Fantastic Fest is truly a unique event. There’s plenty of room for arthouse films and, on some occasions, the big awards players, but one theater that hosts There Will Be Blood might, the next night, see the premiere of something you’d catch on a weird cable station at 3 A.M. You don’t get that at Venice.
Such a programming mentality is reflected in the second set of titles: We have Leos Carax‘s acclaimed Holy Motors, Rian Johnson‘s Looper, horror anthology The ABCs of Death (as if it could premiere anywhere else), Sinister, and a whole batch of films I’d never heard of up until now. It’s wonderfully eclectic, and it only makes me wish I could be there come late September.
See the lineup below:
THE ABCs OF DEATH (2012)
US Premiere with multiple directors in person
Director – Various, 110 min
Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. Co-produced by Drafthouse Films, and finally ready to be unleashed-see what happens when you give more than two dozen of the most brilliant filmmakers from around the world free reign to indulge their creative impulses and black humor. From A to Z, it’s got something for every genre fan and is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
THE AMERICAN SCREAM (2012)
World Premiere with director Michael Paul Stephenson and stars Manny Souza and Victor Bariteauin person
Director – Michael Paul Stephenson, 81min
In a small Massachusetts community, three Halloween-obsessed households transform into neighbor-terrifying supernatural wonderlands in this surprisingly touching documentary from the director of BEST WORST MOVIE.
COLD BLOODED (2012)
Regional Premiere with director Jason LaPeyre in person
Director – Jason LaPeyre, 86min
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.
COLD STEEL (2011)
Director – David Wu, 107min
After 17 years spent directing television series in North America, director David Wu (a longtime collaborator of John Woo) returns to his native China to deliver the heart-pounding World War II epic COLD STEEL.
DOOMSDAY BOOK (2012)
Director – KIM Jee-woon and YIM Pil-sung, 113min
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.
Texas Premiere with director Ron Morales and producers Theo Brooks and Joshua Sobel in person
Director – Ron Morales, 84min
When a driver for a powerful congressman picks up his and his boss’s daughter from school, he’s annoyed to find himself being pulled over. But this alleged cop, far from an officer of the law, sets in motion a downward spiral of kidnapping, murder, deceit and deep depravity.
HENGE + THE BIG GUN (2012)
Director – Hajime OHATA, 106min
A double shot from Japanese up-and-comer Hajime Ohata. Blending elements of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinya Tsukamoto with just the right amount of kaiju monster battles, Ohata is quickly building a reputation as one of Japan’s brightest new talents.
HERE COMES THE DEVIL (2012)
US Premiere with director Adrián García Bogliano in person
Director – Adrián García Bogliano, 97min
Fantastic Fest veteran Adrián García Bogliano (COLD SWEAT, PENUMBRA) returns with his latest supernatural horror. When two children who went missing while exploring a cave are found, it quickly becomes apparent something evil has come home with them.
HOLY MOTORS (2012)
North American Premiere
Director – Leos Carax, 116min
While following a day in the life of Mr. Oscar as he attends several appointments, things quickly unravel and spiral out of control, abandoning all sense of logic or sanity. Fans of Carax’s ‘Mierde’ segment of Fantastic Fest 2008 hit TOKYO! will be right back at home.
Special Screening with director Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in person
Director – Rian Johnson, 118 min
In the futuristic action thriller LOOPER, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self for assassination. The film, starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt, is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Ram Bergman and James D. Stern.
MY AMITYVILLE HORROR (2012)
Director – Eric Walter, 88min
You’ve seen the movie, now hear the story of the Amityville haunting from someone who lived it. Regardless of the source, it’s clear there was darkness in that Long Island house.
NEW KIDS NITRO (2012)
US Premiere with cast Huub Smit, Wesley van Gaalen, Steffen Haars and Flip Van der Kuil
Director – Steffen Haars & Flip van der Kuil, 78min
In 2011, NEW KIDS TURBOrocked Fantastic Fest audiences with its potent brand of Dutch gross-out humor. Now, Fantastic Fest is proud to present the highly anticipated-and very offensive-sequel: NEW KIDS NITRO.
NO REST FOR THE WICKED (2012)
Director – Enrique Urbizu, 104min
A dirty cop who tries to cover up a crime stumbles upon a massive criminal conspiracy. NO REST FOR THE WICKED swept the Spanish Goya awards this year with an electrifying performance by lead actor José Coronado.
OUTRAGE BEYOND (2012)
Director – Takeshi Kitano, 112min
As Japanese police launch a full-scale crackdown on organized crime, it ignites a national yakuza struggle between the Sanno of the East and Hanabishi of the West. What started as internal strife in director Takeshi Kitano’s OUTRAGE, has now become a nationwide war in his latest film OUTRAGE BEYOND.
Special Screening with director Scott Derrickson, producer Jason Blum and writer C. Robert Cargill in person
Director – Scott Derrickson, 110 min
SINISTER is a frightening new thriller about a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror.
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING (2012)
World Premiere with Dolph Lundgren and Scott Adkins in person
Director – John Hyams, 93 min
Surviving Unisols Luc Deveraux and Andrew Scott battle anarchy to build a new order ruled by Unisols without government oversight. To accomplish this, they weed out the weak and constantly test their strongest warriors in brutal, life-and-death combat.
VANISHING WAVES (2012)
US PremiereDirector – Kristina Buozyte, 124minA 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.
WARPED FOREST, THE (2011)
Director – Shunichiro Miki, 81min
Shunichiro Miki delivers a shot of utter madness. Penis guns! Nipple monsters! A giant girl running a very small shop! This quasi-sequel to THE FUNKY FOREST more than lives up to the weird factor of its predecessor.
Is this an impressive assortment for Fantastic Fest? How does it compare to prior years?