Alan Jones: Maestro of the Macabre

With Film4’s FrightFest lurking round the corner like a restless Michael Myers ready to terrorise the closing weekend of the Glasgow Film Festival, we've hunted down the festival's founder and horror aficionado Alan Jones to pick his brains

Feature by Alastair Roy | 03 Feb 2011

The GFF always offers up a good mix of films. Do you aim for the same with your FrightFest picks?

Absolutely, it’s like tossing a salad isn’t it. Sometimes our audiences will come up to us and say “okay, we’ve had enough of hoody horror, can you please show something else?!” Sometimes you don’t have a great selection to choose from, but this year I think is the best we’ve ever had. It’s a wild mix.

What’s with the Grindhouse influence this year?

Well how can you resist a film with the title Hobo with a Shotgun? It’s completely outrageous and very, very funny. We we’re lucky to secure that after Sundance. It’s gonna get a lot of heat from that. And there’s Machete Maidens Unleashed from the director of the superb Not Quite Hollywood. This one is very funny. I think [director Mark Hartley] is going to make a career out of choosing films from very obscure genres to do a documentary about [laughs]. It’s the clips that make it - they’re just so out there. Mother’s Day is one of my favourites too. It seems the trashiest horror films are getting the best re-makes.

Is it better to get scared together?

Absolutely, there’s nothing like it. Okay, you can be at home with your fabulous blu-ray, Dolby surround etc, but there’s nothing like being in a cinema, watching a movie and reacting with the audience. That’s what it is to me, that collective sharing of shocking and horrific moments. And every screening is different. I’ve been doing a lot of retrospectives and Q&As and it’s been very heartening to see young horror fans who never saw these films on the big screen. That’s one of the reasons that we have such a great audience in Glasgow. It’s a mix of the old, the new, male and female – it’s just fantastic.

And Weegies aren’t afraid to ask questions, are they?

Every single film-maker that comes to Glasgow says to us, “God, you get great questions, they don’t just sit there!” I’ve been at other film festivals around Europe [laughs] where no-body says anything. But our audiences are so fanatical and committed – they wanna know!

Can you give The Skinny readers a heads up on any FrightFest guests?

Well, the three Little Deaths directors should be there. And we’ve asked the Territories director and producer to come over. That film shocked me with how good it was. I must tell you, it really blew me away. It’s an important movie, very serious, quite horrifying and, well, I don’t want to talk too much because I want people to discover it for themselves. But when you come to the end of the movie you think, "Oh my God, that’s what it’s about".

And will you take a break from the blood 'n’ guts to see anything else at the GFF?

If I have time, I’d looove to see Danger Diabolik on the big screen again. I can sing the theme song in my head, [actually sings along]. I know that movie inside out and backwards. That film is very nostalgic for me. I love it to death.