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Halloween, Hold The Dark, and Gaspar Noé round out Fantastic Fest's second wave

Photo: Fantastic Fest

With Fantastic Fest less than a month away, Austin’s revamped genre film festival—you can check out its new code of conduct and board of directors at the links—has revealed its second wave of films, following an initial announcement that included new flicks from Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais, and J.J. Abrams.


Foremost among the recent additions is David Gordon Green’s Halloween, which will enjoy its U.S. premiere as the festival’s opening night film with star Jamie Lee Curtis in attendance. Other titles of note include Green Room director Jeremy Saulnier’s man-against-nature thriller Hold the Dark and Gaspar Noé’s buzzy Climax, a head trip we quite enjoyed after catching its Cannes debut.

Speaking of Cannes, the French festival’s Un Certain Regard winner, Border, will unfold during an open-air screening with exclusive cocktails that will apparently be tailored to Ali Abbasi’s gothic story of an introverted border guard. The Duke Of Burgundy director Peter Strickland’s In Fabric also sounds intriguing, being described as “part surreal thriller, part giallo love letter, part fashion collage, and all hypnotic originality.” And then there’s the world premiere of Girls With Balls, in which “a female French volleyball team takes on an entire countryside of maniacs.” Yes, please.

Fantastic Fest takes place September 20-27 in Austin, Texas, where The A.V. Club will once again be in attendance. The full second wave lineup, with official summaries, is below.

Illustration for article titled Halloween, Hold The Dark, and Gaspar Noé round out Fantastic Fest's second wave

Fantastic Fest Second Wave Lineup 2018

The Angel

Argentina, Spain, 2018

US Premiere, 120 min

Director - Luis Ortega

In 1971 Argentina, Carlitos is a baby-faced youth whose good looks match his confident swagger. Carlitos’ passion is stealing; the things he covets, he takes. But when he meets Ramon at his school, he embarks on his true calling: armed robberies and violent crimes.


The Bastard’s Fig Tree

Spain, 2017

Texas Premiere, 103 min

Director - Ana Murugarren

In Attendance - Director Ana Murugarren and Producer Joaquin Trincado

In Ana Murugarren’s whimsical The Bastards’ Fig Tree, a fascist soldier in the Spanish Civil War becomes a fig-tree obsessed hermit after looking into the vengeful eyes of a young boy whose father and brother he had violently executed.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 95 min

Director - Henry Jacobson

In Attendance - Director Henry Jacobson, Actor Seann William Scott, Producer Adam Hendricks, and Writer Avra Fox-Lerne


Evan (Seann William Scott) values family above all else, and anyone who gets between him, his wife, and newborn son learns that the hard way. But when it comes to violent tendencies, it seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The Boat

Malta, United Kingdom, 2018

World Premiere, 89 min

Director - Winston Azzopardi

In Attendance - Director/Co-Writer Winston Azzopardi and Actor/Co-Writer Joe Azzopardi


A lone fisherman on his daily run finds himself lost in a thick fog which proves impossible to navigate. The worst is yet to come when his encounter with a seemingly abandoned sailboat becomes a fight for survival against an enemy unknown.


Sweden, Denmark, 2018

Texas Premiere, 108 min

Director - Ali Abbasi

When a border guard with a sixth sense for identifying smugglers encounters the first person she cannot prove is guilty, she is forced to confront terrifying revelations about herself and humankind.


Chained For Life

USA, 2018

Regional Premiere, 91 min

Director - Aaron Schimberg

In Attendance - Director Aaron Schimberg and Producer Vanessa McDonnell

Mabel (Jess Weixler, Teeth) and Rosenthal (Adam Pearson, Under the Skin) - both hired for their looks - meet on the set of a horror movie in this surreal examination of how those with physical differences are portrayed on film.



France, 2018

US Premiere, 96 min

Director - Gaspar Noé

Consistent provocateur Gaspar Noé outdoes himself with his latest feature Climax, a trippy horror-musical featuring twenty sensuous dancers partying hard and living their best lives, until a bad batch of sangria plunges them into insanity.


Deadly Games

France, 1990

North American Premiere, 90 min

Director - René Manzor

In Attendance - René Manzor

Deadly Games is the terror version of Home Alone. A 9-year old kid in his house, tormented by a demented Santa Claus, fights for his survival by setting traps. Christmas will never be the same again.



Italy, France, 2018

Texas Premiere, 102 min

Director - Matteo Garrone

Marcello is a gentle dog groomer whose tumultuous friendship with violent neighbourhood thug Simone engulfs him in a violent series of events that will leave him forever scarred.



USA, 2018

US Premiere, 101 min

Director - Tim Sutton

In Attendance - Tim Sutton

Frank Grillo and Jamie Bell are just two of the desperate men and women headed for “The Donnybrook” - a no-holds-barred bare-knuckle fight contest with a $100,000 prize - in this midwestern gothic journey into a heartland of darkness.


Drug Stories! Narcotic Nightmares and Hallucinogenic Hellrides, Featuring the Trip Back – Presented by AGFA and Something Weird

USA, 2018

World Premiere, 80 min

In Attendance - Something Weird Video’s Lisa Petrucci

AGFA and Something Weird present a compilation of classroom scare films about boozers, users and losers, all in brand new 2K preservations and featuring the legendary anti-drug diatribe known as The Trip Back.



Mexico, 2018

World Premiere, 97 min

Director - Andrés Kaiser

In Attendance - Andrés Kaiser

The mountains of Oaxaca harbor the remains of a ravaged and burnt shelter, once home to a psychoanalyst priest who used it to look after savage children, trying to re-integrate them into society. Through videotape diaries and interviews, the truth of what happened is shockingly revealed.


FP2: Beats of Rage

USA, 2018

World Premiere, 89 min

Director - Jason Trost

In Attendance - Jason Trost

JTRO gave Frazier Park everything he had, but his challenges aren’t over. Now he must journey into the destruction of The Waste to rekindle the passion he needs to win the ultimate Beat-Beat Revelation tournament and fulfill his destiny.


Girls With Balls

France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, 2018

World Premiere, 77 min

Director - Olivier Afonso

After winning a competition, a women’s volleyball team heads home aboard their minibus. Forced to take a shortcut, they end up at a tavern where they upset the local degenerate rednecks... and then the hunt begins.



USA, 2018

US Premiere, 105 min

Director - David Gordon Green

In Attendance - Jamie Lee Curtis and Producers Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block


Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Hold the Dark

USA, 2018

US Premiere, 125 min

Director - Jeremy Saulnier

In- Attendance - Director Jeremy Saulnier and Co-Writer/Actor Macon Blair

A gripping psychological thriller unfolds in the treacherous Alaskan wilderness when a retired wolf expert is summoned to investigate a child’s disappearance.


In Fabric

United Kingdom, 2018

US Premiere, 118 min

Director - Peter Strickland

Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy; Berberian Sound Studio) returns to Fantastic Fest in full, flourishing style with In Fabric, a film that’s part surreal thriller, part giallo love letter, part fashion collage, and all hypnotic originality.


The Innocent

Switzerland, Germany, 2018

US Premiere, 113 min

Director - Simon Jaquemet

In this dark and fantastical tale about religion versus science and good versus evil, a woman’s faith is being tested as her ex-lover reappears in her life after twenty years in jail.


Knife + Heart

France, 2018

North American Premiere, 102 min

Director - Yann Gonzalez

In Attendance - Director Yann Gonzalez

In Yann Gonzalez’s second feature, a masked serial killer stalks a producer and her film company in this love letter to European giallo, American grindhouse cinema, and ‘70s gay porn.


May the Devil Take You

Indonesia, 2018

North American Premiere, 110 min

Director - Timo Tjahjanto

At her father’s deathbed, Alfie learns that she and her family must give the Devil his due when he comes to collect on the pact made years before in this electrifying horror film from Indonesian master storyteller Timo Tjahjanto.



France, 2018

World Premiere, 83 min

Director - Vincent Mariette

In Attendance - Director Vincent Mariette

Summer is in full swing and men are going missing. People are talking about a leopard on the loose in the area. A mysterious horror writer is in the bungalow next door. And Laura’s most disturbing summer has only just begun.


The Standoff at Sparrow Creek

USA, 2018

US Premiere, 88 min

Director - Henry Dunham

Over the course of one grueling night, a militia tears itself apart as it searches for the perpetrator of a mass shooting among its own.



United Kingdom, USA, 2018

World Premiere, 99 min

Director - A.T. White

A girl. A mixtape. And Armageddon. A uniquely honest portrayal of loss as a young woman struggles with the death of her best friend while dealing with the horrific Lovecraftian end of the world, driven by a beautiful indie music soundtrack.


Sudden Fury

Canada, 1975

World Premiere of New Restoration, 91 min

Director - Brian Damude

When a well-intentioned bystander rushes to the scene of a violent car wreck, he finds himself embroiled in a hot mess of desperate homicide in this wickedly taut and unpredictable thriller, recently rescued from Canadian obscurity and restored by exploitation video label Vinegar Syndrome.



India, 2018

US Premiere, 108 min

Directors - Rahi Anil Barve & Adesh Prasad

In Attendance - Co-Director/Writer Adesh Prasad

In the rural village of Tumbbad, a decaying castle hides an immeasurable ancestral fortune guarded by something ancient, sinister, and monstrous. Vinayak thinks he can control it, but how long will it be until his own greed destroys everything he’s built?


Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.