Examining the first wave of Fantastic Fest movies

Last week, Fantastic Fest announced their first wave of movies.  I’ve always enjoyed the way the roll out information on the year’s festival slate a little at a time.  It helps build anticipation. 

Last year, I had at least two dozen movies I wanted to see.  Unfortunately, I only saw four because of a family emergency that literally started on the first day of the festival and ended on the last day. 

This year, however, looks to be different.  So let’s take a look at the movies I already want to see.  Everything from the frightening to the jaw-droppingly insane waits below.  Welcome to a glimpse at the wonderful weirdness that is Fantastic Fest.  

Bronson
(dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, 2009, UK)
The criminal career of Britain’s most violent and notorious prisoner is the subject of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson.   Originally sentenced to 7 years for a post office robbery, he reinvented himself into Charles Bronson, superstar, whose crimes behind bars have led to 34 years of incarceration (so far). 

The Children
(dir. Tom Shankland, 2008, UK)
Three families meet up at a country estate to celebrate the winter holidays together. Everything starts out idyllic but as the day wanes, the rambunctious playfulness of the kids takes on a sinister edge, and soon the freshly fallen snow is soaked in blood. 

Clive Barker’s Dread
(dir. Anthony Diblasi, 2009, UK)
Graduate students are making a thesis film called Dread, videotaping fellow students talking about their innermost fears. The experiment turns into a nightmare when one of the team decides it will be therapeutic for the subjects to truly face those fears. Participants will be asked to reveal their innermost terrors on camera. 

Cropsey
(dir. Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman, 2009, USA)
Cropsey is a documentary about a real-life murder case in Staten Island, New York. A disturbed transient named Andre Rand was convicted of murdering two kids, but did he actually commit the crimes? Cropsey digs deep into the case, and in the process, exposes the weird, secret underbelly of Staten Island. 

Fireball
(dir. Thanakorn Pongsuwan, 2009, Thailand)
Freshly released from prison, Tai must go underground and infiltrate the shady world of  Fireball to take revenge on the gang that put his brother into a coma. And what is Fireball? No holds barred, to-the-death, full contact combat basketball. Bring your lead pipe, ’cause you know the other guy is going to. 

Hausu
(dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977, Japan)
A bevy of young girls are swept up in a massively unearthly spazzride by the maniacal forces of the unknown in the craziest goddamn movie Japan has ever unleashed. Filled with airborne autonomous limbs, sinister house pets and other hell-born impossibilities, this lawless exercise in insanity plays like a psychotic’s brain melting across your eyeballs. 

House of the Devil
(dir. Ti West, 2009, USA)
House of the Devil is an occult shocker that is not only set in the 1980s but invokes horror films from that era. In Ti West’s latest film, a simple babysitting job turns into a long night of terror for a college student. 

Kamogawa Horumo – Battle League in Kyoto
(Dir. Katsuhide Motoki, 2009, Japan)
A group of freshmen at Kyoto University join the Azure Dragon, a perfectly ordinary social group, nothing unusual about it.  But when the club meetings runs late into the evening, the beer starts flowing and the trousers start to come off, something distinctly out-of-the-ordinary happens. 

Morphine
(dir. Aleksey Balabanov, 2008, Russia)
A vastly inexperienced rural doctor develops an unquenchable thirst for the morphine in the hospital medicine supply room.  Morphine is another dark tale from Aleksey Balabanov, director of last year’s Fantastic Fest critical sensation Cargo 200, 

Private Eye
(Dae-min Park, 2009, South Korea)
A medical student in 1910 Korea discovers a corpse in the woods and secretly takes it for dissection practice. When he discovers that the body is the son of the city’s most powerful gangster he enlists the help of a shady private detective to find the killer before the murder is pinned on him. 

Rampage
(dir. Uwe Boll, 2009, Canada)
Fed up with his dead-end life, Bill constructs a full-body kevlar armor suit and rampages through the streets of his hometown killing everyone in sight, particularly the barista that failed to make him a proper macchiato. 

The Revenant
(dir. Kerry Prior, 2009, USA)
An Iraq war casualty makes the best of returning from the dead as a blood-sucking vampire by reveling in the power of infallibility and feasting on the dregs of humanity. 

Salvage
(dir. Lawrence Gough, 2009, UK)
On Christmas eve in a sleepy Liverpudlian suburb, terror strikes without warning.  Paramilitary forces start gunning down the residents, but it’s unclear whether they are hunting the citizens or protecting them, and if protecting… from what? 

Trick ‘r Treat
(dir. Michael Dougherty, 2008, Canada/USA)
Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband. 

Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl
(dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2009, Japan)
Fantastic Fest 2008 winner Yoshi Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) is back with the craziest, bloodiest spin on the high school love triangle ever, bursting with mad scientists, dismemberment, black-face comedy, hallucinations and lots and lots of arterial blood spray.

One thought on “Examining the first wave of Fantastic Fest movies

  1. I have seen Bronson and The Children. Bronson is an alright movie. Tom Hardy does an excellent job. The Children I would compare to the new movie Orphan. I’m looking forward to Dread. I enjoy Clive Barker interpeted movies. Fantastic Fest sounds like a great time. I can’t wait to find out what you think of the films.

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