Welcome to the very first FrightFest Originals blog. We will be looking at different stages of our selection and production process, interviewing artists, reviewing films and looking to our readers to put forward suggestions for future prints. This inaugural post will be focusing on our upcoming release of Eli Roth's Hostel, due to launch at Glasgow FrightFest next weekend. Eli will be in attendance to promote his new film, Aftershock, and if you come along to the event, chances are he'll put a squiggle on your shiny new print.

FrightFest Originals Blog Archive


ABC's of Death
The Wickerman

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For those of you who have either forgotten the film (as if) or somehow missed it, here's a quick review by one of our three site reviewers, George Chinaglia...

resim011Eli Roth's infamous 2005 gorefest about a couple of young American backpackers who come a cropper in torturous, murderous post Communist Slovakia, is often credited, or decried, depending on which way you look at it, for ushering in, along with the previous year's Saw, a new era of sadistic, ultra-violent "Torture Porn" films (I was kind of hoping to get a little further into the review before I used the TP words, but there you go). Lumped in, somewhat unfairly, with the hordes of largely uninteresting imitators that followed, Hostel was, at the time, a fresh take on the 'Humans Hunted As Prey' genre*. The aforementioned unfortunate young backpackers, Paxton and Leo Messi lookalike Josh, are hanging out in Amsterdam, being as "American" as its humanly possible to be, when they and their new Icelandic best friend, Oli, bump into rather unlikely pimp, Alex. Their heads filled with tales, and to be fair some pretty convincing pictures, of really hot chicks, the three clunge hounds board a train bound for Bratislava.

Despite the attentions of a slightly touchy foodie our boys arrive in Olde Eastern Europe to find it's exactly as billed. There's incredibly hot Euro model types hanging out fucking everywhere; they're getting changed, they're lounging round in spas, they're constantly bending over - half of them with no clothes on - for no other reason than that's what hot European chicks do. Or at least they do in the minds of fifteen year old American boys. Because make no mistake about it: Hostel plays like the sweaty, lurid fantasy of an eager teen, weaned on a diet of angry, shouty music and bloody, violent films, who's just starting to broaden his horizons, exploring the strange new delights of cult classics, European cinema and various late night oddities stumbled across, and is just dying to cram them all together in one blood soaked spectacular.

Despite the crudely drawn premise Hostel actually succeeds for a couple of reasons. Firstly, though not particularly memorable, our heroes, such as they are, are at least vaguely likeable. They're slightly oafish Americans abroad rather than boorish; harmless really, and unlike the plethora of square jawed jocks and plastic titted fuck dolls who populate endless reboots and franchise outings that comprise a large portion of the American horrors that have followed Hostel, you're not actively rooting for them to get killed. It's such a basic principle, almost a necessity, of the genre but one that's so often not just overlooked but completely ignored. Again, I'm not saying there's Laurie Strode or Ripley levels of empathy there, but you at least feel something for them when sharp metal meets flesh. Which in Hostel happens on a regular basis.

The main reason it succeeds though is that it's a nasty, grimy, bloody horror that at times fancies itself a bit of a Hitchcock does Don't Look Now in an eighties Italian stylee (with added Achilles severing), and is all the better for it. One crucial area where it stands above it's contemporaries, and imitators, is that the majority of the action actually takes place outside of the generic torture chamber. It's not just a ninety minute Rammstein video with Cary Elwes in a fat suit or an hour of hanging upside down in an Australian garage/butchers. It's a tense, bloody game of cat and mouse, a Sophomoric North by Northwest where Cary Grant is missing some fingers and Eva Marie Saint an eye. A gripping, pulsing, at times spewing thriller that is never less than fun, and at times considerably more than that.

*Possibly a sub-genre. If it is, it should be promoted, to a proper, full genre. For Hard Target alone, surely?

So, given the subject matter, we needed an artist who could bring all this together and help us release a print that wouldn't have people rushing for the vomit bucket, but retained the sleazy tone of the original movie. Over to Luke Insect, a British designer working on the south coast. Knowing Luke's appreciation of the film and love of Eastern European poster art, we let him loose. Here is what he came up with, and what he had to say about the design process...

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"When the FFO guys first suggested Hostel as a print, I was like, hmmmm not too sure how many people would go for some (unfairly titled) Torture Porn on their wall.

But then, I guess it's all about the artistic interpretation - so all the elements are present & correct: drills, saws, eyeballs, teeth, chainsaws - but stylistically i went for a Pop Art meets Eastern European poster feel -

all neon inks referencing Amsterdam and handwritten type from the eastern block. I actually think it suits the film pretty well, and not a drop of blood in sight. Hopefully you'll get the Slovakian text reference in there too!"

Luke studied Graphic Design & Illustration at Newcastle, then returned to London to work as a designer at Soho-based creative agency, The Leisure Process, cutting his teeth art working record sleeves for the likes of Funkadelic, Motorhead & Ozzy Osbourne. After a 5 year stint he headed east to a remote corner of the near-empty Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, and set up cult design & illustration collective, INSECT. For 10 years INSECT perfected their oddball image mongering, maximalist illustration style & surreal pop art imagery, working with global brands alongside independent record labels & underground club nights, helping to spearhead the new wave of illustration. In 2007, Luke headed down to Brighton to set up his own boutique studio, focusing on design & illustration for the youth, fashion & music markets.  This is his first print for FFO.

So, hopefully the shots throughout this blog and the description of the prints has whetted your appetite.  Both colour variants go on sale via the www.frightfestoriginals.com website on Monday 18th January (timing to be announced on Twitter via @frightfestorigi) and will be available for sale and signing at Glasgow Frightfest.  The prints are priced at £30 each if purchased either in person or online to be picked up at the cinema.  £40 shipped to the UK, £50 internationally.  All prints by www.hipposcreenprinters.com on Somerset Velvet 300 paper, signed and numbered by the artist.  Strictly limited edition of 50 copies per variant.

Look out for our second blog where we'll be looking at two upcoming prints.  One involving eccentric apple farming methods off the Scottish coast, the other a particularly angry piggie.  Check back soon. 

If you haven't already, check out the other prints on our main site - we have very limited numbers of a few earlier prints still available.

Please do leave any comments/suggestions you have below - print ideas, (constructive) criticism, generic praise...we look forward to hearing from you.

 Until next time.

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FrightFest Originals - Original limited edition screen printed film posters from the UK