Everything Went Black: Why Fantastic Fest is Motörhead…

…And vice versa.

All your Motörhead are belong to Fantastic Fest.
All your Motörhead are belong to Fantastic Fest.

For me, the run-up to FF -- or any other film/music festival -- is often more exhausting than the actual event itself. Don't get me wrong. Given the choice between what Robert Rodriguez calls "work" and what I do for a living (so not "work"), I'll take the endless stream of awesome oddities streaming into my brain 14-plus hours a day.

It's a privilege, I think, to feel like you just went five rounds with Marco Zaror or Judge Dredd while discovering any number of amazing, life-affirming, death-defying (or deifying) films.

Anyway, I've had a mental soundtrack playing on an endless loop in my head for at least a week now, and it's "Motörhead" by, variously, Motörhead, Hawkwind, and Primal Scream. Why? Isn't it obvious? (Maybe not. I've got a serious case of filmhead right now.)

Take a close look at the lyrics to Lemmy Kilmister's career-defining opus and you'll soon see that, yep, they relate to Fantastic Fest every step of the way. (If you don't feel how Lemmy looks by the end of the Fest, then you're probably already dead.)

First verse: "Sunshine and wrong side of another day/Sky high and six thousand miles away/Don't know how long I've been awake/Wound up in an amazing state."

Okay, this is too easy. Fantastic Fest Day One. You're waiting in line to pick up your badge. It's (another) perfect, sunshine-y fall day here in Austin, which may well be (or just feel) six thousand miles from wherever you hail. You probably drove a long ways, or flew, or whatever, so you're tired, sure, but here you are in Texas: an amazing state!

First chorus: "Can't get enough/And you know it's righteous stuff/Goes up like prices at Christmas/Motörhead, remember me now, Motörhead, alright!"

Seriously, who could ever get enough of Fantastic Fest? It really is righteous stuff, despite the fact that badge and ticket prices have, since year one, gone up a tad. But still…Fantastic Fest, alright!

Second verse: "Brain dead, total amnesia/Get some mental anesthesia/Don't move, shut the door and kill the lights/I guess I'll see you all on the ice."

Okay, so this is Fantastic Fest's opening weekend in a nutshell. "Brain dead, total amnesia?" What theater am I supposed to be in? Where the hell is my badge? Oh, my head. And then, inevitably, close that theater door and envelope us in the unholy darkness of the Church of Cinemania. (I'm thinking the "ice" here refers to … The Highball, obviously!)

Second chorus: "All good, clean fun, have another stick of gum/Man, you look better already/Motörhead, remember me now, Motörhead, alright!"

Pretty obvious on the face of it, and the reference to "another stick of gum" clearly means "another pint of Strongbow.

Third verse: "Fourth day, five day marathon/We're moving like a parallelogram/Don't move, I'll shut the door and kill the lights/If I can't be wrong I must be right."

Again, Fantastic Fest is a marathon endurance test that leaves us walking funny but in parallel lines of love for our newfound genre film friends. And the film Wrong is screening this year, so, you know, Lemmy's totally fucking right on. Again! Possibly the most prescient rock 'n' roll bassist vis a vis Fantastic Fest ever.

Third chorus: "I should be tired and all I am is wired/Ain't felt this good for an hour/Motörhead, remember me now, Motörhead, alright!"

Utterly self explanatory. Hats off to Tito's and Red Bull!

Final verse and outro: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah/Motörhead, remember me now, Motörhead/It's only you now, Motörhead/Only you, Motörhead."

Despite the throbbing head, racing pulse, and general air of seeming to look and feel like the vacationing Scatman Crothers when he gets "shined" by little Danny Torrance, all that matters now, all that remains, are the memories, unforgettable, of Fantastic Fest. You are what you watch (and listen to); at Fantastic Fest, we are Motörhead.

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