For the past 23 years, the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montréal has delivered the goods of genre cinema to the ever loving, hungry fans. Even for those of us who get the chance to cover many great films— whether full-length features or shorts— throughout the year, Fantasia Fest offers a few weeks of incredible stories from all over the world, spanning big, professional stuff to lower budget / experimental titles from budding artists and household names alike.

Lovers of horror, science fiction, action, and oddball thrillers will find a buffet waiting for them during the festival, running July 11th to August 1st. Father Gore’s particularly excited to see The LodgeBliss, SwallowVivariumPhantom of WinnipegHarpoonDarlin’, and Bruce McDonald’s Dreamland.
But even those are just the tip of a wonderfully wild iceberg!

Here’s just a few of the interesting titles playing at the festival:

Swallow
(Canadian Premiere)

SwallowDirected & Written
by Carlo Mirabella-Davis

Drama
94 minutes

Starring Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Denis O’Hare, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche, Luna Lauren Velez, & Zabryna Guevara.

Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife, finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous objects— a condition known as pica. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.
[Part of the Cheval Noir Competition]

Phantom of Winnipeg
(World Premiere)

Directed
by Malcolm Ingram & Sean Stanley

Documentary

A documentary about the unique-to-Winnipeg, Manitoba fan community around Brian DePalma’s film Phantom of the Paradise.
[Part of the Documentaries From the Edge lineup]

Harpoon
(Quebec Premiere / Selection 2019)

HARPOON-releaseDirected & Written
by Rob Grant

Horror / Comedy
83 minutes

Starring Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra, & Christopher Gray.

Rivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tension emerge when three best friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean under suspicious circumstances.

Vivarium
(North American Premiere / Selection 2019)

Directed
by Lorcan Finnegan

Written
by Garret Shanley

Sci-Fi
97 minutes

Starring Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, & Jonathan Aris.

In Lorcan Finnegan’s latest feature, a couple looking for the perfect home, find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighbourhood of identical houses.

Sator
(World Premiere / Selection 2019)

SatorDirected & Written
by Jordan Graham

Horror
85 minutes

Starring Michael Daniel, Rachel Johnson, Aurora Lowe, Gabe Nicholson, June Peterson, & Wendy Taylor.

Adam (Gabe Nicholson) lives a lonely existence in a cabin in a desolate forest, checking Deer Cam feeds on his computer and occasionally receiving visits from his brother Pete (Michael Daniel). Another family member looms large in his life: his grandmother “Nani” (June Petersom), who has long been a receptor for a spirit she calls Sator.
This presence has been getting into her head and “training me, teaching me to be a person,” Nani says, and Adam slowly discovers that it has a more malevolent purpose as well. No longer confined to Nani’s psyche, Sator begins manifesting in other ways, threatening the lives of Adam and his troubled family.

Lake Michigan Monster
(International Premiere)

Lake Michigan MonsterDirected & Written
by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews

Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy
78 minutes

Starring Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West, Beulah Peters, Daniel Long, Wayne Tews, Steve Hoelter, Lucille Tews, Aylah Hutchison, & Mike Cheslik.

Forget about the Yeti, the Chupacabra or the Loch Ness Monster! Tremble! Be fearful!
You are about to come face to face with the most mysterious, the most dangerous, the most deadliest of all — LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER!
Somewhere in Milwaukee, eccentric Captain Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) assembles the “team of the century”— a group of maritime (sort of) specialists, to help him locate the sea monster that killed his father, and annihilate it. It’ll take a couple (a lot) of attempts, but the captain is determined to get his revenge.
[Part of the Fantasia Underground lineup]

The Deeper You Dig
(World Premiere)

The Deeper You DigDirected
by John Adams, Toby Poser, & Zelda Adams

Written
by John Adams & Toby Poser

Drama / Horror
95 minutes

Starring John Adams & Toby Poser

The shackles of grief are overwhelming in this harrowing DIY supernatural thriller. In the aftermath of a roadside accident, the line between the living and the dead collapses for a mother, a daughter and a stranger.
A family affair, the movie was written, directed and produced by John Adams, Toby Poser, and their daughter, Zelda. They also star, shoot and compose the music for the film. A stunning portrait of resourcefulness, the family film making team capitalises on their life in the Catskill Mountains to create a unique icy tone. The skeletal forest invokes the atmosphere of dreams and as the film delves into the realm of the avant-garde, its blue-toned cinematography draws us into the sea of the subconscious.
[Part of the Fantasia Underground lineup]

Bliss
(Canadian Premiere / Selection 2019)

Directed & Written
by Joe Begos

Horror
80 minutes

Starring Tru Collins, Dora Madison, & Rhys Wakefield.

A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiralling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles.

Jade’s Asylum
(World Premiere)

Jade's AsylumDirected & Written
by Alexandre Carrière

Sci-Fi / Drama / Fantasy
83 minutes

Starring Morgan Kohan, Roc Lafortune, & Sebastian Piggott.

Somewhere in Costa Rica, by the sea in the jungle lies a mutilated body. Abandoned emergency vehicles are parked nearby. Jade (Morgan Kohan) is lost and confused. Flashback: the young woman is on holiday in a luxurious mansion with rich Americans who just want to party with sexy girls and plenty of blow. Isolated from the group, Jade is haunted by psychotic visions of her late father (Roc Lafortune).
Meanwhile, there’s a series of mysterious attacks by figures covered with vegetation, dripping with sap, and armed with machetes, who are both terrifying and curiously beautiful. Are they ghosts? Demons? Or simply a manifestation of nature arising to silence the obnoxious folks who are disturbing it?
[Part of Les Fantastiques Week-Ends Du Cinéma Québécois lineup]

Idol
(North American Premiere)

Idol COLLAGeDirected & Written
by Lee Su-jin

Drama / Thriller
144 minutes

Starring Sul Kyung-gu, Han Seok-kyu, & Chun Woo-hee.

Councilor Koo Myung-hui aspires to the governorship, until the day his son Johan commits a hit-and-run. Worse, Johan brings the body of his hapless victim home. Unyeilding as an oak, Myung-hui demands that Johan turn himself in, and dump the corpse by the side of the road to diminish his guilt.
After the victim’s identification, his father, Joon-sik, is devastated by the loss of his boy, Bu-nam, to whom he had dedicated his life, due to the intellectual disability that afflicted him. Disgruntled with Johan’s lenient sentence, he conducts an investigation and discovers that the circumstances surrounding the incident are much more nebulous and distorted than they appear.
[Part of the Cheval Noir Competition lineup]

Bruce McDonald’s Dreamland
(North American Premiere / Selection 2019)

Bruce McDonald's DreamlandDirected
by Bruce McDonald

Written
by Tony Burgess & Patrick Whistler

Experimental
92 minutes

Starring Lisa Houle, Tómas Lemarquis, Juliette Lewis, Stephen McHattie, & Henry Rollins.

On the orders of his boss, the low-level gangster Hercules (Henry Rollins), hit man Johnny (Stephen McHattie) must cut off the pinkie finger of celebrated jazz trumpeter The Maestro (Stephen McHattie, again) just before an important, high-profile gig. Seems simple enough, but the gig is a wedding at the fortified palace of crime queen The Countess (Juliette Lewis) and Johnny isn’t quite feeling it.

Critters Attack!
(World Premiere / Selection 2019)

Directed
by Bobby Miller

Written
by Scott Lobdell

Sci-Fi / Horror
89 minutes

Starring Jack Fulton, Jadeen Noel, Ava Preston, Dee Wallace, & Tashiana Washington.

All Drea (Tashiana Washington) wants is to get into a good college, but for now, she’s stuck making deliveries for a local sushi restaurant. One night, after her little brother Phillip (Jaeden Noel) witnesses meteors plummeting to Earth, one of her co-workers is attacked by hungry alien furballs with sharp teeth and big appetites.
Yes, the rolling, ravenous critters are back, and soon Drea, Phillip, and two kids she’s babysitting (Ava Preston and Jack Fulton) are running for their lives. They’re also trying to protect an injured friendly alien they come across along the way, but every place they flee to becomes the site of a critter massacre.


For a full look at the lineup and schedule for Fantasia Fest, check out the festival’s website (https://fantasiafestival.com/en/ or https://fantasiafestival.com/fr). And if you want tickets, you better hurry up! They’re going fast.

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