Lock up your brats, Monster Fest is coming to get ya!

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Horrorphiles and lovers of cult and transgressive cinema are in for a twisted treat come November when Monster Fest 2014 returns to Melbourne.

Now in its fourth year, Monster Fest celebrates ‘the latest, greatest and rarest cult and horror cinema’, with a focus on bringing genre fiends and practitioners together at film screenings and related special events.

Proving more successful year on year, the 2014 festival, kicking off on November 20 and ending November 30, is aiming higher than ever before. Festival director Neil Foley said this is the year Monster Fest transforms from a film festival into “an all-out, balls-to-the-wall, genre experience”, with masterclasses, symposiums, special guests, premieres, bands, DJ’s, parties and even a Closing Night Awards Gala to be added to the list of fest-events.

This year, in addition to the multitude of planned screenings at Cinema Nova in Carlton, Monster Fest will offer showcase screenings and events at the ‘Monster’s Lair’, a festival lounge and bar at the newly refurbished Yah Yahs bar in Fitzroy. Events are set to take place at various times of each day of the festival, providing a space for film fans and filmmakers to connect, inspire and as Foley puts it “just hang the fuck out!”.

“The goal is for Monster Fest to become a hub for Melbourne’s cult movie freaks – if you like your films with a bit of a sting in their tail, then Monster Fest is for you,” he said. “This year, there’ll be a big emphasis on filmmakers and filmmaking – we want to give filmmakers and fans the opportunity to rub shoulders with like-minded artists, fellow enthusiasts and assorted nutjobs.”

“I want Monster Fest to be a watering hole for the genre herds of Australia – deviants like Alex Machin, who made our awesome 2014 submissions animation, need a place to call their own, a place where they can mix freely amongst their own kind, where they can let it all hang out creatively without fear of mockery, derision or arrest – Monster Fest is that place.”

Neil is cock a’ hoop about the collaboration with Yah Yahs, and looks forward to seeing the venue turned into a Mecca for fiends throughout November. Yah Yah’s owner James Young, a committed cult movie freak himself, proposed using the upstairs area of his bar for festival events following a successful screening of Daniel Armstrong’s’ Murderdrome at Young’s Cherry Bar earlier this year. The partnership, and the added venue, is set to solidify Monster Fest’s place as one of the coolest and nastiest film festivals in the country.

Most exciting for the festival this year, however, is the addition of an awards night. This is the first time the festival will see a competitive strand added to the program, and Neil said he’s preparing to spot some horror-cinema gold throughout the submissions process.

“This is the first time we’ve had a competitive element to the festival.” Neil said. “It’s great for a film to get peer recognition, it boosts the films profile and standing, and gives the film the added credence they need to get them seen.”

Submissions for the festival are currently being accepted through the Monster Fest website, Withoutabox and Film Festival Life.

“We’re looking for short and feature length films that loosely fall within the genres of horror, action, fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, and erotica,” Neil said. “If you think you have a gem on your hands and you think it deserves to be part of the Monster Fest madness, and that we can show it without breaking any laws, then we want to hear from you!”

The submission period ends on August 31st. Until then, Neil and the Monster team are busily putting together the festival program as events and screenings are finalised.

“We have so much planned, which will be revealed over the coming months,” Neil said. “Expect the unexpected, Monster Fest is coming to get ya! “

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