30 Jan 2024

Screams on Screen

Over two heart stopping nights in February (16th-17th), RMIT’s historic Capitol Theatre will become the spookiest place in Melbourne for Screams on Screen, a curated program at the interface of art/horror featuring live music, art, feature films, rarely seen experimental shorts, artist and director talks that celebrate the monstrous emotions and transgressive, rebellious forces that fuel the horror genre.

Screams on Screen has been co-organised with RMIT in association with ACCA’s current exhibition From the other side, which centres the fear of the monstrous- feminine to consider the pleasure and liberation of horror from feminist, queer and non-binary subjectivities.

The program includes a 10-year anniversary screening of one of the most influential Australian horror films of the 21st century, Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook , 2014, a selection of art/horror auteur David Lynch’s rarely screened earliest experimental shorts, 1967-68, as well as shorts from some of Australia’s finest contemporary artists, a digital restoration of Ann Turner’s Australian folk-horror cult classic Celia, 1989, and the first Iranian Vampire Western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, 2014.

The program also includes a presentation of the sculptural works by multi- disciplinary artist Isabel Peppard and a live theremin performance by musician Roman Tucker. Creepy Cocktails served in the foyer.

‘Screams on Screen’ celebrates horror’s potential to empower social ‘otherness’ and project our darkest fantasies and social nightmares onto the big screen.

Screams on Screen: The Dark Desire Friday, 16 February, from 6:00pm

Art, screenings, music, talks. The Dark Desire features stories of impulse, longing, craving and lust.

Isabel Peppard, artworks in the foyer

Roman Tucker, live theremin performance and creepy cocktails in the Salon Talks to be announced

Experimental shorts

Liang Luscombe and Cara Benedetto, Leave, 2023

Leave uses puppetry to explore representations of Caucasian women and drunkenness in film and television. The stumbling woman, made famous in films and

TV shows such as Fatal Attraction, Fleabag, Killing Eve, and Single Drunk Female, appears as a part-human-part-puppet character trying to piece together the night before. ‘Leave’ explores the erotics of the relationship between puppeteer and puppet, showing the way the puppeteer supports and manipulates the puppet to ask questions about agency and intoxication within the body horror genre.

Drew Pettifer, Untitled (Gasp!), 2024

Untitled (Gasp!) intersperses moments from cinematic history where male-identifying characters gasp in fear. The syncopated rhythm of these spliced moments collate micro-challenges to expectations of masculinity and allude to queer histories of the horror genre.

Isabel Peppard, Butterflies, 2012

A young artist struggles to make a living selling her drawings at a train station. When a sinister businessman offers her a paying job the prospect seems inviting but the reality threatens to kill her imagination…Butterflies is a Gothic Fantasy stop-motion animation that speaks to the tension between art and capitalism and the struggle to preserve one’s creative soul.

David Lynch, The Alphabet, 1968

The Alphabet is an experimental short film featuring a sick woman’s nightmare involving living representations of the alphabet. Combining animation and live-action the film presents an absurdist nightmare where learning and fear are intertwined.

David Lynch, Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times), 1966

Lynch’s first exploration into film, Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) was developed during his time at art school and presents a visceral and tongue-in-cheek metaphor about the process of expression and art marking.

Feature Film

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, 2014

A tale of love, loneliness and family ties, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is set in the fictitious town of Bad City. Dubbed the first Iranian Vampire Western, Amirpour’s take of the blood-sucking archetype is anything but prescriptive.

Language: Persian | 104mins | USA

Screams on Screen: The Dark Domestic Saturday, 17 February, from 6:00pm

Australian horror double bill, The Babadook, 2014, Celia, 1989 and in conversation with director Ann Turner, art, and experimental shorts. The Dark Domestic exposes the horrors of suburbia and the fear of home invasion.

Kyle Edward Ball, Heck, 2020

A little kid wakes up in the middle of night to the sound of his mom’s television blaring.

Hayley Millar Baker, The Umbra, 2023

Illuminating the darkest and quietest part of the night when the veil to the physical and spiritual realms are at its thinnest, The Umbra unites the living with the ethereal through an occurrence of astral travel between an adolescent woman and a young spirit brought to physicality.The Umbra is a slow-cinema filmic work that centres female power and strength in reference to elements of the horror genre that is often focused on women’s psychosis.

The Babadook, 2014

This special screening of The Babadook celebrates the 10th anniversary of one of the most influential and internationally acclaimed Australian horror films of the 21st century. Jennifer Kent’s darkly disturbing feature debut starring Essie Davis set a new template for the haunted house subgenre, while also launching its supernatural bogeyman into the memeosphere: Mr Babadook has become one of the horror genre’s most iconic monstrous beings.

Language: English | 93mins | AU

Celia, 1989

A digital restoration by the National Film and Sound Archive of Ann Turner’s 1989 masterpiece revolving around the life of a creative and emotionally troubled young girl named Celia (Rebecca Smart). Set in 1950 Melbourne suburbia Celia’s upbringing is marked by her parents’ devout religious beliefs, which are intertwined with their own sexual frustrations and irrational fears surrounding the rise of communism. Finding solace in her vivid imagination, she conjures up images of malevolent creatures and peculiar phenomena as a means to conceal her insecurities.

Language: English | 103mins | AU

Screams on Screen is co-programmed by Jessica Balanzategui (RMIT’s School of Media and Communication and SIGN network lead), Elyse Goldfinch, Jessica Clark (ACCA) and proudly presented by RMIT Culture and SIGN at RMIT in partnership with ACCA and supported by City of Melbourne Annual Arts Grants.

Hayley Millar Baker’s The Umbra was commissioned by RISING for Shadow Spirit, curated by Kimberley Moulton.

Ann Turner’s Celia is courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment.

Ticketing Link:

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art 111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006 Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am–5pm, Weekends 11am–5pm, Free entry

#accamelbourne #artstartsatacca For further media information:

Katrina Hall Publicity/Communications 0421153046

ACCA acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung people as sovereign custodians of the land on which we work and welcome visitors, along with the neighbouring Boonwurrung, Bunurong, and wider Kulin Nation. We acknowledge their longstanding and continuing care for Country and we recognise First Peoples art and cultural practice has been thriving here for millennia. We extend our respect to ancestors and Elders past and present, and to all First Nations people.