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Fantastic Fest Begins Next Week! Here Are Some Movies To Get Excited About Part 1!

Nordling here.

Can't wait.  I've already started watching some of the entries to this year's Fantastic Fest, and I plan on covering the everloving hell out of this festival.  I want to see as much as I can and yet try to stay coherent throughout - unlike last year where I had to bail early, this year I'm staying for the whole enchilada, from FRANKENWEENIE to RED DAWN, and hopefully many, many movies in between.  And at some point I'm going to make my way over to the Ritz and see THE MASTER in glorious 70MM.  It's going to be a hell of a week.

If you're going, stop and say hi - I'll be the bald, goateed dude with the goofy smile on his face.  Okay, that doesn't quite narrow it down.  This is only my second Fantastic Fest but if I only go to one movie festival a year for the rest of my life, this is the one I'd pick.  There are so many different genre films, so many unique visions, and Fantastic Fest isn't about playing the Oscar wannabes (although some, like THERE WILL BE BLOOD, have screened there) but about playing that crazy, fucked up, but amazing film that you would have never thought about seeing before.  An open mind is required.

So, here's a list of some of the movies I'm most excited to see at Fantastic Fest this year.  Some you've probably heard about, and some you might not have.  But I'm going to make my best effort to see as much as possible and write about everything.  Here goes - kinda half-assed alphabetically:


This movie to me is probably Fantastic Fest in its entirety shrunk down to two hours of gore and irreverent humor.  I know some of the people involved in the making of this movie, and I have no idea what to expect except, hopefully, to laugh my ass off when I'm not horrified or vomiting.  Which is probably the exact reaction that all 26 filmmakers are hoping for.


This documentary, from the guys that brought us BEST WORST MOVIE, is about haunted house fanatics who go a little bit mad during Halloween and decorate for the holiday.  I can appreciate a documentary like this - I always dug Halloween a bit more than Christmas - and I especially loved it when the neighbors went all out and scared the crap out of all the little kids.  There was one house on my street that had an actual graveyard in the backyard, and every year he'd put candles on all the graves.  Creepy as hell.  This looks like a lot of fun, and Fantastic Fest will have the world premiere of THE AMERICAN SCREAM.


Looks like the mutated acorn doesn't fall far from the pulsating vagina tree, as Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg, brings us a movie about designer celebrity viruses and the people who love them.  I've heard mixed reports about this movie, but many of them come from reviewers who, frankly, aren't really equipped to handle this kind of movie.  At Fantastic Fest, however, this will be the perfect audience.  This one's a can't-miss for me if I can help it.  Hell, the trailer alone isn't for the squeamish.


Oh dear.  The sounds from this trailer alone are terrifying to me.  Toby Jones stars as a motion picture sound man who goes to work on an Italian horror movie and gets more than he's prepared to handle.  I love how the trailer isn't overtly gory, but the soundscapes are utterly scary and unnerving.  This played very well at Toronto this week, and for this crowd, I think this will be one of the hottest tickets of the fest.  Another must-see for me.


I'm still not tired of zombie movies, although many of you may be.  And this one looks pretty damn fun - Alan Ford (Brick Top in SNATCH) especially looks like he's having a fun time.  Dig the walker/zombie gag at the end.  Yeah, we've seen enough zombie comedies to last a lifetime, but something tells me that this one's going to be quite the kick in the bollocks.  Zombies + automatic gunfire = my ass in a seat, most days.


I've read a bit about this one, but haven't watched the trailer yet, and it was just announced today that Cinedigm has secured the rights for a US release, so you may be seeing this soon.  Beth and Francis, awaiting the birth of their first child, decide to take a vacation.  They wind up on a remote island where only children remain, and all the adults are missing.  Beth and Francis discover something horrifying has happened and they must find a way to get off the island before the children... well.  Sounds like CHILDREN OF THE CORN, a little bit, but the response from Toronto was mostly positive, so I'll be checking this one out.


I'm seeing this for a lot of reasons (Ron Perlman!) but the biggest one is that this is directed by Charles de Lauzirika.  Fans of Ridley Scott may know this man - he's the guy who directed all those wonderful documentaries about BLADE RUNNER, the ALIEN Anthology, and BLACK HAWK DOWN, among others.  So the guy's learned filmmaking from the masters, and certainly from some of the greatest genre movies of all time.  Now that he's made a genre crime movie all his own?  I'm excited to see what he's capable of.  It won the Best First Feature Award at the Fantasia International Film Festival this year, and it looks damn impressive.  Plus, Ron Perlman!


Kim Jee-Woon (I SAW THE DEVIL) and Yim Pil-Sung (HANSEL AND GRETEL) want to show you the end of the world.  Knowing these two filmmakers, that means at some point we're going to be disturbed, horrified, and extremely grossed out. I hope so, anyway.  This one's going to be another hot ticket at Fantastic Fest, I'd imagine - Jee-Woon's films have always played well here, and this movie with three stories about humanity's end is sure to be, judging from this trailer, at the very least visually impressive.  Meteors, sentient robots, zombie viruses... what's not to love?


I'll admit, I wrote this movie off, thinking it was just THE RAID all over again (and to be fair, this movie had finished production before THE RAID was even released).  But then reports started coming in, from Comic-Con, from Toronto... this movie shouldn't be so easily dismissed.  It's as loyal an adaptation to the comic book as fans could possibly want, and it wipes clean away the Sylvester Stallone movie. (To also be fair, I kinda dig that movie but on a "so bad it's kinda good" level.)  I also hear that the 3D gore is tremendous, with blood and viscera spraying all over the damn place.  DREDD 3D plays opening night at Fantastic Fest, and it's going to be a serious toss-up between this and FRANKENWEENIE.  And speaking of...


I've had mixed opinions of Tim Burton's live-action work for the past couple of years - loved SWEENEY TODD, hated ALICE IN WONDERLAND, indifferent to DARK SHADOWS - but it cannot be denied that when Tim Burton does animated stuff, it's always paid off so far.  This one looks to be no expection, and I love how the animation has opened up the original short movie to something rather epic in proportion.  I'm reeeeally curious to see what happens to that kid's goldfish.  FRANKENWEENIE is a World Premiere at Fantastic Fest this year, and following it will be a wonderful party at the Highball where people will dress up as their favorite movie monster.  It's going to be a tough call for me on which movie to pick, DREDD or FRANKENWEENIE, but I'm leaning towards this one.  I adore classic monster movies, and if this one, like PARANORMAN earlier this month, introduces kids to all the joys of those wonderful movies, I think it's going to be worth it.

And that's it for tonight - I've only gotten to the 6th letter of the alphabet, and I haven't included a few movies already.  Pound for pound, this is going to be an amazing year at Fantastic Fest, and hopefully you can make your way down to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and take part in the crazy festivities.  I'll have more tomorrow!

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

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