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Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival: The Blazing World and Wyrmwood: Apocalypse

In its second year running, Sydney Science fiction Film Festival recently finished up its four-day cinema run. For Australians, access to the festival’s films is not over; the festival is continuing virtually on-demand until the 25th of November.

As the year draws to a close and I get ready to consider my top films of the year, Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival has made some of my decisions so much easier. The festival has also been a source of celebration for local indie filmmakers and the Australian underground short film scene. If I could give our (highly prestigious) Fear Forever tombstones to film festivals, I would. But alas, I must save them for its films. 

THE BLAZING WORLD

The festival’s opening film was director/actor Carlson Young, her first feature-length film. I can best describe the BLAZING WORLD as PAN’S LABYRINTH with a much more vivid and beautiful colour scheme but missing the substance.

The film follows Margaret (also Carlson Young), a young adult with a traumatic past that haunts her every move. As a child, she watched her twin sister drown. After this, she sees her alive and well, being taken into a black hole with a mysterious man, beckoning Magaret to come with them. Revisiting her family home, she is pulled through the same portal. She must complete a set of fantastical tasks to get her sister back.

It’s a well-known fact that many filmmakers pray to the god that is Lewis Carroll, giving thanks for Alice In Wonderland. Its iterations are endless, so those looking for something original won’t find it in THE BLAZING WORLD. But not every film has to be unique; I, however, still love anything ‘through the looking glass’ inspired, so the film was a captivating fantasy for me.

Young is decent in her role. Udo Kier, the strange antagonist (demon? It’s never quite explained), is I think at this point is just Udo Kier. The ability to be so goddamn weird in every role is still his greatest talent. 

The film is long for its content but never reached tedium. Its visuals make up for its straightforward plot, it’s a stunning film to witness on the big screen. THE BLAZING WORLD is a dream if you can leave your dislike of derivative stories at the door and let it take you away.

” PAN’S LABYRINTH with a much more vivid and beautiful colour scheme but missing the substance. “

3 Tombstones out of 5…

WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE

The last couple of decades have saturated the genre with zombies to the point where I am fatigued by them. I mainly blame THE WALKING DEAD for this. We’ve had slow zombies, fast zombies, rabid zombies, but what if we also had….. psychic zombies? 

Waking the sub-genre from the dead, WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE gives that to us, as well as a whole lot more. The film also gives us some pretty inventive uses for zombies: powering generators for the home, for example, or being used to fuel MAD MAX: FURY ROAD style weaponised trucks. 

Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, and co-written with Tristan Roache-Turner, WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE is the long-anticipated sequel to their 2014 blood saturated cult icon: WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD. And it has lived up to all the hopes we all had for it! The film has a diverse cast that leans into quintessential Aussie humour, and they nail it every time. The film takes Ozploitation back to its grindhouse roots. A superb splatterfest of a horror-comedy. 

Starting where the first left off, a zombie apocalypse is in full swing. A band of vengeful survivors must deal with the hoards of zombies in the harsh Australian bushland, as well as ex-soldier mercenaries looking to kidnap the un-zombified for a mad scientist’s experiments.

I had not seen the first instalment in a few years, but I could easily catch up to APOCALYPSE. If viewers catch it in further screenings and they have missed the first one, it won’t take away from its experience. However, WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD is recommended viewing because… it’s fantastic.

If you like big explosions (of course you do), guts flying and blood coating the screen the entire time, then WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE and its predecessor are for you.

” The film takes Ozploitation back to its grindhouse roots. A superb splatterfest of a horror-comedy.”

4 tombstones out of 5…

The Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival has partnered with U.S streamer XERB for its virtual festival experience until November 25th.

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Erin Grant

Erin Grant

I have been a horror fan ever since I was old enough to sneak off to the
horror section at the video shop. After realizing that your average person
doesn’t want to watch and talk about horror movies, let’s say….
Incessantly, obsessively, I started writing what I wanted to say.
I especially love anything body horror so Cronenberg is my favorite
director. I love celebrating the horror that comes out of my home country
Australia as well."

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