Austria’s annual frightfest is more than just gore, celebrating the weird and fantastical

While more conventional cinematic aficionados spend the entire year looking forward to the Viennale, a small but rather rabid community are marking their calendars a month earlier: For eight years in a row, the Slash Film Festival has been a point of pilgrimage for fans of fantastic, weird and scary movies. Showing over 40 films (most of them for the first – and only – time in Austria), its eclectic selection covers the weird, funny, scary, strange, gross and gory; movies you won’t find playing in your regular cinema of choice.

This year, Slash will kick off with the Austrian premiere of Andrés Muschietti’s Stranger Things-esque remake of the Stephen King horror classic It at Gartenbaukino, which will also host the opening party – with plenty of balloons to celebrate your newly revived fear of clowns. Other highlights include the horror comedy Dave Made a Maze, where an unsuccessful artist gets trapped inside a cardboard maze he built (Minotaur included); Colossal, a novel take on the Kaiju genre starring Anne Hathaway as an unemployed 30-something who suddenly realizes she controls the movements of a giant monster terrorizing Seoul, and My Friend Dahmer, based on a graphic novel illustrating serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s high school years. In addition, there’s a special on “Wakaliwood,” an anarchic film scene in Uganda that specializes in overthe- top DIY action sequences and, as a special dare, the experimental hip-hop artist Flying Lotus’s movie debut, Kuso, a grossout fever dream full of deadpan humor, an appearance by George Clinton and a soundtrack featuring new music by many of Lotus’ friends like electronic legend Aphex Twin – another notorious weirdo in his own right.

The closing event will feature a live performance by star guest and cult director John Waters (see On Stage, p 55) – the culmination of a retrospective of Waters’ earlier works like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester and three movies chosen by the “Pope of Trash” himself.

Ticket presales start September 9, and like every year, Slash will follow tradition and organize a zombie flash mob – to crowdsource braaaiiiins.

Sep 21-Oct 1, various locations. slashfilmfestival.com