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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and 2 Stephen King adaptations lead Fantastic Fest’s first wave

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Photo: Fantastic Fest)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Photo: Fantastic Fest)

The first wave of programming has been announced for the 13th year of Austin-based genre film festival Fantastic Fest, which rides forth this year with an Arabic theme to follow up on last year’s ode to Indian film and 2015’s Turkish cinema celebration. Highlighting cinema from Egypt to Afghanistan, repertory selections will include the Egyptian Rocky Horror Picture Show adaptation Anyab and the international premiere of Al Asleyeen (The Originals), a box-office smash upon its Egyptian debut earlier this year.


Closer to home, the festival’s opening night will play host to the U.S. premiere of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths director Martin McDonagh’s latest film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Also making its U.S. premiere at the festival will be S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk followup Brawl In Cell Block 99, as well as Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, which our own A.A. Dowd called a “darkly intense and almost biblical morality play about a wealthy suburban family haunted by mistakes from the past” out of its Cannes debut.

The U.S. premiere of Hush and Oculus director Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Gerald’s Game is one of two Stephen King adaptations to premiere at Fantastic Fest this year, alongside the world premiere of first-timer Zak Hilditch’s adaptation of King’s novella 1922. Those, along with new films from Takashi Miike, Spring’s Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, and Force Majeure’s Ruben Östlund, along with Fantasia selections Super Dark Times and My Friend Dahmer, are all listed in the first wave announcement provided by the festival below.

For those who can’t make it to Texas, this year Fantastic Fest will also bring a selection of titles to Alamo Drafthouse locations in San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Denver just after the festival’s closing night on September 29. You can get more information about that on the festival website. Fantastic Fest takes place in Austin, Texas from September 21 to September 28, 2017.

Fantastic Fest First Wave Announcement


USA, 2017

World Premiere, 101 mins

Director - Zak Hilditch

1922 is based on Stephen King’s 131-page story telling of a man’s confession of his wife’s murder. The tale is told from from the perspective of Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator who admits to killing his wife, Arlette, in Nebraska. But after he buries her body, he finds himself terrorized by rats and, as his life begins to unravel, he becomes convinced his wife is haunting him.


USA, 2017

Regional Premiere, 91 min

Director - Alexandre O. Philippe

This masterful documentary focuses on a single aspect of Hitchcock’s PSYCHO to demonstrate the master’s technical ability in storytelling. With expert interviews and rollicking analysis, 78/52 sets a new bar in how to examine film overall.


Anna And The Apocalypse

Scotland, 2017

World Premiere, 107 min

Director - John McPhail

Anna’s life is dominated by the typical concerns of her youthful peers until the Christmas season in her small town brings not Santa, but an outbreak of the undead in this genre-mashing holiday horror musical. Yep. Musical.



Egypt, 1981

Repertory, 100 min

Director - Mohammed Shebl

ANYAB (FANGS) is an oddity worth rediscovering! An Egyptian take on THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, this eye-popping musical of madness manages to cram horror, science fiction and even social commentary together while charming with its outrageous costumes and action.


Blade Of The Immortal

Japan, 2017

US Premiere, 141 min

Director - Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike’s 100th journey is an adaptation of the BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL manga. Manji, a samurai who cannot die, crosses paths with Rin Asano, a young girl whose parents were killed. Manji swears to help Rin Asano avenge her parents’ deaths.


Brawl In Cell Block 99

USA, 2017

US Premiere, 132 min

Director - S. Craig Zahler

S. Craig Zahler (BONE TOMAHAWK) returns with his sophomore feature, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99. An exhilarating exercise in analog violence, CELL BLOCK follows the brutal exploits of a former boxer who finds himself incarcerated after a drug deal goes wrong. Trapped in a maximum security facility, he must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves.


Cold Hell

Germany, 2017

US Premiere, 91 min

Director - Stefan Ruzowitzsky

A young Turkish woman living in Vienna feels increasingly lonely after she witnesses a murder and finds herself next on the killer’s agenda in this smart and gritty thriller from the director of ANATOMY and the Oscar-winning THE COUNTERFEITERS.


Dan Dream

Denmark, 2017

US Premiere, 97 min

Director - Jesper Rofelt

KLOWN duo Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam reunite for a true-life tale of epic failure. Witness the non-arrival of the Danish electric car!


The Endless

USA, 2017

Texas Premiere, 111 min

Directors - Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

When brothers Justin and Aaron return to the cult that they escaped from ten years ago, they encounter a web of secrets and mysteries that threatens to tear them apart.


Generation B (Generatie B)

Belgium, 2017

ep. 1-4 = North American Premiere; ep. 5-6 = World Premiere, 210 min

Director - Pieter Van Hees

The generation gap has never been wider than it is in Pieter Van Hees’ deliriously absurd satire, pitting old generation money against Millennial apathy — and the occasional naked anarchist — following Belgium’s economic collapse.


Gerald’s Game

USA, 2017

US Premiere, 103 mins

Director - Mike Flanagan

Flanagan unites with master of the macabre Stephen King for his cinematic interpretation of King’s beloved GERALD’S GAME. Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, GERALD’S GAME delivers pitch-perfect performances in a faithful adaptation where the horrors of the mind are much worse than what’s in front of you.


Hagazussa- A Heathen’s Curse

Germany, 2017

World Premiere, 102 min

Director - Lukas Feigelfeld

Set in the 15th Century in the Austrian Alps, Lukas Feigelfeld’s HAGAZUSSA takes us back to a dark period in which even the remotest parts of Europe suffered from the paranoia and superstition of the time.



Cambodia, 2017

US Premiere, 92 min

Director - Jimmy Henderson

Cambodia’s traditional martial art of bokator is unleashed in all its bone crunching fury in this action-packed tale of police trapped in the midst of a raging prison riot.



USA, 2017

World Premiere, 87 min

Director - Bradley Buecker

The emotionally powerful story of Billy, an angry youth who spends his evenings stealing cars with best friend Mikey while attempting to cultivate a stable relationship with his girlfriend Jules.


The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Ireland / United Kingdom, 2017

US Premiere, 120 min

Director - Yorgos Lanthimos

The life of a brilliant surgeon is thrown into disarray when his friendship with a bizarre teenager threatens the lives of his entire family. Faced with a frightening choice, the man will be forced to assess all that he’s ever done.


King Cohen

USA, 2017

US Premiere, 104 min

Director - Steve Mitchell

Featuring interviews from some of the biggest names in genre cinema including Joe Dante, Robert Forster and Fred Williamson, this documentary tells the story of one of the best and hardest working exploitation filmmakers.



Spain, 2017

World Premiere, 90 min

Director - Yayo Herrero

Yayo Herrero’s directorial debut is a couple’s nightmare journey into the heart of darkness. A superlative horror parable, this shocking film is an indictment of modern history, war and the difficulties of reconciliation. It is a story for our times.


My Friend Dahmer

USA, 2017

Texas Premiere, 107 min

Director - Marc Meyers

This is the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, a high school loner whose life would shape up to be something far more frightening than anyone could have imagined.


The Originals

Egypt, 2017

International Premiere, 125 mins

Director - Marwan Hamed

Samir works for a bank, provides for his ever-demanding family and dreams of being in an Egyptian talent show. When he’s unexpectedly fired, Samir finds himself recruited to be part of a secret society and finds a darker side to life in Egypt.


Ron Goossens: Low Budget Stuntman

The Netherlands, 2017

North American Premiere, 78 min

Directors - Steffen Haars & Flip van der Kuil

The latest from the comedic team behind the NEW KIDS films and BROs BEFORE HOs. Ron Goossens is totally shitfaced. Only by working as a movie stuntman and bedding the hottest actress in the Netherlands can Ron save his marriage.


The Square

Sweden, 2017

US Premiere, 150 min

Director - Ruben Östlund

An art museum director’s life becomes a comedy of errors when trying to put together his latest exhibit in FORCE MAJEURE director Ruben Ostlund’s latest, which won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes.


Super Dark Times

USA, 2017

Regional Premiere, 102 min

Director - Kevin Phillips

A split-second act of violence forever changes the lives of two ‘90s kids. Now they must cope with both the fallout of that moment and the pressures of high school in this clever and bloody coming-of-age thriller.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

USA, 2017

US PREMIERE, 110 min

Director - Martin McDonagh

A grieving mother takes drastic measures in an attempt to catch her daughter’s killer. Challenging the police to solve the case, she posts a series of billboards that threaten the fabric of rural, Missouri.


Tiger Girl

Germany, 2017

US Premiere, 90 min

Director - Jakob Lass

Failing to crack the ranks as a would-be cop, Maggie begrudgingly settles for a security guard job until she encounters Tiger, a fierce young woman whose rebellious antics leave Maggie questioning which side of the law she truly belongs on.


Top Knot Detective

Australia, 2016

North American Premiere, 87 min

Directors - Aaron McCann & Dominic Pearce

Aliens! Ninjas! Robots! Enormous egos! Get ready to enter the world of TOP KNOT DETECTIVE! Possibly the greatest cult TV series you’ve never heard of, TOP KNOT DETECTIVE and its creator Takashi Tawagoto come to life in this gonzo documentary.