If you're going to run an annual genre festival, then you're also going to want to push some boundaries. Opening with a controversial film that has already caused fainting and walkouts overseas, this year's Monster Fest is challenging its audience right from the get-go — or catering to their extreme horror tastes, perhaps?
In fact, if you have an interest in film festivals — or can't help stumbling across headlines about strange things happening in cinemas — then you might've already heard of Julia Ducournau's debut Raw. As well as inspiring buzz and picking up an award in Cannes in May, the French director's first film garnered plenty of attention in Toronto just this week. There, paramedics were called to a midnight screening after multiple people reportedly passed out while watching. Whether the reaction was genuine or a publicity stunt has already been questioned; however if you're not a fan of gory flicks, a coming-of-age effort about a young vegetarian participating in a carnivorous activities after enrolling in veterinary school just might cause you to feel a little queasy.
Raw, which is set for a general release around Australia in March 2017, joins already-announced, similarly out-there closing night offering The Greasy Strangler as a high-profile highlight of this year's Monster Fest. The event will also host a selection of movies directed by veteran helmer Ted Kotcheff, including classic Aussie outback thriller Wake in Fright and dead body comedy Weekend at Bernie's, with the filmmaker attending the festival in person. A program of events and screenings focused on genre narratives made for the small screen will also feature — complete with a Nightmare VHS Board Game Party, much to the delight of anyone who grew up in the '90s — with the full lineup set to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Monster Fest 2016 runs from November 24 to 27 at Melbourne's Lido Cinemas. For more information, visit the festival's website.