“Around the world in 80-ish films” might be the motto of this year’s SLASH Film Festival with its geographically diverse lineup, including two highlights of contemporary African genre cinema.

If you suffer from triskaidekaphobia and are thus afraid of the number 13, you should avoid this year’s edition of SLASH at all costs. Because that is how old Vienna’s festival of fantastical film turns this autumn. In the spirit of SLASH, we interpret the diabolical number as a good omen and really “party down,” as is customary when reaching puberty. From trashy body-fluid flicks to politically ambitious eye-openers and explosive superhero blockbusters—eclectically-minded film buffs will surely get their due.



TW 2022
Director: Kevin Ko
Cast: Tsai Hsuan-yen, Huang Sin-ting, Kao Ying-hsuan, Sean Lin, RQ

The movie opens with Ronan looking into the camera, chanting an incantation, and asking the audience to join in. It’s supposed to bless her little daughter and lift the spell the girl has been under ever since Ronan took a trip with friends into the remote Chinese province of Yunnan six years ago to film a mysterious ritual. Kevin Ko’s found-footage fright fest INCANTATION proves once again that Taiwanese horror cinema is experiencing an impressive renaissance. In his home country, it became the most successful film of the year (so far). Will you dare to chant along?


AR 2021
Director: Pablo Parés
Cast: Macarena Suárez, Aldana Ruberto, Flor Moreno, Sofia Rossi

The all-girl rock band Pussycake shreds, sings, and screams its way through dive bars. A gig in a coastal town, with some major-label music producers present, may be the big breakthrough. But on their arrival, the joint is closed and deserted. Instead, the hard-assed rockers are being attacked by projectile-vomiting zombies and must fend for their lives. The Argentinian splatter whiz Pablo Parés infuses this sprightly little trip with gallons of blood, mucus, and guts—PUSSYCAKE seems like an expulsion from the B-movie heyday and a cruise back to the 1980s. Fantastically phantasmagorical!


MX | PE 2022
Director: Michelle Garza Cervera
Cast: Alfonso Dosal, Sonia Couoh, Martha Claudia Moreno, Aida López

Valeria and Raúl have been trying for a long time to have a baby. Finally, the young woman gets pregnant—only to be afflicted by gruesome visions shortly thereafter. The huesera, a “bone woman” from Mexican mythology, seems to haunt and hunt the couple, and gaining ground. Michelle Garza Cervera’s outstanding feature debut is a bone-chilling horror drama with folkloric undercurrents, in which pregnancy itself is likened to a curse. Intense acting and excellent photography are further proof that the director is a significant new talent in Latin American genre cinema.


SN 2021
Director: Jean Luc Herbulot
Cast: Yann Gael, Evelyne Ily, Bruno Henry, Roger Sallah, Mentor Ba

The Bangui Hyenas, a legendary three-man mercenary army, escape Guinea-Bissau with a Mexican drug lord, only to find themselves in an eerie holiday camp full of suspicious characters in a remote region of Senegal. After the troubled past of their leader Chaka is revealed, dark forces unleash upon them. The Congolese director’s second feature is a supernatural gonzo thriller, influenced by spaghetti westerns and stories of Mexican cartels, yet rooted in African mythology and postcolonial reality. The mercenaries don’t only know how to use weapons, they quote Thomas Sankara and drop jokes in sign language: “Do we look like the UNICEF!?”


ZA 2021
Director: Jenna Cato Bass
Cast: Chumisa Cosa, Nosipho Mtebe, Kamvalethu Jonas Raziya

For decades black housekeeper Mavis has been living with a wealthy white family in a suburb of Cape Town. When her daughter Tsidi asks her if she and Mavis’s grandchild, Winnie, can move in, the elderly woman agrees, but under one condition: that all the rules of the bedridden landlady—whom they call “Good Madam”—be followed. Soon the shadows begin to grow, and Tsidi realizes that something’s fishy about this place. In GOOD MADAM, Jenna Cato Bass unleashes a horror thriller with a satirical, dissident edge. Its uncanny atmosphere feeds from both the specter of a supernatural menace and the threat of your garden-variety racism.