Monster Fest is a celebration of all that is weird and wonderful in the international cult cinema palette – Horror, fantasy, science-fiction, action, crime, noir, dark drama, gothic western, black comedy, animation, erotica and more.

Monster Fest is about blackened cinemas with awe-struck patrons sitting on the edge of their seats. It’s about white knuckles, cold sweats, nervous gasps, gut-wrenching laughs and screams in the dark, but most of all Monster Fest is about people – people who love cinema with bite, a community of like-minded souls from every corner of life, united by a passion for the most twisted imaginings on the planet.

It is dangerous, delirious and delightful. It is about moving with wild abandon into the darkened recesses of cinematic imagination, and doing it with others. It’s about leaving your living room, entering the cinema and daring to live it large with films that are larger than life itself.

Founded in 2011 as an initiative of Monster Pictures, Monster Fest is a mix of Premieres, international festival favourites, challenging new discoveries and curated repertory sidebars alongside industry-focused events such as panels and masterclasses with renowned international guests, and a special emphasis on supporting emerging Australian genre film talent through the festival and beyond.

The Producers would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which Monster Fest takes place.


“Monster Fest is a kick-ass film festival, and a must see event for all genre movie lovers!”

“Monster Fest is providing access for Australian audiences to quality genre cinema, while paying an important growing role within the Australian festival landscape."

“Monster Fest has quickly become a major event on the international film festival landscape. Unforgettable films, incredible events and outstanding guests. We absolutely LOVE it!”

Monster Fest Team

  • Kier-La Janisse

    Festival Director

    Kier-La Janisse has been a film writer and programmer since 1997. After founding her own genre festival in Vancouver in 1999, she became head programmer for Austin's Alamo Drafthouse Cinema from 2003-2007. She is the Owner/Editor of Spectacular Optical Publications, founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, author of House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films and co-editor of Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s.

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  • Neil Foley

    Executive Producer

    Neil has worked in the Australian film industry for the last 20 years in various roles including production, distribution and acting. Neil and his long time friend and collaborator, Grant Hardie started hatching a plan in 2010 to start a distribution label specialising in genre cinema, and later that year, Monster Pictures was born. Neil lives in Melbourne with his whippet Wilma, is a fanatical supporter of the St Kilda Football Club and enjoys robust conversations about any number of topics.

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  • Grant Hardie

    Business Director

    Grant Hardie, an RMIT film graduate, has worked within the Australian film industry for over twenty years in roles ranging from production through distribution. Grant’s passion for film harks back to late nights as a child, waiting for his parents to fall asleep before he would sneak out to the living room to catch a Hammer Horror film on television. This enthusiasm for genre cinema carried through Grant’s adult life and has proved a driving force behind co-founding Monster Pictures in 2010.

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  • Nicole McControversy

    Official Competition Programmer

    A regular on the genre festival circuit, Nicole McControversy has been an event producer and organizer of the Boston Underground Film Festival since late 2007, currently presiding over New England’s gonzo genre celebration as Director of Programming. In 2011 she ventured into music video and short film production, working with Lost Jockey Productions on several projects with bands in Boston. Joining UK-based Ne’er Do Well Films in 2014 as a producer, she's currently endeavoring to get a first feature crime thriller off the ground. Once upon a time she covered arts and entertainment for The Hollywood Reporter and and has a deep and abiding love for Gremlins, psychedelic nightmares, and tacos.

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  • Chris D.

    Official Competition Programmer

    Chris D. (aka Chris Desjardins) is a writer, musician and producer. He is known as the singer/songwriter of The Flesh Eaters and Divine Horsemen, was an A&R rep and in-house producer at Slash Records/Ruby Records from 1980-1984, and was a programmer at The American Cinematheque from 1999-2009. He has written many books including OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE FILM, the poetry anthology A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE and GUN AND SWORD: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980.

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  • Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

    Shorts Programmer

    Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is a writer, broadcaster and film critic from Melbourne. She is co-editor of the film journal Senses of Cinema, co-host of the Triple R film criticism programme Plato’s Cave, and the winner of the 2016 Australian Film Critics Association Award for Best Review of an Individual Australian Film. Alexandra is the author of four books on horror film, gender and bodies in crisis including Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, Found Footage Horror Films: Fear and the Appearance of Reality, Devil’s Advocates: Suspiria and Cultographies: Ms. 45.

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  • Catherine Seccombe

    Shorts Programmer

    Catherine has been in love with horror and genre film and TV since the age of 7, when a dodgy babysitter let her rent whatever she wanted from the video store and she proceeded to work her way through the shelves, cover by lurid cover. Since completing a Cinema Studies degree, Catherine has worked in film preservation and archival research at the National Film and Sound Archive, content acquisition and programming at SBS Television, theatrical distribution with Madman Entertainment and program research at ABC Television. She was the Monster Fest 2014 Shorts Director and lead shorts programmer and is very excited to be involved again in 2016.

  • Hussein Khoder

    Shorts Programmer

    Hussein Khoder is a filmmaker and festival programmer from Melbourne, Australia. When he is not sucking in as much knowledge as possible from all the films he watches, he works on any film he can get on. While still in film school he joined the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, where he held the position of assistant director and short film curator from 2012-2014. Monster Fest 2016 is his second year as a short film curator for Monster Fest.

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  • Andrew Nette

    2016 Guest Programmer

    Andrew Nette is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, with an interest in film and Australian television. His articles and reviews have appeared in a number of print and on-line sites. He is the author of two crime novels, Ghost Money, a crime story set in Cambodia in the mid-nineties, and Gunshine State, out in the second half of 2016. He is co-editor of Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, from the 1950s - 1980s. You can find him on Twitter at @Pulpcurry.

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  • Dean Brandum

    2016 Guest Programmer

    Dean Brandum achieved his PhD in 2016, focusing on a new methodology for interpreting historical box office data. He has taught at a number of universities in Melbourne and has contributed to various books, magazines and journals. Although his interests cover the gamut of cinema – from sexploitation to classical Hollywood, his prime interest lies in the history of film exhibition.

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  • Dick Dale

    Trasharama Programmer

    Dick Dale has been creating award-winning short films since 1993. In 1997 he founded Trasharama, the nastiest film program in Oz, sourcing the most sick and twisted horror shorts on Earth. Spawned in a local rock dive followed by punk acts, it now premieres at Monster Fest annually and tours Australia as the 'Roadkill Roadtrip tour'. Dick’s other activities include being Trasharama MC, punk rock vocalist, spoken word artist, film reviewer, roadie and worst barman. He is currently producing and directing the splatterpunk feature Ribspreader.

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  • Ben Hellwig

    Technical Director

    Ben has worked in all aspects of film distribution for over half a decade, from acquisitions to product development, production, design and everything in-between. Outside of Monster Pictures, Ben is the co-founder of a boutique VHS distribution label, Celluloid Apocalypse, and co-produces the hit Channel 31 show Behind the Screen with fellow Monsterite Jarret Gahan.

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  • Jarret Gahan

    Online Content Manager, Cult of Monster

    Jarret Gahan has been toiling away in visual storytelling for well over a decade, producing award-winning films, music videos and supplemental features for home entertainment releases for the last 18 years. His passion from infancy has been cinema, christened on VHS, his education started early with his first filmic memories being awash of exploding heads, flying spheres and fallen AT-ATs.

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  • Sally Christie

    Hospitality Coordinator

    Sally Christie is a film writer and current honours student at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Her research interests include censorship in film, controversial cinema and pop culture in education. She is currently working on a thesis entitled, “From the Grotesque to the Divine: The Carnivalesque and John Waters.”

  • Melissa Begg

    Operations Coordinator

    Melissa's love of genre started early, scouring the local video store's horror section and scoffing at covers not scary enough for this 11 year old! Graduating with honours in film and masters degree in information management, Melissa now spends her time as news librarian for Channel 9, working at ACMI and co-organising the Melbourne Horror Film Society.

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  • Stephanie Fellows

    Volunteer Coordinator

    Steph is the American-sounding Aussie who has lived all over the world and has been in Melbourne for eight years. She is studying Event Management and her favourite horror films are: Cabin in the Woods, The Crow and Tucker and Dale vs Evil.

  • Meg Donaldson

    Operations Assistant

    Recently completing her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Film & Television), Meg is rapt to join the Monster team in 2016. Meg has worked with several local festivals, including the Made in Melbourne Film Festival, and DeakinTV’s 72-Hour Filmly Festival. She now turns her attention towards forging a career in film programming.

  • Kaila Sarah Hier

    International Publicist

    Kaila Hier is a Montreal based film publicist who went to a film festival one day and decided to never leave. With a focus on independent and genre productions, she's spent her career championing all things weird, spooky, and bizarre.

  • Mark Van De Beek

    Graphic Designer

    Freelance designer, musician and retro-horror-fan Mark Van De Beek can be found at a live music bar, laying out this festival program or on tour with a beer in his hand.

  • Erin Jameson

    Australasian Publicist

    From The Lord of The Rings and Matrix trilogies to Harry Potter; from Wolf Creek and Romper Stomper, and now, all things Monster, Erin’s film PR experience is vast.

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