Fantastic Fest 2009 Adds Romero, 'Daybreakers', 'Zombieland' and More!

Fantastic Fest 2009 Adds Romero, ‘Daybreakers’, ‘Zombieland’ and More!

zombieland-202x300Fantastic Fest in Austin is one of the best festivals in the country devoted to genre films. Previously, we brought you news about the first round of films scheduled to show during the fest. And now, there’s even more news to share today, including some great guests and some relly cool films we’re looking forward to seeing.

But really, I probably can’t do all this info proper justice (given my time constraints today at least) so I’ll just let Tim League, director/co-founder of the Fest, speak for himself via the latest Fest press release:

George Romero Returns to Fantastic Fest!

George RomeroIn 2007, Fantastic Fest was honored by the presence of one of the true masters of horror, George A. Romero.  Now, two years later, we are thrilled to welcome back the undisputed champion of all things undead for his latest blood-drenched thrillride, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD.  When the idyllic retreat of Plum Island falls victim to the zombie plague, a new breed of clan war breaks out.  On one side is the camp who want to exterminate all undead with a wickedly diverse array of brain-splattering headshots.

On the other, devoted family members take the stance that “zombie-ism” is a disease, the undead have rights and they must be kept alive until a cure is found.  Unable to simply “agree to disagree,” the two clans go to war and make their island microcosm a whole hell of a lot bloodier. An undead parallel to the tribal wars that are plaguing our own society today, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD exposes the futility of such conflict and the need for tolerance of the beliefs of others.  Plus it’s got zombie horses in it!

From the very beginning, Romero has been making more than simple gore films.  To be sure, he’s amazing at delivering “the blood-red goods,” but what makes his films classics are the underlying social and political threads interwoven with the rampant gut-munching.  NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD played with themes of Vietnam-era paranoia, DAWN OF THE DEAD poked fun at mass-consumerism all the way up to DIARY OF THE DEAD which took aim at the journalistic and new media ethics (or lack thereof).

Raise a glass of scotch, ladies and gentlemen, and toast the triumphant  return to Texas of one of the few working legends of cinema, Mr. George A. Romero.  We’ll start off the show with a collection of vintage Romero trailers followed by a Q&A after the screening with the master himself.  (Tim League)
Zombieland Set to Annihilate Austin on Sept 25!

ZombielandColumbia Pictures’ horror comedy ZOMBIELAND focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies.  Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is a big wuss – but when you’re afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive.  Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is an AK-totin’, zombie-slayin’ badass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth.  As they join forces with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.

GENTLEMEN BRONCOS is the opening night film of Fantastic Fest 2009.  Writer/director Jared Hess, co-writer Jerusha Hess as well as stars Jemaine Clement, Mike White and Sam Rockwell will be in attendance.  Details
Fantastic Fest 2009 Features
Second Wave of Fantastic Fest Features Announced

We are proud to announce the next 20 titles in the 5th edition of Fantastic Fest.  Subscribe to the Fantastic Fest Blog or Twitter Feed for all of the latest updates.  We will be announcing the 3rd wave of titles and the Fantastic Fest schedule on September 7.  You can view photos, watch trailers and find more information at

(dir. Jake West, 2009, UK)
North American Premiere
Kicked out of the house and recently served with divorce papers, Vince (Stephen Graham, THIS IS ENGLAND) is at a low point in his life.  In an effort to rally their best mate’s spirits, his crew rents a charter bus for a country retreat of heavy drinking and womanizing.  The only problem is that the women in their idyllic country hideaway have been infested with the zombie plague, eaten every man in town and are now hungry for seconds.

Down Terrace
World Premiere
(dir. Ben Wheatley, 2009, UK)
Down Terrace is a darkly comedic drama from Britain that follows the daily travails of a dysfunctional family of crooks trying to keep their business from falling apart.

North American Premiere
(dir. Jordan Barker, 2009, US)
A cold-blooded killer has singled out a mild-mannered, recently widowed man and is forcing him, under threat of harm to his young daughter, to participate in his gruesome activities.  The indecisive father sinks deeper and more helplessly into the clutches of the ruthless killer – a man most definitely on a mission.

First Squad
World Premiere
(dir. Yoshiharu Ashino, 2009, Japan)
The battle along the Russian-German front of WWII has ground to a halt. Desperate to regain momentum the Nazi forces have turned to their occult division to raise the spirits of their dead ancestors to fight on their behalf.  Russia’s only hope lies in the psychic abilities of a teenage girl.

Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle
Regional Premiere
(dir. Takanori Tsujimoto, 2009, Japan)
In a near-future post-apocalyptic bombed-out shell of Japan, lawless gangs roam the outskirts of the city, raping and pillaging with impunity.  Milly, left for dead by a particularly vicious gang, literally picks up the (her) pieces, bonds them with some truly inventive bio-weaponry and takes bloody revenge, one lowlife at a time.

Human Centipede (First Sequence)
North American Premiere
(dir. Tom Six, 2009, Netherlands/UK)
Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), a leering, sepulchral surgeon from Germany whose specialty is separating Siamese twins, evolves his craft by sewing together living beings together at the “mucous-cutaneous zone” (guess) in order to create Siamese triplets with a single digestive system.

World Premiere
(dir. The Mo Brothers, 2009, Indonesia)
After just embarking on a roadtrip, six friends stop to pick up a girl who has just been robbed and return her to her home at the end of an isolated forest.   Their act of kindness ends up being repaid by a night of unspeakable horror and butchery.

World Premiere
(dir. Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, 2009, Chile)
The dynamic duo of Chile, Marko Zaror and Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, are returning to Austin with the World Premiere of their new action thriller MANDRILL.  Marko Zaror plays MANDRILL, a young hitman who will not relent until he has exacted bloody revenge on the man who killed his mother many years ago.

North American Premiere
(dir. Gareth Evans, 2009, Indonesia)
Indonesia’s first martial arts film in roughly fifteen years and quite possibly the first to ever feature a serious treatment of local martial art silat.

U.S. Premiere
(dir. Tarik Saleh, 2009, Sweden)
What if the global oil shortage were to force civilization underground?  What if the subway system were expanded to connect all the major cities of Europe?  What if the voices in your head were real and the Powers That Be using transmitters hidden in shampoo to monitor your every word and action? It’s only paranoia if it’s not true …

Smash Cut
(dir. Lee Demarbre, 2009, Canada)
U.S. Premiere
When his latest film is panned for its sub-par effects work, veteran grindhouse filmmaker Able Whitman (David Hess, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK) is struck with inspiration: the most realistic gore effects will come from actual dismemberment and corpses!

Survival of the Dead
U.S. Premiere
(dir. George A. Romero, 2009, US/Canada)
George Romero returns to the Alamo Drafthouse cinema for the U.S. premiere of his latest zombie opus.  The action centers on two warring clans of Plum Island; one wants to kill every zombie on the island, the other tries to protect their undead family members until a cure for “zombieism” is found.

Sweet Karma
US Premiere
(dir. Andrew Thomas Hunt, 2009, Canada)
When her sister disappears without a trace – the apparent victim in a Russian prostitution ring in Toronto – a shy, beautiful, mute woman sets off on a bloody, intercontinental trail of revenge.

Terribly Happy
(dir. Henrik Ruben Genz, 2009, Denmark)
Based on a true story, TERRIBLY HAPPY follows a young Copenhagen cop who is exiled to a provincial Jutland town after suffering a nervous collapse. The town and its “code” soon prove to be much more complex and challenging – not to mention much more deadly – than the big city beat.

Van Diemen’s Land
U.S. Premiere
(dir. Jonathan Auf Der Heide, 2009, Australia)
When their guard is killed en route to prison in 19th-century Tasmania, eight prisoners escape through the dense rain forest.  Their poorly-conceived escape plans crumble, food runs out and the gang of prisoners engages in power struggles, psychological games and cannibalism in order to survive.  Based on the true-life story of Australian prisoner Alexander Pearce.

Regional Premiere
(dir. Takashi Miike, 2009, Japan)
A reimagining of the long-running Anime TV show, Miike’s YATTERMAN is a massive dayglo blast that hits your brain like a bullet train and kickstarts your pleasure centers.

Regional Premiere
(Rob Grant, 2009, Canada)
When a strange flulike virus starts killing people and turning them into flesh-eating zombies, an unlikely group of guys band together, grab an SUV and head for the woods to wait out the epidemic.  Shot in 16mm on a micro-budget of $25,000, YESTERDAY transcends its resources, filling every scene with great practical effects, car crashes, ballistics and, most importantly, cracklingly sharp dramatic and comedic performances by every single principal cast member.

(dir. Ruben Fleischer, 2009, US)
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is a big wuss – but when you’re afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive.  Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is an AK-totin’, zombie-slayin’ badass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth.