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Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest 2018 preview: From premieres to parties, here's all the fun you can expect

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Sep 15, 2018, 11:50 AM EDT

The largest genre film festival in the U.S., Fantastic Fest, is kicking off its 14th year in Austin, Texas, this coming Thursday. With dozens of genre films screening from all across the globe, it's a delightful mix of horror, sci-fi, and stuff that doesn't quite fit into any one category. In addition, the eight-day marathon is filled with special guests, wild parties, and other assorted shenanigans. And SYFY WIRE will be there.

Until then, here's a quick rundown of some of what will go down at this year's 14th annual Fantastic Fest.

Noteworthy Screenings

Halloween 2018

Halloween: While the new sequel/reboot of Halloween killed (pun intended) at the Toronto International Film Festival, seeing it stateside with a bunch of rabid horror fans is a guaranteed good time. Jamie Lee Curtis will be in attendance to discuss the triumphant return of Laurie Strode, as will producers Jason Blum, Malek Akkad, and Bill Block.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote: After spending years in development purgatory, Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will have its North American debut during Fantastic Fest. Adam Driver stars as a world-weary man who's taken on a journey by Jonathan Pryce's titular Quixote.

Between Worlds: Nicolas Cage continues to gift us with his increasingly bizarre choice of roles, and Between Worlds is no exception. Here he plays a lonely truck driver whose new girlfriend's daughter ends up possessed by the ghost of his dead wife. Which, of course, leads to a bizarre love triangle between the living and the dead.

Bad Times at the El Royale: Director Drew Goddard's star-studded ensemble noir, Bad Times at the El Royale, will close out Fantastic Fest on Thursday, September 27th. The movie follows group of strangers gathers together at a run-down Lake Tahoe hotel, and all of them have secrets they're trying to hide.

Genre Premieres


OverlordProducer J.J. Abrams' World War II-era monster movie Overlord follows a group of American soldiers on the eve of D-Day, tasked with a mission that's crucial to the Allies' success. But what they find could spell doom for the entire world. Director Julius Avery, along with the cast and crew, will be in attendance for this world-premiere screening.

Apostle: Raid director Gareth Edwards sets his follow-up feature Apostle in 1905. It follows one man's desperate journey to a remote island to rescue his sister from a dangerous cult. The more he learns about the cult's secrets, the more dangerous his quest for the truth becomes. Edwards will also be here to unveil Apostle before it hits Netflix next month.

Life After Flash: A touching, eye-opening documentary about the man who played Flash Gordon on the big screen, Sam J. Jones. Director Lisa Downs mixes behind-the-scenes footage with all-new material to bring Jones' story to light. In addition to Jones and Downs being there, there will be a screening of the 1980 cult classic as well.

Secret Screening: This is easily one of the most anticipated events, and tightly kept secrets, at Fantastic Fest. In years past, the secret screening has surprised attendees by bringing out the likes of Guillermo del Toro to premiere Crimson Peak and M. Night Shyamalan to surprise everyone with Split. This year's secret screening is being kept under lock and key, so we'll be on the edge of our seats in the meantime.

Special Guests

Tenacious D Post-Apocalypto

Tenacious D: The musical duo, composed of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, are debuting a new six-part animated series, Tenacious D in Post Apocalypto, hand-drawn by Jack Black himself. After a screening of their new 'toon, The D will bring the house down as only they can, with a post-screening, pre-apocalyptic performance.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas: The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is presenting a lecture by Heller-Nicholas, an esteemed academic and scholar, titled Ghouls to the Front: Rethinking Women's Horror Filmmaking. The lecture will look at women's role in horror filmmaking while exploring ways to rethink its history while making the horror genre more inclusive and more fun.

Fantastic Events

Halloween Costume Slashbash: After a screening of Halloween kicks off Fantastic Fest's opening night, a Halloween-themed costume contest will close things down in style, complete with games, dancing, and a white-knuckle candy buffet.

Overlord Party: Following the screening of the World War II horror movie Overlord, an era-appropriate party will follow, with big band music, daredevil dancers, and mad scientists. The website promises that "the details are a closely guarded government secret, but you'd better believe that this night is destined to kick off World War 3 through 8!"

The Fantastic Debates: A cornerstone of Fantastic Fest, and one of the only big events held off-site. Each year a debate topic is chosen, like "Is Rocky IV the best boxing movie?" or "The merits of Zack Snyder as a filmmaker." Then two participants with opposing viewpoints engage in a scholarly debate before strapping on boxing gloves and duking it out in the ring. Past Fantastic Debaters have included the likes of Keanu Reeves and Michelle Rodriguez. This year's topic hasn't been selected, but it always proves to be a riotous good time.

Of course, this is all just the tip of the iceberg. For more information, you can check out the Fantastic Fest website here.