In just a couple hours, I will hop in my car, nab my road buddy Don, and start driving to Austin, TX. We will arrive sometime tomorrow, and I hope that, this year, all the raccoons we see along the way will still be alive after we pass them.
That’s right, we’re heading to Fantastic Fest!
Fantastic Fest is an utterly bonkers film festival, housed at the famed Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. It focuses on genre filmmaking (mainly horror, crime, action, and sci-fi) that would usually only pop up occasionally at more “serious” film festivals, and it excels at bringing in those films from around the world. Fantastic Fest embraces the weird, the crazy, the underground, the obscene. The triumphant mantra of Fantastic Fest audiences is “CHAOS REIGNS!”
This will be the third year in a row that I attend. Over those years, Fantastic Fest has become one of my favorite nerd events of the year. It’s eight days where I completely fill my head and eyeballs and ears with filmmaking that often doesn’t reach American audiences at all. And then, between the films, absolutely insane things happen. I’ve seen ebullient Japanese film directors strip nearly naked whilst singing karaoke in a Texas bar. I’ve seen – and eaten - whole roast pigs that have been sewn together, Human Centipede-style. I’ve seen Elijah Wood get thrown in a Faraday cage so he could dance while being struck by lightning.
And during all of this, we eat food at the Alamo Drafthouse. Mmmmm…
This year, The Geek Life cohort Wendy will be sharing the Fantastic Fest experience. Will she survive? How many Mondo posters will she buy? Will she get spoon bruises from acclaimed Spanish directors?
In these pages over the next two weeks, you will find out what happens on our adventures! You will also be awash in film reviews and photos. Join us in the chaos!