Fantasia kicks off in this week, and that means heaven for genre fans. This thrilling Montreal film festival specializes in the weirdest and wildest in horror, science-fiction, and fantasy. This year, that means offering up creepy tales of suburban terror, malcontent mermaids, time-traveling thieves, and zombie-studded musical numbers. Follow our reports out of the fest over the coming weeks.
To kick things off, here are the titles FANGRRLS is most excited about at Fantasia International Film Festival 2018.
Writer/director Panos Cosmatos made a smashing debut with his mind-bending Beyond The Black Rainbow. Now, he's back with a new tale of trippy terror. And this time he's brought the one and only Nicolas Cage, who—the good buzz says—delivers a career-defining performance to this absolute madhouse of a movie. Cage stars a Red Miller, a man heartbroken over the slaughter of his lady-love, and hell-bent on carrying vengeance against the religious sect who is to blame. The premise is promising. But come on, we had you at Nic Cage
Anna and the Apocalypse
If you've ever felt the zombie-horror subgenre could use a bit more singing and holiday cheer, then this indie out of Scotland is perfect for you! Even if you've never wondered what the love child of High School Musical and Shaun of the Dead might look like, you won't be able to resist director John McPhail's Christmas-set teen-comedy that's wrapped in wildly entertaining tunes and topped off with a gleeful amount of gore. Its story centers on some small-town teens whose festive plans of family fun are overrun by the living dead. Now all that's left is to survive…and sing a song or two.
Summer of 84
From Roadkill Superstar, the directing trio who brought us the post-apocalyptic horror-comedy Turbo Kid, comes a nostalgic tale of '80s-set horror. On a quiet cul-de-sac, potentially paranoid paperboy Davey Armstrong is convinced that a kid-slaying serial killer lives right next door. But who would believe the chipper cop who hands out popsicles to the frolicking children who tumble into his front yard could be the Cape May Slayer? In this tense horror-thriller, it's up to Davey and his best friends to unearth the ugly truth.
Blue My Mind
Not every mermaid tale is pretty with fine princes and happy endings. Some are spiked with horror. The feature debut of Swiss writer/director Lisa Brühlmann delivers the strange yet strangely relatable coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Mia. The new girl in town is struggling to find her identity at school, to make friends, and appease her ever-glowering parents. But while other teen girls are learning to shave their legs, Mia's been secretly plucking emerging scales from hers. This gripping tale of girl-becomes-monster not only offers stomach-churning body-horror, but also an empowering tale about female friendship and self-acceptance.
Mega Time Squad
From the nation that brought us Flight of the Conchords, Taika Waititi, and iZombie's Rose McIver comes an outlandish time-traveling Kiwi comedy. Written and directed by Tim van Dammen, this New Zealand treat follows a golden-hearted but deeply dumb smalltime criminal whose life is forever changed when he accidentally steals an ancient Chinese bracelet that has the power to propel him through time. Come for the sci-fi, stay for the silliness.
Real talk: we'll watch anything Ray Stevenson deigns to be in, be it the Thor trilogy, Punisher: War Zone, or G.I. Joe Retaliation. But this tantalizing blend of mystery, madness, and horror seems an especially twisted treat. Stevenson stars as a grizzled lighthouse caretaker, whose none too welcoming to Friend, the young meteorologist (David Oakes) assigned to share his remote South Atlantic island for a year. The ice is broken once Friend realizes there's a dark secret on this isolated shore, "demons from Atlantis." But who are the real monsters on this island?
What if there was a creature who could steal everything you are — your hopes, memories, your face, and the way you move and make it their own? That nightmarish scenario is the premise of this bold bit of body-horror. Written and directed by Justin McConnell, this Fantasia world premiere centers on a murderous shapeshifter dedicated to getting back the woman it loves, no matter the cost.
Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven)
Fairytales are often the stuff of chipper princesses and plucky animal sidekicks. But this daring adventure from Mexican writer/director Issa López is a darker, more challenging version with her contemporary-set fantasy. When her mother goes missing, 11-year-old Estrella is left seemingly defenseless in a cold city overrun by drugs and cartels. But with the help of a band of scrappy orphans and some supernatural help, this little girl might be able to fight back against the darkness that would gladly gobble her up.
Horror producer Jenn Wexler (Darling, Most Beautiful Island) makes her feature directorial debut with this sinister slasher. On the run from the cops, a band of teen punks takes to the woods to camp out and let the heat die down. But their bad attitudes and wood cabin won't be enough to protect them from a far greater threat. Somewhere in these woods lurks The Ranger, who walks softly and carries a big, bloody ax.
The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then Bigfoot
If the title alone doesn't grab you, what if we told you that Sam Elliott stars as this mythic man? Making its world premiere at Fantasia, writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski's wild tale of historical fantasy and cryptozoology follows the legendary American hero who covertly slew Hitler and now has been tasked with hunting down the world's most elusive beast. This one doesn't have a trailer yet, but the poster is pure genius.