Back in August 2001, I finally did something that I'd wanted to do for a decade: become a Prince Charles Cinema life member (all for the princely sum of £15).
While I was buying a ticket for "The Mexican" to celebrate the inaugural visit, I noticed a poster for something called FrightFeat and thought "Ooh interesting...". For though I'm a catholic cinephile but horror is my best love. Okay, I'll watch almost anything on the big screen; once persuaded a very strait-laced friend to go and see "Lake Consequence" because I'd seen everything else that week. And in my defence, I only realised my error when Zalman King appeared on the credits. Also the friend was either traumatised or a good sport, because she was silent throughout and remains so on the subject to this day. Abd because the 90s had been a bit of a desert on the horror front and my tastes had grown away from those of the awkward teen who used to hang around Video Technics and scuttling home to watch grainy VHS in the dimly lit front room; I filed this event in the bucket list of inperuity and forgot about it.
Over the years, I'd hear about FrightFest via Film 4 and the Horror Channel but it never piqued my interest till I joined Twitter and got chatting to various folk including Craig of Dark Eye Socket and the lovely and sadly missed Richard Glafman aka Cyberschizoid. I realised that my love of horror hadn't died. It had merely been resting in the metaphorical crypt: dormant, waiting. For blood...
That was 2010 and I was in a very dark place. A cinema auditorium was Blackpool Illuminations by comparison. My internal and external life was in the the pits. Social media, especially Twitter, was a lifeline, a spark of hope in that Descent-cavern that was my status quo. And I knew that time was running out.
The solution was one of those serendipitous momenta where I took a chance and bolted. Yes, changing a physical situation is the easiest part but it was a start and now that I was able to make my own choices, to rediscover the me after five years of we. Doing the physical stuff proved far easier and distracted from the emotional maelstrom I felt.
And serendipity played a blinder with two unrelated friends, a tiny bit of cheek in my asking a family friend to put me up while I attended my first film festival in EIGHTEEN YEARS (Shots In The Dark and Fantastic Films Weekend, respectively). Then enthusing about it that much, another friend told me about a new horror film festival at one of my favourite cinemas, the Electric, Birmingham (Shock & Gore) and being so stoked by that and the handy combination of a a birthday and as an extra thank you for helping her, my mum cane up with the readies for me to attend "that horrible festival you've been going on about". So, after a hectic time buying individual tickets, over the phone from Jo: customer service exemplified, a mate helping me organise accommodation and orientation; I arrived, clutch a small rainforest of tickets in my anxious paw, at the Empire Leicester Square on Thursday 25 August 2011. And the rest they say, is history.