‘Abertoir’ horror festival opens
Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on November 4, 2009
A festival featuring gore, blood and fear is getting under way in Aberystwyth to celebrate horror films.
Abertoir, which calls itself the national horror festival of Wales, opens later at the town’s arts centre.
Scheduled highlights include a master class with film director Herschell Gordon Lewis and an appearance by Doug Bradley, from the Hellraiser films.
Hundreds of fans are expected at the five-day festival, which is now in its fourth year.
It features UK film premieres, cult screenings and master classes.
Gareth Bailey, who organising the festival, said: “Being a big horror buff and living and working in Aberystwyth, I found I was travelling long distances to horror festivals,” he said.
“I’m the cinema manager here and choose what films get shown.
“Anyway, I decided on Halloween four years ago I would show The Wicker Man. And then I decided to show another and another and it kind of turned into a festival.
“So the next year I decided to do it again but this time put it on a few days after Halloween and it has been really really successful.
“We are attracting people from all over the country,” he said.
This year’s event will see the cult 1980s film The Keep, which was shot in Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llanberis, open the festival.
Sir Ian McKellen starred in the film, which was directed by Michael Mann before he gained success with the likes Manhunter, Heat and Miami Vice.
Herschell Gordon Lewis, nicknamed “The Godfather of Gore”, will share his experience in a master class on the ins and outs of low-budget film making.
He is credited with inventing the “splatter movie” with his 1963 film Blood Feast.
For fans of more contemporary horror, Doug Bradley, who played the character Pinhead in the Hellraiser movies, is expected at the festival to discuss horror effects.
The event is supported by the Film Agency for Wales, and attendance figures for the festival have nearly tripled since it began in 2006, although Mr Bailey describes it as being an “intimate event”.
The festival, which is run and operated by Aberystwyth arts centre, runs from Wednesday to Sunday.
Other events include a screening of An American Werewolf in Paris and An Evening at the Grand Guignol, a recreation of three classic plays from the “Theatre of Horror” in early 20th Century France.