Now in its 11th year, Mayhem, held, as ever at Nottingham’s Broadway cinema, is a highly entertaining mix of offbeat features, short films, special guests and unique events which sets it apart from many of its contemporaries.
Two years ago, Mayhem kicked off with a Halloween screening of Don’t Look Now in a church, personally introduced by Nicholas Roeg. Rather than try to outdo that ambitious opening, you can’t blame them for opening this year’s proceedings in a more conventional manner, with a trio of typically eclectic choices.
First up was Emelie, which by Mayhem’s standards was a fun, if conventional, little shocker, featuring a trio of fantastic child performances and a nice creepy turn from Sarah Bolger (who absolutely no one remembers as one of the kids in The Spiderwick Chronicles). She plays Emelie, a young woman who enters a family’s house under false pretences. Masquerading as a babysitter, she proceeds to terrorise the three children. Alongside the conventional scares, the film features two genuinely creepy moments, one involving a tampon, the other a mismatched pair of family pets, and it’s a promising debut from director Michael Thelin.
The second film this year was Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD. Mayhem doesn’t traditionally show documentaries, but the film, introduced by director Paul Goodwin, was enthusiastically received by the crowd. Telling the story of the bad boy of British comics from its inception in the 1970s until today, the film is highly entertaining, even for non-comic fans, helped largely by the eccentric collection of writers and artists that have worked on the comic over the years. It’s an informative, sometimes raucous look at 2000 AD’s history and influence on other comics, with contributions from the likes of Neil Gaiman (former 2000 AD writer Alan Moore is, typically, conspicuous by his absence). It may be a tad self-congratulatory, slightly overlong and strives too hard to tie its roots into punk, but Future Shock! maintains the comic’s rebellious attitude – it’s hard to imagine a documentary about Marvel or DC dropping the C-bomb or being as frank about the problems that have plagued it over the years.
Day one was rounded off by a late-night screening of director Éric Hannezo’s Rabid Dogs. A remake of Mario Bava’s controversial 1974 film, it was unfortunately on a bit late for most people, including, reluctantly, ourselves.