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Wednesday
Nov212018

DEVIL WOMAN: THE HEIDI LEE DOUGLAS INTERVIEW

A fresh-faced environmentalist new to the frontline crusade against Tasmania’s ruthless logging practices has her inner beast unleashed in Devil Woman, an Aussie short-film riff on the werewolf legend that has had global festival crowds screaming in terrified delight. It is the brainchild of writer/director Heidi Lee Douglas, founder of Dark Lake Productions and one of Australia’s most socially aware filmmakers. Her work to date – the thriller Little Lamb (2014), documentary project Defendant 5 (2015) and striking music video Wish (2018) – offers rich insight and artistry in their exploration of gender identity, violence and environmental concerns. One of the sector's most pro-active advocates for diversity and equality, Douglas also presides as Co-Chair of the Australian chapter of Film Fatales, a global community of women feature film and television directors. 

Ahead of the Australian Premiere of Devil Woman at Monster Fest VII, Douglas (pictured, above; with actor Peter Healy) spoke with SCREEN-SPACE about her film's origins, aims and place amongst the all-too-rarely explored genre of female-focussed transformative eco-horror…    

SCREEN-SPACE: Devil Woman is a modern spin on classic werewolf mythology. What other influences and inspirations helped gel the concept in your mind?

DOUGLAS: I got the original idea back in 2007, when I was involved with the Tasmanian forest campaigns as a documentary filmmaker [at the time] the Tasmanian Devil facial tumour outbreak was discovered. It’s a horrifying, fatal disease; brutal in the way its cancerous ulcerations are transmitted via biting. I was travelling regularly through backwater logging towns that had a very ‘gothic frontier’ nature and almost post-apocalyptic blockade-style camps, and would witness violent confrontations between loggers and activists. 28 Days Later was the biggest stylistic influence to the original concept, and then I discovered Night of The Living Dead and Dawn of The Dead, which have the tradition of a zombie/contagion film with social issues as subtext. The werewolf/ transformation narrative was originally inspired by the analysis of folk tales in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With The Wolves. Women transforming into animals to discover their true animalistic strength and power - I love that type of mythic storytelling. (pictured, above; actress Marigold Pazar as 'Eddy')

SCREEN-SPACE: Like all great horror films, Devil Woman tackles bigger issues as well as delivering the frights. You explore toxic masculinity, wide-eyed conservationists, and gender stereotypes across both sexes. Did you go with an attack plan?

DOUGLAS: I wanted to show the tough-as-nails women at blockade camps, which I had never seen represented on screen. Their isolation when up against these burly, angry loggers in real life is very scary and very loaded. The lead character ‘Eddy’ is a fish-out-of-water science student based on my own experience turning up to my first blockade as a student filmmaker, at Timbarra Gold Mine back in 1999. The film’s coda hints that we need to look beyond gender or any other political divides, because if we continue on a path of environmental destruction an apocalypse won’t discriminate. I’m thinking of the 1000 people still missing in the Californian wildfires right now. That is real life horror, real tragedy. Yet President Trump still denies climate change. (Pictured, above; Peter Healy as 'Reilly')

SCREEN-SPACE: The film is both a down’n’dirty bushland yarn and an extremely polished piece of filmmaking – shot in widescreen, against beautiful locations. Tell me about crafting the film’s aesthetic.

DOUGLAS: I looked at the way 28 Days Later and Children of Men were shot, to create that immediate, visceral, documentary-like experience of being in the world with the characters. I used scale in the frame to emphasis power, and colour palette to underlie transformation. Because my background is in documentary and editing I think in terms of coverage and how it will cut together, whilst Director of Photography Meg White (pictured, right) ensured it was also cinematic. We looked at Australian colonial art to think about representation of the forest in daylight, and what makes the Australian forest landscapes unique and scary. We used smoke haze on set in the camp to create texture. For the colour grade I was inspired by Deliverance to subtly reinforce humans as animals within the wilderness. The score was inspired by Dead Man using sparing rawness to imbue an isolated frontier feeling. The location is a main character in the story, so getting that right was very important. I couldn’t shoot it in Tasmania so I had to find a suitable location in regional NSW. Nerissa Davis and Alice Cregan, who brought first hand experience in logging blockades in Tasmania, ran the Art Department. They nailed the production design, which was important for authenticity.

SCREEN-SPACE: It’s an intrinsically Australian film, yet it’s travelling well, finding favour with festival programmers worldwide, having played London's FrightFest and Fantasia in Montreal, to name just two. The terrifically staged horror sequences aside, what are the elements that are resonating?

DOUGLAS: The thought provoking themes, the gritty score by my brother Ben Douglas, Meg White’s superb cinematography, the twists and turns in the plot. Audiences come away wanting a feature version, which is encouraging. There are some amazing films in the eco-horror sub genre such as The Birds, Godzilla, The Thing and Jaws. I reckon it’s a sub genre that’s ripe for modern exploration, and the reaction from audiences, film programmers and the film industry to Devil Woman suggests I’m right.

DEVIL WOMAN will screen Friday November 23 at Monster Fest VII at Carlton’s Cinema Nova. Full ticket and session details are at the festival’s official website.

Friday
Nov162018

PREVIEW: MONSTER FEST VII: THE HOMECOMING

The 7th annual re-animating of Monster Fest, Australia’s premiere event for lovers of movies mean and macabre, has left no bloody stone unturned in its 2018 quest to disturb Australian audiences. Having rattled West Coast audiences with a Perth season in mid-October, the festival returns to its spiritual home - Cinema Nova, in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton - from November 22, with a schedule of shocking works that have stirred the cinematic pot around the world.

Of the 15 features to play the four-day event, two in particular arrive having stimulated some of the year’s most heated critical debate over the nature of violence in cinema. Monster Fest 2018 opens with Dragged Across Concrete, a bad cop/very bad cop thriller from writer/director S. Craig Zahler. The current enfant terrible of genre films, Zahler’s previous efforts Bone Tomahawk (2015) and Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) reset the boundaries for on-screen violence; in his latest, Mel Gibson (pictured, top) and Vince Vaughan play disgraced cops who descend into society’s criminal sub-level to make end meets.

Critics have been largely on Zahler’s side; Dragged Across Concrete currently sits at 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, with BirthMoviesDeath.com calling it “outlaw cinema at its finest”. But left-leaning press have gone after it; The Daily Beast published an op-ed piece under the headline, “Mel Gibson’s New Police Brutality Movie is a Vile, Racist, Right-Wing Fantasy”. Zahler also penned Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, a resurrection of producer Charles Band’s killer puppet franchise of yore, its Nazi-themed nuttiness adding fuel to the ‘right/left’ debate (it screens November 24).  

The festival then doubles down on controversy with The House That Jack Built, an epic study in homicidal sociopathy from Lars von Trier. Matt Dillon is mesmerising as a 1970s serial killer (heading a cast that includes Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz and Jeremy Davies) in the 2½-hour film, a typically divisive, discomfiting drama from the Danish provocateur that inspired derision and walkouts at Cannes in May yet has been lauded as, “art without the boundaries of morality and reason” (SlantMagazine.com).

Two films will have their world premieres at this year’s festival - 30 Miles from Nowhere, a stylish and creepy addition to the ‘cabin-in-the-woods’ sub-genre from Caitlin Stoller, and Matthew Victor Pastor’s MAGANDA! Pinoy Boy vs Milkman, which the director describes as, “a bloody, milky, balls out, castration revenge tale.”

The roster of nine Australian premieres in the feature film line-up includes Jason Stone’s At First Light, a thrilling drama that melds teen angst energy with alien abduction mythology (trailer, above); Daniel Goldhaber’s online-sex/stolen identity thriller, Cam; the psycho-sexual chiller Pimped, from David Barker and featuring a searing lead turn from actress Ella Scott Lynch; and, from producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator; Aliens), Gregory Plotkin’s theme-park set love letter to 80s slasher pics, Hell Fest, featuring Amy Forsyth (pictured, right). Closing out the festival will be the Oz debut of Jonas Åkerlund’s Norwegian death-metal horror/comedy, Lords of Chaos.

Monster Fest 2018 will also celebrate the works of those that helped define the horror genre with one of the most comprehensive retrospective strands in the event’s history. With the blockbuster sequel to his genre-defining classic Halloween still in cinemas, digitally-restored prints will be screened of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981) and The Fog (1980); star Nicholas Hope will be present for a Q&A following the 25th anniversary presentation of his cult shocker, Bad Boy Bubby; and, Sam Raimi’s masterwork Evil Dead 2 will come alive via a 4K restoration print (trailer, below).

Fred Dekker’s fan favourite The Monster Squad will screen ahead of Andre Gower’s documentary Wolfman’s Got Nards, a light-hearted examination of the cult following enjoyed by the 1987 creature feature. And the Australian premiere of the anthology pic Nightmare Cinema, featuring five films from directors (pictured, below; from left) David Slade, Mick Garris, Ryûhei Kitamura, Joe Dante and Alejandro Brugues, will be the inspiration for this years All-Night Marathon, with specially selected works (kept secret until the night) from the five filmmakers playing the popular midnight-to-dawn slot on Saturday November 24.

The invaluable contribution of the short film auteur to horror will be exalted, with 62 shorts programmed including four separate strands celebrating mini-features. The Saturday line-ups are bannered ‘After School’, with the best student works on offer, and ‘Final Girls’, showcasing the baddest of the genre’s femme fatales; then, on Sunday, the ‘Dead Things’ session presents a grab-bag of eclectic horror visions before the Southern capital’s off-kilter icon Dick Dale presents his revered, revolting potpourri of ‘cinematic atrocities and disasterpieces’, Trasharama A-Go-Go.

MONSTER FEST 2018 runs November 22-25 at Cinema Nova, Carlton. Full session and ticketing information can be found at the official website.

Friday
Jun012018

BELGIUM'S HORROR MAESTROS FIND LOVE, FINALLY, IN DOCO LOVE-LETTER 

The horror auteurs of Belgium have often found favour with fans outside of their homeland. Director Harry Kümel's 1971 cult classic Daughters of Darkness is revered the world over; Emmanuel Kervyn’s 1988 gross-out shocker Rabid Grannies helped establish the Troma brand in the US. Yet the devoted filmmakers who have forged a dark, disturbing, occasionally brilliant Belgian horror sector are afforded little respect at home. With his documentary Forgotten Scares: An In-Depth Look at Flemish Horror Films, director Steve De Roover hopes to bring long overdue recognition to those whose visions of the macabre are rarely spoken of with the reverence they deserve…

“Horror has always been a genre that got extra piss poured over it,” De Roover delicately informs SCREEN-SPACE from his Skladanowsky Films office in Leuven, 30 kilometres east of Brussels. “You get a sense of absolute rebellion in many of the films and because a lot of them were made without proper funding, there is nothing which couldn't be shown. Typically, Flemish horror cinema has boatloads of nudity and everything nasty one could think up, just to piss off the establishment.” He cites Rob Van Eyck’s wildly successful Afterman trilogy (1985; 2005; 2013) as representative of his homeland’s approach to horror. “This ‘Mad Max from Belgium’ is full of typical Flemish activities of the old days like farming and hunting, but with a side of boobs, impalings, cannibalism and necrophilia.”

This determination to rattle the cages of conformity is central to Forgotten Scares, which takes as its starting point a claim from ill-informed journalists that Jonas Govaerts’ 2014 boy-scout/monster hit Welp (Cub; pictured, right) was “the first Flemish horror film”. De Roover exhaustively researched an industry that as far back as the mid 1970s was exploring cinema’s darkest, most challenging genre; films that existed in defiance of the nation’s cinema-going trends. Says De Roover, “I do think that this struggle [brought] a lot of extra creativity and an ever bigger drive to succeed.” De Roover admits to drawing inspiration from Australian director Mark Hartley's Ozploitation doc Not Quite Hollywood (2008), which covered a similarly undervalued Australian horror movement.

In an interview with The A.V. Club site, Baby Driver director Edgar Wright calls Daughters of Darkness, “a great movie, one [that] bridges the gap between the arty Roman Polanski or Ingmar Bergman horror movies, and the more campy, sexy vampire films of the time”. Its high brow vampiric eroticism is not often spoken of as 'classic' in its homeland, where it rarely screens. Kümel's masterpiece is given its due by De Roover, who calls it “an exercise in grandeur,” admitting, “It was the very first DVD I ordered online from the US.”

Also featured in Forgotten Scares is Kümel’s follow-up film Malpertuis (1971), starring Orson Welles, along with further works from Afterman auteur Van Eyck (Mirliton, 1978) and their contemporaries Guy Lee Thys (The Pencil Murders, 1982), the enigmatic Luc Veldeman (The Antwerp Murders, 1983), and Johan Vandewoestijne (Lucker, 1986).

The VHS boom years proved fertile ground for Flemish horror, says De Roover. “A lot of the popular films were made with the American market in mind, sometimes even as cheap copies of American cinema trends,” he says, citing The Antwerp Killer and Lucker (pictured, right) as Belgian entrants in the 80s ‘slasher pic’ craze. In addition to the insanity of Kervyn’s hilariously nightmarish Rabid Grannies (“I was in awe of the fun, bloody mayhem of that film,” says De Roover), this was also the era of Léon Paul de Bruyn’s tawdry splatter romp Maniac Nurses (1990) and his ultimately unrealized foray into Nazi-sploitation excess, SS Torture Hell. The documentary features previously unreleased footage from the set of the sado-masochistic epic, which ground to a halt when funding dried up.

Many of the sector’s most influential and revered genre personalities responded to the Forgotten Scares project, happy to step before the camera and recall half a century of Flemish horror inventiveness and artistry. In addition to Kümel, De Bruyn, Vandewoestijne, Govaerts and Van Eyck, De Roover secured the insight of actors Eric Feremans (The Antwerp Killer), Evelien Bosmans (Cub; pictured, below, with De Roovers) and Sven De Ridder (The Flemish Vampire, 2007); director Jeroen Dumoulein (short film De Vijver, 2014); and, the opinionated industry figurehead Jan Verheyen, director of Alias (2002).

De Roover acknowledges that in recent years Belgian horror has edged dangerously close to arthouse, even mainstream acceptance. Pieter Van Hees’ 2008 Antwerp-set chiller Linkeroever (Left Bank), starring Eline Kuppens and Matthias Schoenarts, tackled social commentary within its genre parameters; The Hollywood Reporter compared it to Rosemary’s Baby, The Wicker Man and J-horror classic Dark Water. “Left Bank shows the bleakness of some of the lower-class neighbourhoods in Flanders,” says De Roover, who considers the award-winning a step towards the mainstreaming of Belgian genre cinema. “We have only been finding our own identity in cinema over the last couple of years. It took years to earn respect for our complete cinema output and to be taken seriously [by Belgian media],” he says. Veteran horror helmer Johan Vandewoestijne continues to produce quality work, including the black horror/comedy Todeloo (2014) and the serial killer romp Laundry Man (2016).

One of the many unforgettable sequences in Forgotten Scares: An In-Depth Look at Flemish Horror Films concerns the 2013 vision The Miracle of Life from directors Joël Rabijns and Yves Sondermeier, a mother/son drama that US distributor Troma thought would work better under the title The Thingy: Confessions of a Teenage Placenta. With Steve De Roover flying the tri-coloured flag of his nation’s horror directors, the glorious madness of such flagrant Flemish film excesses as Rabid Grannies and Maniac Nurses will live forever.

FORGOTTEN SCARES: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT FLEMISH HORROR FILMS is currently playing the film festival circuit. It can be pre-ordered on DVD from Zeno Pictures.

Monday
May142018

SYDNEY AUDS BRACING FOR FEARFUL FREAK ME OUT SELECTION

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2018: “You’re invited to gambol on the wild and weird side,” spruiks Richard Kuiper, who returns in 2018 as guest programmer of the Sydney Film Festival’s lean and mean Freak Me Out strand of horror pics. The seven films are eclectic collection of the cinematic unpleasant – slashers, spirits and self-mutilators; robots, werewolves and log cabins. Says Kuipers, “See you in the grindhouse…”

THE RANGER (Dir: Jenn Wexler | 2018 | USA | 80 mins)
What the Program says: “Chloë Levine gives a dynamite lead performance as Chelsea, a clever cookie who leads her snotty pals to a supposedly safe haven. But this leafy locale holds dark memories for Chelsea and is home to a demented public official who really doesn’t like littering or young non-conformists.”
What the Critics say: “…strong performances from our leading lady and central psycho — not to mention several kick-ass punk tunes — and you’ve got a post-modern splatter flick that most horror fans should appreciate.” – Scott Weinberg, Crooked Marquee
Festival Cred: SXSW endorsed; also playing strong with both genre and arthouse crowds (Indy Fest XV, Indianapolis; Cinedelphia Film Festival, Philadelphia; Overlook Film Festival, New Orleans; The Newport Beach Film Festival). Bound for Montreal’s Fantasia event in August.
Key Player: Levine, a cult favourite in the making after smart genre parts in The OA and Cannes 2016 entry The Transfiguration. 

GHOST STORIES (Dirs: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman | 2017 | UK | 96 mins
What the Program says: “Philip Goodman is a professional debunker of all things paranormal. (When he) receives a package from an academic he once idolized, he is propelled into a series of investigations that force him to confront everything he doesn’t believe in. And it gets worse, much worse."
What the Critics say: “In adapting their Olivier-nominated supernatural stage play for the screen, writing/directing duo Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman have lost none of the impact of their darkly effective vision.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen Daily
Festival Cred: Premiered to receptive hometown audiences at the London Film Festival; proved its Brit heritage could travel after strong showing in Busan.
Key Player: The reputation and enormous following of the blockbuster live theatre experience.

WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE (Dir: Colin Minihan | 2018 | Canada | 98 mins)
What the Program says: “The latest film by multitalented genre maven Colin Minihan (Grave Encounters, 2011) takes familiar horror-thriller ingredients and forges them into a story that upends convention and expectation. There’s the happy couple skipping off for a romantic weekend in the wilderness. Then there’s the old family cabin with its history and secrets. And of course the neighbours across the lake seem to know…something.”
What the Critics say: “A thriller with a truly clever turn…Just don’t spoil it for anyone.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com.
Festival Cred: SXSW premiere; Toronto LGBT fest. Picked up for US distribution by genre savvy IFC Midnight.
Key Player: Minihan’s moxie. Takes a lot to not only attempt, but nail the Act 3 twist.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL (Dirs: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Peter Strickland, Yannis Veslemes, Can Evrenol, Ashim Ahluwalia | 2018 | USA, Poland, Hungary, India, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Turkey, Greece | 117 mins )
What the Program says: When the producers of Field Guide… went searching for directors to adapt scary folk tales specific to their own countries, they struck pure gold. Ranging in tone from Franz and Fiala’s exquisite Austrian mood piece to Evrenol’s Turkish evil spirit shocker and Strickland’s hilarious Hungarian pantomime, Field Guide… truly has something spooky and stylish for everyone.
What the Critics say: “The segments vary as much in degrees of successful realization as they do in content and stylistic approaches, though each segment benefits from excellent visuals throughout.” - Jacqui Griffin, Film Inquiry
Festival Cred: After SXSW World Premiere, it’s played Seattle and Neuchâtel Fantastic Film Fest; bound for Fantasia.
Key Player: New Zealand producer Ant Timpson (a Freak Me Out alumni after Deathgasm and Turbo Kid), who corralled repertory mecca Alamo Drafthouse as a backer. 

UPGRADE (Dir: Leigh Whannell | 2018 | Australia | 100 mins)
What the Program says: “Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation, SFF 2015) is Grey, an old-school mechanic in a near-future where Artificial Intelligence does almost everything. After low-life scumbags murder his wife (Melanie Vallejo) and leave him paralysed, Grey is implanted with STEM, a miracle-performing microchip. Soon, he’s transformed into a super-warrior bent on revenge.
What the Critics say: “Upgrade is a pure adrenaline shot of sci-fi body horror thrills.” – Jonathan Barkan, Dread Central
Festival Cred: Winner of Midniters Audience Award at SXSW.
Key Player: Whannell’s crowd-pleasing credentials (the blockbuster Saw and Insidious franchises) 

PIERCING (Dir: Nicolas Pesce | 2017 | USA | 82 mins)
What the Program says: “Reed is a seemingly ordinary husband and father. Except for his uncontrollable urge to kill. On a ‘business trip’, Reed checks into a hotel and calls an escort service. His plan to murder sex worker Jackie turns out to be anything but straightforward. Pesce’s lusciously filmed adaptation of Ryū Murakami’s 1994 novel delves into the darkest domains of human nature.”
What the Critics say: “A psycho-sexual horror show which lifts the lid on the twisted urges of two very troubled characters. It's great, if grisly, fun.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International
Festival Cred: Rattled the IFFR crowds in Rotterdam in February
Key Player: Fearless lead actress Mia Wasikowska, and Pesce, hoping to capitalise on the critical love for his 2016 debut, The Eyes of My Mother. 

GOOD MANNERS (Dirs: Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas | 2017 | Brazil, France | 135 mins)
What the Program says: “Clara (Isabél Zuaa) is poor, black and unemployed. Against the odds, she lands a live-in nanny job in the posh São Paulo apartment of Ana (Marjorie Estiano), a pregnant white woman whose rich family have disowned her. As Ana’s delivery date approaches the women become lovers. But Ana has begun to act very strangely when the moon is full...”
What the Critics say: “An ambitious work not only in scope but design, influenced by Jacques Tourneur’s psychological horror noirs.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
Festival Cred: Among the most lauded films at SFF 2018. In addition to Locarno’s Special Jury honour, it has trophies from Austin Fantastic Fest, Rio De Janeiro, Sitges, Torino LGBT Fest, Oslo, Biarritz and Buenos Aires.
Key Player: DOP Rui Poças and production designer Fernando Zuccolotto, who combine with other below-the-line talent to conjure a mesmerizing ambience.

 

Saturday
Apr142018

PREVIEW: XV CINETERROR FILM FESTIVAL

The southern Chilean municipality of Valdivia represents a rich melding of geographic and historic influence that makes this small but vibrant city one of the most beautiful destinations in South America. The city, 45 square-kilometres and populated by a mere 160,000 residents, was colonized by Spanish, then German explorers; the river system that winds through the undulating coastal landscape on its way to the Pacific Ocean ensured this commune within the Los Rios Region had military and trade significance in the early days of settlement, over half a century ago.

Valdivia holds specific significance in the week ahead for Chilean horror fans determined to see local and global horror on the big screen. From Monday April 16, the city will stage the 15th CineTerror Film Festival, a celebration of modern genre cinema that presents dark visions of the imagination from Asia, Europe and, of course, South America. The six-day event, comprising 14 features and three short film strands, will screen at the Lord Cochrane Theatre in the city centre.

“This year, our program of films are absolutely independent,” says CineTerror producer Nino Bernucci, “and we hope that audiences support this decision. We have sought films that are currently travelling the international film festival circuit, works that we believe represent the essence of what we are trying to achieve.”

Opening night honours have been bestowed upon Javier Attridge’s Wekufe The Origins of Evil (pictured, right; star Paula Figueroa), a locally-shot effort that explores the relationship between the high rates of sexual assaults in southern Chile and the mythical spirits that are said to inhabit the region. In a statement released by the festival organisers, Atteridge says, “I felt fascinated by this universe of myths and legends, stories told by our grandparents for generations. As I grew older I questioned the real origin of these stories.”

Equally challenging works across the 2018 program reinforce the belief that selection for CineTerror means the ‘horror’ in your horror film is legitimate. Also from Chile is Jorge Olguin's woodland-set chiller Gritos del Bosque; other works from Latin America include three features from Mexico - Juan de la Peña’s rural estate shocker Barrancas, the heightened pseudo-reality of Omar Jacobo’s La Puta es Ciega and the horror anthology México Bárbaro II (pictured, top); two Argentinian pics - the richly-coloured palette of the Giallo-inspired Mirada de Cristal, co-directed by Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, and brothers Luciano and Nicolás Onetti’s Los Olvidados (a co-production with New Zealand); and, from Brazil, Samuel Galli’s demonic possession romp, Mal Nosso.

International works are flying in from France (Vincent Orst’s zom-com Le périple); Japan (Yoshihiro Nishimura’s mega-monster lark Tetsudon: The Kaiju Death Match); and Spain (Carles Jofre’s splatter epic Verano Rojo, bearing laurels from several festival triumphs including the Los Angeles Horror Competition).

Earning an honorary double-feature session at CineTerror is Indonesian genre master Joko Anwar. The prolific 42 year-old, who recently enjoyed blockbuster success in his homeland with Satan’s Slave, will be represented in Valdivia by his 2009 Puchon-honoured hit Pintu Terlarang (The Forbidden Door) and his blood-splattered 2012 jungle-set thriller Modus Anomali (Ritual).

The Closing Night film is the work of another local filmmaker made good, Chilean horror maestro Lucio A Rojas. His latest nightmare, Trauma (pictured, right), will screen to those brave enough to front a film that has been compared to Srdjan Spasojevic’s infamous A Serbian Film for its depiction of sexual violence and brutality in the service of political allegory (Screen Anarchy called it, “…one of the most savage and brutal horror films to debut in the recent era.”)

“It is not an easy film to watch,” understates Rojas, via the festival. “In fact, many of the crew could not watch it more than once, which may be how viewers react, too. We knew from the moment we wrote the script that it would be controversial.”

XV CINETERROR Festival Internacional de Cine de Terror de Valdivia is presented in conjunction with Corporacion Cultural Municipal Valdivia and Ilustre Municipalidad de Vadivia; it will run from April 16-21 at The Lord Cochrane Theatre. Tickets are available at the venue or via the events official website.