As much as I spend my life surrounded by film fanatics and people who devour the macabre magic of horror movies like Linnea Quigley would brains, I am under no illusion that most people
would struggle to get their head around why anyone would want to go out of their way to attend a film festival, let alone a horror film one. Sure, pretty much everybody enjoys a leisurely Friday night cinema trip, but sat in a dark crowded room watching nothing but people screaming and revving chainsaws on the big screen for three whole days does admittedly sound a little bit weird… Just a little bit. I would have to do more than slightly bend the truth to say this is not the case. However, there is so much more to these types of shin digs, and after personally attending them up and down the country for over ten years, I would like to think that the diverse crowds I now see flocking to horror film festivals mean that peoples perceptions of them are hopefully changing for the better.
I must admit, I love cinemas, obviously I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to spend a whole weekend in one, but being a child growing up with ADHD sitting in a dark movie theatre was one of the few times I could really just switch off and fully focus on what was in front of me. As a 29 year old adult, not much has changed, movies are my life, they are pretty much my favourite art form and spending a weekend watching any kind of movie surrounded by like minded film fans wearing cult movie T-shirts of films I thought nobody else even knew existed, always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Film festivals also bring all types of folk together, but one of the things I love the most about them, is that they gather together the real fans, the people who love this shit because they genuinly love it, not because its seen as cool, or trendy or hipster, but because they genuinely think movies are the coolest thing ever and only the most certified and hardcore of movie fans want to spend a whole weekend watching them back to back. Combine that with good food and drink, special guests, Q&A’s with film makers, awesome merchandise and blue ray stalls and you pretty much got me and my gang from the get go.
Now its been a really good couple years for us here at Slime House TV. We have been very lucky to have been given some amazing opportunities to report on some of the biggest and best film festivals up and down the country, and it always gives me great pleasure when I open an email from one of these festivals to see we have been invited to come along and cover one of their events.
This time was no exception, infact this time I was even more excited than usual because as a Sheffield local, this is a festival that I have watched grow from the very beginning, one I have seen get bigger and better every year, and although I have attended many times over the years as a fan and supporter of the weekend, this time being granted press pass access marked the beginning of an official working relationship with the organisers and their incredible events staff.
This is a festival I personally hold very close to my heart and with the event being held annually on the weekend that preludes all hallows eve AKA the most wonderful time of the year for us degenerate horror film fans, my yearly Halloween celebrations would not feel quite complete without it. So for the last eight years, regardless of whatever else creeps up out of them grumpled fallen leaves of autum, my October has always belonged to an awesome little film festival, called Celluloid Screams…
Well… It started out as little, eight years later, Celluloid Screams is now absolutely huge, and thats not even me exaggerating, literally the ques to get into some of the film screenings this year were almost spilling out of the front doors. When the Showroom announced that this years festival passes had sold out in record timing, they definitely weren’t kidding, and you really would have to see it to believe how passionate and dedicated the hundreds of festival attendees are about this awesome weekend. Like I mentioned earlier, when I first started coming to festivals a decade ago, it was pretty much a very niche audience that attended these things, but these days you can find a much more diverse crowd of people enjoying them.
I also mentioned earlier about T-shirts really being a big deal at horror film festivals, well its always a good indicator of a loyal fan base when you see festival goers wearing Celluloid Screams weekend T-shirts from events going all the way back to them very first O.G years, well I always spot more than a good few of these T-shirts being worn here and it never ceases to instantly remind me that I am surrounded by dudes and dudettes who have been coming back to this wild n’ out weekend for as long as I have.
Its’ no secret that 2017 was a very good year for classic Horror movies, with Clive Barkers chilling masterpiece Hellraiser celebrating its 30th anniversary and Darios Argento’s ‘Susperia’ getting a beautiful new 4K release, I was pretty sure that we would get to see at least one of these brand new prints on the big screen at this years event, however I should have known that with this festival never doing things by half, and never wanting disappoint, that they would in-fact have not one, but both of these stunning releases on their schedule this year. After all, this is Celluloid Screams that we are talking about.
It was only fitting that these two cult classics be the theme of this years event. Everything from the decoration of the building, to the name of the food and drinks on the menu at the bar followed suite. The floor of the Showroom cinemas restaurant being made to match the floor tiles of the Susperia ballet school being one of my personal favourite touches. Its all about the small details, something that the Celluloid Screams team never overlook!
Ran by well known Sheffield independent film making face Rob Nevitt and his dedicated programming team consisting of Polly Louise and Lucy Swift, Celluloid Screams brings together horror movies and shorts both old and new to create a horror film festival experience like no other. Typically spanning over the course of three days, Celluloid Screams kicks off on the Friday night and plays pretty much none stop until the Sunday evening. Some of the films finishing as late as 3am and starting again as early as 10am the same morning! It goes without saying that this festival is definitely one for most hardcore of horror heads, then again, if you like your horror fix in smaller doses, individual tickets can be purchased for each film from the box office, so you can pick and choose if you don’t want to binge watch. Not everyone is as sick and twisted as me and the slime house gang, Celluloid Screams caters for all different kinds of fright fans.
We however, wanted to solider it out as much as possible, so along with my sister, Tavarna Garvey and fellow film maker Chris Hill, we made it our mission to get through as many of this years sadistic selection as possible, and what will follow over the next week are my personal highlights from this years Celluloid Screams line up…. Come, we have such sights to show you!
But before all that, I just wanted to say a personal thank you to Rob and the Celluloid Screams team, it was an absolute pleasure to officially cover the 2017 festival and we already cannot wait for next years line up, we know it’s going to be awesome!
Click HERE for more info on the Celluloid Screams weekend and news on future events
words by Theo Cane