Fantasia International Film Festival is almost upon us and as we here at Upcoming On Screen are getting the opportunity to cover it this year, I felt it was a good idea to let you have an idea of what is on offer. Roaring into its 25th year, the Montreal festival will be running in person from August 5th through to August 25th and this is as strong a year as ever.
With such a wide range of titles on offer this preview look will involve the features today and the shorts tomorrow! With Fantasia offering a hybrid festival this year some titles will not be available online, so make sure to check which film is available where to avoid disappointment. Anyhow lets get into the alphabetised list! Remember this is just a very short list of what there is on other, thus the wide range of films chosen, have a look at the programme, there is something for everyone as always!
Alien On Stage
Starting is off is possibly going to be one of the feel good documentaries of the year. We know of the high school that made their own play, but did you know about the stage play of Alien that was performed in the UK? If not, then you are in for one spectacle of a film. Directors Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer bring all the charm leaving the Alien fan in you full of joy.
The Deep House
Tina and her boyfriend Ben are two daredevil YouTubers with a passion for “urbex” – the exploration of hard-to-find, abandoned urban edifices and buildings. Through a forest with no, and that isn’t on any maps, and beyond a “danger – do not enter” sign, they find their way to what could be their newest and greatest adventure.
From the filmmakers of Inside and the recent great horror Kandisha, we have an underwater haunted house film and honestly? Who wouldn’t want to see that? This inventive film will most likely have you throwing away any suggestions of going scuba diving for near future, or lifetime.
A politician’s family are putting together an extravagant dinner. A new hire is brought into the home when a sudden crisis makes it impossible for the household’s regular helper to assist. When not serving, she observes in silence with eerie, almost anthropological interest. Everything set to happen that night will do so with designs towards winning a lucrative deal to mine in the local forestry. Centuries-old lifeforces in said forestry, however, may have other plans on what exactly is to be served.
An eco-horror filmed entirely in Welsh, this one will bring a lot of interest due to the current word of mouth about it. This has said to have a lot of grotesque scenes in it, and could be one of the standouts of the festival.
Frank and Zed
Are you ready for an orgy of blood? FRANK & ZED, one of the year’s goriest and bloodiest moments, promises just that, in this bloodthirsty, bone-crunching and strangely heartwarming movie about an odd-couple monster-duo Frank and Zed, a Frankenstein-type monster and his brain-eating companion, as they attempt to survive a medieval curse that has befallen a small village. And did we mention they’re all puppets?
I mean sold right? We have gone on too long in this world without a gory puppet film. This is what dreams are made of and looks an absolute right. A film with a lot of heart that we will most likely see and have presented in front of us. Jesse Blanchard’s film should have you grinning.
A stranger infiltrates a sheltered family unit while a memory-wasting toxin spreads through the lands in this dystopian South African fairytale.
A South African film that has touches of dystopian science fiction and folk horror is always going to go down well. A delicate film that will bloom into something powerful, Glasshouse looks like a film that will stay with you for a bit longer than you would expect.
Gloria needs an orgasm. According to her friend Sandra, it’s written all over her face. When was the last time she had one? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know if she’s ever had one.
A ghost sex comedy you say? The Entity but funny? After seeing some of the harsher and deeper films, Ghosting Gloria seems like the perfect palette cleanser. A film that looks at the complexity of romance and takes a firm sex positive approach. It seems like this Uruguayan film is ready made for modern audiences.
“I love you so much, I could just eat you up. If you break my heart, I’ll devour you.” Teenager Izzy lives a lonely life with her mother, their house isolated deep in the Catskill Mountains. That scenic seclusion is no accident.
From the limited information given thus far to Hellbender it looks like a film that takes the Rose: A Love Story route, but with a great occult coming-of-age twist, which can be no bad thing. A film that will bring multiple questions to the table in this explorative feature.
It has the body of a pig, the trunk of an elephant, the ears of a horse and the feet of a rhinoceros. At night, it passes through sleeping villages and gobbles up people’s pesky nightmares. One grey day, a fishing boat is towed back into the village harbour, and eight-year-old Ah Keat’s father is not on it. The adults around him are not forthcoming with Ah Keat about what has happened. He wants his father back, and he believes the tapir can help, so he and his friends begin a quest to find the gentle, benevolent beast.
A charming film that utilises fantasy to the upmost, this spirited film had me from the trailer alone, couple that with the synopsis? This should be a film that carefully grabs you and any younger audience who gets to see it.
It has been centuries since human beings abandoned mortality and natural reproduction. Centuries since they delegated danger and drudgery to clones, only to see their subjugated creations revolt and exile themselves in the vast subterranean underworld.
Originally released at Fantasia in 2017, Takahide Hori returns with his film leaner than before and finally ready for the world to see. This is a one man stop motion extravaganza, for myself I never got to experience Junk Head the first time around, make sure you don’t miss it this time either.
The Last Thing Mary Saw
Southold, New York, 1843: Young Mary, blood trickling from behind the blindfold tied around her eyes, is interrogated about the events surrounding her grandmother’s death.
From what we can see this is an atmospheric slow burner of a horror that will build up that tension expertly. For horror fans, and especially those enjoying the recent slow burn features, you should revel in this one. Atmospheric horror rarely goes wrong afterall.
The Night House
Reeling from the unexpected and shocking suicide of her husband, schoolteacher Beth is left alone in the remote lakeside home he built for them. Beth valiantly tries to hold it together – but when the nightmares come (and they do!), that becomes increasingly difficult. Not helping: disturbing visions of a presence in the home calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure.
This one has been floating around for quite a while with some very strong reviews out there, and seems to have been an unwitting victim to the pandemic. Luckily for us we get the chance to catch it now, though if you are wanting to see this, I am still unsure as to whether you should watch the trailer. A ghost story that will get to you, the always great Rebecca Hall leads what should be a great film.
Poupelle of Chimney Town
Walled in and crammed full of smoke-belching chimneys, Chimney Town is nobody’s idea of paradise, but it’s home to young chimney sweep Lubicchi, whose father Bruno has disappeared. Bruno was a kamishibai (“paper theatre”) storyteller who would speak rapturously of what lay beyond the perpetual pall of smoke over Chimney Town, of the beautiful stars out there.
With some gorgeous animation Yusuke Hirota’s film will have your eyes busy and marvelling at what is presented before them as you scour the screen, yet there is a wonderful story here too and is another family friendly fantasy that will bring in a whole new generation of fans.
In an alternate version of Taiwan, a rapidly spreading pandemic that the government has largely chosen to ignore suddenly mutates into a rabies-like affliction.
Want to know how no holds barred The Sadness is? Fantasia themselves have given it a trigger warning. There should be stuff in here that we will never have seen before and that alone has me excited. This will be one experience that you may not be able to prepare yourself for and goodness does that bring the goosebumps.
After his car breaks down, Glen spends one hell of an odd night with a married couple, setting into motion a chain of events that alter their lives plus those of several random strangers.
From what I have learned thus far about Rob Schroeders film is that the less you know going in, the better and being a proponent of such messaging I will keep it short. This is said to be a surprising film with how it tackles its narrative and with a vast amount of subtle gestures to guide you, it becomes a must see.
Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched: A History Of Folk Horror
Horror documentaries are often hard to get wrong and with Kier-La Janisse’s film we have the chance to glance into 200 films. This is three hours of your time that you will not regret and in truth if such a sprawling documentary doesn’t cross such lengths, can it really say it covered enough? (Looking at you the wonderful In Search of Darkness 1 & 2). This will be undoubtably a treasure trove for the genre fan.
The debt-ridden Sasayas are moving out of their big house in the suburbs of Tokyo. Misinterpreting her father’s suggestion to “make fun memories” instead of focusing on the material move, Akane, the family’s daughter, posts an open invitation on Twitter: “Let’s have a party!”. Soon chaos reigns.
An absurd comedy that revels in Masashi Yamamoto’s punk roots, catch the trailer for this and tell me that you do not want to see how this beautiful madness lasts 95 minutes. A film full of mayhem is what we need at the minute and Wonderful Paradise seems to want to bring that and then some.
Of course there are dozens of other films to look out for and this is but a brief snippet, make sure to check out the festival and if you are in Montreal, get to those in person shows if you can, or if they haven’t already sold out!
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