Stay Weird: Highlights of the 2022 Fantastic Fest | Festivals & Awards


The outlet evening celebration featured the go back of competition favorites Itchy-O, a Denver-based staff whose act can also be imperfectly described as a mixture of a 2d line parade, an occult ritual, and a heavy-metal drum circle. Itchy-O’s 57 individuals infiltrated the celebration in snaking traces, sneaking up in the back of festival-goers and crawling between their toes. When they reached the Highball degree, the Satanic laser gentle display started. (I neglected the opposite rowdiest tournament of opening weekend, the Improbable Debates, the place filmmakers face off within the boxing ring. However in line with resources, the beer used to be nonetheless unfastened, and the air con in fact labored this 12 months.)

The crowds felt acquainted, however the behind-the-scenes faces have been new. Below new competition director Lisa Dreyer and Director of Programming Annick Mahnert, the Improbable Fest programming staff is three-quarters feminine, a sea exchange for a competition that used to be one of the crucial first to stand a #MeToo reckoning within the past due 2010s. In a podcast recording for “Letterboxd,” programmer and restorationist Liz Purchell famous that the vibe on the competition used to be a lot much less masculine than in years previous—a welcome exchange I’d chalk up each to the programming staff and the noticeable uptick within the selection of feminine administrators in this 12 months’s time table. 

Improbable Fest nonetheless covers your vintage nerd bases: Gore-driven horror for dudes in black T-shirts (the abysmal “Terrifier 2”), the newest otaku must-see (the uplifting “Shin Ultraman”). It’s simply doing so with a much less aggressively male, alpha-nerd form of power. And agree with me, the lads nonetheless got here out in numbers. Issues have modified at Improbable Fest, however the line for the lads’s rest room remains to be longer than for the ladies’s. 

The large occasions on opening weekend have been the sector premiere of “Smile,” which I’ve already coated for this website. Crucial reception for the wide-release Paramount horror movie used to be less warm right here than at next press screenings: This crowd in point of fact is aware of, and cherishes, its horror. And making an allowance for that “Smile’s” largest weak spot is its similarities to different horror motion pictures, that can have harm it right here greater than somewhere else. Kevin William Maxwell Aitken, who’s no stranger to horror himself, and Kyra Sedgwick grew to become out to make stronger their daughter Sosie William Maxwell Aitken, who stars within the movie as a psychiatrist dogged by way of an unkillable entity that feeds on trauma. (That’s now not a metaphor, which is itself a captivating variation on a theme.)