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Sisters Of The Plague Mqff Movie Festival Feature Sisters of the Plague
  • Cult Films at MQFF


    Posted on: 24/03/2016

    Melbourne Queer Film Festival Program Manager Spiro Economopoulos retraces his love for cult cinema and how they inform this year's Out There program.

    Midnight movies, or Cult Films as they’re often labeled, are films that failed for some reason or another to catch on in their initial theatrical release but have managed to find a dedicated audience later. Mainly misunderstood by mainstream audiences at the time and generally transgressive in content, it’s no wonder these films eventually find favour with game college students or through late night TV repeats.

    Cult movies were essentially my gateway drug to becoming a full-blown movie addict. I have very fond memories of discovering Danny Peary’s 1981 book Cult Movies that laid out his very entertaining definitive list of must see films. (It turned out to be not so definitive and he went on to release two more books). This was (and still is) one of my most loved and well-thumbed books and became a bible of sorts for me as I went on a mission to see every single film featured.

    Sisters of the Plague

    Through that book I got to see Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932), his follow up to the hugely successful Dracula (1931). The studio gave him carte blanche due to that success and quickly regretted it. The original release version of Freaks was deemed so shocking that no surviving copy of it exists and his film career never quite recovered.

    It led me to obsessively seek out David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977), which I ended up catching at the Valhalla cinema in Richmond. I was never quite the same ever again…  And it introduced me to the drag mother of all cult films, The Rocky Horror Picture Show(1975) a film that gleefully defies explanation and I still can’t get enough of.

    You're Killing Me Trailer

    When it came to programming the 2016 Melbourne Queer Film Festival I knew I would be paying homage to these movies via Out there, our celebration of the films that take great pleasure in misbehaving. Take Lonely Stars (2015) for example, a Mexican drag comedy that plays like All about Eve, but with the gloves off (if that was even possible). The films spikey mix of the drag aesthetic with a decidedly punk sensibility made me wonder why these weren’t paired more often? Or You’re Killing Me (2015) a hilarious horror/comedy that gives the middle finger to the art house sex thriller of 2013 Strangers by the Lake through its demented take on gay narcissism run amok. And you can’t go wrong with Sisters of the Plague (2015) an eerie New Orleans set ghost story which sets your nerves on edge from the start and freaks you the hell out by the end.

     Lonely Stars Trailer

    Here’s hoping one of these films ends up being your own gateway drug to illicit celluloid pleasures.

    Melbourne Queer Film Festival runs from 31 Mar - 11 Apr at ACMI.

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