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.