This year’s Fantastic Fest is approaching quickly, and we couldn’t be more excited. Austin’s own weird little genre festival has grown quite a bit since it began 15 years ago. The 2019 lineup boasts nearly 90 feature films — old, new, fiction, documentary, you name it.
While a good deal of those were probably filmed right here in the U.S., we’re going to take some time to appreciate those that have come from different parts of the world to impress us, scare us and weird us out. We didn’t repeat any countries so as to provide more of a variety of film selections.
1. “Ride Your Wave” (Japan)
This animated feature may not be what you’d expect to see at Fantastic Fest, but it’s definitely going to be weird. The protagonist, Hinako, is a college student who loves surfing. She soon meets and falls for a firefighter named Minato. But all signs point to this being anything but an ordinary romance. It’s nice to see something a little different among all of the live-action horror and sci-fi movies at the festival.
Catch “Ride Your Wave” on Sunday, September 22, at 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, September 24, at 11 a.m.
2. “The Platform” (Spain)
How do you feel about movies like “Snowpiercer” and “High-Rise”? You know, the ones that have plenty to say about class hierarchies and society. If that sounds up your alley, then “The Platform” probably is too. It’s about a prison in which the inmates are assigned to upper or lower levels; those in the upper get to eat great food, while those in the lower are forced to fight for survival. Count this film as a cultural commentary you can’t miss.
Catch “The Platform” on Sunday, September 22, at 2 p.m. and on Thursday, September 26, at 11 a.m.
3. “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” (Finland/Latvia)
If you’re looking for something dark and adult-oriented, this could be the one. In this film (which previously played at Cannes), a surgeon who is still mourning his late wife 10 years after she died discovers pain — and much more — when he simply stumbles upon it. The festival’s website says this one contains torture, bondage, nudity, self-mutilation, masturbation and more. You can’t say we didn’t warn you.
Catch “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” on Friday, September 20, at 8 p.m. and on Wednesday, September 25, at 5 p.m.
4. “Jallikattu” (India)
Compared to both “Jaws” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” on the Fantastic Fest website, this film should be a standout creature feature. It’s apparently about a buffalo who escapes slaughter and wreaks havoc on a rural part of South India. No matter where it goes from there, it’s certain the audience is in for an action-packed thrill ride unlike any other.
Catch “Jallikattu” on Saturday, September 21, at 5 p.m. and on Monday, September 23, at 8 p.m.
5. “The Antenna” (Turkey)
How about a little dystopian horror to cap it off? In “The Antenna,” the government is installing the titular item on an isolated building block. While there was already drama and tragedy going on inside, the antenna only serves to make things worse. You can expect horror on the levels of Cronenberg and Lovecraft, according to the fest website — and that’s saying something. Plus, it’s also another intriguing commentary on the state of society.
Catch “The Antenna” on Friday, September 20, at 2 p.m. and on Monday, September 23, at 11 a.m.
Which films are you most looking forward to at this year’s Fantastic Fest? Let us know in the comments below, or hit us up on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!
Love our work? Buy us a coffee on Ko-Fi!
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dogs, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia.