Hey, 2011, you wanna pump the brakes for me?

I can't believe we're already hearing announcements for Fantastic Fest programming.  After all, FanTasia in Montreal is just kicking off today, Comic-Con is next week, and then we've got… oh, that's right, it's just over a month until we reach September, or as I like to call it, "The month I am gone at film festivals."  We just finished making all of our arrangements for Toronto, and now we're starting to think about Fantastic Fest.

For me, the highlight of the festival is going to be welcoming Tim and Karrie League's new twins into the world.  I still can't believe they're scheduled to deliver their kids right in the midst of all the madness they've got planned for this year's edition of my favorite film festival, but I guess that just adds to the excitement.  In the meantime, we've got a chunk of titles to check out, and one of the things that surprised me is how many vintage titles are part of this wave of announcements.  I like that.  I'm looking forward to those as much as any of the new titles, and let's take a look at all of them so far:

Fantastic Fest is proud to announce our first wave of programming for the seventh edition of Fantastic Fest, happening September 22-29 in Austin, Texas.
 
This batch of 20 films spans the globe from Japan, Belgium, Mexico, Russia, Hong Kong, Korea and of course the USA.  We’re debuting digital restorations of Italian horror classics and a stunning 3D epic with more objects flying in your face than Michael Bay and James Cameron combined.  With favorite Fantastic Fest veterans returning with new projects and a new slate of debut directors, 2011 is shaping up to be an epic edition.
 
“Fantastic Fest is the high-point of my year.  Every year old friends return and strangers become friends.  Fantastic Fest is my extended dysfunctional family; each of us completely obsessed by the wildest and weirdest films on earth,” says festival creative director and co-founder Tim League
 
Fantastic Fest is the film festival with the boring parts cut out.   We scan the globe for the very best in action, horror, science fiction, fantasy to the truly bizarre in contemporary cinema for your viewing pleasure. Look for many more announcements in the weeks to come, including information on our gala events, parties and filmmakers in attendance.
 
For photos, trailers and full descriptions of the following films visit the Fantastic Fest press site.  The Next Fantastic Fest content announcement is slated for mid-August.  Stay tuned!
 
Comin’ At Ya! 3D “30th Anniversary” (2011) - Real D Presents
World Premiere
Star Tony Anthony and Producer Tom Stern live in person
Director: Ferdinando Baldi, USA, 118 minutes

The film that kicked off the '80s 3D Boom returns in a state of the art digital re-imaged restoration. Equal parts western and rollercoaster, COMIN' AT YA pulls out every stop to entertain you.  If the modern wave of 3D were as fun as COMIN’ AT YA! 3D, the motion picture industry would have nothing to worry about.  The only Spaghetti Western shot in 3D is now completely restored with the latest in 3D technology and stars Tony Anthony as H.H. Hart, an avenging hero out to retrieve his kidnapped bride, played by Victoria Abril. Gene Quintana plays the slave trader who is holding her hostage in this extremely memorable cult favorite.
 
Beyond the Black Rainbow (2011)
Regional Premiere
Director: Panos Cosmatos, USA, 110 minutes

A trance inducing, psychedelic head trip from visionary director Panos Cosmatos, BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW is a sci-fi dystopia sent with love from the Reagan years. Imagine STALKER meets LOGAN’S RUN.
 
Body Temperature (2011)
North American Premiere
Director: Takaomi Ogata, Japan, 72 minutes

Takaomi Ogata’s BODY TEMPERATURE chronicle’s a young man’s love affair with a life-sized sex doll.  Think LARS AND THE REAL GIRL but with all the creepiness that story was strangely missing.
 
Borderline (2011)
North American Premiere
Director: Alexnadre Coffre, France, 89 minutes

When David finds a bag in the park, he sees its nefarious contents as the perfect escape from his dead-end life; hopefully without losing it entirely at the hands of the bag’s former owner.
 
Boys on the Run (2010)
Texas Premiere
Director: Daisuke Miura, Japan, 114 minutes

Based on a manga (surprise), BOYS ON THE RUN’s central courtship starts with a bestiality DVD and ends with a Taxi Driver-style showdown. Guaranteed to warm the heart of the serial masturbator inside all of us.
 
Bullhead (2011)
US Premiere
Director Michael R. Roskam live in person
Director: Michael R Roskam, Belguim, 129 minutes

Testicular trauma, the underground beef hormone black market, steroid addiction and a vast swath of suppressed emotions swirl together to form one of the most powerful narratives we have seen in recent memory.
 
El Infierno (2010)- Cine Las Americas presents
Texas Premiere
Director: Luis Estrada, Mexico, 145 minutes

Luis Estrada’s El Infierno (Hell) finds pitch-black dark humor in a peasants rise to power amid the drug-war-torn streets of the Mexican border.
 
House by the Cemetery (1981)- Blue Underground Presents
Theatrical Premiere of the 2K digitally restored version
Director: Lucio Fulci, Italy, 87 minutes

Lucio Fulci's classic Italian gore rollercoaster, now presented in a digital restoration from Blue Underground.
 
Invasion of Alien Bikini (2011)
Texas Premiere
Director: Oh Young-Doo, Korea, 75 minutes

The no-budget bikini-clad alien invasion martial arts romp INVASION OF ALIEN BIKINI was so fun, it took the $25,000 jury prize at this year’s Yubari Fantastic Fest, a sum more than five times the budget of the film.
 
Kill Me Please (2010)
US Premiere
Director Olias Barco live in person
Director: Olias Barco, Belgium, 96 minutes

From the producers of MAN BITES DOG, KILL ME PLEASE details the day-to-day exploits of one of the world’s foremost assisted suicide clinics. Dark comedy and pathos are as well mixed as Dr. Krueger’s lethal cocktails.
 
A Lonely Place to Die (2011)
Regional Premiere
Director: Julian Gilbey, UK, 98 minutes

This back-to-basics, no-BS modern take on the survival genre features a violent Russian girl in a cage, gun-toting maniacs, and a cat-and-mouse chase across lawless, rural Scotland.
 
Milocrorze, A Love Story (2011)
Regional Premiere
Director: Yoshimasa Ishibasha, Japan, 90 minutes

This bizarro musical/variety/samurai/love story from Japan is cinematic LSD from Yoshimasa Ishibashi, the mad genius behind the Fuccon Family, and Takayuki Yamada, who plays all three male leads.
 
New Kids Turbo (2011)
US Premiere
Dirctors: Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil, The Netherlands, 87 minutes

Gutter comedy escalates to ludicrous extremes in the Dutch smash hit that will leave you gasping for air. The mullets are magnificent, as are the moustaches.
 
Revenge: A Love Story (2011)
US Premiere
Director: Ching-Po Wong, Hong Kong, 91 minutes

Ching-Po Wong’s REVENGE: A LOVE STORY follows a severely wronged man in his quest to avenge  a terrible crime.  This is a new ultra-violent Hong Kong action, one deeply influenced by the best of Korean revenge films.
 
Snowtown (2010)
US Premiere
Director: Justin Kurzel, Australia, 120minutes

Justin Kurzel, part of the Australian Film Collective BLUE TONGUE FILMS whose members include Spencer Susser (HESHER) and NASH Edgerton (THE SQUARE), knocks out a stellar debut feature with SNOWTOWN, a dark hypnotic tale of a lower-class youngster who has the misfortune of finding a father figure in John Bunting, Australia's most notorious serial killer.
 
The Stoker (2010)
North American Premiere
Director: Alexei Balabanov, Russia, 87 minutes

Genius storyteller and two-time Fantastic Fest veteran, Alexsei Balabanov (CARGO 200, MORPHIA) delivers his unique blend of bloody crime drama by way of the darkest recesses of the Russian human condition.
 
Underwater Love (2011)
Texas Premiere
Director: Shinji Imaoka, Japan, 87 minutes

The simple life of a fish factory worker gets turned upside-down when she falls in love with a legendary Japanese creature in this kinky, musical romp of a pink film lensed by the legendary Christopher Doyle and directed by Fantastic Fest veteran Shinji Imaoka (UNCLE’S PARADISE).
 
Versus (2001)
US Premiere
Star Tak Sakaguchi and writer Yudai Yamaguchi live in person
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura, Japan, 119 minutes

The 10th anniversary screening of the yakuza vs. zombies action classic that cracked open Japan’s indie film business like a can of cheap beer.
 
Yakuza Weapon (2011)
Regional Premiere
Star/co-director Tak Sakaguchi and co-director Yudai Yamaguchi live in person
Directors: Tak Sakaguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi, Japan, 106 minutes

Ten years after starring in VERSUS, former street fighter-turned actor/director Tak Sakaguchi is back with this mondo trasho flick about a yakuza with a machine gun arm and a rocket launcher leg.
 
Zombie (1979)- Blue Underground Presents
Theatrical Premiere of the 2K digitally restored version
Director: Lucio Fulci, Italy, 92 minutes

Lucio Fulci's extreme masterpiece of post-Romero corpse mania is back in a gorgeous 2K digital restoration.
 
For the latest developments visit the Fantastic Fest Facebook & Twitter.
 
About Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. In years past the festival has been home to world premieres of THERE WILL BE BLOOD, APOCALYPTO, ZOMBIELAND and RED while the guest roster has included such talent as Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Ryan Reynolds, Karl Urban, Josh Hartnett, The RZA, Dolph Lundgren, Jemaine Clement, Paul Rudd, Bill Pullman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, George Romero, Darren Aronofsky and Mike Judge. FantasticFest also features world, national and regional premieres of new, up-and-coming genre films.  The festival has launched and propelled the buzz for international genre hits like THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, MONSTERS, TIMECRIMES and TROLLHUNTER.  Fantastic Fest is held each year at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar in Austin, Texas. The Alamo Drafthouse was named the best cinema in America by Entertainment Weekly and features food and drink served to your seat without any disruption of the movie experience.
During his Keynote Address at the International film Festival Summit in Las Vegas, Variety president and publisher Charlie Koones listed Fantastic Fest in a list of “10 Film Festivals We Love,” a list which included industry heavy-hitters such as Cannes, Toronto and Telluride.  We’ve also been named as one of the “25 coolest film festivals” and the “25 film festivals worth the entry fee” by Moviemaker Magazine.

I'm excited by a number of these titles right away, including "Beyond The Black Rainbow," "Bullhead," "Milocrorze," and "Snowtown," and I'm sure there are plenty of surprises packed into the other titles on the list as well.  I'm not the biggest fan of "Versus," but it seems like seeing it in a theater with a packed house would be the ideal way to see it.  I'm absolutely going to see "Comin' At Ya," which I saw during its first theatrical run, and "House By The Cemetery," which I also saw theatrically the first time around.  Seeing them again now, with all the years and movies in-between, sounds like a blast, and I never would have expected to see either of them in a theater as great as the Alamo.

And "Underwater Love," shot by Christopher Doyle, sounds deranged.  Which is the whole reason I go to Fantastic Fest.

We'll see you there, and you can expect HitFix to cover the festival top to bottom for the third year in a row.