27 June 2019, Montreal, Canada – With today’s final wave of programming, the 2019 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival has now released its full lineup, featuring over 130 incredible features from across the globe. Of note, the festival will host the World Premieres of MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT, BLOOD ON HER NAME, STARE, 1BR, THE DEEPER YOU DIG, and HOMEWRECKER; the North American Premieres of VIVARIUM, DREADOUT, and LES PARTICULES; the Canadian Premieres of THE LODGE, PROMARE, ANOTHER CHILD, and SWALLOW; and Special Advance Screenings of READY OR NOT and A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND.
In addition, the festival is also very proud to announce a record number of repertory titles, its esteemed 2019 jury, a horror film location bus tour through Montreal, and exciting, one-of-a-kind live events featuring producer Edward R. Pressman, FIRST BLOOD director Ted Kotcheff, and iconic horror host Joe Bob Briggs.
Fantasia’s 2019 website, which has gone online today, details all films and events at this year’s festival.
JAPANESE HORROR ICON SADAKO WILL OPEN FANTASIA 2019!
Twenty years ago, Fantasia celebrated the North American Premiere of Hideo Nakata’s RINGU and its sequel, which led to Dreamworks acquiring the franchise and is largely seen as having been the birth of J-Horror in the West. This Summer, the festival is proud to open its 23rd edition with the series’ latest sequel, SADAKO (North American Premiere), which also marks the return of director Nakata to his beloved franchise. One of cinema’s scariest characters is back on the big screen, and you’d better prepare yourself in case she and her young acolyte decide to crawl out of it. SADAKO cleverly respects all of the elements that made Koji Suzuki’s novels so successful, but brings in a host of new elements that will revive J-horror for an all-new generation of terrified moviegoers.
READY OR NOT… FOR THE YEAR’S BEST HORROR RIDE!
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (V/H/S) and Tyler Gillett (DEVIL’S DUE), READY OR NOT follows a young bride (Samara Weaving of MAYHEM) as she joins her new husband’s (Mark O’Brien) rich, eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honored tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival. In this Special Screening from Fox Searchlight Pictures, the games that people play are the games where people slay!
FANTASIA 2019’S CLOSING FILM PROMARE BURNS THE HOUSE DOWN WITH ANIME INSANITY
Extreme heat never looked so cool! In the embers of the globe-engulfing great flame war, the maverick firefighters of Burning Rescue confront the fiery terrorists of Burnish Mad. Director Kazuki Nakashima and writer Hiroyuki Imaishi, who previously worked together on GURREN LAGANN and KILL LA KILL, are at the wheel for PROMARE (Canadian Premiere), the debut feature from edgy anime studio Trigger. A raging riot of bright colours, daring design, crazy characters, and whiplash action, this isn’t just the most thrilling anime of the year, it’s a genuine pop art masterpiece.
Preceding PROMARE is a special anime treasure – the World Premiere of Wit Studio’s short film THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE, the screen debut of manga artist Nagabe’s affecting gothic fairytale!
A sad, soulful crime drama about choice, guilt and consequence, imbued with a creeping sense of damnation that will haunt you to your core, BLOOD ON HER NAME (World Premiere) is a scorching feature debut for director and co-writer Matthew Pope. It’s an intimately powerful film centered around an extraordinary performance from Bethany Anne Lind, who reveals herself to be one of the most remarkable actors working today. Through her character’s perspective, she and Pope deliver a compelling exploration of moral compromise steeped in a tone of defeated desperation that pulls us into its world without a single false move. Also starring Will Patton and Elisabeth Rohm, this film will mark you forever.
FEAR THE MYTHICAL ASWANG IN MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT
Adolfo Alix Jr. (DARK IS THE NIGHT, MANILA, PORNO) is one of most prolific independent filmmakers of the Philippines, whose multi-genre films have graced the screens of Cannes TIFF, Rotterdam and Locarno. With MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT (World Premiere), he gleefully turns to horror with a strange, impactful, 1900s-set adaptation of Rody Vera’s play “The First Aswang”. Making great use of the classic folklore of the Aswang, Alix Jr. addresses the multi-generational horrors of Spanish colonial rule in a classic fairy tale retold with a dash of eroticism and the weird. This special, unforgettable film achieves a unique and strange aesthetic that builds to great hypnotic effect, sinking its claws into its audience, and dragging them further into the night.
PREPARE TO BE TRAPPED BY THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF VIVARIUM
Following an acclaimed launch in Critics Week at Cannes, Irish filmmaker Lorcan Finnegan’s VIVARIUM will be making its North American debut at Fantasia 2019. It tells the story of a young couple, played with charm by Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, who check out a potential new home in a Kafkaesque suburbia, only to later discover that they’re unable to escape from the endless, empty residential neighbourhood. Featuring stellar supporting performances by Eanna Hardwicke and Jonathan Aris, this fascinating paranoid thriller is in the vein of the greatest Twilight Zone episodes: a tense science fiction fable that will imprison you in its otherworldly hold and never let go.
COVER YOUR EYES FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF STARE
The dead are piling up at an alarming rate, and the state in which the victims are discovered is even more shocking. Everyone seems to have died from heart attacks, visibly provoked by extreme fear – and their eyes have literally exploded. Fans of RINGU’s Sadako and THE GRUDGE’s Kayako will be thrilled to experience STARE (World Premiere)… and meet Shirai-san, an unforgettable new Eastern apparition that will haunt festivalgoers’ nightmares forever. 2019 continues to deliver on cutting edge J-horror – and there is no doubt that director, screenwriter, and author Hirotaka Adachi’s STARE will be one of the year’s biggest highlights.
1BR LEASES THE APARTMENT COMPLEX OF YOUR NIGHTMARES
The feature debut of writer/director David Marmor, 1BR (World Premiere) joins a very select group of quality horror films – including Polanski’s THE TENANT and Argento’s INFERNO – to successfully explore the terrors of apartment living, but what sets this film apart is its plausibility. It would be running into spoiler territory to divulge more, except to say it’s probably not a coincidence the story is set in Los Angeles, a city where unsuspecting people, looking to make a change, all too often have that change forced upon them against their will. Marmor’s smart script and solid cast of mostly unknowns make 1BR one of Fantasia 2019’s top discoveries.
A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND, BUT THIS ONE MIGHT JUST END YOUR LIFE
Tense, well scripted, and terrifically performed, A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND (Special Advance Screening) is a compelling take on the tried-and-true “ordinary person caught in extraordinary circumstances” story. Repurposed through the prism of a vengeance thriller – and told through the perspective of a fiercely strong female lead (MAYAN MC’s Sarah Bolger) – it will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and deliver countless surprises along the way. The stylish sophomore feature of British filmmaker Abner Pastoll (ROAD GAMES) – and featuring a career-best performance from IFTA award-winning Bolger – the film (which co-stars Edward Hogg and Edward Simpson) takes hold with frighteningly desperate situations and unexpected bursts of violence.
AMERICAN FIGHTER PROMISES NO-HOLDS, BARE KNUCKLED ACTION
In Shaun Piccinino’s AMERICAN FIGHTER (World Premiere), a wrestling champ is desperate to get his mother safely out of Iran, but this can’t be done through conventional channels. And it can’t be done cheaply. The only answer? Head-to-head fights, any style goes, for cash. Producer Ali Afshar told his own inspiring story with the 2017 sports drama AMERICAN WRESTLER: THE WIZARD, and has his alter ego Ali Jahani (George Kosturos) follow a much darker path this time. A pinch of political thriller, a helping of California coming-of-age tale, and whole lotta bare-fisted battling in the bad part of town add up to a solid win.
IT’S ALMOST A MIRACLE THAT ANYONE CAN BE THIS KIND
Fantasia favourite Yuya Ishii (THE TOKYO NIGHT SKY IS ALWAYS THE DENSEST SHADE OF BLUE) returns to Fantasia with ALMOST A MIRACLE (North American Premiere), a big-budget adaptation of Yuki Ando’s beloved manga. Nerdy Hajime Machida would be typical high-school student, were it not for an almost pathological condition that prompts him to constantly help everyone around him, often to his own detriment – an ailment that leads to a myriad of comedic complications. In keeping with his interest for loners, iconoclasts, and unique protagonists, director Ishii provides audiences with an empathetic and heartwarming portrait of an unlikely hero, in what is already one of the most crowd-pleasing and heart-warming films of the year.
THE FATHER’S SHADOW UTILIZES THE FANTASTIC TO EXPRESS ANGUISH
After her first feature, FRIENDLY BEAST, a theatrical tale of blood, sex, and the battle between social classes which world-premiered at Fantasia 2017, Gabriela Amaral Almeida returns with a second, much darker film. THE FATHER’S SHADOW (North American Premiere) was a short film written and developed in 2014 through Sundance’s Director’s Lab program, which evolved into a feature. Inspired by virtually every great master of horror, and much like her zombie-obsessed young lead, Amaral uses her fantastic imagination and ability to create visceral, haunting images in order to express the anguish of Brazilian society in decline.
THE SHACKLES OF CANADIAN POLITENESS ARE FUEL FOR NIGHTMARES IN HOMEWRECKER
Michelle (Alex Essoe) meets Linda (Precious Chong) at a yoga class. Linda’s wide-eyed enthusiasm is clearly off-putting, but Michelle’s aversion to conflict makes it difficult for her to brush off the increasingly pushy woman. Things escalate once Linda asks Michelle to redecorate her home and refuses to let her leave. Written by director Zack Gayne and the film’s two stars, Chong and Essoe (who wowed audiences with her breakthrough performance in 2014’s STARRY EYES), HOMEWRECKER (World Premiere) embraces an unusual tone informed by late 1980s pop sensibilities. With the energy of a Jane Fonda workout tape, the movie escalates into the uncanny, especially as it deals with gendered expectations surrounding femininity and romance.
ONLINE GAMING REUNITES FAMILIES IN BRAVE FATHER ONLINE
Recalling his fondest childhood memories – bonding with his workaholic dad over 8-bit victories in the earliest Final Fantasy games – Akio hatches a plan. He’ll convince his father to take up gaming, befriend him anonymously within the online world, and rebuild their connection. Directorial tag team of Teruo Noguchi and Kiyoshi Yamamoto have created something special with BRAVE FATHER ONLINE – OUR STORY OF FINAL FANTASY XIV (International Premiere), the former overseeing the film’s live-action scenes, the latter commanding a squad of online players in an inspired combination of virtual combat and animated melodrama. The two outdo themselves with a clever, thoughtful, and flat-out great-looking film that is not to be missed.
SATOR IS A TERRIFYING SUPERNATURAL CREATION
A malevolent spirit menaces a family already frayed at the edges in SATOR (World Premiere), an exercise in horror minimalism that draws you in, holds you captive, and then freezes your blood with freakish visions and unflinching violence. Basing the story on his own family’s experiences, Jordan Graham weaves a moody tale of physical and emotional isolation and dysfunction, exacerbated by the growing threat of the supernatural. As signaled by the handwritten opening credits, this was a true do-it-yourself project for Graham, who wrote, directed, produced, shot, edited, and did pretty much everything else on SATOR, a passion project which has taken him five years to complete.
ACCLAIMED ACTOR KIM YOON-SEOK DELIVERS AS DIRECTOR IN ANOTHER CHILD
Kim Yoon-seok is one of South Korea’s most respected actors. Whether he’s a sympathetic antihero in THE CHASER or a terrifying antagonist in 1987: WHEN THE DAY COMES, he’s always managed to capture audiences’ attention with his immense talent. With ANOTHER CHILD (Canadian Premiere), Kim goes behind the camera as director and co-writer to impress us once again, this time by imbuing his fundamentally feminist directorial debut with a finesse and sensitivity that highlights its narrative richness. This delicately crafted coming of age film relies not only on a beautiful story, but on the absolutely mind-blowing performances of four majestic actresses.
BLOCKBUSTER DIRECTOR SHINSUKE SATO GOES TO WAR WITH KINGDOM
Fearless, headstrong, and furious, Shin is determined to avenge his friend and help the exiled monarch of the Qin Dynasty win back his throne, unaware of the larger than life opponents he will have to face. After having masterfully handled horror (I AM A HERO), the superhero film (INUYASHIKI), and many other genres, Shinsuke Sato (BLEACH) breathlessly takes us to China’s pre-imperial era of feuding warlords in KINGDOM (Canadian Premiere). This spectacular fantastic-historical epic bursts with gripping, carefully choreographed battles, while Sato mixes perfect amounts of action, humour, violence, and drama to create one of the best films of his career.
DREADOUT: THE VIDEO GAME ADAPTATION YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR
In an attempt to boost their online popularity, a group of friends obsessed with their social media exposure decide to broadcast their clandestine visit into an abandoned building that was last used by a cult, and end up opening a portal to an alternate dimension. Writer-director-producer Kimo Stamboel of the Mo Brothers (MACABRE) demonstrates impressive efficiency and creativity with his first solo feature DREADOUT (North American Premiere), adapted from the popular video game. If DETECTIVE PIKACHU gave gamers a cuteness overdose, DREADOUT is the remedy – an ample serving of the undead with a shot of demonic possession on the side.
THE CAMERA LUCIDA SECTION – DECICATED TO BOUNDARY-PUSHING, AUTEUR-DRIVEN GENRE WORKS – UNVEILS ITS FULL LINE-UP!
Blaise Harrison’s enigmatic LES PARTICULES – hot off its bow in the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes – joins the rich tradition of coming-of-age films tinged with the supernatural, mixing the tropes of science-fiction and adolescent drama to better insinuate the otherworldly. P.A., a shy teenager, finds his place with a tight-knit group of friends. One hundred metres below their feet, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) roars. A huge and spectacular machine with cosmic designs. As adolescence and life itself accelerates, one wonders: Is something strange happening… or is this simply what growing up is like?
Nao Yoshigai, one of the most exciting Japanese filmmakers to emerge in recent years, has steadfastly developed a unique, personal, and remarkably coherent universe. Trained as a choreographer and dancer, her films function as fantastical microcosms of mounting intensity, in which the often violent, daring and surprising impulses of the human body and the natural world provide many surprises. NAO YOSHIGAI X 4: OF BLOOMING FLOWERS AND DEAD SKIN – the first retrospective program of her work anywhere in the world – will showcase “Hottamaru Days” (International Premiere), “The Pear and the Fang” (International Premiere), “Stories Floating in the Wind” (Canadian Premiere), and “Grand Bouquet” (Canadian Premiere).
NIGHT GOD. Kazakhstan – Dir. Adilkhan Yerzhanov. Smothered in darkness, the world is slowly descending into chaos. Violent and absurd, crepuscular and hypnotizing, the acclaimed Kazakh auteur’s fifth feature is the assured vision of a waking nightmare. North American Premiere.
AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING. Japan – Dir. Sho Miyake. Tasuku Emoto, Shizuka Ishibashi, and Shota Sometani star in this breezy and languorous coming-of-age film, capturing the strange, uncertain beauty of sleepless nights and restless days in Hakodate, Japan. Canadian Premiere.
LETTERS TO PAUL MORRISSEY. Spain – Dirs. Armand Rovira and Saida Benzal. Five characters in crisis confide in avant-garde master Paul Morrissey, with each segment in this hypnotic collection of black-and-white 16mm filmic correspondences being wildly unique: from druggy and horrific to very intimate. Canadian Premiere.
KOKO-DI KOKO-DA. Sweden – Dir. Johannes Nyholm. What once was is now lost, and Elin and Tobias must relive the same nightmarish events, as that day and the horrors they experienced repeat themselves infinitely. As beautiful as it is horrible: the film portrays grief as a life of its own. Canadian Premiere.
JESSICA FOREVER. France – Dirs. Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel. In a dystopian Neverland, Jessica prepares her tribe of lost boys for love and death. Directors Poggi and Vinel, promising paragons of alternative French cinema, unleash a brutal and poised feature debut. Quebec Premiere.
Previously announced titles include Jesus Shows You The Way to the Highway (Spain/Ethiopia/Estonia), dir. Miguel Llanso; Knives and Skin (US), dir. Jennifer Reeder; Ode to Nothing (Philippines), dir. Dwein Ruedas Baltazar; and Maggie (South Korea), dir. Yi Okseop.
All titles will compete for the AQCC-Camera Lucida prize, awarded by a jury of critics from the Québec’s Critics Association (AQCC), member of the FIPRESCI.
FANTASIA UNDERGROUND REVEALS FOUR AMAZING INDIE DISCOVERIES
Fantasia’s section dedicated to unconventional outsider visions returns with four left-field works that must be seen to be believed.
The shackles of grief are overwhelming in the dreamy DIY supernatural thriller THE DEEPER YOU DIG (World Premiere). The line between the living and the dead collapses for a mother, daughter, and stranger in the aftermath of a roadside accident. 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 film’s score. The intimacy of the production is felt in the immediacy of the performances and the depth of ideas. This journey into the underworld crawls under your skin and draws you into your deepest, darkest nightmares.
At a small New York theatre, an aging magician (Ronald Guttman) comes up with a devilish plan to save his piece of old New York by invoking real black magic. Harsh realities and fantastic illusions come together in BLACK MAGIC FOR WHITE BOYS (International Premiere), SUMMER OF BLOOD / CATFIGHT director Onur Tukel’s latest film is a bizarre comic adventure about gentrification, race, and bodily autonomy in The Big Apple. With over 50 minutes of new footage, Tukel has completely reworked a project initially presented in 2017 as a four-episode series at Tribeca into a gnarly and charmingly weird dark comedy, balancing edgy misanthropy with a strain of silly sweetness. Co-starring Leah Shore and Jamie Block, and shot by TOAD ROAD / FELT director Jason Banker.
Becca rushes to rescue her down-and-out, suicidal brother, Richard, only to find him… and an apartment full of corpses that look just like him. A fun and fearless microbudget feature debut from Montreal-based duo Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer (the 2017 short EVEN THE DARKNESS HAS ARMS) DEAD DICKS (World Premiere) is not what it seems. Beneath its gross outs and absurd humour, the film is a sincere reflection on familial drama, dependency, and mental health.
What if SpongeBob had been directed by Canadian experimental master Guy Maddin? The answer lies with director Ryland Brickson Cole Tews and his microbudget creature feature, LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER (International Premiere). Made with great inventiveness and a love for ’50s B-movies and monster flicks, this is everything indie cinema should be and more. With gritty black-and-white photography, special effects galore, hand-crafted sets and costumes, and jaw-dropping hallucinatory sequences, this charmer won awards for Best Cinematography, Best Ensemble in a Feature, and the Audience Award for Best Feature at 2019’s Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Film Festival.
WHAT DO FEARLESS PHOTOJOURNALISM, AL ADAMSON, AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS HAVE IN COMMON? DOCUMENTARIES FROM THE EDGE!
In addition to the previously announced World Premiere of PHANTOM OF WINNIPEG, Fantasia is proud to announce a trio of extraordinary new features for its Documentaries from the Edge section.
Since she first pointed her lens at the broken remains of a mob victim, Sicilian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia has been waging a decades-long battle with the mafia. An official selection at Sundance, Berlin, and Hot Docs, Kim Longinotto’s SHOOTING THE MAFIA (Quebec Premiere) is a moving and inspirational portrait of bravery and self-determination, the story of an ultimate outsider hero who never met a bully she wouldn’t stand up to and whose art remains a finely-honed weapon.
The hilarious history of the Church of the SubGenius, an early-’80s mock religion that challenged the mores and mendacities of its moment, and in no few ways predicted the existential insanity of our own, is explored in Sandy K. Boone’s J.R. “BOB” DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS (Canadian Premiere). Featuring mad, mad vintage footage and ample contributions from founders Reverend Ivan Stang, Philo Drummond, and numerous SubGenius participants and devotees, including Richard Linklater, Nick Offerman, Penn Jillette, and Devo’s Gerald Casale.
Years in the making, BLOOD & FLESH: THE REEL LIFE AND GHASTLY DEATH OF AL ADAMSON (World Premiere), by Severin Films founder and filmmaker David Gregory (LOST SOUL: THE DOOMED JOURNEY OF RICHARD STANLEY’S ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU), goes beyond detailing the uncommon life and unthinkable murder of the legendary no-budget exploitation filmmaker. It beautifully captures the worlds of outsider moviemaking communities that existed in California in the ’70s, and the weird ways they intersected with Hollywood mainstream and union indies. On Adamson shoots, regular Orson Welles crew and cinematographers like Gary Graver, Vilmos Szigmond, and Lazlo Kovaks worked alongside John Carradine, Bud Cardos – and at one point – Charles Manson! This is the story of a resourceful band of outsiders, creatives, and hustlers during a unique period of filmmaking opportunity.
ANIME IN ABUNDANCE IN FANTASIA’S AXIS SECTION THIS SUMMER!
It’s a bumper-crop year for eye-catching anime features from Japan, and Fantasia’s Axis is proud to be presenting many of the very best, most for the first time on North American shores!
From the lively, liberated imagination of Masaaki Yuasa (LU OVER THE WALL, Netflix’s DEVILMAN CRYBABY, the masterful MIND GAME) comes RIDE YOUR WAVE, a film about losing love, leaning on friends, and learning how to find oneself. Yuasa plays with the very elements here: fire, and especially water, are fluid and amorphous… and almost alive. North American Premiere.
Teenager Akane and her daffy aunt Chii step down into the basement — and out of this world! — in THE WONDERLAND, a fantastical anime adventure bursting with imagination, from Keiichi Hara, award-winning director of COLORFUL and MISS HOKUSAI. North American Premiere.
Teenage romance, ontological science fiction, and fierce, acrobatic mecha battles collide in THE RELATIVE WORLDS, the dazzlengly intense feature-film rebuild of his own successful web animation series by digital animator Yuhei Sakuragi (the INGRESS anime, NEON GENESIS IMPACTS). North American Premiere.
Overseen by Katsuyuki Motohiro, a veteran of the FLCL and PSYCHO-PASS franchises, and directed by Fuminori Kizaki (AFRO SAMURAI), HUMAN LOST is a gripping cyberpunk anime thriller, packed with political intrigue, philosophical challenges, savage techno-horror, and exciting action! Canadian Premiere.
Ten years after Atsuya Uki’s amazing half-hour short CENCOROLL World Premiered at Fantasia 2009, the idiosyncratic, surrealist sci-fi teen drama is back with a sequel, making up the feature-length bundle CENCOROLL CONNECT. Casually uncanny and uncommonly cool, this is a true event for fans of offbeat and original anime. Canadian Premiere.
Imbuing the prosaic with something a bit like magic, Yutaka Yamamoto’s crowdfunded indie teen-romance mini-feature TWILIGHT is a postcard from Fukushima Prefecture, with love, laughs, tears, and the occasional perfect moment. International Premiere.
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE EAST ASSEMBLES SPOOKY ASIAN ANIMATED SHORTS!
Fill your pockets with pujok, omamori, and fu talismans for THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE EAST! It’s Fantasia’s shivery short-film showcase, eleven Asian animated tales of spooks, spirits, monsters, and mystery — a mixed bag of the magical and macabre created through a multitude of techniques, from Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. World Premieres include SHISHIGARI, a calling card (with music by the legendary Kenji Kawai) for the new, independent Studio Durian of Japan’s Kiyotaka Oshiyama.
AN INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE AND MASTER CLASS WITH TOKUSATSU ICON KEITA AMEMIYA
Since the 1980s, Keita Amemiya (ZEIRAM, TWEENY WITCHES) has left his mark in countless corners of the universe of tokusatsu — Japanese science-fantasy cinema and TV. Amemiya-san visits Fantasia this summer to present GARO – UNDER THE MOONBOW, the latest entry his ongoing chronicle of otherworldly conflict. International Premiere.
A prolific director, Amemiya is equally celebrated as a renowned designer of uncanny characters, creatures, and costumes, never lacking for surprising innovation and a self-aware flair that stands out in his field. For his special Fantasia Master Class, Keita Amemiya takes a look at the masks, monsters, and marvels of his imagination!
FANTASIA UNVEILS ITS INCREDIBLE 2019 LIVE EVENTS – FEATURING TALKS, TOURS, CONCERTS, AND MORE!
In addition to its incredible film lineup, Fantasia 2019 is proud to host a number of cinema-centric live events, headlined by a special appearance from legendary film critic and horror host Joe Bob Briggs, a conversation with producer Edward R. Pressman, a bus tour of Montreal’s horror film history, and much more!
Previously announced was a special event by Montreal’s Orchestre à Vents de Musiques de Films, performing a live orchestral concert celebrating music from a wide variety of Studio Ghibli classics.
Joe Bob Briggs, who currently hosts The Last Drive-In, will blow the roof of Fantasia’s trailer park with Shudder Presents Joe Bob Briggs Live: How Rednecks Saved Hollywood: an energetic live performance which rockets audiences through decades of gory, sleazy, and just plain awesome exploitation cinema via rapid-fire photos, video clips, and hilarious, informative commentary from America’s favourite horror host.
Iconic producer Edward R. Pressman, who’s created incredible films with everyone from Terrence Malick and Sam Raimi to Zhang Yimou and Brian De Palma, will take part in Edward R. Pressman: Live in Conversation, an intimate onstage interview with critic and professor Donato Totaro, chronicling his career – from CONAN THE BARBARIAN to BAD LIEUTENANT, and everything in-between!
By popular demand, House of Psychotic Women author Kier-La Janisse and Fangoria’s Michael Gingold will host Spectacular Optical and The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies’ Horror Express: The Fantasia Edition: an epic afternoon bus tour of Montreal’s most famous and infamous horror film locations, stopping at ten incredible locales around the city. Expect a day of unforgettable photo ops and amazing horror history from two of the genre’s most brilliant minds.
Gingold, whose Ad Nauseum presentation as last year’s Fantasia was one of the festival’s hottest live events, will also host the book launch for his latest tome, Ad Astra: 20 Years of Newspaper Ads for Sci-Fi & Fantasy Films. Join the journalist that Guillermo del Toro called “the torch carrier for the original spirit of a generation of horror, fantasy, and science fiction aficionados” as he takes you through the history of 1980s and ’90s sci-fi and fantasy – with the book for sale immediately following the presentation.
Join David Gregory (Severin Films), Nora Mehenni (Arrow Video) and Joe Rubin (Vinegar Syndrome) for Returning Life to the Departed: Adventures in Genre Cinema Restoration, a very special discussion about the trials, thrills, and rewards of digitally restoring everything from obscure treasures to cinematic holy grails – and what it takes to create a film’s definitive home video release.
FANTASIA RETRO UNVEILS GENRE CLASSICS ON THE BIG SCREEN
Fantasia is proud to present a new section in its lineup, dedicated to special screenings of major genre film restorations, in addition to showings of rare 35mm and 16mm prints.
Restoration Premieres to include:
DECODER (Germany, 1984) – Dir: Muscha
New 2K Restoration from Vinegar Syndrome. World Premiere.
DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (USA, 1971) – Dir: Al Adamson
New Restoration by Severin Films. World Premiere.
THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE (Spain, 1974) – Dir: Jorge Grau
New 4K Restoration by Synapse Films. World Premiere.
SATAN’S SLAVE (Indonesia, 1982) – Dir: Sisworo Gautama Putra
New 2K Restoration by Severin Films. International Premiere.
SON OF THE WHITE MARE (Hungary, 1981) – Dir: Marcell Jankovics
New 4K Restoration by Arbelos Films. World Premiere.
LEGEND OF THE STARDUST BROTHERS (Japan, 1981) – Dir. Makoto Tezuka
New 2K Restoration from Third Window Films. Canadian Premiere.
A 35mm showing of the Shaw Bros classic THE BOXER’S OMEN (Hong Kong, 1983) – Dir. Kuei Chih-Hung.
The Montreal Film Society will present a special 16mm screening of Sam O’Steen’s made-for-television sequel LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARY’S BABY (USA, 1976), hosted by actor Stephen McHattie.
Further, the Action! Lineup will be showing a rare 35mm print of Ringo Lam’s FULL CONTACT (Hong Kong, 1992) and StudioCanal’s recent restoration of Ted Kotcheff’s legendary, dramatic first chapter in the Rambo franchise, FIRST BLOOD (USA, 1982).
FANTASIA TO BESTOW ITS INAUGRAL CANADIAN TRAILBLAZER AWARD TO DIRECTOR TED KOTCHEFF
Fantasia will bestow its inaugural Canadian Trailblazer Award to director Ted Kotcheff, a singular filmmaker who has worked across genres and mediums to tell bold, vivid stories with strong points-of-view. Born in Toronto in 1931, he began directing at the CBC at age 24 and was, at the time, the youngest director ever at the station. His filmography includes the Outback thriller WAKE IN FRIGHT (1971), the quintessentiel Montreal film THE APPRENTICEHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ (1974), WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE? (1978), NORTH DALLAS FORTY (1979), the Stallone-starring blockbuster FIRST BLOOD (1982), UNCOMMON VALOUR (1983), JOSHUA THEN AND NOW (1985), ‘80s comedy staple WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S (1989), and THE SHOOTER (1995).
Mr Kotcheff will be presented his award at a special screening of the Canadian Film Centre’s restoration of THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ.
Fantasia will also be screening StudioCanal’s recent restoration of FIRST BLOOD, with Kotcheff in attendance, as part of the festival’s Action! Section lineup.
ADDITIONAL 2019 PREMIERE TITLES INCLUDE:
ALIEN CRYSTAL PALACE. France – Dir. Arielle Dombasle.
A crazy scientist is on a quest to create a new, immaculate, androgynous being. Parisian nightlife icon Arielle Dombasle has made a psychotronic big-screen erotic fantasy, a kitsch and camp kaleidoscope, generous, absurd, and genuinely endearing. Co-starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and Asia Argento. North American Premiere.
THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE. USA – Dir: Riley Stearns
After being mugged, meek accountant Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a karate school — and his life takes a strange and dark turn. FAULTS director Riley Stearns’ sophomore feature is a twisted tale of the dangers of toxic masculinity. Co-starring Imogen Poots. Official Selection: SXSW 2019. Quebec Premiere.
BLISS. USA – Dir: Joe Begos
A drug-fueled night out in LA transforms a young artist into something otherworldly, but is it due to the vampiric ménage à trois she took part in or the cocaine-like “bliss” she’s been snorting? ALMOST HUMAN/THE MIND’S EYE director Joe Begos deliver a stunning heavy metal head-trip that’s equal parts blissful euphoria and horrifying bloodbath. Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2019, Overlook Film Festival 2019, Cinepocalypse 2019. Canadian Premiere.
CULTURE SHOCK. USA – Dir: Gigi Saul Guerrero
Blumhouse’s Into the Dark delivers its most impressive film to date, with Gigi Saul Guerrero’s scathing takedown of The United States’ treatment of Mexican dreamers, where “The Land of the Free” is far from the truth. Featuring Martha Higareda, Shawn Ashmore, and a spine-tingling performance from Fantasia fave Barbara Crampton. Official Selection: Cinepocalypse 2019, Etheria Film Night 2019. International Premiere.
DANCE WITH ME. Japan – Dir. Shinobu Yaguchi
Have you ever imagined a musical number spontaneously occurring in real life? Ambitious financier Shizuka has accidentally been hypnotized. Now, a ringing phone or radio jingle will set her off on a Gene Kelly-like rampage… A sassy send-up of musical comedies from Shinobu Yaguchi (SWING GIRLS, ROBO-G) with genuinely catchy, impressive song-and-dance numbers! Official Selection: Shanghai International Film Festival 2019, NY Japan Cuts 2019. Quebec Premiere.
DANIEL ISN’T REAL. USA – Dir: Adam Egypt Mortimer
A childhood friend reappearing after a decade seems like it should be cause for celebration… but what happens if it’s a troublemaking – and possibly deadly – imaginary friend? This is the conundrum in Adam Egypt Mortimer’s clever, violent thriller, whose title isn’t as cut and dry as one might first think. Official Selection: South by Southwest 2019, Sydney International Film Festival 2019, Overlook Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
DARE TO STOP US. Japan – Dir. Kazuya Shiraishi
The surprising and utterly unexpected biopic of a legend of Japanese countercultural cinema: Koji Wakamatsu! A film that takes the pulse of a transgressive cinematographic heritage in which sex, violence and revolutionary thought rubbed shoulders on screen. Canadian Premiere.
DAY AND NIGHT. Japan – Dir. Michihito Fujii
When Koji, son of a whistleblower driven to suicide, steps outside the law in his quest for justice, the thin line that separates good from evil begins to fray. A suspenseful drama about the tragic fate reserved to whistleblowers that offers a necessary reflection on justice. Official Selection: Japan Filmfest Hamburg 2019. Canadian Premiere.
THE DUDE IN ME. South Korea – Dir. Kang Hyo-jin
After an overweight teenager literally falls on him, a gangster realizes to his great dismay that they have swapped bodies. Packed with outlandish twists and turns, this fantasy comedy skilfully juggles gags, action, and emotion! Official Selection: Hawaii International Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
FREAKS. Canada – Dirs: Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein
Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch, and Amanda Crew headline this mind-bending mystery box of a thriller about a young girl (newcomer Lexy Kolker) whose father has convinced her that leaving their suburban home will spell her doom… and when she finally does step outside, she discovers a world unlike anything she – or this film’s viewers – would ever believe. Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival 2018. WINNER: Prix Public, Best Feature, Les Utopiales 2018, Audience Award, Best Film, What the Fest…?! 2019. Quebec Premiere.
GINTAMA 2: RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN. Japan – Dir. Yuichi Fukuda
The silver-haired samurai Gintoki and his odd-job agency associates are back for this second manga adaptation, with no less loopy lunacy, swashbuckling swordfights, gratuitous anime references, and costume design to die for. Official Selection: Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2019. North American Premiere.
HARD-CORE. Japan – Dir. Nobuhiro Yamashita
Ukon and Ushiyama discover a discarded robot, unaware of the extent of its potential, in this bizarre science-fiction comedy drama. If you are looking for unusual cinema that makes you laugh without knowing why, you’ve just found it. Never before has the concept of WTF seemed so natural. Official Selection: Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival 2019, Udine Far East Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
HARPOON. Canada – Dir: Rob Grant
When a troubled trio of young friends find themselves marooned on a yacht in the middle of the ocean, suspicions and anger bubble to the surface as their faith in each other sinks like a shipwreck. Writer/director Rob Grant returns to Fantasia with thrilling, seafaring suspense film that takes absolutely no prisoners. Starring TURBO KID’s Munro Chambers. Official Selection: Rotterdam International Film Festival 2019, Chattanooga Film Festival 2019, Calgary Underground Film Festival 2019, Fantaspoa 2019, BIFAN 2019. Quebec Premiere.
HIS BAD BLOOD. Japan – Dir. Koichiro Oyama
A despicable con artist left the tightly knitted village the day his wife gave birth. 30 years later, his traumatized son is chased because of him. They both end up sheltering in a church, knowing nothing about each other. HIS BAD BLOOD is proof that independent Japanese cinema remains creatively fertile. WINNER: Audience Award, Yubari Fantastic Film Festival 2019. International Premiere.
IT COMES. Japan – Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima
Convinced that a supernatural force is threatening his family, Hideki reaches out to a writer specializing in the occult, and his clairvoyant girlfriend to rid himself of the entity. To tell you anything more about this completely bonkers horror tale would ruin the many surprises waiting within. Official Selection: Hawaii International Film Festival 2019, Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
JUDY AND PUNCH. Australia – Dir: Mirrah Foulkes
Village puppeteers Judy (Mia Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman) are at the eye of this whirlwind of black comedy, filled with slapstick violence and, amid the theatricality of the marionette show, gripping drama. An old morality play with a modern twist. Official Selection: Sundance 2019. Canadian Premiere.
THE LODGE. UK/USA – Dirs: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Hailed at Sundance as “the next great horror film,” this nerve-shredding story of inexplicable, terrifying things happening to a snowed-in family stars Riley Keough, Richard Armitage, and Alicia Silverstone. This is a film whose horrors are both intellectual and deeply visceral, with imagery that will have your heart in your throat. From the makers of GOODNIGHT MOMMY. Official Selection: Sundance 2019, Karlovy Vary 2019, Overlook Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
MIRACLE OF THE SARGASSO SEA. Greece/Germany/Netherlands/
After a shocking death rocks a sun-bleached village, two women’s destinies interlock and their grip on reality start to slip. This work of New Weird Greek Wave cinema, starring Angeliki Papoulia (DOGTOOTH, ALPS), blends the blood-spattered real world and the troubling nightmares of legend. Official Selection: Berlin International Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
MISS AND MRS. COPS. South Korea – Dir. Jung Da-won
There are a lot of badass lady cops in Seoul, and they’re all ready to prove their worth and kick some scumbag ass! Remember the buddy cop movie? Writer-director Jung Da-won has magically resurrected it in fantastic fashion. Quebec Premiere.
MISSBEHAVIOR. Hong Kong – Dir. Pang Ho-Cheung
A terrible mistake reunites a gang of estranged drama queens in search of human breast milk throughout Hong Kong! An utterly ridiculous, hilarious, and politically incorrect comedy caper from Pang Ho-Cheung (VULGARIA, DREAM HOME). Official Selection: Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019. Quebec Premiere.
THE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALE. South Korea – Dir. Lee Min-jae
The eccentric Park family captures Zzongbie, a harmless living corpse who also happens to be a walking dose of Viagra. This South Korean Zom-com has a ball reanimating the done-to-death conventions of the zombie flick. Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2019, New York Asian Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
PARADISE HILLS. Spain – Dir: Alice Waddington
Amid rapturous production design, Emma Roberts, Awkwafina, Eiza González, and Danielle Macdonald gather under the cold eye of headmistress Milla Jovovich in this genre-bending allegory about femininity and social norms. With shades of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and THE HANDMAID’S TALE, this soft and beguiling nightmare is about the cost of living the life you choose, rather than the life that is expected. Official Selection: Sundance 2019. Canadian Premiere.
PORNO. USA – Dir: Keola Racela
Trapped in a cinema late at night, five sex-starved religious teens are easy prey for a succubus with lust and murder in mind, but these Bible-thumpers won’t give up without a fight… even when this ‘90s-set retro riot has their balls literally to the wall. Official Selection: South by Southwest 2019, Overlook Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
THE PURITY OF VENGEANCE. Denmark – Dir: Christoffer Boe
Packed with crime, sex, and revenge – as well as being the highest-grossing film in Danish cinema history – this uber-blockbuster based on the book by Jussi Adler-Olsen finds two detectives trying to unravel a violent, decades-old murder mystery as they struggle with their own fraught relationship. From the director of BEAST and OFFSCREEN. Official Selection: Sitges 2018, Transylvania International Film Festival 2019, Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
SWALLOW. USA – Dir: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Meek housewife Hunter (an utterly terrific Haley Bennett) struggles to find purpose and meaning – until she begins swallowing a variety of household objects. A film that will pique anxieties and turn stomachs, this is a surprisingly tender look at the echoes of abuse. See this one at all costs or miss one of the most potent works of the year. Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2019, Neuchâtel International Film Festival 2019. Canadian Premiere.
TOKYO GHOUL ‘S’. Japan – Dir. Kazuhiko Hiramaki
Another round of blood and black leather on the midnight streets of Tokyo’s Ward 20! Moody intrigue and twisted terror take hold again in the second live-action adaptation of the immensely popular urban-horror manga. Official Selection: Los Angeles Anime Expo 2019. Canadian Premiere.
WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE!. Russia – Dir: Kirill Sokolov
All holy household hell breaks loose in a single, ever-more-battle-scarred Moscow apartment. Kirill Sokolov’s attention-grabbing debut feature is a sure-footed synthesis of suspense, dark comedy, and deranged, detail-oriented ultraviolence. Sokolov is ruthlessly deliberate in his decisions, be it the pressure-cooker dialogue, the cunning camera work, or the piquant colour scheme. Official Selection: Tallinn Black Nights 2018, What the Fest…?! 2019, Cinepocalypse 2019. Canadian Premiere.
THE WRATH. South Korea – Dir. Yoo Young-seon
A powerful family’s lineage is threatened by the spirit of a wailing woman haunting their lands. This straight-up horror film set in medieval Korea recalls the glory days of VHS, dishing out enough jump scares to rouse the dead. Canadian Premiere.
2019 CHEVAL NOIR COMPETITION TITLES AND JURIES ARE ANNOUNCED
Fantasia is pleased to announce the 2019 Cheval Noir competition titles:
8. South Africa – Dir. Harold Holscher
ALMOST A MIRACLE. Japan – Dir. Yuya Ishii
ANOTHER CHILD. South Korea – Dir. Kim Yoon-seok
BLOOD ON HER NAME. USA – Dir. Matthew Pope
THE FATHER’S SHADOW. Brazil – Dir. Gabriela Amaral Almeida
IDOL. South Korea –– Dir. Lee Su-jin
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WKND. Spain – Dir. Jon Mikel Caballero
IT COMES. Japan – Dir.Tetsuya Nakashima
KINGDOM. Japan – Dir. Shinsuke Sato
THE LODGE. UK/USA – Dirs. Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT. The Philippines – Dir. Adolfo Alix Jr.
SWALLOW. USA – Dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis
WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES. Japan – Dir. Makoto Nagahisa
THE WRETCHED. USA – Dirs. Brett and Drew Pierce
The following industry professionals make up the Fantasia 2019 juries:
Jury President: Annick Mahnert – Producer, Festival Programmer (Fantastic Fest, Sitges)
Shaked Berenson – Producer, Member of the IFTA Board of Directors
Amy Darling – Producer, Festival Organizer (Calgary Underground Film Festival)
Miles Fineburg – Director of Acquisitions (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Maurizio Guarini – Composer (Goblin)
NEW FLESH COMPETITION FOR BEST FIRST FEATURE
Jury President: Onur Tukel – Director, Screenwriter, Actor, Painter
Jonathan Barkan – Editor-in-Chief (Dread Central)
Susan Curran – COO (A71 Entertainment)
Ariel Fisher – Critic (Atom Insider, Rue Morgue Magazine, Fangoria), Editor, Podcaster
Kyle Greenberg – Director of Theatrical Marketing and Distribution (Gunpowder & Sky)
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Jury President: Frederic Temps – Musician, Critic, Festival Director (Les Utopiales), Founder of L’Étrange Festival
Kerensa Cadenas – Writer, Film Editor (Entertainment Weekly)
Chelsea Lupkin – Director, Cinematographer, Producer, Senior Programmer and Writer (Short of the Week)
Justin Timms – Co-Founder (Yellow Veil Pictures), Co-Festival Director (Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, North Bend Film Festival)
AQCC – CAMERA LUCIDA
Andrew Todd – Writer (Birth. Movies. Death., Slashfilm), filmmaker, composer
Donato Totaro – Professor, editor-in-chief (Offscreen)
Elijah Baron – Film critic (24 Images), translator
THE SATOSHI KON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANIMATION
Jury President: Diana Tapia Munguia – Production Assistant (Cinesite Studios), Marketing and PR Chair (Women in Animation Montreal)
Alaska B – Drummer and Leader (Yamantaka // Sonic Titan)
Julien Deragon – 3D Animator (RodeoFX)
Jean-Philippe Bernier – Cinematographer, Composer (Le Matos)
Andy Bélanger – Comic Artist, Illustrator
JF Lachapelle – Stuntman, Stunt Coordinator
Jury President: Erik Canuel – Director
Martin Girard – Screenwriter, Critic (Le Devoir)
RKSS – Directors, Screenwriters
The full lineup of all Fantasia 2019 films, events, and more can be found at the festival’s official website, www.fantasiafestival.com.
Nintendo Weekly Roundup
Southwest Airlines hands out free Nintendo Switch consoles
Those departing to San Diego from Dallas on July 17 were treated to a surprise, as those taking the trip on a connecting flight ended up receiving a Nintendo Switch with a copy of Super Mario Maker 2.
Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with Nintendo, decided to give out Nintendo Switch consoles to lucky customers on Wednesday when they were handed redemption tickets for them. Twitter user Juan Jose Anchante posted a picture of the ticket, which can be seen below.
Nintendo and Southwest have collaborated in the past. In 2013, for example, Wii U consoles were given to lucky passengers going from New Orleans to Dallas, along with New Super Mario Bros. U. Similarly, in 2016, free Nintendo 3DS XL’s were given to passengers heading to Los Angeles from Dallas.
Presumably, this was a sort of promotion for San Diego Comic-Con, given the timing and the flight’s city of arrival. All these events seem to be fairly spontaneous, though it appears that, should you want a free Nintendo item like this in this fashion, taking a flight to/from Dallas with Southwest seems to be the best option.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 characters discovered in datamine
After years of waiting, gamers finally have their hands on the third installment in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series on their Nintendo Switch consoles. Moreover, a recent datamine tells us what characters may be coming to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 via DLC.
According to Nintendo Life, one dataminer was able to find out that the game’s code has 49 DLC character slots. There were four playable characters discovered in the datamine. Allegedly, these characters are the following:
- Black Bolt
As such, this seems to just be a mere taste of what Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 owners will be getting soon enough.
New Nintendo Switch may be on its way
While Nintendo recently revealed the Nintendo Switch Lite to fans everywhere, it turns out another model may be heading to consumers soon. While not necessarily the rumored upgraded version, this model’s primary improvement is that of its battery life.
On Nintendo’s Japanese website, some information has emerged regarding the upcoming Switch model. Most notably, there are details regarding the battery life available on the website. Forbes has translated the information below.
The numbers on the right reflect the battery life for the Switch Lite. As indicated, however, the battery life for the updated model will supposedly be substantially longer. Bringing the low end from 2.5 to 4.5 hours is nothing to scoff at and being able to play Breath of the Wild for 5.5 hours in handheld mode instead of 3 is a massive improvement.
According to Forbes, this rendition of the Switch may be hitting Japan as early as August and could be coming to the West as early as September.
Nintendo announces new Joy-Con colors
Starting out with the gray option, as well as the blue and red option, the Joy-Cons took a while to expand their color palette. Now, two new Joy-Con sets are coming to Switch owners from Nintendo with very distinctive and bright colors.
The first, pictured on the left, is a Purple/Neon Orange combo. The second, pictured on the right, is a Blue/Neon Yellow combo.
The first pair of Joy-Cons appears to display very complementary palettes, with purple and orange meshing together incredibly well. Blue and Neon Yellow, while more distinctive and attractive than the standard gray Joy-Cons.
For fans looking for more diverse Joy-Cons, this should be good news. There are other colors out now, and there are decals that can spruce up existing Joy-Cons. However, if you were looking for a Joy-Con with a great shade of purple, you can look no further.
This Week’s Releases
As indicated previously, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order came out this week. At $59.99 USD, the game stands as a sequel that took 10 years to be released. Sporting a giant cast of Marvel superheroes, this is sure to be one of Nintendo’s biggest hits of this year.
Let’s Sing 2019 was also released on Nintendo Switch this week. For $39.99 USD, Switch owners can grab this title and pick from a variety of songs to sing when “training your voice solo” or at a “karaoke party.” This one is sure to be a hit at celebrations!
Puzzle game The Drama Queen Murder was also released this week for the Switch. At $9.99 USD, players take the role of private investigator and solve the murder of Dolores Molinero, “the Queen of Drama.” With a variety of investigative methods, this appears to be one of the more diverse mystery games to hit the Switch in a while.
As always, you can find these and more on the Nintendo Game Store.
Stranger Things as an Anime is Even Cooler Than It Sounds
Ever wondered what Stranger Things might look like in a vintage anime style? Well look no further than a recent fan made video by animation studio Humoring the Fates that does just that with the well-known Netflix show. The YouTube video is published by the channel Octopie and clocks in at just under two minutes, the perfect length to showcase some of the classic moments from the first two seasons of the show. In the parody film, the inhabitants of Hawkins are transformed into an anime style and we see cartoon remakes of epic scenes such as Eleven facing off against the Demogorgon as well as quieter moments like Hopper and Eleven sharing waffles.
Although some have commented that they believe the animation style is more aligned to 90’s cartoons rather that 80’s anime, it is still clear that the talented artists and creators at Humoring the Fates have managed to perfectly capture the feel of Stranger Things within an animated format here. It has certainly left fans now dreaming of one day having an animated series related to Stranger Things. Maybe a spin off? One day perhaps.
Have a look at the video below and for more on Stranger Things, check out some of our articles on season three here.
Waiting for the ‘Resident Evil 3’ Remake? Here’s Something to Tide You Over
Following the huge success of the official remakes of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, a Resident Evil 3: Nemesis remake is likely on the horizon. However, a talented modder has given us something to fawn over whilst we play the waiting game with Capcom.
The Resident Evil 3: Seamless HD Project was created by Mathieu Phillipe and is a modded version of the Gamecube title. The mod is free but will require both a PC and Dolphin GameCube emulator to play. The mod boasts an impressive improvement to the graphics, sound and textures. The official site lists features such as “restored integrated texts”, “upscaled 3D model textures” and “ improved visual effects” to name just a few.
The mod is available for free and you can find all the appropriate information from the talented modders on the RESDHP website linked here as well as the free download. Have a glance at the incredibly well detailed gameplay from the mod below and to have a read of some of our Resident Evil 2 articles, check out our review of the RE2 remake here or our article on the boss fights of RE2 here.
Now we wait for the official RE3 remake…
The Best and the Most Disappointing Changes to the ‘Lion King’ Soundtrack
Disney’s latest remake of the highly revered animated classic The Lion King has been receiving mixed reviews from critics, but it still has the opportunity to dazzle the general public worldwide. With the new Lion King soundtrack having recently released, there is a lot to dissect from it. Hans Zimmer’s remake of the classic score is the highlight for me personally, and whilst the film’s popular songs are clearly remade with love for the original, some of the musical numbers don’t reach the heights of the 1994 classics.
Whilst I can say that some of these songs are a bit of a disappointment, I wouldn’t say that I actively dislike them, so bear in mind I’m probably being a little finicky.
#3 Most Disappointing: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”
Before you all start attempting to track me down with pitchforks in tow, hear me out first: I do not dislike the 2019 version. The instrumentals are beautiful, Beyoncé is fierce, Donald Glover is perfect as Simba, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are charming iterations of Timon and Pumbaa. That being said, I did feel somewhat disappointed with this version due to it feeling like a Beyoncé platform rather than the soulful duet between Simba and Nala that I was expecting. Glover is also completely overpowered by Beyoncé’s vocals; even in their solo moments, Simba seems quieter, whilst Nala’s voice is booming in every moment of the song. This is a real shame as Donald Glover has an incredible voice and he really should have been on level pegging with Beyoncé, despite her star power. After all, it’s not as if Glover is a modest actor and singer, as he has received global stardom under his artist pseudonym of Childish Gambino, as well as his acting work on Community and Solo: A Star Wars Story as a young Lando Calrissian.
Beyoncé certainly goes all out on the vocal work, and she is sounding stellar as usual. However, as amazing as she sounds, you can’t help but feel like this is her song, and her song alone. She gets her own number in the new original song “Spirit,” where she has plenty of opportunity to display her talents, so I just feel that “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” was a chance to showcase Simba and Nala’s growing affection through a song that equally showed off the artists talents. However, the end result is mostly Beyonce, and very little of Glover.
#3 Best: “Hakuna Matata”
The critics who have released their reviews on The Lion King have mostly agreed on one thing: that Timon and Pumbaa steal the show and inject a much-needed burst of energy into the film’s proceedings. This is undoubtedly the case when listening to “Hakuna Matata,” one of the most famous Disney songs on the Lion Kingsoundtrack. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella brought a special partnership that warmed the audiences’ hearts to the characters and the song in the 1994 version, but Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen also manage to capture everything that was charming and dynamic about the meerkat and warthog duo, whilst introducing a playful originality to them. There is something hilariously endearing about hearing Seth Rogen’s attempts to hold a tune. Singing is clearly not one of his strengths, but he plays it well, and it somehow manages to fit Pumbaa’s character. Eichner, on the other hand, has a surprisingly fantastic set of pipes, which works amazing well with Rogen’s.
The funniest part of the song is the infamous line wherein Pumbaa discusses how he felt downhearted every time that he…passed wind. In the original film, Timon stops Pumbaa before he can use the phrase in front of the children (both baby Simba and the audience), but here Timon does not intervene, as Pumbaa announces his farting habits to the world. Pumbaa queries as to whether Timon is going to stop him, and Timon simply responds with, “No I’m not. You disgust me.” I must admit, I laughed out loud when I first heard it. Eichner’s delivery and his banter with Rogen is a great way to change up the song from the original. The audience has grown since the original film, and we are all now old enough to hear the word “fart” without having a meltdown. (Well, most of us are anyway.) JD McCrary and Donald Glover’s role as Simba in the song is also brilliant, as both of them are hugely talented singers who manage to capture the spirit of Simba perfectly, both younger and older.
#2 Most Disappointing: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
With that being said, the inclusion of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” sung by Eichner and Rogen, seems a little bit unnecessary to me. It is a funny scene in the original film, with the two wandering in the jungle singing the song to themselves, and it will probably make for amusing viewing in this remake too, but I don’t see why it had to be put in the Lion King soundtrack. Again, Eichner’s vocals are great, but Rogen does very little here. There are also hints of fart noises in the song as well, which makes it feel all the more obsolete.
There are some really amazing songs throughout the franchise, such as those from the Broadway show and the second movie, so I don’t see why one of those songs couldn’t have made it onto the soundtrack instead of this. “He Lives in You,” which was in both The Lion King 2 and the musical adaptation, managed to make its way onto the 2019 soundtrack, and it works incredibly well. I just wish that one of the other great songs could have been brought here instead. Like I said at the start, I’m being finicky about this, as well as a little bit mean, but it really does feel like an unnecessary addition to pad out the length of the soundtrack. With the wide range of possibilities for additional music, I can’t help but feel like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is one of the more superfluous songs on the album.
#2 Best: “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”
One of my all-time favourite Disney songs has to be “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” so I couldn’t help but scrutinise the 2019 version after I first heard it. I found myself pleasantly surprised. Jason Weaver and Laura Williams sang the original fantastically, managing to nail the song performance-wise, whilst also keeping in line with the characters of Simba and Nala, respectively. This was sure to be a difficult act to follow, but JD McCrary and Shahdi Wright-Joseph pay respect to their predecessors whilst bringing a fresh sound to the classic song. John Oliver doesn’t quite hit the mark when it comes to the dry British wit of Zazu as well as Rowan Atkinson did, but he does a great job nonetheless, and his inclusion is still a nice touch of humor.
The song is slightly longer than the original as well, adding more of an interlude made up of tribal drums that lay out an adventurous beat that further enforces the idea of two mischievous lion cubs running through the pride lands. Nala gets more to do this time around too, as the song takes cues from the Broadway musical, which gave some of Simba’s singing lines to Nala and added in some riffing to jazz up her part in the song. This is great to hear, as it gives Shahdi Wright-Joseph the chance to bring some brightness to the character with her incredible singing talent. The 2019 version is cheerful, energetic, and brings the young talent of the film into the spotlight that they deserve, so I definitely consider it as one of the best on the Lion King soundtrack.
#1 Most Disappointing: “Be Prepared”
Many months ago, when The Lion King was still in development, rumors started coming to the fore that the fan-favourite song “Be Prepared” (featuring the film’s villain, Scar) would be cut from the remake. Closer to the release date, it was revealed that the song would indeed be in the movie, but the end result feels somewhat half baked. A good deal of the 2019’s “Be Prepared” involves talking from Scar and his hyena minions, but it slowly and uncertainly becomes more grandiose until it is a musical number. Regardless, it all just feels a bit low-energy, with little of the charisma and character from Jeremy Irons’ version from 1994.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Scar this time around, is not at fault here. In fact, his deep, booming, and intimidating voice is chilling, and gives the song a more sinister and villainous tone, with a hint of creepiness. What is irritating is that whilst the song does have positives (mainly Ejiofor’s performance and the haunting instrumentals) that could have made for a really interesting and original take on the classic song, it is so rushed that it doesn’t have much time to truly make an impact. It’s two minutes long, but has a slow beat that doesn’t increase much throughout, so by the time the song finally starts to get going, it is already finishing.
It isn’t exactly clear what happened with this number, but it seems to me like Disney saw the backlash from the public when it was suggested that “Be Prepared” wasn’t going to be included, and therefore scrambled to put something together for Scar in the final film. Of course, I can’t say that this is what happened for sure, but if so, the final product is a hastily done piece that could have been so much better if given the same amount of creative input as some of the other songs on the Lion King soundtrack. Despite Ejiofor’s efforts and the promising framework that the song offers, the 2019 version of “Be Prepared” is incredibly disappointing. Not only does it not stand anywhere near the level of the original, but it wastes its potential. After the initial sinister tones of Ejiofor wore off, it left me feeling pretty unmoved. For such a well-known song from the remake of one of Disney’s best animated films, it simply isn’t up to the standard that it should be.
#1 Best: Stampede
It has to be one of Hans Zimmer’s interpretations of the old score that is the best of the 2019 Lion King soundtrack. Zimmer had a tough challenge ahead of him when he agreed to come back for the remake. He had to stay true to the original music (as it is one of the greatest scores from an animated movie to date), but also make sure that he added enough new material within the original score to create a refreshing update. I consider this song the most successful of the new soundtrack, despite all the star power behind the others. One of the most emotionally charged tracks has to be “Stampede,” which comes during the infamous stampede that leads to Mufasa’s death.
The original track (called “To Die For”) is incredibly intense before becoming harrowing, but Zimmer manages to up the emotion even more so in his 2019 take on the piece. It is slightly longer, and spends a bit more time ramping up in intensity, creating a heart-pumping piece that makes you feel the gravitas of the scene without even watching it. Once the music has reached its boiling point, Zimmer includes a sorrowful effect that sounds like a lion’s scream. This is new addition to the piece gives it an extra stab of pain, as we know that this is when Mufasa loses his life as young Simba watches on in horror. The music then moves onto the softer and hugely emotional moment of Simba finding his father’s body, then attempting to get him to wake up. As sad as this was on the original Lion King soundtrack, it is made all the more painful to listen to now, as Zimmer increases his orchestra and adds in some booming drum beats to emphasise the weighty effect that this event will have on Simba’s life, as well as the lives of all the lions in the pride. You can hear the cub’s life being ripped from underneath him, all within a few seconds of the score.
I felt myself tearing up just listening to this track, without even having watched the film yet. The last minute or so then gets a new, sinister theme for the hyenas, as they presumably chase Simba out of the pride lands. It has a more threatening tone than their original theme, but it still stays true to it. This element is also more frantic, to indicate Simba’s desperate attempt to escape the predators. “Stampede” is an incredible piece that highlights Zimmer’s attempts to rework his previous music into something with even more emotional power than it had originally.
The new Lion King soundtrack is out now, and the film releases this Friday, July 19th 2019.
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