Fantastic Fest Day Three Recap

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day two. In this entry, The Long Walk is a fascinating story that goes on for too long, The Lodge will make you miserable in the best ways possible, The Pool defies logic and taste in ways that are difficult to sum up, and The Mortuary Collection is a fun but hit-and-miss horror anthology.

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die kinder der toten review

One of the highlights of Fantastic Fest is coming across movies you would otherwise never see anywhere else. Movies that make you question your very sanity, as well as your choices. “What have I gotten myself into?” you ask during movies like this. And: “Just what the hell is this?” The MVP of this type of Fantastic Fest movie might very well be Die Kinder Der Toten, which is technically a zombie movie, but unlike any other zombie movie ever made. Imagine a Monty Python sketch as filmed by Abraham Zapruder and you might have some concept of what the hell this is.

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the mortuary collection review

Loaded with gore sloshed upon gore, blessed with creeptacular practical special effects, and boasting lush, stylish, chill-inducing cinematography, The Mortuary Collection is a feast for the eyes. This horror anthology from writer-director Ryan Spindell started off as one short film – “The Babysitter Murders” – before being expanded upon, and given a neat little wraparound story to tie things together. The end result is a film tailor-made to elicit hoots and groans from midnight movie audiences – a big, bloody, and loud movie that just wants you to have fun. So why then does it seem so tedious at times?

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in the shadow of the moon review

Hey, have you ever wanted to watch a movie that features nearly every single genre at once? If so, I’ve got just the film for you! It’s called In the Shadow of the Moon, and it’s a frenetic mash-up of sci-fi, mystery, horror, and action. The only things it’s missing are a musical number or two and a rom-com subplot. This ambitious, sometimes ridiculous experience takes big risks – some of which pay off, some of which don’t. It’s a cop thriller, a time-bending saga, a gore-soaked splatterfest. It rides on a wave of goofiness mixed with earnestness, and it’s hard not to appreciate something like that.

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The Vast of Night Review

Certain decades have their own tangible fears. The 1950s possessed a culture of fear that has been explored repeatedly throughout the horror and sci-fi genres. Cold war fears were heavily centered around an aversion to the other, technology, nuclear war, and aliens. There’s a singular simplicity in film and television that captures the emotional impact of these anxieties, allowing filmmakers to enhance metaphors through style, dialogue, and setting as opposed to overt displays of violence and nightmarish imagery. Director Andrew Patterson’s feature debut The Vast of Night at Fantastic Fest 2019 applies all of the conventional trepidation of the time period, while delivering a film with concise and unorthodox storytelling along with subtle suspense rooted in sci-fi. Read More »

Fantastic Fest Day Two Recap

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day two. In this entry, Reflections of Evil is one of the most insane movies ever made, The Death of Dick Long is a surprisingly tender movie about idiots, and Color Out of Space is the wild H.P. Lovecraft movie we’ve been waiting for.

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Tammy and the T-Rex Review

Tammy And The T-Rex is a tale as old as prehistoric time. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl’s punk ex-boyfriend kidnaps her new crush and leaves him to be mauled by lions in a wildlife park. Wounded boy is stolen by a crazed genius, has his brain removed, then implanted into an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex. Boy, now a Jurassic Park prop, goes on a deadly rampage in order to win back his lover and reclaim a new body. Shakespear meets Mary Shelley meets 90s slapstick comedy.

Stewart Raffill, what have you done. Read More »

in the tall grass review

Just how scary can grass be? Ask Stephen King and Joe Hill, who crafted an immensely disturbing tale of terror called In the Tall Grass. Then ask director Vincenzo Natali, who has taken King and Hill’s story and worked it into an off-the-wall crazy adaptation that mostly captures the madness of the story…but not quite. Just when you think Natali will fully embrace the shocking twists of the source material, the filmmaker takes the easy way out, resulting in something that’s both horrifying but also oddly muted.

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4x4 Fantastic Fest Review

Mariano Cohn’s 4×4, which sadly is not a lumberjacked themed slasher, brings fresh conceptualization to the single-setting thriller format. Those suffering from “Amaxophobia,” peel off in the opposite direction. Ever get stuck in highway traffic, roasting on the interstate with no air conditioning and mounting frustrations? Cohn constructs a far scarier transportation lock-in scenario where moral quandaries rev all the right engines. Maximum tension without burning any rubber. Read More »

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the golden glove review

Fatih Akin‘s The Golden Glove is the rawest, most real, and most brutal serial killer movie since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Unflinchingly gruesome, and covered in a thick layer of grime, Akin’s film tells the true story of Fritz Honka, a murderer who stalked 1970s Hamburg, preying on the weak, the old, and the destitute. Honka was able to easily navigate amongst the downtrodden because he was one of them himself – a physically unappealing loner with a serious drinking problem. The Golden Glove has seemingly taken Honka’s inner and outer ugliness and projected it large on the screen. Buried under gruesome makeup, actor Jonas Dassler transforms into Honka, creating one of cinema’s most repulsive-yet-fascinating characters.

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