Alan Jones

Alan Jones is an internationally renowned reporter on the fantasy, horror and science fiction genres in all media and extensively travels all over the world to cover the making of movies in production. He has written for magazines such as ‘Empire’, ‘Fangoria’, ‘Total Film’, ‘The Dark Side’, ‘GQ’, ‘Vogue’, ‘Shivers’, ‘Femme Fatales’, ‘DVD Review’, ‘The Independent’, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘Premiere’.

Along with Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray and Greg Day, Jones also organises the world renowned FrightFest horror film festival that takes place in London and Glasgow every year, and it was at this years Glasgow FrightFest where I managed to track down Mr. Jones for a chat:

This years Glasgow FrightFest has seen many screenings sell out, how and why do you think people keep coming back?

Because we give them what they want. It’s a strong line up this year I think, last year’s was a bit dodgy… but this year with have the [films] and I thought we had the guests – but of course with Adam and his disaster* and with Vincenzo [Natali, director of Splice] suddenly ducking out at the last minute. But hey, what can you do? But we’ve got one of my favourite films, Amer, and the [directors] have turned up for that, Chris [Smith] has turned up, Jake [West] has turned up, Neil [Marshall] turned up… Everyone has rallied round so I’m pleased by that. Glasgow like us, what can I say… I think we do well here, there’s a good audience for horror up here and there’s a lot of people we see year after year and they actually come down to London too which is good.

Last year, London was my first FrightFest and I’m definitely coming again in the summer, what can we look forward too?

This year is going to be even bigger, we’ve got some great stuff planned, which I’m NOT going to talk about… (laughs). There’s some really, really, big stuff happening this year. Last year was so amazing and now we have to do things even better, but we have got two major events that people are really gonna go wow… We’ve got about ten of the movies for August already, some films you will not even have heard of, but its going to be really good.

Ever thought of taking FrightFest on the road?

We did, in our first three years we went to Nottingham, Brighton and Leicester, and it didn’t work. Whether we didn’t publicise it enough, or whether people didn’t know about us – of course they knew about us in London not sure [they knew about us] enough. We didn’t have Greg Day back then, he does our PR’ing for the event now, so when we went to Leicester and there was only two people we realised it was ridiculous and there was no point [touring]. It was better in Nottingham, we did get some people who turned up as zombies… So when Glasgow asked us to do this [event] we were a bit aprehensive, especially with Dead by Dawn just down the road in Edinburgh. But we thought “No let’s have a go” and we tried it. It started slowly, with less people, but it was like in London –  the more people knew about us and they realised we were actually being serious about [horror]and it wasn’t a mess, we built a reputation.

We did it, but I’m not sure I want to [tour] again. But there is a way now… Our Halloween festival is gonna have a couple of suprises that there might be a way of doing it… But we’re still working on it so I’m not sure.

Do you think FrightFest is getting too big for the Glasgow Film Theatre?

We wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I love this cinema, it has that 50′s vibe. One of my favourite film festivals is Stiges and they have it in Spain in these little 50s style cinemas like this and I think it really works. For a film likeAmer and especially Lizard in a Womans Skin, I think the ambience really matters. I don’t want to see those movies in a multiplex, that’s fine for Kick-Ass, but I don’t want to see something that’s quite special and all about the 70′s and 80′s [at a multiplex], I want to see them in this sort of environment.

For me that’s why [Glasgow FrightFest] works, some may see this place as old fashioned but I actually think it’s quite lovely, it has a definite charm. It works for me – as long as the projection is up to standard and it looks great and the sounds great, this is where I want to see it. The directors who come here really love it, and they think it’s very old school and it reminds them of their childhood when they used to go to the movies…

From hearing you talk it’s obvious Amer is your favourite film screening here?

I love is so much, I hope people like it, I’m just really worried that I’ve oversold it. But it’s doing ever so well round other festivals, it’s won an award, it’s off to the New York Film Festival, they’re going to Amsterdam, it’s opening it in France, so… It is a love it or hate it film I do understand that, I actually love it to death as I know I can sit there and checklist every single scene from a movie that I’ve seen, “Ah yes, that’s from Don’t Torture a Duckling. Ah, that’s from Suspiria…” I know it, but I know other people might not necessarily get it that way. But I think even as a work of art, which is what it is, it’s so beautiful to look at. I love it…

What’s your favourite film of the past year?

I’m gonna say Amer because I saw it last year, last September. I thought MicMacs was really good and Avatar of course. I don’t care what Tim Sullivan says** (laughs), you can slag it off as much as you like, but I adored it.

What about 2010? Anything coming up this year that we should look out for?

My absolute favourite movie of the moment, and you can draw your own conclusions from this, but Simon Rumley’sRed White and Blue is a total love for me. I absolutely love it. I loved [Rumley’s] Living and the Dead, we showed it a FrightFest four years ago and it went really well for us, I never expected it too… But I think [Red White and Blue] is the edgiest, nastiest film I’ve seen for a long time. It won’ t be released [in the UK] till the end of the year, so you can make up your own conclusions about where you might be seeing that first… But yeah, Red White and Blue, I love it!

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