Year 15 for the Austin based film fest runs from Sept 19th-26th
For eight days in a movie theater in Austin, Texas, chaos reigns! The largest genre film festival in North America is back for its 15th year with a hell of a lineup! As ever, the Cinapse team will be in attendance, tweeting out immediate thoughts, pushing out reviews and interviews, and consuming copious amounts of queso, tacos, Topo Chico, and perhaps the odd adult beverage or two.
Stick with us from September 19th for all the coverage we can muster, but for now, checkout the attending team’s most anticipated movies from the 2019 edition of Fantastic Fest!
Dan Tabor @DantheFan
Color Out of Space: The last four years there’s been a Nic Cage film screening at Fantastic Fest, and this year’s selection, Color Out of Space, has an amazing FF pedigree. Firstly, it’s Richard Stanley’s first feature film in twenty-three years, since his firing from The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1996. The daring documentary of said incident, The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau, actually screened at Fantastic Fest in 2014. Color is an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation produced by SpectreVision, and needless to say with films like Dust Devil and Hardware, I am very excited that not only is he back making narrative films, but that he doesn’t feel like he has lost a step with his choice of projects.
Basically everything AGFA is screening at the fest this year! I don’t know about most folks, but I love the repertoire screenings at Fantastic Fest almost as much as catching the newer stuff. It’s the audience experience you get in a room full of like-minded individuals who are genuinely connecting with the films that you can’t get at home. AGFA, or the American Genre Film Archive, is celebrating fifteen years of Fantastic Fest with a screening every single day at the fest, partnering with the likes of Vinegar Syndrome, Bleeding Skull, Arrow, Severin, and Something Weird. Highlights include the World Premiere of restorations of Bloody Birthday, The McPherson Tape, Reflections Of Evil, Limbo, and the 4K Restoration of the “gore cut” of the once-seen-never-forgotten Tammy and the T-Rex.
You Don’t Nomi: I’ve lost more than a few nights getting sucked into the odd visual essay on YouTube, and You Don’t Nomi, the deep dive on Verhoeven’s Showgirls, looks like it could truly be something special. I still remember renting the film on VHS, and the experience of watching it was like when you pass a car wreck — you know it’s a terrible loss and something that ended lives/careers, but you’re transfixed by it and can’t look away.
The Mortuary Collection: I am always a sucker for a good anthology film, and the kickstarted feature The Mortuary Collection looks like it could be right up my alley. The feature length debut by Ryan Spindell (The Babysitter Murders) promises four tales about the mortician’s favorite deaths, moving chronologically from the ‘50s to the ‘80s. Given the director is helming all four of the stories, this might be a more even anthology than most.
The Golden Glove: Initially panned on its Berlin premier. The film based on the true story from the Hamburg red light district in the 1970s promises to be an uncomfortable watch as it presents a bleak portrait of loner-turned-murderer Fritz Honka. The description on the FF website brings to mind the films of Abel Ferrara, so count me in.
The Platform: The Platform sounds like a sci-fi version of The Raid, so more like Dredd 3D but with some Snowpiercer thrown in for good measure — got that? The Platform is a vertically tiered prison where the upper levels have access to exquisite food and the lower levels fight for survival. The thing that makes this a bit more interesting is the level assignments are random, and I have a feeling someone will be fighting their way from the bottom to top.
David Delgado @daviddelgadoh
Color Out of Space is the only appropriate answer here: the return of director Richard Stanley, infamously known more for what he hasn’t done than what he has (see: Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau). He enlists Sir Nicolas Cage on an H.P. Lovecraft journey into a town struck by a meteorite. It couldn’t possibly be a better fit for Fantastic Fest, and sounds like a fever-dream created by polling attendees of the festival for what they want in a movie. This type of film always plays so well with this particular audience — I can’t wait. I’m also excited for all the big films: Jojo Rabbit, Parasite, and especially Knives Out (Johnson is a personal favorite of mine). All that said, usually many of my festival favorites end up being smaller movies that I wasn’t anticipating, so I’m going into this with an open mind and avoiding anything other than plot synopsis.
Ed Travis @Ed_Travis
If I’m being totally honest, my “most anticipated” films of the festival usually have more to do with name recognition or genre than anything else. To be specific, my most anticipated films are generally “basic,” as the kids would say, and include Knives Out, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit, and Color Out Of Space.
But those are boring picks only in that hey, this is Fantastic Fest, and we’re ALL really excited about most of those titles.
For me, I tend to focus on every last action film I can consume, and so action cinema generally become my most anticipated titles. This year’s programming is quite action-light (although I haven’t done as much research as I should) from what I can tell. That said, a couple of titles that sound action-y and have my attention would be the kung fu film documentary Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks, and bizarre-sounding Indian film Jallikattu about a loose buffalo that’s described by Fantastic Fest as a “land locked Jaws” as well as a “contemporary Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Other less mainstream curiosities I’m hankering for include this “gore cut” of Tammy And The T-Rex that has been making the festival rounds, as well as the latest Benson/Moorehead sci-fi opus Synchronic. There’s also The Death Of Dick Long, which appears to be some kind of redneck Coen Brothers film, and In The Shadow Of The Moon, which is directed by Jim Mickle and therefore I will seek out.
Jon Partridge @Texas_Jon
I’ll just echo the sentiments of my peers and say Color Out of Space, Jojo Rabbit, and Knives Out too. Veering away from those, I’m excited to see the return of Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, who have previously captivated FF audiences with The Endless and Spring, and look to do the same again with Synchronic, a film revolving around two paramedics and their encounters with a designer drug that may be fueling incidents of time travel. We’re also blessed to have new works from two of the top talents from the East with Parasite from Bong Joon-ho and First Love from Takashi Miike, a filmmaker who never fails to light up a theater.
One thing I have striven to do at recent festivals is seek out more documentaries, and with Memory: The Origins of Alien, and Phil Tippett — Mad Dreams and Monsters, we have two works that look to shed light upon a film and a man, respectively, whose influence on cinema and special effects cannot be overstated.
Of course, some of the most anticipated have to stem from the quirkier fare that feels so integral to the FF experience. At number one in that regard is Butt Boy, Tyler Cornack’s pulpy crime thriller, where the protagonist is addicted to shoving things up his rear. A thematic partner also emerges in Swallow from Carlo Mirabella-Davis, where a young newlywed woman finds out she is pregnant, and her cravings manifest in the urge to swallow random household objects. But let’s just be clear here, Fantastic Fest 15 has assembled such a stellar group of films to screen this year and I’m more preoccupied by what I might not get to see rather than what my top picks are.
Julian Singleton @gambit1138
The Fantastic Fest programming team’s put together another impressive roster this year, balancing the festival favorites I come for with the new genre discoveries I stay for. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of its ending, the parade of dread throughout Goodnight Mommy won me over enough to anticipate Veronica Franz and Severin Fiala’s equally shudder-inducing The Lodge. I’m also eager to see how the disorienting claustrophobia of Vincenzo Natali’s Cube translates to In the Tall Grass, adapted from the novella by Stephen King and son Joe Hill. Also representing horror lit, who wouldn’t be excited to see Nic Cage and Richard Stanley tackle the eldritch abominations of HP Lovecraft in The Color Out of Space? Topping the to-see list, though, is Knives Out. I’ve been a diehard Rian Johnson fan ever since Brick, and to see the writer-director’s career climb to Star Wars heights has been a joy to witness. This murder-mystery looks like Johnson’s used his current pop culture clout for good, amassing a hell of a cast and crew for a story that’s a return to his small-scale roots, a delightfully unpredictable detective yarn chock full of crackling dialogue. And I haven’t even gotten to Son of the White Mare, Deerskin, and The Death of Dick Long!
Of what I have seen, I cannot, cannot wait to see Parasite with the Fantastic Fest crowd. With all of the insane twists and turns Bong Joon-ho’s latest packs into its hefty 2-hour-plus runtime, Parasite’s made to be seen with the largest audience possible.
How to Attend:
FAN Badges, 2ND HALF Badges, and MIDNIGHT Badges for Fantastic Fest 2019 are available for purchase here.
Don’t have a badge but still want to get in on some of that Fantastic fun? You can! Individual tickets will be on sale for any screenings that don’t completely sell out to badgeholders. Every day — Thursday, September 19 through Thursday, September 26 — we’ll be posing a list below of the screenings that aren’t immediately filled up by badgeholders. These are the screenings that we anticipate might have seats available for individual ticket buyers.
If any of these titles ring your bell, you can head down to South Lamar and stand in the individual ticket buyer line for that screening. Our fabulous volunteers can point you in the right direction. They recommend lining up around an hour before screening time.
Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. In years past, the festival has been home to the world premieres of BONE TOMAHAWK, JOHN WICK, FRANKENWEENIE, MACHETE KILLS, RED DAWN, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, APOCALYPTO, ZOMBIELAND, RED, SPLIT, HALLOWEEN, BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, MID 90s, and SUSPIRIA while the guest roster has included such talent as Tim Burton, Nicolas Winding-Refn, Lilly and Lana Wachowski, Robert Rodriguez, Rian Johnson, Bill Murray, Keanu Reeves, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Edward Norton, Ryan Reynolds, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Karl Urban, Josh Hartnett, The RZA, Dolph Lundgren, Paul Rudd, Bill Pullman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, George Romero, Darren Aronofsky, Mike Judge, Karyn Kusama, M. Night Shyamalan, James McAvoy, Vince Vaughn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jonah Hill, Barbara Crampton and Jessica Harper. Fantastic Fest also features world, national, and regional premieres of new, up-and-coming genre films. Fantastic Fest has seen the acquisition of many titles, including BULLHEAD, KILL LIST, MONSTERS, KLOWN, THE FP, PENUMBRA, HERE COMES THE DEVIL, NO REST FOR THE WICKED, VANISHING WAVES, COMBAT GIRLS, I DECLARE WAR, THE PERFECTION, and TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID. Fantastic Fest is held each year at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. Alamo Drafthouse has been named the best theater in the country by Entertainment Weekly, Wired, and TIME. Variety included Fantastic Fest in a list of “10 Film Festivals We Love” and was also named one of the “25 coolest film festivals” by Moviemaker Magazine.