With a touch of poetry the 15th annual rollout of the Fantastic Fest Film Festival requests that badge holders download a photo of themselves at age fifteen.
The multitudes of film fans clamoring for their place in line reminds one of the Bob Dylan lyric: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”
A film festival that caters to genre films while also celebrating the odd commercial film that appeal to all quadrants, Fantastic Fest unwinds with a dynamite line-up from Thursday, September 19 through September 26. All events take place at the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar in Austin, Texas.
Byline Houston has left no synopsis unturned in its efforts to compose a baker’s dozen recommendation list of movies to put on your cinematic radar.
- “México Fantástico: Mexican Short Film Sidebar” – Seven shorts that display the versatility of Mexican directors. Guillermo Del Toro and Issa López – meet the new blood.
- “Color Out of Space” – Director Richard Stanley tackles the atmosphere of H.P. Lovecraft. A meteorite lands on a rural farm and all hell breaks loose. Nicolas Cage stars.
- “The True Adventures of Wolfboy” – A young boy afflicted with hypertrichosis redefines the concept of hirsuteness. John Turturro pops up as a carnival operator.
- “Phil Tippet – Mad Dreams and Monsters” – A documentary tribute to the special effects artist behind everything from “Star Wars” to “Robocop” to “Starship Troopers.”
- “VFW” – Cross “Rio Bravo” and “Assault on Precinct 13” with a dystopian future where drugs and mutation define the threat. Stephen Lang, William Sadler, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt and Fred Williamson are part of the ensemble cast.
- “VHYes” – A child records over his parents’ wedding video. First time director Jack Henry Robbins shot the movie on VHS and Beta. His parents Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are scheduled to attend.
- “Butt Boy” – It’s difficult to make a comedy-slash-horror film about a monster that lives in someone’s ass, but “Butt Boy” is up the challenge. A friend of mine made a similar films years ago titled “Milo.” He gets a quarter royalty every time a butt monster movie gets produced.
- “Synchronic” – Directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson need no introduction after their time and space dissection in the cult mystery “The Endless.” They translate metaphysical concepts in cinematic language everyone can understand. “Synchronic” promises paramedic reality with New Orleans locations. Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dorman star.
- “Memory: The Origins of Alien” – Any documentary that seeks to examine Ridley Scott’s “Alien” is well worth the time it takes the watch. Director Alexandre O. Philippe previously film, “78/52,” deconstructed Hitchcock’s “Psycho” shower scene.
- “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street” – Any film that uses exclamation points mid-title needs to be serious considered. This bold documentary explores the underneath homoerotic content of one of the most iconic horror films of the 1980s.
- “The Golden Glove” – From German director Faith Akin comes a horrific thriller about a 1970s serial killer.
- “The Wave” – Starring Justin Long and Donald Faison this thriller mixes adult crisis with drug-induced delusion layered with conventional film twists.
- “Random Acts of Violence” – Director/actor Jay Baruchel presents a mash-up of comic book themes, the motivation of crime and movie conventions.
If you can see over a dozen films during this lauded film festival that lasts a week you will be on overdrive. There are attendees who see in excess of 25 films-plus and yet at the end of the day they are still looking for a stiff drink and a similar perfect parking space as the same movie mavens who frequent the cool stadium style seating that this festival offers. As an added plus the complex that houses the festival – that includes free parking – now supports a bevy of restaurants that includes seafood, Tex Mex, burgers and a peculiar establishment across the street that offers continental eats.