It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year…Fantastic Fest 2017 is right around in the corner, and if the first wave of film programming is any indication, this year’s lineup is going to be pretty stellar. The initial roster boasts the usual assortment of intriguing genre fare (like Takashi Miike’s 100th film, if you can believe it) alongside festival favorites and potential awards contenders, including new films from Yorgos Lanthimos, Ruben Ostlund, Martin McDonagh and more — so much more!
A large part of what makes Fantastic Fest such a truly wild and special experience (aside from the karaoke and the queso and the satanic marching band) is the programming, which leans more heavily into genre fare than most festivals. This year’s lineup is no exception: There’s The Endless, from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the subversive filmmaking duo behind Spring; Takashi Miike’s Blade of the Immortal, based on a samurai manga; Mike Flanagan’s (Oculus) adaptation of Stephen King’s seemingly unadaptable Gerald’s Game; a film about a teenaged Jeffrey Dahmer, a Turkish mystery thriller, a German period film about superstition in Austria…that’s not even half of it.
If you’ve never had the privilege of experiencing the magic of the Alamo Drafthouse’s annual film festival, or if you’ve been unable to return in recent years, take heart: For the first time ever, select titles from this year’s Fantastic Fest will screen at Drafthouse locations in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Denver the weekend of September 29.
Full first wave programming announcement below:
1922 is based on Stephen King’s 131-page story telling of a man's confession of his wife’s murder. The tale is told from from the perspective of Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator who admits to killing his wife, Arlette, in Nebraska. But after he buries her body, he finds himself terrorized by rats and, as his life begins to unravel, he becomes convinced his wife is haunting him.
Regional Premiere, 91 min
Director - Alexandre O. Philippe
This masterful documentary focuses on a single aspect of Hitchcock’s PSYCHO to demonstrate the master’s technical ability in storytelling. With expert interviews and rollicking analysis, 78/52 sets a new bar in how to examine film overall.
Anna’s life is dominated by the typical concerns of her youthful peers until the Christmas season in her small town brings not Santa, but an outbreak of the undead in this genre-mashing holiday horror musical. Yep. Musical.
Director - Mohammed Shebl
ANYAB (FANGS) is an oddity worth rediscovering! An Egyptian take on THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, this eye-popping musical of madness manages to cram horror, science fiction and even social commentary together while charming with its outrageous costumes and action.
Takashi Miike’s 100th journey is an adaptation of the BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL manga. Manji, a samurai who cannot die, crosses paths with Rin Asano, a young girl whose parents were killed. Manji swears to help Rin Asano avenge her parents’ deaths.
Director - S. Craig Zahler
S. Craig Zahler (BONE TOMAHAWK) returns with his sophomore feature, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99. An exhilarating exercise in analog violence, CELL BLOCK follows the brutal exploits of a former boxer who finds himself incarcerated after a drug deal goes wrong. Trapped in a maximum security facility, he must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves.
Director - Stefan Ruzowitzsky
A young Turkish woman living in Vienna feels increasingly lonely after she witnesses a murder and finds herself next on the killer's agenda in this smart and gritty thriller from the director of ANATOMY and the Oscar-winning THE COUNTERFEITERS.
KLOWN duo Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam reunite for a true-life tale of epic failure. Witness the non-arrival of the Danish electric car!
Directors - Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
When brothers Justin and Aaron return to the cult that they escaped from ten years ago, they encounter a web of secrets and mysteries that threatens to tear them apart.
GENERATION B (GENERATIE B)
ep. 1-4 = North American Premiere; ep. 5-6 = World Premiere, 210 min
Director - Pieter Van Hees
The generation gap has never been wider than it is in Pieter Van Hees’ deliriously absurd satire, pitting old generation money against Millennial apathy — and the occasional naked anarchist — following Belgium’s economic collapse.
Flanagan unites with master of the macabre Stephen King for his cinematic interpretation of King’s beloved GERALD’S GAME. Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, GERALD’S GAME delivers pitch-perfect performances in a faithful adaptation where the horrors of the mind are much worse than what’s in front of you.
HAGAZUSSA - A HEATHEN’S CURSE
Director - Lukas Feigelfeld
Set in the 15th Century in the Austrian Alps, Lukas Feigelfeld’s HAGAZUSSA takes us back to a dark period in which even the remotest parts of Europe suffered from the paranoia and superstition of the time.
Director - Jimmy Henderson
Cambodia's traditional martial art of bokator is unleashed in all its bone crunching fury in this action-packed tale of police trapped in the midst of a raging prison riot.
Director - Bradley Buecker
The emotionally powerful story of Billy, an angry youth who spends his evenings stealing cars with best friend Mikey while attempting to cultivate a stable relationship with his girlfriend Jules.
THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Ireland / United Kingdom, 2017
Director - Yorgos Lanthimos
The life of a brilliant surgeon is thrown into disarray when his friendship with a bizarre teenager threatens the lives of his entire family. Faced with a frightening choice, the man will be forced to assess all that he’s ever done.
Director - Steve Mitchell
Featuring interviews from some of the biggest names in genre cinema including Joe Dante, Robert Forster and Fred Williamson, this documentary tells the story of one of the best and hardest working exploitation filmmakers.
Yayo Herrero’s directorial debut is a couple’s nightmare journey into the heart of darkness. A superlative horror parable, this shocking film is an indictment of modern history, war and the difficulties of reconciliation. It is a story for our times.
This is the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, a high school loner whose life would shape up to be something far more frightening than anyone could have imagined.
International Premiere, 125 mins
Samir works for a bank, provides for his ever-demanding family and dreams of being in an Egyptian talent show. When he's unexpectedly fired, Samir finds himself recruited to be part of a secret society and finds a darker side to life in Egypt.
RON GOOSSENS: LOW-BUDGET STUNTMAN
North American Premiere, 78 min
Directors - Steffen Haars & Flip van der Kuil
The latest from the comedic team behind the NEW KIDS films and BROs BEFORE HOs. Ron Goossens is totally shitfaced. Only by working as a movie stuntman and bedding the hottest actress in the Netherlands can Ron save his marriage.
An art museum director's life becomes a comedy of errors when trying to put together his latest exhibit in FORCE MAJEURE director Ruben Ostlund's latest, which won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes.
Regional Premiere, 102 min
Director - Kevin Phillips
A split-second act of violence forever changes the lives of two ’90s kids. Now they must cope with both the fallout of that moment and the pressures of high school in this clever and bloody coming-of-age thriller.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Director - Martin McDonagh
A grieving mother takes drastic measures in an attempt to catch her daughter’s killer. Challenging the police to solve the case, she posts a series of billboards that threaten the fabric of rural, Missouri.
Failing to crack the ranks as a would-be cop, Maggie begrudgingly settles for a security guard job until she encounters Tiger, a fierce young woman whose rebellious antics leave Maggie questioning which side of the law she truly belongs on.
North American Premiere, 87 min
Directors - Aaron McCann & Dominic Pearce
Aliens! Ninjas! Robots! Enormous egos! Get ready to enter the world of TOP KNOT DETECTIVE! Possibly the greatest cult TV series you've never heard of, TOP KNOT DETECTIVE and its creator Takashi Tawagoto come to life in this gonzo documentary.