Double King (Felix Colgrave, 2017)

While I keep trying to work out the best approach to the next MMC! proposal, let’s wonder at the trippy, loopy joy that is Double King. This hilarious tale of rippling, obsessive regicide trended hard earlier this year, but maybe a reminder for one of 2017’s best films (short or feature-length) is now in order. Give all the credit goes to Australian artist Felix Colgrave who took two years to create Double King and even composed the short’s music.

Fans of this and Colgrave’s other work can head over to his corner of Society6 and pick up some sweet gear! Get me something too!

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I Love Sarah Jane (Spencer Susser, 2008)

One last Halloween-ready short before we’re overrun by ghouls and goblins! Spencer Susser’s I Love Sarah Jane (2008) takes the zombie apocalypse to the Australian suburbs and mixes in a healthy dose of puppy love and some Lord of the Flies-type childhood nastiness to boot. I Love Sarah Jane reminds that zombies are bad but kids are the worst.

Happy Halloween!

SFFF Day 1 Report – Home is Where the Horror Is

saskatoon_fantastic_film_festivalThe last days of autumn are leaving Saskatoon and the sharp, cold grip of winter is in the air. It makes for a slightly uncomfortable walk to and from the Broadway Theatre, but perhaps that’s a fitting atmosphere for the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival’s program of highly honoured films. Those looking for name recognition in its stars or those resistant to reading subtitles are missing out on some of the best genre films of the last year or two. Day 1 of SFFF may prove to have been its strongest, with a brilliant collection of award-winning horror films. Domestic spaces loom prominently in this first block of films, suggesting little safe territory moving forward into the Festival.

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Van Diemen’s Land (Jonathan auf der Heide, 2009)

“A grey, horribly-beautiful vision of Hell.” – Simon Foster, SBS.

Drafthouse Films LogoNow called Tasmania, Van Diemen’s Land was originally a feared and dreaded penal settlement, a final stop at the edge of the world for those convicts unwanted by the British Empire. In 1822, eight convicts escaped the brutal Macquarie Harbour penal station and were forced into the brutal Tasmanian wilderness when their plan went awry. With little food and equipment, these Irish, English, and Scottish fugitives battled harsh conditions and aching hunger in a merciless and unforgiving land – a land where God wields an axe. Director Jonathan auf der Heide and actor Oscar Redding create a grimly poetic retelling of Alexander Pearce’s infamous escape from Macquarie Harbour and the unthinkable acts he committed during his 113 days at large.

Special Features:

  • Audio commentary with director and co-writer Jonathan auf der Heide, co-writer and lead actor Oscar Redding, and cinematographer Ellery Ryan
  • A Journey Up River: Making Van Diemen’s Land
  • Three additional featurettes: The Battle of the Beards, Subtleties of the Slate, and From Bailbo to Van Diemen’s Land
  • Hell’s Gates, Jonathan auf der Heide’s 2008 short film
  • Two Devils, Jonathan auf der Heide and Gregory Erdstein’s 2014 short film
  • Theatrical teaser and trailer
  • Original storyboards
  • A 24 page booklet featuring production photos and a new essay by film scholar Roderick Heath

Deluxe Edition – Package Includes:

  • Van Diemen’s Land on Blu-ray or Standard DVD featuring over 2½ hours of bonus material
  • DRM-free Digital Download of the film on 1080p, 720p and mobile/tablet formats
  • 27″ x 40″ Movie Poster

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Road Games (Richard Franklin, 1981)

ONE GAME KILLS TIME – THE OTHER KILLS PEOPLE!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddStacey Keach is Pat Quid, an eccentric trucker who plays games to keep his sanity on long hauls through the desolate Outback.  With his pet dingo keeping him company, Quid creates imaginary lives for the people he sees on the road – families, hitchhikers, cyclists.  A mysterious green van picking up young female hitchhikers arouses the trucker’s suspicions, leading Quid to the conclusion that its driver may be a maniac killer butchering women across Australia.  A free-spirited hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis) joins Quid in his game of detective, but when the killer raises their stakes, the game becomes personal and fun turns to fear.

Director Richard Franklin packs plenty of wry humor and Hitchcockian suspense into this psychological shocker that was nominated for four Australian Film Institute Awards and remains one of the most surprising thrillers of the 1980s.

Special Features:

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Ghosts… of the Civil Dead (John Hillcoat, 1988)

“A brilliantly and authentically shocking film … nothing I have seen compares with Ghosts in the power of its ideas and the intensity of their treatment.” – THE AUSTRALIAN

“Combining structural daring with thumping emotional power, this film is the best news from Australian Cinema since the hey-day of the Aussie New Wave.” – Harlan Kennedy, FILM COMMENT

Drafthouse Films LogoCentral Industrial Prison, a new generation of maximum security prison painted in play school colors, is located in the middle of the desert.  It’s been locked down – confinement of all prisoners to their cells – following an outbreak of violence.  The film reveals the truth of the system told through a flashback.  Unseen but omnipotent, the prison’s administration deliberately provokes and manipulates inmates and officers alike until inmates exact their bloody revenge against their perceived oppressors.  With expert direction by John Hillcoat and a maniacal performance by Nick Cave (who also provides the film’s haunting soundtrack), Ghosts… of the Civil Dead is a “masterpiece on the order of Goya” (Brian Case, Time Out UK) with “echoes of Stanley Kubrick at his most uncompromising” (Derek Malcolm, The Guardian UK).

Ghosts… of the Civil Dead goes beyond traditional prison themes of good and evil to draw a frightening allegorical portrait of the nature and organization of our society, made most disturbing by the fact that it is all true.  Presented here, for the first time to North American audiences, is the most extraordinary collection of extras gathered for an Australian film – a complete history from inception to release as told by key cast, crew, and musicians, providing compelling insight into the film and the people who made it.

Special Features:

Central Industrial Edition – Package Includes:

  • Ghosts… of the Civil Dead on Blu-ray or Standard DVD featuring over 2 hours of bonus material
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film Available on Street Date
  • Instant Download of Nick Cave’s 13-track Ghosts… of the Civil Dead Soundtrack
  • 27″ x 40″ Poster
  • Jack Henry Abbott’s book In the Belly of the Beast

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