The long-running film showcase Fantastic Fest begins on September 22 in Austin, Texas and Biff Bam Pop! will be there!
We’re not actually going to Texas.
However, via the technological magic of remote access, we’ll be looking at some of the best movies you haven’t heard of yet. Fantastic Fest has been the harbinger of some of the classic films of the last fifteen years, and we’re hoping this year will be no different.
Jeffery X Martin and Sachin Hingoo are ready to tackle everything Fantastic Fest can throw their way. Here are the movies they are most looking forward to seeing.
JXM: If you’re a horror fan and are not excited about a movie with a title like All Jacked Up and Full of Worms, then I don’t know what to tell you. Not only did the title hook me, but the concept of eating hallucinogenic psychedelic worms sure did. I can’t wait to get this movie into my face eyes, even if it will potentially make me gag.
JXM: I’m also looking forward to Deep Fear, where innocent teenagers wander into the breathing heart of Nazi occult lore. Look: I don’t like Nazis any more than you do, but I’m ready to see what happens to silly kids who find themselves in the center of a Nazi bunker that was the center of horrifying pseudo-scientific experiments.
JXM: Also, I’ll get the opportunity to see the 4K restoration of the Blaxploitation underground classic, Solomon King. This is a movie I’ve heard about my entire life and have not yet had the chance to see. I’m looking forward to seeing this snapshot of Oakland, California, in the early 1970s. Fuck Whitey, right? Oh, wait. I’m white. That doesn’t matter. Get ’em, Solomon King!
SH: I’ve been a fan of Macarena Gomez since I saw her in 2008’s raucous fashion-school slasher, Sexykiller and then again in an excellent but somewhat more subdued performance in 2014’s Shrew’s Nest, so I was thrilled to see that she’s appearing in a new Fantastic Fest selection, David Hebrero’s Everyone Will Burn (Y Todos Arderan). In this one, Gomez’s Maria Jose is a grieving mother who’s ready to end it all, when she’s visited by Lucia, a young girl who enlists her in ending an apocalypse. With a title and a setup like that, I’ve got high hopes for some gnarly deaths.
SH: When I saw David Farrier’s Tickled back in 2016, I was immediately enthralled. The perfect kind of documentary for me, where it starts out as one thing and spirals into some other fucked-up thing (see also: Collapse (2009), Icarus (2017)), it remains one of the high water marks for this horror fan when it comes to real-life cringe. So you know I’m down for Farrier’s new one, Mister Organ. It’s the twisted story of Michael Organ, a “wheel clamper.” This means that he goes to parking lots, puts a boot on your car, and then holds it for ransom until you pay him, but that’s only the beginning of this esoteric nightmare. How this dude comes across this stuff, I’ll never understand, but as long as he keeps putting it on my screen to squirm through, I sure hope Farrier keeps it up.
SH: Amanda Kramer’s Give Me Pity! initially grabbed my interest at the Fantasia Festival, but life happened and I wasn’t able to watch it there. The universe has smiled on me, though, and now that it’s a selection at Fantastic Fest, I’ll be able to give it another shot. The story of a TV star, played by Sophie von Haselberg channeling Bette Midler at her batshittiest, doing her first big primetime song-and-dance special (with a demonic twist) is exactly my shit, and barring some demonic nonsense of my own, I’m not about to miss it a second time. Just look at this trailer. LOOK AT IT.
Slovakian rave witches, you say? That’s what’s on offer in Tereza Nvotová’s feature debut Nightsiren, which picked up the Pardo D’oro at the Locarno Film Festival and makes it’s way to Fantastic Fest.
This one’s about a young woman who returns home to her remote village in the mountains, looking to explore her troubled past. As she does this, the accusatory, Puritan community turns on her, exposing deep xenophobia, misogyny, and Satanic Panic as reality and mythology collide. This is low-key my most anticipated movie of the festival.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows over here. One of our most-anticipated movies of Fantastic Fest, the movie everyone’s been talking about out of TIFF this year due to some unprecedented studio meddling, Vera Drew’s The People’s Joker, has been pulled from the lineup.
We’re both pretty bummed that we won’t get Jokerfied at Fantastic Fest but I think we know that Vera Drew isn’t about to stop there, and the power of this movie is too strong to go out like that. Somehow, someway, The People’s Joker will be all up in your (and our) faces. In the meantime, there’s all sorts of cool stuff at Fantastic Fest, and we’ll be bringing it all to you. Keep your face, in this space.
Fantastic Fest 2022 happens from September 22-29 in Austin Texas, and from September 29-October 4 on the FF@Home virtual platform. You can get all the info here.