Coinciding with the start of the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Sydney Underground Film Festival has unleashed this year’s program, sure to satisfy all your twisted and deviant demands.
Leading the charge are opening night Horror-Comedy Housebound, the directorial debut from New Zealand’s Gerard Johnstone that follows two housebound (get it?) individuals who are haunted by an evil spirit, and closing night film Wetlands, German David Wendt’s adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s novel which, true to SUFF form, has been stirring up a heap of controversy on the global circuit, a frank and possibly obscene depiction of burgeoning female sexuality that is sure to shock and delight audience members in equal measure.
Other highlights of the program include Ricky Bates Jr’s follow up to his gloriously depraved debut Excision, Suburban Gothic – a comedic exploration into a centuries old murder by a man who can channel the paranormal in the style of the Hardy Boys and Scooby Doo, Zack Parker’s Proxy – a horrific tale of coping with the aftermath of a forcefully aborted pregnancy starring Joe Swanberg, the Australian premiere of Eli Roth’s directorial return, The Green Inferno – a Cannibal Holocaust throwback with a stroke of Roth-y goodness/badness (depending on your personal preference) that’s been garnering a couple of rave reviews on the international circuit, the latest in the long series of Trailer Park Boys films, Legalize It – a new adventure that I’m sure will see Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles engaging in further acts of drinking, pot smoking and cursing. And lets not forget Why Don’t You Play In Hell? – Sion Sono’s bloody and subversive tribute to the filmic medium.
SUFF has also put together a particularly strong documentary program including the Animal Condition (with the directors in attendance) – an investigative road-trip behind the farming practices of contemporary Australia, Breadcrumb Trail – Lance Bangs documentary chronicling the rise and fall of cult Louisiana band Slint, GMO OMG – a Michael Moore style interrogation of genetically modified food that’s sure to have everyone reaching for their tinfoil hats searching answers regarding the mystical healing power of the crystal skull (or something like that), Kidnapped for Jesus – winner of the documentary category at this year’s Slamdance, Kate Logan’s exploration of military-like camps in the Dominican Republic that attempt to modify and evangelicalize behaviour through hard labour, Sam Dunn’s Super Duper Alice Cooper – a documentary chronicling the one and only grandfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper, and, of course, the long-awaited Monster Pictures helmed The Search for Weng Weng – video store owner Andrew Leavold’s debut documentary attempting to uncover the fate of cult-superstar Weng Weng, the two-foot-nine Filipino James Bond from classics such as For Your Height Only.
As always, the festival will also be holding its shorts program, this time in the blocks Ozploit!, Reality Bites, LSD Factory, WTF Shorts, Apocalyptic, Love/Sick, The Best of Fetisch Film Festival, of which my picks go to The Best of Fetisch Film Festival, WTF Shorts, and Ozploit! (for those who can stomach them), and there are more films on display than just the one’s I’ve mentioned above.
Basically though, all I’m trying to say is when it comes to the 5th-8th of September, you should take the weekend off and immerse yourself in the SUFF program – if you have the constitution to delve into the weird and depraved side of cinema, you won’t regret it.