Like a kid who can't wait for Christmas, I'm all giddy these days at the thought of Fantastic Fest coming to town and sliding down the Alamo's chimney with its big bag of movies for all the good little boys and girls. Even though I work behind the scenes at the big show, I'm just as excited as everyone else is, if not more so, since I've seen some of this year's batch and I know how good the selection is. With this in mind, here are some of my suggestions of five films you must see at Fantastic Fest 2008:
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6:30pm and Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 1:15pm.
I'm sick to death of stupid vampire movies, but this is something completely different altogether, a remarkably moving look at childhood, loneliness and friendship, in addition to being an excellent horror film. Every so often someone comes along to re-invent the genre, and there's no question that Tomas Alfredson has done that here. This isn't just the best film of Fantastic Fest, it's the best film of the year.
LA CREME - Sunday, Sept. 21, at 4pm and Monday, Sept. 22, at 4:15pm
A big surprise for me when I saw it at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal this year, Reynald Bertrand's comedy has a great premise and a superb execution, in addition to a shitload of laughs. It may only dabble in fantasy, but LA CREME deserves a spot at Fantastic Fest for being a fantastic movie.
TREEVENGE (running as part of SHORT FUSE) - Thursday, Sept. 18, at 4pm; Sunday, Sept. 21 at 9pm and Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 1:50pm.
Proof positive that HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was no fluke, TREEVENGE may only be 17 minutes long, but they may also be the most entertaining 17 minutes you will spend during all of Fantastic Fest - and that's saying something. It almost singlehandedly marks the return of the great gore comedy after too long an absence.
THE MAN FROM HONG KONG - Monday, Sept. 22, at 1:45pm and Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 11:59pm.
The centerpiece of our NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD Ozploitation retrospective this year, I've written about this one before, but suffice to say I think the film is a bit of a discovery, if only for it's incredible action scenes and perfect use of Jigsaw's #1 hit, "Sky High". Trust me when I tell you that Aussie action does not get more batshit insane than this.
I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW - Saturday, Sept. 20, at 1:50pm and Monday, Sept. 22, at 4:40pm.
This is unquestionably the creepiest, scariest film playing at Fantastic Fest, but by no means should that keep you away from it, because it stays with you for a very long time. You may think you're not anything like the two people featured in the film, but at some point you're going to see yourself in them and it's going to freak you the fuck out. Disturbing, but also pretty much unmissible.
See you at Fantastic Fest!