It's that time of year again, isn't it?
There is no greater party on Earth for fans of genre films than Austin's annual Fantastic Fest, and ten years in, they just keep making it better.
“In 2014, we are taking no prisoners. This festival is going to set new boundaries of decadence, destruction and debauchery.” – Tim League
As much as I love events like Cannes, Sundance, or Toronto, I can't imagine the directors of those festivals ever issuing that statement. The scary thing is that Tim League isn't kidding. Fantastic Fest is special because it's much more than just movies being screened. Every day is packed with events that elevate the entire festival, and with this year taking place at the new Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar, complete with the brand-new Highball, it feels like it's going to be a blow-out the likes of which even the most avid Fantastic Fest fan has never seen before.
With Fantastic Fest, I've learned that they never show all their cards at once. Today is just the first wave of programming that they're going to announce, and there's plenty more to come. For now, though, it's already sounding like a giant bag of madness. The event begins September 18th and runs through the 25th, and on opening night, they'll be showing a double-feature, starting with the US premiere of Kevin Smith's new film “Tusk” and the world premiere of “The ABCs of Death 2,” a second volume of the anthology series that Drafthouse Films produced. This time out, the directors include Alejandro Brugues, E.L. Katz, Larry Fessenden, and Julian Barrett, among others. When you've got the talent behind “Cheap Thrills,” “Juan Of The Dead,” and “The Mighty Boosh” all in one place, that's reason to be excited.
Following that screening, they're throwing an event called 'A Bodacious Celebration: 26 Ways to Party,” which is set to include “an epic food fight curated by Thu Tran of Food Party fame.” Yes. Yes, please.
Leonard Maltin will be in town, and Kumail Nanjiani and Jonah Ray will be bringing “The Meltdown” to Austin, and these special live events are always a big part of what sets Fantastic Fest apart. You have to admire the honesty when Ray and Nanjiani explained why they're doing the festival. “We want to watch films, drink, and make people laugh.”
Fantastic Fest also marks an important milestone for the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain with the grand reopening of its flagship destination at South Lamar and the all-new Highball. Under construction for the past two years, the new theaters boast three new screens (9 total), and completely rebuilt Highball bar, and 7 custom-designed karaoke rooms that are sure to melt the mind.
Here's the full run-down of what they've already announced:
ABCs OF DEATH 2
World Premiere, 125 min
Directors – Larry Fessenden, Marvin Kren, Todd Rohal, Jim Hosking, Julien Maury and, Alexandre Bustillo, Julian Gilbey, Soichi Umezawa, Lancelot Imasuen, Jerome Sable, Robert Boocheck, Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, Bill Plympton, Rodney Ascher, Erik Matti, Juan Moreno, Steven Kostanski, Alejandro Brugués, E.L. Katz, Julian Barratt, Hajime Ohata, Vincenzo Natali, Chris Nash, Jen and Sylvia Soska, Dennison Ramalho, Robert Morgan, Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper
In 2013 the craziest anthology ever created was released to an unsuspecting public. It immediately divided audiences. Some claimed it was a much-needed adrenaline shot to the heart of genre film, while others claimed it was reprehensible and the death knell of cinema as we know it.
In 2014 it's happening again. This time with an all-new line-up of international directors.
For more information about ABCs OF DEATH 2, please visit http://www.magnetreleasing.com/theabcsofdeath2/,”like” the film on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theabcsofdeath or follow on twitter @ABCsofDeath.
US Premiere, 95 min
Director – Fabrice Du Welz
A lonely woman and a psychotic gigolo find love through murder in the latest film from the director of CALVAIRE and VINYAN.
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Jennifer Kent
In this impressive horror debut, Amelia thought her biggest problems were her son's violent behavioral problems and her own depression. That was before something came knocking at the door…
BRO's BEFORE HO's
US Premiere, 88 min
Directors – Steffen Haars & Flip van der Kuil
A unashamedly offensive bromance from the killer comedy team behind NEW KIDS TURBO and NEW KIDS NITRO.
CLOSER TO GOD
United States, 2014
Texas Premiere, 81 min
Director – Billy Senese
Dr. Victor Reed finds himself in the middle of an ethical, legal and religious storm after conducting the first successful human cloning in this fiercely intelligent indie thriller.
DANGER 5 – SERIES 2
World Premiere, 75 min
Director – Dario Russo
When Adolf Hitler surfaces posing as a 1980s high school student, there can be only one response! The crack team of Danger 5 are pressed back into service to eliminate the Nazi threat once and for all!
HIGH FIVE (RELOCOS Y REPASADOS)
URUGUAY – BRASIL, 2013
World Premiere, 98 min
Director – Manuel Facal
It's a stoner comedy from Uruguay. What else do you need to know?
World Premiere, 89 min
Director – Romain Basset
A stunning exploration of a young woman's nightmares.
THE INCIDENT (EL INCIDENTE)
North American Premiere, 100 min
Director – Isaac Ezban
A cosmic event disrupts life on Earth in this sci-fi mind-bender.
JACKY IN THE KINGDOM OF WOMEN (JACKY AU ROYAUME DES FEMMES)
Texas Premiere, 87 min
Director – Riad Sattouf
Women hold the power while men cower in this scathing dystopian satire starring Charlotte Gainsbourg.
KUNG FU ELLIOT
Fantastic Fest Premiere, 88 min
Director- Jaret Belliveau & Matthew Bauckman
A hilarious and disturbing documentary about a man's quest to become an international action star.
MALTIN'S GAME TOURNAMENT
Created by Fantastic Fest alum and film producer, and self-described Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide convert, Ant Timpson circa the early 90s, MALTIN'S is a movie lover's version of game night favorite Balderdash. Someone starts as “Maltin” and chooses a title from Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, a film that no one knows. The other players then all write down a fake synopsis based on the title. Players attempt to trick each other into believing that their synopsis is the real one while trying to decipher the true Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide synopsis.
LOCAL GOD (DIOS LOCAL)
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Gustavo Hernandez
While filming music videos in an abandoned gold mine, a rock group is tormented by an evil spirit in this new film from the director of LA CASA MUDA.
THE MAN IN THE ORANGE JACKET
US Premiere, 71 min
Director – Aik Karapetian
A laid-off harbor worker wages a private war on the rich in this surrealistic Latvian horror film.
THE MELTDOWN WITH JONAH & KUMAIL
The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail hails all the way from the back of a comic book store in Los Angeles, where not only has it been crowned one of the best standup shows in LA by LA Weekly, LA Times, and Hollywood Reporter, but it's now a TV show! Comedy Central filmed eight documentary-style episodes of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail for a brand new type of standup show that airs Wednesday nights starting July 2014. Come see why this is the only existing live standup show to get its own TV show as hosts Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani charm your pants off and welcome some very special guests!
US Premiere, 74 min
Director – Yiannis Veslemes
A vampire dances his way through '80s era Athens in this fantastic film from the production team behind DOGTOOTH.
STILL LIFE (NATURALEZA MUERTA)
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Gabriel Grieco
Meat is murder in this brutal Argentinian slasher with an animal rights edge.
North American Premiere, 94 min
Director – Nikolas List
Young David awakens battered and disoriented on the edge of town, knowing only one thing: He wants to get away. But no matter what he tries, he's always led back to the same dark, disturbing place. Welcome to Tombville.
North American Premiere, 95 min
Director – Tarik Saleh
Tommy is coming home, or at least that's what his wife Estelle desperately needs people to believe when she returns after a year in exile. And if he doesn't get what's his, there's going to be hell to pay.
United States, 2013
US Premiere, 102 min
Director – Kevin Smith
From the singular mind of writer/director and podcaster Kevin Smith, and conceived from one of Smith's own Smodcast's, TUSK is a story unlike anything that has ever been committed to screen before. A tale that is equal parts hilarious and horrifying, TUSK will stay with you long after the credits roll. Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, and Haley Joel Osment
US Premiere, 98 min
Directors – Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Nacho Vigalondo, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
Fantastic Fest alumni Nacho Vigalondo & Marcel Sarmiento join several other genre filmmaking greats in this 3rd installment of the twisted found footage horror anthology franchise.
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Kiah Roache-Turner
The undead rise again in this raucous feature debut from Australia's Roache-Turner Brothers, who deliver one of the most balls-out, gonzo and just plain fun entries into the zombie canon in years.
If you've never been to Fantastic Fest, this is the year to go. If you've been before, then you know that this anniversary is going to be something special. And if you're still not convinced that Fantastic Fest rules, after the years of coverage I've done about it and after seeing their programming every single time, then we might simply have different priorities when it comes to fun.
Oh… and Geoff Darrow did their poster this year, so it's awesome.
September can't get here fast enough.
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