Sheffield will be soaked in gore once again this weekend. Film Critic Tony Earnshaw previews annual horror festival Celluloid Screams.
In a crowded market where seemingly every major city boasts its own film festival, it is Yorkshire that lays claim to an impressive array of events.
The next few weeks are crowded with film festivals in York, Leeds and Bradford with Ilkley emerging as a viable venue for special and stand-alone screenings.
This weekend it’s the turn of Celluloid Screams, the Sheffield Horror Film Festival, to draw buffs from all over the UK with a line-up that its organisers claim is the best yet.
Festival director Rob Nevitt opens his three-day extravaganza with The Editor, the bloody tale of a film editor suspected of the killings of actors in his latest film, and closes with Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead, the continuing saga of zombiefied Nazis. “It’s extremely gory, very funny and a perfect way to close Celluloid Screams,” he says.
Nevitt launched his festival in 2009. Now in its sixth year it continues to offer a glimpse at the wider world of horror. “It’s always a really broad spectrum,” says the 35-year-old. “There’s something for everyone, whether they’re a seasoned horror fan or a casual viewer.”
Attractions include some of the best new films well before release, often with Q&A sessions with the films’ makers, which is a magnet for audiences that travel from Europe, North America and across the UK. “Slowly and steadily we’re becoming a significant force to be reckoned with,” says Nevitt. “Above all, it goes back to the reason we started the festival in the first place: to showcase the vibrant and exciting horror film scene for an appreciative audience in the heart of South Yorkshire.”Also a filmmaker specialising in horror, Nevitt was responsible for the Bradford after Dark strand of that city’s festival.
This autumn his new short Metamorphosis will screen within Leeds International Film Festival.
He’s steeped in the genre and clearly becoming recognised as a purveyor of choice fare.
The headline guest for 2014 is Brian Yuzna, the American producer of a string of 80s hits that included Re-Animator, the smash horror/comedy that introduced the world to Herbert West, arguably the ultimate mad scientist as created by HP Lovecraft.
With director Stuart Gordon, Yuzna went on to produce several more Lovecraft adaptations before moving into direction with Society, a perverse and subversive commentary on modern America.
“Brian is a genuine horror icon and audiences can look forward to hearing all about his producing and directing career, both in the USA and in Spain,” says Nevitt.
It was in Spain that Yuzna created Fantastic Factory, a collaboration with Spanish production company Filmax to produce new genre films in Europe.
“We’re screening Society, Bride of Re-Animator and Fantastic Factory title Dagon, with introductions and Q&A sessions with Brian himself,” he adds.
Yuzna’s co-headline guests are three members of Canadian filmmaking collective Astron-6, who have a significant cult following across the world. They’ll be premiering The Editor.
“Their film was pitched ‘as if the makers of Airplane! remade a Dario Argento film’. It’s a real highlight of this year’s programme. I’m so excited that the filmmakers will be with us.”
• Celluloid Screams, October 24-26, Showroom, Sheffield , www.celluloidscreams.co.uk