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Romford Horror Festival returns for fourth year

The four day event is being held at the Premiere Cinema, Romford 

The Romford Horror Festival is returning for the fourth consecutive year.

More than 160 scary feature films and shorts will be showcased at the Premiere Cinema, in the Mercury Shopping Centre, as part of the four day event which starts on Thursday, 29 February.

Last year’s success saw 1000 attendees throughout the festival, filling local hotels.

This year’s event has expanded to include a total of 168 feature films and shorts, including 8 timeless classic horror favourites.

The festival will be held across two screens, with an additional third screen dedicated to talks. It continues it’s tradition of showcasing world premieres, with an impressive count of 38 this year.

Segments such as “Short, Sharp Shocks,” featuring films under five minutes, and “Cheap Thrills,” highlighting films with a budget under £1000, are set to return.

There’s also two new strands: “Student Bodies,” showcasing student films including 7 from New City College, and “Horror Roulette,” an event where filmmakers with short films under 15 minutes can surprise the audience with their creations.

While the festival officially kicks off on Thursday, the main event begins on Friday, 1st March. The night will include a live singer, horror roulette, stylized photo shoots for attendees, and networking opportunities with designated breakout spaces for meetings.

Renowned director Kenichi Ugana takes the spotlight this year with screenings of two films, “Visitors – The Complete Edition” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” TIS Films, based in Southend, presents “Mosaic,” featuring segments shot at Romford’s Mercury Shopping Centre and along the picturesque Southend coast. The local filmmaker lineup of over 35 films includes titles like “Yellow,” “Sunday Driver,” “Newsgrid,” “Punch,” and “Sour Milk.” Additionally, horror enthusiasts can anticipate big-screen showings of classics such as “Possession,” “The Medusa Touch,” “The Entity,” and “Cannibal Apocalypse.”

Special guests at the festival includes Cinizia Monreale flying in from Rome, best known for her role in the once-banned 1980 film “The Beyond.” Caroline Munro and Pauline Peart, with extensive filmographies encompassing Hammer films, Carry On movies, and James Bond, will be present for a screening of “The Pocket Film Of Superstitions.” Graham Cole OBE, famous as Tony Stamp from The Bill, and indie film actress Dani Thompson, among other horror faces, will grace the event.

There will also be stalls offering Blu-rays, DVDs, jewellery, art, magazines, books and special effects.

Co-director Spencer Hawken said: “We are really going all out this year, doubling the number of films and screens, creating a packed agenda to cater to all horror tastes. We want people to have a fantastic time while still participating in an affordable event; a full festival pass remains at just £36, equivalent to £9 per day.”

For those not able to attend daily, day passes are available for £15, and individual sessions can be enjoyed at just £3.50 per session, with sales beginning on February 1st. Attendees can also partake in Q&A sessions following the movies with actors and directors.

Spencer continued: “So we normally show one classic film – this year we’re showing eight classic films. Four from Italy and four from the rest of the world. The reason for the Italian link is because each year we bring over a famous actor or actress from Italy and this year we’re bringing in Cinizia Monreale. We’re going to have about 38 world premieres which is obviously quite a big deal. The budget of those vary from quite small budgets to around 3 and a half million dollars.”

This year’s film lineup is a star-studded affair, featuring Tony Todd, Prunella Scales, Sean Young, Jamie Lomas, Kane Hodder, Kierston Wareing, Lynn Lowry, Caroline Munro, Graham Cole, Diane Franklin, Caroline Pickles, Pauline Peart, Guy Henry, Dani Thompson, Ayvianna Snow, and many more.

“It’s quite a rare event. We’ve only been running the festival for four years and last week it made the list of 50 most important film festivals in the UK in Screen Daily,” Spencer said.

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