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“Invitation to Dance - It’s a Dance. And sometimes they turn the lights off in this ballroom. But we’ll dance anyway, you and I. Even in the Dark. Especially in the Dark. May I have the pleasure?” --- Stephen King ::::::::::: MY CRITERIA FOR DISCUSSION ENCOMPASSES THE HORROR GENRE AND BEYOND, SO I USE THE TERM "NIGHTMARE MOVIES". SPOILERS CAN OCCUR WITH OR WITHOUT WARNING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.


June 1st 2009 00:33
56th Sydney Film Festival banner
I love this time of year: Sydney Film Festival. Fifty-six years old and going strong. Kicking off this Wednesday June 3rd and going through until Sunday June 14th. It’s twelve days of cinema heaven. Although the pickings are a little slim on the hardcore horror front, the lean selection promises to be intense, visceral, memorable, and destined for cult status (with one already holding that honour). Here are the six titles worth checking out.

Coraline movie poster
Wednesday 10 June 6.30pm @ Greater Union VMAX
Saturday 13 June 12pm @ GU5

Okay so maybe my inclusion of this animated girls own adventure is a little tenuous, but it’s based on the book by legendary modern fantasist Neil Gaiman, features a phantasmogorical view of an alternate reality, and is directed by Henry (The Nightmare Before Christmas) Selick, plus apparently there are some genuinely creepy and nightmarish moments, even if it is aimed at the younger audience. I’m sure it’s a cult classic bursting at its sown-up seams.

Here’s the trailer:

Dead Snow movie poster
Dead Snow
Saturday 6 June 9pm @ Dendy Opera Quays
Sunday 14 June 8.40pm @ GU9

A Norwegian Nazi zombie black comedy set in the snow! YES! Severed-tongue-in-cheek this will be one of the Festival highlights I’m sure. Hardgore alpine nightmare guaranteed for instant cult status. Further proof the best horror movies are currently coming out of the Mediterranean and Scandinavia.

Here’s the trailer:

Paranormal Activity movie poster
Paranormal Activity
Wednesday 3 June 8.30pm @ GU9
Saturday 13 June 8.35pm @ GU9

Presented as found footage a la Blair Witch Project, this is spine-tingling stuff for the ghostheads. A video is set up around the house of a young American couple in an attempt to record poltergeist, and sure enough, the paranormal reveals its elusive self, but in ways designed to truly terrify the couple … and the audience.

Pontypool movie poster
Saturday 6 June 8.15pm @ GU9
Monday 8 June 3.45pm @ GU8

Holy rotting cannibals, another zombie flick! Cult Canadian director Bruce McDonald delivers a caustic tale of small-town chaos pitched at those of a literary bent. Taking its cue from low-budget 70s horror and capitalizing on parochial ill-behaviour this is one nasty virus worth catching. Bring on the new flesh!

Here’s the trailer:

Van Diemen's Land movie poster
Van Diemen’s Land
Friday 5 June 8.40pm @ GU9
Sunday 7 June 6.10pm @GU9

The second recent feature (the other being The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce) based on the events surrounding the legend of Alexander Pearce, the nineteenth Century penal colony convict who escaped into the Tasmanian wilderness (Van Diemen’s land) with a bunch of other criminals. Pearce was eventually captured, but was the only survivor. In his pockets was the flesh of his comrades. Dying Breed also uses the Pearce legend, but twists it into modern tale.

Here’s the teaser trailer:

Wake in Fright movie poster
Wake in Fright
Saturday 13 June 11.45pm @ State Theatre

A lost dark Ocker gem from 1971, Outback (as it was known overseas) tells the nightmare tale of a teacher from Sydney who takes a job at a school in the desert. The Yabba locals don’t take too kindly to him and are hellbent on showing him the gnarly ropes they way they see ‘em. Controversial and palpably Australian, this movie won’t do any favours for the Outback tourism board, even if it is nearly forty years old. Co-stars the always brilliant Donald Pleasance.

Here’s a classic excerpt:


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5 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Damo

June 1st 2009 06:08
Dead Snow looks like a riot.

However this Caroline has be more interested.
I loved The Nightmare before Christmas.

Wake in fright.
It was once sold as a modern day horror. Do not go bush or you will become like the Ossies. Scary.

Comment by Bryn

June 1st 2009 08:07
Damo, I had the screener for Dead Snow, but the damn thing had no subtitles! I'm seeing Wake in Fright tomorrow on the big screen, although have already reviewed a DVD copy of it a while back ... Coraline is screening in 3D.

Comment by Bryn

June 1st 2009 08:07
Damo, I had the screener for Dead Snow, but the damn thing had no subtitles! I'm seeing Wake in Fright tomorrow on the big screen, although have already reviewed a DVD copy of it a while back ... Coraline is screening in 3D.

Comment by Natalina

June 1st 2009 15:22
Coraline was a book that I cherished for a long time, because I love Neil Gaiman. The movie was so good. I could have done without the 3D. To me it was not necessary in the least for this tale. Overall, it has that wonderfully dark atmosphere and morbid humor but you could still let a kid watch it.

Not surprisingly, the one on this list that I'd most like to see is the Paranormal Activity one. I'd never heard about it before. Let us know if it's any good!

And have fun!!!

Comment by JohnDoe

June 1st 2009 18:08
Bruce McDonald's PontyPool is definitely the pick of the bunch. i think his doco style (One Day In September) combined with what he learned on Last king of Scotland should make for very REAL horror.

That's not to say that Caroline and Dead Snow won't be potentially entertaining too....Wake In Fright is always good value, would love to see it on the bigscreen.

What are some of your non horror choices for the festival?

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