I WAS A DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST FOR THE HORN (no longer in publication), AN INDEPENDENT NEWS SITE FOR THE AUSTIN COLLEGE STUDENT & 20-SOMETHING DEMOGRAPHIC, FROM 2012-2013.
Fantastic Fest Preview
Calling all film fans: steel yourselves for a week of major plot twists. Fantastic Fest 2012 runs this week from September 20th-27th and, as always, it promises to be a doozy. The largest genre film festival in the nation, this carnival of delights features horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and other experimental and cutting edge films from around the globe. The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, the main location for the Fest, will draw hoards of titillated film lovers from near and far who are waiting to experience the next big things of the cinema world.
There’s plenty of material for cinephiles to get excited about this year. Amidst more well-known features such as a screening of the work-in-progress print of Paranormal Activity 4 and showings of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie 3D, there’s a cornucopia of bizarre, daring, and sometimes grotesque films to pique the interests of all sorts of genre fans.
Here’s a blitz of my personal highlights:
Besties is a tale of toxic female relationships, high school manipulation, and revenge that makes Mean Girls look like child’s play. American Mary tells the story of a broke med student who falls into the seedy underworld of extreme body modification in order to make a buck. A Japanese splatter action comedy (yup, that’s a genre - I’m telling you, this festival has everything), Dead Sushi is about - what else? - flying killer sushi monsters. I’m intrigued by the mysterious Everybody in Our Family, a Romanian film only described as “unsettling.”
Older films are showcased too, such as 1968’s Secret Ceremony, a creepy Liz Taylor film illustrating a twisted mother-daughter relationship that goes off the deep end. Lighter fare is also offered, such as Attack of the Killer Mutant Chickens, an animated short from Bangladesh about a team of kung-fu chefs who must fight killer chickens in order to serve them at their restaurants.
Outside of filmgoing, Fantastic Fest offers a bevy of activities and events to enjoy, from a Nerd Rap Throwdown to a Homemade Haunted House Hellbash complete with all-you-can-eat Halloween candy. The four-day festival-within-a-festival, Fantastic Arcade, is a bonanza of lovingly curated video games that is sure to delight gamers and novices alike.
Tantalized yet? Want to get in on the action? No time like the present. Many types of badges are sold out, but day badges are still available for $59 a pop. Additionally, individual tickets are available day of show. I’ll see you in line for Secret Ceremony.