It’s hard to describe what Fantastic Fest is. Sure, it’s a film festival. In fact, it’s the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and fantastic movies from all around the world. For example, in years past, Fantastic Fest has presented the world premieres of major motion pictures such as “There Will Be Blood,” “Apocalypto,” “Frankenweenie” and “Zombieland.” The guest roster has included Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Jemaine Clement, Paul Rudd, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith, George Romero, Darren Aronofsky, Mike Judge, Elijah Wood, Eli Roth and Tim Burton. They also feature world, national and regional premieres of new and up-and-coming genre films. Since its foundation in 2005 by Tim League, Harry Knowles, Paul Alvarado-Dykstra and Tim McCanlies, Fantastic Fest has earned its place as one of the top film festivals in the U.S. and worldwide.
But this being Austin, it’s more than just film festival, and you really have to experience Fantastic Fest to understand. You can catch live shows like “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.” There have been live stunt shows, karaoke parties, nerd rap, homemade haunted houses, special screenings for dogs, costume parties and live music. There’s also the Fantastic Arcade, run concurrently with Fantastic Fest, which features new and classic video and arcade games, parties, music and competitions all of its own. An perhaps the most prized special event is the Fantastic Feud, which is like a raucous, riveting exhibition that’s like if Family Feud were a beer-drenched gladiator match of nerd brains. Festival film-goers take their trivia so seriously that it sometimes ends in punches. Come for the films, stay for the melee.
Fantastic Fest 2016 will be held at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar location, September 22nd-29th. For badge and ticket information visit fantasticfest.com.