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Before I even start to discuss the movie, I have to commend Australian director, Daniel Armstrong for bringing the word, Tarnation back into the vocabulary, even if it is just for the title of his latest feature.

Armstrong has been making a strong name for himself in the low budget, ‘B-Movie’ scene, and each film released reflects how much he has developed his craft.

Tarnation presents itself as Australia’s bastardised distant cousin to The Evil Dead injecting a similar tone and humour that pits Oscar (Daisy Masterman) against a demonic force in a remote cabin retreat.

There are so many beautifully disturbing moments within this movie ranging from penis bugs to demonic unicorns, that every scene becomes a delight to behold.

By far the best moment for me is when Oscar comes face-to-face with a zombie kangaroo that she has to physically outbox to survive. You can’t get more absurd and Australian than that.

Masterman (a regular collaborator with Armstrong having appeared in MurderDrome and Sheborg Massacre) offers a standout performance as Oscar, offering both vulnerability and strength with relative ease and believability. She also has a deft touch of comedy in her bones that make her character incredibly likeable to boot.

In fact the humour on display is definitely one of Tarnation’s selling points as it ploughts along with a decent balance of comedy and the macabre.

Speaking of…

The effects and gore on display are suitably gruesome and gnarly and Armstrong manages to up the ante with every crazed situation that our heroine faces. You can see that there is a lot of love and dedication placed in ‘old school’ effects that is arguably lacking in modern filmmaking.

The Diagnosis:
Armstrong manages to inject a sublime blend of crazed anarchy, bloody mayhem, with a dash of tongue-in-cheek comedy, proving that he is a master of his craft.

There’s potential for more in this universe too, and I for one would love to see Oscar take on the demons once again.
Tarnation is a glorious roller-coaster ride of a movie that is fun-filled to the core.

– Saul Muerte

Catch the screening of Tarnation at the MonsterFest Travelling Sideshow in Sydney on SUNDAY MARCH 11TH  2:15PM.

Daniel Armstrong interview

Tarnation director Daniel Armstrong caught up with the Surgeons of Horror team to discuss his career, including his upcoming crowdfunding feature, Nova Star.
Check out the podcast here: