Australia’s premier genre festival is getting ready to bask in the glow of the post-Halloween season as they roll into Melbourne on November 24-27.
The team of features programmers – which includes festival director Kier-La Janisse, Monster Picturesco-founder Neil Foley, Boston Underground Film Festival Director of Programming Nicole McControversy and writer/programmer/punk legend Chris D. – vetted over 600 features in selecting the 2016 Monster Fest lineup, which includes new crime films Dog Eat Dog and The Hollow Point from Paul Schrader and Gonzalo López-Gallego respectively, gory slasher throwback THe Windmill Massacre, the hometown premiere of epic period western The Legend Of Ben Hall with cast in person and acclaimed TIFF selections Prevenge and Interchange alongside Fantastic Fest faves such as the Aussie-made yuletide thriller Safe Neighbourhood and the devastating – and polarizing – Playground. Brief descriptions of all films in the final wave follow below.
For the fill lineup and tickets visit: http://monsterfest.com.au/2016/.
A DARK SONG
Director: Liam Gavin | Ireland 2016 | 100 mins | Australian Premiere
Driven by an all-consuming desire to make contact with her murdered child, Sophia hires an occultist named Solomon (Steve Oram) to conduct a black magic ritual that would grant her wish. As they delve deeper into the tedious, trying ritual, Sophia and Solomon find their bond of trust and sense of sanity pushed to the very limit as a sinister presence makes itself known.
Director: Rohit Mittal | India 2016 | 97 mins | Australian Premiere
This Man Bites Dog take on a Mumbai Taxi Driver follows a documentary crew as they shadow an auto-rickshaw driver named Narayan. The slice of life angle soon skews into dodgy voyeuristic complicity as the film crew documents the unraveling of a man’s humanity, culminating in a chilling, bloody climax.
DOG EAT DOG
Paul Schrader | USA 2016 | 93 mins | Australian Premiere
Based on a 1995 novel by acclaimed crime writer and ex-con Edward Bunker, the latest from the writer of Taxi Driver and Rolling Thunder and director of Mishima, Hardcore, Cat People and so many other now-canonized films, is a pitch black, uncompromisingly brutal and at times highly theatrical crime thriller about three ex-cons (Nicholas Cage, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Matthew Cook) who team up for that fateful ‘one last job’ only to have everything go horribly – and hilariously – awry.
GUYANA: CULT OF THE DAMNED
Director: René Cardona Jr. | Mexico 1979 | 90mins
When over 900 Americans were made to commit mass suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid in the middle of the steamy Guyana jungle, exploitation filmmakers couldn’t wait to cash-in on the tragedy, and Mexican filmmaker René Cardona Jr (TINTORERA: TIGER SHARK) was the first on the scene. Hypnotically sleazy and enjoyably lurid as only Cardona Jr. could make them. Co-presented by the Morbido Film Festival.
THE HOLLOW POINT
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego | USA 2016 | 97 mins | Australian Premiere
Patrick Wilson stars as Wallace, the new sheriff of a small town in Gonzalo López-Gallego’s full blooded take on the western genre. Building on the best of B-movie westerns and not skimping out on the gore, Gallego crafts a tale of one man investigating the aftermath of a drug cartel deal gone wrong – cleverly filling all the roles with terrific actors including Ian McShane, John Leguziamo, Jim Belushi and more.
Dain Said | Malaysia 2016 | 102 minutes | Australian Premiere
In this Malaysian ritual thriller and TIFF Midnight Madness selection, a forensics photographer is lured into a world of shamans and mystic creatures while helping his detective friend investigate a series of macabre murders.
THE LEGEND OF BEN HALL
Matthew Holmes | Australia 2016 | 134 mins | Victorian Premiere
In this epic period western based on the true story of one of Australia’s most famous outlaws, Ben Hall is drawn back into bushranging by the reappearance of his old friend John Gilbert. Reforming the gang, they soon become the most wanted men in Australian history.
MAXIE DIABLO AND THE FUNKY FUNKY SEX MURDERS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY BY MYSTERY RADIO THEATRE
From the makers of Man Bites God and the Theatre of the World podcast, Mystery Radio Theatre is a comedy/murder mystery performed in the style of old-timey radio theatre. There will be sound effects. There will be silly voices. There will be live ad-reads. There will be a special musical guest. And there will be blood.
MY FATHER DIE
Sean Brosnan | USA 2016 | 102 minutes | Australian Premiere
The debut feature from Sean Brosnan (son of Pierce) about the vengeful path of a man left mute since childhood following a family tragedy straddles the border of nihilistic revenge tale and brutalize Southern Gothic redemption with a poetic, even romantic sensibility, recalling at times sleeper hits Winter’s Bone and Cold In July.
Bartosz M. Kowalski | Poland 2016 | 81 mins | Australian Premiere
Certain to be the most controversial film of the festival, acclaimed documentary director Bartosz Kowalski issues his first narrative feature, the stark tale of two pre-teen budding sociopaths and what they do on the last day of school. A devastating film in the vein of Nothing Bad Can Happen and The Tribe.
Alice Lowe | UK 2016 | 88 mins. | Australian Premiere
This brilliant first feature from actress/director/writer Alice Lowe (Sightseers, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace) channels Lowe’s comedy background to create a completely unique horror comedy about a woman who is seven months pregnant and full of homicidal fury.
PSYCHONAUTS, THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN
Director: Alberto Vázquez, Pedro Rivero | Spain 2015 | 80 mins | Victorian Premiere
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Psychonauts is a gorgeous, haunting animated allegory that follows rebellious teen Dinky and the silent, drug-addicted outcast Birdboy as they attempt to escape life as they know it from an island ravaged by an industrial accident.
Chris Peckover | Australia/USA 2016 | 85 mins | Australian Premiere
On a quiet suburban street tucked within a ‘safe neighborhood’, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from strangers breaking into the house, only to discover that this is far from a normal home invasion. A great new yuletide terror film from the director of Undocumented (2010).
THE WINDMILL MASSACRE
Nick Jongerius | Netherlands 2016 | 85 mins | Australian Premiere
Windmills, they’re those things you see in storybooks surrounded by daffodils right? Think again! The Windmill Massacre is a freakishly ferocious slasher reboot about unsuspecting tourists who awaken a mysterious evil in the Dutch countryside after their tour bus breaks down, stranding them at an abandoned barn beside a sinister windmill where a miller used to grind the bones of locals.