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Fantasia 2008: Opening Night!

Fantasia opening night coverage!It was a strange experience arriving totally alone at the Fantasia HQ in the early afternoon of July 3rd to pick up the press pass this year. Just me, Paul McCannibal, and some tumbleweeds blowing through the city centre of Montreal. Usually, I do this with Evil Andy, my Dread Central standby and local commander-in-chief who is nowhere to be found (he’s on his honeymoon).

So there I was, staring up and down the street, abject isolation, wondering if I could hack this Fantasia coverage gig alone. Terrifying. More terrifying, perhaps, than anything on the bill this year at Fantasia’s predictably impressive spread for fans of horror, shock, schlock, and cult cinema. I almost thought about testing out that floating-toaster-in-the-bathtub theory, or whether a gallon of gas is as expensive in relation to self-immolations these days. You see, it’s no small task to look down both barrels of Fantasia’s impressive cannon of content alone.

Fantasia opening night coverage!Thankfully, as darkness enveloped the urban hell of Montreal’s rotten Crescent-district core, it brought with it the annual Fantasia launch soiree at “Le Social”, a revamped whorehouse where you can only ponder if you are walking through areas where jizz once liberally flew in the place of flowing beer. Friendly faces came out of the woodwork, like Karim Hussain (hot on the heels of his recent teaser trailer for “Filthy”), “>4th Life (review) director Francois Miron , Festival magnate Mitch Davis, the entire Boston Underground Film Festival posse, the legendary Jim Levesque, and a host of others who escaped my lens due to the battery unexpectedly conking out. I also had words (good words, that is) with Douglas Buck about his looming The Broken Imago project for which he recently shot a teaser-trailer in Argentina amidst a sea of cockroaches and used condoms (more info on this delightful experience and what it may lead to will follow soon).

Fantasia opening night coverage! Fantasia opening night coverage! Fantasia opening night coverage!

There was also a fetish show that was really short. The picture you see here makes the show seem better than it actually was, but it was not a total loss as there were several hot ladies in knockout fetish clothes strolling around for most of the night.

Fantasia opening night coverage!So needless to say, the place was hopping and there is much to be excited about this year. Film-wise, we’ve got lots of good stuff coming up. At the top of my expectation list is Frank Henenlotter’s Bad Biology. The trailer for that movie is beyond belief. We also got some schlocky looking mayhem in store with Steve Goldman’s Trailer Park of Terror and James Isaac’s Pig Hunt. Ryuhei Kitamura’s adaptation of Midnight Meat Train looks promising, Vinnie Jones in particular as a steel mallet wielding heavy in the film. Stuart Gordon returns with Stuck. I heard some raves pertaining to Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In and the Balaguero/Plaze co-helmed REC.

On the fun side, Jon Knautz’s Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer was mentioned to me by Johnny Butane with a mix of excitement and resentment, as he seemed genuinely annoyed that I’d get a chance to see it before him. Tokyo Gore Police looks like good times, too. And what contemporary genre festival is complete without a film by Uwe Boll? Tunnel Rats doesn’t appear to be based on a video game, and in the synopsis it is stated that “given the right materials and intentions, he (Boll) is a remarkable cinematic craftsman”. Yeah, well we’ll see about that! Tunnel Rats does actually look good though, so I’m fully prepared to eat my words if it delivers. Speaking of potential and delivering on a promise, Argento’s Mother of Tears is playing tomorrow night. Can he wrap up his legendary trilogy in a worthwhile way considering the reverence in which the other installments are held? I will soon find out for myself.

Anyway, that’s just a small taste of the gut-bucket that will be dumped unapologetically over the audiences at Fantasia this year. The Fantasia catalogue as usual is an amazing thing that comes with a full DVD of trailers, so if you get the chance buy it even if you’re not going to make it to the Festival in person. You an also peruse the full array of content online (including the trailers) by going to the Fantasia website.

It looks like things are going to get real messy around here…

Paul McCannibal

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