The Diary: Scary festival is a real horror show

Pictured is Rob Nevitt launching the Celloloid Screams Horror Film Festival at the Showroom Cinema,Paternoster Row
Pictured is Rob Nevitt launching the Celloloid Screams Horror Film Festival at the Showroom Cinema,Paternoster Row
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Zombies, bloodsuckers, men with chainsaws and a clear disregard for health and safety...

Rob Nevitt is hoping next weekend will be a real horror show in Sheffield.

He’s the bloke behind the city’s Celluloid Screams festival, the annual three-day extravaganza dedicated to the sort of films featuring lots of blood, lots of gore and very occasionally a plot.

It shows stuff so scary that in 2012 one viewer collapsed in the cinema. Eeek. More of that later.

For now, this year’s festival, running next Friday to Sunday, is a bit special because it’s the fifth one. And today at the venue – The Showroom Cinema in Paternoster Row – Rob is giving The Diary a run down of what we’ll call The Numbers...

There are 17 feature films (including five UK premiers and seven classics), 20 shorts, seven talks (including one from cult director Frank Henenlotter), a couple of parties, and an exhibition of local art. There’s also an all-nighter when four movies will be shown between midnight and 8am. The whole thing will attract 800 people.

They come from across the UK and pump an estimated (and none-too-scary) £150,000 into the local economy.

“When I think that we started this in 2009 as an experiment and it’s now one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the country, that’s just amazing,” says Rob, a teacher at Wakefield College by day.

“It’s rewarding when you see people coming back year in year out.”

The father-of-one of Myrtle Road, Heeley, started the fest because he loves horrors (favourite film: Gremlins) and felt Sheffield needed some celebration of the genre. As curator, he will watch about 250 movies during the year before picking the final festival line-up.

“How do I find the time?” he muses. “It’s not easy but I’m not going to complain about having to watch horror movies. I love it.”

And the sign of a good fest? Fans talking about it afterwards, positive online reviews and, just perhaps, someone collapsing with fright.

“That was last year during a film called Dysmorphia,” Rob, 34, recalls. “About half way through a girl stood up and then there was this massive crash as she fainted. When we got her outside she was literally green.”

He thinks a moment: “she was all right, though. She was back in again for the next film.”

A screaming success, it seems.