Right now in Austin, Texas, film lovers from all over are converging to revel in their love of film. But not just any kind of films–weird films. Gory films. Films that make people squirm in their seats one minute and laugh out loud the next. I’m talking about Fantastic Fest 2019, the largest genre film festival in the United States.
Fantastic Fest 2019, as in past years, is devoted to horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and “just plain fantastic movies from all around the world.” Further still, the festival “is dedicated to championing challenging and thought-provoking cinema, celebrating new voices and new stories from around the world and supporting new filmmakers.” Over the years, the festival has put its money where its mouth is, having screened the world premieres of John Wick, There Will Be Blood, Zombieland, Split, and Apostle.
This year, Fantastic Fest 2019 has several notable films, including the world premieres of the latest Stephen King adaptation In The Tall Grass and horror anthology The Mortuary Collection. I’m particularly excited for Nic Cage’s Color Out of Space, The Lodge (from the team that scarred me forever with Goodnight Mommy), and documentary Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street. Also, if I’m being honest, this Wrinkles the Clown documentary looks wild.
Honestly, there are over 30 horror movies (some of which are old-school and rare horror films) at Fantastic Fest 2019, and I don’t really know where to start. At any rate, I can’t wait to see what the critics and crowds say about these films, just like I can’t wait to see what films emerge as major hits!
“When Hank’s longtime girlfriend Abby leaves him, he spirals into a cycle of drinking and depression. But it’s the monster that shows up every night that’s really driving him crazy.”
“Somewhere within an unnamed city in Turkey, the residents of an apartment block await the installation of their new antenna as ordered by the central government. No one can prepare them for the evil that will be unleashed.”
“Two doctors make a pact on behalf of science: Whichever one dies first will return to share the secrets of the afterlife. This pact will not end well.”
Bliss IN 35MM
“While trying to complete her latest painting, a starving artist facing a lack of inspiration spirals out of control in a blaze of blood-soaked, drug-fueled glory.”
“The classic Killer Kids slasher, newly restored by Arrow Films and presented by AGFA.”
“Reverend Max and his best friend Drew have a hit web show where they make a pretty good living faking exorcisms for hundreds of thousands of fans until the evening a real demon takes over and terrorizes their crew.”
“The ‘Soderbergh of the Sticks,’ Mickey Reece, returns to Fantastic Fest with his 27th feature. Two beautiful sisters vie for the affections of a man who may or may not be a vampire.”
“Unimaginable terrors befall the Gardner family after a meteorite lands on their front lawn in Richard Stanley’s entrancing, horrific adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story.”
“When 30-year-old Norval receives a letter from his estranged dad begging him to visit, he is set on a weird path of discovery, unusual encounters… and a lot of violence.”
“The creation of a family production team in upstate New York, this unsettling supernatural tale explores the aftermath of a roadside accident, bringing together a mother, her daughter, and a stranger in increasingly surreal circumstances.”
In this experimental adaptation of an epic Elfriede Jelinek novel, a group of Austrian tourists is killed in a traffic accident before reanimating as zombies and terrorizing a local pub.
“Based on true events that transpired in the grimy slums of 1970s Hamburg, loner-turned-murderer Fritz Honka stalks his local drinking spot, The Golden Glove, in search of his next victim.“
“Societal expectations create a pressure cooker in HOMEWRECKER, a darkly hilarious satire that plays like the best bonkers thriller Lifetime wishes they made.“
“Adapted from the eponymous novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, IN THE TALL GRASS follows siblings Cal and Becky who find themselves trapped within a vast field of tall grass when they venture in to answer the cries of a young boy.“
“When a disconnected couple takes a camping trip in an attempt to mend their marriage after tragedy, they find themselves tormented by a peculiar band of misfits.“
“Five years after GOODNIGHT MOMMY stunned Fantastic Fest audiences, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are back with another disturbing psychological twister about a brother and sister spending Christmas with their shadowy soon-to-be stepmother.“
“The world’s first found footage horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!“
“Following up his deconstruction of PSYCHO’s shower scene in 78/52, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe is back with his analysis of ALIEN, its origins, and the impact of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi shocker.”
“A young girl enters a secret room in a mortuary and learns the backstory of the mortician’s favorite deaths in this twisted anthology by Fantastic Fest alum Ryan Spindell.“
“Selah lives with her mothers and sisters in a mysterious cult led by Shepherd. When she begins to question his teachings, it threatens to destroy the very nature of their existence.“
“Somewhere in the future exists THE PLATFORM, a vertically tiered prison where the upper levels have access to exquisite food and the lower levels fight for survival. Level assignments are random, but how long can a prisoner’s luck hold? One man is about to find out.“
A comic book writer visits the town where a serial killer previously wreaked havoc, only to encounter a new series of murders that strangely mirror the deaths he created in his comics.
“While caring for an attractive woman dying of cancer, devoutly religious nurse Maud develops an all-encompassing case of holy possession mixed with real-life obsession.“
“When A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE was released in 1985, it wasn’t long before people noticed something was just a little different. The sequel’s premise of a teenage boy named Jesse (Mark Patton) becoming possessed by Freddy was a departure from the slasher tropes embraced by the original.
However, it was the film’s homoerotic shower scene, foray into a gay leather bar, and Patton’s positioning as a scream queen that raised more than a few eyebrows, and became the main point of discussion when talking about the film for years to come. Amid backlash and finger-pointing about his sexuality’s impact on the film, and the fear of homosexuals and AIDS permeating the culture in the mid-’80s, Mark Patton left Hollywood. Now, more than three decades later, he wants to set the record straight.
SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is a special kind of eye-opening documentary, inviting fans not only to delight in the batshit uniqueness of NOES2, but also asking them to reckon with what it means for the film to exist in the first place. Through interviews with the cast and crew of NOES2, as well as film and queer culture luminaries like Peaches Christ, SCREAM, QUEEN! directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen are unafraid to revel in the love and fandom that has grown for the film, while also confronting the heartbreaking and challenging realities that are part of its legacy. At the center of it all is Mark Patton, a wonderfully gracious and honest man with an important story who is sure to win the hearts of all.
NOES2 is a surprising example of how attitudes and conversations around the ideas of queer representation and portrayal in film have changed over the past thirty years. Derided by most series fans after its release, eventually embraced by curious audiences, it can now be celebrated for what it really is. SCREAM, QUEEN! serves as an essential companion piece to NOES2, allowing Mark to tell his amazing story and providing crucial context that seals its place in the pantheon of great horror films, queer or otherwise.“
“The crew aboard a West of Ireland fishing trawler marooned at sea fall victim to a gradually spreading parasite in their water supply.”
“After a storm at sea leaves her stranded on a deserted island, Jenn gathers all her strength to find ways to survive. But when night falls, Jenn discovers that the island isn’t as deserted as she might have thought… or hoped.”
“Two paramedics find their world ripped apart when they start encountering deaths linked to the otherworldly effects of a new designer drug called Synchronic.”
“When Val, Beverly, and Alexis meet a group of fun-loving dudes in the parking lot of a heavy metal concert, they all decide to have an after-party, but it isn’t long before the group finds themselves fighting for their lives.”
“Pennywise isn’t real. But Wrinkles is. This documentary explores the story of the infamous freaky clown from Naples, Florida who makes a living being hired by parents to terrorize their naughty children.”
What horror movies are you looking forward to seeing from Fantastic Fest 2019? Let me know in the comments!f