For genre film fans, the Fantasia International Film Festival is like the Super Bowl. Even for those of us in the unfortunate position of being unable to attend on an annual basis, the event is still an exciting time to be a fan because it shines a spotlight on the essential movies coming our way in the near future.
This year’s lineup is as strong as it’s ever been, and the festival will showcase 125 features and 220 shorts, featuring the premieres of more than 100 of some of the most anticipated, eclectic, and unique genre cinema from across the world. So, with the event looming, we decided to put together a list of flicks we’re especially looking forward to. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to cover absolutely everything we’re dying to see, but the films we’ve chosen are most definitely in our wheelhouse.
If you want to see what else is in store, head on over to the festival’s website now and let us know which movies you’re most excited to see.
Writer/director Nicolas Pesce follows up The Eyes of My Mother with a cat-and-mouse thriller about a family man whose interests involve renting out motel rooms and slaying prostitutes. That is until he encounters Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), who has her own dark secrets that prove to be an unwelcome surprise for our killer. Based on a novel by Ryu Murakami (the author who provided the source material for Takashi Miike’s Audition), this promises to feature some sadistic surprises and unpredictable treats of the grim variety.
The Field Guide to Evil
The latest anthology from The ABCs of Death producer Tim League swaps the alphabet in exchange for a globe-trotting exploration of human fears. Featuring a who’s who of contemporary visionary filmmakers, including Can Evrenol (Baskin) and Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio), each segment focuses on different scares inspired by terrifying legends and folklore from across the world. The eclectic nature of the talent involved speaks for itself, but given their track record for original scare fare, this is an ambitious project that will undoubtedly deliver some unforgettable shorts.
Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), The Divide) is back with another horror offering, this time inspired by the terror tales and icy creatures of H.P. Lovecraft. Cold Skin follows a loner who takes up residency on an Antarctic island only to discover that the region is inhabited by creatures. Upon meeting a crazed madman who has it in for the beasts, our protagonist must choose between a man and pact of monsters in order to ensure his own survival.
Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana
Legendary director Frank Henenlotter’s new documentary examines the horrifying injustices that befell comic book creator Mike Diana, whose material was deemed so explicit and offensive that he became a suspect in a serial killer case and was charged with obscenity. Chronicling the history of dastardly comics — from EC Comics to Underground Comix — the doc explores how taboo subjects being put to page have provided the blackest of black comedy for decades and how Diana’s case was a rare case in the controversial history of the medium.
Blue My Mind
Our very own Samm Deighan introduced this one when it played at What the Fest? earlier this year, and it’s a movie we already fully endorse. Following in the thematic footsteps of recent films like The Witch and Raw, as well as fairy tales and Gothic literature pre-dating the birth of cinema, Lisa Brühlmann’s debut is a tale which focuses on the long-standing relationship between female adolescence and horror. We expect this one to a breakout hit at this year’s festival.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
It’s been three decades since Charles Band unleashed pint-sized delights on genre aficionados with his Puppet Master franchise. Since then the films have found a special place in the hearts of fans of B-film buffs worldwide, but like every popular horror property it was only a matter of time before Full Moon’s tentpole saga was given the reboot treatment. Fortunately, though, screenwriter S. Craig Zahler and directors Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund were enlisted to give the new movie a bloody, politically incorrect makeover that will undoubtedly delight and offend in equal measure. In this one, the puppets are Nazi scumbags who are hell-bent on ushering in the next Reich. Considering the premise and the talent involved, there’s no way in hell this won’t be divisive. But that’s what makes it such a curiosity.
Tokyo Vampire Hotel
If Sion Sono directed paint drying it would still be our most anticipated film of the year. The Japanese maverick behind masterpieces like Suicide Club, Cold Fish, and Tag is a beloved figure among the Diabolique staff, and while the frequency of his output means that we’re always playing catch-up with his filmography, it’s a chase we’re more than happy to dedicate substantial portions of our lives pursuing. His latest was originally conceived as a series for Amazon Prime, but when that didn’t go ahead as planned he decided to condense the material into a feature-length martial arts extravaganza about warring vampire clans. The fact that this is a Sono movie is reason enough to be excited, but when you throw vampires and martial arts into the mix you have our attention.
Nic Cage is crazy. When he works with filmmakers who are equally as crazy, he’s a cinematic art form unlike anything else. For his latest outing, he’s teamed up with Panos Cosmatos, director of the surreal Beyond the Black Rainbow, for a mind-bending revenge yarn that features evil cultists and a demonic biker gang. Cage plays a grieving man out for payback against the cretins who murdered the love of his life, which leads him on a nightmarish journey into the abyss. The Clive Barker influence also appears to be on display here, and that’s never a bad thing if you ask us.
The festival takes place on Montreal, Quebec from July 12th – August 2nd 2018