FrightFest: Fast-Growing Horror Festival Enlists Female Fans

Diana Lodderhose
VarietyAugust 21, 2013

What started out in 2000 as a hobby for horror fans Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy and Ian Rattray, has become Blighty’s biggest gorefest and a major event on the horror festival calendar.

FrightFest, which enters it 14th edition on Aug. 22, started from humble beginnings in London’s indie Prince Charles Cinema with, says Jones, the yearn to “fill a need in the fan base.”

Now, it’s close to outgrowing its current venue, the Empire Cinema, thanks to a 15% increase in attendance year-on-year. This year 30,000 fans are expected across the five-day event. There’s a reason no less a horror fan than Guillermo del Toro dubbed FrightFest “the Woodstock of gore.”

Jones notes attendees are now 40% women, up from 25% in 2000.

Greg Day, who became a director in 2006, says the event’s growth is due to the fact FrightFest “has become an event that fans of the genre feel that they own.

“Plus, before it was quite impossible to make low-budget tech horror films. Now you can make it, (but) it’s impossible to show it anywhere. We provide that platform,” says Jones.

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