WITH its creepy wynds, brooding Gothic structures and blood-drenched tales of the macabre, if anywhere has screamed out for a horror festival, it’s Edinburgh... and now it has one.
The first Edinburgh Horror Festival is set to send shivers down the spine from 28 to 31 October, bringing tales of vampires, ghosts and things that go bump in the night to city audiences.
“We’re not poe-faced about horror,” says co-organiser and actor Michael Daviot, who will revive his five star Fringe hit Nosferatu’s Shadow as part of the event. The one-man play, which tells the story of Max Schreck, the silver screens original vampire, is just one of a number of highlights over the Hallowe’en weekend.
“At the moment, most of the performers taking part are based in Edinburgh, but we are hoping to expand that,” continues Daviot, whose fellow organisers also feature in the Festival’s inaugural programme.
“Paranormal illusionist and mind reader Ash Pryce is a very skilful magician on the pub and club circuit,” he says.
“Oliver Giggins, who studied at Queen Margaret University, is an extremely intelligent stand up who will be improvising a new line in comedy horror, while Alex Staniforth, who worked for six years as a tour guide, leading people into the darkness beneath Edinburgh, will improvise ghostly tales.
“And Ross Hepburn will revive his hugely popular autobiographical stand-up piece, Beetlejuiced!”
Other shows include a new theatrical take on the Brothers Grimm dark fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, and an evening with The Singing Horror, in which opera singer Adam Cuerden will perform ‘Horrific Arias’.
The festival will also feature a new work in progress by director Flavia D’Avila, entitled Devil in the Belfry, famously the title of a satirical short story by master of mystery and the macabre Edgar Allan Poe.
Based at The Banshee Labyrinth on Niddry Street, other venues taking part are the Tron Pub and Otherworld Books on Dalry road, where a new book about Burke and Hare will be launched, and local author Gordon Rutter will give a talk on Paranormal Edinburgh.
Explaining the appeal of the Festival Daviot says, “Our generation were brought up with some grim stuff, indeed Grimms’ fairy tales have some fairly brutal stuff in them.
“Yet as children, we love being frightened, as long as it’s in a safe environment, and so, we find as we get older, that we are all drawn to the darkness.
“Horror allows us to vicariously experience the dangers of life in a context we can cope with and then carry over into life.”
He adds, “One of my favourite books is Jekyll & Hyde, a novel that speaks to us all, and that is what horror does, it allows us to safely manage the beast within us all.”