There’s no finer time of the year and no film festival that remotely compares with the 8 days of unbridled genre lunacy and (often alcohol fueled) fun that is Fantastic Fest. It seems an almost impossible feat but every year somehow manages to be better than the rest. Consisting of predominately World and North American premieres, Fantastic Fest is ground zero for the absolute tops in genre cinema pulling from all over the globe to bring together the best cinematic experiences around.
This year’s festival, it’s 13th blood and booze soaked installment taking place at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse in beautiful Austin, TX, is going to kick off with an absolute bang with the US Premiere of director Martin McDonagh’s (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) latest darkly comedic tale, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The festival will also see the return of writer/director S. Craig Zahler, who won and broke all our hearts with the utterly tremendous and devastating Bone Tomahawk, with his latest excursion into art fueled ultraviolence with Brawl In Cell Block 99. Another familiar and beloved face is that of Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, Dogtooth) with his already much heralded latest endeavor, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.
Those three films alone are worth the trek but you better believe there’s SO much more. Not one but TWO Stephen King adaptations, Gerald’s Game and 1922, both ahead of their respective Netflix debuts. The Japanese master himself Miike Takashi will be dropping his 100th (!) film, Blade Of The Immortal. Other notables include Swedish subversive standout The Square, the flesh-eating zombie musical from Scotland Anna And The Apocalypse and comic adaptation and sure to be decisive My Friend Dahmer.
Every Fantastic Fest has an overall theme tying it together and this year will be The Middle East featuring films from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, celebrating the finest cinema the region has to offer. One of these entries that I’m most excited about is ANYAB, an adaptation of the much beloved Rocky Horror Picture Show straight from Egypt. Accompanying this will be AL ASLEYEEN, a thrilling and suspenseful tale that looks well on it’s way to many best of lists this year.
The following is a complete list of this first wave of announcements:
World Premiere, 101 mins
Director – Zak Hilditch
1922 is based on Stephen King’s 131-page story telling of a man’s confession of his wife’s murder. The tale is told from from the perspective of Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator who admits to killing his wife, Arlette, in Nebraska. But after he buries her body, he finds himself terrorized by rats and, as his life begins to unravel, he becomes convinced his wife is haunting him.
Regional Premiere, 91 min
Director – Alexandre O. Philippe
This masterful documentary focuses on a single aspect of Hitchcock’s PSYCHO to demonstrate the master’s technical ability in storytelling. With expert interviews and rollicking analysis, 78/52 sets a new bar in how to examine film overall.
ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE
World Premiere, 107 min
Director – John McPhail
Anna’s life is dominated by the typical concerns of her youthful peers until the Christmas season in her small town brings not Santa, but an outbreak of the undead in this genre-mashing holiday horror musical. Yep. Musical.
Repertory, 100 min
Director – Mohammed Shebl
ANYAB (FANGS) is an oddity worth rediscovering! An Egyptian take on THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, this eye-popping musical of madness manages to cram horror, science fiction and even social commentary together while charming with its outrageous costumes and action.
BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL
US Premiere, 141 min
Director – Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike’s 100th journey is an adaptation of the BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL manga. Manji, a samurai who cannot die, crosses paths with Rin Asano, a young girl whose parents were killed. Manji swears to help Rin Asano avenge her parents’ deaths.
BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99
US Premiere, 132 min
Director – S. Craig Zahler
S. Craig Zahler (BONE TOMAHAWK) returns with his sophomore feature, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99. An exhilarating exercise in analog violence, CELL BLOCK follows the brutal exploits of a former boxer who finds himself incarcerated after a drug deal goes wrong. Trapped in a maximum security facility, he must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves.
US Premiere, 91 min
Director – Stefan Ruzowitzsky
A young Turkish woman living in Vienna feels increasingly lonely after she witnesses a murder and finds herself next on the killer’s agenda in this smart and gritty thriller from the director of ANATOMY and the Oscar-winning THE COUNTERFEITERS.
US Premiere, 97 min
Director – Jesper Rofelt
KLOWN duo Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam reunite for a true-life tale of epic failure. Witness the non-arrival of the Danish electric car!
Texas Premiere, 111 min
Directors – Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
When brothers Justin and Aaron return to the cult that they escaped from ten years ago, they encounter a web of secrets and mysteries that threatens to tear them apart.
GENERATION B (GENERATIE B)
ep. 1-4 = North American Premiere; ep. 5-6 = World Premiere, 210 min
Director – Pieter Van Hees
The generation gap has never been wider than it is in Pieter Van Hees’ deliriously absurd satire, pitting old generation money against Millennial apathy – and the occasional naked anarchist – following Belgium’s economic collapse.
US Premiere, 103 mins
Director – Mike Flanagan
Flanagan unites with master of the macabre Stephen King for his cinematic interpretation of King’s beloved GERALD’S GAME. Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, GERALD’S GAME delivers pitch-perfect performances in a faithful adaptation where the horrors of the mind are much worse than what’s in front of you.
HAGAZUSSA – A HEATHEN’S CURSE
World Premiere, 102 min
Director – Lukas Feigelfeld
Set in the 15th Century in the Austrian Alps, Lukas Feigelfeld’s HAGAZUSSA takes us back to a dark period in which even the remotest parts of Europe suffered from the paranoia and superstition of the time.
US Premiere, 92 min
Director – Jimmy Henderson
Cambodia’s traditional martial art of bokator is unleashed in all its bone crunching fury in this action-packed tale of police trapped in the midst of a raging prison riot.
World Premiere, 87 min
Director – Bradley Buecker
The emotionally powerful story of Billy, an angry youth who spends his evenings stealing cars with best friend Mikey while attempting to cultivate a stable relationship with his girlfriend Jules.
THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Ireland / United Kingdom, 2017
US Premiere, 120 min
Director – Yorgos Lanthimos
The life of a brilliant surgeon is thrown into disarray when his friendship with a bizarre teenager threatens the lives of his entire family. Faced with a frightening choice, the man will be forced to assess all that he’s ever done.
US Premiere, 104 min
Director – Steve Mitchell
Featuring interviews from some of the biggest names in genre cinema including Joe Dante, Robert Forster and Fred Williamson, this documentary tells the story of one of the best and hardest working exploitation filmmakers.
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Yayo Herrero
Yayo Herrero’s directorial debut is a couple’s nightmare journey into the heart of darkness. A superlative horror parable, this shocking film is an indictment of modern history, war and the difficulties of reconciliation. It is a story for our times.
MY FRIEND DAHMER
Texas Premiere, 107 min
Director – Marc Meyers
This is the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, a high school loner whose life would shape up to be something far more frightening than anyone could have imagined.
International Premiere, 125 mins
Director – Marwan Hamed
Samir works for a bank, provides for his ever-demanding family and dreams of being in an Egyptian talent show. When he’s unexpectedly fired, Samir finds himself recruited to be part of a secret society and finds a darker side to life in Egypt.
RON GOOSSENS: LOW-BUDGET STUNTMAN
The Netherlands, 2017
North American Premiere, 78 min
Directors – Steffen Haars & Flip van der Kuil
The latest from the comedic team behind the NEW KIDS films and BROs BEFORE HOs. Ron Goossens is totally shitfaced. Only by working as a movie stuntman and bedding the hottest actress in the Netherlands can Ron save his marriage.
US Premiere, 150 min
Director – Ruben Östlund
An art museum director’s life becomes a comedy of errors when trying to put together his latest exhibit in FORCE MAJEURE director Ruben Ostlund’s latest, which won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes.
SUPER DARK TIMES
Regional Premiere, 102 min
Director – Kevin Phillips
A split-second act of violence forever changes the lives of two ’90s kids. Now they must cope with both the fallout of that moment and the pressures of high school in this clever and bloody coming-of-age thriller.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
US PREMIERE, 110 min
Director – Martin McDonagh
A grieving mother takes drastic measures in an attempt to catch her daughter’s killer. Challenging the police to solve the case, she posts a series of billboards that threaten the fabric of rural, Missouri.
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Jakob Lass
Failing to crack the ranks as a would-be cop, Maggie begrudgingly settles for a security guard job until she encounters Tiger, a fierce young woman whose rebellious antics leave Maggie questioning which side of the law she truly belongs on.
TOP KNOT DETECTIVE
North American Premiere, 87 min
Directors – Aaron McCann & Dominic Pearce
Aliens! Ninjas! Robots! Enormous egos! Get ready to enter the world of TOP KNOT DETECTIVE! Possibly the greatest cult TV series you’ve never heard of, TOP KNOT DETECTIVE and its creator Takashi Tawagoto come to life in this gonzo documentary.
What an amazing amount of films and this is just the first announcements! So much more to come. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, what are you waiting for?! Full Festival badges are already sold out but 2nd half badges are still available here
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