The Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) is back for and 11th year, and if anything it’s getting weirder. With 19 features and 14 documentaries, not to mention a host of special events and shorts, you could (like the song says) be happy underground.
Here’s a list of films we reckon you should take a look at at this year’s SUFF. Of course, if you get the Festival Pass, you can spent the entire weekend at the festival and catch them all, whether it’s Japanese splatter gore or the more gentle comedy leanings of Brett Gelman.
Found Footage Festival
Picking the opening night selection might seem obvious, but this collection of VHS gems found in thrift stores across America comes with Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Late Show with David Letterman) in the country for the first time. Seriously, this had us hooked with the inclusion of “The Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults.”
Called “the grossest movie ever made” by at least one site, this is the notorious feature film debut from musician/filmmaker Steve “Flying Lotus” Ellison that prompted walkouts at Sundance this year. SUFF Festival Director Stefan Popescu told us he was “laughing uncontrollably” and it “hoping that’s how the audience takes it.” We feel confident that this one will be divisive and essential viewing for the year.
“I feel that we have a lot to offer each other socially.” An odd performance piece about a dysfunctional man inside a dysfunctional family watching his life fall apart. It’s either so real it’s uncomfortable, or uncomfortable to the point of reality. The cast, led by Brett Gelman of Funny or Die, also features Michael Cera, Gillian Jacobs, Fred Melamed and Rhea Perlman. It’s often painful, but that’s half the fun.
Meatball Machine Kodoku
Every year, there’s at least one super weird Japanese film we recommend at a festival. The latest film from Yoshihiro Nishimura, the special makeup effects legend and director behind Tokyo Gore Police and Zombie TV, has the one for this year. This might be the best film about alien Necrobugs turning humans into hyper-violent killing machines that you’ll see this year.
Notorious hardcore punk legend GG Allin is known for his transgressive stage performances, including defecating during gigs, but his mum named him Jesus Christ Allin at birth. She is the subject of a documentary that picks up two decades after her son’s death, where she wants to ensure that his legacy is a more positive one.
Where Is Rocky II?
In 1979, American artist Ed Ruscha left a giant fake rock in the Mojave Desert. In this doco, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind co-writer Pierre Bismuth hires two private detectives to find it. Part documentary, part mock recreation comedy/mystery, you can rightfully expect this one to fall into the “it’s a little bit different” category.
If babies didn’t age, our Facebook feeds would never be free of parental paparazzi. Yet that’s the premise of Bob Byington’s (7 Chinese Brothers) latest comedy, starring a massively talented cast including Kieran Culkin, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Nick Offerman, Martin Starr, Kevin Corrigan, Megan Mullally, Noël Wells, and Stephen Root. it debuted at SXSW in March 2017.
Following his throwback horror comedy Patchwork, director Tyler MacIntyre’s spin on the horror genre has been regularly described as Scream for 21st century, with a little bit of Heathers thrown in for good measure. It stars Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand, Josh Hutcherson, Craig Robinson and Kevin Durand.
Ambient house music pioneers The Orb are the subjects of this documentary that takes us into the Ultraworld as Thomas Fehlmann and Alex Paterson peel back the curtain and show us how the magic happens.
Breakfast Cereal Cartoon Party + Late Night Cereal Cartoon Party
Harking back to the halcyon days when we sat around in our jimmy jams watching ‘toons and eating brekky, SUFF gives us a morning of nostalgia and a night of naughtiness with all the sugar-delivery-systems than you can shovel into your pie hole.
With the tragic loss of horror master George A. Romero last month, SUFF pays tribute to the horror master with his 1973 biohazard film that doesn’t involve zombies. What better way to say goodbye to the man who invented a genre?