Select Page

Tribute to Mike Flanagan and many more movies are part of Fantasia 2024’s final-wave announcement; full details

Wednesday, July 3, 2024 | Events, Fantasia International Film Festival, News


One of our greatest modern fright filmmakers and works from both up-and-comers and established auteurs are part of the Montreal event.

The final unveiling has been made for the features and special events at the 28th Fantasia International Film Festival, running July 18-August 4 in Montreal, principally at the Concordia Hall and J.A. de Sève cinemas, with additional screenings at the Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée. A highlight will be the presentation of the 2024 Cheval Noir Career Award to director Mike Flanagan (pictured above), celebrating his career in features and series and his popularization of landmark authors to a new generation. He’ll also take part in an artist talk moderated by yours truly, and promote the previously announced world premiere of Chris Stuckman’s SHELBY OAKS, which he produced.

The final round of announced features, joining the movies previously revealed here and here, begins with the fest’s official closing film:

ABABOUINÉ takes us back to the 1950s, when the Catholic Church ruled over Quebec with an iron fist, and as a rowdy group of kids goes to war against the church. In his latest masterpiece, André Forcier (AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE, A WIND FROM WYOMING) revisits a dark period of Quebec’s history through an often shocking–yet undeniably and absurdly funny–lens. Starring Rémy Girard (THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS, THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE), Gaston Lepage (JESUS OF MONTRÉAL), Pascale Montpetit (DISTRICT 31), Éric Bruneau (AN EYE FOR BEAUTY), and Mylène Mackay (NELLY), the film brings together an incredible cast of some of the province’s most established actors alongside its most talented newcomers. With a deft hand, Forcier navigates the historical abuses of the church and the hope of a society on the brink of change–with sensitivity, humor, and, quite literally, a lot of heart. World Premiere, with Forcier receiving Fantasia’s Prix Denis-Héroux.

Leave it to an award-winning documentary filmmaker to do found-footage chills right. A perfectly calculated, slow-burn nightmare that opens with the feel of an indie doc and gradually evolves into something uniquely sinister, IN OUR BLOOD is the narrative feature debut of Oscar-nominated documentarian Pedro Kos (REBEL HEARTS, LEAD ME HOME). Nothing is as it seems when filmmaker Emily Wyland (a phenomenal Brittany O’Grady of HBO’s WHITE LOTUS) teams up with cinematographer Danny (E.J. Bonilla, FX’s THE OLD MAN) to shoot an intimate documentary about reuniting with her mother (Alanna Ubach, HBO’s EUPHORIA) after a decade apart. When her mother suddenly goes missing, Emily and Danny must piece together increasingly disturbing clues, hoping to find her before it’s too late. Sad, scary, and unshakably convincing, this is a film that lingers like the ghosts of stolen futures. World Premiere.

Inspired by the book “The Stranger Next Door” from critically acclaimed Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb, 4PM is a riveting psychological thriller from director Jay Song (THE NIGHTMARE) drenched in silent tension. Jeong-in (OLDBOY’s Oh Dal-su) is taking a break from his life as a teacher in his new countryside house when a written invitation to a neighbor (Jang Yeong-nam, PROJECT WOLF HUNTING) turns into a nightmare of excruciatingly awkward visits every day at 4 p.m. This character joust is one to remember–and its countless twists will force any audience member to ask themselves how they would handle the same wild situation. North American Premiere.

After the success of PSYCHO GOREMAN, FX artist and director Steven Kostanski hits back with the zany, over-the-top FRANKIE FREAKO! Starring Conor Sweeney and Adam Brooks of Astron-6 fame, the film follows a nerdy man who just isn’t cool. In an attempt to impress his wife and boss, he’s lured by a 1-900 TV ad to party with a strange little creature called Frankie Freako. All hell breaks loose when Conor calls and Frankie and his two friends wreak interdimensional havoc in Conor’s life. Kostanski fans will flock to his latest imaginative adventure, saturated with throwback cartoonish fun à la GHOULIES, wildly creative puppets, big laughs, and a helluva good time! Septentrion Shadows section. World Premiere.

All things possess spirits capable of transforming into fairies, which carry the owners’ desires. One single piece of jade is used to create both an umbrella and a sword, but from the very beginning, the fairies Qingdai and Wanggui are destined for different missions. A brand-new, top-tier work of Chinese animation, THE UMBRELLA FAIRY marks the feature-length directorial debut of Shen Jie, art director on MR. MIAO (2020). Incorporating numerous elements of traditional Chinese arts and culture to achieve a distinctive charm and vitality, the film offers its audience a visual feast of rare richness to complement its engaging fantasy fable. Animation Plus Section. International Premiere.

Peter Vack (ASSHOLES) and Dasha Nekrasova (THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST) star as couple on the rocks during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic in American filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko (SPREE)’s latest, THE CODE–a generation-defining, wickedly dark comedy that blends post-New Wave French sensibilities of aesthetic disillusionment with a singularly alien view of contemporary American life. A transgressive and singular experience, nothing is off limits in this surveillance-heavy narrative, which uses multiple formats, points of view, and cameras to create a visionary collage-like experience of modern life. An epic poem for our post-pandemic world. Underground Section. World Premiere.

Dumped by her shifty widower father in a small coastal town, 11-year-old Karin is left in the care of Anzu, who’s affable, if rather uncouth and feckless–oh, and he’s also an immortal ghost cat. Based on the manga by Takashi Imashiro, the French-Japanese co-production GHOST CAT ANZU is co-directed by animator Yoko Kuno (CRAYON SHIN-CHAN, THE CASE OF HANNA & ALICE) and Nobuhiro Yamashita, whose live-action films CONFESSION and SWIMMING IN A SAND POOL also screen at Fantasia this summer. It tackles a now-familiar trope in anime–a troubled child’s summertime coming-of-age in a countryside inhabited by supernatural creatures–and offsets its bucolic charm with deadpan wit and an emotional tone that’s as tender as a bruise. Official selection: Cannes Directors’ Fortnight 2024. Animation Plus Section. North American Premiere.

After his debut feature, BANG BANG BABY, premiered at TIFF in 2014 and took home Best Canadian First Feature Film, the vision of the award-winning director and writer Jeffrey St. Jules comes to Fantasia. His latest, THE SILENT PLANET, is a sci-fi meditation on humanity and the what-ifs about the worlds beyond our stars. In the future, two prisoners on a penal colony planet find they have an unexpected connection, and they mine more than minerals as a horrible truth is revealed. With moving performances by Elias Koteas (CRASH, THE THIN RED LINE) and Briana Middleton (SHARPER), this futuristic view of accountability, regrets, and truths is packed with St. Jules’ signature touch of surrealism and imagination. Septentrion Shadows Section. World Premiere

In this age of extreme polarization and armed conflicts, director Rikiya Imaizumi’s TEASING MASTER TAKAGI-SAN should be prescribed by public health authorities, as this infinitely charming feel-good movie will make audiences happy-cry from cuteness. An extremely shy teacher (Fumiya Takahashi, BLUE PERIOD) and her college crush Takagi (Mei Nakano, OFFICE ROYALE), who she constantly teased in an attempt him to pull him out of is shell, reunite in the same school they once attended. Mentors and pupils learn from each other in this lovely romantic comedy often reminiscent of AMÉLIE, filled with witty dialogue and gorgeous photography. North American Premiere.

It’s been 21 long years since Scooter McCrae (SHATTER DEAD) released a new feature, and with BLACK EYED SUSAN, he’s lost none of his smart, transgressive bite. Desperate for work, Derek (Damian Maffei, THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT) accepts a job at a shady tech start-up, working intimately with Susan (Yvonne Emilie Thälker in a powerful debut role), a bleeding-edge BDSM sex doll meant to receive and appreciate sexual punishment as an integral part of her evolving AI. Shot on Super 16, BLACK EYED SUSAN counterbalances its dark, vulgar core with a surprisingly tender vulnerability, creating a lo-fi science-fiction landscape infused with surprising fragility, as legendary Italian composer Fabio Frizzi (THE BEYOND, ZOMBIE) lends the picture a lush, atmospheric backdrop. Not for the faint of heart, BLACK EYED SUSAN delves into themes and questions that will only become more pertinent with the continued evolution of artificial intelligence. World Premiere.

The bond between Kai and the robot he pilots, Little Dragon, will need to be strong as steel if either will survive the incredible challenges of the Mecha Corps Academy and the battles beyond it. Brewing for over a decade, HEAVENS: THE BOY AND HIS ROBOT, Singaporean filmmaker Rich Ho’s ambitious and spectacular introduction of his HEAVENS universe, has finally launched into the stratosphere. Built on a foundation of technological innovation and a desire to tell a tale with universal appeal, HEAVENS: THE BOY AND HIS ROBOT astounds with visual effects that elevate it to the highest global standards of sci-fi blockbusters, and proves that the tiny city-state in the heart of Asia can be a world-class contender when it comes to pop culture. North American Premiere.

Canadian rockers, your favorite headbanger is back in DEANER ‘89! It’s 1989 and Paul Spence (FUBAR and FUBAR 2) brings us his legendary character Dean Murdoch as a teenager growing up in suburban Manitoba. Captain of the hockey team, with a pretty girlfriend and a great adoptive family–he’s got it all until a gnarly trunk of his recently deceased birth father’s belongings arrives. Deaner’s life changes when he learns about his heritage and identity in one fell swoop. Dean’s contagious energy lives on in DEANER ‘89, featuring an outstanding cast that includes Spence, Will Sasso (CBS’ YOUNG SHELDON, THE THROWBACK), comedy legend Mary Walsh (THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES), and a cameo from Kids in the Hall’s Kevin McDonald. You’ll laugh your ass off with this charming, hilarious origin story! Septentrion Shadows Section. World Premiere.

A 23-year-old girl (Megan Northam) is contacted by an unknown lifeform claiming to be able to bring her missing astronaut brother back to Earth. Jérémy Clapin’s celebrated live-action debut following his Oscar-nominated animated sensation I LOST MY BODY, MEANWHILE ON EARTH is an inversion of science fiction classics: a slice of life tale about existing on Earth while an extraordinary man is out there, far beyond the solar system. Live-action storytelling is intercut with animated sections that take viewers into the headspace connecting the siblings to one another. Unique, poetic, and surreal, this otherworldly meditation on grief launched earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it left audiences breathless. North American Premiere.

After 100 films, Jackie Chan shows no signs of stopping in A LEGEND, a lavish kung fu epic filled with high production values and a massive cast. Chan reunites here with his frequent collaborator Stanley Tong to create a follow-up to their 2005 classic THE MYTH. The two most famously worked together on the iconic action classics POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP and RUMBLE IN THE BRONX, both of which became massive breakout hits for Chan in North America. In A LEGEND, Chan portrays a professor whose dreams of his past life as soldier in old China are haunting him, causing complications in the present day as he rediscovers more of his colorful past. North American Premiere.

A true DIY passion project from Estonian filmmaker Sander Maran, CHAINSAWS WERE SINGING is a zany, blood-soaked musical about lovers split up by a chainsaw-wielding killer. Over a decade in the making, Saran not only directed but wrote, scored, shot, and edited this colorful murder-fest that’s part gory horror movie and part ridiculous musical. The camerawork is inventive, the editing slapstick, and the tone truly absurdist. Most importantly, though, the songs are incredibly catchy, with Sander clearly deeply indebted to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL and Frank Oz’s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Underground Section. International Premiere.

It’s rare to come across a high-quality, CG-animated fantasy film for young audiences that challenges commercial conventions, but unlike actual unicorns, such a thing does exist. With the fascinating, eccentric SUNBURNT UNICORN, Canadian animator Nick Johnson has elevated the generic wilderness adventure to a hallucinatory, existential odyssey, following in the footsteps of fantasy films from the 1980s that, with their penchant for the unexpected and moments of true fright, acted as a gateway for kids to the horror genre. The pervasive eeriness is further heightened by an astounding score by Inuit sister duo Piqsiq, who, with only their two voices, conjure up a powerful atmosphere of wonder and dread. Animation Plus Section, co-presented with Septentrion Shadows Section. North American Premiere.

A bleakly pulverizing action thriller from celebrated Kazakh maverick Adilkhan Yerzhanov (THE GENTLE INDIFFERENCE OF THE WORLD, THE OWNERS) and Oscar-nominated producer Alexander Rodnyansky (LEVIATHAN), STEPPENWOLF explodes off the screen with tension that will singe the flesh from your bones. Like a Kazakh MAD MAX directed by John Ford–or perhaps, THE SEARCHERS directed by George Miller–with a touch of Herman Hesse and classic samurai tales, STEPPENWOLF reinvents the codes of its inspirations with jolting doses of post-Soviet nihilism and morbid black humor. A desperate mother (Anna Starchenko, NARTAI) teams up with a psychopathic ex-cop (Berik Aitzhanov, GOLIATH, THE ASSAULT) to find her son, who’s gone missing in a landscape consumed by riots and death. Winner of the Golden Raven Grand Prix at the 2024 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Official Selection: Rotterdam International Film Festival 2024. North American Premiere.

Under the relentless heat of a scorching July sun, four teenage girls find themselves with an unusual task: sweeping the sand-covered bottom of a swimming pool, remnants of a nearby baseball field. Based on a play written by high-school student Nakata Yumeka and originally performed by the Tokushima City High School Drama Club, SWIMMING IN A SAND POOL is a tender coming-of-age story that explores love, ambition, and gender equality. SWIMMING IN A SAND POOL touches on material familiar to director Nobuhiro Yamashita, best known for the profound teenage-girl-band comedy LINDA LINDA LINDA. With this film, Yamashita once again strikes a perfect balance between bubblegum sweetness and the blunt, rebellious poetry of youth. North American Premiere.

Legendary J-horror director Koji Shiraishi (NOROI: THE CURSE) brings the genre to new levels of fun with HOUSE OF SAYURI. A vengeful ghost disseminates a family until a counterattack from a bold grandma brings a startling new dynamic into the house. Shifting tones in surprising and destabilizing ways, this horror-comedy alternates from a galvanizing spiritual training montage to profoundly dramatic moments, coming together to create a truly unique cinematic experience. North American Premiere.

After decades as a prolific character actor in film and television, winning numerous awards in the process, Dale Dickey (WINTER’S BONE, HELL OR HIGH WATER) takes center stage in THE G. Here, she plays Ann, a harsh-tongued, tough-as-nails septuagenarian who finds herself with no husband, no money, and no home other than the miserable facility she’s been locked up in after being betrayed by her corrupt legal guardian. But as her tormentors are about to find out, someone who’s had everything taken away from them is someone with nothing left to lose. Director Karl R. Hearne has crafted a gritty revenge thriller laced with shards of bitter humor and anchors it with an unconventional, yet entirely convincing, protagonist–a different shade of noir, with a touch of grey and a ton of earned rage. Co-starring Romane Denis, Bruce Ramsay, and Roc LaFortune. Official selection: Tallinn Black Nights 2023, Glasgow Film Festival 2024. North American Premiere.

Those unfamiliar with the now-extensive MONOGATARI anime franchise, fear not (or not much, anyway): extensively revised and reworked (revamped, if you like) from a trilogy of feature films released in 2016 and effectively impossible to find today, KIZUMONOGATARI: KOYOMI VAMP is the starting point, a prequel that chronicles teenage loner Koyomi’s initiation into the supernatural realm. Overseen by original co-director Tatsuya Oishi, this resurrection retains the distinctive characteristics of his work–not just the dynamic battle scenes and elegant aesthetics, but the echoes of French New Wave cinema. Sleek, sly, and startling, it’s a grandiose, avant-garde, neo-Gothic nightmare, spattered with splashes of teen sex farce and copious quantities of blood. Animation Plus Section. North American Premiere.

For his first feature, director Michael Pierro’s SELF DRIVER premiered at this year’s Fantaspoa Film Festival and brought home a Best Low-Budget Film Award. Now Fantasia’s audience gets to see this gritty take on the gig economy, and one man’s tensely disturbing struggle to make ends meet. A Toronto rideshare driver (Nathaniel Chadwick, THE LAST PORNO SHOW) gets an opportunity to make more money with a mysterious and demanding app. In one night, he tests his sanity by risking it all, with his passengers forcing him to put his morals on the line. With a compelling performance by Chadwick, audiences will be completely invested in the plight of the gig worker as they watch him pursue the almighty dollar on a wild, dangerous midnight run! Septentrion Shadows Section. North American Premiere.

TATSUMI is a riveting crime thriller from director Hiroshi Shoji, following his award-winning 2015 feature debut KEN AND KAZU. Tatsumi works as a fisherman in a small coastal town, but he also has a side job: he’s a “cleaner” for a local drug gang, disposing of their victim’s bodies. After the murder of his ex-girlfriend, her young sister, a defiant car mechanic, seeks revenge and asks Tatsumi for his help. There’s no turning back, and now they have to fight for their survival. TATSUMI’s cinematic portrayal of gang life paints a grim and realistic portrait of suffering and cruelty. As a gritty, violent, and brutal revenge tale, Shoji delivers one of the finest and most compelling crime thrillers in a very long time. North American Premiere.

Former POWER RANGERS director Michael Duignan’s utterly mad feature debut, THE PARAGON, electrifies with hilarity and trippy psychedelic visuals, delivering in the spirit of inspired low-budget New Zealand filmmaking that harkens back to early Peter Jackson. After experiencing a hit and run, an angry ex-tennis coach named Dutch (Benedict Wall, SHADOW IN THE CLOUD) embarks on a psychic training course to find the driver and get revenge. Alongside his witchy psychic coach Lyra (Florence Noble), Dutch must decide between being a victim of his fate or a slave to otherworldly evil in this spectacularly entertaining fantasy comedy where revenge becomes a cosmic experience. Co-starring an especially nuts Jonny Brugh (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS). North American Premiere.

The stunning sophomore feature from award-winning director Carlota Pereda (PIGGY), THE CHAPEL marks the fantastic return of atmospheric, character-driven supernatural Spanish horror. Emma (Maia Zaitegi) wants to learn how to communicate with the spirit of a little girl who has spent centuries trapped inside a chapel. She tries to convince Carol (THE ORPHANAGE’s Belen Rueda), a cynical and fake medium, to help her in the hopes that contacting the spirit may help her to remain close to her dying mother after she passes. What Carol doesn’t suspect is that Emma really does have “the gift” and, if she keeps on trying to use it without her guidance, she will be putting her young life at terrifying risk. Winner: Best Actress, Belen Rueda, Cinefantasy 2023. Official Selection: Sitges 2023. North American Premiere.

Shootings! Explosions! Tanks! Musical numbers! Javier Horcajada Fontecha’s FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS is a jaw-dropping exploration of gun culture in the United States made from thousands of hours of YouTube videos that’s equal parts amusing, hilarious, bizarre, and impressive (there’s some pretty sharp shooting here). Often disturbing in ways their creators did not always intend, playing like a strange, real-life sister act to the darkest Paul Verhoeven satire, audiences can accept it as a document of our troubled times or as a piece of entertainment. Offering no opinions and presenting everything matter-of-factly, audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off this sharply assembled film, which packs one hell of a recoil. Docs from the Edge Section. North American Premiere.

THE A-FRAME (USA)–dir. Calvin Reeder
Donna (Dana Namerode, WHAT JOSIAH SAW), a talented pianist, is crushed when she is diagnosed with a form of bone cancer that directly affects her hand. Across town, a quantum physicist (Johnny Whitworth of LIMITLESS and EMPIRE RECORDS), has developed a machine that creates a tunnel to a sub-atomic parallel universe. In his quest to prove the machine’s efficacy, he inadvertently discovers an unorthodox cancer treatment, and now recruits human subjects to legitimize his efforts. Calvin Reeder’s phenomenal latest is a gripping sci-fi thriller with a pitch-black sense of humor, cautioning its viewers that every miracle comes at a price. Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2024. International Premiere.

ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE (Quebec/Canada)–dir. Shannon Walsh
Part fever dream and part fairy tale, ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE uses magic, music, and mystery to bring us into the world of Alan St. George after the loss of his wife, Adrianna, showcasing how, through the power of art, his love lives on. A testament to creativity as a form of adoration and devotion, Shannon Walsh’s documentary allows the viewer to explore the couple’s castle, a marvel of imagination, through joy and celebration. A testament to creativity as a form of adoration and devotion, Walsh’s documentary allows the viewer to explore the couple’s castle, a marvel of imagination, through joy and celebration. Official selection: SXSW 2024, Hot Docs 2024. Docs from the Edge Section. Quebec Premiere.

CUCKOO (USA)–dir. Tilman Singer
A 17-year-old girl (Hunter Schafer, HBO’s EUPHORIA) is forced to move with her family to a resort where things are not what they seem in this astonishing mix of domestic tension, body horror, and perverse science from the gifted director of LUZ. Co-starring Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick, Marton Csókás, and Jan Bluthardt. Official selection: Berlin International Film Festival 2024, SXSW 2024. Winner of the Silver Raven Award at the 2024 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film. Montréal Premiere.

KIDNAPPING INC. (Quebec/Canada/Haiti/France)–dir. Bruno Mourral
Two bumbling kidnappers take on more than they can handle when plans for their political hostage go straight to hell in the streets of Haiti. Grit and day-glo colors of the Caribbean propel director Bruno Mourral’s pastiche of your favorite crime capers and real-life events (his crew was kidnapped while making the film), creating something unique to represent this troubled nation’s societal trials, with classism, colorism, and corruption touching every segment of society. In KIDNAPPING INC., Mourral presents these issues in a snappy, brutally comedic debut feature, centering around the most prominent crime in Haiti. Official Selection: Sundance 2024. Canadian Premiere.

THE KILLERS (South Korea)–dirs. Kim Jong-kwan, Roh Deok, Chang Hang-jun, and Lee Myung-Se
Four directors portray hitmen in their respective stories by depicting our own turbulent times. A visual, auditory, and narrative feast, this anthology of exhilarating tales offers everything fans of genre cinema could hope for and more. A must-see! Canadian Premiere.

OUT OF THE SHADOW (Hong Kong)–dir. Ricky Ko
A rejuvenated ode to both THE KARATE KID and the action heroines of Hong Kong’s Golden Age, the latest from director Ricky Ko after his award-winning TIME (Fantasia 2021) once again beautifully combines nostalgia and modernity with a potent mix of martial arts, humor, sweetness, and compelling characters. Official Selection: Osaka Asian Film Festival 2024. North American Premiere.

RATS! (USA)–dirs. Maxwell Nalevansky and Carl Fry
Simply put, this is one of the craziest, funniest films audiences will see anywhere this year. There is a wild energy to RATS! that can only be described as evil SpongeBob flash animation bad-tripping off Xanax…just the sort of madness you used to watch on NewGrounds while your parents weren’t paying attention! Channeling the filth of films like STREET TRASH and THE GREASY STRANGLER, co-directors Nalevansky and Fry prove they have the chops to stand tall amongst the legends of absurdist comedy. Official Selection: Cucalorus Film Festival 2024, Calgary Underground Film Festival 2024. Quebec Premiere.

THE ROUNDUP: PUNISHMENT (South Korea)–dir. Heo Myung-haeng
Badass detective Ma Seok-do (the inimitable Don Lee) is back! The fourth installment of one of the most adored Korean action franchises of all time explodes with fight sequences executed to perfection and high-energy mise-en-scène from director Heo Myeong-haeng, the series’ longstanding fight choreographer. Official selection: Berlin International Film Festival 2024. Quebec Premiere.

THE TENANTS (South Korea)–dir. Yoon Eun-kyoung
In a dystopian Seoul, office worker Shin-dong, threatened with eviction, rents out his bathroom to an eccentric couple whose strange behavior quickly escalates into a waking nightmare. A rising talent in the indie horror scene, writer-director Yoon Eun-kyoung creates a unique blend of soft science fiction, Kafkaesque absurdism, and dark comedy to highlight Korea’s very real social inequality problems. Winner of the Best Director Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 34th Singapore International Film Festival. Official Selection: Hong Kong international Film Festival 2024, Fantaspoa 2024. Canadian Premiere.

TIMESTALKER (UK)–dir. Alice Lowe
Alice Lowe (PREVENGE) returns with an ingenious, Python-esque time-jumping/reincarnation anti-rom-com unlike anything audiences have ever seen, wherein a woman continuously seeks out the presumed love of her life across time. Co-starring Jacob Anderson (HBO’s GAME OF THRONES), Nick Frost (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, THE WORLD’S END), and Aneurin Barnard (DUNKIRK), this bloody brilliant–and brilliantly bloody–film impales the heart of the romantic comedy on the sharpest sword imaginable, proving some lessons are just too hard to learn in one lifetime. Official Selection: SXSW 2024. Canadian Premiere.

The Hong Kong box-office sensation that caused a wild reaction at the Cannes Film Festival arrives in its first Canadian stopover before going wide across North America. Award-winning director Soi Cheang (MAD FATE) directs this period neo-noir actioner set in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, a dangerous, densely populated monolith, demolished in 1995, where fists and blades would settle scores and no law enforcement dared to enter. WALLED IN features some of cinema’s most jaw-breaking and audacious fight scenes, recalling the glory of 1980s and ’90s kung fu cinema. Starring Louis Koo, Sammo Hung, and Richie Jen. Canadian Premiere.

VULCANIZADORA (USA)–dir. Joel Potrykus
Two friends trudge through a Michigan forest with the intention of following through on a disturbing pact. Functioning as a darkly humorous spiritual sequel to writer/director/actor Joel Potrykus’ 2014 offbeat slacker portrait BUZZARD, VULCANIZADORA engages in dialogue with the past, reflecting on different stages of the filmmaker’s life. He and returning star Joshua Burge (RELAXER, THE REVENANT) put forward an emotional depth that allows the audience to see themselves in their characters’ search for control in lives that have escaped their grasp. Official selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2024. Winner: Best Narrative Feature: Oakland Film Festival 2024. International Premiere.

The lineup of retro restorations and archival prints includes:

AVENGING EAGLE (Hong Kong, 1978)–dir. Sun Chung
A former killer and a mysterious stranger must confront his former father and sworn brothers in this action-packed martial arts classic from Hong Kong’s golden age that is a favorite of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. World Premiere of Arrow Films’ new restoration of the fully uncut film.

A CHINESE GHOST STORY II (Hong Kong, 1990)–dir. Tony Ching Siu-Tung
Rival kung fu enemies converge to fight monsters and a giant centipede in this wild and wacky sequel to the award-winning classic A CHINESE GHOST STORY from producer Tsui Hark and award-winning action director Ching Siu-Tung (SHAOLIN SOCCER). Presented in gloriously haunting 35mm.

A man (Warren Oates) who trains fighting cocks vows to remain silent until one of his birds wins a championship in this powerful, underseen gem of the Hollywood New Wave. Co-produced by the late, great Roger Corman and co-starring Richard B. Shull, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr., and Laurie Bird. Fantasia’s screening will be presented on the precise anniversary of the film’s July 30, 1974 theatrical release by Kier-La Janisse (HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN), who will read the introduction to her forthcoming book COCKFIGHT.

DEVIL TIMES FIVE (USA, 1974)–dir. Sean MacGregor
A group of catty adults in a remote chalet become the “toys” of murderous children in this prime slice of offbeat ‘70s cinema. A drive-in favorite and cult classic, co-starring Sorrell Booke (THE DUKES OF HAZZARD’s Boss Hogg) and teen-heartthrob-to-be Leif Garrett, opposite his real-life mom Carolyn Stellar and little sister Dawn Lyn. World Premiere of Vinegar Syndrome’s new 4K restoration.

HOLLYWOOD 90028 (USA, 1974)–dir. Christina Hornisher
HOLLYWOOD 90028 is an existential serial-killer story that explores themes of pornography, fame, hopes, and fears filmed in 1970s Los Angeles. Unavailable for decades and once thought lost, this rarely seen cult classic has recently been rediscovered and hailed as a masterpiece by the likes of Arkasha Stevenson (THE FIRST OMEN), Anna Biller (THE LOVE WITCH), and Ti West (MAXXXINE), highlighting its significance as both a critique of the exploitation industry and a historical snapshot of 1970s Los Angeles. Canadian Premiere of Grindhouse Releasing’s new 4K restoration, presented as a special book launch event for Heidi Honeycutt’s I SPIT ON YOUR CELLULOID (Headpress Books) on Friday, July 16 at 5:15 p.m.

KILLER CONSTABLE (Hong Kong, 1980)–dir. Kuei Chih-Hung
Imagine, if you will, a wuxia version of Judge Dredd in old China from Kuei Chih-Hung, the controversial director of BOXER’S OMEN. Here, Kuei unleashes his only wuxia film, widely considered a profound martial-arts masterpiece that brilliantly subverts the genre with its unique dark horror and bleak undertones, while offering incredible action setpieces. Rarely seen in North America for 30 years. World Premiere of the killer new restoration from Arrow Films.

LA LOI DU COCHON (Quebec, 2001)–dir. Érik Canuel
Stéphane Brousseau, 27, is a compulsive gambler. Faced with an ultimatum from the bank, which is about to seize the pig farm she inherited from her father, she tries to make a quick buck by selling a crop of pot that two city criminals are growing on her land. Behind this seemingly simple framework, the film boasts a complex script with a thousand twists and turns, and inventive direction from the late director Érik Canuel. A remarkable feature debut for the artist, a man of many talents and extraordinary energy, who would go on to make some of Quebec’s most important genre works, including LE DERNIER TUNNEL (2004), THE OUTLANDER (2005), CADAVRES (2009) and LAC MYSTÈRE (2013). His biggest hit was BON COP, BAD COP (2006), which world-premiered at Fantasia and went on to become one of the highest-grossing Canadian films of all time domestically. Archival 35mm Print Memorial Screening with a posthumous Denis-Héroux award for the beloved Érik Canuel, who passed away on June 15 of this year. Cast in attendance.

LOVE AND POP (Japan, 1998)–dir. Hideaki Anno
Made in 1998, not long after the success of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, LOVE AND POP was director Hideaki Anno’s first live-action feature film. Despite already being established as a filmmaker, Anno embraced new technologies and unconventional stylistic choices to tell the story of Hiromi (Asumi Miwa) and her schoolgirl friends as they engage in enjo kosai, or “compensated dating,” where older men pay young girls for dates. Using new digital cameras, Anno seemed limited by only his imagination as he shot the film. The resulting experience is a transgressive examination of transactional desire with a style that embodies the full creative range of the underground spirit. Underground section. Presented in a new restoration from King Record Co., Ltd.

THE RUBBER GUN (Canada, 1977)–dir. Allan Moyle
A young Stephen Lack (SCANNERS) co-wrote and stars in this gritty directorial debut of Quebec filmmaker Allan Moyle (TIMES SQUARE, PUMP UP THE VOLUME, EMPIRE RECORDS), set against Montréal’s ’70s drug scene. Before this, Moyle notably collaborated with Frank Vitale on the indie classics MONTRÉAL MAIN and EAST END HUSTLE. An exploitation film in the form of experimental cinéma verité, this radical ’70s classic evokes the work of Canadians Robin Spry and Ted Kotcheff, as well as the early films of John Cassavetes and Jim McBride. North American Premiere of Canadian International Pictures’ new 4K restoration.

TIKI TIKI (Canada, 1971)–dir. Gerald Potterton
A genuine lost gem of adult-oriented animation, 1971’s strange and hilarious hybrid production TIKI TIKI—the story of an easy-riding, film-directing ape and a multimillion-dollar contraption called the FMM 70, the world’s first all-purpose, rocket-propelled, flying movie machine—is among the titles resurrected under Telefilm’s Canadian Cinema Reignited program. Directed by HEAVY METAL’s Gerald Potterton, it combines animation in the filmmaker’s pop-psychedelic style–so recognizable from YELLOW SUBMARINE–with repurposed live-action footage from AYBOLIT-66, a Soviet children’s fantasy film. A sassy satire of Hollywood, it’s a weird and wonderful slice of Canadian countercultural cool. World Premiere of Canadian International Pictures’ new 4K restoration.

There will also be a number of special live events, the majority presented free of charge, including the aforementioned Flanagan and Honeycutt sessions as well as:

  • Every Frame a Painting Presents THE SECOND (Saturday, July 20 at 4 p.m.), with Vancouver-based YouTube creators Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou world-premiering their latest short and doing a Q&A moderated by Vincenzo Nappi
  • Makegeolli Workshops (Wednesday, July 24 at 5 p.m. and Thursday, July 25 at 5 p.m.), where makgeolli expert M. Carol Duplain Ing provides an introduction to the traditional Korean rice wine and its creation
  • FANGORIA Presents The Colors of the Dark Podcast: Live! (Thursday, July 25 at 5:15 p.m.), with hosts Dr. Rebekah McKendry and Elric Kane joined by director Chuck Russell (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, THE BLOB, this year’s WITCHBOARD remake)–an interview followed by a visual exploration of ’80s horror VHS cover art
  • Drawing Monsters: A Ghoulish Chat With Artist Gary Pullin (Saturday, July 27 at 2 p.m.), discussing his career, art, and influences, moderated by Justin Langlois
  • Her Horror Legacy: A Discussion of Women Directing Horror Movies (Saturday, July 27 at 4 p.m.), moderated by Heidi Honeycutt and featuring panelists Yfke Van Berckelaer, Sapna Moti Bhavnani, Heather Buckley, Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair, Kier-La Janisse, Kristina Klebe, Izzy Lee, Maude Michaud, Toby Poser, Elizabeth E. Schuch, Lucía Forner Segarra, Jenn Wexler, and Anouk Whissell. In addition to Honeycutt’s I SPIT ON YOUR CELLULOID, copies of Lee’s debut novella (I CAN SEE YOUR LIES (Dark Matter Ink) will be available
  • Voïvod: Rebel Robts (Monday, July 29 from 4-7 p.m. and Tuesday, July 30 from 12:30-6 p.m.), a special gallery exhibition with the Quebec metal legends
  • Korean Culture Boxes Exhibition, on display throughout the festival

For more information, head over to Fantasia’s official website; tickets go on sale this Friday, July 5 at 10 a.m. ET. Keep your eyes on Fantasia’s Facebook page, X/Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and in addition to his work for RUE MORGUE, he has been a longtime writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. He has also written for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM,, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM, MOVIEMAKER and others. He is the author of the AD NAUSEAM books (1984 Publishing) and THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press), and he has contributed documentaries, featurettes and liner notes to numerous Blu-rays, including the award-winning feature-length doc TWISTED TALE: THE UNMAKING OF "SPOOKIES" (Vinegar Syndrome).