The undead in slow-motion; gore-stained flesh; firearmed robots; foreign language throw-downs; webby animated fictions; and a documentary about penises. I'm not saying Fantastic Fest attendees can get sick of such things. I'm saying there's something more in case you want it.
Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League and his team have locked down a schedule of genre-driven extra-curriculars from seasonally appropriate hauntings to the famed Debates to having sex with air in a public formum.
And this year, I'm not only soaking in Fantatstic Fest for the first time, but attending the fest for the first time as a newly transplanted Austinite. The upshot to this is that my comfort zone isn't challenged to heartily: the various events essentially take place in the same block at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and League's own Highball lounge and bar, the epicenter of post-film playtime in Austin.
And so, for those who are not yet in-the-know, below are five solid sure-bets at Fantastic Fest that aren't films (or aren't, at least, a traditional viewing of films, as seen in a dark movie theater). See you at karaoke, otherwise:
Fantastic Debates: Saturday (Sept. 22) at 11:55pm
Blood sport has finally combined with " intellectual disputation." Years previous have featured a pair of hobbits (Elijah Wood and Dominic Monagan), bloggers and subsequently afflicted actors, gamers and tech stars and siblings. This one's across the parking lot at The Gym (1126 S. Lamar). Get there early, and bring a sweatband and grab a cold beverage.
Hold tight for a HitFix exclusive on who the 2012 Fantastic Fest debaters are.
'The American Scream' Homemade Haunted House Hellbash: Sunday (Sept. 23) at 11:30pm
You're never too old for trick-or-treat candy, though rarely do even grown-ups check an indoor cemetery. A traditional haunted house will be erected inside of the movie theater, likely to feature some well-loved horror characters. Not for the faint of heart, you may want to grab some of that witches brew beforehand.
Air Sex: Saturday (Sept. 22) at 10pm
I'm somewhat of an air guitar connoisseur. I've attended many of the competitions, I've got my back pocket ace (of spades) and have studied the masters. I've never seen air sex. I don't know the player. Something tells me that all variety of attendee at FF will want to get to know its victors, however. Tittie Bingo may have all the porn, but this at least guarantees an air-lay. Head (heh) to the Highball.
100 Best Kills: Tuesday (Sept. 25) at midnight
You know when you've been at a party for a while and somebody inevitably pops out the iPad or laptop and pulls up everybody's favorite cat videos or Internet Classics or '80s jams, and everybody's like Yeah I know that one? Think of that, only with the best on-screen deaths at Theater 3 in the Alamo. Winning submissions to the 100 best apparently get a cash reward, because God loves FF fans and wants them to be happy.
Data Pop: Monday (Sept. 24) 10:30pm
The greatest 8-bit video game themes and cultures collide with a full band and two VJs. I'm told there's dancing, and considering most games have no lyrics to them, a lot of fun-lovers "singing" along to the bir-nir-nirs and the doot-doot-doooooms at the Highball. Plus it requires less musical skill than Nerd Rap, which also promises to blow minds.