hit the main critical zeitgeist.

The weather is pretty dire too. Rather cold, rainy and overcast – good conditions for constant movie-watching, not so great for those outdoor party activities that increasingly fuel this event. As long as we don’t have a repeat of the ‘Day of the Wet Socks’ disaster a few years ago all should be good. Luckily the British Pavilion handed out free umbrellas last night so that’s a plus factor. Can always rely on the Brit-Pav for an endless supply of biscuits too, the receptionists now just roll their eyes and hand them over every time we arrive.

The first day was a pretty calm one and so far we’ve collectively seen Paul Verhoeven’s ELLE, Bryan Bertino’s THERE ARE MONSTERS, Mike Mendez’ DON’T KILL IT, Caradog James’ DON”T KNOCK TWICE, Scott Wheeler’s ATTACK OF THE KILLER DONUTS and Billy O’Brien’s I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. Oh, the difference between these Postcards and past ones is we are not going to give the plots or our opinions on everything we’ve seen. Last year we had a rather nasty run in with one sales agent over one particular film – that still hasn’t come out by the way anywhere in the world – so we are erring on the side of discretion. (We don’t want to scupper any chance of showing the crème de la crème in August either).

A quick trawl through the market stands has unearthed some interesting items though. There’s the Anne Heche SF comedy ALIENated, the sequel to STAKE LAND, titled THE STAKELANDER that will continue the saga of the post-apocalyptic indie hit and reunite the behind the camera team as much as possible, and MOHAWK, from the WE ARE STILL HERE mob. TRENCH II looks interesting – “Violence is Contagious”, as does Jaume Balaguero’s MUSE, Carson Mell’s ANOTHER EVIL, Vardan Todzija’s AMOK, which we are being told is the bloodiest movie ever, and the currently shooting SELFIE FROM HELL, FUSE and RESIDUE, the latter three from our good friends Industryworks, the AMERICAN MARY producers.

Yesterday we heard the news that FrightFest fave Patricio Valladares (HIDDEN IN THE WOODS) won’t be coming to Cannes for his Blood Window screening of DOWNHILL as his wife is just about to give birth to a baby girl. So I’ve been entrusted with giving his new shocker the introduction send off it deserves on Sunday evening while other festivals are doing the same for the Latin American newbies TERROR 5, CHAMELEON, WE ARE THE FLESH and BENAVIDEZ’S CASE. Delighted to do so as Patricio has always been so great to me at Ventana Sur in Argentina and I want to make sure his latest movie gets noticed.


Until next time..


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