With one week to spare before the 14th Fantastic Fest kicks off in Austin, Tx, the hard-working programming staff just dropped the third — and final — wave of films slated to play. Have a look see:
(you can find our coverage of Waves One and Two here and here)
So, let’s talk about this line-up.
First off, there’s the fact that the insanely good-looking thriller BAD TIMES AT EL ROYALE,from CABIN IN THE WOODS director Drew Goddard, is closing the festival. With a stacked cast including Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Chris Hemsworth and Nick Offerman, and the playful directorial stylings of Goddard, this feels like a perfect fit for the wildness of something like Fantastic Fest, and I have full confidence that it will lead into one hell of a closing night party.
Speaking off parties….in honor of opening night film, HALLOWEEN, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar’s bar, the Highball, will be outfitted in its finest haunted house gear to throw an epic Halloween themed opening night costume party, complete with costume contests and candy buffets.
Back to the films themselves, there’s a plethora of awesomeness set to join the already stacked lineup previously announced. Three years after bringing her last film, THE INVITATION, to the party, Karyn Kusama is back with her latest, the Nicole Kidman-starring crime thriller DESTROYER. In other, auteur news, Terry Gilliam’s cursed and long-long-loooooong incoming passion project THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE will finally see the light of an American movie screen, while IT FOLLOWS helmer David Robert Mitchell will bring his Southern Cali noir UNDER THE SILVER LAKE and Jonah Hill will arrive with his directorial debut, MID90S.
Plus, none other than Tenacious D will be there to premiere their six-part, hand drawn (By Jack Black himself) animated series TENACIOUS D IN POST-APOCALYPTO followed by a Tenacious D concert!!!
And though this is the Final Wave, there’s always a few tricks up the Fantastic Fest staff’s sleeves, so who knows what the next seven days will bring as we countdown to the start of Fantastic Fest.
FANTASTIC FEST’S FINAL WAVE OF PROGRAMMING INCLUDES BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
AS CLOSING NIGHT FILM,
THE US PREMIERES OF
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE,
AND A HALLOWEEN-THEMED OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Plus Walking Dead star Steven Yeun in attendance for BURNING,
the World Premiere of the new Nicolas Cage & Franka Potente movie BETWEEN WORLDS, Karyn Kusama’s DESTROYER,
Terry Gilliam’s THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, and more!
September 20 – 27, 2018 – Austin, TX
Austin, TX – Thursday, September 13, 2018 –
Fantastic Fest promises an explosive grand finale with the Texas Premiere of Drew Goddard’s outrageously entertaining mystery-thriller BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE. Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell. Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson and Cynthia Erivo lead an all-star cast in BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE.
Karyn Kusama will be in attendance alongside screenwriter/producer Phil Hay to present their gritty noir thriller DESTROYER starring Nicole Kidman in an astonishing role as detective Erin Bell, as well as the U.S. Premiere of Jonah Hill’s directorial debut MID90S with the writer/director Jonah Hill in attendance.
Also debuting at the festival is the North American Premiere of Terry Gilliam’s long awaited THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, with Adam Driver as the world-weary ad man taken on a fantastical journey by Jonathan Pryce’s Don Quixote. And David Robert Mitchell’s Cannes sensation slacker-noir UNDER THE SILVER LAKE, starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough, will have its U.S. Premiere at the Festival.
Fantastic Fest deepens its cornucopia of genre titles from across the globe, including the World premiere of Quarxx’s visually hypnotic ALL THE GODS IN THE SKY, the International premiere of Polish-children-vs-rabid-dogs thriller WEREWOLF, and the North American Premiere of Venice Critics Week closer DACHRA, the first-ever horror film to come out of Tunisia.
Further additions to the program include the World Premiere of the new thrill ride from Nicolas Cage and Franka Potente, BETWEEN WORLDS, the World Premiere of the brilliant documentary AFTER THE SCREAMING STOPS about the iconic ’80s musicians Matt & Luke Goss and the band Bros, and the U.S. Premiere of the terrifying frontier horror masterwork THE WIND.
“2018 has been one of the most challenging programs to put together for Fantastic Fest, with a plethora of quality titles turning up at every stage,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “Even as we try to lock our program, we are confronted with brilliant, outstanding cinema and are determined to cram all of it into our program and dazzle Austin.”
With HALLOWEEN debuting on opening night, it was inevitable that we’d champion the most important of all holidays with an omega-powerful Halloween-themed costume/music/sugar/dance party. Candy buffet! Apple bobbing! Ghoulish bands! And more more will shake the walls of The Highball, with legitimately major prizes given out for the best and most horrific outfits, so dress to distress!
Tenacious D will appear IN PERSON (!!!) at the festival to premiere their six-part animated series TENACIOUS D IN POST-APOCALYPTO, hand drawn by none other than Jack Black himself! True to its title, the series finds Tenacious D thrust into a world of complete and utter destruction! See them battle for the survival of the human race! Then watch them perform LIVE in a post-screening pre-apocalyptic music set that will shake the pillars of the universe!
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies will be at hand at this year’s Fantastic Fest to present a one-off special lecture by academic and scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas titled “Ghouls to the Front: Rethinking Women’s Horror Filmmaking” where she will be exploring examples from around the world from 1898 to 2018 of women’s horror filmmaking finding ways we can collectively rethink the history of horror more broadly to be more inclusive, more representative, and more fun.
Fantastic Fest is also delighted to announce the Jury Presidents for the four competition categories for the 2018 edition of Fantastic Fest. Co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics Michael Barker will be overseeing the Main Competition Jury, academic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas will be the head of Horror Competition Jury, Toronto International Film Festival programming associate Dorota Lech will lead the Next Wave Jury, and director/animator Don Hertzfeldt will be heading the Shorts Competition Jury. Further details can be found at: https://fantasticfest.com/jury.
Fantastic Fest is also happy to announce the addition of Maya Perez to its advisory board. Maya Perez is a writer and producer. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, The Masters Review, Misadventures Magazine, and she is co-editor of the books On Story – Screenwriters and Their Craft, On Story – Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films, and On Story – The Golden Ages of Television, all from the University of Texas Press. She is also a producer on the television series Austin Film Festival’s On Story, now in its eighth season on PBS. Maya is a 2018 recipient of a SFFILM Westridge Grant and teaches screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin.
FINAL WAVE FILM LINEUP BELOW:
AFTER THE SCREAMING STOPS
United Kingdom, 2018
World Premiere, 97 min
Directors – Joe Pearlman & David Soutar
In Attendance – Directors Joe Pearlman and David Soutar
Matt and Luke Goss were part of Bros, one of the biggest bands of the 1980s. With a number one album and sold out concerts at stadiums across the world, the rise of the band was meteoric… sharply followed by their downfall. Now, the two brothers reunite for the gig of a lifetime, facing fractured relationships, a new musical landscape, and the changes that time brings. Can they rekindle the magic and make Bros come alive once again?
ALL THE GODS IN THE SKY
World Premiere, 98 min
Director – Quarxx
In Attendance – Director Quarxx
Simon lives in an old house in the countryside with his severely disabled sister. He takes care of her day after day, hoping that “they” will come to ease their pain. The date of “their” arrival approaches.
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
Texas Premiere, Run time not final
Director – Drew Goddard
Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell. Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson and Cynthia Erivo lead an all-star cast in BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE.
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Maria Pulera
Nicolas Cage plays Joe, a lonely trucker whose new girlfriend’s daughter is possessed with the spirit of Joe’s recently deceased wife, creating a love triangle no synopsis can do justice to.
THE BLOOD OF WOLVES
Regional Premiere, 126 min
Director – Kazuya Shiraishi
In the neon-soaked streets of 1988 Hiroshima , experienced detective Ogami Shogo is forced to partner with greenhorn Hioka Shuichi to investigate a routine disappearance case. Soon they’re in the midst of a full-blown yakuza war that threatens to destroy all that the two men hold dear.
France, Belgium, 2018
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director – Julien Leclercq
Representing the moody, grimy, realistic return of JCVD to more dramatic roles, THE BOUNCER wows with a taut, contained approach to crime and violence, and one father’s fight to save his daughter.
US Premiere, 111 min
Director – David Oelhoffen
A gangster film with heart, CLOSE ENEMIES refers to Driss and Manuel, childhood friends now on either side of the law, who discover the sacrifices both are willing to make in the name of family in this Paris-set contemporary thriller.
North American Premiere, 113 min
Director – Abdelhamid Bouchnak
Come for Tunisia’s first horror film, following three students’ filmed investigation of weird rumors in a remote village, and stay for the sickening madness, macabre witchcraft, ghastly beheadings, and gory cannibalism.
Regional Premiere, 110 min
Director – Graham Reznick
A young woman is pulled into a murder investigation revolving around a curious vinyl record which has driven those who possess it mad, and killed anyone who dared to listen to it.
Texas Premiere, 123 min
Director – Karyn Kusama
In Attendance – Director Karyn Kusama and Screenwriter/Producer Phil Hay
Nicole Kidman gives the performance of a lifetime as LAPD detective Erin Bell, a human weapon of escalating vengeance, in the brilliantly grounded new drama-action-thriller from Karyn Kusama.
United Kingdom, USA, The Netherlands, 1980
Repertory Screening, 111 min
Director – Mike Hodges
He’s here to save every one of us! Heroic earthling Flash Gordon protects the world from the nefarious Ming the Merciless in this lavish, majestically camp adaptation of Alex Raymond’s legendary sci-fi comic strip.
Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, 2018
World Premiere, 49 min
Director – Lee Sang Woo
Lee Sang-Woo turns his camera on an unusual child and his mother in a visually striking and scary episode of HBO FOLKLORE.
Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, 2018
World Premiere, 49 min
Director – Ho Yuhang
Ho Yuang explores a strange and frightening relationship between a politician with a problem and a shaman who promises the solution in an episode of HBO FOLKLORE that’s deeply rooted in Malaysian legends.
I USED TO BE NORMAL: A BOYBAND FANGIRL STORY
US Premiere, 96 min
Director – Jessica Leski
In Attendance – Producer Rita Walsh
The lives of four women from across the globe are radically changed by their deep love of boy bands in this fascinating, joyful exploration of intense fandom.
World Premiere, 102 min
Director – Danishka Esterhazy
In Attendance – Writer/Director Danishka Esterhazy and Producers Judy Holm and Michael McNamara
The teenage girls of Vestalis Academy are meticulously trained in the art of being “clean girls,” practicing the virtues of perfect femininity. But what exactly are they being trained for? Vivien intends to find out.
LIFE AFTER FLASH
United Kingdom, 2018
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Lisa Downs
In Attendance – Director Lisa Downs and Actor Sam J. Jones
Celebrating the iconic FLASH GORDON and focusing on the fascinating, unusual, and untold story of actor Sam J. Jones, the man behind the sparkly suit, LIFE AFTER FLASH is a celebration, an exploration, and a joyful scream all at once!
LORDS OF CHAOS
Texas Premiere, 112 min
Director – Jonas Åkerlund
Based on the biography of the same name, LORDS OF CHAOS is the tale of an Oslo teenager who launches Norwegian black metal, setting off a chain of events that have made his band, Mayhem, infamous for decades.
THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE
Spain, France, Belgium, Portugal, 2018
North American Premiere, 132 min
Director – Terry Gilliam
Once-ambitious advertising man Toby finds himself revisiting a student film he made long before his world became monochrome. Re-teaming with the Spanish cobbler he cast in the film who genuinely believes he’s Don Quixote, Toby embarks on a soul-searching journey of magical proportions.
US Premiere, 84 minutes
Director – Jonah Hill
In Attendance – Writer/Director Jonah Hill
Written and directed by Jonah Hill, Mid90s follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era LA who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
MODEST HEROES: PONOC SHORT FILMS THEATRE, VOL. 1
North American Premiere, 53 min
Directors – Hiromasa Yonebayashi & Yoshiyuki Momose & Akihiko Yamashita
Delve into the world of Studio Ponoc and discover a trio of brilliant creations: lost crab siblings, a bizarre allergy to eggs, and an invisible man having an unusual day.
Texas Premiere, 105 min
Director – John Andreas Anderson
This sequel to THE WAVE follows the same family, off to Oslo where the earth will shake again. The experts warned that it would! Expect death, drama, and awesome SFX. ‘Nuff said.
US Premiere, 116 min
Director – Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou returns to the screen with an explosive tale of intrigue and action set within the warring Three Kingdoms. A wild and ambitious ruler, his loyal but cunning commander, and a double he’s set up as insurance play games of deceit as war rages through their kingdom.
SLUT IN A GOOD WAY
Texas Premiere, 89 min
Director – Sophie Lorain
Charlotte and her best friends Mégane and Aube must navigate their first times, first jobs, and first loves in this hilarious and touching Quebecois sex comedy.
STRIKE, DEAR MISTRESS, AND CURE HIS HEART
World Premiere, 71 min
Director – Mickey Reece
Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s AUTUMN SONATA and conjured by a remarkably prolific obscure auteur who’s been averaging two feature films a year since 2008, this offbeat and oft-chilling indie discovery depicts the uncanny psychological duress endured by the newlywed proprietors of an ancient hotel following the arrival of an estranged matriarch.
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE
US Premiere, 139 min
Director – David Robert Mitchell
From the dazzling imagination that brought you It Follows comes a delirious neo-noir fever dream about one man’s search for the truth behind the mysterious crimes, murders, and disappearances in his East L.A. neighborhood.
Poland, The Netherlands, Germany, 2018
International Premiere, 88 min
Director – Adrian Panek
In a makeshift orphanage forgotten by most, a group of children who just survived the Holocaust find themselves preyed upon by a pack of wolf dogs. Their fight for freedom has only just begun.
France, Turkey, United Kingdom, 1984
North American Premiere of 2K Restoration, 98 min
Director – Jean-Marie Pallardy
A small team of diamond smugglers stumbles upon the location of the supernatural white fire diamond, but competing criminals pose deadly challenges in this forgotten and truly bizarre gem from 1985.
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Emma Tammi
In Attendance – Director Emma Tammi
In Emma Tammi’s narrative debut THE WIND, the forces of nature in the isolated prairies of the American Wild West are playing tricks on Lizzy. Her paranoia only grows with the arrival of a mysterious young woman.
THE WORLD IS YOURS
Regional Premiere, 100 min
Director – Romain Gavras
Nothing goes as planned when a Parisian mid-level dealer must complete one last delivery to escape the drug life and open a Mr. Freeze franchise in Romain Gavras’ (OUR DAY WILL COME) instant heist-comedy classic.
YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Brett Simmons
In Attendance – Director Brett Simmons
Counselors are being killed off at summer camp, and Sam (Fran Kranz) is stuck in the middle of it. Instead of contacting the cops, he calls his friend and slasher-film expert (Alyson Hannigan) to discuss his options.