Fright Fest 2023: London’s horror and fantasy film festival opens today

Fright Fest 2023: London’s horror and fantasy film festival opens today

London’s five-day horror and fantasy film festival Fright Fest opens today, promising to offer “a carnival of carnage”, “a smorgasbord of shock” and “a tableau of terror”.

This year’s festival, which is celebrating its 24th edition, boasts 70 films that will be showcased across four screens at Leicester Square’s Cineworld this weekend.

“FrightFesters will experience an amazing variety of films, in an eclectic line-up which serves as a powerful tool of democracy, activism, diversity, inclusivity and social awareness,” said co-director Alan Jones.

A truly international event, 14 countries are represented in this year’s exciting line up. The stories are equally varied: films include Anthony Waller’s Piper starring Elizabeth Hurley, the European premiere of Yuval Adler’s Sympathy For The Devil, which stars Nicholas Cage, and the world premiere of Joe Stephenson’s Doctor Jekyll which stars Eddie Izzard and Simon Callow.

Piper follows Liz (Hurley) and her daughter Amy (Mia Jenkins) who start being haunted by the spirit of the Pied Piper; Sympathy For The Devil is about a driver who gets pulled into a horrible drama by a psychotic passenger; Izzard plays Dr. Nina Jekyll in Stephenson’s update of the beloved gothic tale.

Eddie Izzard as Dr. Nina Jekyll (Handout / Fright Fest)
Eddie Izzard as Dr. Nina Jekyll (Handout / Fright Fest)

The festival will also open and close with two European premieres: American director Joe Lynch’s Suitable Flesh will get everything rolling. It’s an adaptation of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft and follows the story of an obsessed psychiatrist. Jenn Wexler’s boarding school horror, The Sacrifice Game, will round up the gruesome gala on Monday.

Other standout films include the European premiere of Bishal Dutta’s It Lives Inside, which plays with the idea of heritage and acceptance. In the horror flick, a flesh eating demon attaches itself to Sam’s old best friend when Sam rejects her own Indian heritage. After the film debuted at SXSW, Bloody Disgusting said, “Dutta uses a familiar framework of teen horror as an accessible introduction to underexplored mythology exacerbated by a cultural divide and adolescence.”

There are also some thrilling debuts to watch out for. 18-year-old  transgender filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay is showing her trans horror T BLOCKERS, while Devanny Pinn, who is known for her independent horror films, will be debuting The Black Mass, her first foray into true-crime.

Finally, Fright Fest is showcasing some old favourites, including 2013’s horror hit The Conjuring, and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

London’s Fright Fest funs from August 24-28;