1998 Festival of Fantastic Films Progress Report One
EDITORIAL by Tony Edwards
Well, here it is - the first Progress Report of the 9th Festival of Fantastic Films, to be held over the weekend of the 4th to 6th September 1998 at Sachas Hotel, Manchester, England.
First of all, let's analyse the 1997 Festival. The overall opinion was that the 8th Fest was a great success. We had a massive line-up of guests, although a few people were disappointed by Dario Argento having to pull out in August to make his new film. But the guests we had - Veronica Carlson, Janina Faye, Tudor Gates, Jimmy Sangster, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt and Dave Prowse more than made up for the loss of Dario. The sheer number of guests however gave us a logistical problem in trying to give them all a decent spot on the programme, which ended up at one point cramming them all on the stage together for a panel discussion, which I don't feel did anybody justice.
One point on guests was that some of them were charging for autographs, something we are not at all happy with as the convention pays for their travel and hotel accommodation and we feel they should allow the members of the Festival to ask for autographs without having to count the cost! We have made it clear to future guests that autographs will not be charged for. The sale of their own photographs is of course another matter and no one would expect them to be free - so we do ask that the prices for photographs be prominently displayed but autographs should not be charged for separately.
The Dead Dog Party was a big improvement on the 1996 non-event, but we will not be asking Sachas to serve hot-pot suppers again. Where the hell they came up with the recipe for hot pot and rice we'll never know! The hot-pot is a no-no for this year, but we like the idea of a communal Dead Dog Party and will be looking at some form of entertainment items to round off the weekend. The Vampire Party on the Saturday seemed to go down quite well, although I'm told their quiz was quite difficult. This year we will have the preliminary rounds of The Great Fantastic Film Quiz at a party on the Saturday night with the semi final and final rounds as part of the closing ceremony on the Sunday evening. This will hopefully avoid the problem we had last year with over-running at the end.
Please do write in with any ideas you may have to strengthen this year's programme. We are always pleased to hear from you.
SNIPPETS FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
An American, Dr. Seed (how appropriate), has announced that within the next year he intends to clone a human being, despite the condemnation of the world's medical opinion. What's the big deal? We've been doing it for years in the movies.
The first speculation that the replication of individuals without sexual liaison may be possible, was expounded by the British biologist J.B.S Haldane in a book he published in 1924 entitled Science and the Future. In the early 1960's F.C. Steward stimulated cells from a mature carrot root, producing whole new carrot plants, shades of The Thing From Another World (1951). It wasn't until 1968 however , and the publication of G.R. Taylor's The Biological Time-Bomb, that the term Clone became popularised. Clones, Replicants, Alter Egos, Doppelgangers... call them what you will, have all appeared in movies from the earliest times. Among them Hammer's 1952 film The Four Sided Triangle, in which a scientist, finding that the woman he loves actually loves someone else, decides to make an exact copy of her, only to discover that the copy also loves the other person.
The 1978 film Boys From Brazil gives a chilling account of a Nazi was criminal, who having experimented with DNA cloning, has produced 94 Hitler clones.
The latest movie featuring a clone is the 1997 film Alien 5 - Alien Resurrection in which Ripley is a clone of her long destroyed self.
So what's the problem with cloning a human being, they are no threat to mankind, any movie buff knows how to deal with them.
This first PR always sees the programme in its infancy and as we want to hear suggestions from your goodselves, so we'll just ramble a little about some of the ideas in our celluloid cooking pot... We had an idea that an audience for some "off-shoot interest films" might exist - that is a couple of movies that would not normally be included in our weekend's viewing. Many fans have a love of the films of Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Bros. The Three Stooges etc. So how about including something outside our regular genres?
The overall look of the weekend will remain the same, but we intend to run the three main function suites as follows. The LINCOLN SUITE is, as always, the home of the live stage interviews, auction, discussions and panels. Plus of course the 35mm film programme.
Our Guest of Honour line-up dictates some of the film selection and there is a good chance that Gerry Anderson can arrange previews of his new stop-motion series LAVENDER CASTLE and some of his classic tv shows on 35mm. We hope to have a compilation reel of HAZEL COURT appearances which would include GHOST SHIP, THE RAVEN and hopefully THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH. Full length Hazel Court movies should include DR BLOOD'S COFFIN, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and the television BORIS KARLOFF THRILLER episode TERROR IN TEAKWOOD.
The new restored print of NOSFERATU with a wonderful score by JAMES BERNARD was screened on Channel 4 over the Christmas holiday period. How many of you would like to see a 35mm print of it? If enough say yes, we should be able to obtain the print if we book early enough.
The 3-D movie is always popular, though it gets harder each year to find something we haven't already screened and 3-D prints are difficult to track down. Our very first Fest at Parker's hotel was the only time we ran the 3-D version of IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, as by the following year the renters print had been withdrawn and has never been available again. However, we might be able to grab a 35mm anaglyph print (red and green) and will be able to confirm this next time with luck.
Upstairs, the ROOSEVELT SUITE will be home to 16mm films of the silent period, through the 30's, 40's and 50's... Titles on this year's first short list from the early decades include DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (1918), THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1928), THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923), THE MONSTER WALKS (1932), MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1932), THE HOUNDS OF ZAROFF (1933), THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933), THE BLACK CAT (1934), A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935), CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA (1936), DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (1936), THE APE (1940), DR SATAN'S ROBOTS (1940), THE BLACK RAVEN (1943), SOUL OF A MONSTER (1944), BLITHE SPIRIT (1945), DESTINATION MOON (1950), THE MAN FROM PLANET X (1950) FLIGHT TO MARS (1951), THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951), WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951), THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953), DONAVAN'S BRAIN (1953), THE NEANDERTHAL MAN (1953), THEM! (1954), THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955), X-THE UNKNOWN (1956), QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1956), THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957), THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS (1957), FIRST MAN INTO SPACE (1958), THE MYSTERIANS (1959).
The WASHINGTON SUITE will be the home of the more recent decades of the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's and it is hoped to include a good number of CinemaScope movies this year.
Short listed for this programme section are THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE (1961), MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964), THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971), THE THIRSTY DEAD (1975), CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE (1976), THE FOG (in 'Scope) 1980, HEAVY METAL (1981), BLADERUNNER (1982 in 'Scope), THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT (1984), SPACEBALLS (1987), ROBOCOP II (1990 - USA uncut print), SPACED INVADERS (1990), STAR TREK 2 (1982) & 3 (1984) (both in 'Scope), A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1994), BABE (1995), SEVEN (1996),.
The JEFFERSON SUITE which is upstairs next door to The Roosevelt will contain the video/laser programming and be the centre of our Independent and Amateur Movie Competitions where entries are in a video format.
Over the years we have screened a good number of Hammer films so we'd like you to tell us which you'd like to see this time around. Obviously it's the anniversary of HORROR OF DRACULA - but we did run it last year in our Dracula celebration programme. Your thoughts would be appreciated.....
Send Festival e-mail to Harry Nadler: [email protected]