Fantastic Fest’s 16th edition features a mouth-watering array of genre films from around the world, scheduled to screen in Austin, Texas, from September 23rd–30th with a virtual portion called FF@HOME from September 30th–October 11th on Alamo On Demand. Keep watching The Scariest Things’ website for my reviews of some of those incredible films. Among the ones I have had a sneak peek at or can’t wait to watch are the following half-dozen features, plus a bonus pair of newly restored rereleases. Following are the official Fantastic Fest film descriptions, followed by brief comments in italics from yours truly.
For more information, visit the Fantastic Fest official site www.fantasticfest.com.
Iceland, Sweden, Poland, 2021
US Premiere, 107 min
Director – Valdimar Jóhannsson
On a remote farm in Iceland, a couple that experienced recent loss is caring for their flock of sheep. One day, one of their sheep gives birth to a very peculiar lamb that will change their lives forever.
I’m a big fan of A24’s supernatural horror output, and this latest offering from that entertainment company sounds right up my alley. Will it be a creature feature, or something devilishly different?
World Premiere, 84 min
Director – Casey Tebo
A ragtag group of toy store employees get more than they bargained for when Black Friday shoppers mutate into violent monsters.
Bruce Campbell in a science fiction/horror comedy? ‘Nuff said, in my opinion!
The Black Phone
World Premiere, 102 min
Director – Scott Derrickson
After being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer’s previous victims.
Starring Ethan Hawke and based on a short story by Joe Hill, this film promises to be eerie and unsettling.
US Premiere, 117 min
Director – Eskil Vogt
A group of children discover that they have psychic powers that defy explanation. Will they use them for good . . . or evil?
From the land that gave the world Trollhunter (2010) and Thale (2012) comes this intriguing-sounding slice of fear fare.
Let the Wrong One In
World Premiere, 97 min
Director – Conor McMahon
Sibling rivalry takes on a whole new meaning when one brother is turned into a vampire and has to rely on his younger brother to protect him. Will brotherly love win out or is someone getting staked?
Vampire comedies are a hot subgenre at the moment (put Red Snow on your need-to-see list, for example), and this one sounds like a blast!
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Eric McEver
Two self-proclaimed geeks and a live-in Japanese foreign exchange student procure a long-lost anime classic that inadvertently turns them into superheroes . . . just in time for a Y2K-era Kaiju face-off!
Folks who grew up on Ultraman, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Dragonball Z, and other classic Japanese tokusatsu and anime programs should get a kick out of this valentine to those aspects of Japanese pop culture. Viewers looking for something light-hearted and decidedly different should find Iké Boys to be an entertaining blast of nostalgia.
Fantastic Fest always comes through with restored versions of obscure films from the past as well as old favorites, and two of the newly restored films offered this year are ones I can’t wait to watch!
Italy, USA, 1979
Repertory Screening, 108 min
Director – Michael J. Paradise
This Italian-made horror/soap-opera/psychedelic light show was made to scoop up any stray dollars that THE OMEN and THE EXORCIST may have left on the table. Featuring an amazing will-work-for-food cast that includes John Huston as a kind of cosmic child pimp for the lord, Shelley Winters, Lance Henriksen, Sam Peckinpah (!!!), and of course Franco Nero as Jesus Christ.
Eyes of Fire
World Premiere of 4K Restoration, 86 min
Director – Avery Crounse
The seminal American folk horror film, unavailable on home video for decades, now debuts in a new 4K restoration from Severin Films, overseen by director Avery Crounse.