Considered the world’s largest genre film festival and running over three weeks long, Fantasia is celebrating its 19th edition this year and the lineup is pretty incredible. This year’s fest runs July 14 through August 4 and will see over 130 feature films including more than 20 world premieres. Legendary filmmaker Sion Sono is delivering three new movies with Tag, Love & Peace, and Shinjuku Swan, meanwhile Tales of Halloween and A Christmas Horror Story are bringing horror anthologies back to the big screen. In addition, the festival will offer up the Montreal premiere of Marvel’s highly anticipated Ant-Man, the world premiere of Israeli horror flick Jeruzalem, the world premiere of Assassination Classroom and the first Canadian screening of the Canadian/Kiwi festival hit Turbo Kid. The festival is rounded out with screenings of Big Match, Crumbs, Deathgasm, The Demolisher, Experimenter, Cooties, We Are Still Here, The Editor, Cub, He Never Died, The Invitation, and so much more. With such a massive lineup, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide what to see, so I’ve decided to help our readers. My original plan was to publish a list of my ten most anticipated films screening this year but considering the ridiculous line-up, I’ve selected one movie for every day of the fest, or better yet, the movie that you should choose if you only had time for one. Here are my picks for week two.
Day 7. Goodnight Mommy
It has the makings of a cult classic.
There’s a rich history of horror exploiting the fascinating and sometimes disturbing connection twins have. Alongside such classics as Dead Ringers, The Shining and Sisters, twins have continued to make an appearance in some of our favourite horror films ever since Hammer Studios set their sites on real-life twin Playboy Playmates Mary and Madeleine Collinson to star in Twins of Evil back in 1971. Goodnight Mommy is the latest to join the ranks of such films and fans of extreme cinema should consider this a must-see. The first narrative feature from writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, about a pair of troubled twins making life hell for their mysteriously disfigured mother, is a wicked little chiller full of foreboding and malevolent twists. Goodnight Mommy recalls such child-centric chillers as I’m Not Scared and The Orphanage, but unlike those family friendly thrillers, this pic will have viewers sprinting for the exit.
Day 8. Reflecting Skin
“Sometimes terrible things happen quite naturally.”
The new 2K restoration of Philip Ridley’s directorial debut/masterpiece is essential viewing for any true cinephile. With The Reflecting Skin, the British painter, illustrator and novelist who turned screenwriter with the mesmerizing 1990 gangster film The Krays, created one of the most perversely alluring works in cinematic history. Michael Weldon described the film best when he called The Reflecting Skin a remake of Days of Heaven as directed by David Lynch. The Reflecting Skin was celebrated as one of the most original films of its year and has since garnered a loyal cult following. And now it is back, and on the big screen, and you all need to see it! The Reflecting Skin is not a film that one can easily pigeonhole and to say that The Reflecting Skin has a traditional plot would be an overstatement. As the tagline reads, it weaves elements of the grotesque, vampirism, sexual abuse, and religious zealotry throughout its narrative. Ultimately it is a dark coming-of-age tale about the perceptions and fantasies of an impressionable pre-adolescent boy and his friends. Shot in Ontario, The Reflecting Skin is very solemnly played and paced, and Dick Pope’s staggering sepia-toned cinematography provides a dreamlike feel to the film. Meanwhile, Nick Bicât’s haunting score augments the eerie mood. And yes it stars a young Viggo Mortensen.
Day 9. Synchronicity
Could this be the next Primer?
Jacob Gentry, who is best known as the co-director and writer of the 2008 breakout sci-fi/horror The Signal, is back with Synchronicity, a film he’s described as a mix between Blade Runner and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film will have its World Premiere on July 22nd. Not much is known about the film yet, but based on the trailer alone, I’m sold.
Day 10. Turbo Kid
A blast from the past!
George Miller recently delivered a 21st-century spin of the world he created in his 1979 cult classic Mad Max. Quebec trio RKSS had no desire for such modernization when they set out to make Turbo Kid. Their feature debut is a comedically faux mid-80s sci-fi cheapie set in the generic post-apocalyptic wasteland. It looks and feels like a movie that might well have been made in the early 1980’s and found a cult following when released on VHS. As our very own Dylan Griffin wrote in his review, “the filmmakers wear their influences on their sleeve and numerous aspects, from the setting to costuming, call back to the Mad Max series. Plenty of the film harkens back to the stories we would create when we were kids. It’s hard to merge a gratuitous gore-fest like this with childhood flights of the imagination, but the trio pull it off.” Turbo Kid is a pitch-perfect pastiche that never mocks its inspirations, and a sheer joy to watch. Make sure you catch it on the big screen. Watch the trailer here.
Day 11. Tales of Halloween
Promises one hell of a pumpkin season.
Cult filmmakers and familiar genre faces came together in the upcoming horror anthology Tales of Halloween featuring contributions from 11 directors including Neil Marshall (The Descent), Lucky McKee (May), Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider!) and Paul Solet (Grace). The star-studded cast includes Rocky Horror Picture Show icon Barry Bostwick as well as horror staple, Insidious’ Lin Shaye and Heroes’ Greg Grunberg, while the likes of Joe Dante, John Landis, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, Adrienne Barbeau, and Adam Green stepped in for cameos as well as next-gen genre actors have joined the project, including Pat Healy (The Innkeepers, Cheap Thrills), Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes), Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga), Keir Gilchrist (It Follows), Noah Segan (Looper), Pollyannna McIntosh (The Woman), James Duval (Donnie Darko), Kristina Klebe (Halloween), Marc Senter (The Devil’s Carnival), Jose Pablo Cantillo (The Walking Dead), Grace Phipps (Dark Summer), Sam Witwer (Being Human), and Graham Skipper (Almost Human). If the names listed above isn’t reason enough to see Tales of Halloween, I recommend watching the incredible trailer.
Day 12. Wild City
Style, action choreography!
With a firm grasp on the fast-paced expectations of the Hong Kong film industry and a ruthless on-set directorial style, Ringo Lam’s dark and dirty crime dramas helped popularize Hong Kong films around the world in the late ’80s. His films haven’t always been a hit with audiences, but when they do hit, they hit hard. Now one of Hong Kong’s most respected film-makers is back with Wild City, his first film in eight years and judging by the trailer, it looks great. Lam described Wild City as belonging to a “City Trilogy” along with the films City on Fire and Full Alert, further stating that the film is about the temptation of money, and how it seduces the protagonists, but also forces them to challenge the plutocracy.
Visit the official website of the Fantasia Film Festival for more information.