Vienna’s SLASH Film Festival, Austria’s premiere event for horror and genre-film fabulousness, has announced its first wave of films and presented its key visual and trailer for this year’s event, scheduled for September 23–October 3, 2021. Gruesome Magazine is pleased to share this news with you, from the fest’s official press announcement.
Vienna’s SLASH Film Festival is opening its doors for the twelfth time from September 23 through October 3, 2021. Counting more than 15,000 visitors each year, SLASH is the second-best-attended Viennese film festival after Viennale and the biggest community event for Fantastic Cinema in Austria.
In 2021, SLASH is conjuring a brimming, hissing, bloody, ornery, mystical, preposterous brew of fantastic film highlights, a fabulous concoction of all things fantastique served piping hot and ice-cold in domestic theaters. From horror to science fiction, from award-winning productions to outlandish splatter orgies, from highly anticipated genre gems to celebrated classics, from hopelessly bleak to deliciously humorous—we have something for every taste, whether you’re a gore lover or a scaredy-cat.
The festival opens on Thursday, September 23, for the first time at Stadtkino Vienna. The following ten days will see the screens of the tried-and-true locations—Filmcasino, Schikaneder, METRO Kinokulturhaus—running with gallons of (movie) blood. Along with the film screenings, fans will also have quintessential satellite events in and out of the movie theaters to look forward to.
Key Visual: Machine Eats Organism
For their artwork, HYPHE duo Elias Fleischer and Franz Mühringer took inspiration from retro-futurist elements, cyberpunk, and body horror, including films like VIDEODROME and GHOST IN THE SHELL.
At its core lies the question of what happens when, in a high-tech environment, the cool geometric world of machines becomes increasingly oppressive to humanity. How much remains of us humans when, after a long period of isolation, we finally crawl back out of our bubble and seek connection in the real world?
This is exactly what SLASH invites us to do. The festival is a call to come to the theaters and exchange ideas with filmmakers and the audience, to let the selected titles provoke and shock us and to celebrate Fantastic Cinema—in real places with their own flair, in movie theaters and foyers that are so wonderfully atmospheric and unique that no streaming experience could ever come close.
Highlights of this year’s SLASH lineup include Travis Stevens’s JAKOB’S WIFE (US 2021). In this witty horror comedy, a vampire bite sparks the psychosexual empowerment of an unhappily married pastor’s wife: the role of a lifetime for marvelous genre icon Barbara Crampton, who also served as a producer on JAKOB’S WIFE.
Along for the ride: THE AMUSEMENT PARK by George A. Romero (US 1973). Six years after NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, zombie grandmaster Romero shot this utility film on behalf of a Lutheran welfare organization, distilling his own discontent about society, civilization, and capitalism into a clear, bitter, darkly satirical essence. Canned and locked away by his clerical client at the time, this unforgettable film, clocking in at just under one hour, is seen today as one of Romero’s seminal works.
Feature Film Competition
In a time-honored tradition, SLASH Film Festival will also present both a short and a feature film competition. Unlike the shorts, the feature-length contenders will have to convince not only the audience but also a three-person jury.
Among the international feature film selection is BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES (JP 2020), a one-take sci-fi comedy by first-time director Junta Hamaguchi. Made on a shoestring budget, this indie production has become something of a cult movie in Japan.
Equally unusual yet completely different is the feature debut of the Belgian Guit brothers, MOTHER SCHMUCKERS (BE 2021). Imagine a rapid-fire cavalcade of bad-taste sketches served with a pinch of gonzo and punk. Sounds weird? Definitely!
As every year, SLASH is also bringing some hand-picked animated treasures to the big screen. One of them is CRYPTOZOO (US 2021), Dash Shaw’s second hand-drawn feature, a psychedelic, endlessly inventive animated masterpiece with timely undercurrents flowing toward environmental and wildlife preservation.
THE AMUSEMENT PARK
Director: George A. Romero | US 1973
An elderly gentleman is looking forward to a day at the amusement park but soon becomes the subject of ridicule and scorn, catching venom and derision. Six years after NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, George A. Romero shot this utility film on behalf of a Lutheran welfare organization, distilling his own discontent about society, civilization, and capitalism into a clear, bitter, darkly satirical essence. Canned and locked away by his clerical client at the time, this unforgettable film, clocking in at just under one hour, is seen today as one of Romero’s seminal works.
Director: Travis Stevens | US 2021
She cleans. She cooks. And always stands behind her man. One might say: in his shadow. But as the minister’s wife learns that her old flame is coming to town, she lets herself be talked into a secret meeting—an encounter that will change her life forever. And not just in the way she imagined. Travis Stevens’s witty, wild horror comedy renders a vampire’s bite into the psychosexual empowerment of an unhappily married woman: the role of a lifetime for marvelous genre icon Barbara Crampton, who also served as a producer on JAKOB’S WIFE.
BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES
Director: Junta Hamaguchi | JP 2021
Kato runs a small café in Kyoto. Stepping into his apartment directly above the eatery one night, another Kato appears on his computer screen saying, “Hey, I am you. From two minutes in the future.” The already batshit premise of this one-take sci-fi comedy is rendered into a mind-bending experience in the hands of first-time director Junta Hamaguchi and his outstanding ensemble cast. In Japan, the dirt-cheap indie production has become a cult classic in no time, and the rest of the world will follow suit—of that we are sure, even if we can’t look into the future (not even two minutes).
Director: Dash Shaw | US 2021
Fantastic beasts, but where to find them? At the CRYPTOZOO, of course, a generously spaced site for mythical creatures and other cryptids, hidden from the rest of the world for their own safety. Most of them were discovered and brought to the zoo by Lauren, an assertive young woman who, upon hearing of the sighting of a dream-gobbling creature of Japanese lore, a so-called baku, embarks on a quest to find it. Dash Shaw’s second hand-drawn feature is a psychedelic, boundlessly inventive animated masterpiece with timely undercurrents flowing toward environmental and wildlife preservation.
Directors: Lenny Guit, Harpo Guit | BE 2021
When a movie opens on two dingbats searing their own feces in a frying pan, it’s not that hard to imagine how things might proceed in the next hour or so. In any case, the two twenty-somethings must find their unloved mother’s beloved pooch, which, of course, they lost. MOTHER SCHMUCKERS, the feature debut of the Belgian Guit brothers, is a rapid-fire cavalcade of bad-taste sketches served with a pinch of gonzo and punk that might best be filed somewhere between early John Waters and JACKASS.