Even COVID-19 can’t stop the resilient Montreal based annual genre film festival, Fantasia, who return for their 24th year in 2020. We can all agree that 2020 has been a rough one, so it’s a welcome reprieve to have our favorite genre film fest back in action, albeit in a totally safe and socially distanced virtual format. Film Seizure is honored and excited to be back for our second year covering the festival with a coveted press accreditation. We’ll be posting tons of reviews throughout the next 3 weeks so make sure to follow along and see what we think of some of the films that we are anticipating and more. On demand and live screenings are exclusive to Canadian IP addresses, but regardless, many of these films are available on VOD now and in the coming months. If you have a way to access the films via the festival, you can review the program here.
Perhaps our most anticipated movie of Fantasia, Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma team are back with a bigger budget and their sights set on dismantling Big Pharma, social media, and misconceptions of addiction in this totally irreverent musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. One can look at big Troma flicks like TROMA’S WAR to see how Lloyd and company will spent a budget. Word has it that they dumped a lot of cash into the SFX so I’d expect something boarding on the spectacular and insane. Good, bad, or ugly, it’s always a blast of fun when Troma is involved.
It’s not clear yet if this will be screening for press, but we’re hoping to get our eyes on Neil Marshall’s THE RECKONING, which is opening this year’s Fantasia. Genre fans will recognize Marshall from his films DOG SOLDIERS, DOOMSDAY, and THE DESCENT. THE RECKONING is a 1665 period thriller set during the Great Plague and English witch-hunts. Sounds like either the perfect escape from the horrors or 2020, or maybe a little too close to home. Either way, it’s looks to be a beautifully grim and chilling tale from this now well-established master of horror.
CRAZY SAMURAI MUSASHI
Director/choreogrpaher, Yuji Shimomura, and Japanese action star, Tak Sakaguchi, re-team for this epic in the making take on the Japanese legendary swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. Why are we excited? Well, the bulk of the movie is a true one-take sword fight pitting Musashi against nearly 600 samurai. That’s enough to get the blood pumping right?
South African director Ryan Kruger expands the narrative of his award winning short film of the same title into his debut feature film. Seemingly a metaphor for the scourge of addiction and how it can turn a good person into something totally alien, Kruger takes viewers on a manic and wild tour of Cape Town via actor Gary Green’s dynamic performance as the title character abducted and possessed by an intergalactic alien.
Director Shinichiro Ueda made one of our favorite movies and 2019 with ONE CUT OF THE DEAD. Now he’s back with SPECIAL ACTORS, a movie about a struggling actor who can’t land a job due to his inability to make it through an audition without fainting from the stress. He eventually lands a job with a company that specializes in casting stand-ins for weddings, funerals, and other mundane situations. But his perfectly low-stress gig takes a turn when a new client needs a special actor to infiltrate the cult that has indoctrinated his sister. Featuring much of the delirious slap-stick humor that made Ueda’s debut such a success, SPECIAL ACTORS is near the top of our most anticipated films of Fantasia this year.
A MERMAID IN PARIS
French art-rock band Dionyous frontman, Mathias Malzieu, returns to Fantasia Fest with his long awaited and anticipated sophomore follow-up to 2014’s animated JACK AND THE CUCKOO-CLOCK HEART. Gaspard is a 40 year old man living in the dream of the past, unwilling to move on from the whimsical life inspired and fostered by the restaurant, bar, and nightclub owned by his father, Flowerburger, a haven and respite for bohemians and dreamers, who call themselves The Surprisers. Gaspard is losing touch with the panache of life until he discovers an injured mermaid name Lula on the docks of the Seine.
FEELS GOOD, MAN
Documentary filmmaker, Arthur Jones, tells the story of Matt Furie’s comic book character creation, Pepe the Frog, and it’s co-opting by extreme alt-right fringe groups as a symbol of hate, thus designated by the Anti-Defamation League. The story takes you down the sordid rabbit hole of meme culture, social media, 4chan, and Trump’s America, while still managing to remain playful and entertaining as Furie attempts to reclaim his creation from misuse.
Another of many compelling documentary features playing this year’s festival, is MORGANA, which tells the story of the female Australian porn filmmaker, Morgana Muses. After her 20 year sexless marriage finally falls apart, Morgana frees herself from her prison as a hetero-normative housewife and allows herself a new middle-aged journey of self-discovery and sexual expression. Like in the adult films she stars in and directs, Morgana lays herself bare to filmmakers Isabel Peppard and Josie Hess (making their feature debut), who delicately examine the intricacies of her life and journey towards mental health and self love.
FOR THE SAKE OF VICIOUS
Directors Gabriel Carrer (THE DEMOLISHER) and Reese Eveneshen (DETECTIVE) filmed this blood-soaked and relentless thriller in 15 days with all stunt work performed by the actors and tons of practical FX. Told over the course of one Halloween night, it’s intruder horror and hostage intrigue meets revenge thriller. Moody and bloody, with a tense synth soundtrack, this flick is sure to be one of our most anticipated of the festival.
Fantasia 2020 film festival runs April 20 – September 2. For more details and ticket purchases, you can view the program here: https://fantasiafestival.com/en/program