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It's not a pizza...

Saturday 20 August, 2011

Every year, myself and two friends travel up to Edinburgh for four days of gore, suspense and chills at Scotland's international horror film festival, Dead by Dawn. Organised by the wonderful Adele Hartley, the festival takes place around May of every year, and gathers hundreds of horror fans together from all over to Edinburgh's beautiful Filmhouse cinema.


Adele works tirelessly throughout the year, watching thousands of hours of film in order to select the very best of the weird and wonderful, sick and twisted and darkly funny for our viewing pleasure. Throughout the Festival, she introduces every film, invites directors, writers and actors to speak about their film, or answer a short Q&A. In between screenings, she circulates the Filmhouse bar, answering people's questions, chatting horror with the fans and generally making sure that everyone is enjoying themselves. Whenever I and my friends, Matt and Paul head up to Edinburgh, we just know that we're going to have a fantastic time, and that we'll be watching some new and exciting films, some very funny shorts and a few timeless classics on the big-screen.


Such fun do we have, that we thought it would be rude to not give something back to Adele – without her efforts, we wouldn't have a festival to attend in the first place! And so, collaborating with my friends Matt and Paul, I suggested a board based on the films of Dario Argento, the Italian film director responsible for such horror classics as 'Suspiria', 'Inferno', 'Profondo Rosso', 'Phenomena' and 'Sleepless'.


Adele is a big fan of the Italian horror maestro, and so with the help of my friends, we started to work out Argento's best films (it is sad to say that as great as his films are, in recent years he appears to have taken a downward turn). Having worked through about 3 different revisions of the board design, we finally got to a stage where the three of us were happy with it. Some of the er, 'less well-recieved' films would be incorporated onto the penalty/reward cards, with the properties taking the form of Argento movie classics, black leather gloves and knives.


We took the board up to Edinburgh on the train, and safely got it to the apartment we were staying in. Not wanting to literally 'give the game away' on the first day of the festival, knowing that Adele would be busy organising everyone for the first day, we merely picked up our passes for the four-day weekend and chatted with Adele how good it was to be back. We decided that the board would be best given to her on the second night of the festival – the first night is always demanding on her time, and the third night leads into the 'Saturday All-nighter', which runs into the early hours of Sunday morning, and the final night just leads into madness as Adele tries to organise 400 tired horror fans, giveaways, thankyous and the final hours of film madness.


When we quietly presented Adele with the board on the Friday evening, she was thrilled and couldn't believe we'd given her her very own Argento property trading game. The next day, she even remarked how she'd got it home and studied it, impressed that we'd "found a company that made such a thing". When we explained that it was actually me (with Argento advice from Matt & Paul) that made them, she was even more stunned, saying she had already thought of a couple of ideas for friends as presents (which, of course, I'll be happy to do). Little did I know that come the final night 'giveaways and thankyous', the three of us were to get a mention...

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