New Aussie horror fest brings Paranormal Activity

Simon de Bruyn, Contributing Writer

When you find out about a horror film festival named after the opening lines of a famous Simon and Garfunkel song, you know you're onto something special. And so it is with Hello Darkness, the latest genre filmfest on the Australian film festival circuit.

"The name does come from the song," says festival director Rachael Cotra. "It's been my soothing night time song since I was a kid, to try and help me go to sleep. It's dark and it's light like all the best films."

Sounds like a peaceful childhood, really. Or maybe not, as Cotra reveals why she may have needed The Sound of Silence to help her sleep.

"I've been a horror fan since I was a child. I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was in primary school. I come from a very crazy music art family so I guess that was the beginning."

Flash forward 30 or so years and Cotra is putting the final, hectic finishing touches on the inaugural Hello Darkness horror film festival, which rather than start small has opted to run for the week leading up to Halloween in the ACMI cinema centre smack bang in the middle of Melbourne city.

Not only that but the opening night double will mark the city's premiere of Paranormal Activity and the Australian premiere of The Last House on the Left remake. Hello Darkness will also hold the Australian premiere of The Descent: Part 2.

However the festival is less about premieres and more about showcasing different types of horror films, some which didn't really get a run in Australian cinemas outside of bigger festivals in other parts of the country.

In addition to the films, the festival is also bringing out American outsider photographer Ken Werner who will be presenting his landmark photo collection of extreme, bizarre and deranged Halloween costumes gathered since the 1970s, and then ending the whole festival with its own big Halloween party.

"Ken is nuts. He says, 'it's going to be the wildest lecture you have ever been to and my photos will knock your socks off'. He is 60 years old and wears short shorts, I can't wait to meet him," Cotra says.

Hello Darkness runs from 26 to 31 October at ACMI in Melbourne. Get tickets here.

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