The Cosmic Circus is happy to announce we will be in attendance at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Last year, Fantastic Fest brought a lot of surprise offerings that went on to be massive hits and even Oscar contenders. Smile opened the festivities in 2022 and became an enormous success. The Banshees of Inisherin made the rounds during Oscar season, and Colin Farrell gave Brandon Frasier some healthy competition for Best Actor.
This year has a lot of potential offerings, including a new Pet Sematary movie titled Pet Semetary: Bloodlines and an appearance by Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi action/drama The Creator. But for this list, we are trying to offer choices readers might have heard about and more obscure offerings. Here is a list of movies and a TV show of our highly anticipated programming at Fantastic Fest 2023.
#1: The Toxic Avenger
The 1984 trashy Troma masterpiece The Toxic Avenger was a film of its time. The exploitative horror superhero comedy is ripe for a remake. And what better team than the inspired community surrounding Macon Blair, who previously directed the critical indie-darling I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore?
The fascinating aspect of The Toxic Avenger remake is the production company behind it. Legendary Pictures, who previously gave us Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, and so much more, has backed the remake of the cult classic. This would be like if Warner Brothers decided to remake She-Wolf of the SS. It’s an interesting thought, but it’s tough to visualize what that movie would be like. But with Peter Dinklage and Elijah Wood as the film’s headliners, it’s one festivalgoers should be excited about.
#2: The Fall of the House of Usher
The brilliance of Mike Flanagan cannot be stressed enough. As a writer, filmmaker, and producer, Flanagan has developed a murderers’ row of film and television shows within the horror genre. Between Haunting of Hill House (and Bly Manor), Midnight Mass, Gerald’s Game, and more, the Doctor Sleep filmmaker has a knack for making horror with sincerity as its backdrop.
The Fall of the House of Usher seems to possess the same Flanagan-esque elements but with an Edgar Allan Poe twist. Here, in the new Netflix series, Flanagan reimagines The Fall of the House of Usher as a modern tale about an opioid exec profiting off of pain and possibly losing his family as a curse for his success. The series brings back the usual players, such as Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Rahul Kohli, Katie Siegel, and many more familiar faces.
Bertrand Mandico is not a conventional filmmaker by any stretch of the animation. His film, After Blue, was a stylish fever dream of an experience with an equally trippy premise. One can easily assume that whatever the filmmaker tackles next will be comparably trippy.
That brings us to his latest ambitious film, Conann, described as a reimagining of Conan from a female LGTBQ perspective in various stages of the barbarian’s life. Mandico has a trippy eroticism style to his craft, adding swords, mysticism, and the power of Crom, and the results could be a Fantastic Fest head trip. This time, we will not just hear the lamentation of the women but also fear it.
#4: Your Lucky Day
Angus Cloud was a shooting star in a moment’s time. Cloud had a natural charisma that made him magnetic to watch in Euphoria. So, when the news broke that the actor died, it was devastating not only for those close to him but for those who enjoyed his presence on screen.
Fortunately, we are not done seeing his talents in front of the camera. The film, written and directed by Dan Brown, titled Your Lucky Day, sees Cloud as a desperate man in the mix of a hostage situation involving a $156 million winning lottery ticket. The film has a one-setting location involving a convenience store and is said to pack the thrills. The movie might be called Your Lucky Day, but it truly is Our Lucky Day to see Angus Cloud once more.
#5: The People’s Joker
Can it be a film festival without a bit of controversy? The People’s Joker made a huge splash in that department last year, with Warner Brothers sending cease and desist letters, causing the movie to be pulled from festivals, including Fantastic Fest 2022. Now, the gender-fluid-inspired clown has returned to seek vengeance at this year’s festivities.
Vera Drew directs, stars, and cowrites the film with Arrested Development writer Bri LeRose, and the film itself involves a reframing of the character as Joker the Harlequin, who is a clown struggling with identity as well as fighting a winged costumed character who is described as a fascist (The Batman). The film also features familiar comedic talents such as Maria Bamford, Tim Heidecker, and Bob Odenkirk.
South Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-Woon is easily one of the best filmmakers working today. His film I Saw the Devil is one of the most grisly vengeance movies ever put to the screen. And A Bittersweet Life is a remarkable crime thriller. Here, with Cobweb, the Korean filmmaker is exercising his dramedy chops with a movie that is said to be a “film within a film.”
Song Kang-ho once again reunites with his I Saw the Devil director and will play a filmmaker named Kim, which feels like a meta choice. Cowritten by Kim Jee-Woon and Shin Yeon-Schick, the story is said to be about a 1970s director fighting for his creative vision against a censorship board. And according to the festival, the narrative gets “twisty.”
More film and TV series coverage from Fantastic Fest 2023 to come!
Follow The Cosmic Circus on social media or our email list for more coverage from Fantastic Fest 2023 coming soon! You can find out more about any of these films on the official Fantastic Fest website.
Which of these are you interested in seeing the most? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in our Discord!