The 22nd Annual Fantasia International Film Festival will be bigger, bloodier and more explosive than ever — and Morbidly Beautiful is thrilled to cover it.
The Fantasia International Film Festival, North America’s largest and longest-running genre film fest, will be celebrating its 22nd year in Montreal this summer, taking place starting tomorrow July 12 through August 2. The full lineup has been been announced for 2018, and it’s unbelievably impressive.
For the next three weeks, this remarkable festival will spotlight and celebrate some of the most original, provocative, fantastic, and brilliantly unconventional cinema from across the globe. To quote Mitch Davis, Co-Director of the Festival, “With current grim geopolitical events being what they are, its megaton payload of filmic ingenuity couldn’t possibly be more needed.”
We are thrilled and honored to be covering much of the festival this year, and we’ll be watching and reviewing as much of the great genre content as possible.
Sadly, it’s impossible to get to all of it, as the extraordinary lineup includes more than 130 feature films, not to mention a remarkable selection of shorts from around the world. In addition to exciting new work from some of the most celebrated indie filmmakers and rising genre talent, Fantasia’s 2018 lineup includes an arsenal of staggering directorial debuts from emerging talents. Among the impressive number of new directors being showcased this year, we’re thrilled to see a growing number of women directors represented.
We’ll highlight some of the films we’re most excited to screen for you below, but there is far too much outstanding programming to cover even a fraction of it here. We encourage you to head to the Festival website at https://fantasiafestival.com to view the entire program.
OUR MUST WATCH LIST
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT (World Premiere)
Sam Elliott stars as a legendary World War II veteran who many years ago assassinated Adolf Hitler – an incredible secret that he’s frustratingly unable to share with the world. One day, just as he’s coming to terms with rounding out his life, Calvin gets a visit from the FBI and RCMP. They need him to take out Bigfoot. A wondrous feature debut from writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski, featuring visual effects by celebrated two-time Academy Award Winner Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, BLADE RUNNER), who also co-produced alongside the great John Sayles and Lucky McKee. A fantastical discourse on the melancholia of old age and a singular blast of entertaining wit, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT (World Premiere) also stars Aidan Turner, Caitlin FitzGerald, and Ron Livingston.
HURT (World Premiere)
The world first discovered Sonny Mallhi’s poignant style of character-driven horror storytelling with 2015’s ANGUISH (a Fantasia World Premiere). Earlier this year, his second feature, the vampiric drug addiction chiller FAMILY BLOOD debuted on Netlfix. And now, Sonny Mallhi has teamed with Blumhouse for his third feature, HURT, in which the collective psychosis of American culture is an inescapable horror film and a waking nightmare. Its story honors masked mascots of fear such as Jason, Freddy, and Michael…. but explores those who helplessly wear a mask of normalcy while desperately fighting the traumatic monsters within.
THE VANISHED (North American Premiere)
In this clockwork thriller, nothing is what it seems – not even a corpse. THE VANISHED (North American Premiere) is a piece of classic cinematic construction right out of the Golden Age of Hollywood, polished to a sleek modern sheen, South Korean-style. Without an ounce of padding, this is modern suspense in gothic drag, full of old school brio, dolly zooms, a ticking clock, entitled murderers, and vengeful ghosts.
ARAGNE: SIGN OF VERMILLION (Major Anime Premiere)
Something sinister is manifesting itself – something at the cursed crossroads of mythology, monstrosity, and medical science – in Saku Sakamoto’s ARAGNE: SIGN OF VERMILLION, a potent new slash of independent, high-standard horror anime from Japan making its World Premiere at Fantasia this summer.
ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (Canadian Premiere)
Let’s be honest – a low-budget zombie movie shot in one take about a film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie in one take sounds bad. Add the fact that the indie film crew stumbles across real-life zombies and Shunichiro Ueda’s debut, ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (Canadian Premiere) sounds worse. And you couldn’t be more wrong. This indie marvel isn’t a just zombie movie or even a one-take stunt. Instead, it’s Japan’s smartest comedy of the year: a touching father-daughter story, a tale about the value of perseverance, and a meta puzzlebox that cleverly unpacks itself onscreen, one severed limb at a time. Pick your rotting jaw up off the floor, because this is pure horror-comedy gold in the vein of SHAUN OF THE DEAD.
WITCH IN THE WINDOW (World Premiere)
Andy Mitton, co-writer and co-director of WE GO ON and YELLOWBRICKROAD, goes solo this time as he continues his streak of staggeringly effective, character-driven supernatural horror. Stunningly scripted and performed, THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW (World Premiere) is a gripping paranormal chiller about a divorced father taking his 12-year-old son to rural Vermont to help him with a fixer-upper farmhouse – a farmhouse whose previous owner, however deceased she may be, has never left the premises. Produced by Richard W. King and starring Alex Draper, Arija Bareikis, Greg Naughton, and Charlie Tacker.
LUZ (North American Premiere)
Hot off its World Premiere at the 68th Berlinale, Fantasia welcomes Tilman Singer’s tectonic LUZ (North American Premiere). A first feature heralding a bold new talent in genre, LUZ recalls the best of ’70s arthouse and Euro-horror (Zulawski, Fulci, and even Fassbinder come to mind), without ever giving way to pastiche or citation. Instead, LUZ is a mise-en-scène tour-de-force; an experimental subversion of the familiar possession narrative by way of avant-garde theatre – even shot in scope on gorgeous 16mm!
TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (Quebec Premiere)
A dark fairytale about a gang of children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID is the winner of 23 awards (and counting!) on the international festival circuit, and ranks among the great genre works of our time. Guillermo del Toro was so enraptured by it that he’s signed up to produce a film with its gifted director. Official Selection: Fantastic Fest 2017, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2018. Quebec Premiere.
In addition to these incredible premieres, we’ll also be checking out the South African Hitchcockian thriller Number 37, the Supernatural horror film from Indonesia Satan’s Slaves, the arthouse coming-of-age horror film Blue My Mind from Switzerland, the punk slasher throwback The Ranger, and Xavier Gen’s highly anticipated new Lovecraftian horror film Cold Skin, among others.
FANTASIA SPECIAL EVENTS
In addition to the exceptional film programming, attendees can take part in a variety of extremely notable special events. On opening night, Fantasia will be paying tribute to a genre visionary, presenting its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Joe Dante, the genius behind such beloved horror classics as THE HOWLING, PIRANHA, INNERSPACE, EXPLORERS, THE ‘BURBS and the GREMLINS films.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies will host a special Michael Ironside Live in Conversation event, where the great actor will discuss his career. Filmmaker Mick Garris will be doing a live Post Mortum podcast dedicated to all things NIGHTMARE CINEMA, renowned genre critic Michael Gingold will be host a multimedia book launch event, and Fantasia will present a special 107th anniversary screening of Italy’s first genre film L’INFERNO (1911), live-scored by Goblin’s Maurizio Guarini.