Fantasia Festival is North America’s premiere (and largest) genre film festival. It is also my favorite film festival and so I could not wait to share the highlights of this years line up. Below is just some of the films we will be reviewing on our upcoming podcasts.
BEST WORST MOVIE – Montreal premiere, hosted by director Michael Paul Stephenson and the actor George Hardy
Unbeknownst to him, a dentist living in a small town in Alabama has an army of fans who worship him. The reason behind his clandestine popularity? He was a one-time actor who played a lead role in a movie that is now widely regarded as being amongst the worst films of all time: TROLL 2. When he hears that the film was being shown at a rep cinema, he attends the screening. This decision leads him on a truly surprising and life-changing journey. Funny and moving, BEST WORST MOVIE is a great documentary on genre cinema on top of being an incredible quest into the heart of the mysterious phenomenon of cult films.
BLACK – Canadian Premiere with actor MC Jean Gab’l, director Pierre Laffargue and producer Lauranne Bourrachot.
France Dir : Pierre Laffargue
Things are going badly for the hard to handle Black. He lost his partners during a bank robbery and earlier in the day, a mysterious African shaman tells him that he’s the hero that Africa needs. When his cousin invites him to Senegal to participate in a diamond heist, Black accepts on the spot. What he ignores is that numerous other hardened criminals also covet these gems … and that the words of the sorcerer aren’t as farfetched as they seem. SXSW applauded, Black is the first film from Pierre Laffargue. Fast paced and rhythmic, Black follows rap legend MC Jean Gab’l as he navigates his way through a Senegal that is both dark and dangerous.
BLOOD RIVER – Canadian Premiere
England Dir : Adam Mason
After BROKEN and DEVIL’S CHAIR, Adam Mason is back with another outstanding entry, proving himself once again as a filmmaker with a unique voice and a truly original film whose power will be closely monitored. Lost in the desert with a broke down car, a newlywed couple meet a mysterious hitchhiker who could bring them either salvation or damnation. A nasty tale of crime and punishment that recalls the sinister verses of the Old Testament having previously inspired William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.
United States Dir: Alejandro Adams – International premiere
Should you ever need an organ transplant, Canary Industries is there to provide you with one. However, if you don’t take proper care of it, they reserve the rights to take it back. Director Alejandro Adams proffers a perturbing commentary on the necessity of human cruelty and the corporations which serve as its vehicle. An independent production which defies all traditional conventions, CANARY is one of the most important cinematic discoveries of the year.
DEADGIRL – World Premiere
United States Dir : Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel
Two teenagers stumble upon the naked body of a woman in the middle of an abandoned asylum. She has apparently been left for dead at the back of a forgotten room. The woman however is not dead at all nor can she be killed. Unleashed, wild and displaying only aggression and animal instinct, she is difficult to imagine as human. Instead of alerting the authorities, the two friends decide to engage in sadistic games with their find. DEADGIRL will get people talking. Guaranteed. It is explicitly violent, filled with bursts of shocking gore, and equally explicit sexually. Is this what coming of age looks like in our commodofied times, when we think of everything – people included – as objects to be consumed and disposed of at will?
DEAD SNOW – Canadian Premiere
Norway Dir : Tommy Wirkola
One of the most anticipated horror films of the year is making its Canadian premiere at Fantasia, after blowing minds at Sundance. Norwegian Nazi zombies! Students on holiday make the mistake of playing with lost Nazi gold, causing its owners to return from beyond the grave for it. Carnage in sight! With solid production chops, an inventive script and a savvy blend of humor and violence, DEAD SNOW is going to re-carve the way you think of Norwegian cinema.
DIARY OF A TIMES SQUARE THIEF – Montreal premiere
Netherlands Dir: Klaas Bense
The discovery of a diary written by a New York hotel employee leads director Klaas Bense on a fascinating journey across time. Attempting to find the author of this mysterious diary, he arrives to a town haunted by phantoms of the man’s cruddy and violent past. This medium-length feature immersed with poetry nostalgically evokes the passage of time, while leading us through the Manhattan that inspired Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader.
EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (Encarnação do Demônio) – Canadian Premiere
Brazil : Dir: José Mojica Marins
“Higher than God. Lower than Satan. ” José Mojica Marins’ demonically anticipated Zé do Caixão (Coffin Joe) comeback film is finally coming to Canada. EMBODIMENT cleverly explains Zé ‘s absence over the years by opening with the character being released from prison after serving decades of time for the crimes depicted in earlier films! Let loose in a very changed world, Zé immediately picks up where he left off, recruiting a legion of followers from Brazil’s disenfranchised masses. He may now be in his 70s, but Zé’s lifelong obsession to locate the perfect woman to continue his bloodline with has not faded in the slightest. Whether or not he’s killed by his enemies, time is running out for Zé, and he lives his life accordingly. Grotesquery and surrealism abound, drenched in sex, poetry, blasphemy and blood. You will not believe what you’re seeing.
GRACE – Montreal Premiere hosted by director Paul Solet
United States Dir : Paul Solet
Produced by Adam Green, director of HATCHET, this is horrific tale evokes the mental collapse of REPULSION, the birthing body horror of both Cronenberg’s THE FLY, and THE BROOD, and breaks its own ground in terms of its willingness to explore and depict postnatal horror. We’ll not spoilt its subject, other than to tell you that it concerns pregnancy, motherhood and madness. Presented at Sundance where certain viewers fainted during the projection. Paul Solet’sfirst film, GRACE, is a morbid visual contraceptive for those wishing to have children!
GRAPHIC SEXUAL HORROR – Montreal premiere, hosted by co-director Barbara Bell
USA Dir: Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzon
In 1997, an Internet site is born: « Insex.com », a site specialized in photos and videos of extreme bondage and sadomasochism. Directors Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon escort us behind the curtain of this edgy pseudo-pornographic enterprise, meeting the video directors and their courageous models. While this documentary contains its fair share of disturbing imagery, it is a boldreflection on Art and esthetics, as well as the twisted boundaries between pleasure and perversion. A surprise hit at Slamdance and Hot Docs, this transgressive film will leave no one indifferent.
LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS – Canadian Premiere
UK Dir: Phil Claydon
UK comedy duo James Corden and Mat Horne (BBC tv’s GAVIN & STACEY) take the proverbial piss out of Britain’s esteemed horror heritage with this equally funny and raunchy blast that’s been bowling over audiences and angering critics across its homeland! Vulgar sight gags abound. Dialogue flies fast and furious. The laughs are wedged halfway between contemporary straight-faced BritCom and old school BENNY HILL. At once proudly unsophisticated and aesthetically slick, LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS gets mileage from the tradition of pitting ordinary shlubbs against ageless evil, with Horne & Corden bringing an incredulous energy to the proceedings that reinvent the familiar into a goofy fun time.
note: all descriptions provided by Fantasia`s press release