27th Aug2018

Frightfest 2018: ‘Cult of Terror’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Featuring: Alan Jones, Bruce Campbell, Robert Englund, Barbara Crampton, Mick Garris, Paul Naschy, Peter Bogdanovich, Dario Argento | Written and Directed by Gustavo Mendoza


I love documentaries. I can watch anything if people are passionate and love something and it is put to film well. So a good horror documentary instantly has my attention. Whether it’s about a twelve year old girl making a zombie movie (Zombie Girl) or real murder cases (Paradise Lost) or simply ones about popular horror franchises (Never Sleep Again, Crystal Lake Memories), I love them all.

Cult of Terror covers the horror festival circuit, the community around it and offers a bit of a random history of the horror/sci-fi/fantasy movie world. I say random because everything is a bit all over the place. The talking heads talk about a massive variety of topics including but not limited to, Italian horror, famous horror director and actors, festivals, fans, favourite villains and Argentinian horror. That last one, Argentinian horror sounds a bit strange until I explain that this is a documentary made in Argentina. Therefore the parts about the horror movies and culture from this part of the world were new and highly interesting to me. The subjects don’t seem to run in any particular order and although we do have blocks where only one thing is talked about, things do go back and forth a bit randomly. Sometimes, when it comes to the subjects, Cult of Terror appears kind of chaotic.

The talking heads involved are a big mix of people. From people involved in the Argentinian scene to Alan Jones of Frightfest fame to a who’s who of directors and stars – including Bruce Campbell, Robert Englund, Barbara Crampton, Mick Garris, Paul Naschy and Peter Bogdanovich. As it would be any documentary they are featured, Campbell and Englund are the highlights. Campbell only features in filmed Q & A sessions while with Englund the filmmakers have a proper sit down interview and he is as entertainer as ever. A lot of the talking heads were people I’ve never heard of but for the most part the passion they have for the genre shines through and they are nearly all highly engaging.

Apart from the interviews, the film is made up of stock footage, film footage, shots from festivals (Sitges is featured heavily), footage of horror shops and fanzines and people in cosplay (Jason Voorhees and random zombies look great). It’s very much a mish mash of stuff and some of it is used well while at other times it feels like it’s just filling time. And at an hour and fifty minutes long, Cult of Terror could have been a little bit shorter.

What this documentary does best is remind you that horror fans and the people involved in the genre are the most passionate and nicest people you’ll ever meet. Plenty of people will already know this but even then it’s nice to have a reminder! Everyone involved here is clearly a pleasure to deal with and super friendly, while be able to talk about things in the most passionate way.

Cult of Terror will put a huge smile on horror fans faces.

*** 3/5

Cult of Terror screened at Arrow Video Frightfest on Sunday August 27th.


Comments are closed.