Fantastic Fest Memories

In two days, I’ll be heading to the Alamo Drafthouse to spend a week at Fantastic Fest, the annual festival of scary, gross, creepy, hilarious, bizarre, and otherwise awesome movies.  Hard to believe, but this will be my fifth year attending. 

Fantastic Fest has brought me some amazing memories over the past few years.  I’ve eaten stirfry cooked via flamethrower, watched a Viking chorus/karaoke line, watched The Road Warrier outside, turned around to tell someone to stop jostling me only to realize said jostler was Bill Pullman, and listened to Thomas Haden Church explain how learning to roll joints is the only thing he picked up in college.

The best part of Fantastic Fest, however, is the movies.  Some of the flicks I’ve seen at the festival have gone on to become favorites of mine.  Even some I didn’t catch during the festival, but caught up with later, have become important to me.  I just wanted to take a second to run down some of my favorites and thank the festival for introducing them to me.  I owe you one….

Donkey Punch
Not the first movie I ever saw at Fantastic Fest, but the first one that thrilled me.  This drug-drenched story of vacation flirting gone horribly wrong has since become a go-to movie for several friends of mine in that “It’s late, and I want to watch something fucked up” kind of way.

Let the Right One In
After all the buzz that surrounded this one at the festival, I went to see it as soon as it returned to the Alamo Drafthouse.  Wow.  The best vampire movie of the last decade, and one of my favorite movies of all time.

I Think We’re Alone Now
In 2008, Fantastic Fest allowed some of their films to be viewable online during the festival.  This quirky, disturbing documentary about two different people stalking former bubblegum pop star Tiffany was one of the movies I watched that way.

Trick R Treat
Possibly the best horror anthology movie ever made.  This love letter to Halloween gave me the most fun I’ve ever had at the movies.

Clive Barker’s Dread
One of Clive Barker’s best short stories comes to life in a truly grisly way.  The beef scene still horrifies me.

I suppose this one skates dangerously close to being torture porn.  Maybe it’s the long shots that never seem to end, or maybe it’s that opening scene that makes almost no sense, but this movie just drilled down to my core and infected me.

A man tries to win back the love of his life on a day zombies rise and attack Berlin. This is a zombie movie that made me cry. 

We Are What We Are
This amazing flick from Mexico plays like a family drama: the patriarch dies, and the family is left to pick up the pieces.  One hitch…they’re cannibals.

A romantic/sci-fi comedy filmed in a remarkably short period on a remarkably small budget packs a lot of laughs.  An office worker realizes his new girlfriend is alien…and that an interstellar war may be right around the corner.

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