‘Bad Times At The El Royale’ Headlines The Fantastic Fest 3rd Wave Of Programming

Bat Times At El Royale Fantastic Fest
Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, Tenacious D, Flash Gordon‘s Sam J. Jones and Bad Times At The El Royale all walk into the Higball Bar in Austin. No it’s not the set up to some weird joke, it’s the 3rd wave of programming for Fantastic Fest. If you thought the last announcement was big, you’re in for some excitement. Buckle up.

The biggest piece of info is that Bad Times At The El Royale will serve as the festival’s closing night movie. We’ve reported on the great trailers for that film already, so check here if you’re uninitiated. You want something bigger? What about Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, starring Nicole Kidman, which keeps blowing people away?  How about You Might Be A Killer, in which a camp counselor calls his slasher-expert friend, on how to survive a camp massacre? Maybe you want something of historical relevance? The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally seeing the light of day, in the US, at the festival. Like I said, there is a lot lot lot of titles to keep track of here. Plus, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

In addition to normal movies, Fantastic Fest is always home of special and exciting events. This year’s no exception. None other than Tenacious D will be premiering a 6-part animated series, entitled Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto, which was hand drawn by Jack Black himself! The band will then play a live set after the showing. Not to be outdone, the festival will have an appearance by Sam J. Jones. Jones will be on-hand for a documentary about him, Life After Flash, as well a revival showing of 1980’s Flash Gordon.

For those of you who like to know about the inner workings of festivals, Fantastic Fest has you covered there as well. Buried in today’s press release is the announcement of Jury heads. Co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics Michael Barker will be overseeing the Main Competition Jury. Academic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas will be the head of Horror Competition Jury. Toronto International Film Festival programming associate Dorota Lech will lead the Next Wave Jury. Last, but not least and maybe the coolest is director/animator Don Hertzfeldt heading up the Shorts Competition Jury.

Here’s the full list of announced 3rd wave titles:

United Kingdom, 2018
World Premiere, 97 min
Directors – Joe Pearlman & David Soutar
In Attendance – Directors Joe Pearlman and David Soutar
Matt and Luke Goss were part of Bros, one of the biggest bands of the 1980s. With a number one album and sold out concerts at stadiums across the world, the rise of the band was meteoric… sharply followed by their downfall. Now, the two brothers reunite for the gig of a lifetime, facing fractured relationships, a new musical landscape, and the changes that time brings. Can they rekindle the magic and make Bros come alive once again?
France, 2018
World Premiere, 98 min
Director – Quarxx
In Attendance – Director Quarxx
Simon lives in an old house in the countryside with his severely disabled sister. He takes care of her day after day, hoping that “they” will come to ease their pain. The date of “their” arrival approaches.
Fantastic Fest
© 20th Century Fox


USA 2018
Texas Premiere, Run time not final
Director – Drew Goddard
Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell. Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson and Cynthia Erivo lead an all-star cast in BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE.
USA, 2018
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Maria Pulera
Nicolas Cage plays Joe, a lonely trucker whose new girlfriend’s daughter is possessed with the spirit of Joe’s recently deceased wife, creating a love triangle no synopsis can do justice to.
Japan, 2018
Regional Premiere, 126 min
Director – Kazuya Shiraishi
In the neon-soaked streets of 1988 Hiroshima , experienced detective Ogami Shogo is forced to partner with greenhorn Hioka Shuichi to investigate a routine disappearance case. Soon they’re in the midst of a full-blown yakuza war that threatens to destroy all that the two men hold dear.
France, Belgium, 2018
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director – Julien Leclercq
Representing the moody, grimy, realistic return of JCVD to more dramatic roles, THE BOUNCER wows with a taut, contained approach to crime and violence, and one father’s fight to save his daughter.
France, 2018  
US Premiere, 111 min
Director – David Oelhoffen
A gangster film with heart, CLOSE ENEMIES refers to Driss and Manuel, childhood friends now on either side of the law, who discover the sacrifices both are willing to make in the name of family in this Paris-set contemporary thriller.
Tunisia, 2018
North American Premiere, 113 min
Director – Abdelhamid Bouchnak
Come for Tunisia’s first horror film, following three students’ filmed investigation of weird rumors in a remote village, and stay for the sickening madness, macabre witchcraft, ghastly beheadings, and gory cannibalism.
USA, 2018
Regional Premiere, 110 min
Director – Graham Reznick
A young woman is pulled into a murder investigation revolving around a curious vinyl record which has driven those who possess it mad, and killed anyone who dared to listen to it.
USA, 2018
Texas Premiere, 123 min
Director – Karyn Kusama
In Attendance – Director Karyn Kusama and Screenwriter/Producer Phil Hay
Nicole Kidman gives the performance of a lifetime as LAPD detective Erin Bell, a human weapon of escalating vengeance, in the brilliantly grounded new drama-action-thriller from Karyn Kusama.
Flash Gordon Fantastic Fest
© Universal Pictures


United Kingdom, USA, The Netherlands, 1980
Repertory Screening, 111 min
Director – Mike Hodges
He’s here to save every one of us! Heroic earthling Flash Gordon protects the world from the nefarious Ming the Merciless in this lavish, majestically camp adaptation of Alex Raymond’s legendary sci-fi comic strip.
Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, 2018
World Premiere, 49 min
Director – Lee Sang Woo
Lee Sang-Woo turns his camera on an unusual child and his mother in a visually striking and scary episode of HBO FOLKLORE.
Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, 2018
World Premiere, 49 min
Director – Ho Yuhang
Ho Yuang explores a strange and frightening relationship between a politician with a problem and a shaman who promises the solution in an episode of HBO FOLKLORE that’s deeply rooted in Malaysian legends.
Australia, 2018
US Premiere, 96 min
Director – Jessica Leski
In Attendance – Producer Rita Walsh
The lives of four women from across the globe are radically changed by their deep love of boy bands in this fascinating, joyful exploration of intense fandom.
Canada, 2018
World Premiere, 102 min
Director – Danishka Esterhazy
In Attendance – Writer/Director Danishka Esterhazy and Producers Judy Holm and Michael McNamara
The teenage girls of Vestalis Academy are meticulously trained in the art of being “clean girls,” practicing the virtues of perfect femininity. But what exactly are they being trained for? Vivien intends to find out.
United Kingdom, 2018
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Lisa Downs
In Attendance – Director Lisa Downs and Actor Sam J. Jones
Celebrating the iconic FLASH GORDON and focusing on the fascinating, unusual, and untold story of actor Sam J. Jones, the man behind the sparkly suit, LIFE AFTER FLASH is a celebration, an exploration, and a joyful scream all at once!
USA, 2018
Texas Premiere, 112 min
Director – Jonas Åkerlund
Based on the biography of the same name, LORDS OF CHAOS is the tale of an Oslo teenager who launches Norwegian black metal, setting off a chain of events that have made his band, Mayhem, infamous for decades.
Spain, France, Belgium, Portugal, 2018
North American Premiere, 132 min
Director – Terry Gilliam
Once-ambitious advertising man Toby finds himself revisiting a student film he made long before his world became monochrome. Re-teaming with the Spanish cobbler he cast in the film who genuinely believes he’s Don Quixote, Toby embarks on a soul-searching journey of magical proportions.
USA, 2018
US Premiere, 84 minutes
Director – Jonah Hill
In Attendance – Writer/Director Jonah Hill
Written and directed by Jonah Hill, Mid90s follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era LA who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
Japan, 2018
North American Premiere, 53 min
Directors – Hiromasa Yonebayashi & Yoshiyuki Momose & Akihiko Yamashita
Delve into the world of Studio Ponoc and discover a trio of brilliant creations: lost crab siblings, a bizarre allergy to eggs, and an invisible man having an unusual day.
The Quake Fantastic Fest
© Fantefilm


Norway, 2018
Texas Premiere, 105 min
Director – John Andreas Anderson
This sequel to THE WAVE follows the same family, off to Oslo where the earth will shake again. The experts warned that it would! Expect death, drama, and awesome SFX. ‘Nuff said.
China, 2018
US Premiere, 116 min
Director – Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou returns to the screen with an explosive tale of intrigue and action set within the warring Three Kingdoms. A wild and ambitious ruler, his loyal but cunning commander, and a double he’s set up as insurance play games of deceit as war rages through their kingdom.
Canada, 2018
Texas Premiere, 89 min
Director – Sophie Lorain
Charlotte and her best friends Mégane and Aube must navigate their first times, first jobs, and first loves in this hilarious and touching Quebecois sex comedy.
USA, 2018
World Premiere, 71 min
Director – Mickey Reece
Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s AUTUMN SONATA and conjured by a remarkably prolific obscure auteur who’s been averaging two feature films a year since 2008, this offbeat and oft-chilling indie discovery depicts the uncanny psychological duress endured by the newlywed proprietors of an ancient hotel following the arrival of an estranged matriarch.
USA, 2018
US Premiere, 139 min
Director – David Robert Mitchell
From the dazzling imagination that brought you It Follows comes a delirious neo-noir fever dream about one man’s search for the truth behind the mysterious crimes, murders, and disappearances in his East L.A. neighborhood.
Poland, The Netherlands, Germany, 2018
International Premiere, 88 min
Director – Adrian Panek
In a makeshift orphanage forgotten by most, a group of children who just survived the Holocaust find themselves preyed upon by a pack of wolf dogs. Their fight for freedom has only just begun.
France, Turkey, United Kingdom, 1984
North American Premiere of 2K Restoration, 98 min
Director – Jean-Marie Pallardy
A small team of diamond smugglers stumbles upon the location of the supernatural white fire diamond, but competing criminals pose deadly challenges in this forgotten and truly bizarre gem from 1985.
Fantastic Fest
© Soapbox Films


USA, 2018
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Emma Tammi
In Attendance – Director Emma Tammi
In Emma Tammi’s narrative debut THE WIND, the forces of nature in the isolated prairies of the American Wild West are playing tricks on Lizzy. Her paranoia only grows with the arrival of a mysterious young woman.
France, 2018
Regional Premiere, 100 min
Director – Romain Gavras
Nothing goes as planned when a Parisian mid-level dealer must complete one last delivery to escape the drug life and open a Mr. Freeze franchise in Romain Gavras’ (OUR DAY WILL COME) instant heist-comedy classic.
USA, 2018
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Brett Simmons
In Attendance – Director Brett Simmons
Counselors are being killed off at summer camp, and Sam (Fran Kranz) is stuck in the middle of it. Instead of contacting the cops, he calls his friend and slasher-film expert (Alyson Hannigan) to discuss his options.

Fantastic Fest is only a week away. From today. So all these titles being announced is a tad overwhelming. Worry not, as we’ll be on the ground covering the event, letting you all about the films. Should you be interested in attending at the last minute, take a look here to procure a badge.

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