Dr. Lauren & Darren’s FrightFest Glasgow 2020: Part One – Thursday

Dr. Lauren McIntyre (right) is a horror obsessive, natural Goth and cat wrangler who will ramble on incessantly about death if you let her. You can say hi to her on Twitter @noddinggoth

Darren Gaskell (left) is a horror obsessive and “enthusiastic” karaoke performer who is unable to think of a creative social media handle. He will ramble on incessantly about the film Miracle Mile if you let him. You can say hi to him on Twitter @darren_gaskell (see what I mean about the social media handle?)

Dr. Lauren and Darren travelled to Glasgow for this year’s FrightFest and in between film screenings and alcoholic beverages they took time out to record their thoughts on the movies at this year’s fest.

First up – the delights of Thursday. Two films – one completely new to them, one new to them in its updated form – and one Live podcast.

*** THIS CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS AND IT’S A TINY BIT SWEARY ***

STRONG LANGUAGE AND VIOLENT SCENES PODCAST – LIVE!

Darren: First off, the Strong Language and Violent Scenes Live podcast with Andy Stewart and Mitch Bain discussing the 1998 movie version of Godzilla.

Dr.Lauren: I’m not gonna lie….I fucking hate that film.

Darren: I’m not gonna lie either, it’s not one of my favourites. It isn’t a proper Godzilla film.

Dr. Lauren: It’s not.

Darren: I can understand why Graham [Hughes] defended it because he was a kid when he first saw it.

Dr. Lauren: I think I was a kid when I saw it first. Admittedly, I probably did enjoy it at the time but I’ve seen it since and now I recognise it’s an abomination.

Darren: It’s rubbish. And it’s too long. What is it, 139 minutes?

Dr. Lauren: They could have cut that in half and told the same story. It would have been a better film for it.

Darren: It was less Shin Godzilla, more Shit Godzilla.

Dr. Lauren: It’s like Godzilla Versus Ferris Bueller and I just hate it.

Darren: Film choice aside, the podcast was as good as ever.

Dr. Lauren: I’m happy to slag the film off but the podcast was good. I’m not convinced by Graham’s defence. I’m sorry, Graham Hughes, I’ve never met you but you didn’t successfully defend that film for me.

Darren: I wasn’t swayed at all.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t think Andy and Mitch were either.

Darren: Fair enough, Graham, if you still like it that’s cool. But we don’t.

Dr. Lauren: Well done to Michael Park for picking through that film for five hours to get all of the amazing screencaps. Also kudos to Panda for the excellent photographs.

Darren: Why would you spend five hours picking through that? That’s above and beyond.

Dr. Lauren: Very dedicated.

Darren: Either very dedicated or there’s something very wrong. I’d have given up after about the first ten seconds.

SYNCHRONIC

FrightFest said: “Two New Orleans paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after encountering a series of horrific deaths linked to a new designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects. So prepare to be re-dazzled by the brilliant auteurs of THE ENDLESS, SPRING and RESOLUTION inventively playing with time and space again, continuing to add layers of exhilarating ambition and stimulating creativity to their unique cinematic universe. “

Darren: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s movie. New cut. We’ve seen both cuts now. What did you think of the new cut and how it compared to the previous one?

Dr. Lauren: I like both of them to be honest. I can’t think of anything massively wrong with either of them. I can understand why Aaron and Justin wanted to re-cut. With the benefit of hindsight they may have thought certain things worked better in different places and there was footage cut that they wanted to put back in. In the Q&A afterwards, Justin talked about rejigging things in terms of keeping the balance of the story and the pacing and I can see why they re-cut it but I think both versions of the film are excellent.

Darren: I’d like them to release both. Double disc set.

Dr. Lauren: Definitely.

Darren: I do like the new cut. Personally, I think that in the previous cut the pacing in the second half is ever so slightly off as there’s a point where it rushes a little bit. That’s sorted out. Even so, that’s an incredibly minor gripe.

Dr. Lauren: I really enjoyed learning more about Anthony Mackie’s character Steve. His backstory and the flashbacks to… I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who’s not seen it. I thought that really added something extra.

Darren: It grounds the character more and gives him more motivation to do what he does in the second half. Regardless, both versions are great.

Dr. Lauren: The lead actors – well, all the actors – are excellent and Aaron’s cinematography is fucking astounding.

Darren: And he had a hand in the visual effects even though he’s not credited. You can tell his stamp’s on that.

Dr. Lauren: And Aaron and Justin are both lovely, so that helps.

Darren: They are and it would be kind of terrible to tell them we didn’t really enjoy it but it is brilliant, whatever the cut.

[pause as Darren decides whether or not to ‘fess up]

Darren: Again, I got sweaty eyes.*

Dr. Lauren: I didn’t this time. There’s a very specific point in the film – I’m sure anyone who’s seen either cut of Synchronic will know – which is a bit of a tear-jerking moment. I cried like a baby last time I saw it but this time I managed not to. No sweaty eyes for me.

Darren: I’m rubbish. I could feel myself going and then I thought “No, I’m all right” but then there’s a bit after “the bit” where someone is discussing what’s just happened and I was still thinking “I’m over it this time” then all of a sudden it was “No, there I go”. Anyway, on to a film neither of us had seen…

Dr. Lauren: Can I say one last thing about Synchronic?

Darren: Of course.

Dr. Lauren: I prefer the ending of the new cut.

Darren: Same here.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t want to say any more than that.

Darren: I’d kind of wondered whether they were going to do that at the end and I was wondering how I’d feel if they actually did it. They did it and I’m glad they did.

DEATH OF A VLOGGER

FrightFest said: ” A vlogger gains viral fame after one of his eerie videos contains an alleged out-of- this-world haunting. Following YouTuber Graham as he investigates the darker supernatural side of the web and dealing with the effects of being famous on the internet, this trip down a hellish rabbit hole includes interviews, cat videos, ripped YouTube content, fun nonsense, archive material, tension and unusual scares.”

Darren: Something that neither of us had seen but I’d heard good things about it from other people and that we should catch it.

Dr. Lauren: I’d heard good stuff from people who’d seen it at FrightFest in London.

Darren: It’s very low-budget. Shot on evenings and weekends and there’s no massive effects sequences in there but it’s all pretty effective.

Dr. Lauren: It is a micro-budget film but that doesn’t detract from it in any sense. What they’ve managed to do is amazing, I jumped several times.

Darren: It was properly scary.

Dr. Lauren: There are lots of really good sequences which build up the tension.

Darren: And it’s really funny as well.

Dr. Lauren: It is. I’d describe it as a funnier Scottish version of Lake Mungo.

Darren: Yeah, I can see why. Also makes some good points about Internet culture. There are some fairly obvious points to be made but it does it well.

Dr. Lauren: Internet culture is garbage.

Darren: It says the Internet can be a pretty shitty place. It’s pretty on the money with that.

Dr. Lauren: Twitter, let’s be honest, is an absolute cesspool.

Darren: Apart from us.

Dr. Lauren: Oh yeah! We’re great.

Darren: We don’t say anything nasty on Twitter.

Dr. Lauren: I say loads of awful….

Darren: Do you?

Dr. Lauren: No. It’s mainly just whingeing.

Darren: Don’t want to spoil it but it keeps pulling the rug from under you. You think it’s going one way then it goes another way, then it goes another way… It’s not something you’ll never have seen before but it’s done really well.

Dr. Lauren: I really did enjoy it. It’s one that I’ll probably spend the next few weeks and months recommending to everybody.

Darren: Definitely. I don’t know when it’s coming out but…

Dr. Lauren: Fingers crossed it gets some sort of release soon.

Darren: Considering the budget it could have been one guy sitting in a room for an hour and a half but they do manage to cram in quite a lot of plot. It’s a thumbs up.

Dr. Lauren: Some top drawer acting going on as well. The girl who played Erin [Annabel Logan] was especially excellent I thought. I’d be interested to watch it again because of some of things that get pointed out to see if I notice them on a second watch. There’s one particular thing about…is it Steve…?

Darren: The ghost hunter?

Dr. Lauren: The ghost hunter. I did notice a thing with his shirt where I was thinking “Hmm, isn’t that…?”

Darren: I’m a complete dumbarse, I missed the shirt totally.

Dr. Lauren: I did spend a significant proportion of the film looking in the background or at reflective surfaces.

Darren: That’s the thing. It gets you on edge immediately because of the way they’ve shot it. There’s all this stuff in the background you’re constantly checking.

Dr. Lauren: Again, much like Lake Mungo.

Darren: And the scares aren’t the sudden loud noise sort of scares. There’s a build up of tension.

Dr. Lauren: They’re not cheap-ass jump scares.

Darren: Exactly. There’s a couple of good ones but they’re not just chucked in there because the pace is flagging or anything.

So that’s what Dr. Lauren and Darren thought about their Thursday. Next up, it’s five – count ’em! – films as FrightFest Glasgow kicks off in earnest and they confront a frightening Friday.

DR. LAUREN AND DARREN’S GLOSSARY OF TERMS

SWEATY EYES: Film-induced blubbing. This could be anything from a single tear right up to the ten uninterrupted minutes of ugly sobbing during the screening of These Final Hours at Celluloid Screams a few years ago.

About celluloiddeej

Film fan, horror festival goer, karaoke enthusiast, cat whisperer, world traveller, complete idiot. Invite me on your podcast if you can stand the Yorkshire accent.

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