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!