David Barker’s psychological thriller Pimped, which explores what might happen if two men lured a woman who proved to be stronger, smarter and more cunning than them, won the Australian feature award at Monster Fest: The Homecoming.

Staged at Cinema Nova from November 22-25, the seventh edition of Monster Fest drew nearly 2,900 patrons, a record for the event.

The Golden Monster award for best feature went to director Jonas Åkerlund’s Lords of Chaos, which is set in Oslo in 1987 and stars Rory Culkin as a teenager who forms the aptly-titled black metal band Mayhem with his equally fanatical mates. They begin burning down churches throughout the countryside and stealing tombstones for their record store, leading to violence. It has yet to find a local distributor.

Robbie Studsor’s Burning Kiss, the saga of a detective (Richard Mellik) who seeks vengeance from a hit-and-run that killed his wife and left him wheelchair-bound, won the special jury prize. The cop encounters a young stranger (Liam Graham), who claims responsibility for the crime.

The best international feature prize went to US director Jason Stone’s First Light, a sci-fi thriller which follows Sean (Théodore Pellerin) and Alex (Stefanie Scott) as they go on the run after Alex has a close encounter with mysterious orbs of light that leave her with extraordinary power.

Lars von Trier was judged best director for The House that Jack Built, which stars Matt Dillon as a serial killer in late 1970s America.

Barker’s debut feature, co-written with Lou Mentor, unfolds over one night as Sarah (Ella Scott Lynch) meets the handsome charmer Lewis (Benedict Samuel). Lewis aims to be the bait in a sick sexual trap set up by himself and his low-life, rich kid housemate Kenneth (Robin Goldsworthy) but the ruse backfires.

Produced by Barker and Annie Kinnane, Pimped will be released in cinemas by Bonsai Films early next year.

Joshua Long’s Post Mortem Mary, a horror movie set in the 1840s, was deemed best Australian short and VCA graduate Katia Mancuso’s horror/fantasy Feast on the Young best Victorian short. She receives $5,000 in equipment hire from Gear Head and $4,000 in digital post production services from Roar Digital.

Feature film winners:

Golden Monster (Best Picture): Lords of Chaos. Jonas Åkerlund (United States)

Best International Feature: First Light. Jason Stone (United States)

Best Australian Feature: Pimped. David Barker (Australia)

Best Director: The House That Jack Built. Lars von Trier (Denmark/United States)

Special Jury Prize: Burning Kiss. Robbie Studsor (Australia)

Short film winners:

Best Short: Helsinki Manplaining Massacre. Ilja Rautsi (Finland)

Best International Short: Milk. Santiago Menghini (Canada)

Best Australian Short: Post Mortem Mary. Joshua Long (Australia)

Best Victorian Short: Feast on the Young. Katia Mancuso (Australia)

Best Student Short: Neuroplug. Caleb Turland (Deakin University)

TRASHARAMA Golden Lomax: BFF Girls. Brian Lonano (United States)

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