Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Wolf Manor

FrightFest review – Wolf Manor

Last year, prolific director Dominic Brunt went subtle with the mermaid chiller Evie – here, he goes broad again with a horror comedy laced with inside showbiz jokes.  It’s a kinder, gentler gore-drenched monster romp than Brunt’s Attack of the Adult Babies – though there’s quite a bit of nasty behaviour going on.

Fake opening titles present a vampire film called Crimson Manor, starring stagey old ham Oliver Lawrence (James Fleet) … then the bulk of the film takes place on the last night of its shoot, at a location the film company were told to finish using by the full moon.  With a lot of nods to An American Werewolf in London’s pub scenes (nice cameo from dour Northern John Henshaw), exposition is doled out and dark hints dropped … then we’re on set with a feckless producer, a dithering director, a demanding star and an overworked First AD (Fionnuala Milligan) as things go South.  The manor was owned by a stage magician who has mysteriously disappeared after a tour of the Carpathians, and the title pretty much gives away the nature of the beast (Morgan Rees-Davies) who’s soon ripping its way through the crew and cast – note that the above-the-line creatives are all too willing to throw hardworking techs literally to the wolves to save their hides.

Fleet is funny as a parody of the kind of horror star who vanished a long time ago, wittering on about his stage Shakespeare credits and complaining about the shoddy fangs he has to wear while recreating his continuing role as a cloaked aristocratic European vampire.  It’s pretty much a shaggy dog movie, and joins a relatively recent pack of British hairy horrors – Wild Country, Love Bite, Howl, Strippers s Werewolves, 13HRS, Blood Moon, A Werewolf in England, etc.  The film rambles on a bit, but the monster is pleasingly retro-looking.  NB: there’s a lengthy, significant post-credits scene.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.




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