Fantasia 2018 is Coming Soon… A Sneak Peek

Fantasia International Film Festival

The Fantasia International Film Festival (or simply Fantasia 2018) is coming back soon for round 22, and if the hype is to be believed, it will be “more explosive, bloody, and insane than ever!” Based on previous years, there is no reason to doubt this.

Well over 100 feature films will be playing in Montreal from July 12 through August 2 — a full three weeks of horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, anime and more.

Enough with the formalities… here are the Top Five titles I’m giving the official MUST-SEE designation! Narrowing down 100 great genre films into five is hard enough without having to rank them, so here they are in no particular order…

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2019)

There is no possible way this film can fail. The title itself sells the picture before you hear anything else — the awkward wording, and saying “the” Bigfoot rather than just Bigfoot? My interest in piqued. And then who do they cast in the lead? Sam Elliott, one of the all-time great character actors. He has that look and that voice that make everything better.

Amazon Prime Video (affiliate link)

Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana (2019)

I was first “exposed” to Mike Diana in the mid-1990s; he was notorious for his artwork, drawings so shocking he faced prison. While Know nothing about the man himself, his art really tests how we feel about the First Amendment. He draws the worst possible things — incest, pedophilia, cannibalism — but is this “free expression” or criminal? Are child harmed when they are merely pen on paper and not flesh and blood? Not only is this a fascinating story, but told by a master of genre film — Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case).

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Mandy (2018)

Nicolas Cage. That’s all I’m gonna say.

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Under the Silver Lake (2021)

Now, this apparently isn’t horror. It’s billed as comedy-crime-drama. The plot says, “A man becomes obsessed with the strange circumstances of a billionaire mogul’s murder and the kidnapping of a girl.” So, why does this make my top five? Because it’s from writer-director David Robert Mitchell, who gave us “It Follows”. Although it has its detractors (all films do), for my money “It Follows” deserved every honor it received, and I’m eager to see what Mitchell has done next.

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Relaxer (2019)

“With the impending Y2K apocalypse fast approaching, Abbie is faced with the ultimate challenge – the unbeatable level 256 on Pac-Man – and he can’t get off the couch until he conquers it. A survival story set in a living room.” This comes from Joel Potrykus, who brought us the indie greats “Ape”, “Buzzard” and “The Alchemist Cookbook”. Potrykus has been described by many people the same way: as Richard Linklater when he made “Slacker”. Well, Linklater grew up and now makes Oscar films (Boyhood). Potykus refuses to grow, and that’s all the better for us.

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And a few honorable mentions:

Laplace’s Witch (2018)

It has become a tradition for Fantasia to have a film from Takashi Miike every year. Sometimes we get a new classic — “Ichi the Killer” or “Audition”. But with Miike now having made a daunting 105 films, many end up being rather dull. Which will this be?

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Nightmare Cinema (2019)

I love a good anthology. Hopefully this IS a good anthology. With Joe Dante (Gremlins), Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers) and David Slade (30 Days of Night) directing… it certainly can’t be bad. Can it?

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Tokyo Vampire Hotel (2018)

First of all, this looks creepy. But more importantly, it comes from director Sion Sono, who made my favorite Japanese horror film — “Suicide Club”. Like Miike, he has a long list of credits and not all can be winners, but this one definitely has the look.

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