Fantastic Fest begins its 13th edition starting Thursday, Sept. 21 and unwinds for eight days to Thursday, Sept. 28. A genre festival that encompasses many genres, the entire event unwinds under one roof at the flagship Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (1120 S. Lamar Blvd.) in Austin.
You can expect a handful of studio flicks like Paramount’s Downsizing or The Square, this year’s Palme D’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival (distributed by Magnolia Films). Also expect indie distributors like A24 with The Killing of A Sacred Deer or Annapurna with Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.
But it’s the films foreign and domestic that are better served by nouns like comedy, adultery, domestic violence, stunts, or verbs like face melt, terrifying or torture that form the better part of the programming. Some of these films will trickle down to the masses as one-week lock-ins at select theaters or more likely pop up on the constantly expanding streaming market.
One thing is certain. Whether it’s a diversion to The Highball, a full bar and ballroom attached to the theater for libations or special events, or a festival sanctioned excursion like this year’s closing night party where revelers are whisked away by bus to a secret location to experience “Itchy-O, in a 32-piece electronic-percussion performance ensemble that will spread sonic confusion through the hearts and bones of everyone within a hundred-mile radius,” the festival will definitely be one not to miss.
Here’s a baker’s dozen movies to put on your radar.
- 1922 – One of two Stephen King-based movies in the festival, which follows a confessed murderer and the aftermath of his crime.
- 78/52 – A film that meticulously documents the shower scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho.
- Anna and the Apocalypse – A Christmas-themed zombie musical.
- Anyab – An Egyptian vampire film inspired by The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Bad Genius – Film from Thailand that starts with four high school students who excel at cheating and elevates into a social commentary on the business of education.
- Before We Vanish – thought provoking sci-fi from Japanese auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
- Brawl in Cell Block 99 – Sophomore follow-up of Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk, set inside the big house.
- Brimstone & Glory – Docu on weeklong fireworks festival in Tultepec, Mexico.
- Gerald’s Game – Based on Stephen King novel that focuses on a kinky sex game that only begins when the husband has a heart attack leaving his wife handcuffed to a bed in a remote rural cabin. Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino star in this Netflix premiere.
- Jailbreak – Cambodian actioner with lots of “bokator” action scenes.
- Jupiter’s Moon – Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s (White God) Eastern Euro thriller that twists full sci-fi with a social conscience.
- Love and Saucers – Docu about a man who claims to have lost his virginity to aliens. Now 72-years-old, he expresses his life through bizarre paintings.
- Salyut-7 – Russian film based on the true story behind the first docking by spacecraft with a moving orbital station.