The first thirty minutes of hanging out in line or around the Alamo Drafthouse on Day One of Fantastic Fest is reserved for excited greetings, hugs you only get one week out of the year and a discussion of what’s been going on with family. It’s a community coming together just like any other, and that means baby photos and inside jokes.
The week after those thirty minutes features a lot of topics, but it’s anchored by discussion about what the secret screenings will be. Amid conversations about how fast Donnie Yen really is and what sex with an octopus might yield, the active guessing of the unnamed movies perforates, growing in waves of disinformation and speculation as the time slot grows closer.
The thrill of waiting in a packed theater (with a bucket of beer), filled with anticipation (and a bucket of beer from earlier) is one of the unique emotions the festival offers, and a big part of that is trying to fit uneven puzzle pieces together. This is pure speculation – borne from my years of experience with Fantastic Fest and a look at the forthcoming release calendar – so take it only as that.
We already know what movies will be there, but here are 10 that just might show up in a TBA slot.
What it is: The new meta-ish movie from Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) where a writer’s blocked screenwriter trying to finish his script for Seven Psychopaths gets his hands dirty in a Shih Tzu-napping and lands on the wrong side of a gangster.
Why it might screen: It’s perfect for the audience, it’s got genre appeal as a crime film and it’ll be in theaters two weeks after the festival so the timing is solid.
What it is: Another display of a particular set of skills.
Why it might screen: Timing is a factor here as well, considering that the sequel hits October 2nd, but it’s also a no-brainer when it comes to fan love. The only way this could be more ideal for Fantastic Fest is if Liam Neeson was fighting zombies with a machine gun for a hand.
What it is: Ben Affleck’s forthcoming flick about a CIA ex-filtration expert staging a fake movie shoot in order to bring six Americans home during the Iranian revolution.
Why it might screen: Although this has screened at other festivals, it would be a great get for Fantastic Fest because it sounds uniquely weird and fiercely clever. The movie-making angle is a nice touch as well.
Resident Evil: Damnation
What it is: There’s another Resident Evil? Yup, and it’s completely Jovovich-less. The animated project was directed by Tokyo Gore Police actor and Biohazard: Degeneration director Makoto Kamiya.
Why it might screen: It’s one of the long-shots on this list, but secret screenings are a surprise for a reason. It could be a cool way to achieve the anime quotient, and the movie hits DVD and Blu-ray on September 25th.
What it is: It’s E.T.
Why it might screen: Fantastic Fest has never had a retrospective secret screening, but with a re-release for the Amblin classic imminent, it might be a great time to start. This same theory applies to Lawrence of Arabia, and both would make excellent screenings for the festival, but this choice seemed just slightly more perfect (if that’s a thing).