It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the year.

Sure, most people sing that phrase as part of a Christmas carol, but for me, September is the month when I get all my presents, and once again, it's looking like it's going to be a month overstuffed with pleasure.

Last week, we heard the first batch of titles that were announced for the Toronto International Film Festival, an amazing overabundance of movies I am absolutely dying to see.  That's what Toronto normally is for me, a collection of things I've already heard about that I'm eager to finally lay eyes on, while Fantastic Fest tends to be the opposite.  That's more about me discovering films I've never heard of and would otherwise never see, and I simply trust that the programming team, which has done an amazing job each and every year so far, is going to once again lay out a buffet of amazing treats that I'm going to savor.

This morning, we've got the official announcement of the first wave of titles, and while I don't recognize many of them, it sounds like a really weird batch of titles.  Sure, they announced that "Frankenweenie" would open the fest recently, but there's a lot of truly low-budget and obscure titles mixed into some amazing revival titles in this announcement.  In other words, it sounds like Fantastic Fest.

Have I mentioned that I can't wait?

Here's the press release we got from Fantastic Fest this morning:

Judgement is coming to Fantastic Fest with the red carpet premiere of DREDD 3D and the festival’s initial lineup of incredible genre films.  Fantastic Fest will take place September 20-27 in Austin, Texas at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.

The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One – a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets.  The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner.  Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.  Lionsgate will release DREDD 3D in theaters nationwide on September 21, 2012.

The festival is also pleased to announce the House of Psychotic Women sidebar, hosted by author and former Drafthouse programmer Kier-la Janisse.  Kier-la will be introducing each show and signing copies of her book afterwards. House of Psychotic Women is an autobiographical exploration of female neurosis in horror and exploitation films. Anecdotes and memories interweave with film history, criticism, trivia and confrontational imagery to create a reflective personal history and examination of female madness, both onscreen and off.

See below for the initial lineup of films at this year’s festival.  

COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES (2011)
US Premiere?
Director - Matthias Hoene, 87min
When a badly planned bank robbery and a zombie outbreak collide, hilarity ensues in this balls-out, irreverent British comedy.

DEAD SUSHI (2012)
US Premiere?
Director - Noboru Iguchi, 91min
Japanese splatter action comedy is on the menu when director Noboru Iguchi & karate girl Rina Takeda join forces to take on flying killer sushi monsters in DEAD SUSHI!

DREDD 3D (2012)
Gala Premiere
Director: Pete Travis, USA, 98 minutes
The future America is an irradiated waste land. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner.  Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge

THE ENTITY (1982)
Repertory Screening as part of the House of Psychotic Women series
Director – Sidney J. Furie, 125min
In this controversial film based on a true story, director Furie explores the domestically-abused-woman-as-masochist stereotype by veiling it as a supernatural horror film.

ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY (2012)
US Premiere
Director – Eron Sheean, 101min
Plagued by the memory of the infant son he could not save, geneticist Geoff Burton plunges into a web of intrigue, jealousy and lies in this icily precise thriller.

EVERYBODY IN OUR FAMILY (2011)
US Premiere
Director – Radu Jude, 107min
A simple domestic dispute becomes an explosive examination of stress in this powerful and unsettling Romanian drama.

I DECLARE WAR (2012)
Regional Premiere
Director – Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson, 91min
A group of exceptionally creative teens gets sucked into their own private Lord of the Flies scenario when an after-school game of “war” turns into a test of loyalty, strategy and friendship.

THE KING OF PIGS (2011)
Texas Premiere
Director – Yeun Sang-Ho, 97min
THE KING OF PIGS is an emotionally punishing animated indie film about a group of friends whose brutal childhoods continue to haunt them as adults.

LE MEMORIA DEL MUERTO (2012)
US Premiere
Director - Valentín Javier Diment, 89min
Alicia undertakes a bizarre cult ritual to restore her deceased husband to life – a ritual that will see her home and friends visited by the spirits of the dead.

THE MAFU CAGE (1978)
Repertory Screening as part of the House of Psychotic Women series
Director – Karen Arthur, 102min
One of the most compelling and uniquely dark films of the psychotic woman subgenre, Karen Arthur’s adaptation of Eric Westphal’s play You and Your Clouds stars Lee Grant as Ellen, an astronomer who lives with her feral sister Cissy (Carol Kane).

PARIS BY NIGHT (2011)
Texas Premiere
Director - Philippe Lefebvre, 100min
Phillipe Lefebvre's PARIS BY NIGHT is a sleek French cop thriller that follows a pair of vice cops as they patrol the Parisian club scene over the course of a single evening.

ROOM 237 (2012)
Texas Premiere
Director - Rodney Ascher, 102min
Rodney Ascher's ROOM 237 is a fascinating documentary that explores bizarre theories about the subtext and symbolism underlying Stanley Kubrick's landmark film THE SHINING.

SECRET CEREMONY (1968)
Repertory Screening as part of the House of Psychotic Women series
Director – Joseph Losey, 105min
In Losey’s underrated SECRET CEREMONY, an aging but still glamourous Elizabeth Taylor stars as Leonora, a prostitute grieving over the death of her daughter in a drowning accident.

THE SHINING (1980)
Repertory Screening
Director – Stanley Kubrick, 142min
Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece features an unhinged performance by Jack Nicholson and a setting that drips with menace.  Its imagery and characters have permeated all areas of pop culture throughout the decades, yet the film retains all its power to disturb and terrify.

TOWER BLOCK (2012)
US Premiere
Directors - James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson, 87min
The last remaining tenants of a deteriorating, soon-to-be-demolished tower block must band together to survive when a killer with a high-powered sniper rifle starts picking them off through the windows of their flats.

UNIT 7 (Grupo 7) (2012)
Texas Premiere?
Director - Alberto Rodriguez, 95min?
Alberto Rodriguez's UNIT 7 is gritty realistic thriller about a crew of narcotics officers in Seville, Spain who go rogue during a citywide crackdown in the years preceding Expo '92.

WRONG (2011)
Regional Premiere
Director - Quentin Dupieux, 94min
Everyman Dolph Springer’s (Jack Plotnick) world is turned wrong when he awakens at 7:60 one morning to find his beloved dog missing in Quentin’s Dupieux’s latest absurdist opus and follow up to 2010’s killer tire film, RUBBER.

YOUNG GUN IN THE TIME (2012)
US Premiere
Director - Oh Young Doo, 95min
The director of INVASION OF ALIEN BIKINI returns with a quirky, low budget time travel romp filled with sex shops, robot hands and Hawaiian shirts.

Look for more film & event programming announcements for Fantastic Fest in the weeks ahead.

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, THE HUMAN CENETIPEDE 2 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. 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 sat next to Tim League during "Wrong" at Sundance this year, and we interviewed him immediately after.  You can see the smile he simply can't hide as we talk, so I'm not at all shocked to see "Wrong" programmed here.

The rest of that line-up, including the repertory stuff, sounds great, and I think the idea of a double-feature of "Room 237" and "The Shining" together is just about heaven.

We'll have more as they announce it, and if I were you, I'd start seriously considering Austin in September.

I hope to see you there.