Last year the gang from Monster Pictures gave us FAFF, a hectic weekend film festival packed with blood, boobs and assorted Asian oddness. As entertaining as it was, three days felt like a bit of a tease, so this year FAFF has mutated into something larger, and far more diverse: Monster Fest!
Spread over ten nights at Melbourne's Cinema Nova, Monster Fest will feature a whopping twenty four films – both new and old - from around the world along with special events and a host of international guests. "The program is a culmination of a year spent searching for the coolest, edgiest and most uniquely twisted films on the planet – we're sure we've got them too... You won't be disappointed!" says Monster Pictures head honcho Neil Foley.
The festival will open on October 31st with the Australian premiere of The ABCs of Death, an American/New Zealand co-production that sees an international collection of twenty-six directors including Ben Wheatley, Xavier Gens, Ti West, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Jason Eisener, Noburu Iguchi, and Jake West take a letter of the alphabet and use it as the inspiration for a twisted tale of death!
Closing the fest on November 9th will be American Mary, the second film from "The Twisted Twins", Jen and Sylvia Soska, where a struggling medical intern pays her way through college by performing underground body-modifications before a brutal encounter with a senior surgeon sends Mary on a path of torture and revenge.
On the evenings in-between the fest has something from everyone, no matter what your taste in genre cinema may be. Among the titles making their way to Monster Fest 2012 are Excision, starring Annalynne McCord, Traci Lords and cult film icon John Waters; Irish monster flick Grabbers; British Hicksploitation gore-fest Inbred; Elijah Wood in a remake of the classic Maniac; Astron 6's Manborg and Father's Day (read our review of the latter here), God Bless America, and Rec 3: Genesis.
"FAFF Sunday" will feature demented Asian offerings including Noboru Iguchi's Dead Sushi and The Big Gun/Henge, a double-header from Japanese newcomer Hajime Ohata.
Monster Fest will also host five Australian features, including the sci-fi Nazi action adventure, The 25th Reich, Tanzeal Rahim's haunted house fright-fest Muirhouse, 10 Metres, and Redd Inc, while the fangs will come out for The Caretaker. Lovers of vampire movies where supernatural creatures come and go in a spray of sparkles are warned to to "Stay the fuck away" from that one.
Monster Fest isn't just about sitting in a darkened room and watching images on the big screen however. "As much as Monster Fest is about the films, it's also about guests - and we've got guests to die for!" says Foley.
Heading the line-up of local and international guests is a genuine genre icon - writer/producer/director Larry Cohen. Cohen will be front and centre for a night of master classes and screenings of The Stuff and Maniac Cop.
Speaking of genre icons, they don't come much bigger (or bustier!) than the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira. Cassandra Peterson rarely performs as Elvira these days, but she'll be at Monster Fest for the 'Night of the Woman' event, which will include a screening of 1989's Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Appearing on stage with Elvira at 'Night of the Woman' will be Larry Cohen regular Laurene Landon, who will also introduce a screening of her revenge fuelled 1983 swordplay epic Hundra. Other filmmakers attending Monster Fest to present their films will include American Mary's Jen and Sylvia Soska, Inbred's Alex Chandon, and The Inside's Eoin Macken. Along with these international guests the directors of all five Australian features screening at Monster Fest will be in attendance along with various cast and crew members to host Q&A sessions.
We've highlighted a pretty impressive selection of films and filmmakers on this page, but Monster Fest has so much more to offer. With ten days of parties, special events, master classes and big screen presentations of new and old horror gems, Monster Fest 2012 is shaping up to be the most remarkable genre film festival this country has ever seen.
Monster Fest runs from October 31st to 9th November exclusively at Cinema Nova Carlton. The full festival program is available at www.monsterfest.com.au. You can also like the Monster Fest Facebook page and follow Monster Pictures on Twitter for updates.
Can't make it to Melbourne? Don't worry, you won't miss out on the experience entirely. Monster Fest will also hit the road with "Best of the Fest". We'll bring you more on that in the coming weeks.