Fantastic Fest 2009: What to Expect From Our Coverage


We’re coming to you live from Austin, home of the Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest. Well, in fairness, we’re always broadcasting FSR from Austin, but this week is special. During this week, Austin becomes Geek Mecca, the center of the nerd universe. For the next eight days, we will be lounging around the lobby of the Alamo Drafthouse, standing in line waiting for a long list of awesome genre films, secret screenings and odd cinematic ventures from around the world.

And sadly, many of you won’t be here with us…

Good news is, we’ve got you covered. We will be bringing you a blow-by-blow assessment of everything that happens here in Austin, with the exception of those drunken moments in the bathroom at The Highball. We will leave those out, at least that’s our intention. (Chances are that they’ll make it in somewhere as well.) Anyway, this year Fantastic Fest is in the sights of our Festival Death Squad, an elite group of movie journalists dedicated to bringing you inside the experience — even if you’re far away. That said, here’s what you can expect from our coverage of Fantastic Fest 2009…

The Coverage

ff-smallrightFestival Preview: We’ve already laid down a few articles, including How To: Survive Fantastic Fest in 5 Easy Steps as well as our epic list of The 20 Must See Films of Fantastic Fest 2009. If that isn’t enough to get you ready, we don’t know what to tell you.

Daily Reviews: Every day we will be publishing reviews of films as they screen for the first time. For a limited number of films, we will have reviews a little early. Either way, you will know exactly what the word is on some of the best genre films of the year as they premiere here in Austin. And as always, we’ll be delivering opinions that matter, naturally.

Interviews: We’re putting Dr. Cole Abaius’ interviewing skills to the test. He will be chatting up anyone and everyone who looks important, including (tentatively) Jared Hess, Jemaine Clement, Uwe Boll, Michael Dougherty and many other up-and-comers.

Kick-Ass Editorials: We love the experience. And sometimes there are stories that occur in between the lines, outside of the screenings and in the streets (those are the most fun). Along with our stream of reviews and fireside chats, we will bring you all of the stories within stories from Fantastic Fest.

And now, meet the Death Squad that will be bringing you all of this coverage…

Meet the Death Squad

Get the skinny on the members of the Death Squad from the soldiers of film journalism themselves…

ff-neilNeil Miller, The Man Behind the Curtain
As the leader of this ‘here pack of wild festival assassins, I will be wandering in and out of Austin’s film venues in search of mainstream stories. I will be hunting down the wild 3D Avatar, being stealthy in and out of all the secret screenings and brutally punishing my liver at the bar of The Highball. I will also be seeing movies, mostly of the kickass kung-fu, badass revenge and perverse sexploitation variety. I will be detailing these visceral experiences in reviews posted daily, and tweets posted in real time. I’m also here to make sure that this Death Squad stays sober, stays focused and stays out of bathroom stalls with random go-go dancers during the “Meet the Japanese” party. My most anticipated films: Gentlemen Broncos, A Town Called Panic, Love Exposure and Buratino, Son of Pinocchio, with Kenny Begins as my wild card pick.

ff-robRob Hunter, Plaid Skirt Patrol
As the only member of the team to have actually had sexual relations with Asian women (or women period for that matter) I’ll be on top of all things Asian. I also plan on seeing some movies… and by some I mean about thirty or so over the course of the week. I’ll be checking out horror flicks, thrillers, black comedies, and the glory of S&M Hunter on the big screen. The beautiful thing about Fantastic Fest is that more than half of the movies playing this year are brand new to me. I’ve never heard of them before and that excites me in a very special way. And of course, as an award-winning bowler, I also plan on sticking my fingers in some holes over at the new Highball. My most anticipated films: whatever was on that other list.

Cole Abaius, The Giant Face in the Smoke
Mostly I’ll be posted up at a nearby pie shop eating Boston Cream Pie in between screenings and wracking my brain to find an appropriate alcoholic companion drink to Boston Cream Pie. Yes, I’ll be exploring the darkest depths of psycho-speed children’s toys, violently hydraulic spurts of blood, and any and all nature films and romantic comedies that will be playing.  I’m also here to make sure that this Death Squad is as inebriated as possible and hooks up with at least 13 go-go dancers. But not at the Meet the Japanese party. That’s too easy. We’ll be pitching woo to go-go dancers at the Fantastic Fest Bible Study. My most anticipated films: Under the Mountain, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, Fish Story, Metropia, and House of the Devil as my wild card pick.

Landon Palmer, John Wilkes Booth VI
Going directly against Brian Salisbury’s advice and spending my entire festival stipend from the Reject HQ coin jar on beer and more beer and then probably some coffee, I’m going to need the inebriation to survive the constant gouging my senses will take from inundation with gore, jump scares, creepy dystopian animation, and Lars von Trier. I have no real official game plan, seeking out any screening I can get into, sleep be damned, only to slow down if I start looking and sounding like Nick Nolte on a good day. My lack of sleep, lack of food, and constant intake of alcohol will hopefully result in tweets (sweeeet tweeeeets) and jumbled reviews whose (ab)use of the English language even Bjork would find enigmatic. My most anticipated films are, in no particular order, Antichrist, Bronson, Van Diemen’s Land, Paranormal Activity, and anything in the Jess Franco retrospective (I love my forgotten film history).

ff-brianBrian Salisbury, The Hammer
As the newest Death Squad recruit I gotta prove myself to my C.O.’s and to you the readers. Fantastic Fest is like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and John Carpenter’s birthday all rolled into one. I moved to Austin from Indiana for the Alamo Drafthouse so to say I live for this festival is an enormous understatement. I usually smash through as many action and horror flicks as I possibly can with the occasional crazy Japanese perforating my skull. I love to talk film so if you see me at FF, buy me a beer and let’s shoot the proverbial shit as we hammer our way through the greatest genre festival of all time!  My most anticipated: Trick-r-Treat, Mandrill, Ninja Assassin, Zombieland, Rec2, and The Legend is Alive.

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Reject Radio: Live from the Alamo Drafthouse

rejectradio-smallrightOn Monday, September 28th we will be broadcasting a special episode of Reject Radio live from the Alamo Drafthouse. This special episode will include all kinds of guests, including /Film founder and editor Peter Sciretta, members of our Death Squad and even a few Austin celebrities — and maybe, just maybe, some really special, high-profile guests. But probably not, as we’re not sure anyone’s ever heard of Reject Radio.


At the end of the fest, we will wrap it all up for you nicely with a little bow. Late next week, look for our team to pick the Best of the Fest and lay out several in-depth editorials about our experiences here in Austin. So stay with us all the way to the end. You won’t be disappointed.

Where You Can Find the Coverage

Coverage will be housed mainly on our Fantastic Fest 2009 Homepage.

You can also subscribe to our special Fantastic Fest 2009 RSS Feed.

For more on Fantastic Fest, check out their Official Website and the official blog of The Highball.


Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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