The annual Monsterfest festival of horror films hits Melbourne’s Nova Cinema from November 21. Featuring a line up of some of the most bizarre and gory horror films to blow your mind, Monsterfest kicks off with a special screening of the classic The Exorcist, to be introduced by Linda Blair herself. Regarded as one of the best horror films ever made, The Exorcist was directed by William Friedkin and stars Blair as a young girl possessed by an evil demon. The film is 40 years old but still stands up today.

There is a special focus on locally produced horror films and genre films from the likes of Daniel Armstrong, Stuart Simpson, Sam Barrett, Glenn Trigg, Dale Trott.

Also screening as part of Monsterfest is the Freddy Kreuger marathon, featuring all 6 of the Nightmare On Elm Street films back to back. This all night marathon screening happens on Friday (of course) November 29.

And horror legend Tom Savini will appear via Skype to introduce a special screening of the 1996 horror film From Dusk Til Dawn, that featured Harvey Keitel and George Clooney. Savini is a special effects genius and actor who has worked on some of the biggest genre films of the past fifty years. This special event will take place on Wednesday November 27.

For screening details and more information check the website at




We’ve had films like Arachnaphobia and Eight Legged Freaks that played on our innate fear of spiders and creepy crawlies. The fifth film from Mike Mendez (The Convent, etc), the cheesy, B-grade Big Ass Spider! taps into this same fear and the ethos of those creature features from the 60s and early 70s. But horror veteran Mendez has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek here, and the result is a lot of fun. A genetically modified and contaminated alien spider finds its way to Los Angeles inside a dead body. It escapes from the hospital morgue and then begins to wreak havoc on the city. The hungry spider devours citizens at will and grows exponentially until it reaches “stage 5,” in which it lays eggs. A special forces unit arrives to try and bring down the spider before this happens. The unit is led by the iron jawed Major Tanner (Twin Peaks‘ Ray Wise, full of bluster). Joining the hunt though is Alex (Greg Grunberg), a wise cracking and laid back pest exterminator who is reminiscent of John Goodman’s character from Arachnaphobia. Alex tries to do what the military can’t. He is joined by a curvaceous colonel (Clare Kramer) and a droll scientist (Patrick Bauchau) and Jose (Lombardo Boyar), a hospital security guard. Boyar’s character provides much of the comic relief. Mendez, who also edited the film, keeps things moving along at a fast pace. The film proudly wears its low budget ethos on its sleeve, although the special effects are at times a little hokey. The CGI spider has been skillfully inserted into the live action by Mendez and special effects supervisor Asif Iqbal.


Local film maker Glenn Triggs taps into the aesthetics of the found footage genre for his fourth feature film Apocalyptic, which takes its cues from The Blair Witch Project and its like. Apocalyptic deals with a television news crew that venture into an enclave to film a cult and get caught up in a bizarre and terrifying suicide pact. While it is nowhere near as graphic and violent and shocking as Safe Haven, the Gareth Evans directed episode from the recent VHS 2, this is still an unsettling mood piece. Learning about the presence of a mysterious doomsday cult, the intrepid film crew head off to a remote forest to try and find out more about the organisation and its charismatic head Michael Godson (David Macrae). At first the small group seems like a devout bunch who practice their religion with an eye to the simple things in life without the modern trappings and technology of contemporary society. But soon it appears that there is a more sinister side to the cult. Every night Godson sleeps with a different woman, and even the youngest girls are not safe. As events begin to spiral into madness, the film moves towards a horrifying climax. The mood grows more unsettling as it becomes clear that even the youngest children in the cult are in jeopardy. Trigg uses the tropes of this subgenre effectively, from the jerky hand held camera to the shots of the microphone boom in the frame, and he even has the camera passed around amongst the cast so that events unfold from a number of different perspectives. The largely unknown cast deliver quite naturalistic performances, while a suavely sinister Macrae oozes evil. Apocalyptic is Trigg’s fourth film, but it is easily his most accomplished in terms of style and ambition.


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