Vienna’s SLASH Film Festival presents its 2022 edition from September 22—October 2, and the fest is loaded with incredible new releases from around the world, as well as a solid lineup of curated retrospective features. Following are the official press announcements about SLASH Film Festival’s second wave and its “A Nightmare on Queer Street” retrospective focus.
September 22 through October 2
Ticket presale starts September 9, 5pm
Program Release: September 6
Filmcasino | Metro Kinokulturhaus | Gartenbaukino
It’s becoming increasingly obvious we’re big fans of Noomi Rapace, as this marks the second time the Swedish superstar closes out our festival—more precisely, her latest, YOU WON’T BE ALONE. Having premiered at Sundance earlier this year, the Macedonian Australian director Goran Stolevski’s film tells a transgenerational witchcraft story the likes of which have never been seen.
Opening this year’s SLASH will be Andrew Semans’s RESURRECTION, a dark psycho-thriller in which the horrors of the past catch up with a successful young woman (played by Rebecca Hall). Once again taking place at Gartenbaukino, the opening night will of course be accompanied by a live DJ set and plenty of good vibes.
We cruise from Sundance to Cannes with Ruben Östlund’s TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, the Swedish director’s second Palme d’Or winner, in which a shipwreck upends established hierarchies. Also presented in Cannes — in the category Un Certain Regard — was the Norwegian-Swedish production SICK OF MYSELF by Kristoffer Borgli, which sees the narcissism of two friends ascend to unsettling heights.
FANTASTIC THINGS FROM AUSTRIA
Like every year, we are particularly delighted to give domestic offerings a stage. The supernatural decides to call a Vienna apartment its home in Paul Ertl’s RUPTURE (starring Philipp Hochmair). Marie Alice Wolfzahn’s MOTHER SUPERIOR in turn uses spooky imagery to highlight the vicinity of New Age and fascism. We are proud to host the world premieres of these two Austrian productions.
Furthermore, there will be a special screening of the first two episodes of the new season of Lars von Trier’s cult hospital series from the 1990s. While a reunion with Stig Helmer, Sigrid Drusse, and the others is beyond the bounds of possibility, the curse that weighs on the Copenhagen hospital once again has some wildly bizarre scenes in store.
A GHASTLY HODGEPODGE
Along with many prestigious festival hits, more grotesque fare is not to be missed in this year’s program: Belgian director Karim Ouelhaj unleashes an utterly brutal pair of siblings in his controversial blood orgy MEGALOMANIAC. And in DEADSTREAM, director duo Vanessa and Joseph Winter send their protagonist (played by Joseph Winter himself) on a highly repulsive haunted-house tour.
Director: Andrew Semans
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, Grace Kaufman, Angela Carbone, Winsome Brown
YOU WON‘T BE ALONE
AU | UK | SR 2022
Director: Goran Stolevski
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Alice Englert, Sara Klimoska, Carloto Cotta, Arta Dobroshi
A remote mountain village in nineteenth-century Macedonia. When a young woman is turned into a witch by the so-called Wolf-Eatress, she gains the ability to shift into the shape of her victims and see the world through their eyes. Goran Stolevski’s folk-horror fairy-tale, full of natural mysticism and sensory stimuli, is shot in the unconventional 1.44:1 format and presents one of the year’s most daring and best feature debuts. A narrative torch relay, carried by lyrical inserts and moments of raw violence, the unique YOU WON‘T BE ALONE feels as if Robert Eggers and Terrence Malick were dancing the Walpurgis Night away. Wow!
Alamode Film/Panda Film
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
SE | FR | UK | DE | TR | GR 2022
Director: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Charibi Dean Kriek, Harris Dickinson, Woody Harrelson, Dolly De Leon, Carolina Gynning
High tides, good vibes. Well, unless it’s Swedish director Ruben Östlund sending you out to sea. For his merciless, highly entertaining satire, he received the second Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. A luxury cruise teeming with the super-wealthy runs into a massive thunderstorm—and is also hijacked by pirates. The few survivors are shipwrecked on an island, where social hierarchies must be renegotiated. Biting and jarring, TRIANGLE OF SADNESS features Woody Harrelson as the Marxist captain who hosts an unforgettable dinner.
SICK OF MYSELF
NO | SE 2022
Director: Kristoffer Borgli
Cast: Kristine Kujath Thorp, Eirik Sæther, Fanny Vaager, Fredrik Stenberg Ditlev-Simonsen
As her boyfriend Thomas is about to get his big break as a contemporary artist, Signe plunges into a crisis. To be acknowledged and recognized, she takes drastic measures. In this preposterous satire, Kristoffer Borgli unleashes the whole potential of the social media’s attention economy, cross-breeding it with a potent critique of a society increasingly interested in the surface. An excellent Kristine Kujath Thorp shines in the challenging lead of this exceedingly painful cringe fest, which premiered in Cannes this year.
Director: Paul Ertl
Cast: Berta Kammer, Philipp Hochmair, Markus Schleinzer, Eva Maria Marold
Director: Marie Alice Wolfszahn
Cast: Isabella Händler, Inge Maux, Jochen Nickel, Tim Werths
It’s 1975, and Sigrun is starting her job as the caregiver of the eccentric Baroness Heidenreich in her sprawling estate, Villa Rosenkreuz. While the young woman encounters traces of her heritage there, the childless aristocrat is ready to go very far in her quest for an heiress. In her first feature, director Marie Alice Wolfzahn has crafted a horror miniature rooted in the Gothic tradition. Floating particles from the past glide through the museum-like premises, where fascism and New Age intersect, in order to conjure the most unholy spirits. Chilling.
THE KINGDOM EXODUS: EPISODES 1 & 2
Director: Lars von Trier
Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Lars Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Tuva Novotny
Director: Karim Ouelhaj
Cast: Benjamin Ramon, Eline Schumacher, Hélène Moor, Karim Ouelhaj, Pierre Nisse
Between January 1996 and July 1997, the so-called Butcher of Mons murdered five women near the Belgian city of Mons. The serial killer, still on the loose to this day, is the dark epicenter of the pitch-black horror thriller MEGALOMANIAC. Director Karim Ouelhaj fantasizes about the butcher’s children, who both live in his dilapidated house. While son Félix follows in his father’s footsteps, daughter Martha becomes a victim of violence herself. MEGALOMANIAC is as bleak as it is polemical—one of the most controversial films of the festival.
Directors: Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter
Cast: Joseph Winter, Melanie Stone, Jason K. Wixom, Pat Barnett, Marty Collins, Perla Lacayo
A Nightmare on Queer Street
Queer horror cinema does not exist as a category. But SLASH never shies away from a challenge and dares to take a leap with this year’s retrospective into a fierce cross-section through the history of, well, queer horror cinema.
And most of them are wildly different in their moods and whimsies, shapes and forms. Popular productions like Jack Sholder’s A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART TWO: FREDDY‘S REVENGE or Andrew Fleming’s THE CRAFT don’t deal with queerness directly but through more or less obvious subtexts, many of which were examined years or decades after the movies had been released.
In contrast, Jess Franco’s VAMPYROS LESBOS is a movie exclusively tailored to the male gaze, having cofounded the lesbian vampire subgenre that became popular in the 1970s, while THE DESTROYING ANGEL from the same decade is highly idiosyncratic and iconoclastic gay horror porn—shot at a time when assertive portrayals of homosexuality were almost exclusively limited to fringe forms like adult and avant-garde productions. Geared to the youth market, 1980s flicks like SLEEPAWAY CAMP (Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive. With friendly support of Filmarchiv Austria.) and FEAR NO EVIL drag psychosexual elements into subgenres like slasher and occult horror, begging for empathy with the central, queer-coded figures only to let them disintegrate in the finale with even greater aplomb.
The last two films of the retrospective also approach the subject of queerness with great versatility. While in LET ME DIE A WOMAN sexploitation queen Doris Wishman takes a semidocumentary look at trans identity in the 1970s, WILD ZERO by Tetsuro Takeuchi tells love stories beyond gender normativity in a world populated by zombies, aliens, and the sound of revving engines.
OUR GUESTS AT THE RETROSPECTIVE
Patricia Quinn in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975)
You don’t need a fine-toothed comb to find queerness in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. At the screening of Jim Sharman’s 1975 musical adaptation, we welcome no other than Magenta herself, Patricia Quinn—a joyful perk that makes even the umpteenth screening of this queer cinema classic a very special event. Also arriving from the United States is drag superstar Peaches Christ, who will not only give a series of eccentric performances around SLASH (for instance at the Volkstheater’s Rote Bar and a whacky preshow before THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW) but also present her blood- and movie-references-soaked horror comedy ALL ABOUT EVIL. There will be a reunion with cult director and SLASH veteran Jörg Buttgereit. Also present at the European premiere of the director’s cut of KILLER CONDOM – DIRECTOR‘S CUT (ALMOST), whose visual effects were supervised by Buttgereit, will be Martin Walz, the director of the eponymous comic book adaptation by Ralf König.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART TWO: FREDDY‘S REVENGE
Director: Jack Sholder
Cast: Mark Patton, Robert Englund, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager
Often sold under value, this sequel to Wes Craven’s celebrated original breaks several genre rules at once. Perhaps most important, the “final girl” trope makes way for the sensitive, lovable Jesse, who must confront iconic dream demon Freddy Kruger in the last standoff. Even if director Jack Sholder purportedly didn’t realize it, the story of FREDDY’S REVENGE is the carrier material for a parade of gay subtexts (Jesse dancing to a synth-pop classic in his room! The leather bar! Spanking in the shower!), which make this highly atmospheric and often eldritch horror thriller a queer classic.
Director: Andrew Fleming
Cast: Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Rachel True, Christine Taylor
Four outsiders at a high school dabble in black magic and soon take things too far. Andrew Fleming’s beloved horror hex THE CRAFT is a progressive, emancipatory fantasy on the one hand, and a moral play about sinful behavior on the other. In spite of this—or perhaps because of it—the (gay) director accomplished a blend of John-Hughesesque parallel teenage romance and wiccasploitation with considerable mid-nineties aroma (fashion! soundtrack! cast! everything!).
DE | ES 1971
Director: Jesús Franco
Cast: Soledad Miranda, Ewa Strömberg, Dennis Price, Heidrun Kussin, Paul Muller
Attorney-at-law Linda falls for the charismatic countess Carody, a descendent of Dracula, who turns Linda into a vampire. Built around the mesmerizing Soledad Miranda, VAMPYROS LESBOS is a quintessential Jess Franco experience. Sucked from various literary sources, the minimalist narrative is but a peg on which to hang the surreal, often stream-of-consciousness catalog of images and sequences oscillating between meditative contemplation and eruptive impulses. A masterpiece of horrotica, in which the (stupid) male characters are either relegated to supporting roles or thrown out of the picture altogether.
THE DESTROYING ANGEL
Director: Peter de Rome
Cast: Timothy Kent, Bill Eld, Philip Darden, Paul Eden, Evan de Braye, Alain Monceau
A seminary student takes some time off to indulge in sexual and drug-induced excesses. In THE DESTROYING ANGEL, exceptional British pornographer Peter de Rome uses the basic structure of Edgar Allan Poe’s autobiographically tinged doppelgänger story William Wilson as the departure point for the mental and spiritual splintering of his main character. Told through a series of increasingly menacing and surreally explicit scenes, the blend of horror topoi and gay pornography is as hot as it is unsettling, and always a unique experience.
Director: Robert Hiltzik
Cast: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields, Christopher Collet, Mike Kellin
Shy teenager Angela spends her vacation at summer camp, where the bodies mysteriously keep piling up. SLEEPAWAY CAMP is prime-cut American slasher cinema starting out with the usual ingredients of pent-up hormones and gratuitous nudity (here predominantly of young men). But it soon twists its way heavenward into a vulgar whodunit garnished with delectable gore, only to culminate in an unforgettable finale. Both controversial and venerated as cult, director Robert Hiltzik’s only cinematic feature remains a glittering gem of slasher art.
FEAR NO EVIL
Director: Frank LaLoggia
Cast: Stefan Arngrim, Elizabeth Hoffman, Kathleen Rowe McAllen, Frank Birney, Daniel Eden
Seventeen-year-old Andrew is mercilessly bullied by his classmates. What they don’t know (yet) is that the quiet young man is the latest incarnation of Lucifer and well on his way to initiating Armageddon. Robert LaLoggia’s mostly self-financed passion project is an iridescent bastard of teen slasher and occult horror sending the erotically charged queer Antichrist into battle against archangels — among them Gabrielle, the female version of Gabriel—and all this to a soundtrack of Ramones, Talking Heads, Sex Pistols, and Patti Smith. Pretty damn sacred!
LET ME DIE A WOMAN
Director: Doris Wishman
Cast: Deborah Harten, Leslie, Lisa Carmelle, Frank Pizzo, Harry Reems, Carol Sands
(S)exploitation pioneer Doris Wishman turns her attention to the subject of transsexuality in the only shockumentary of her career. Interviews with people affected and activists as well as a lecture by Dr. Leo Wollman, an authority on the subject at the time, are peppered with soft sex scenes, close-ups of genitals, and footage of a gender reassignment operation—which gave the movie its notoriety—in the style of sensationalist sex-ed films. LET ME DIE A WOMAN is real and pseudo, educational and reactionary, reprehensible and bold and, at any rate, unforgettable.
Director: Tetsuro Takeuchi
Cast: Seji, Bass Wolf, Drum Wolf, Masashi Endē, Kwancharu Shitichai, Nakajo Haruka
Perfectly pomaded pompadours crown pitch-black leather outfits. Guitar Wolf is a Japanese rock ‘n’ roll band who in their hyperenergetic brain grinder of a cult movie WILD ZERO take their biggest fan Ace, his new flame Tobio, and other deviants to fight a zombie invasion AND an alien invasion. Director Tetsuro Takeuchi puts the pedal all the way to the metal on this one. Heads burst, plectrums kill, and eyes shoot deadly rays of energy. Yet there’s time for tenderness. In the words of Guitar Wolf: “Love has no borders, nationalities or genders.”
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
UK | US 1975
Director: Jim Sharman
Cast: Tim Curry, Patricia Quinn, Susan Sarandon, Richard O‘Brien, Nell Campbell
It might be the most popular convergence of queer and horror culture, rendered in exemplary ultracamp aesthetics and thoroughly pervaded by Tim Curry’s masterful portrayal of Frank-N-Furter, the “sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania,” who lures a meat-and-potatoes couple stranded in his castle in the sky into committing various acts of sweet transgression. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is the apotheosis of the midnight movie and musical feat, and at once a eulogy to all “Creatures of the Night” with a subsequent call to throw off the shackles of middle-class morality. Or, in the immortal words of Dr Furter: “Don’t dream it, be it.”
ALL ABOUT EVIL
Director: Joshua Grannell
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Cassandra Peterson, Jack Donner, Mink Stole
The title alone is a reference to a definitive silver-screen classic, and Joshua Grannell’s feature debut doesn’t make any secret of his unconditional love for (horror) cinema: Natasha Lyonne inherits an old movie theater and shoots splatter miniatures to draw an audience. What nobody suspects: The kills are all real. Lovingly handcrafted and adorned with subcultural icons from John Waters staple Mink Stole and Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson to Grannell’s drag queen persona Peaches Christ, ALL ABOUT EVIL is a B-movie gem that’s at once heartwarming and blood-drenched.
KILLER KONDOM – DIRECTOR‘S CUT (ALMOST)
DE | CH 1996
Director: Martin Walz
Cast: Udo Samel, Peter Lohmeyer, Iris Berben, Heribert Sasse, Hella von Sinnen, Sophie Rois
This souped-up pulp fiction about a gay cop who hunts a sharp-toothed condom through the seedy underbelly of New York City must be one of the whackiest—i.e., most entertaining, i.e., best—German movies of the 1990s. Few people agreed when it came out, probably not least because the adaptation of two graphic novels by Ralf König swaggers our way with unapologetic queerness unlike any other movie of its time. Need more convincing? Jörg Buttgereit was in charge of special effects; H.R. Giger (!!!) designed the killer condom.
September 22—October 02
Ticket presale starts September 09, 5pm
Program Release: September 06
Filmcasino | Metro Kinokulturhaus | Gartenbaukino