Thursday, October 15, 2020

Celebration of Fantastic Fest 2020

Although 2020 has been a complete mess, a few good things have come out of it, and one of those good things is film festivals moving online. This year was supposed to be my first in-person film festival (Houston Horror Film Fest), but instead ended up attending my first online film festival – Celebration of Fantastic Fest, which is usually Fantastic Fest held in Austin. The event was free, and there were a lot of good movie offerings. I’m going to let you know about the three movies I watched that were directed by women so you can keep an eye out on these when they hopefully come to VOD one day. Thank you to Fantastic Fest for hosting this amazing online festival!

Bloodthirsty (2020) – dir. Amelia Moses, 82 min., Canada, world premiere 

SYNOPSIS: Grey is an indie singer who is having visions that she is a wolf. When she gets an invitation to work with notorious music producer Vaughn Daniels at his remote studio in the woods she begins to find out who she really is.

I’ve now seen two 2020 releases directed by Amelia Moses (another post on the other one coming soon since it was at a different festival), and she has a beautiful style for wintry atmospheric and minimalistic horror. I’m not usually a huge werewolf movie fan, but apparently I’m a queer werewolf pop star movie fan, so I need more movies like this, please. 

How to Deter a Robber (2020) – dir. Maria Bissell, 85 min., US, world premiere 

SYNOPSIS: In a desolate town in Northern Wisconsin, a stubborn young woman and her naïve boyfriend face off against a pair of amateur burglars. Hilarity ensues. One person dies.

How to Deter a Robber is a blast to watch. It’s a dark comedy set at Christmas, and there’s so much to love about it. It’s funny and entertaining. The cast was good, and the characters are likeable. I wish the ending wouldn’t have been so abrupt & that everything would have tied together a little more, but it worked well enough. Add How to Deter a Robber to your Christmas list!

The Stylist (2020) – dir. Jill Gevargizian, 105 min., US, world premiere 

SYNOPSIS: A lonely hair stylist becomes obsessed with the lives of her clients and descends into murderous madness.

I’ve followed Jill Gevargizian on Twitter for a bit, and was happy to see that she had a movie at Fantastic Fest. The Stylist is a full-length adaptation of Gevargizian’s short film from 2016 with the same title. The Stylist is a gorgeous slow burn movie, and it has some elements that are reminiscent of May and Maniac. It was promising, but there was a lack of depth that was needed for an intense character study. The pacing feels off at times. I liked the ending, but I wish there would have been a little more action leading up to it. Najarra Townsend was great as the main character.

Add these to your watchlist, and follow us on Letterboxd (link below) to see what we’re watching! We’re having LOHF Movie Nights every Friday in October, so check our previous posts for more info if you want to join in.

Emily is our resident Instagram expert! She also contributes content to the Ladies of Horror Fiction website.

You can also find Emily on her personal Instagram as @exorcismofemilyreed, on Twitter as @ExorcismEmily, on Letterbxd as @bookhappy, and on Goodreads.

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