At this year’s Abertoir Horror Festival, Welsh horror gets special attention on the closing day, with a trio of events celebrating the past, present and future of the genre in Wales.
Taking the audience all the way back into old Welsh history is academic and author Dr Delyth Badder, in her presentation Blood, Toili, Tears and Sweat.
The Abertoir audience can expect a tour of traditional Welsh death customs, such as sin eating, and some morbid folk beliefs.
Welsh director Julian Richards also explored Wales’ pagan history in his 1996 film Darklands.
Richards will attend this year’s Abertoir for a special advance screening of his new director’s cut of the film.
Set in Port Talbot, it follows a journalist, played by Craig Fairbrass, investigating a mysterious death that soon leads him to a sinister local cult.
The film helped turn the tide for the waning British horror filmmaking scene and prefaced the soon incoming Cool Cymru wave.
The festival will also showcase two brand-new Welsh short horror films out-of-competition, followed by a panel discussion about the films and looking to the future of Welsh horror.
The Wyrm of Bwlch Pen Barras, written and directed by Craig Williams, is set in the quiet town of Ruthun, where three men are called upon once again to carry out a terrible assignment on the neighbouring mountain pass – the Bwlch Pen Barras.
The film stars Welsh superstar Bryn Fôn and features a stunning score by Dafydd Ieuan and Cian Ciarán of the Super Furry Animals.
The Sin-Eater, directed by Kelly Holmes and written by Matthew White, tells the tale of a desperate young mother carries out a forbidden ritual to save the soul of her unbaptised baby, but is tricked into taking on a terrifying supernatural burden.
As well as this special focus, two Welsh short films will compete in the festival’s prestigious Melies d’argent competition for Best European Short Film.
These are Geronimo (directed by Geraint Morgan) and The Hounds of Annwn (directed by Beth B Hughes and Bryony Evans), both supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales’ BFI Network Beacons scheme.
Abertoir takes place at Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 14 to 19 November.
The festival began as a three-day event and has grown since to a six-day schedule.
Abertoir is also a long-standing member of the Méliès International Festivals Federation.
As well as screening new big-budget horror films, classic and independent films form a large and important part of the festival line-up.
Each year a short film competition is held, which showcases horror and fantasy short films from around the world. In addition to film screenings, the festival regularly features concerts, theatre shows and masterclasses in its line-up.
Abertoir festival director Gaz Bailey said: “Abertoir celebrates its 18th year as Wales’ International Horror Festival and we’re absolutely delighted that this year’s festival passes sold out in just a day.
“It was impossible to imagine, back during the first edition in 2006, that we’d be going strong for such a long time!
“It’s been great hosting it in Aberystwyth too: people have been travelling from all over the UK (and even further) to our town, and many of our international guests over the years have always enjoyed having an excuse to see Wales for the first time too.
“It’s been such a rewarding experience seeing Abertoir grow over the 18 years – that number is very significant for any horror fan, and we’ll be having our own little celebration of the 18 certificate along with our usual selection of special events, talks and screenings of brand new, unreleased films.
“I’m genuinely proud and humbled at all the support we’ve had, especially those who have helped the festival grow and the friendly audience who attend every year.
“It’s a very special feeling seeing familiar faces who’ve travelled so far to attend, but it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else other than Aber – especially as the festival name wouldn’t work!”