I'm five weeks away from touching down in wonderful and weird Austin Texas for my first ever Fantastic Fest. For the past couple years I've pored over reviews of films months away from seeing the light of day, all the while grinding my teeth in with envy over those lucky sonsofbitches who were the first to lay eyes on You're Next or A Lonely Place To Die or Snowtown.
With this year's festival drawing closer, the lineup has begun to trickle out. Today brought the announcement of the second wave of programming. While you can read the full list of announced films here, I wanted to give you a brief glimpse at the films I would gladly elbow grandmothers out of the way in order to secure my place in line. Seriously, if it means that I have to hoist my rotund frame up and over the backs of skinny hipsters and walk on their skulls in order to no miss the following films I just hope my fellow festival goers have adequate insurance.
The ABC's Of Death Twenty Six directors with twenty six macabre, gruesome and terrifying short films, each of which revolve around a specific letter of the alphabet. The anthology film seems to be making a comeback within the realm of horror, and this projects marks the most ambitious undertaking to date. Some of the talent includes the fine folks behind A Horrible Way To Die, House of the Devil and Hobo With A Shotgun. There's no way this film isn't going to be four tons of awesome (famous last words, I know). Just take a look at the poster on the left hand side. I want to make that poster a mix tabs with my favorite early 90's R&B jams then take it to a movie and try to get to second base with it, it's just that damn good!
The American Scream The first of two documentaries on my “must-see” list, this one tackles the story of a sleepy town in Massachusetts where three families transform their homes into haunted delights every Halloween. The premise of this film warms my heart as I've noticed a disturbing trend these past few years. It seems like the holiday has fallen off a bit with fewer kids partaking in the joys of dressing up and shrieking through the streets in an unfailing pursuit of cocoa and sugar infused goodness. In the five years I've lived in my condo, I can count the number of trick or treaters my wife and I have doled out candy on one hand even if you lopped both of them off at the wrists. The fact that the film comes from the folks behind Best Worst Movie bodes well for a pice that should be charming and leave me with a warm and fuzzy inside.
Here Comes The Devil Director Adrian Garcia Bogliano helmed one of my favorite films of the year so far with Penumbra (don't believe me? Read the review here). Now he's back with a supernatural tale about a pair of children that go exploring in a cave but fail to come out. When they're finally found, it becomes obvious that they brought something evil (or as I like to say EEEEEE-VILLLL) out with them.
The Doomsday Book A multiple choice look at different ways the world might go kaput from the man responsible for my favorite film of last year (Kim Ji-Woon's I Saw The Devil)? Please Hammer, don't hurt me. If Doomsday follows Ji-Woon's trajectory, then this sci-fi apocalyptic thriller promises to be exquisitely beautiful to look at, chock full off odd tangents and misdirection and will provide multiple moments of shocking violence that will forever be imprinted on my brain. Oh man this one promises to be a goddamn doozy!
My Amityville Horror Dede covered this for us out at Fantasia and the premise piqued my interest. What if your whole life was define by 28 days of terror you experienced as a small boy? What if that short span of time has been vehemently debated and dissected by psychics, psychologists, ghost hunters, scientists and journalists for over thirty five years? What if you've been labelled a charlatan and a fraud or have been ogled as a sideshow curiosity all because of one month in your life? This is the burden that Daniel Lutz has carried around with him for thirty five years. While the events behind “America's Most Famous Haunting” may be nothing more than a fanciful tale dreamed up by George Lutz when he realized he was in way too deep over his head financially, the mental baggage Daniel has carried around all these years is all too real.
The funny/awesome/scary thing is these are just a small smattering of the films I'm getting giddy over. There's another five on this list alone that I'd be almost as excited to catch. Even then, only HALF of the festival's lineup has been announced! For a genre movie geek, Fantastic Fest promises to be nirvana, heaven and a lifetime subscription to the bacon of the month club all wrapped up in one.