Previewing Fantastic Fest 2016
This is the time of year when your loyal Austin-based blogger (that’s me!) is happiest to live in the capital of Texas. The weather finally starts to drop into the lower 90s (admittedly, we had a lovely and very un-Texan August full of rain and cold fronts; maybe climate change is good news for us after all), and a series of delightful and unique film festivals runs almost back to back to back. The first one I’ll be covering is Fantastic Fest, a smorgasbord of horror, exploitation, and shocking schlock. I haven’t been to this festival before, and I’m eager to see whether it lives up to the implications of its name.
While I can’t promise to see everything that’s screening during the 8-day festival, I’ll sacrifice sleep to squeeze in as much as possible. As I did for the most recent South by Southwest Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, and the Austin Asian-American Film Festival (my personal favorite), I will rank Fantastic Fest’s offerings to make a Flickchart-style list. I’ll blog every few days, so follow Flickchart on Facebook and Twitter, and check back regularly during the festival and throughout the rest of this busy festival season.
Here’s a little preview of Fantastic Fest 2016.
Thursday, September 22
Aalavandhan — This Indian film is a battle of the brothers; one of them is a commando and the other a serial killer. And you thought your family was odd.
Arrival — Denis Villeneuve directs this movie featuring Amy Adams and a spaceship. That’s all I need or want to know; I’m hoping to see it.
Zoology — The furries at Fantastic Fest will surely queue up for this movie about a woman who grows a tail.
Bugs — Ever eaten a bug? Like, for nutrition? I have! The roasted crickets I tried in Japan were decent enough, but this film about nutritional bugs promises to “search the globe for the best flavors the insect world has to offer,” so I’m looking forward to expanding my palette.
Hentai Kamen 2: The Abnormal Crisis — The sequel to 2013’s Hentai Kamen, a Japanese film based on a popular and perverse superhero manga. I love all things Japan, but I’m not usually one for superheroes, so if I can I think I’ll opt for a different Japanese/Korean movie screening in the same timeslot. See below.
The Handmaiden — Director Chan-Wook Park helms this movie about a Korean girl who becomes the servent of a wealthy Japanese family in the 1930s. The problem (other than the imperialist power dynamics at play in the arrangement) is that the Japanese family has a dark secret. Think Downton Abbey, but with a seedier and more dangerous underbelly.
The High Frontier — The plot description of this story set in a “remote cabin along the Poland-Ukraine border” reminds me of one of my favorite films from last year’s Austin Film Festival, The Exile, which has yet to be released.
Safe Neighborhood — Possibly a Home Alone on peppermint-flavored steroids, this film is about a babysitter trying to protect her young charge from home invaders near Christmastime.
Boyka: Undisputed — Undisputed is a franchise about a fighter who does just as much rumbling outside the ring as in. This is the fourth entry in the sweaty, bloody, musclebound series.
Popoz — This Dutch action-comedy serves up a medley of martial arts movie tropes, taking them to ridiculous extremes.
The Greasy Strangler — I missed this provocative title when it played at South by Southwest, and after hearing the buzz from its other festival stops I hope to catch it this time around.
The Void — A small town, a sheriff, and a “death-obsessed madman” — could be derivative of a Coen film or a dozen other classics, or could be a new classic in its own right!
Believe it or not, that’s just the first day’s schedule! For the full schedule visit http://fantasticfest.com/schedule, and check back here soon to find out which of these Opening Day films were the most fantastic.