11 Highlights From Glasgow Film Festival 2023 and FrightFest Programme

by J.R. Waugh

2023 is proving to be an exciting year in film, with what looks to be a fantastic time at the Glasgow Film Festival. A prestigious event, one of the largest film festivals in the UK, the Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) has attracted brilliant newcomer filmmakers, iconic medium veterans, and attendees from around the world. This year has plenty of exciting announcements of its screening programme, and if you’re a horror fan, there are lots of upcoming highlights for the Glasgow Film Festival installment of FrightFest.

11 Highlights From Glasgow Film Festival Programme

Along with familiar talent and iconic stars as highlights in the Glasgow Film Festival 2023 lineup, there are many exciting newcomers this year, particularly from Spanish cinema. GFF promises an entertaining output across multiple filmmaking genres spanning March 1 through March 12, 2023. There are buzzworthy Oscar nominees featured in these films and plenty of enticing stories to tell, of fascinating real-life figures including Alfred Hitchcock. Here are some of the highlights we noted from the programme:

Oscar Nominees Paul Mescal and Emily Watson Star in a Tense Drama

Image: A24

Among the announced films in the programme is God’s Creatures, the story of an Irish community whose ties are tested by allegations of sexual assault. It features industry veteran Emily Watson, whose feature film debut immediately got her an Oscar nomination, and Paul Mescal, whose performance in Aftersun was among the earliest in his career, getting him critical acclaim and a nod for the Best Actor award. This marks the UK debut of the film after its September release in the United States and screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and How to Train Your Dragon Stars Headline New Biopic

Image: Elevation Pictures

Glenn Howerton will star alongside Jay Baruchel in the upcoming docudrama Blackberry about the Canadian tech giant, and its rise and fall. With 2 stars at its helm who are predominantly known for more comedic affairs, it’ll be interesting to see their take on this story.

My Name is Alfred Hitchcock Asks if the Legendary Filmmaker’s Work Holds Up Today

Image: Hopscotch Films

GFF showcases several documentaries including this analysis of Hitchcock’s life’s work, seen through the eyes of impressionist Alistair McGowan. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of his iconic film The Birds.

New Scottish Filmmakers Debut Their Artistic Presence at GFF

Image: BBC Film

Debuting at the festival is Girl and conceived by Glasgow native writer-director Adura Onashile, it tells the story of Grace and Ama, a mother and daughter who try to make a new life in Glasgow. Grace is protective of her daughter and nervous about losing her bond with her while reeling from previous trauma. This particular selection has been such an in-demand event that an additional screening will happen on March 2.

Spanish Cinema is on the Rise

Image: Tortilla Films

Noted by Co-Director Allan Hunter, Spanish filmmakers appear quite frequently on this year’s programme at GFF. Among the shortlisted nominees for the festival’s audience award are Lullaby and Ramona. Hunter refers to the offerings as examples of Spanish film being “a blazing beacon of creativity” with highlights to see such as The Beasts, The Water, Maternal, and Prison 77. But in addition to Spain’s presence at the regular GFF offerings, the FrightFest weekend offerings have something up their sleeve for the horror fans…

GFF 2023: FrightFest, the Woodstock of Gore, Returns


FrightFest is a consistent fixture at Glasgow Film Festival, returning in 2023 for its 18th year. The 18+ event showcases the best in horror, science fiction, and otherwise strange fiction that’s sure to entertain and captivate audiences fortunate enough to attend.

Spanish Cinema Scares Up Some Horror at FrightFest 2023

Image: 13 E Movie AIE

13 Exorcisms is the directorial debut of Jacobo Martínez, and it examines a series of disturbing exorcisms in response to fears of demonic possession. It’s noted for addressing Spain’s deeply-rooted Catholicism and its influence on spirituality and society, serving up what promises to be an intense audiovisual experience.

Festival Co-Directors Recommend Particular FrightFest Entries

Image: Gaumont

Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter took my question enthusiastically in the press Q&A about what fans should be most excited about for FrightFest’s GFF Programme. They acknowledged the fans who come from around the world to see these films and were delighted to name their highlights.

Allison recommends looking out for Smoking Causes Coughing, a French comedy film about a team of fighters called the Tobacco Force with clear superhero team influences including Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. Also recommended was Sisu, a Finnish WWII action film where a gold digger must survive against a greedy Nazi extermination force in a clear nod to Indiana Jones. Finally, Allan recommended Consecration, a supernatural horror story starring Jena Malone and Danny Huston.

Here for Blood Serves Up Fun, Campy Horror

Image: Pageman Production

For Evil Dead fans yearning for some fun injected into their splatterfest, this one will be a key feature. Shawn Roberts stars in this Canadian film about an amateur wrestler who does a favor for his girlfriend by working as a babysitter in her stead. The house he is watching over, however, is descended upon by a violent cult, and it promises to be bloody fun entertainment.

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey Debuts in the UK at FrightFest

Image: ITN Studios

Winnie the Pooh went into the public domain in 2022, so naturally, creative minds went extreme and made a slasher. Director Rhys Frake-Waterfield directed this horror film in what will most likely be among the better-known projects to headline this festival, and with good reason. Putting aside the obvious deviation from the source material in how they’re marauding for human flesh, Blood and Honey was filmed using the Ashdown Forest location in East Sussex, the inspiration for Hundred Acre Wood.

FrightFest Serves Up 13 Offerings for Fans of the Spooky, Gory, or Simply Weird

FrightFest’s programme is fully listed below, as well:

March 9th

  • Smoking Causes Coughing 
  • Sisu

March 10th

  • #chadgetstheaxe
  • Irati 
  • Mother Superior 
  • Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey 
  • Pensive 

March 11th

  • Hunt Her, Kill Her 
  • Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls
  • Consecration 
  • Little Bone Lodge 
  • Here for Blood 
  • 13 Exorcisms

If you wish to attend and are in the area, be sure to check out their website for more helpful info and how to purchase passes.

Glasgow Film Festival will host 70 UK premieres, 6 world premieres, 16 international premieres, and 6 Scottish premieres, with tons of highlights and can’t-miss screenings. It, along with FrightFest, has screened some of the most iconic films held dear by cinephiles.

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