Hold on to your proverbial (or literal) hats, film fans. The legendary Fantastic Fest has just dropped its first announcement of films and events, and is it ever incredible. From Andrea Arnold to Tim Burton to the latest in VR to the best new genre cinema of South Asia, the festival guarantees to be, well, fantastic.
Fans of the cult film Phantasm are in for a special treat. Not only will Don Coscarelli and the cast be there for a remastered edition of the film, but it will be be streamed to art house cinemas across the country (for those unable to attend. And, the festival will screen Phantasm: Ravager, with director David Hartman in attendance.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children looks like a return to form for Tim Burton, and he will be on hand for a special screening of the film. As well, Texas native Sasha Lane will be in attendance for the Texas premiere of Andrea Arnold's film of youth in revolt, American Honey.
This year's theme is all about cinema from South Asia, one of the most populous places on the Earth, filled to the brim with exciting and unusual genre cinema. The programme will feature the director's cut of Psycho Raman, the latest from Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur); the sweeping epic madness of Magadheera, and the gangster film, Khalnayak.
For Evrim Ersoy, Head of Programming, "It's a dream come true to bring the glorious excess and pageantry of Indian cinema to Fantastic Fest. We are celebrating not only Bollywood but also Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam cinema, highlighting the kaleidoscope of textures and content that is as wide and varied as the subcontinent itself."
A new feature of several fantastic film festivals is VR gaming, and Fantastic Fest is going all out with the world premiere of Mule, studio Dark Corner's follow-up to Catatonic. Described as an "emotional, fast-paced hell-ride that catapults the viewer through the final shocking moments of a man's life", it will also include the unveiling of a custom-designed installation.
And still more amazing films! Among the first wave of titles announced, I can personally highly recommend Dearest Sister, the creepy slow-burn thriller from Laotian director Mattie Do; Aloys, the strange and heart-wrenching love story of a different colour; and the spooky terror of Liam Gavin's A Dark Song.
And there's still more, such as Werner Herzog's ecological thriller Salt and Fire. James Bryan will be in attendance for the World Premiere of his never-seen VHS horror film Jungle Trap, which is finally ready after sitting unedited on a shelf for 25 years. And Everything Is Terrible, the team that finds the most outrageous footage and assembles it together in into brain-melting, jaw-dropping images, will be on hand with their latest treasurers.
Full list of the first wave of films below.
24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS
World Premiere, 83 min
Director - Kevin Burke
Through interviews with art personalities from the past four decades, 24 x 36 examines the birth, death and resurrection of illustrated movie poster art.
A DARK SONG
World Premiere, 99 min
Director - Liam Gavin
Sophia is a determined young woman who hires a weird occultist to perform a ritual which will risk not only their lives and souls, but also the very essence of their being.
Switzerland, France, 2016
US Premiere, 91 min
Director - Tobias Nölle
Aloys Adorn is a lonely private investigator who, after the death of his father, finds himself sucked into a mysterious “telephone walking” game with a mysterious woman who might be his only hope.
United States, 2016
Texas Premiere, 158 min
Director - Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold’s first US feature follows 18-year-old Star as she leaves her home in Oklahoma and goes in search of adventure, adulthood and America.
BELIEF: THE POSSESSION OF JANET MOSES
New Zealand, 2015
US Premiere, 89 min
Director - David Stubbs
The true story of the Wainuiomata exorcism provides the basis for David Stubbs’ striking debut feature, a documentary exploring the tragic death of Janet Moses in a traditional Maori exorcism ceremony.
US Premiere, 81 min
Director - Julien Leclercq
It’s bad men face versus worse men as thieves face off against dealers in this super slick French heist thriller from the director of Chrysalis and The Assault.
Laos, France, Estonia, 2016
World Premiere, 100 min
Director - Mattie Do
After moving to the city, a poor woman realizes her recently blinded cousin can not only commune with the dead, but they can provide a path to much-needed wealth.
North American Premiere, 87 min
Director - Abraham Forsythe
In the aftermath of massive race riots, two carloads of dim-witted alpha males set off to defend their respective territory with outrageous results in this sharp edged Australian satire.
THE DWARVES MUST BE CRAZY
World Premiere, 92 min
Director - Bhin Banloerit
A Thai village of little people is attacked by evil, butt-munching, fart-tracking Krause spirits - floating heads with attached intestines - in this slapstick horror-comedy.
North American Premiere, 103 min
Director - Sébastien Marnier
After burning out in Paris, Constance returns to her home town only to find herself in lethal competition with a younger girl for her old job.
United States, 2016
Texas Premiere, 53 min
Director - Dean Fleischer-Camp
A family’s home movies document a desperate crime, and the subsequent bid to escape the consequences in this impressionistic meta-fiction born from the manipulation of hundreds of hours of innocuous uploads to YouTube. An extraordinary feat of editing, a provocative parable of the pursuit of happiness and a disturbing demonstration of the mutability of the stories we share in the Internet age.
THE GREASY STRANGLER
United States, 2016
Special Screening, 93 min
Director - Jim Hosking
Ronnie fears his first love affair is turning his father into a bloodthirsty monster who’s covered in grease and has an 18-inch penis that looks like a dead chicken.
JUNGLE TRAP : Presented By Bleeding Skull
United States, 1990/2016
World Premiere, 80 min
Director - James Bryan
Exploitation demigod James Bryan’s massively entertaining, decapitation-fueled shot-on-video horror masterpiece about a jungle hotel haunted by kill-crazy ghosts in loin cloths, shot in 1990 and unreleased until THIS VERY MOMENT.
Repertory Screening, 190 min
Director - Subhash Ghai
Ballu is an unrepentant gangster who has dedicated his life to the celebration of villainy. He is a bad, bad man and not ashamed one bit. However, with the help of his mother and a sympathetic cop, Ballu will rise above his circumstances to gain satisfying redemption.
Repertory Screening, 157 min
Director - S.S. Rajamouli
Harsha, a dirt bike racer, lives for thrills. One day he crosses paths with Indu, a girl with whom he feels strangely connected. Through this bond, Harsha discovers his hidden identity: a reincarnated warrior king.
MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
United States, 2016
Special Screening, 123 min
Director - Tim Burton
From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.
Texas Premiere, 95 min
Directors - Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen
In the heart of Mumbai, behind the screen of one of the last Hindi Film cinemas, lives Sheik Rahman, the city’s last painter of film posters. This is his story.
PHANTASM: REMASTERED (1979)
United States, 1979
Special Screening, 88 min
Director - Don Coscarelli
One of the most influential and important horror films of all time, Don Coscarelli's Phantasm returns to Alamo Drafthouse's screens in a gorgeous 4k remaster.
United States, 2016
World Premiere, 87
Director - David Hartman
The fifth and final film in the classic Phantasm film series, Phantasm Ravager follows our intrepid everyman hero Reggie on his quest across dark dimensions as he struggles to confront and vanquish the sinister Tall Man.
The Netherlands, 2015
International Premiere, 85 min
Directors- Erwin van de Eshof & Martijn Smits
Festival favorite Huub Smit (New Kids Nitro; New Kids Turbo; Bros Before Hos) stars as a Dutch cop raised on far too many American action films in this outrageous action comedy.
US Premiere, 127 min
Director - Anurag Kashyap
Raghavan is a cop: brutal, violent, and drug-addicted. Ramanna is a criminal: psychotic, unpredictable, and vicious. It’s only a matter of time before they meet and when they do, Mumbai's slums will be colored deep crimson.
SALT AND FIRE
North American Premiere, 93 min
Director - Werner Herzog
Herzog’s most wildly unpredictable film, Salt and Fire is a meticulously slow burning, quasi-ecological thriller punctuated by moments of the lyrically poetic and the inexplicably, outrageously absurd.
S IS FOR STANLEY
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director - Alex Infascelli
Alex Infascelli’s documentary about Emilio D’Alessandro, Stanley Kubrick’s personal assistant for more than thirty years, which provides never-before-seen insight into the private auteur.
World Premiere, 90 min
Directors - STEVEN KOSTANSKI & JEREMY GILLESPIE
Trapped in a hospital with a handful of people, a small town sheriff finds himself caught up in the demented plot of a death-obsessed madman.
WE ARE THE FLESH
Texas Premiere, 80 min
Director - Emiliano Rocha Minter
Somewhere within a ruined city, a man makes an offer to a pair of siblings who wander into his abandoned building: food and shelter in exchange for building a strange room…
Russia, France, Germany, 2016
US Premiere, 87 min
Director - Ivan I. Tverdovsky
Natasha is a lonely, middle-aged woman who still lives with her mother and feels insecure about her tedious life… until she grows a tail.