The Best Fantastic Fest Movies You’ve Never Seen

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we celebrate Fantastic Fest’s 15th anniversary with a look at some of the best films that played over the years that failed to find the audience they deserved.)

As mentioned above – literally just two lines up – this year’s Fantastic Fest Film Festival in Austin, TX is their 15th, and that’s something worth celebrating. It remains one of the best genre festivals in North America thanks to the venue, the fans, and most importantly, the wide variety of movies programmed each year. They play their fair share of bigger movies destined for wide release with the likes of Jojo Rabbit and Knives Out opening and closing this year’s fest, but the magic is in the far smaller titles.

The fest programs films from around the world and across genres, and while some eventually find their way to a proper US release – Rubber (2010) is about a sentient, homicidal tire and is available on Blu-ray! – just as many are rarely (if ever) seen on these shores again. As a big fan of genre films (horror, action, thrillers, dark comedy, etc) I’ve been introduced to numerous films and filmmakers over the years thanks to Fantastic Fest. Keep reading for a look at six of my favorites that never quite found the eyeballs and acclaim they deserve.

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de palma directing lights out

Brian De Palma has been attached to quite a few promising projects over the years. Most exciting of all, the director was going to reunite with his Scarface and Carlito’s Way star, Al Pacino, for a film about coach Joe Paterno. Whether De Palma is still involved with Happy Valley is unknown, and the same can be said for The Key Man and Heat. But we do know the director is now moving forward with Lights Out, a thriller set in China.

Learn more about Lights Out after the jump.

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If you’re a fan of genre film, you’ve had September 22-29 circled on your calendar for months. That’s when one of the most fun, depraved and intimate film festivals in the country once again invades Austin, Texas. It’s called Fantastic Fest and it features a huge blend of action, horror and sci-fi movies that most people haven’t heard of at the time, but we all hear about after. This year is no different. They announced the first wave of films in July and today we’ve got the second wave. Most of them are new to many of us, but then there are a few that we’ve covered in the past: Nacho Vigalondo‘s Extraterrestrial, Ti West‘s The Innkeepers, Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia and Adam Wingard‘s You’re Next just to name a few. After the jump, read the full breakdown of the second wave of films. Read More »