06th Jul2018

Ten Best: Films Showing at Fantasia 2018

by Phil Wheat


The Fantasia International Film Festival is all set to return to Concordia University, The Cinémathèque Québécoise, and The McCord Museum for the 22nd edition of the festival, which takes place from July 12st to August 1st 2018 and marks the start of a HUGE two month festival of genre film that, fingers crossed, we’ll be bringing you coverage of here on Nerdly. With that said, he’s our pick of the ten films we’re looking forward to at this years Fantasia…

10) Lifechanger

Synopsis: Drew is Detective Freddie Ransone, a cop who just left a burning house with two dead bodies inside. Before that, Drew was Emily Roberts, a party girl who became one of those dead bodies, and as the days go on, Drew will become dentist Sam Richardson, his assistant Rachel, and several others. Drew, as it turns out, has the ability to transport from body to body, not so much a shapeshifter as a body thief, for as long as the body remains good before decomposition. But it wasn’t always this way ? before this, Drew was once able to stay in bodies much longer, which lead him to Julia, the woman he still pines for. The ability to change bodies can help bring Drew close to Julia again, but not close enough to stay for long. And that desire to reconnect with the woman he loves so much will ultimately prove to be the undoing of many, perhaps even Drew himself.

Why I’m excited: Lifechanger is the latest from Canadian genre vet Justin McConnell AND it star Lora Burke from last years Poor Agnes. Need I say anything more?

9) Mandy

Synopsis: The peaceful existence of Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) in the Shadow Mountains of 1983 is burned to the ground when a deranged religious sect fixates on Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), the love of his life and, as is soon made very evident, a significant grounding force in his universe. Things deteriorate into a tranced-out nightmare of insect venom, hard drugs and broken-minded delirium as Red journeys into hell in order to avenge the woman he once lived for. Blood will flow in rivers. Worlds will collapse unto themselves.

Why I’m excited: Director Panos Cosmatos’ previous film Beyond the Black Rainbow was a stunning slice of 80s wierdness and it seems like that oddness continues in this film. Plus we’ve got Nicolas Cage – whose penchant for over-egging and awkwardness seems like the perfect pairing for this OTT tale.

8) The Man Who Killed Bigfoot and then Hitler

Synopsis: The year is 1987. Calvin Barr (a too-great-for-words Sam Elliott) is not a violent man. But he is more than capable of violence if sufficiently provoked. What many don’t realize about the thoughtful, elderly bloke regularly seen at the neighbourhood tavern is that he’s a legendary WW2 veteran who many years ago assassinated Adolf Hitler, an incredible secret that he’s frustratingly unable to share. One day, just as he’s coming to terms with rounding out his life, Calvin gets a visit from the FBI and the RCMP. They know what he’s done, and what he can be capable of. They have a mission for him. After discovering that it harbours a disease capable of eradicating humanity… they need him to take out Bigfoot.

Why I’m excited: Sam Elliot, Douglas Trumbull, Hitler and Bigfoot. A heady combination for ANY movie…

7) BuyBust

Synopsis: Nina Manigan is a rookie police officer, assigned to an elite anti-narcotics squad. Her team is selected to escort local officers to a drug bust in the slums of Manila. When everything goes south, she and her colleagues are trapped in the drug den. They have to dodge not just the dealers, but also the local residents, who turn on them in revenge for civilian casualties during previous operations. No matter how good their training, nothing can prepare them for what will become the longest night of their lives.

Why I’m excited: Er… This is a Filipino action movie featuring a bunch of kick-ass women that sounds like another The Raid-esque action movie. That’s easily enough to excite genre fans!

6) Summer of 84

Synopsis: “The suburbs are where the craziest shit happens,” 15-year-old Davey Armstrong (Graham Verchere) tells us at the beginning of SUMMER OF ’84,, and he should know. It’s June of the eponymous year in Ipswich, Oregon, and Davey is spending his days and nights hanging out, talking about sex and the finer points of STAR WARS sequels, and playing “manhunt” with best friends Eats (Judah Lewis), Woody (Caleb Emery) and Curtis (Cory Gruter-Andrew). The innocent fun ends when Davey begins to suspect that his next-door neighbour, outwardly friendly cop Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer), is the Cape May Slayer who has been preying on kids his age in the area. Davey recruits his pals to help investigate and expose Mackey, initiating an adventure that threatens to turn dangerous and deadly for the boys at any moment.

Why I’m excited: That can be summed up in one sentence: Summer of 84 is the latest movie from filmmaking collective RKSS, the geniuses behind Turbo Kid. Simple.

5) Knuckleball

Synopsis: Somewhere in western Canada is a farmhouse. A seemingly ordinary and simple farmhouse with a seemingly nice and normal farmer named Jacob (Michael Ironside) residing within. There would be no reason to fear this farmhouse, but for Mary (Kathleen Munroe) it’s a farmhouse that harbours bad memories and a real sense of dread. Now, a family emergency forces her to drop her son Henry (Luca Villacis) off at this farmhouse for a few days with Jacob, her father, who doesn’t know his own grandson. A love of baseball helps the two bond, but that connection is broken by the arrival of Dixon (Munro Chambers of TURBO KID), the creepy next-door neighbour who seems to know a lot about the farmhouse and holds a pretty mean grudge against Henry. Over the course of the next few days, Henry is going to learn a lot about family, about survival, and how to throw a good knuckleball like his life depends on it… because it does.

Why I’m excited: I absolutely loved director Mike Peterson’s Llloyd the Conqueror so he feature follow-up HAAD to be on my must-see list for this years Fantasia. On top of that we get the genre legend that is Michael Ironside and Turbo Kid/Degrassi alum Munro Chambers. What’s no to get excited about?

4) Le Monstre Du Spa

Synopsis: On Valentine’s Day, a young couple preparing to spend a romantic moment in the spa has his evening messed up by the appearance of a monstrous creature.

Why I’m excited: OK, so it may only be a short, but looking at the images from the film on the official Fantasia website, this Canadian horror looks like a wild and crazy take on films like Slithis and Oily Maniac. Plus it takes place in a spa… And we all know how those films worked out (in case you don’t, Death Spa is a slice of AWESOMENESS!)

3) Granny

Synopsis: A young man flees for his life when the beloved grandmother he attempted to put in a home goes on a murderous rampage.

Why I’m excited: A film about a murderous Granny? Made in Australia and billed as a horror comedy? Feels like Troma all over again, and who didn’t love ridiculous gems like Rabid Grannies and Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator back in the day? Granny sounds like it could capture all that and more, hopefully giving us something akin to the horror-comedy stylings of Bad Taste and Brain Dead.

2) Mega Time Squad

Synopsis: Johnny (Anton Tennet) lives an underwhelming life. He is a low-level drug dealer in Thames, New Zealand, he lives in his mother’s garage, his time is spent with a blundering friend Gaz (Arlo Gibson) at the local bowling alley and doing petty errands for the local kingpin Shelton (Johnny Brugh of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS) and his henchmen (including Milo Cawthorne of DEATHGASM and ASH VS. EVIL DEAD). When a once-in-a-lifetime chance at a big score reveals itself, Johnny finds himself wondering, “Do I have what it takes to pull off a caper?” He quickly realizes no, he doesn’t. That is, not until he stumbles upon an ancient relic that allows him to travel across time. With the power to bend time in Johnny’s hands, a hodgepodge of hilarity ensues and the “bogans” (Kiwi for loser) sets his sights once again on the wealth just beyond his grasp. However, what are the consequences of this temporal insanity, and does Johnny have what it takes to face off against Shelton and his henchmen?

Why I’m excited: Green RPM ranger Milo Cawthorne back in another film? Makes that a must-see for me, after all Cawthorne has done no wrong when it comes to genre films, from Blood Punch and Deathgasm and now to this – where he takes on a villianous role… Well consider me a huge fan! Plus its a genre comedy from New Zealand and since when have they ever let audiences down?

1) Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

Synopsis: Postville, Texas, 1999: A lesbian couple have an unfortunate encounter with expatriate Nazi/puppet maker Andre Toulon (Udo Kier) and his creations. Dallas, present day: Recently divorced comic-book artist Edgar (Thomas Lennon), back living in his parents’ house, comes across a scary-looking puppet that once belonged to his deceased brother. In need of extra money, he decides to sell it at a convention/auction commemorating the 30th anniversary of the “Toulon murders.” He brings along his new girlfriend Ashley (Jenny Pellicer) and his boss Markowitz (Nelson Franklin) – little knowing the danger they’re heading into. Toulon may be dead but his dolls of death are very much alive, and they begin slashing, bashing and burning the convention-goers. Only Edgar and his friends may be able to stop this toy reich’s final solution…

Why I’m excited: It’s a goddamn new Puppet Master movie. Nuff said!

Special Mention(s): One of my all-time favourite actresses, Cynthia Rothrock, is getting the big-screen Fantasia treatment as the festival is showing Angel of Fury (aka Above the Law 2 here in the UK) as part of this years event on July 17th. As is the 1972 classic Five Fingers of Death aka King Boxer… Oh to see both of those on the big screen!!

Plus there’s plenty of other awesome films showing that just didn’t make the Top 10 cut including: Pledge, Inuyashiki, The Field Guide to Evil, Devil Woman, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires, Big Brother, Parallel, Anna and the Apocalypse, The Ranger, We Summoned a Demon and Tales From the Hood 2 to name a few…


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