Fantastic Fest 2011, Day Seven: Following the Buzz

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Hell's Alphabet coloring bookIt's now day seven of Fantastic Fest and festival fatigue has set in. I know I am not alone -- watching 4-5 movies a day can be exhausting. At this point of the festival, I am doing my best to catch some of the movies I missed earlier in the fest. I also spend my day watching films that have a "buzz." Today was a good one.

My day started plainly enough. I logged into the online ticketing system and for some reason I got in right away. Hoorah! I picked just two films, as one of the films I was going to watch had a press screening. After securing my reservation, I drove to Alamo Drafthouse to pick up my boarding passes. A fun trait of Fantastic Fest is that you never know who you will see milling about. Today's sighting was Alejandro Brugues, director of Juan of the Dead. As I drove up, he was waiting for a cab. Nothing like shaking the hand of someone whose film you love (my review is coming soon).

My first showing of the day was a film called Retreat. Retreat tells the story of Jack and Kate, a couple vacationing on a private island trying to reconcile problems in their marriage. During their stay, they find an injured man whom they take into their cabin. The man tells them that a virus has overtaken the mainland and they need to seal off the house. You never know whjether he is telling the truth. This movie plays like an episode of Twilight Zone. It an entertaining popcorn movie.

After watching Retreat, I was able to finally see Headhunters, a splendid Norwegian film about an art thief who gets into trouble with one of his marks. After last year's Fantastic Fest, I've become a real fan of their Norwegian cinema. I highly recommend watching this film if you have a chance.

Rod's page in Hell's AlphabetAfter Headhunters ended, I had a quite a bit of time to spend on the porch geeking with friends. I love this fest because we all have similar yet divergent taste in movies and it's on the porch where we discuss what we have seen and compare our opinions with some others. Another cool thing that happened was Jason Murphy (@captainmurphy on Twitter) was passing around a copy of the Hells Alphabet coloring book he wrote (pictured above) accompanied by big box of crayons. Never did I expect to be one of many movie bloggers hitting the Crayola (my attempt is on the left).

My last film of the day was French horror film Livid. Livid was a pretty basic "creepy house with creepy tenant" story. The one thing that stood out was the cinematography. I loved the look of this movie. The story was pretty basic and had some interesting concepts. Overall it's worth a look, but don't expect to get too scared.

I spent a little time on the porch after this screening chatting with friends again. The main topic of conversation was Secret Screening #2. This was probably the most non-secret screening of all the secret screenings I have seen. The theory was that it was going to be Paranormal Activity 3. Because of that theory I was thinking it would be something way out of left field. I was so sure I bet local film writer Peter Hall Torchy's tacos that it would be something else. Well I lost. But those tacos will be yummy so no real loss.

This is my last day of dispatch coverage for Fantastic Fest and let me tell you, this year's fest is by far the best one I have attended. Over the last four years I have met some of the coolest and genuinely nicest people in the universe. I am happy I heard about that Fantastic Fest thing in 2008. It's been run and rewarding. Here's to 2012!!!!