Fantastic Fest Check-In 3: Hellraiser Among An International Crop

Tony Salvaggio of the Castle of Horror Podcast is on the ground in Austin, reporting on Fantastic Fest and chats with Castle of Horror host Jason on the third batch of new movies that Tony highly recommends. Tony will be attending about 35 films for the Castle of Horror, so we'll be checking back with him for more updates.

Medusa Deluxe is a UK thriller-comedy in the world of hairdressers. Tony reports that the director Thomas Hardiman swept through Austin looking for hair professionals to come to watch the film at the Fest.

Fantastic Fest Check-in 3: Hellraiser Among an International Crop
Medusa Deluxe, Evil Eye, Project Wolf Hunting, Unidentified Objects, The Visitor from the Future, Hellraiser, Leonor Will Never Die, and Castle Talk posters were used with permission.

Anna Bogutskaya of Fantastic Fest says:

In his debut feature, British writer-director Thomas Hardiman (previously known by his moniker Dear Mr. Quistgaard) continues the disco weirdness of his short films, which include a love story set against the backdrop of the British carpet industry (Radical Hardcore) and a hallucinatory attempt to cure a lazy eye (Pitch Black Panacea). The film is an intoxicating watch, like a woozy acid trip where you can almost smell the hair spray and a script that elevates a toxic workplace into something nuclear.

Evil Eye from Mexico is a scary coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old girl traversing folkloric horror for a cure to her sister's sickness.

Annick Mahnert of Fantastic Fest says:

With Evil Eye, Fantastic Fest alum Isaac Ezban strays away from science fiction, the genre he explored in his first three movies (El Incidente, Los Parecidos, and Parallel.) Taking the Dominican legend of the Bacá as a starting point, Ezban subtly adapts it, giving a Mexican folklore touch that turns a clear pact with the devil into something more sinister. We have to mention 14-year-old actress Paola Miguel, who displays great emotional range in her strong performance as Nala, the older sister protecting her younger sibling.

Check out the Trailer:

Project Wolf Hunting is a Korean action-thriller that Tony says is much more than meets the eye, but what does meet the eye is "easily the bloodiest action movie I've ever seen."

Pierce Conran of Fantastic Fest says:

A few minutes into Project Wolf Hunting, the phrase "Korean Con Air on a boat" may come to mind, but while it hits some of the same pleasing notes early on, this unhinged slice of genre mayhem quickly turns into a very different beast. The narrative economy allows the knives and guns to come out early, and once the bodies start dropping, they never stop.

Check out the Trailer:

Unidentified Objects from Texas is a strange science fiction dramedy about a former alien abductee searching to reunite with her abductors at the height of the COVID pandemic.

Austin King of Fantastic Fest says:

This is not a movie with nice, palatable people that always make the most polite or kind choices, and it's better and more authentic for this. Even without the possibility of aliens, Unidentified Objects chronicles a country and a man grappling with the failings of institutions and leaders, left wondering if there is any way forward that doesn't involve leaving the galaxy altogether.

Check out the Trailer:

The Visitor from the Future from France is a zombie-filled apocalyptic science fiction comedy that started as a popular web series.

Anna Bogutskaya of Fantastic Fest says:

Based on the hyper-successful web-series of the same name, the brainchild of brothers Raphaël and François Descraques, who together with their leading man, Florent Dorin, form the collective Frenchnerd, the feature film adaptation is an irreverent take on time travel with echos of Flight of the Conchords. A nerdy comedy of time errors with a distinct French flavor, The Visitor from the Future delivers some good, old-fashioned science fiction fun wrapped in internet humor.

Check out the Trailer:

Hellraiser comes to Hulu in 2022 and was surprisingly effective, Tony says. Especially memorable is Jamie Clayton as "the Priest," AKA Pinhead, who has been re-imagined here, as have many of the rules of the Hellraiser universe.

Check out the Trailer:

Leonor Will Never Die is a very meta thriller that Tony says surprises repeatedly, especially if you've seen Filipino action films of the late 20th century. The movie is about a disgraced director returning to make a new film, shedding light on the contributions of female directors, actors, and other film people to the genre.

Austin King of Fantastic Fest says:

Consistently upending expectations, Leonor Will Never Die is a showcase for an incredible lead performance from Sheila Francisco, who gets to be an action hero despite being a woman of a certain age. Francisco takes Leonor's fierceness and commitment to her craft as directives to fight a group of men intent on killing her while embracing her love of film. As real life and Leonor's movie weave together, the director and her family see how art can heal and help process grief, even in the face of a cheesy villain.

Check out the Trailer:

Listen to the chat here:

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About Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson, author of the Young Captain Nemo (Macmillan Children's) and Alex Van Helsing (HarperTeen) series, earned his BA from University of Dallas in 1993 and his JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1996. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
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