Fantastic Fest 2012 kicks off this Thursday in Austin, TX. Dubbed the largest genre film festival in the US it specializes in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. If you ever wanted to see really crazy films, this is the place as the features and shorts are bat shit nuts….just have a look at the insanely humorous categorical breakdown of the films. The full schedule has been released and Festival goers will be eager to see the Opening night and closing night films (respectively, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie 3D and Red Dawn) but the real draw of the Fest are all the oddball films in between.
Anyway before I head down to Austin I thought I’d give you all a sneak peek of what’s showing at the Fest. Trying to narrow down the numerous enticing films in the line up I’ve complied a list of the 15 that really caught my eye. Taking the advice of Ryan at The Matinee I’m avoiding the mainstream movies (except for Looper and Sinister of course) and focusing on the really freaky, funny and/or foreign films that I might never get the chance to see again.
Admittedly this list may be lofty but it’s better to aim high right?? And so it begins, Go,See,Talk’s road map of must-see movies at the 2012 Fantastic Fest…
1. THE ABC’s of DEATH –
Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. That’s right, every letter of the alphabet becomes a canvas to show how many ways you can bite it in this world. Just looking at the trailer and all the category icons this film has ticked, there probably won’t be a more bizarre film shown at the Fest. From Nazis and serial killers to insects, earthquakes, monsters and robots prepare to cover your eyes and lose your lunch. From A to Z, it’s guaranteed to have something for every genre fan and is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
2. ANTIVIRAL –
Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg (yes, that Cronenberg) proves that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in his mind-bending directorial debut. Full of wild and weird, this looks like he’s studied his father’s work for years and I’m super excited to see how he fares carrying the torch.
3. COLD STEEL –
After seeing Korean director Kang Je-kyu‘s incredible film My Way at the 2012 Dallas International Film Festival I have been increasingly interested in WWII films showing life and experiences from another country’s perspective. Cold Steel is the heart-pounding World War II epic directed by David Wu (a longtime collaborator of John Woo) and looks equally as good. Can’t wait!
4. DANGER 5 –
A huge fan of spoof and send ups, Danger 5 has all the makings of greatness. Not even trying to take itself serious, this Thunderbirds/Venture Brothers and OSS 117 hybrid might be the midnight movie to end all midnight movies. If the film is even half as funny as the trailer, this’ll still be a solid win for me.
5. DOOMSDAY BOOK –
Innovative Korean genre directors Kim Ji-Woon (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, A BITTERSWEET LIFE, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD, I SAW THE DEVIL) and Yim Pil-Sung (HANSEL & GRETEL) turn their imaginations to apocalyptic sci-fi with this three-part omnibus film which outlines three possible ways in which the world goes kaput. Probably the one I’m the most looking forward to.
6. THE ENTITY –
Another throwback film The Entity stars Barbara Hershey (the overbearing mother in Aronofsky’s amazing Black Swan) as a mother whose struggle to get by is aggravated by the presence of an extremely violent, foul-smelling and distinctly masculine ghost. The entity threatens her body as much as her sanity; it repeatedly and brutally rapes her, in one instance in front of her children, and another while she is fast asleep. controversial for its time but probably fits right at home at Fantastic Fest.
7. HERE COMES THE DEVIL –
When two children who went missing while exploring a cave are found, it quickly becomes apparent something evil has come home with them.
8. ROOM 237 –
While cinephiles admire The Shinning for its iconic performances, dread-inducing atmospherics, and technical precision, others appreciate the film on an entirely different level. These fans see the film as a subversive commentary on such disparate topics as: the mass murder of the American Indians, Nazism, numerology, the rise of Western civilization, Freudian analysis, and the Apollo 11 moon landing “hoax.” Guess it just goes to show what theories you might come up with if you’ve watched a movie you love over 100 times.
9. UNIT 7 –
Alberto Rodriguez’s gritty realistic thriller about a crew of narcotics officers in Seville, Spain who go rogue during a citywide crackdown in the years preceding Expo ’92.
10. COLD BLOODED –
Things quickly spiral out of control when a policewoman must protect her recently comatose suspect from a violent crime boss who has cornered them in an isolated hospital wing.
11. VANISHING WAVES –
A scientist with a neurological research team volunteers to experiment with a new technology which will allow him to access the thoughts of a coma victim.
12. YOUNG GUN IN THE TIME –
The director of INVASION OF ALIEN BIKINI returns with a quirky, low budget time travel romp filled with sex shops, robot hands and Hawaiian shirts.
Like the Grindhouse revival films Planet Terror and Hobo With A Shot Gun (which I didn’t really like but admired for its conviction to being completely over-the-top), Machine Gun Woman has it all…well not really but have a look at the icons on the film’s page; it has the ones that count.
14. TAI CHI O –
Like the words FREE and BEER, this is very similarly an easy sell for me. They had me at “Steampunk” and “Kung-Fu” but the trailer is so over the top it demands attention…no words, just watch!
15. WAKE IN FRIGHT –
Finally, the coup de grace is the film that was featured briefly in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood. First Blood director Ted Kotcheff‘s Wake In Fright is an uncompromisingly brutal look at what happens when men are left alone together in the country with guns and a lot of beer Coincidentally, the trailer for the 40th anniversary re-release of this hard to find cult classic just hit the web. Have a look and I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s as crazy as it’s been made out to be.
Worth A Look/Contingency Plan: Now one of the drawbacks to any film festival is that you just can’t make it to everything you want to see. Inevitably something will come up to prevent you from knock all the titles off your wish list. So be that as it may these two might suffice in a pinch. Morbidly curious about them both but they should be lots of fun and more than acceptable substitutes if I just can make any of the above films.
What genre film fest would be complete without cocaine-powered motorcycle ninjas? Well they’re here in full force in what’s being described as “the best unseen movie in history” and based on the gonzo art one-sheet I wouldn’t doubt it. The phrase so bad it’s good doesn’t even begin to describe it based on this 3 minute clip, but I have a feeling there’s some cheesy gold just waiting in this long lost 1987 flick…now I finally know what movie this clip comes from. Again sooo bad!
When Li Xianje’s beautiful girlfriend dies in a tragic accident, he attempts to harness his Temporal Dilation Disorder in order to travel back in time and save her! One of a handful of time-travel based films playing the Fest, but the only one starring Jaycee Chan, son of legendary martial arts actor Jackie Chan, this should be enough to make all the 80’s sci-fi junkies super happy.
So that’s what I’m in store for down in little ole’ Austin. Keep an eye out for my reviews, and updates on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute thoughts and ramblings. Also, while he’s doing work for The Film Stage, Bill Graham and I will be making our way through the madness so look for news from the both of us.
Do any of these look like something you’d want to check out? Or is there any titles, above or scheduled, that you want me to keep an eye out for??