Following a couple of scaled back versions of the festival that appeared in 2020 and 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic that's affected everything over the last couple of years, it was good to see The Mayhem Festival back at full strength again for it's 2022 edition.
Taking place, as always, at the Broadway Arts Cinema in Nottingham, it was another fun four days of horror, sci-fi and the downright weird and I was only too eager to attend, having not been since 2019, prior to the pandemic messing everything up.
WOLF MANOR (2022) Dir – Dominic Brunt.
The film they're shooting is supposed to mark the come back of legendary horror actor Oliver Lawrence (James Fleet – TV's Bridgerton, Vicar of Dibley), who has been lured out of retirement to reprise his iconic vampire role, one last time. But with filming way behind schedule, the Producer losing his temper with everyone and the lead actor behaving like a total diva, all is not well on set.
To make matters worse, it seems there's another reason why the owners of the house they're using wanted them out by the previous night. As the full moon rises, and they discover there's a werewolf on the prowl, as members of the cast and crew get brutally torn to shreds in lovingly gory detail.
Boasting a number of bloody deaths, that will keep the average gore hound more than happy. The film is really more of a comedy, that satirises the film industry, in particular Hammer films, and the people within it. As well as making numerous references to various cult horror films.
Director Dominic Brunt is undoubtedly best known for playing Paddy the Vet in the long running TV series Emmerdale, but his true love is horror, having directed a number of genre films in his spare time, over the years. Now, I've found his previous films to be a bit hit and miss (the less said about his zombie film Before Dawn the better), but I really think he had something here. The balance of horror and humour was just right and the Mayhem audience loved it, with it receiving a riotous round of applause at the end.
Director Dominic Brunt was also there, along with some other members of the cast and crew, to present the film and answer questions afterwards. Footage of which I shall be uploading to my YouTube channel shortly.
WOLF MANOR is currently playing the festival circuit, which will hopefully be followed by a release onto Disc and Digital in the near future. So be sure to keep an eye out for when it's available.
View the Trailer on YouTube.
DARK GLASSES (2022) – Dir Dario Argento
Set in Rome, call girl Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli – They Call Me Jeeg Robot) is left blinded following a road traffic accident. But it seems the crash was no accident as we discover that she was deliberately forced off the road by a psychotic stalker that's apparently been preying on other vulnerable women in her line of work.
Given a guide dog for her protection, she is subsequently befriended by a young Chinese boy, whose parents were killed in the same collision that blinded her. Which causes a lot of conflict with the police and social workers trying to help her, when he runs away from the orphanage to be with her. But with the killer continuing to follow her round, he may be Diana's only hope of surviving.
Also starring Asia Argento, whilst this wasn't as visceral as the Giallo films Argento made during his heyday, I found this to be a surprisingly good thriller and a fine return to form, given that many of the Directors film's in recent films have been decidedly sub-par.
Filmed in Italian with English subs, the film was certainly well received by the audience and definitely gets the thumbs up from me. I believe this one is currently being shown on the Shudder streaming network, so I would definitely advise checking it out.
View the Trailer on YouTube.
And that was it for Day 1.
For more info about the Mayhem Film Festival and other special events they run, visit the official website at https://www.mayhemfilmfestival.com and subscribe to their social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.