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Mayhem Horror Film Festival

October 2009

This time next week I shall be strapped into a specially-designed wheelchair, wired up to freaky looking machines and subjected to clips from a series of gruesome horror films. If that wasn't enough, my pathetic fear-gripped physog will be projected on to a cafe wall for everyone to point and laugh at.
Why don't you join me?
Those sickos at Broadway have given it the scientific pitch: "A ground-breaking experiment in fear" they call it.
"A unique interactive experiment to test human response to horror."
The Thrill Lab is open to anyone daft enough to have a go and it's part of the annual Mayhem Horror Film Festival.
"Patients will be pushed to the limits of horror endurance to test just how frightening this year's festival is," say the sinister psycho-physiologist Brendan Dare.
The more sensible option is to just go along and see whichever horror films take your fancy over the four-day event, which starts on Thursday.
They include the UK premiere of the Grindhouse-style slasher Someone's Knocking At the Door, plus previews of the Australian trouser-filler Coffin Rock – from the makers of Wolf Creek – and a Spanish shocker Hierro by the team behind The Orphanage.
There'll also be a chance to revisit Stephen King's prom-based chiller Carrie and the classic British horror, Hellraiser.
Special guests this year include the guy who made his feature length movie, Colin, for £45 and still managed to wow critics at Cannes this year.
The Guardian is calling Marc Price "the poster boy of zero-budget film-making". He'll be on hand for the screening to tell you how he did it using a 10-year-old camcorder and a laptop.
Some local filmmakers who have done exactly that will have their short films screened on Friday night as part of the Vault Of Horror.
Fans of the hit BBC TV series Being Human won't want to miss a discussion with the cast and creators, including a preview screening of clips from the next series.
The biggest name, in terms of gravitas, has to be Get Carter director Mike Hodges. As well as the classic British thriller that made Michael Caine a star, he's been behind movies such as Flash Gordon, Croupier and I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.
On the final day of the festival he'll be discussing his career and introducing Black Rainbow, his 1989 cult classic which stars Roseanna Arquette, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce and Martha Travis. Arquette plays Martha, a fake medium travelling the Bible Belt with her alcoholic father who begins to have visions during which she receives messages from those yet to die. They're all murdered and she knows by whom. But the killer knows that she knows...

If you really want to go for it – and don't mind being labelled a "Mayhemmer" – there's a fancy dress party next Saturday night where you are invited to appear as your favourite anti-hero. Cue jokes about your mate Dave who doesn't need any make-up for Freddy (oof, stop it). The more cerebral are more likely to plump for the Sunday evening quiz in the Mezz Bar.
Hang on, the Thrill Lab volunteers need to be "of sound body and mind". I may be able to get out of this...

Mayhem Horror Film Festival, Broadway, Broad Street, Nottingham. October 29 to November 1.

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