Running at Luna Outdoor from Thursday, March 27, until Wednesday, April 2, Monster Fest brings the best and bloodiest horror, cult and schlock cinema to Perth for one week only. We caught up with festival artistic director – and Monster Pictures creative director – Neil Foley ahead of the chaos.
In just a few short years, Monster Pictures have made a name for themselves as the go-to guys for genre-bending, envelope-pushing and stomach-turning screen fodder.
“We started Monster Pictures about four years ago with the idea of distributing niche horror and cult cinema into Australia, New Zealand and the UK,” Neil Foley recalls. “We launched with a very notorious film, Human Centipede – that set the bar pretty high and we got a reputation for pretty gnarly films out this way. Since that time we’ve been regularly going to various festivals around the world and different markets, furiously looking for the most depraved and coolest horror on the planet.”
Their proprietary festival, Monster Fest, began as a way to not only promote the material they distribute – which has includes such gems as medical horror flick American Mary, the Elijah Wood-starring first person slasher, Maniac and cult classics such as Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark – but to draw Australian filmmakers to the Monster Pictures banner.
“In recent times we’ve had a real focus on emerging Australian genre,” Foley says. “We started Monster Fest in Melbourne around three years ago. At last year’s Melbourne Monster Fest we had eight world premieres of Australian genre films and in Perth this year we’ve got a couple as well. That’s a really big focus for us now, to kind of get behind independent Australian genre and bring that to the world through the international marketplace.”
As can be imagined, it’s a very eclectic, out-there roster of films. “It’s a very handpicked, highlights-packed programme. The opening night film is a really fantastic film that was made here in Perth which is called Murderdrome – it’s the world’s first roller derby slasher extravaganza. It’s a really up-tempo, colourful splatfest with a great Aussie rock’n’roll soundtrack from beginning to end.”
Pressed to name a few favourites, Foley demurs at first – “It’s hard to pick particular highlights because it is completely packed with them,” – before singling out a couple of movies for praise. “A huge highlight is the double feature, two of the more amazing new genre films to come out of Australia in recent times. One is a documentary about genre called The Search For Weng Weng by Andrew Leavold. Andrew’s obsessed with Filipino cinema and he’s been trying to find the whereabouts of this well known midget Filipino actor and what he found was this incredible story about who this guy was and the story behind him. Then on the same night we have the sleeper hit of the Melbourne Monster Fest, Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla, which is like Taxi Driver with ice cream! It’s a very dark, very twisted, very funny film.”
Other films featured in the coming week include the psychological thriller Jugular, sensual vampire story Kiss Of The Damned and the WA-produced Raven’s Cabin and Sororal. For horror hounds, this is the best week of the year.
The Monster Fest opening night is next Thursday, March 27, featuring the roller derby slasher, Murderdrome, live music from The Insinnerators, beverages from Howling Wolves Wine, Little Creatures Brewery and Pipsqueak Cider and pizza by Siena’s. For tickets and info, head here.