Fantastic Fest Gets Arty

First titles, plus Nicolas Winding Refn on exploitation

Fantastic Fest Gets Arty

Things are about to get weird: Fantastic Fest 2015 has announced its first round of programming, with a mix of world premieres, Turkish rip-offs, and a unique trip into the exploitation cinema obsessions of Nicolas Winding Refn.

The big news for the late September fest is the announcement of the closing night film: it seems Kurt Russell is keeping that magnificent mustache-and-mutton-chops combo of his for existentialist Western horror Bone Tomahawk. This is a major coup for festival founder Tim League, who said, "Bringing Kurt Russell back to the Alamo is something we've been trying to do for a long time. And to do it with Bone Tomahawk, a quintessential Fantastic Fest film, means we're in for one hell of a closer."

Before we get to the rest of the lineup, every FF has a theme, and this year it's the mad, creative, and often derivative world of Turkish cinema. In the Seventies and Eighties, rather than pay to show American movies, Turkish studios would do their own imitations, like the legendary Turkish Star Wars. So not only will there be screenings of three of those deliciously deranged but totally unlicensed movies, but there will also be the U.S. premiere of Remake, Remix, Rip-Off, a documentary that hopes to do for Ankara's imitation industry what Not Quite Hollywood did for Ozploitation. Fantastic Fest head programmer Evrim Ersoy said, “With its ‘filmmaking-at-any-cost’ mentality, the sheer insanity of Turkish cinema is a perfect match for Fantastic Fest.”

As for Refn, here's a little fact you may not know about the director of Drive, Only God Forgives, and the upcoming Neon Demon: he's a massive collector of American exploitation cinema posters. So much so that he's issuing a new book drawing on his obsession, Nicolas Winding Refn: The Act of Seeing. To celebrate that release, he'll be taking over the Mondo Gallery (4115 Guadalupe) Sept. 25-27 to display 15 of the best examples, plus holding a signing on Sept. 25, and screening three films featured in the book: Farewell Uncle Tom, My Body Hungers, and The X-Rated Supermarket. He said, “I’m excited to show the world this odyssey of rare and exclusive poster art at the festival alongside screenings of some of the films that inspired it.”

But what about the rest of the screenings? Fans of genre films will probably flip to know that the latest from French comedy mavericks Nicolas Charlet and Bruno Lavaine, German extremist Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), and Fantastic Fest favorite Sion Sono (Cold Fish, Tokyo Tribe, Why Don't You Play in Hell?) will be shown. Plus, if you missed the boot-to-the-throat genius of Pod at SXSW, director Mickey Keating's follow-up Darling is the best way to catch up on this fast-rising talent.

Fantastic Fest 2015 runs Sept. 24-Oct. 1 at the Alamo South Lamar (badges and info at and now, here's the rest of today's first-round announcement. Expect many more titles to come in the next two months.

Bone Tomahawk

D: Craig Zahler
United States, 2015, 133 min.
World Premiere
Kurt Russell stars in this character-driven and at times horrific Western about a group of men (including Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins) who set out to rescue a local woman and a young deputy who’ve been kidnapped by a tribe of cannibalistic troglodytes.


D: Mickey Keating
United States, 2015, 78 min.
World Premiere
A young woman slowly goes crazy after taking a job as the caretaker for an ancient New York home in the new film from writer/director Mickey Keating.

The Deathless Devil

D: Yilmaz Atadeniz
Turkey, 1972, 84 min.
Repertory Screening
The mysterious Dr. Satan’s nefarious plans threaten the future of everyone on the planet, and the only men who can stop him are the brilliant Copperhead and his assistant Sherlock Holmes!

Der Bunker

D: Nikias Chryssos
Germany, 2015, 85 min.
North American Premiere
A student rents a room from a family in their converted army bunker, and ends up the tutor to the child and a virtual slave to the parents.

Farewell Uncle Tom

D: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Italy, 1971, 123 min.
Repertory Screening
The first movie based on historical facts about the rise and revolt of slavery in America is one of the most brilliant, misunderstood, and reviled of all time.

German Angst

D: Jörg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski & Andreas Marschall
Germany, 2015, 111 min.
U.S. Premiere
German directors Buttgereit, Kosakowski, and Marschall unleash this brutal assault on the senses, a surreal three-part horror anthology touching on love and hate and everything in between.

In Search of Ultra Sex

D: Nicolas Charlet and Bruno Lavaine
France, 2015, 60 min.
North American Premiere
A pandemic infects people everywhere with infinite lust, and the only ones who can save us are a group of astronauts in space, desperately looking for a solution.

The Invitation

D: Karyn Kusama
United States, 2015, 97 min.
Special Screening
A haunted man attends a dinner party at the house he once called home, and becomes gripped with paranoia that his ex-wife and her new husband are harboring an insidious agenda.

Liza the Fox Fairy

D: Károly Ujj-Mészáros
Hungary, 2015, 98 min.
Regional Premiere
Somewhere in Seventies Budapest, nurse Liza dreams of romance. But as all her suitors die in violent and extreme ways, she begins to fear the worst: Maybe she is really a fox fairy, doomed to remain alone forever!

Love and Peace

D: Sion Sono
Japan, 2015, 117 min.
U.S. Premiere
Fantastic Fest staple Sion Sono returns once again with a deeply personal (and expectedly odd) film about a lonely businessman with dreams of punk rock stardom and his best friend, a turtle.


D: Teemu Nikk
Finland, 2015, 97 min.
North American Premiere
Lovemilla is a delightful peek at life and love in Finland, filled with all the usual zombies, black holes, giant pandas, and superheroes you’d expect from the land that gave us Renny Harlin.

The Man Who Saves the World

D: Çetin İnanç
Turkey, 1982, 91 min.
Repertory Screening
There has never been and will never be another film like The Man Who Saves the World, and your only chance to discover why is at this special Fantastic Fest screening!

My Body Hungers

D: Joseph W. Sarno
United States, 1967, 80 min.
Repertory Screening
A roadhouse hostess goes undercover to investigate the murder of her sister in a little-seen sexploiter from grindhouse rebel and master of erotica Joe Sarno.


D: Hong Won-Chan
Korea, 2015, 111 min.
U.S. Premiere
Office is the story of Kim, the salaryman who one day brutally murders his entire family with a hammer, and Lee, the put-upon intern at his workplace. It’s dark-as-night corporate satire hiding behind a slasher veneer with scares so well-timed, you’ll jump out of your seat non-stop.

Remake, Remix, Rip-Off

D: Cam Kaya
Turkey/Germany, 2014, 96 min.
U.S. Premiere
Welcome to Turkey. It’s home to Yesilcam, the Turkish Hollywood where, in the late Seventies, dreams were built on nothing more than a dime. Both a loving tribute to the burgeoning cinema of this young country and a trip into history, Remake, Remix, Rip-Off brings you the most outlandish story you’ve never heard, about filmmaking so dangerous that you need a safety harness just for watching.

Ruined Heart

D: Khavn de la Cruz
Phillipines-Germany, 2015, 73 min.
Regional Premiere
Filipino iconoclast Khavn De La Cruz teams with famed cinematographer Christopher Doyle and Japanese mega-star Tadanobu Asano to create a self-described “punk noir opera.”


D: Christian Hallman
Sweden, 2015, 82 min.
World Premiere
Caroline Menard is a woman in her 30s who has lost everything. As she moves into a new apartment searching for a new start, she’s unaware that something ancient is waiting for her.

The Similars

D: Isaac Ezban
Mexico, 2015, 89 min.
World Premiere
On a dark and stormy night, eight strangers are stuck in a small bus station waiting for a bus to Mexico City. When strange things start happening, they find themselves trapped in a struggle for sanity and survival.


D: Lee Sang-woo
South Korea, 2015, 104 min.
North American Premiere
Four friends navigate sex, love, and life in a heartbreaking new film from Korean director Lee Sang-woo.

Stand By For Tape Back-Up

D: Ross Sutherland
United Kingdom, 2015, 65 min.
U.S. Premiere
Hypnotically scanning the contents of a VHS tape, this experimental essay-film eulogizes the former custodian of the analog artifact, transforming its recordings of Ghostbusters and Fresh Prince (among others) through rap-infused anecdotal narration, and inscribing both profound and hilarious associations to the tracking-lined images. Stand By For Tape Back-Up will be presented as both a traditional screening as well as a live performance by creator Ross Sutherland.

Tarkan vs. the Vikings

D: Mehmet Aslan
Turkey, 1971, 86 min.
Repertory Screening
Based on one of the most popular comic strips in Turkey, this rip-roaring adventure sees Tarkan and his trusty wolf companion Kurt take on the despicable Viking invaders after they leave him for dead!


D: Sebastian Schipper
Germany, 2015, 138 min.
Regional Premiere
Sebastian Schipper’s fourth directorial work is a single-shot tour de force that follows a Spanish barista through a dance club, the streets of Berlin, a coffee shop, a bank robbery, and her destiny.

The X-Rated Supermarket

D: Paul Roberts
United States, 1972, 62 min.
Repertory Screening
Want to save money on your weekly sex toy budget? Look no further than the supermarket shelves, with some salacious tips and reactions from suburban horny housewives.

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