Fantastic Fest 2019 announced its second wave of programming, and writer-director Rian Johnson’s hotly anticipated new mystery KNIVES OUT as closing night film. A tribute to the work of Agatha Christie, KNIVES OUT stars Daniel Craig as debonair Detective Benoit Blanc, sent to investigate the death of a renowned crime novelist played by Christopher Plummer.
Cannes Palme d’Or winner PARASITE will also play this year’s Fantastic Fest with director Bong Joon-ho (SNOWPIERCER, OKJA) in attendance. Reaping near-universal acclaim around the world, PARASITE is a darkly comic tale of two very different families who find their lives inexplicably intertwined.
This year, Fantastic Fest celebrates the rich and varied history of Mexican genre film with a trio of rarely seen repertory titles, programmed in association with Mexico City’s Mórbido Film Fest. In THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (MISTERIOS DE ULTRATUMBA), two doctors make an unholy bet to discover just what’s in the afterlife; in THE SHIP OF MONSTERS (LA NAVE DE LOS MONSTRUOS), two extraterrestrials traverse the universe collecting sample species to repopulate their planet resulting in the wildest spaceship ever with a wide array of characters from singing cowboys to Martian princes and other otherworldly beings starring none other than the brilliant Lorena Velázquez; and finally, TRAMPA INFERNAL (a.k.a. HELL’S TRAP) sees a group of young people go after a bear, only to find themselves terrorized by a crazed Vietnam vet in a mannequin mask and Freddy Krueger glove, combining the best of slasher traditions with an incredible visual style and ‘80s fashions galore! A dedicated shorts program exploring up and coming young Mexican filmmakers will be presented as part of the program, as well, which will be announced at a later date.
Fantastic Fest shows its full (rainbow) colors with a sidebar dedicated to LGBTQ+ representation in genre cinema, including the US Premiere of SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, a documentary focusing on the journey Mark Patton’s life took from actor to activist after starring in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE, as well as a rep screening of that seminal title with the cast in attendance. There will be a very special presentation of Norman J. Warren’s PREY (1977), which focuses on the disintegration of a relationship amidst a very real alien threat. The sidebar wraps up with a screening of LYLE with director Stewart Thorndike in attendance, where the grief of a mother turns to abject paranoia when she suspects her neighbors of being part of a satanic cult
The witching hour arriveth at Fantastic Fest and with it brings titles that promise the audience all those forbidden sights that the daytime can’t handle. In the World Premiere of Joe Begos’ VFW, a group of veterans find themselves in a deadly showdown against a gang of punk mutants dead-set on killing them. Also from Begos is BLISS, where a creative mental block threatens to tip an artist into uncontrollable bloodbath in a very special 35mm screening. Seth Ickerman expands the unique vision of a neon sci-fi universe first presented within his astounding short TURBO KILLER and teams up once again with synth master Carpenter Brut in the North American premiere of BLOOD MACHINES. And Richard Stanley recruits the help of Nicolas Cage to explore just what mysteries THE COLOR OUT OF SPACE holds in an adaptation of the seminal Lovecraft story in the US premiere of the highly-anticipated title.
Science fiction and visions of the future are represented at the festival with a trio of titles that run the gamut of all fears. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson return to the festival for the US Premiere of their newest fever-dream SYNCHRONIC starring Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as a pair of paramedics in the throes of a losing battle against a brand new designer drug. Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots are a couple who find themselves moving into their dream house, only to discover a trap in Lorcan Finnegan’s Cannes hit VIVARIUM. And in a small town in 1950s New Mexico, a mysterious radio signal sends a pair of teenagers on an exciting journey to discover its source in the masterful debut THE VAST OF NIGHT from director Andrew Patterson.
Cinema itself is explored at Fantastic Fest with a duo of documentaries that focus on wildly varied subjects. Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet’s PHIL TIPPETT – MAD DREAMS AND MONSTERS takes an extensive look at the great genius behind the visual effects of films such as ROBOCOP, STAR WARS and JURASSIC PARK while IRON FISTS AND KUNG FU KICKS explores the history of kung fu cinema from 1960s Hong Kong through ‘70s 42nd Street and beyond with the help of experts, historians, kung fu stars and more! Prior to the festival, Alamo Drafthouse will be running a series to prep for the screening titled Fists of Iron, Wheels of Steel where Texas DJs will be live-scoring some of the most beloved Kung Fu classics, including MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE with DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, POLICE STORY with DJ Catwalk, and more!
The world at large is explored through a genre lens with films that take aim at topical subjects. In the US Premiere of Karl Markovics’ NOBADI, the unlikely friendship between an old German man and a migrant worker will show them the true horror of their existence, while the US Premiere of THE PLATFORM sees society use a very new and unique punishment for criminals and those in need. In ABOU LEILA, two men hunt for a vicious terrorist leader while trying to hide from the bloodstains in their soul, and in the US Premiere of Orçun Behram’s THE ANTENNA, a sinister government broadcast in Turkey corrupts the very nature of everything it touches.
Worldwide, weird and wonderful genre films return with a selection of titles that refuse to be categorized. In Martin Krejčí’s THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY, an unusual young man goes on a journey of discovery with a roster of eccentric characters in a film that mixes the best of fairy-tales and Czech magical realism. In VHYES, the discovery of a video camcorder leads a 12-year-old boy to create a unique time capsule. In PATRICK, a young man goes to extreme lengths to find his lost hammer in his father’s nudist colony. Finally, in BUTT BOY, a man discovers he has a fetish of the most extraordinary kind during a routine prostate examination.
More FF alumni return to the festival with new and exciting titles. Mickey Reece uses the cold backdrop of a New England winter to explore a homecoming of a very weird kind in the astounding CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER. In Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s THE LODGE, the relationship between two children and their stepmother gets strained to its murderous limit when the trio are trapped in a cabin. And Mattie Do explores the power of mistakes, choices, and consequences in the stunning and unique Laotian science-fiction exploration THE LONG WALK.
FULL SECOND WAVE FILM LINEUP BELOW:
Algeria, France, Qatar, 2019
North American Premiere, 139 min
Director – Amin Sidi-Boumédiène
In the midst of the Algerian Civil War, Lotfi ventures into the desert with his lifelong friend S., who hopes to find and kill the elusive, dangerous terrorist Abou Leila.
US Premiere, 115 min
Director – Orçun Behram
Somewhere within an unnamed city in Turkey, the residents of an apartment block await the installation of their new antenna as ordered by the central government. No one can prepare them for the evil that will be unleashed.
THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M
Repertory Screening, 82 min
Director – Fernando Méndez
Two doctors make a pact on behalf of science: Whichever one dies first will return to share the secrets of the afterlife. This pact will not end well.
Texas Premiere, 80 min
Director – Joe Begos
While trying to complete her latest painting, a starving artist facing a lack of inspiration spirals out of control in a blaze of blood-soaked, drug-fueled glory.
France, USA, 2019
North American Premiere, 50 min
Director – Seth Ickerman
The wild sequel to the Carpenter Brut music video, “Turbo Killer,” shoots you into a turbulent psychedelic adventure of galactic hunters tracking down the soul of a spaceship set to a killer synthwave soundtrack.
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Tyler Cornack
Writer/director/comedian Tyler Cornack’s BUTT BOY introduces us to Chip, a middle-aged man whose first prostate exam stirs feelings deep inside leading to an addiction that can only be shown to Fantastic Fest audiences.
CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Mickey Reece
The “Soderbergh of the Sticks,” Mickey Reece, returns to Fantastic Fest with his 27th feature. Two beautiful sisters vie for the affections of a man who may or may not be a vampire.
COLOR OUT OF SPACE
US Premiere, 111 min
Director – Richard Stanley
Unimaginable terrors befall the Gardner family after a meteorite lands on their front lawn in Richard Stanley’s entrancing, horrific adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story.
IRON FISTS AND KUNG FU KICKS
North American Premiere, 107 min
Director – Serge Ou
From the Shaw Brothers to THE MATRIX, this wild documentary tells the story of how kung fu films conquered the world from the 1960s to now.
Special Presentation, 130 min
Director – Rian Johnson
In attendance – Director Rian Johnson
From acclaimed writer, director Rian Johnson comes KNIVES OUT, a fresh and modern take on the classic “whodunnit” mystery genre.
Texas Premiere, 108 min
Directors – Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala
Five years after GOODNIGHT MOMMY stunned Fantastic Fest audiences, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are back with another disturbing psychological twister about a brother and sister spending Christmas with their shadowy soon-to-be stepmother.
THE LONG WALK
Laos, Spain, Singapore, 2019
US Premiere, 115 min
Director – Mattie Do
In attendance – Director Mattie Do
An old Laotian hermit discovers that the ghost of a road accident victim can transport him back in time fifty years to the moment of his mother’s painful death..
Repertory Screening, 65 min
Director – Stewart Thorndike
In attendance – Director Stewart Thorndike
After the loss of her child, a young woman begins to suspect that her neighbors might be part of a satanic cult and that she might be their next target.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE
Repertory Screening, 87 min
Director – Jack Sholder
In attendance – Actors Mark Patton and Kim Myers
Jesse (Mark Patton) is the new kid on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger might not be the only monster in the closet in this much discussed but under-appreciated queer horror classic.
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Karl Markovics
In a retirement allotment in Vienna, a crabby 91-year-old finds both himself and his humanity when he hires an Afghani refugee to help him in Karl Markovics’ remarkable and poignant third feature.
South Korea, 2019
Texas Premiere, 131 min
Director – Bong Joon-ho
Bong Joon-ho’s seventh feature — about an unemployed Korean family conning their way out of their basement apartment — is a roller coaster ride of laughs, gasps, horror, tears, and perfection.
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Tim Mielants
Patrick is not having an easy time. First his domineering father passed away and now his favorite hammer is missing. Before the day is out, Patrick’s search will lead him to discover answers to the questions he didn’t even know existed.
PHIL TIPPETT – MAD DREAMS AND MONSTERS
International Premiere, 80 min
Directors – Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet
After their documentary CREATURE DESIGNERS – THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX, French journalist Alexandre Poncet and filmmaker Gilles Penso deliver an in-depth, sad, and beautiful documentary about the stop motion and VFX artist Phil Tippett, a man who changed the landscape of visual effects in film.
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
In attendance – Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Somewhere in the future exists THE PLATFORM, a vertically tiered prison where the upper levels have access to exquisite food and the lower levels fight for survival. Level assignments are random, but how long can a prisoner’s luck hold? One man is about to find out.
1977, United Kingdom
Repertory Screening, 78 min
Director – Norman J. Warren
Jessica and Josephine find more than their relationship at stake when they’re chosen by a shape-shifting alien as his target for an observational study.
SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
US Premiere, 100 min
Directors – Roman Chimienti & Tyler Jensen
In attendance – Directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen
More than thirty years after its release and his departure from Hollywood, Mark Patton (star of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE), sets the record straight on the famously queer horror sequel in this fabulous, surprising, and eye-opening documentary.
THE SHIP OF MONSTERS
Repertory Screening, 81 min
Director – Rogelio A. González
Two Venusian women and their robot servant are on a mission to find suitable candidates to repopulate their planet. Soon their ship is filled with bizarre specimens from across the universe, leading to an adventure like no other!
US Premiere, 96 min
Directors – Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
In attendance – Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Two paramedics find their world ripped apart when they start encountering deaths linked to the otherworldly effects of a new designer drug called Synchronic.
Repertory Screening, 77 min
Director – Pedro Galindo III
In Mexico’s most notorious unseen video-era masterblast, a crew of toxically masculine bear murderers runs afoul of a forest-dwelling war veteran wearing a mannequin mask and Freddy Krueger glove. Entertainment ensues!!
THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY
North American Premiere, 88 min
Director – Martin Krejčí
Suffering from hypertrichosis — which covers him with animal-like fur — Paul knows he’s not like other kids. But a seemingly random package from his estranged mother will send him on a journey of self-discovery alongside extraordinary characters.
THE VAST OF NIGHT
Texas Premiere, 90 min
Director – Andrew Patterson
A rural 1950s radio DJ and a telephone operator uncover a strange signal that could change everything in this stunning science fiction debut feature.
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Joe Begos
In attendance – Director Joe Begos
In the near future, a new drug called Hype has turned America into a war zone. The addicted are more mutant than human, and they’ve set their sights on assaulting a VFW post in Joe Begos’ star-studded latest.
World Premiere, 71 min
Director – Jack Henry Robbins
In attendance – Director Jack Henry Robbins
This bizarre retro comedy, shot entirely on VHS and Beta, takes us back to when 12-year-old Ralph, over one formative week, mistakenly records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents’ wedding tape.
Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, 2019
US Premiere, 98 min
Director – Lorcan Finnegan
When young couple Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) drive out to a maze of temptingly affordable houses in the suburbs, they find themselves unable to leave.