A Night of Horror Film Festival & Fantastic Planet Film Festival

Film, Film festivals
Ayla A Night of Horror

Dendy Newtown’s annual weekend of genre flicks promises thrills, chills and messy kills

Like the hideous result of a terrible teleportation accident, two genre film festivals are melded together every year, offering a full weekend of horrific fantasy (and fantastic horror).

A Night of Horror Film Festival and Fantastic Planet Film Festival are the brainchildren of Dean Bertram, a freelance writer, filmmaker and History PhD. He launched the horror festival 11 years ago in order to showcase a short film he had made, and his unholy creation soon proved to have a life of its own. Somewhere along the way he also started the Fantastic Planet Film Festival for sci-fi and fantasy, and these days both festivals occur over the same long weekend. 

This year there are four short film sessions: Australian horror, Australian sci-fi and fantasy, international horror and international sci-fi and fantasy. There are also several schlocky feature films screening. Here are Time Out’s nine feature film highlights.

Best for: Ghosts!
Borley Rectory (UK)
Julian Sands narrates a spine-tingling film chronicling the real-life story of “the most haunted house in England”. Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Inside Number 9) features in a combination of live action and hauntingly animated photographs from the period.

Best for: Action!
Sixty Minutes to Midnight (Canada)
On New Years Eve Eve, 1999, a construction worker finds himself fighting for his life on a deadly game show.

Best for: Body horror!
Replace (Canada)
A beautiful young woman suffers a disease that ages her epidermis, but realises she can replace her own skin with that of others.

Best for: Gore!
Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (UK)
Carpet layers on a job at an old English country house discover they are victims in a trap set up by a cannibalistic family and must fight for their lives.

Best for: Ozploitation!
Musclecar (Australia)
Bambi (Jacinta Stapleton) buys a lipstick-red, 1968 Dodge Phoenix. When she can't afford to run it she cooks up a harebrained scheme to bring the car to life using ancient voodoo incantations, the blood of drunkards, and an ox heart.

Best for: Eroticism!
Ayla (USA)
Haunted by the mysterious death of his four-year old sister, Elton (Nicholas Wilder) brings her back to life 30 years later as an adult woman.

Best for: World movie weirdness!
Bad Black (Uganda)
This laugh-filled, self-deprecating action epic was made with no budget in Wakaliwood – Uganda's answer to Hollywood. It tells the tale of a mild-mannered western doctor (Alan Hofmanis), who is trained in the art of ass-kicking commando vengeance.

Best for: Paranoia!
After serious money troubles, a married couple agrees to take part in a bizarre medical experiment. As the days go by the experiment's challenges become increasingly sinister.

Best for: Freaking out!
Our Evil
Mashing up the supernatural with hard-edged horror, Our Evil tracks the deeds a man with spiritualist powers commits to protect his daughter's soul from a demonic entity, including employing a serial killer from the dark web.

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