The main reason for heading down to Melbourne this past weekend was to interview one of my favourite directors George. A. Romero. The man who gave us, arguably, two of the finest horror films of all time in Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, attended the festival for a career retrospective including rare big screen outings for Martin - one of my personal favourites, Season of the Witch, The Crazies and a whole bloody load of his zombie classics. The gut munchers on display also included the long overdue Australian premiere of Diary of the Dead which the great man introduced as the front few rows of the audience looked on adoringly, caked in fake blood in their finest zombie regalia. Romero was a charming encyclopedia of horror knowledge and an absolute pleasure to meet.
I also interviewed Rusty Nails about his documentary Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George. A. Romero which was an eye opening look into the perils of low budget filmmaking and Olly Blackburn, the director of Donkey Punch, which is very much a cause celebre in the UK at present. I also attended some screenings tied in with the premiere of Not Quite Hollywood including Turkey Shoot introduced by director Brian Trenchard Smith and producer Anthony. I. Ginnane and Long Weekend with appearances by writer Everett De Roche and executive producer Richard Brennan. The afore mentioned also appeared on the Focus on Ozploitation Panel along with stuntman Grant Page and Stone producer David Hannay. Threnchard-Smith and Ginnane in particular were marvellously entertaining company reminiscing on the making of their exploitation classics while passing judgement on modern day Australian cinema…. ‘Ten Empty, more like Ten Empty cinemas!”
On a similar theme I advise all of you horror fans to head to http://www.frightfest.co.uk/ to check out my ‘Dave Down Under’ blog and also to see the incredible line up of films that Messeurs Jones, Rattray and McEvoy have lined up for this years Frightfest Festival taking place at the Odeon West End over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Tickets are on sale now but be quick, they get snapped up fast. Great to see the festival is showing the world premiere of Doug Turner and Stacey Edmonds I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer which I have championed on this site. As always, Sydney is just too far away from London!