If you’re a movie genre geek living in the United States, there is no greater film festival than Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX.
This year’s event takes place September 22-29, 2011 and, since its inception, Fantastic Fest has helped to highlight the directors of genre favorites such as Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen), Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), Christopher Smith (Creep, Triangle), Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die, Pop Skull), Lucky McKee (The Woods, May), as well as overseas talents such as Shion Sono (Love Expose, Suicide Club, Cold Fish), Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes), Jee-woon Kim (The Good, The Bad, The Weird, I Saw The Devil) and many, many more. Several movies not mentioned above have premiered at Fantastic Fest and gone on to become fan favorites. Troll Hunter, Inside, The Host and Zombieland have all had either world or US premieres at the festival in the past and are now popular in their own rights. For filmmakers, it’s a great place to make your mark if the crowd digs your movie.
On top of showing the best in new horror, science fiction, thrillers, action and kung fu films, Fantastic Fest has treated attendees to retrospectives on the Japanese Nikkatsu films, Australian Ozploitation films, the works of Roger Corman, Scandinavian Sinema and other non-mainstream genres. Paired with a live Family Feud-styled game show and a debate event where two film experts go head-to-head both at the podium and then in the boxing ring, the festival is nothing short of insanity and pure fun.
This year marks my 5th year in attendance and, like all the other regulars, I’ve been excited to attend ever since the end of the previous year. These last few days leading up to the start of the festival are painfully slow and tedious as your brain starts to switch to festival mode. You spend your hours sitting and carefully planning what movies you must see and what parties you’re going to attend and the excitement of seeing all your movie pals from around the world in one spot. It’s the Christmas of film geekdom and you’re the little kid who can’t sleep because you want to open presents.
I’ll be covering Fantastic Fest for Film Threat as it unfolds with daily recaps of the days festivities and the movies I’ve seen. This year’s lineup is looking stronger than ever with some of the most anticipated films being the new Adam Wingard film You’re Next, a new movie from Jaume Balagueró of the [REC] films, the next full length film from Nacho Vigalondo entitled Extraterrestrial, festival favorite Beyond the Black Rainbow, a new film from the stars and director of The Chaser and several other secret screenings, new premieres, festival favorites, a Lucio Fulci retrospective, an appearance from Rick Baker for An American Werewolf in London and an accompanying poster from Oly Moss and much more. Stay tuned to find out what insanity goes down and learn about all the cool new films people will likely be talking about over the next few months.