It's that time again! The 2023 edition of the Fantasia Film Festival is fast approaching, and I couldn't be more excited. Taking place once again in Montreal, Quebec, the festival will be celebrating its 27th year with another slew of genre film screenings, workshops, and events. Running from July 20th through August 9th, this year's Fantasia Fest features work from an array of filmmakers including up and comers and respected veterans such as Larry Fessenden, Jung Bum-shik, The Adams Family, and so many more.
Between fresh new takes on werewolves and vampires, tales of revenge, and unique creatures of all sorts, it's tough to pick just a handful of what I'm most looking forward to. Still, I did just that in the list below, selecting my five most anticipated horror films of the fest. Give it a look below, and see the fest's full schedule here.
We Are Zombies
The official closing film for the festival, what could be a better note to end on than a new zombie movie from the filmmaking team behind Turbo Kid and Summer of 84, We Are Zombies? Based on the comic Les Zombies Qui Ont Mange Le Monde (The Zombies that Ate the World), this take on the undead from directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell does things a little differently with a tale in which zombies roam freely without the urge to eat human flesh. Based on the above photo, I'd guess that doesn't last as long as the heroes of the picture would like. A fanciful film based in nostalgia and loaded with gore, Turbo Kid is one of my favorite films of the last decade, while Summer of 84 is an underrated coming of age film with a serial killer that expresses the filmmakers' ability with horror. We Are Zombies looks to combine elements of both, and I, for one, cannot wait.
It Lives Inside
Having previously won SXSW's Midnighters award and seeing its Quebec premiere here, It Lives Inside looks to be one of the scariest films of the year. This story which follows an Indian-American teenager who unwittingly unleashes a demon that grows stronger by feeding on loneliness has already seen trailers released that do their job in sending chills down the spine. The debut feature from director Bishal Dutta, I regretfully missed this one during SXSW and have been patiently awaiting finally being able to lay my eyes on what many have called an impressive first horror feature for the filmmaker.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep
I'm a big fan of the highly underrated psychological horror meets the frontier film, The Wind, which was written by Teresa Sutherland. So, you'd better believe I'm excited for her debut feature in the director's chair--as well as the world premiere of--Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Starring Barbarian's Georgina Campbell, the film follows a park ranger at an isolated outpost where she is plagued by visions past and present from an increasingly sinister source. Between Sutherland's knack for horror of the mind and Campbell's ability to carry a film on her own, Lovely, Dark, and Deep has the makings of something memorable.
If you know me, you know I love werewolves to an unhealthy degree. If you know director Larry Fessenden, then you know he's put his fingerprints on various classic creatures such as vampires, Frankenstein's Monster and even The Wendigo. When I saw that Blackout, his attempt at the werewolf, would be world premiering at Fantasia, my friends, I practically ripped off my shirt and went howling at the moon, I was so thrilled. All we know at the moment is that it follows a man who believes he is a werewolf wreaking havoc on a small town. Knowing Fessenden, though, I'd expect what sounds like a simple story to veer into something a little different for the lycanthrope genre.
Suitable Flesh had me at Lovecraft story featuring the great Barbara Crampton. Throw in Mayhem director Joe Lynch, a script by one of the best Lovecraft adapters there is, Dennis Paoli, Heather Graham (!) and Brian Yuzna in the Executive Producer's chair, and Suitable Flesh sounds like a dream in the witch-house for fans of a good Lovecraft story. I've heard nothing but good things about this one, which will be making its Canadian Premiere during the fest, and I expect that streak will continue for one of my most anticipated films not just of Fantasia, but of the year.
By Matt Konopka