Thursday, November 5, 2015


THE ITHACA INTERNATIONAL FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL runs November 11th to the 15 and its a killer festival.  Its got some of the best genre films from this past year and even earlier. Its a killer collection of films. When I was contacted about covering the festival I took one look at the line up and when I finished cursing that it wasn't closer to home I immediately said yes.

This is a must see festival and had I not had two things conflicting with it I would be joining Mondocurry on a road trip to the festival.  

Below is the press release announcing all of the films. I've provided links to anything we've reviewed in the past.

If you can go see something this is a killer festival.

For tickets and more information go here

Der Bunker, Love & Peace, Zoom, The Survivalist, Liza, the Fox Fairy, Polder and more!
And it’s a wrap! This year the IIFFF will present 36 feature films spread across 10 different series and mini spotlights. Our team has endeavored to cover the vast diversity of what the fantastic genre has had to offer in 2015, all while continuing IIFFF’s guarantee of a unique film experience for everybody! We are really excited to open the festival with one of our festival favorites: LIZA, THE FOX FAIRY, a Hungarian dark comedy, mixing Japanese references with visuals Jeunet would be proud of, we think it’s the perfect way for anybody and everybody to dive into the Fantastic culture!

The latest additions to our international competition include Shion Sono’s LOVE & PEACE, which is a fantastic vision on fame, love and… Kaiju! The always mind-blowing Adrian Garcia Bogliano is back with SCHERZO DIABOLICO, a caustic take on modern society, and IIFFF alumni actor Pit Bukowski (Der Samourai, 2014) is back with the Fantastic Fest award-wining film DER BUNKER. Surfing on the edge of the genre, the masterfully intertwined live action/animation film ZOOM will blow your mind for sure, and two TriBeCa-acclaimed features, EMELIE and THE SURVIVALIST, will round out this year’s competition in an unimaginably exciting way!

The IIFFF team is really excited to unveil 2 mini series focused on video games, and low budget Japanese films. The latter - DIY in Japan - will include the sure-fire festival favorite, analog-oriented romance, HARUKO'S PARANORMAL LABORATORY, as well as the fanboy-infused, highly referential and hilarious USE THE EYEBALLS!. We will also make room for two out-there, video game-oriented films: MAN VS SNAKE: THE LONG AND TWISTED TALE OF NIBBLER, a documentary in the vein of KING OF KONG and POLDER, which offers an amazing take on virtual reality and its impact on society. Both are love letters to video games, and fit right in with what we’re looking for at IIFFF!

This year, Anna Coogan and festival alumni TZAR, will feature in the highly anticipated Cinema-Concert. Their original, live score on Jean Epstein’s haunting film, based on the Poe short story, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, will blow your mind!

The IIFFF is also reprising its art exhibition, this year featuring amazing artists Chet Zar and Paul Gerrard, among others. Chet, along with Mike Correll will be attendance to introduce the documentary, I LIKE TO PAINT MONSTERS! featuring Chet’s inspirational work. As part of this comic book-influenced side of the festival, we’re also looking forward to screening AD Calvo’s, TIFF selected THE MISSING GIRL, a character-driven story set around a comic book shop owner, which will be a treat for everyone.

And for the first time ever, the IIFFF and Steve Ellis have teamed up to produce a limited series poster (200 ex.) for the 40th anniversary of the jewel of our retrospective: Cronenberg’s SHIVERS. You can pre-order the print on the IIFFF website, starting October 18th. Check out the full line-up for Body Horror: Obsession with Body Modifications, sponsored by SHUDDER.

Don't forget our film contests: FIFTEEN MINUTES (OR LESS) OF FAME, inspired by RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION and the 48 HOUR FILM CHALLENGE! Check the rules online.
Visit the Website

Liza, The Fox Fairy- Hungary
Karoly Ujj Meszaros
Liza’s best friend is a long-dead Japanese pop star. She is seeking love, but appears to be a Kitsune, a shape-shifting fox of Japanese folklore. When every man who shows an interest in Liza starts to die horribly, she starts to investigate a possible curse and how to overcome it. Meszaros’ first feature is a slam-dunk on every level, with amazing cinematography and a brilliantly crafted story, opening the festival with Liza is the best possible way to kick off the 2015 IIFFF season!

Moonwalkers- France
Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
A CIA agent and a rock band manager end up forming an unlikely duo in a epic quest to find Stanley Kubrick and fake the 1969 moon landing. If you’re one of the select few who believes Kubrick faked the moon landing, then this is the film for you! With an out-of-this world (hah!) cast – Ron Perlman, Rupert Grint – MOONWALKERS nailed the subject matter in one of the most hilarious comedies we’ve seen this year.

International Competition

Love & Peace- Japan
Shion Sono
Ryo is an aspiring rock star, working for a musical instruments parts company. Ridiculed by his co-workers when he brought his new friend at work, a sea turtle called Pikadon, he decides to dump it in a toilet. He is immediately racked with guilt. Shion Sono is always where we do not expect him to be, and always blows our minds! Don’t miss this amazing fantasy tale about love, fame and expectation in life. It’s beautiful, twisted and a story that will impact you for months after seeing it!

The Survivalist- UK
Stephen Fingleton
In a time of starvation, a survivalist is living off the grid deep in the forest. He spends his days working his farm and protecting his land from thieves. When two women seeking food and shelter discover his farm, his instincts tell him to treat them as a threat, but after an unconventional deal, the dynamic of the trio shifts... THE SURVIVALIST is raw, and delves into the quintessence of human vs primal vs animal instincts when the stakes are at their highest. You will hate to love this movie, and take it from us, you will not be same after the screening!

Emelie- USA
Michael Thelin
A veteran babysitter, three adorable kids and two loving parents going out for an anniversary dinner. Things can’t go wrong- right? EMILIE premiered at TriBeCa to a great stir, and we are really excited to be able to present it in Ithaca! Micheal Thelin’s original take on home invasion not only brilliantly acknowledges the genre, but brings a refreshing, AMBLIN-feel to this film. It’s original, scary, and uncomfortable, but brings some unexpected turns that we would love to see more of in the genre!

Scherzo Diabolico- Mexico/USA
Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Aram is a company accountant anxiously awaiting a long-overedue promotion. Berated by his wife and dismissed by his supervisor, he decides to approach his carrier with a different angle… Adrian Garcia Bogliano returns to IIFFF, this time with a sharp criticism on our society. With his always unusual mixing of drama and comedy, Bogliano surprises with all of his films, and Scherzo is no exception! Nailing the social commentary, with the help of a brilliant and unexpected soundtrack, SCHERZO will make you gasp and laugh, and leave you thinking about it for weeks to come!

Der Bunker- Germany
Nikias Chryssos
A young student seeks solitude, but ends up teaching a home-schooled boy who is, shall we say, peculiar. The story slowly slides into some impressively absurd corners, which is just what we’re looking for at IIFFF! His debut feature, Chryssos is surprisingly deft with his handling of a complex story dealing with family, education, and what it means to grow up in our society. Germany is once again on top of their game; do not miss this film!

Zoom- Canada/Brazil
Pedro Morelli
Emma is a comic book artist whose day job is making sex dolls. She struggles to find her place in society, so as a release, draws a comic book about Edward, a fearless filmmaker making a film about Michelle, a novelist, who is writing a book about a cartoonist… Emma decides her characters are too vain and takes action, little does she realize that the implications may bleed off the page and into her real life… If you like the twisted, intertwined stories from Kauffman, you will love this film; your brain will melt as the complexity of the script unfolds, coupled with a brilliant mixing of live action and animated footage. IIFFF endorses this complex brand of creativity 100%!

Men & Chicken- Denmark
Anders Thomas Jensen
After the death of their father, two brothers learn that they were actually adopted. They set out to look for their real father, and discover something quite troubling…
Superstar Mads Mikkelsen reunites with director Anders Thomas Jensen, and, as you would expect from the pair behind the Danish outcast comedy ADAM’S APPLES, the product is a satisfyingly twisted Danish tale.

Night Fare- France
Julien Seri
Two friends reunite in Paris for a weekend of parties, but after an encounter with a taxi driver, their plans start to fall apart. Take a heaping dose of Bill Lustig’s MANIAC; mix in a dash of Spielberg’s DUEL; shake for a solid five minutes; serve in a chilled martini glass with an ice cube. This gives you: NIGHT FARE – a fresh homage to a beloved genre and style, and an unusual piece of cinema coming from the land of the French New Wave.

Darling- USA
Mickey Keating
This nightmarish black and white psychological horror is centered around a mysterious Manhattan mansion and its innocent, new caretaker. Keating’s latest effort is a slick and clever meta-homage to the 1960’s, pre-American New Horror. DARLING is like a nicely aged Bordeaux – something so good we insist everyone have a taste.

Brewed in N.Y.

They Look Like People- USA
Perry Blackshear
For his first feature, Perry Blackshear surprises with a masterfully handled psychological horror film. Convinced that the people around him are shape shifters, Wyatt prepares for a war that an unidentified voice on the telephone keeps referencing. Rife with paranoia and humor, PEOPLE has been compared to Aronofsky’s PI. THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE is guaranteed to supply you with thrills and chills as it merges human issues and genuine terror in one story.

Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia
A pure piece of art shot in Troy, NY, H. is the story of two women’s slow descent into madness after an unexplained event. Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia present a cinematographic tour de force – one you will remember long after the screening.

The Outta-Mind Empire: Spotlight on Turkey

Remix, Replay, RipOff- Germany
Cem Kaya
Who among us, while wasting time on YouTube, hasn’t stumbled upon some amazingly weird gems like Turkish STAR WARS, Turkish E.T. or Turkish THE EXORCIST? And who among us hasn’t wondered, WTF? This doc has answers for you! It showcases one of the most underrated international film industries, and is the perfect gateway to our mini-series on Turkish Cinema: The Outta-Mind Empire!

Siccin 2- Turkey
Alper Mestci
The perfect mix of black magic and family drama, SICCIN 2 is visually stunning and endlessly spooky. We are launched into a swirl of crazy events, and the only way out is detailed in a book: Siccin, The Book of Sins. This is an ideal entry point for our mini-series The Outta-Mind Empire, and it’s this year’s must see horror entry from Turkey!

Tarkan Vs The Vikings- Turkey
Mehmet Asian
The title says it all! Tarkan’s village is attacked by The Vikings, absconding with a local girl while leaving Tarkan for dead. The Vikings, even with the protection of a giant octopus, have no chance against Tarkan, and his faithful wolf, Wrath! Beautifully kitschy, Tarkan sums up the great Turkish film industry: a great story and great (stolen) soundtrack, made with virtually no budget! It’s reminds us of what movie-making is all about: putting an amazing vision on screen, limitations be damned! Just do it!

Fantastic Art Show

I Like to Paint Monsters!- USA
Mike Corell
I LIKE TO PAINT MONSTERS examines the life and career of Chet Zar, Painter of Dark. Zar is known for his work as a Special FX artist on HELLBOY and HELLBOY II, as well as his music video and live performance work with the world renowned band TOOL. Enter an all-encompassing and introspective glimpse into Zar's world. Sometimes gruesome, periodically funny, and always thought-provoking, the film answers the question: What about the man behind the paintbrush? Why does he like to paint monsters? The documentary is paired with an art exhibit of Chet Zar’s work.

The Missing Girl- USA
A.D. Calvo
Mort owns a comic shop; he’s passionate and his days are filled with taking care of his collectibles and first editions, while his nights are filled with fantasies about his beautiful employee, Ellen. When a friend from his past shows up, and Ellen doesn’t show up at work, a swirl of memories resurfaces… Alex’s second feature is an intimate reflection on what it means to have passion, friendship, and expectation. Beautifully shot and cut, THE MISSING GIRL is an ideal, ‘feel good’ addition to our art exhibit!

Level 0: Video Game Invasion!

Man Vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler- USA
Tim Kinzy and Andrew Sklir
You saw KING OF KONG, right? The documentary telling the story of an unemployed person beating the high score at Donkey-Kong: crazy good, non? Forget about it - reset your expectations and come check out the NIBBLER story! Oh- wait, but what is Nibbler by the way? Embark on the craziest video game story we’ve encountered in a long time, and Fantastic Fest Best Documentary award winner! Take your chance to win 2 passes for next year’s fest by getting the high score on our Nibbler arcade in the lobby of Cinemapolis!

Der Polder- Switzerland
Julian M. Grunthal and Samuel Schwarz
NEUROO-X, a German-Swiss-Chinese entertainment company, promises to dissolve the boundary between reality and gaming. A new gadget, the Red Book, offers the ultimate gaming experience. The most deep-seeded longings of gamers are scanned by the engine and transformed into fantastic adventures… DER POLDER is complex in setting, but simple in its idea behind virtual reality. The film tackles most of the genre’s favorite tropes with an ease rarely seen to date. It’s most definitely the small gem of the festival; buckle up and log on for an adventure you will not soon forget!

DIY in Japan

Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory- Japan
Lisa Takeba
Haruko bitches at her television. All. The. Time. When the old analogue set dies, she bitches even more… then the TV starts talking back… And becomes a TV/Human hybrid! Hold on for some absurd and colorful situations, which slowly evolves into an unexpected love story. Director Lisa Takeba has a cheerful imagination and her film is a delectable game of dress-up. HARUKO’S PARANORMAL LABORATORY may contain some digital trickery, but above all shows a love for analogue craft.

Use the Eyeballs!- Japan
Naoya Tashiro
This one is an oddity – a fabulous oddity, sure - but even a blurb is hard! It’s bizarre. It’s about love and family, but also about bullying, and finding one’s place in our society. Our hero has eyeballs falling off his nose – it’s awkward, and kind of gross… but is actually really helpful in certain situations! USE THE EYEBALLS reminds us of the cinema we loved in 80’s: it doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to weirdness, and it totally pays off! Look out for a hilarious cameo from Japanese star Eihi Shiina (Audition, 1999) and embrace the absurd on an amazing ride into Tashiro-san’s twisted mind!

Festival Favorites

Sensoria- Sweden
Christian Hallman
Caroline, a woman in her late thirties, has lost everything and is searching for a new beginning. She moves into an old apartment, but soon realizes that she is not quite alone. Christian Hallman’s debut feature film is a completely refreshing take on the haunted house trope. Helped by an amazing cast and a great cinematography, you will be mesmerized by the ambiance surrounding a suburban apartment building, and will stay riveted to your seat until the last seconds!

The Mind’s Eye- USA
Joe Begos
Zack is a drifter, and when the cops arrest him after an involuntary demonstration of his telekinetic powers, he’s sent to an institute with other people with telekinetic capabilities. Zack bonds with fellow inmate, Rachel, as he starts to discover that the director of the institute, Slovak, has some dastardly plans… Joe Begos (ALMOST HUMAN) is back in business, and you will not be disappointed! Part straight up knock-off of SCANNERS, but imbued with a strong contemporary and personal feel, Begos - with 2 films – left an imprint on the genre. It’s graphic, with a strong indie feel and fast pace! Look out for the mind-blowing special effects!

The Invitation- USA
Karyn Kusama
A seemingly innocent reunion amongst old friends and past lovers slowly takes a dark turn as tensions rise and anxieties bubble to the surface. Kusama’s feature slowly morphs into one of the more original takes on Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone that we’ve seen in years! THE INVITATION is a treat for the eyes, and the mind, and is sure to be one of this year’s festival favorites!

Follow your Dreams!

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation- USA
Eric Zala
If you think you’re a hardcore fan of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, think again: Zala and co. spent seven years making a shot-for-shot remake of the original Spielberg Archeologist-turned-action-star masterpiece. The end result is an outrageous feature that crept up on the film world. Trust us when we say the word ‘epic’ doesn't even come close to describing the results. This film will paired with RAIDERS! THE DOCUMENTARY.

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made- USA
Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen
Coon and Skousen tell us the story behind RotLA: THE ADAPTATION. A kind of ‘making of’ in retrospect, RAIDERS! also follows the team as they embark on a new endeavour: remaking the only missing scene from their source film – the emblematic plane scene in Egypt!


Aaaaaaaah!- UK
Steve Oram
Let’s play What If for a second. What if humans were apes? What if we were apes, but still maintained our modern society? Humans interacting with humans, but as apes. They would growl, fight, watch TV… Like apes. It sounds weird? Hell yeah! And it’s AMAZING! From the twisted mind of the British comedian Steve Oram (Sightseers, 2012; The Canal, 2014) comes this dark, Rated-R, comedy, where human interactions are distilled to their most primitive, and universal features. There’s a lot of shouting, fighting, throwing things onscreen, but man, only laughs and gasps in the theatre! Don’t miss this year’s oddity!

LoFi Midnight double Features!
Lake Nowhere- USA
Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy
You like 70s slasher films? Then this is for you, kids! Clever gimmicks and classic tropes with a damn original story, NOWHERE is everything we want to see on screen, and the 70s vibe makes it the perfect pairing for the amazing IN SEARCH OF THE ULTRA SEX!

In Search of the Ultra Sex- France
Nicolas Charlet and Bruno Lavaine
The Ultra-Sex is lost and the world is plunged into a frenzied, worldwide orgy! Stitching together hilarious and hardcore excerpts from 70s porn and sexy films (with notable guest appearances by the sexy Power Rangers and sultry Wonder Woman) and dialogue dubbed over, ULTRA SEX is an Unidentified Filming Object of the first kind – and one experience not to miss at this year's festival!


The Fall of the House of Usher- France
Jean Epstein
With a Live Original Score Performed by Anna Coogan and Tzar
A traveller arrives at the Usher mansion to find that the sibling inhabitants, Roderick and Madeline Usher, are living under a mysterious family curse: Roderick's senses have become painfully acute, while Madeline has become nearly catatonic. As the visitor's stay at the mansion continues, the effects of the curse reach their terrifying climax.

Organic Horror: Obsession with Body Alterations sponsored by SHUDDER

The Eyes Without a Face- France
Georges Franju- 1960
Dr. GĂ©nessier is plagued by guilt after an accident he caused disfigures the face of his daughter, the once beautiful Christiane. While everyone else believes Christiane is dead, Dr. GĂ©nessier, along with his accomplice and laboratory assistant Louise, kidnaps young women and brings them to his mansion in an ongoing struggle to return his daughter's endowments- no matter what it takes.

Possession- France /Germany
Andrezej Zulawski- 1981
Mark's return home from a spy mission is spoiled when his wife, Anna, suddenly leaves him and demands a divorce. Out of desperation and devastation, Mark repeatedly pursues Anna, with each of their encounters becoming increasingly destructive. Things take a bloody turn as more people get drawn into their dramatic affairs, and Anna's disturbing actions reach a new level of sinister.

Shivers- Canada
David Cronenberg- 1975
After a scientist living in a posh apartment complex slaughters a teen girl and kills himself, investigators discover that the murderer had been carrying on experiments involving deadly parasites. Roger St. Luc, a doctor living in the building, and his aide, Nurse Forsythe, then realize that the parasites are on the loose, attacking the unsuspecting tenants. Those who become infected turn into erotically-obsessed maniacs who spread the infection in the most intimate way.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man- Japan
Shin’ya Tsukamoto- 1989
A "metal fetishist", driven mad by the maggots wriggling in the wound he's made to embed metal into his flesh, runs out into the night and is accidentally run down by a Japanese businessman and his girlfriend. The pair dispose of the corpse in hopes of quietly moving on with their lives. However, the businessman soon finds that he is now plagued by a vicious curse that transforms his flesh into iron.

Audition- Japan
Takashi Miike- 1990
This disturbing Japanese thriller follows Aoyama, a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend, Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as his personal dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued by the withdrawn, gorgeous Asami, they begin a relationship. However, he begins to realize that Asami isn't as reserved as she appears to be, leading to gradually increased tension and a harrowing climax.

Once more tickets can be had here.

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