Monday 28 October 2013, 14:23
It's the time of year that horror fans relish, where there are plenty of late night screenings of thrillers to peer at through your fingers and make your spine tingle both at the cinema and on TV.
The popular appetite for all things ghoulish and chilling is being celebrated through Wales Goes Dark, part of Gothic - a film experience programme which is being rolled out throughout the UK by the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN).
Although the spooky season of films starts ahead of Halloween, Gothic will last until February 2014 and will see a "film hub" based in Wales working with the annual Abertoir Horror Film Festival and the BFI to offer a programme of macabre events at venues throughout Wales based around all things horror and gothic.
The aim is to bring film to hard to reach audiences, create memorable events and encourage return visits to the cinema.
The season will see BFI reissues of some classic British horror films, with Theatr Clwyd in Mold celebrating the cinema of the legendary Peter Cushing in his centenary year; new titles from Welsh directors including Chris Crow's Viking epic The Darkest Day, which will tour venues across Wales, and screenings of true thrillers taking place at haunted castles and stately homes.
These include: Dracula, which is being shown at Cardiff Castle with Darkened Rooms on 29 October and 5 November but has proved so popular it has already sold out; Night of the Demon at Tredegar House in Newport on 30 October; and the more family-friendly Hotel Transylvania (also with Darkened Rooms) at Cardiff Castle on 29 October and at Tredegar House on 30 October.
The Torch Theatre in Milford Haven is also screening Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder in 3D, among other horror hits, while the Gwyn Hall in Neath will host its first ever gothic and horror film festival, including Jean Epstein's The Fall of the House of Usher, which will be accompanied by a live soundtrack created and performed by Steepways Sound Collective using acoustic instruments and processed audio. Other highlights include The Exorcist Director's Cut, The Darkest Day, Bats and Coraline.Still from The Darkest Day. Photo: The Darkest Day/Lindisfarne Films Ltd
The Darkest Day director Chris Crow will take part in two Q&As about the film, which was shot on location in south Wales. The sessions will take place at Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre on Halloween, and at the Gwyn Hall in Neath on 15 November.
And of course, the Abertoir festival will be serving up all sorts of dark delights at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre between 5 and 10 November.
This year's guests of honour are actor Richard Johnson and composer Fabio Frizzi. Johnson will appear at the festival for a special 50th anniversary screening of Robert Wise's The Haunting. Johnson also stars in Zombie Flesh Eaters, which is screening before a special in-depth interview with the film's composer, Fabio Frizzi.
From Wales, the dark sci-fi film The Machine, which recently won three Bafta Cymru awards, will be showing. Both the director Caradog James and producer John Giwa-Amu will be present at a Q&A on 8 November.
Receiving its second UK screening and closing the festival will be Soulmate, the debut film by Axelle Carolyn, a ghost story shot in the Brecon Beacons. The film's stars Anna Walton and Tom Wisdom will attend the screening on 10 November.A still from the film Soulmate. Photo: Guy Armitage
UK premieres include Chanthaly, the very first film from Laos to be directed by a woman, which is also the country's very first horror film, Across the River, Forgotten, Bad Milo, and brand new Japanese film HK: Forbidden Hero.
The full line-up for Abertoir and Wales Goes Dark is now available on the website abertoir.co.uk. Passes are £58 for the whole six days.
Lisa Nesbitt from Film Hub Wales said the idea of the project was to enable different venues to collaborate and for the film hub to provide resources and funding for a whole series of screenings, archive events, Q&A sessions, special guests and music and educational events.
She said: "Our hub is one of eight in the UK and we are a big network with a joined-up approach. Gothic is just the first phase of a four year project which will see all sorts of themes explored.
"The aim is to bring cinema experiences to audiences around Wales and to branch out to other areas from events that are already taking place so if there are any venues keen to take part that aren't already, they should get in touch.
"We will be offering funding and resources to venues in Wales that want to create their own events, whether it's a pop-up cinema in a theatre, a music event, a guest speaker appearance, anywhere can take part."
To follow the progress and actions of Film Hub Wales, please visit: chapter.org/filmhub.