That chill in the air, is a rare event in Texas: fall. Yes, it was 95ºF when Fantastic Fest started last week, but if you’re still here, it’s now fall. Leaves don’t turn here, but it’s nice out when it’s not raining. Day 6 of Fantastic Fest was a great day, a good time to pace yourself for the final push. It’s easy to spot the 2nd Half Badge holders: they’ve got a great attitude at 11am, while I’m suffering from nearly a week of sleep deprivation. Here’s the run down for day 6:

Faultless

This French film is a character study of a deeply flawed person. Constance is single, in her forties, and out of work and homeless. She spends her days dreaming and scheming. Mostly scheming. A perpetual liar who tries to take advantage of every situation through manipulation and deceit. Her current scheme is to get hired back to her old job as a real estate agent after failing to make it in Paris. And the only way is to eliminate the competition: a younger, prettier rival who will work for commissions only. It’s only a matter of time before the lies and schemes come crashing down. The good: a fascinating character study of a train wreck in progress. The bad: Nothing comes to mind. 7/10

Short Fuse 2016

I loved every short in the horror shorts category this year. All deserved to be in the program. They were:

  • Dawn of the Deaf – slow build up to the joke
  • Curve – high concept surreal horror
  • The Stylist – skin crawling gore FX
  • They Will All Die In Space – a nihilistic sci-fi adventure
  • I Want You Inside Me – A woman’s boyfriend disappears during sex
  • Death Metal – buckets of blood
  • Overtime – a hilarious mash-up of Office Space and werewolves
  • 90 Degrees North – Probably the most hilarious and Twilight-Zoney piece about a man-eating crosswalk
  • When Sussurus Stirs – Little Shop of body horrors!

The Lure

You’ve probably heard of the Polish musical mermaid movie, and this is it. There are a number of original songs, as well as some well-known tunes, performed in this movie. They range from classic rock to pop to punk in style. Most songs were sung in Polish, but the tunes were catchy (even if the translated lyrics didn’t quite rhyme). This is the fucked-up, blood and sex, Fantastic Fest-worthy version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Two young cannibalistic mermaid sisters go on vacation on dry land with their new human legs (except they don’t have the usual orifices that real humans have down there). The sisters are natural singers, (using their voices to lure men to their deaths), but decide to sing and party at a nightclub, whose owner promptly makes the mermaids part of the act. The good: catchy tunes, high energy, and lots of genre elements for the FF crowd. The bad: the story was underdeveloped, but sufficient for a musical. 8/10

Truth Beneath

Another big budget Korean crime drama. The teenaged daughter of a politician disappears during his run for office, and her mother searches for answers to her disappearance. Could it be tied to his political campaign? Is she still alive? Each time an answer is uncovered, a new mystery and more questions arise. I won’t say more than that without spoiling the movie, but suffice it to say that if you’re familiar with Korean crime dramas, you’ll be expecting twists, screaming and crying, and skeletons in everyone’s closets. I enjoyed it, but some people I spoke to at the festival felt it didn’t live up to their expectations. The good: it has a shovel-load of drama. The bad: It’s kind of long and the backstory quite complicated, and hard to follow at times. 7/10

100 Best Kills: Childbirth

Technically, this is not a screening, but an event. I’d already seen the other films in this time slot, so I decided to relax and enjoy an hour of clips from the worst childbirths deaths (including anything that bursts out of you in a blood soaked manner) in the movies, with a focus on the really obscure and cheesey ones. The emcee was handing out candied cigars to the first person who could name the movie that each obscure scene was taken from.

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