Not to be confused with the other film festival hosted every year in Austin, Texas, ATX is also home to Fantastic Fest. Founded and hosted by Alamo Drafthouse, the fest is the premiere destination for lovers of genre films — sci-fi, horror, fantasy and literally everything and anything in between — as well as special interest documentaries and rare retrospective screenings.
Smack dab in the center of festival season, this year's lineup includes screenings of a number of titles that have been making the rounds already: Cannes' Palme d'Or-winning Triangle of Sadness will serve as the closing night screening, along with The Banshees of Inisherin and Bones and All out of Venice.
Below, A.frame has put together a guide to 10 movies worth sinking your teeth into this year.
Decision To Leave
Six years after The Handmaiden rocked Fantastic Fest, Park Chan-wook returns with his new film that helped earn him the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. With twists and turns a plenty, Decision to Leave stars Park Hae-il as Detective Hae-jun, who inadvertently begins to fall in love with the mysterious widow Seo-rae (Tang Wei) while investigating the murder of her husband.
When it's showing: Decision To Leave has screenings on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Tuesday, Sept. 27.
From Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius (Best Director for The Artist) comes a French-language remake of the 2017 Japanese film One Cut of the Dead. A crew of ambitious filmmakers and actors attempt to shoot a zombie horror movie in the midst of the zombie apocalypse that is actually taking place in their city! Rather than being a traditional remake, Final Cut promises to be filled with satirical humor while paying tribute to the original. With the blessing of the original's producer, Koji Ichihashi, who is one of the executive producers of Final Cut, this horror comedy will be sure to please the hungriest of zombie movie fans.
When it's showing: Final Cut has screenings on Sunday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 27.
The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
From director Phillip Escott comes a documentary about one of the most famous horror movies of all time: Tobe Hooper's 1973 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Instead of focusing on the filmmaking, however, this documentary focuses on the influence the film has had on the horror genre and on films in general. With insight from filmmakers and horror genre experts, The Legacy of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre serves as a reminder of just how impactful the movie and the Leatherface character remain to this day.
Living With Chucky
Kyra Elise Gardner didn’t have the most conventional of childhoods. Her father, Tony Gardner, was a puppeteer in charge of bringing Chucky the murderous doll to life in multiple Chucky horror movies. In this documentary, she, as the film's subject and director, recounts growing up in the shadow of the slasher villain and the franchise. The film includes input from Don Mancini, the writer who created the Chucky character, and actors Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky). The documentary examines how the franchise has remained relevant by tackling real world social issues and carving out a place in queer horror movie history.
When it's showing: Living With Chucky has screenings on Sunday, Sept. 25 and Thursday, Sept. 29.
Director Alexandre O. Philippe is known for complex deconstruction documentaries of famous directors such as Ridley Scott and Alfred Hitchcock. With Lynch/Oz, he sets his sights on four-time Oscar nominee and Honorary Award winner David Lynch and his obsession with The Wizard of Oz. Known for such films as The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and Mulholland Drive, as well as the television phenomenon Twin Peaks, Lynch’s highly acclaimed filmography is defined by his surrealist cinematic style. Philippe and other directors provide all new context to his films, producing a love letter to both Lynch's body of work and to the magical place over the rainbow.
When it's showing: Lynch/Oz has screenings on Sunday, Sept. 25 and Monday, Sept. 26.
From director Mark Mylod comes a film sure to satisfy even the hungriest of comedy horror fans. Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult play a couple who travels to a secluded coastal island to eat an exclusive menu put together by an elusive chef (Ralph Fiennes). The Menu premiered at TIFF, but now makes its U.S. debut, promising to be one lavish course with some shocking surprises. (Watch the trailer.)
When it's showing: The Menu has screenings on Friday, Sept, 23 and Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Perhaps most famous for creating Neon Genesis Evangelion, creator/producer Hideaki Anno’s Shin series, beginning in 2016 with the release of Shin Godzilla, is a collection of modern reimaginings of Japanese pop culture icons. The highly anticipated follow-up, Shin Ultraman, is finally set to hit our shores at this year’s Fantastic Fest. Kimio Tamura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is a member of Japan’s newly founded SSSP Kaiju Defense Force. An encounter with the silver robot named Ultraman changes his life forever, and Ultraman’s true purpose is eventually revealed. Adapting one of Japan’s popular superheroes, Shin Ultraman is sure to be a cosmic good time.
When it's showing: Shin Ultraman has screenings on Friday, Sept, 23 and Monday, Sept. 26.
Writer-director Parker Finn's horror flick is like The Ring but with pearly whites: When an unseen presence smiles upon its victims, their faces twist into a malevolent grin before they die a gruesome death. When Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon, daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick) encounters the titular smile, she has one week to find answers or meet the same fate.
When it's showing: Smile opens the festival with screenings on Thursday, Sept. 22.
Something In The Dirt
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, having cut their teeth on high concept sci-fi films, such as The Endless and Synchronic, direct and star in Something in the Dirt, a sci-fi comedy horror film. When Levi (Benson) and John (Moorhead) discover a mysterious levitating crystal in an abandoned Los Angeles apartment unit, the pair set out to document their findings. Their mental states soon begin to fall apart as events behind the crystal become increasingly more bizarre. If their past work is anything to go by, then Something in the Dirt is a must-watch at this year’s festival.
When it's showing: Something In The Dirt has screenings on Sunday, Sept. 25 and Monday, Sept. 26.
The newest installment in the popular V/H/S anthology series sees some of the brightest rising names in horror each contributing a found footage horror story for yet another anthology film. Sure to be a fun horror throwback, V/H/S/99 plans to party like it’s 1999 with segments directed by Johannes Roberts, Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, and Vanessa and Joseph Winter.
When it's showing: V/H/S/99 has screenings on Sunday, Sept. 25 and Wednesday, Sept. 28.