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Abertoir horror festival returns to Aberystwyth next month

14 Oct 2023 2 minute read
A scene from horror film Darklands

A horror film festival celebrating the past, present and future of the genre in Wales, takes place in Aberystwyth next month.

The year’s annual Abertoir Horror Festival will be held in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 14-19 November and will feature presentations, talks, and screenings of big-budget, classic, and independent horror films.

Welsh director Julian Richards will attend this year’s festival for a special advance screening of a new director’s cut of his 1996 film Darklands.

The film, set in Port Talbot, explores Wales’ pagan history and follows a journalist played by Craig Fairbrass, who investigates 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.

Welsh folklorist

Welsh folklorist, academic, and author Dr Delyth Badder will also talk at the festival. Her presentation Blood, Toili, Tears and Sweat explores old Welsh history, including traditional Welsh death customs such as sin eating, and some morbid folk beliefs.

The festival will also showcase two brand-new Welsh short horror films, followed by a panel discussion about the films and the future of Welsh horror.

The Wyrm of Bwlch Pen Barras, written and directed by Craig Williams, is set in the quiet town of Rhuthun, where three men are called upon to carry out a terrible assignment on the neighbouring mountain pass – the Bwlch Pen Barras.

The film stars Bryn Fôn and features a score by Dafydd Ieuan and Cian Ciarán of the Super Furry Animals.

A scene from horror film Darklands

The Sin-Eater, directed by Kelly Holmes and written by Matthew White, tells the tale of a desperate young mother who carries out a forbidden ritual to save the soul of her unbaptised baby. However, she is tricked into taking on a terrifying supernatural burden.

Two Welsh short films will also compete in the festival’s prestigious Melies d’argent competition for Best European Short Film. Geronimo and The Hounds of Annwn were both supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales’ BFI Network Beacons scheme.

The Abertoir Horror Festival takes place at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 14-19 November, 2023. For more information visit:

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