Are You There, Fantasia Festival? It’s Me, Horror Fan

The horror movie lineup at this years Fantasia Festival is absolutely stellar. Fright films from around the world, horror anthologies, found footage; there’s something for everyone. Doesn’t that sound like the best kind of black magic? Yes. The answer is yes. While you can find the whole program right here, these are the horror movies I want to feed into my eyeballs immediately.

Cold Skin — The promotional stills make it look like Voldemort survived his final battle with The Boy who Lived and bought a sweet rental house on an iceberg. But there’s more of a Lovecraft vibe going on here, and I’m all for movies set in the Antarctic featuring scary-looking fish people. There are few things more terrifying than isolation, and I’m interested to see how director Xavier Gens handles this scenario.

The Field Guide to Evil — Very few things get me babbling like a drunken video store manager talking about the good old days like a good horror anthology. [Full disclosure: I used to manage a video store.] There aren’t a lot of good ones, but hope springs eternal in the horror fan’s heart, and this one has some strong directorial names behind it. I’ll watch anything Can Evrenol (Baskin) directs, even if it’s only ten minutes long. With each story set in a different country, The Field Guide to Evil looks like the travelogue from hell, and I am so there for that.

Mandy — Of course, I want to see Mandy. I haven’t talked to a horror fan who doesn’t want to see Mandy. Already generating excitement thanks to a bonkers trailer and the presence of Nicolas Cage, who is having a career renaissance within the horror genre, Mandy looks like a trip into madness with chainsaws. Directed by Panos Cosmatos, who gifted the world with the amazing Beyond the Black Rainbow, early buzz is loud and good.

Nightmare Cinema — Another horror anthology, this one has some powerhouse directors, including Joe Dante, Mick Garris, and David Slade. It sounds like a throwback to the old Amicus omnibus movies, with titles like The Shrubs that Dripped Insanity. The wraparound story involves theater-goers shown a series of horrific short films by a character called the Projectionist, played by Mickey Rourke. I’ll repeat that. Mickey Rourke. If that doesn’t fire your cylinders, you might be out of gas.

Searching — When a girl goes missing, her father goes through her daughter’s laptop searching for clues to her disappearance. That’s a terrible idea, but a good reminder to always delete your browser history. Things go south in a hurry, and secrets are revealed through emails, documents, and videos. Filmed in “screenlife,” (think Unfriended) and starring the amazing John Cho, this has the potential to be a sleeper stunner.

There’s also Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, a Korean found footage movie, and The Witch in the Window, from the director of We Go On, and tons more.

This year, Fantasia Festival is a supermarket of frightening goodness, and horror fans are going to want to pick the shelves clean, like there’s a blizzard coming.


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