What to Expect at the 2012 Fantastic Fest

Photo Credit: Lionsgate
September 25th, 2012

What to Expect at the 2012 Fantastic Fest

-- Fantastic Fest is one of the most significant film festivals in the United States. This annual festival takes place every year in Austin, and it remains popular with those interested in sci-fi, fantasy, and action films. Screenwriter Tim McCanlies ("The Iron Giant," "Secondhand Lions"), Ain't It Cool News writer Harry Knowles, and writer Tim League came together in 2005, organizing the festival.

Knowles gained a reputation thanks to his website, and he offers a special screening during each festival. Guests to the festival line up hours in advance for the film, though Knowles does not release the name or any information about the film until the premiere. Moviemaker called Fantastic Fest one of the only film festivals worth the cost in 2008, and Variety listed it as one of the top 10 festivals in the world.

Fantastic Fest often features films previously unseen in the United States. The 2005 festival saw screenings of horror films like "Pulse," "Wolf Creek," and "Hakugei: Legend of the Moby Dick," which previously did not screen anywhere in the country. Past festivals screened films such as "The Host," "The Woods," "Hatchet," "Deadgirl," and "Zombieland."

The 2012 Fantastic Fest will offer special screenings of foreign films and some newer films. One of the most anticipated films is "Dredd 3D," which is a remake of the early 1990s film starring Sylvester Stallone. Set in the future, the film stars Karl Urban ("Star Trek") as the iconic comic book character and Rachel Wood ("Chronicle") as the woman helping him along the way. Early trailers for the film showed a bleak view of the future that perfectly mixed CGI work with live actors, creating a film that got fans excited.

Mexican horror director Adrian Garcia Bogliano brought some of his past supernatural films to the festival, and he returns in 2012 with the eerie film "Here Comes the Devil." The film tells the story of two small boys who threw their town into an uproar when they went missing one day. The two wandered into a cave, and when they return, it becomes clear that there is something wrong with the young duo. If Bogliano can capture some of the creepy atmosphere that he did in his earlier films, no one will want to miss this one.

Fantastic Fest will also play host to the United States premiere of "The ABC's of Death," a film already getting good buzz. The film gave 26 of the best directors in the horror genre the chance to create a short story. Each of the directors created a different story that ends in death, including a story about a killer wolf. As a special bonus for fans, several of the directors associated with the film will be on hand for a Q&A session.

Fans flock to Fantastic Fest for special world premieres of films not available anywhere else in the world. One of the hottest films for the 2012 festival is "Paranormal Activity 4." Though the completed work is not yet ready for screening, the director will show a work in progress print. Studios often show these films as a way to get feedback, which can result in small changes, including a new ending or the removal of certain scenes. It's a good bet that the version that lands in theaters will look quite different than the one that plays at the festival. "Paranormal Activity 4" picks up where "Paranormal Activity 3" left out, continuing the story of two sisters stalked by a demonic being.

Another film getting some early buzz is the documentary "The Exorcist in the 21st Century," which tells the story of a Catholic priest who performs exorcisms. Father Jose Antonio Fortea is part of a select group of men whom the Church picks to investigate supposed possessions and perform exorcisms when needed. Father Fortea also travels the world as a guest speaker and lecturer, discussing the dark side of the Catholic Church.

Visitors to the festival can also catch a screening of the new film "Crave." The film focuses on a crime scene photographer named Aiden who has unusual fantasies about the dead women he encounters on the job. When he begins a relationship with his next-door neighbor, he quickly falls in love and makes her the center of his fantasies. "Crave" touches on a number of different themes, as Aiden looks for new outlets for his fantasies.

Fantastic Fest highlights some of the best sci-fi and horror films from around the world, and 2012 looks as if it might play host to some of the best films ever shown here. Guests will have a hard time choosing which films to see this year.

Tags: Dredd