by Walter Chaw One of the major misconceptions about film critics and scholars is that they aren't fans of film first, and if they are, then surely they wouldn't be fans of a genre as disreputable as horror. But I've long held that horror is an indicator species in our socio-political quagmire. That often with only limited studio oversight, and because they're entirely possible to execute with a small budget in a short amount of time, horror films, by talking about what a society fears, can tap into the collective unconscious more quickly and effectively than any number of "prestige" presentations. There's a reason most myths and fairy tales have strong horror elements. Get Out is a lot of things, for example, but its closest analogue is George Romero's landmark civil rights masterpiece Night of the Living Dead. I wonder if the horror movie's primal simplicity has anything to do with the disdain with which even its creators sometimes approach it. In any case, horror is important, essential, vital. When it's right, there's not much else righter.
Branded "The Woodstock of Gore" by Guillermo Del Toro, Britain's FrightFest, entering its eighteenth year, was long something like a dream destination for me. One day I'll attend in person. For now, the festival has been good enough to offer us press credentials remotely, and in the spirit of the best fans of any genre, the fine publicists representing the films there have been good enough to find us ways to see the movies. I'm not just speaking off the cuff, by the way: I spent the last four years in exhibition, and I can tell you right now that fandoms all suck in various ways, except horror fans. Horror fans are consistently kind, accepting, amazing. And with that (and with six films, not a stinker among them, already under my belt, with miles to go before I sleep), I'm proud to present our coverage of the 2018 edition of the premiere genre fest in the world.