Halloween is only days away, and what better way to celebrate the occasion with a bevy of horror films at this year’s iteration of Monster Fest?
Monster Fest is Australia’s premier genre film festival which takes place annually across October and November, and ‘Monster Fest Presents’ is the exhibition arm of Monster Pictures, presenting films theatrically throughout the year. Together, they are a celebration of all that is weird and wonderful in the international cult cinema palette – Horror, fantasy, science-fiction, action, crime, noir, dark drama, gothic western, black comedy, animation, erotica and more.
Beginning in Melbourne, the festival has since extended its tendrils nationally. From this Halloween – Thursday the 31st of October, in case you were wondering – it sets down in Brisbane at the Myer Centre, screening 25 features from Thursday to Sunday the 3rd of November. While the Australian horror scene has evolved over recent years, it’s still arguably on life support – observe the relegation of Octavia Spencer-lead horror film Ma to home video – so this presents a rare opportunity to see genre films on the big screen that would likely otherwise slink their way to video on demand.
While we do get the festival a touch later than Melbourne, one of the advantages for us Brisbanites with busy schedules to choose the best films thanks to their reception down south. In particular, I’d single out the award winners from the Melbourne leg, which wrapped Friday October 18th.
In a first for the annual Monster Fest Awards, one film took out the two most coveted trophies, Richard Stanley’s Color Out Of Space, which received the Golden Monster for ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Director’. The multi-award winning feature proved to be the most talked-about film of the Melbourne festival following its Australian Premiere, with many festival attendees citing that it transcended hype and delivered on its highly anticipated promise. Color Out Of Space will be the final film of Brisbane’s Monster Fest – screening at 8:30pm on Sunday night – and I’ll be making a point of attending!
Amidst strong competition, consisting of twelve Australian features, most of which were making their World Premieres, Tony D’Aquino’s savage and subversive slasher The Furies was awarded ‘Best Australian Film’.
The remainder of the lineup includes the likes of the Soska sisters’ remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid, Aussie satire Two Heads Creek, and Rob Zombie’s continuation of his House of 1000 Corpses trilogy, 3 From Hell. I’ll be reviewing films from the program in the lead-up to its commencement on Thursday and over the festival, but I want to particularly single out an intriguing film that I caught at Melbourne International Film Festival. Then titled Something Else – and now given the less-confusing (and less-distinctive) title of After Midnight – it memorably mashes up mumblecore and low-budget horror and features one of the best moments I’ve seen in a cinema this year!