Friday the 13th this September saw the full Program Launch for Australia’s Fangoria x Monster Fest 2019, marking the Monster festival’s eighth year and the second year back at Cinema Nova in Carlton, Melbourne. It is also, as the festival’s name attests, the second successive year the festival has been sponsored by beloved horror magazine Fangoria. The festival is similar in both scope and programming to London’s long running Fright Fest and this year they both share screenings of, amongst others, Bliss, Satanic Panic, Daniel Isn’t Real and the Rabid remake.
Normally spread over the course of one weekend, the first bit of news is that Monster Fest has expanded and the Melbourne program will be taking place over the course of a full week from Thursday 10 October until Friday 18th October. For horror fiends outside of Victoria, the festival also has selected screenings interstate over the weekend of 31st October to 3rd November 2019 and hits up Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Although the majority of the program had been released several weeks ago, including details of the much-anticipated opening night movie – Rob Zombie’s Devil’s Rejects sequel, 3 from Hell – the expanded festival means saw the launch night include a final round of movie announcements and a screening of Travis Stevens’ Girl on the Third Floor.
Of the new announcements, the most interesting must surely be the late addition of Richard Stanley’s H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space starring Nicolas Cage. The pairing of Stanley and Cage feels almost too perfect to adapt Lovecraft’s demented cosmic horror, and early word from the T.I.F.F. premiere earlier this month appears to be very good indeed.
The other exciting announcement (for me at least) is the restored, gore-laden version of 1994 dinosaur cult-oddity Tammy and the T-Rex starring Denise Richards and Paul Walker. The opportunity to see animatronic tyrannosaur mayhem up on the big screen, ahead of its imminent release by Vinegar Syndrome, is way too good to pass up.
There is also a screening of the exhaustive ‘80s horror documentary In Search of Darkness, that clocks in at a whopping four hours and seems to include just about everybody on your ‘80s horror roll call. In addition to that, there will be an anniversary screening of Brian De Palma’s cult classic Phantom of the Paradise and a documentary charting its rabid popularity in Winnipeg – Phantom Of Winnipeg. There’s also an assortment of lectures and pub trivia and all that sort of fun stuff, and the closing night picture was revealed to be upcoming survival horror Ready or Not.
After the announcements it was time for the screening of Girl on the Third Floor. Phillip Jack Brooks, aka former MMA fighter CM Punk, looks a bit like a panel-beaten Jon Hamm as he does a spot of under-skilled D.I.Y. in a haunted house he’s just bought for his wife, dog and imminent newborn. The house drips ectoplasm and goo and things keep breaking, and before long supernatural forces are intent on driving down the property value (spectral activity being a frequently overlooked economic driver). Girl on the Third Floor is that Money Pit / The House by the Cemetery mash up you’ve been waiting for and while there’s neither Tom Hanks nor Dr Freudstein, it’s not half bad. Even if it does run out of ideas a little bit by the end.
So that’s what Monster Fest has in store for us this October. There’s plenty of variety in the programming and a really interesting mix of films that showcase the broad scope of the genre.
Further details, including the full program and ticketing information, can be found on their website: http://www.monsterfest.com.au/australia/