We've come to the end of another Monster Fest and I have just about reached burn-out. I'm an old man now (well, 39) and there wasn't a snowflake's chance in Hell I was ever going to keep up with those who endured the all-night marathon or the closing night after-party.... at least not without pharmaceutical assistance. My plan was to stick around for the closing night celebrations but as you are about to read, that never happened.
With about 5-hours sleep I woke up with a headache this morning... nothing that a coffee can't fix. By the time I was showered and ready to leave my amazing sweetheart had a strong long-black prepared in a traveller mug. I kissed her goodbye and hit the road. The coffee was fucking shithouse! It wasn't her fault, our espresso machine needs descaling. So my mind was made up to grab another one when I got into the city. I arrived in Carlton with an hour to spare and then spent that entire hour driving around looking for a car park. City parking sucks-ass and I ended up several blocks away (and my mind flashed forward to the return walk late at night, and the mugging/murder/ass rape that might ensue). So by the time I arrived at the cinema there was no time for coffee... the first session was ready to go.
I watched a beautifully restored 4K remaster of EVIL DEAD 2, which in hindsight I could have missed 5-minutes of to get that coffee (my brain was already hurting and "thinking" was not on my agenda). The film was glorious. I have seen it more times than I can count - heck, our name Fake Shemp derives from Evil Dead - but seeing it on the big screen with a full audience was quite the experience. How fun it was to laugh along with other people... although one thing that shits me to the core are those dickheads who laugh louder than everyone else at random moments which aren't very funny. If you're one of those people - get fucked!
The EVIL DEAD 2 session ran over time, which meant that I had to go straight into my next session, which was starting immediately (no time for that coffee, dammit). The next movie was MONSTER SQUAD!!! Monster-Fucking-Squad!!! A bonafide classic. One of the best. A slice of my childhood... the type of shit I live for! Naturally it was a glorious screening, which was also a stunning 4K presentation. I didn't think I could love the movie any more than I already do, but this was my first time seeing it in a cinema with an audience and my God, how much fun it was! If you've never seen MONSTER SQUAD - DO!
So it was time for that coffee... whoops, not it wasn't. Dick Dale's Trasharama A Go-Go was starting and I had to jump straight back into the cinema (dammit). Dick was his usual loveable drunk self and he introduced his festival-within-the-festival as only he can. With a few words from some of the filmmakers it was go-time and the sell-out audience was treated to the festival's trashiest offerings. It was a curious line-up of shorts, which for the most part, were not as "trashy" as Dick's mini-fest normally offers. When I attend Trasharama I expect cheap and nasty DIY depravity with an emphasis on shock value. There were a few shocking moments, but for the most part this year's line-up fell more into the "high quality" bracket, which ordinarily we would want in a short film program... but this is no regular short film program... it was TRASHarama! Nevertheless, the audience lapped it up and who am I to question a full-house?
Dick Dale has been working on a feature-length film for the last few years, which he declares to be the world's first "Splatter Punk Nasty". He treated the audience to an exclusive trailer to promote his upcoming crowd-funding campaign in Feb/March. By all accounts it looks to be shaping up as a truly trashy extravaganza. WE LOVE DICK and encourage you to click the image below and like the Ribspreader Facebook page.
Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee... nup. By this time I was already sporting a migraine from my lack of sleep, and the entire day coffeeless was egging it on. We're told to avoid caffeine when we have migraines but when you're regular cure for a headache is coffee, that's what you crave.
The final screening of the night was touted as one of Monster Fest's highlights this year, the shocking true story; LORDS OF CHAOS! This was a big event with Monster having to host the film in two cinemas at the same time. I was in line waiting for the door to open and was thrilled to have met one of FakeShemp's most loyal followers, Bianca Russell. We had been swapping messages throughout the festival and were both looking forward to a catch up. And so with only a few minutes to spare we swapped stories about both being under the weather (as well as general movie geek banter). I had been wanting to meet her for a while to thank her for the support over the last few years, and it was a pleasure to finally meet her. She will no doubt be reading this blog, and so Bianca... get better soon!!!
LOARD OF CHAOS was mental. It was a film unlike any other. Based on a true story that defies belief, it was a tale about two Norwegian black metal bands who took their pledge to darkness to the extreme when they resorted to arson and murder to promote their music. It was a graphic, confronting and surprisingly funny trip to hell and back, and you can read my full review at the link below.
Next up was the grand finale... the Monster Fest closing night awards and after party. As I mentioned earlier, my plan was to head in to share the celebrations with everyone. I had even planned to do a spot of roving-microphone for our podcast. I regret to say that I made a beeline down the stairs instead to the cafe below and ordered a strong long-black coffee. It was a delicious coffee, which immediately took the edge off my migraine. I drank it as I walked back to my car, at which I arrived without the excitement of a mugging, murder or ass-rape.
And that brings us to the end of FakeShemp's Monster Fest coverage... well, almost. I will be adding more reviews over the next couple of days, and I will be re-posting more photos from other people. It has been 4 days of mass-movie-consumption and sleep deprivation! And I wouldn't have it any other way. A massive THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS to the Monster crew for another insane year of gnarly goodness.
At Monster Fest VII: The Homecoming... this is Glenn, signing off!
I live way out in the Yarra Valley, which means I have a fair way to travel to and from Monster Fest each day. I will never complain about it because I love where I live, but there's no doubt that I am running out of steam already. By the time I get home each night and write reviews (plus blog entries) I am not hitting the pillow until 4AM. This morning my alarm went off an hour earlier because today is election day in Victoria. I had to hit the poll-booth before hitting the road and like the idiot I am, I had no loose change on me to buy a democracy sausage (fucking idiot)...
One of the perks to living in the country is all of the amazing places to eat. I stopped off at a small general store and indulged in a post-Monster breakfast. A fat bacon & egg roll on a cold wet morning while overlooking a vineyard certainly helped boost my morale. And if chowing down this morning wasn't energising enough, the general store had an entire massive VIDEO RENTAL WALL on display with a huge collection of titles. Yeah, I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a photo of it, but I DID get a photo of my brekky... wanna see?
I arrived early (true to form) and found the only table left at the cafe below Cinema Nova. It was tucked right down the back as if awaiting my arrival. And so with a long-black coffee and my laptop on hand I sat for an hour and prepared for the day's mission. The first cab off the rank was one of the late comers to the Monster Fest line-up, HELL FEST, which would have to be the most fun I've had watching a horror movie in the longest time. This one really got me going and you can click the link below to read my review.
That unfortunate conflict of scheduling meant that I was unable to attend this year's trivia competition - John CarpenTrivia. Jarret was on hand to oversee the proceedings and by all accounts it was an awesome afternoon of nerdy hijinks. It kicked off at 12:30 and took place in the Nova bar with festival devotees chomping at the bit to show off their cultish licks. The J-man sent me a few photos from the afternoon and I think they speak for themselves. Sidenote: FakeShemp would have won (of course) if we were representin' hehe. Side-Sidenote: I got another coffee from a nearby organic joint. Same coffee, different place... Imma Say it... Organic Coffee tastes like shit!
Nicholas was gracious and genuinely interested in who I was and what I did. We had a chat about Rolf de Heer and also the work I do, and then we had our photo taken. Excuse this shitty pic from my phone... there will be an official photo posted on Monster's social media soon.
And then... THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, which is the latest film from the notorious provocateur Lars Von Trier. I will have a full review posted for you in the coming days, but I will say that it was a totally mesmerising and dare I say awe-inspiring odyssey. It wasn't without its faults, however it made for a memorable screening and left a lot of food for thought before I get stuck into my review.
Likewise with Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich. With today's line up crossing over into the AM I have not got enough time to bring you a fully comprehensive diary entry complete with reviews. I will have plenty of them within the next 48 hours. I will say this, however... Puppet Master was a bloody belter!!
And finally, here's a review I DO have ready for you right now. I was not able to attend the world premier of Matthew Victor Pastor's new film MAGANDA: PINOY BOY VS MILK MAN. When the session sold out Monster asked if I would settle for a screener instead, in order to give a seat to someone else. The choice was mine and I was happy to give it up. And so I was lucky enough to see the film last week through a media screener, and wow... MVP has outdone himself. Click the banner below to read my full review.
And that just about sums up day number three at Monster Fest. It was a massive day, and as I write this at 2AM I am thinking about those poor bastards who have committed to Monster's all night marathon. They've got far more stamina than I do, that's for sure.
Please stop by to check up on this diary entry in a few days when I will have published all of the reviews and added a few extra pieces of commentary. But for now it's time for bed because in a few hours time.... we go again!
I arrived to Monster Fest early as always, and knowing that the pop-up Monster Fest store would be open for business, I paid a visit and hung out for an hour. The Monster crew were there, as were Monster-disciples Simon Harcourt and Nathan Armstrong. These guys have been big supporters of FakeShemp for years and I consider them mates. We chilled out on the Monster couches and talked about all of the sweet cover art from the 70s and 80s.
I shouldn't be surprised that the Monster shop was inundated with actual customers. Regulars to the small shopping centre were intrigued by this new and unusual presence in their local strip. Some wandered in, realised that it was horror and walked right back out again. Some made stupid jokes about the quality of titles (neanderthals) while others were genuinely excited about this one-time only opportunity. Without word of a lie, the money was flowing and the Monster guys were turning over a tidy profit. It was a brilliant sight to see and there is no doubt that the Monster Shop was a stroke of genius.
6:30 rolled around and it was time to head upstairs to the cinema. The first film of the night on my line-up was the long awaited anthology NIGHTMARE CINEMA from horror icons Mick Garris, Joe Dante, David Slade, Ryûhei Kitamura and Alejandro Brugués. The film enjoyed a solid turnout with the cinema being close to full...
Nightmare Cinema was preceded by a short film titled Devil Woman, which was introduced by its director Heidi Lee Douglas.
Douglas described her film as an "Eco Horror" true to her word, so it was. It told the story of a group of conservationists in the wilderness of Tasmania who are tormented by thugs from a logging company. When one of the women is bitten by a diseased Tasmanian Devil she turns ravenous and tries to devour everyone in camp. It was an effective and well made film which exploited the genre tropes nicely while serving as an important point of awareness to some important ecological issues.
And then, of course, NIGHTMARE CINEMA... and you can read my full review at the link below.
I was left with 40 minutes to spare before the next film and so I left the herd and ventured out in search of food... to no avail. The local mega cafe beneath Cinema Nova was packed to the brim and so my quests spread out to the local service station and nearby cafes. The servo good looked lethal and the cafes were all at capacity, and so I returned to the cinema with an empty stomach (the drive home later would prove bountiful thanks to the wonders of drive-thru).
The next film on the schedule was CAM, a new co-production between Netflix and Blumhouse. Much to Monster's frustration, I'm sure, Netflix had moved the released date of CAM forward, which meant that it had landed on the streaming service ahead of the Monster Fest screening. I was aware of this but chose to avoid the film until tonight... and pleased that I did. You can read my full review of the film at the link below.
The short film preceding CAM was called Be My Guest. This was a really cool 12-minute short from Canada, which told the story of a couple who have been earning money from a sophisticated mind-transferring device that allows them to have sex with strangers (same body, new mind). It was a fitting pair-up with CAM and another point of distinction for the savvy programming of this year's lineup.
And there we have it... another night of Monster Fest done and dusted. It's obviously impossible to be in two places at once and the films that I missed were FIRST LIGHT and the 4K restoration of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. Missing out on these is the sad reality of festival line-ups. There's simply too much content to avoid crossing over. Such is life and I will endeavour to catch up with First Light to review as soon as possible. But for now... some sleep before a huge all-day binge tomorrow!
Monster Fest VII kicked off with grandeur in Melbourne last night with the festival returning to where it all began, Cinema Nova. I had come from a media screening of Creed II and with 90-minutes to spare I tucked myself down the back of a cafe and punched out a review. With caffeine in my system I was ready for launch.
When I arrived at Nova (still early) I decided to walk past the Monster Shop, which is a new feature at this year's event. The shop wasn't open for business yet, but the Monster crew were inside making some final arrangements. I popped my head in and hung out for a while. I cannot wait to share this cool little concept with you, and I will definitely post some photos throughout today's adventures. They have created a pop-up video store, complete with fully stocked shelves of VHS titles. The nerd in me geeked out as I browsed through their extensive collection of rarities and cult favourites. Sadly all of these VHS covers are for aesthetic purpose only and not for sale. But the good news is that there's an entire section chocked up with Monster releases on DVD and BD which are all available to purchase, including their latest release GLASS COFFIN.
Making my way upstairs to Nova's foyer I hit up the Monster table and secured my media pass. All media and VIP guests at this year's event were greeted with a special bag, the contents of which included a pass to the festival, GLASS COFFIN on DVD, a Cult of Monster sticker detail, and information about several of this year's major sponsors... they being Beserk, Roar Digital and Red Octopus.
The foyer filled up quickly and within minutes the room was a buzz with enthusiastic genre fans of every decree. Punks, Rockerbillys, Rockerchicks, and every other kind of movie geek was there for the occasion and to keep spirits high, Monster had arranged for discounted craft beer from Moon Dog Brewery (free to those with VIP passes). A media wall was put up and a roving photographer walked around snapping shots throughout the night, which I will no doubt ruin many of.
Before we knew it the cinema opened and we filed in like the cheeky horror fiends that we are. Monster Fest director (and owner of Monster Pictures) Grand Hardie took to the mic to welcome everyone to this year's festival. He introduced his loyal team, which includes FakeShemp's own Jarret Gahan as well as Kim Taylor and Ben Hellwig. Grant's proudest moment was declaring this year's festival to be the most successful yet, with ticket sales reaching record highs. A round of applause erupted from the crowd as Grant successfully set the tone. As well as giving kudos to the sponsors he gave a brief rundown of things to come over the course of the next 3 days and took the time to speak with Queensland filmmaker Drew MacDonald whose short film There Be Monsters took the honour of being this year's first cab off the rank.
MacDonald's film was an effective 14-minute monster movie, which told the story of a bullied girl trapped inside a school bus overnight. Stalked by a ghastly beast she must overcome her fear in order to defeat the monster. It was an unexpected film, which I found to be an engaging and allegorical exploit of topical themes. The crowd responded favourable and no sooner was it over, the main attraction took command of the screen.
The opening feature-length film for the festival was S Craig Zahler's highly anticipated DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. It was a provocative and curious film, which provided ample conversation at the after-party in Nova's main bar. You can click the link below to read my full review of the film.
Following the film everyone filed into the bar area where The Screaming Meanies produced incredible sounds, including their own twisted take on John Carpenter's Halloween theme. It's never a Monster Fest without The Screaming Meanies and with their strange and mesmerising music filling the room, the night came to an end in glorious style. Chins were wagging as everyone mingled. I caught up with old friends and was introduced to new people, some of whom have been long-time followers of our work here at FakeShemp.
And so it was a successful Day 1 as Monster Fest, and this is where I get some sleep and prepare to do it all over again. Be sure to keep an eye out for more photos on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and feel free to drop us a line. If you see me walking around over the coming days, pull me up and say G'day. I'll be busting out the mic at some point to get some content for the podcast, so if you want to get yourself on to our show.... just ask!
Monster Pictures have become something of an institution in Melbourne, and following their year-long commitment to presenting subversive horror cinema at their Travelling Side Show they return to where it all began at Cinema Nova in Carlton.
Even with a tighter focus on local talent this year, Monster Fest VII: The Homecoming isn't turning its back on gnarly offerings from all around the world. There's a strong John Carpenter theme running throughout the schedule with exclusive restoration screenings of Escape From New York and The Fog, as well as a special event John CarpenTrivia night.
The highly anticipated third film from S Craig Zahler - Dragged Across Concrete - will open up the festival, and if his previous films Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 are any indication we're in for a sensory overload. The film stars two of Hollywood's notorious outcasts, Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, who set the screen alight as two suspended cops diving head-first into the criminal world to take what they feel they're owed, and not without a blood soaked trail of bodies in their wake. And in keeping with the Carpenter theme this year, Jennifer Carpenter, co-stars alongside Gibson and Vaughn.
S Craig Zahler also co-wrote another anticipated film in this year's Monster Fest, the long-awaited Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich. Not to be mistaken as a direct sequel to Charles Band's legendary B-movie franchise, this new instalment serves as a recalibration, with all of the favourite killer puppets returning to the screen in a larger than life murder spree. The new film yanks the franchise away from the dusty video store shelves and hidden streaming service menus to present Puppet Master in all of its blood-soaked theatrical glory. And we do emphasise “Blood Soaked!”.
Lars Von Trier's shocker The House That Jack Built is also making its Victorian premiere, and what is a Von Trier film without controversy? With walk-outs at festival screenings in Europe his new film promises to repulse those poor sensitive souls, but guarantees to invigorate MonsterFest's most deviant of fans. At the time of writing this article the initial screening for The House That Jack Built has entirely sold out. Monster have announced a special encore screening but you better get in quick!
Another major coup for Monster Fest VII is the Australian premiere of the new anthology film Nightmare Cinema, from Hollywood renegades of horror, Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers), Joe Dante (Gremlins), David Slade (30 Days of Night), Alejandro Brugues (Juan of the Dead) and Ryuhei Kitamura (Midnight Meat Train). Hailed as the best horror anthology since Creepshow, all chins will be wagging about this little beauty.
And of course what's a film festival without a strong finale? Closing Monster Fest VII is the Australian premiere of the mysteriously allusive cult metal shocker Lords of Chaos from iconic music video director Jonas Akerlund (Ramstein, Metallica). Starring Rory Culkin the film is inspired by the true story of the Norwegian heavy metal scene of the early 90s, involving arson and murder. Very little has been revealed about the film itself with Akerland and co keeping the details close to their chest. Needless to say this screening is not to be missed.
Other highlights of this year's festival include the deliciously deplorable exploits of Dick Dale's Trasharama, several short-film programs and a heap of films including Hell Fest, Cam, Maganda Pinoy Vs Milk Man, an All Night Nightmare Marathon, Monster Squad (4K), Wolfman's Got Nards, Evil Dead 2 (4K) and Pimped!
Monster Fest stalwart and musical polymath THE SCREAMING MEANIES will also be on hand to open and close the festival with their unique brand of jazz-infused synth-wave murder-rock! If you've never seen this freak perform then you're missing out on something special!
AND THERE'S STILL SO MUCH MORE!
You can listen to our exclusive Monster Fest podcast below for an in depth look in to this year's schedule. Be sure to download the MonsterFest App to keep up to date with all that's happening and keep up without antics as FakeShemp reports back to with with all of the grisly goodness.
OR TRY OUR AUDIO-ONLY VERSION BELOW.
Monster Fest is right around the corner and we will be there to cover all bases. Let's get started with an exclusive podcast where the three of us (Glenn, Jarret & Shaun) break down the entire festival program and discuss all of the devilish delights within.
You can also find an audio-only version of this podcast on our Podcast page. And be sure to keep up with us on Facebook as we dive head-first into MonsterFest VII: The Homecoming... kicking off on November 22.