Make Your Appointment With Mayhem

This year’s Midland cult film festival includes ghostly cats, deranged birds and bloodthirsty unicorns.

We don’t, by and large, cover the assorted horror/cult film festivals that take place in the UK much because most of them don’t send us press releases and frankly, we’re not interested enough to go seeking that information out. The Mayhem Film Festival is different in that they do send us PR and we usually attend the event. So call us biased if you wish. It’s nothing personal though – other events are welcome to get in touch with their schedules if they wish.

Anyway, Mayhem this year takes place, as usual, at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham between the 13th and 16th of October 2022 and is probably back to normal – or as close to normal as these things get – after Covid restrictions over the last couple of events. There is, at least, no word of restricted seating this time around, though the sensible idea of pre-booked seats rather than a free-for-all that involved leaving coats and bags in ‘your’ space and then dashing to the bar between films has been retained.

What’s on this year? Well, as ever with festivals showing new and unreleased films, how much you’ll know about these titles is open to question. Events open up on the first night with Dominic Brunt’s Wolf Manor and Dario Argento’s Dark Glasses (or Black Glasses if you prefer) – we suggest attendees all get an early night rather than sit through the latter, but each to their own. Friday sees the odd British film The Appointment – just released on Blu-ray by the BFI and the sort of thing we would’ve covered at length if the BFI hadn’t stopped sending us review material – and, God help us all, Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle. Continuing something of a Mayhem/Broadway tradition, this is a UK premiere. No word on whether the always-entertaining director James Nguyen will be there to astound and entertain fans though. This is followed by sci-fi comedy Incredible But True and Mexican body horror Huesera, neither of which we are familiar with.

Saturday sees gory animated fantasy in Unicorn Wars, sci-fi drama Vesper and the short film showcase before more themed content in the form of ‘Night of the Cat’ featuring a pair of feline shockers – the brilliant 1968 Japanese movie Kuroneko, which features live musical accompaniment by Yumah, aka Lucy Morrow (I’ll be intrigued to see how this works without unbalancing the film’s moments of silence but trust both Mayhem and Lucy not to fuck this up) and the grotty Stephen King film Sleepwalkers – not the cat-based horror film I would pick but there you go. This is all part of a gargantuan nationwide event that should’ve been announced this week but has now been postponed for mandatory national mourning.

the final day features superhero horror in Freaks Out, ghost story Jethica, lockdown movie The Harbinger, action horror No Looking Back and the closing film, serial killer chiller Watcher. We don’t know what any of those are like so fingers crossed. No quiz from yours truly this year but if we make it along, perhaps we can have some informal interrogation in the bar.

It feels like a cliche now – perhaps because we’ve said it several times over the years – but Mayhem is one of the more chilled and friendly events out there and now seems to have pulled back from cramming movies into the schedule that left little time for socialising – so everyone should have plenty of time to unwind, debate and (most importantly) eat and drink between movies.

Full festival passes are still on sale for £85, and individual tickets will be available from Wednesday 14 September. Frankenstein ticket packages will also be available on this date for £35. The Frankenstein ticket package is exclusively available at the Broadway box office and allows you to build your own film festival with any five films for £35. You might be chased by locals with flaming torches if you make the wrong choices though.

Full details here:

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  1. No quiz! Refund! Or at least buy me a beer as recompense when I see you at the venue…

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