What it is: The story of a video game villain who wants to break free from his role and define himself – a task that takes him through a host of other video game environments filled with classic characters.
Why it might screen: It would make an early premiere in a friendly geek environment, and it would bring John C. Reilly back to the festival.
What it is: New era-jumping insanity from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer.
Why it might screen: Imagine settling in for a mystery screening, maybe everyone has been given a coaster that reads “Papa Song’s Diner” to place their beverage upon, and then Tim League announces that, yes, Cloud Atlas is their secret screening and, yes, the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer are there to answer questions afterward. How huge would that be?
FDR: American Badass!
What it is: Barry Bostwick as our Nazi werewolf killer-in-wheelchair-in-chief.
Why it might screen: Fantastic Fest has a streak of playing schlocky stuff in one of the secret slots. While there’s a handful of exciting premieres, there’s almost always one low-budget flick that sneaks in, and since Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is officially listed on the schedule, this might be a solid choice, although a better candidate might be…
What it is: The story of a baseball prodigy who accidentally kills his father with a pitch and eventually turns to a life of crime, depositing him into a prison run by the granddaughter of a Nazi collaborator. Of course, the young man is forced to play baseball again (probably against teams made up of over-the-top Japanese clique stereotypes).
Why it might screen: Sushi Typhoon has a history with the fest, and Well Go USA (which is putting this out on DVD) is a sponsor.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
What it is: A new installment in the franchise, directed by Michael J. Bassett.
Why it might screen: There’s a kind of slickness to this choice that doesn’t exactly match up with Fantastic Fest’s usual M.O., but the festival can take credit for pushing hard for Bassett’s earlier effort – Solomon Kane – which is just now getting a limited release after years of languishing for no reason. Plus, it’s a horror film featuring fan-favorite Sean Bean and Malcolm McDowell. It’s doubtful that the audience would revolt if this was announced.
So those are my guesses. You’ll have to tune into our full-spread coverage of Fantastic Fest to see whether I got any right at all, and for those that won’t be going to the festival (or who have never been at all), hopefully this gives a fan’s eye view of one of the things we love about it.
It’s rare today to schedule two hours of time for something unknown, let alone to place your faith in someone else to program a movie for you to watch, so it’s a nice change of pace buried in a mountain of too many trailers and set photos for flicks coming out a year from now. There’s a kind of relief that comes with blindly heading into the theater, and hopefully those fortunate enough to be in the Alamo Drafthouse this week will be rewarded for their faith.