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Dead by Dawn - First two days

DeadbyDawn_2006.jpgDead by Dawn is in it's thirteenth year and I've only just heard about it. The guys from Twitch asked me to cover it for them and they're all the way over in Canada (well some of them are), however I was delighted to and especially as I knew they would be opening my eyes to some less mainstream cinema.

This festival is in its thirteenth year and covers horror movies, a wonderful combination! At first I thought that this was going to be restricted to merely splatter and gore, but the festival opener soon put paid to that with the screening of Hard Candy (review), a film that feels very much like a stage piece and concentrates more on dialogue and suggestion. That film began at midnight, so luckily that was all there was for the first day.

Day two, on the other hand, held much more, and I was delighted to see it all started with an old friend, John Carpenter. Not really a true friend, just a cinematic buddy who had led me so many times into his unusual and enjoyable worlds, and now he was back and sitting next to me (indeed he was for most of the festival, or someone that looked just like him). Once again he took us all on a classic Carpenter trip which provided some strong unease amongst us all. Cigarette Burns (review) marks Carpenter's entry into the Masters of Horror series, and a great one it is too, shame we couldn't have seen Miike's as well.

Then came a shorts competition...no we weren't all on stage, although that would make an interesting turn, the What You Make It Short Film competition. The theme seemed to be childlike innocence, and we saw it in various interpretations for When Nobody is Looking (Cuando nadie nos mira) (review), Shame (review), The Hidden Face (Het Verborgen gezicht) (review) and La Guerra (review). All were very good, but my personal favourite has to be La Guerra with the amazing promise shown in When Nobody is Looking and The Hidden Face coming close seconds.

By now my bum is sore. Despite being in the main screen of the Filmhouse, hours of sitting on your arse can get a little uncomfortable, so here's my tip for survival. Get out at every opportunity, and I mean outside. Walk round the block and walk fast, get some juice and a nibble, do not get too much coffee, it'll go through you as bad as a pint and you'll start needing to pee right in the middle of a film. Oh, and have a nice bed to go to when your break is longer than an hour, it does help if you live in the city of the festival!

Upon returning we were greeted with another short, El Desafio a la Muerte (The Challenge to Death) (review) which was superbly imaginative and provided much laughter for the huge crowd.

That was followed by the schedule change, and we were treated to the showing of Severed (review) which was pretty dire, but that's not bad innings so far with only one really bad film that I'd seen to date.

With a long enough break to grab a Sub for tea and just enough time to write up more notes on my trusty new mobile, it was back for another short which was an output of the BFI 48 Hour film challenge. They did really well on this one and produced an excellent short for that time period, Haunted Boneyard (review). That was quickly followed by a showing of a very odd Japanese film called Haze (review). I struggled with this film, although there was a lot to be had from the viewing, I was starting to get tired.

I held on for the little promotional event for Worst Case Scenario, a wonderfully comical and bizarre Zombie film. I have to say something at this point, and I am guilty of this too, Horror fans seem quite shy. For when there are guests on stage and everyone has just given huge applause to their work, there seems to be so little they want to know. It was a little awkward seeing all the guests on stage over this event, and I do feel that the Q&A's could have room for improvement. That said it was still great to see them here and the audience truly appreciated those films that had visiting guests...man, Tony Todd is tall!

My intentions were to stay on and catch another film, but quite frankly I was tired and had more notes than my fingers could type up in one evening, so home it was. Yet there was still excitement and anticipation for the last day, despite the bleary eyes.



Sounds like a busy but enjoyable couple of days. I can't believe you went to that Subway again...It's been far too long since I've had a meatball sub. Mmmm meatball sub.....

What a life eh? Good for some people. ;-)

You lucky man. One year I swear I'll be there......Sigh.

Lucky...not so sure. I'm still trying to recover!

Richard, I am shocked that this is the first time you've been to the festival: I've known about it for age - and I hate horror movies! (Though I am impressed that you 'fessed up...)

No wonder my invite got "lost in the post" if you'd never heard of it until this year.

I'm with Dave on this one. Though I guess we'll be booking tickets now for the silver jubilee special???


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