I'm proud to announce Australia's premiere - and longest-running - genre film festival celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, with a cracker program! I've been supporting the Sydney-based festival since its third year, and this is my third year as short film programmer (my second as head of international horror shorts).
Presented by Deadhouse Films, The 10th annual A Night of Horror International Film Festival, and Fantastic Planet: Sydney Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival, screen simultaneously at Dendy Cinemas Newtown from November 24 to December 4, 2016.
“The 10th annual festival is going to be our biggest event yet,” says festival director Dean Bertram. “Featuring over 100 films, several international filmmaker guests, multiple parties and a horror filmmaking master class; Sydney's genre fans and filmmaking community are going to be treated to eleven days of the best and freshest horror, sci-fi, and fantasy from around the globe.”
The festival opens on Thursday November 24, with the Australian premiere of the international festival hit PEELERS, plus a Q&A with special international guest: Canadian director Sevé Schelenz. And in keeping with the spirit of the bloody hilarious film, the screening will be followed by a “zombie and strippers” themed after party.
The closing night film, presented by Monster Pictures, is the outrageous Sundance hit THE GREASY STRANGLER. The screening will be introduced by the film's stars Michael St. Michael and Sky Elobar, and followed by a special “Greasy Gala” after party. Audience members who come in GREASY STRANGER inspired costumes have a chance to win prizes given to them by the stars of the film themselves!
On Saturday, November 26 the festival presents a Horror Filmmaking Masterclass. Several of the festival's guest filmmakers will present an in depth look at the horror feature filmmaking process: from developing and financing, through production and post-production, to distribution and festival strategies. This is must attend event for anyone wanting to produce their own feature film.
Along with the full program of feature films listed below - most of which are Australian premieres - the festivals maintain an impressive commitment to short films: Showcasing over seventy of the world's most stunning genre shorts from twenty different countries.
The short film programs are: FANTASTIC VISIONS (international sf/fantasy), LOVECRAFT X (H.P. Lovecraft-inspired by/adapted from), AUSTRALIAN HORROR GALA, AUSTRALIAN SF & FANTASY GALA, WORLD OF DREAD (international horror) [Ed: programmed by yours truly!], and AMAZING ANIMATIONS (international animated sf/fantasy & horror).
For tickets, full schedule of films, and more information about the festival, visit:
Full list of feature films screening at the 2016 event follow:
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (dir: André Øvredal) From the director of TROLLHUNTER! Brian Cox (THE BOURNE IDENTITY, TROY) and Emile Hirsch (INTO THE WILD, LONE SURVIVOR) play father and son coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful young "Jane Doe," they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.
BORNLESS ONES (dir: Alexander Babaev) Fans of EVIL DEAD will eagerly devour this atmospheric and demon-filled fright-fest. Starring Australia's own Mark Furze, this is the best and bloodiest cabin-in-the-the-woods film in years.
DEAD BULLET (dir: Erik Reese) Desperate to turn his life around, a hard-luck gambler risks everything to sell stolen casino chips to a ruthless criminal. It's the worst bet of his life. With a fantastic cast, non-stop thrilling twists, and the spectacular backdrop of desert and casinos, DEAD BULLET is a top notch addition to the neo-western heist movie.
FOUND FOOTAGE 3D (dir: Steven DeGennaro) In the same way that SCREAM deconstructed the slasher sub-genre in the 90’s, FF3D takes a found-footage horror movie and populates it with people who are aware of all of the rules, tricks, and clichés of the genre. They know how to make a found footage movie. But do they know how to survive one?
GEHENNA: WHERE DEATH LIVES (dir: Hiroshi Katagiri) The terrifying directorial debut from special effects artist Hiroshi Katagiri (A.I., WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE HUNGER GAMES). When a group of property developers are trapped in a bunker beneath sacred native land, they soon discover that there are worse fates than death waiting in the claustrophobic darkness. Appearances from genre favourites Lance Henriksen (ALIENS, MILLENNIUM) and Doug Jones (HELL BOY, PAN'S LABYRINTH) add to one of the most frightening films of the festival season.
GELO (dir: Gonçalo Galvão Teles, Luís Galvão Teles) Ivana Baquero – star of PAN'S LABYRINTH, THE NEW DAUGHTER and THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES - captivates in this emotionally charged and unforgettable sci-fi mystery. Born from the DNA of a frozen ice age corpse, Catarina grows up incarcerated in an isolated palace. A film student named Joana, falls madly in love with Miguel - only to see him tragically ripped from her hands during a journey to a snowy mountaintop. What can possibly unite Joana and Catarina? How many lives are there in one lifetime?
THE GREASY STRANGLER (dir: Jim Hosking) Every year at Sundance one film takes pundits totally by surprise, in 2016 that film was Jim Hosking’s THE GREASY STRANGLER. This is a film like no other, a greasy smorgasbord of filth and depravity that is as repulsive as it is sweet – part comedy, part horror, part love story, all greasy mayhem! The kind of film that festival audiences adore and the kind of film that once seen cannot be erased from the mind.
NEIL STRYKER AND THE TYRANT OF TIME (dir: Rob Taylor) If DOCTOR WHO was genetically spliced with STAR TREK, by a mad scientist with a wicked sense of humour (who also threw in a sprinkling of malevolent goblin puppets just for giggles), you might have something resembling this soon to be cult classic. And with STAR TREK's Walter Koenig on board, this film boldly goes to new comedic heights.
THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN (dir: Roberto San Sebastián) On New Year's Eve a desperate and lonely young man is lured back to the apartment of an attractive older woman. The man thinks he is in for a night of pleasure, and perhaps the night of his life. He is half way right... because he is never going to be the same after he experiences what this night will bring. A dark - and darkly humorous - journey into strange and forbidden territories. Some scenes are so outrageous that you won't be able to sit still in your seat.
ORION (dir: Asiel Norton) In a desolate future, where science is a memory, and mysticism and savagery rule the wasteland, a hunter (David Arquette in a transformative performance) must save a virgin (Lily Cole, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS) from a cannibalistic shaman. ORION is a visionary thriller and unique exploration of the post-apocalytpic sub-genre.
PARANORMAL DRIVE (dir: Oleg Assadulin) Russian genre cinema continues to accelerate with this jump-in-your-seat supernatural chiller. A Russian family road tripping across country in their newly purchased car, are unaware of the vehicles horrifying history. Will they survive its dark secrets and reach their final destination?
PARASITES (dir: Chad Ferrin) The industrial barbarianism of downtown Los Angeles is equal parts player and punisher in this survive-at-all-costs tale of a group of friends who get lost in the seedy streets where they encounter a crazed gang of homeless derelicts. One surviving man escapes on foot, naked and unarmed. With only instinct to guide him, can he survive this coliseum of horror?
PEELERS (dir: Sevé Schelenz) The festival horror hit - with over 50 international festival screenings - is premiering in Australia at A Night of Horror. Festival alumni Sevé Schelenz (SKEW) serves up a riotous horror action flick: filled with zombies, strippers, gore, gags and chainsaws!
PLANK FACE (dir: Scott Schirmer) From festival alumni, and emerging master of confrontational horror cinema (FOUND, HEADLESS, HARVEST LAKE), comes this shockingly original tale of a man forever transformed by a savage clan of back-woods women.
SCANNERS (dir: David Cronenberg) A Night of Horror is delighted to present a special 35th anniversary screening of SCANNERS, the mind-bending blend of horror and sci-fi from genre master David Cronenberg (THE FLY, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, EASTERN PROMISES). The film is one of most important and best loved gems of the 70s-80s exploitation boom. Here's your chance to see the film the way it was meant to be seen: On the big screen, in all of its head-exploding glory!
THE SECOND COMING: VOLUME 2 (dir: Richard Wolstencroft) Australian film maverick Richard Wolstencroft won the “Best Australian Film” award at Fantastic Planet last year, for Volume 1 of his SECOND COMING series. Now, Richard returns with Volume 2. Based on the poem by W. B. Yeats, this final confronting instalment continues to delve into the underbelly of occultism, physics, and political paranoia, as it travels over multiple continents, and through the lives of an eclectic group of fascinating characters.
SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS (dir: Michael Reich) Indie hit of this year's Fantasia Film Festival, SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS is a genre-defying mind-trip filled with mesmerising imagery formed by an 80s video art aesthetic. A video artist and reluctant dog groomer (Mike Pinkney), falls head over heels for a gorgeous client (Sonja Kinski). One problem: his run down Hollywood home is infested by rats, and she's coming to visit.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS: THE TOM SAVINI STORY (dir: Jason Baker, USA) A legend in the modern horror movie business, Tom Savini revolutionised special effects makeup in cult classics such as DAWN OF THE DEAD, FRIDAY THE 13TH, and CREEPSHOW. This fascinating portrait on his life and career features interviews with George Romero, Robert Rodriguez, Greg Nicotero, and many more, along with juicy clips of Savini’s work, and exclusive behind the scenes.
SOMNIO (dir: Travis Milloy) Trapped in a futuristic prison cell, and watched over by a faceless warden, a wrongfully imprisoned man must escape his intolerable present by travelling into a violent yet romantic-tinged memory from his past. A Kafkaesque nightmare blended with a sci-fi premise reminiscent of the best of P. K. Dick. Lovers of cerebral science fiction will adore this haunting film.
TAX SHELER TERRORS (dir: Xavier Mendik, Francesco Giannini, Deke Richards) Fans of exploitation cinema will be mesmerised by this Canadian documentary - reminiscent ofAustralia's NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD - which explores Canada's golden age of horror and sci-fi, from the 1970s into the '80s, when a lucrative tax incentive program enabled the production of a slew ofgenre classics from DEATH WEEKEND through BLACK CHRISTMAS and MY BLOODY VALENTINE to David Cronenberg's early masterpieces SHIVERS, RABID, THE BROOD, and SCANNERS.
TELEIOS (dir: Ian Truitner) A genetically perfected crew are on a rescue mission to recover a deep space mining vessel. All that remains of the drifting space ship's crew is a catatonic male human, and a subservient female android. But with its precious cargo missing, and the rescue party themselves becoming unhinged, they must race to discover not only the location of the ships's missing cargo, but what happened to the rest of its murdered crew. A taught sci-fi action/thriller which brings to mind sci-fi classics from ALIEN and EVENT HORIZON to BLADE RUNNER and EX MACHINA.
TONIGHT SHE COMES (dir: Matt Stuertz) After a girl goes missing, two of her friends and a mysterious set of strangers find themselves drawn to the cabin in the woods where she disappeared. They will laugh, they will drink, they will kiss, they will have sex, and THEY ALL MUST DIE. A clever and often hilarious film that spins into unpredictable and shocking directions. With plenty of gore, laughs, and shocks: TONIGHT SHE COMES will leave even the most jaded horrorphile satiated.
WE ARE NOT ALONE (dir: Daniel Rodriquez) Based on terrifying true events. Mateo, his eight-year-old daughter Sofía, and his fiancée Mónica move into an old house. Sofía feels a disturbing presence in their new home. Mateo attributes the child’s warnings as a ploy to come between him and his new bride to be. But as the supernatural presence grows, the family's salvation might require the ultimate sacrifice... Fans of paranormal and haunted house films will shiver in delight at this atmospheric tale of terror.
More details are available at the festivals' official website: