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Fantastic Film Festival Australia

Focusing on genre cinema, Sydney's newest film festival features everything from mutant zombies to grim serial killer flicks.
By Sarah Ward
February 05, 2020
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Fantastic Film Festival Australia

Focusing on genre cinema, Sydney's newest film festival features everything from mutant zombies to grim serial killer flicks.
By Sarah Ward
February 05, 2020
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Some movies spin tales about ordinary folks struggling through difficult dramas. Others focus on love, laughs or superheroes. They're all well and good — and you can see them at the multiplex any day of the week. But films about unicorn-riding writers, a mutant zombie apocalypse and one of Germany's most horrific serial killers don't pop up anywhere near as often.

Indeed, it's genre movies like these — and a plethora of other strange and surreal horror flicks — that makes Sydney's new Fantastic Film Festival Australia stand out. It's not the first Aussie fest dedicated to unnerving, eerie, offbeat and subversive films, of course. It won't be the last, either. Still, it does boast a mighty fine inaugural lineup.

Look out for opening night's Chained for Life, a horror-comedy that tackles representation and exploitation; Away, a wordless animated Latvian feature about a boy and a giant stuck on an island; Diner, an over-the-top Japanese affair that unleashes a horde of assassins on a fortress-like restaurant; and Horror Noire, a documentary that explores African American talent in Hollywood — and specifically in the horror genre.

A true crime tale harking back to 70s Germany, The Golden Glove definitely isn't an easy watch, while apocalyptic Portuguese effort Mutant Blast is gleefully low-brow and trashy. Or, you can check out Saint Maud's unnerving account of a devout hospice nurse obsessed with saving her dying patient's soul, step into Zombi Child's Haitian voodoo thrills, and see Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau get stuck in a secret hotel in Suicide Tourist.

Fancy a local blast from the past? A 30-year anniversary screening of Aussie sci-fi metal musical Sons of Steel is also on the program.

Catch all of the above — and show off your genre knowledge at a trivia night, too — when Fantastic Film Festival Australia hits up the Ritz Randwick from Thursday, February 20–Monday, March 2. Some sessions will even screen at the site's laneway cinema.

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