Fantastic Fest is one of our favorite film festivals here at FANGORIA, a 10-day smorgasbord of freaky genre movies, unhinged live events, and conspicuous queso consumption that packs the Alamo Drafthouse's South Lamar location every September. It's basically summer camp for film geeks, and we wouldn't miss it for the world.
Today, Fantastic Fest announced the lineup for its 2023 edition, and we gotta say: they've really outdone themselves this time! The fest (which kicks off September 21st in Austin, TX) will open with Macon Blair's highly-anticipated remake of The Toxic Avenger, will host the world premiere of Lindsay Beer's Pet Sematary: Bloodlines and the first two episodes of Mike Flanagan's Fall of the House of Usher, Joe Lynch's Suitable Flesh, and will close with a screening of Blumhouse's time-traveling slasher comedy, Totally Killer! All that plus dozens of other films, a slew of live events (including a live recording of FANGORIA's THE KINGCAST, featuring special guest Doug Benson), and the premiere of V/H/S/85!
Read all about it via Fantastic Fest's press release, which we've included in full:
"Take a trip to the dark side and indulge your taste for wild films, outrageous events, and shocking surprises all under one roof. World-famous genre festival Fantastic Fest is back for its eighteenth edition featuring 29 World Premieres, 24 North American Premieres, and 18 U.S. Premieres. The festival will once again possess Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX from September 21st - 28th. Badges are available now at FantasticFest.com.
“The Fantastic Fest team is ready to take you on a journey you won’t ever forget. We’ve taken the best week of the year and supercharged it: more movies, more parties, more fun,” says Festival Director Lisa Dreyer. “If you want to see the best new movies from around the world first with the best audience, Fantastic Fest is the place to be.”
The opening night film for Fantastic Fest 2023 is the world premiere of Legendary Pictures’ THE TOXIC AVENGER, a hilarious and action-packed reimagining of the classic Troma film from director Macon Blair that features an all-star cast including Peter Dinklage who will pick up the infamous mop to become the hideous vigilante that no one knew they needed (or wanted) as well as Jacob Tremblay and Taylour Paige with Elijah Wood and Kevin Bacon."
"Fantastic Fest is also honored to present one of Angus Cloud’s final performances in the world premiere of the thriller YOUR LUCKY DAY. Cloud gives an incredible performance as a charismatic and opportunistic criminal in the tense debut feature from Dan Brown.
“The Fantastic Fest team was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Angus Cloud. His performance in YOUR LUCKY DAY immediately won over our team, and we want to pay tribute to his talents and life at the festival.” says Director of Programming Annick Mahnert.
The closing night film will be the world premiere of Director Nahnatchka Khan's slasher-comedy from Prime Video and Blumhouse Television, TOTALLY KILLER. Starring Kiernan Shipka as a time-traveling teen out to stop the infamous “Sweet Sixteen Killer,” TOTALLY KILLER is equal parts comedic charm and tense thrills. Shocking kills will keep the Fantastic Fest audience on their toes, and the outrageous 1980s setting will be a fitting lead-in to the closing night festivities."
"Other major studio films include NEON’s noir thriller EILEEN, director William Oldroyd’s pitch-perfect adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s acclaimed novel, starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway, 20th Century Studios’ sci-fi epic THE CREATOR from FF alumnus Gareth Edwards, Paramount+’s PET SEMATARY: BLOODLINES, a prequel to the iconic Stephen King novel, and Bleeker Street’s stone age thriller THE ORIGIN.
Fantastic Fest is also proud to present the World Premieres of two highly anticipated limited series: the second season of HBO’s 30 COINS, from renowned Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia, and Netflix’s THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER from genre maestro Mike Flanagan.
Other World Premieres include:
Director JT Mollner’s STRANGE DARLING, starring Willa Fitzgerald and Kyle Gallner. Shot on gorgeous 35mm film by Giovanni Ribisi in his feature debut as Cinematographer.
JACKDAW, an outrageously entertaining action film from Jamie Childs (The Sandman and His Dark Materials).
A brand new installment of our favorite found footage horror anthology V/H/S/85 from Shudder.
“We took 24 hours off after last year and dove straight into planning this year’s gonzo adventure; it’s going to be outrageous,” says Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Fantastic Fest founder Tim League. “First-timers to the festival, I suggest setting an annual reminder for the end of September for the rest of your life. Once you’ve tasted Fantastic Fest, you are family. We’ll see you at this year’s reunion.”
Fantastic Fest has something to tempt everyone this year.
Celebrated Austin indietronica band The Octopus Project will provide an immersive, sonically sinister opening night performance.
Live events throughout the week with Maltin On Movies, Horror Queers, THE KINGCAST, The Diesel System, a Ghoulish Book Fair and more!
Chicago’s Deadly Prey Gallery will transform The Highball with a display of original movie art from Ghanaian artists, including a special Fantastic Fest commission.
Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher of The Found Footage Festival fame return with a new mixtape of video oddities to confuse and delight.
And finally, Fantastic Fest essentials like 100 Best Kills, the Fantastic Feud, the Fantastic Debates and an epic Closing Night Party will round out the week.
Inglorious Critters & Glorious Restorations
This year’s repertory sidebar is dedicated to creepy crawlies. Centered around the North American Premiere of the spider-infested horror film VERMIN, Fantastic Fest programmers in partnership with the American Genre Film Archive are bringing you a trio of critters to haunt your nightmares, with THE NEST, BUGGED!, and CENTIPEDE HORROR. Our friends at AGFA are also bringing two newly restored 35mm prints to the fest: the artful nightmare MESSIAH OF EVIL, and THE CULT OF AGFA TRAILER SHOW.
Formed in 2009, the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to preserving the legacy of genre movies through collection, conservation, and distribution.
Other notable restorations at the fest include the 2k restoration of Paul Vecchiali’s Giallo thriller THE STRANGLER, Bleeding Skull’s new preservation of the infamous underground queer crime movie BLONDE DEATH, and a gorgeous 4k restoration of Gregg Araki’s NOWHERE from Strand Releasing.
We’re also bringing back Burnt Ends, our sidebar dedicated to micro-budget outlier cinema. With esoteric World Premieres like Kenichi Ugana's splatterific VISITORS (COMPLETE EDITION) and Nate Wilson's kaleidoscopic THE ALL GOLDEN, this idiosyncratic sidebar also includes the Texas Premiere of Vera Drew's acclaimed and infamous THE PEOPLE'S JOKER (for real this time!)"
It's an embarrassment of riches, people! Interested in attending? Fantastic Fest tells us that "a variety of badges are available for purchase to attend the festival. CULT MEMBER badge purchasers will receive 3 free months of Alamo Season Pass, in addition to exclusive merchandise and events." Better get while the getting's good!
Head on over to Fantastic Fest's homepage to take a closer look at this year's lineup of films, events, and to obtain your very own badge. We'll see you in Austin come September 21st!