UC Journalism Series: Monsters re-emerge on the Silver Screen

31st Oct 2016
Michael Liu

*As part of an educational partnership with University of Canberra, CIFF will publish a selection of works by UC Journalism students focussing on this year’s festival. Special thanks to Bronwyn Watson from UC.”

Monsters re-emerge on the Silver Screen

By Jordan Medlock

Monsters, the timeless creatures that have plagued nightmares and sparked fear in horror films. At the Canberra International Film Festival, monsters, of all sorts, are the focus at this year’s Halloween Horror Night line up on October 31st.

The Frankenstein Complex and Rob Zombies film 31 are both met with great anticipation at this year’s festival.

The Frankenstein Complex, directed by Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso is a documentary that explores both the monsters and their makers in horror film. Taking 3 years to make, the film is about creating werewolves, dragons, aliens, trolls, gremlins and other impossible terrifying creatures that feature in world renowned horror films.

The documentary, premiering at the festival, features behind the scenes footage and interviews with famous artists such as Rick Baker and Steve Johnson. An insight into how life is breathed into these monsters makes this film a great addition to the horror movie line-up.

French film director, Alexandre Poncet says that it is the films ability to show an audience what makes their nightmares a reality that is important.

“In the genre of horror today, real monsters have trouble surviving in the wake of digital technologies. By showing people behind the scenes footage and how everything comes together, the movie is about what makes our favourite genre possible. This concept is interesting” Alexandre says.

With horror film trends turning away from psychological thrillers, traditional monsters have begun to reclaim the stage. It is a monsters ageless and personal effect on people that make them stand the test of time.

“Monsters talk to all of us, as people. In every story, myth, legend and even religions, there is a monster. In the Frankenstein Complex, there are many kinds of monsters that we explore, and this is because Gilles Penso says they help us understand the world. Monsters are a part of our dark side that we like to explore through horror” Alexandre explains.

With the Canberra Festival being engrossed on monsters, the director knew that it was the right time to make such a documentary.

Alexandre says, “The research shows that horror is becoming a very attractive trend in cinema. We’ve already noticed monsters playing a big role, so it seemed like the right time to explore this kind of art and expression. We didn’t want to show that computer generation was bad, but we’ve chosen to focus on practical effects, because they have such a hard time surviving against modern technology”.

With the first film of the Horror Movie night having such a focus on the creation of monsters, Alexandre hopes the documentary will give the audience an appreciation for audience’s favourite characters.

“I want the audience to see and discover something they haven’t before. I hope the film might even be a source of inspiration to some, and maybe look at monsters a bit differently” Alexandre says.

The Frankenstein Complex is set to appeal to all audiences, with the director having high hopes for how it is received in Canberra.

“It took us 3 years to direct the film. It has been a ride and it has been very surreal. We are very proud of the film and hope that an Australian audience will enjoy it” Alexandre explains.

With modern horror film featuring more and more monsters, film producer Daniel Sanguineti had some interesting ideas as to why this is possible. Having produced ‘Me and my Mates vs The Zombie Apocalypse’ here in Canberra, amongst other horror Films, Daniel Sanguineti knows a thing or two about monsters.

“As a producer, I am responsible for how an audience perceives a film. Horror, translates across language barriers in every way. It has a common theme that everyone relates to and that’s fear. Every time someone dies on screen and there’s gore, you will most likely have the same reaction. That’s what makes the idea of a horror movie night good, everyone will have a similar reaction.” Daniel says.

Much like Alexandre, Daniel says that it is the monster’s relatability that makes them so timeless in the genre. This makes the Horror Movie Night line-up perfectly fitting with current trends.

“We are always scared by the monsters we see in horror film, but we feel comfortable and safe to be frightened by them” Daniel explains.

It is the Canberra International Film Festivals Horror Movie Night that allows all audiences a chance to experience the genre.

“The Canberra International Film Festival gives us a chance to enhance our cultural understanding of film. Especially on a horror movie night where you won’t get a chance to see the film anywhere else, it is perfect for anyone.” Daniel says.

The other horror film featured on the Line-up is the greatly anticipated Rob Zombies 31.

“Rob Zombies 31 is on the line up as well. The film does its job, it’s there to scare and invoke fear. That’s why the international film festival is there, so you can experience that. And not being afraid of breaking the norm. It’s a safe environment where you know the monsters aren’t real so it’s okay to be scared by them. It’s a special thing to be a part of” Daniel says.

Horror movie fanatic 21- year- old Chantelle Brown, has high expectations for this year’s horror movie night.

“I usually attend the Canberra International Film Festival every year with a big group of people. But I am really excited that the horror genre has grown more here in Canberra.”

The Horror Movie night often brings together many horror movie fans.

“This year you can dress up as a horror film character. You can imagine sitting down with a group of your friends being scared together, whilst being dressed up at the same time. I think this festival will bring together like minded people, and you don’t have to be a full-blown fan like me to enjoy it” Chantelle explains.

It is the unique films that make Chantelle come back to explore what’s on offer at the Canberra International Film Festival.

“It’s different every year. Although they’ve dedicated one night purely to horror, I think each film on the line up offers something different to every audience member. I am really excited for this year because there is a focus on zombies and monsters, so I think emotions will be high on the night and I can’t wait’, Chantelle says.

This year’s horror night offers Australian and International films that are likely to appeal to everyone.

Get your tickets right here, at https://ciff.com.au

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