“Independent, subversive and exhibiting an underground spirit.” That’s how Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) program manager Nathan Senn describes the movies chosen for the 12th annual four-day movie bonanza. “We want our audience to walk away from a screening enlightened, challenged or moved,” he told Broadsheet.

All three will probably be the case with Let the Corpses Tan, which Senn describes as a “groundbreaking acid spaghetti western”. There’s also the psychotropic and “blood-drenched masterpieces” Revenge and Tokyo Vampire Hotel, a bizarro-comedy starring Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords.

He’s not the only New Zealander on the bill. The festival’s opening flick is a NZ sci-fi action-comedy Mega Time Squad, which one commentator called “The Castle meets Looper”. A Q&A session with writer and director Tim van Dammen and lead actor Jonny Brugh – best known for his performance in Taika Waititi's What We Do in Shadows – will follow the screening.

The festival, which includes 39 features and 50 shorts, is about highlighting alternative film culture and promoting independent and experimental works. Senn says that means programing filmmakers that operate outside established film industry infrastructures.

The event includes a sideshow of short films and a conference called Inhuman Screens hosted by the University of Sydney’s faculty of arts and social sciences. It’ll explore post-humanism in film and new narrative methods.

Here are Senn’s three festival highlights.

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
“This is the deadpan follow-up from the director of The Greasy Strangler, Jim Hosking. Hosking’s visions are so singular and unique they have to be seen to be believed.”

Sickies Making Films
“A brilliant documentary that features the legendary [American film director, screenwriter and author] John Waters and looks at his hometown of Maryland in Baltimore and the role it’s played in the history of film censorship. Director Joe Tropea will be joining to provide extra insight.”

“A work of truly independent filmmaking from Sydney-based filmmaker Jack Moxey. This film embodies what SUFF is all about and has already been [compared] to the early work of [American film director and screenwriter] Harmony Korine [Spring Breakers], and films like Kids and Gummo. This is a really impressive debut from a team of young filmmakers with a bright future ahead of them.”

The Sydney Underground Film Festival runs from September 13 to 16 at The Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Road, Marrickville.