This year’s Fantastic Fest will feature a lifetime achievement award for Jess Franco, with the sleazemaster himself in attendance (his first North American festival appearance!) and a screening of his three ‘greatest’ movies. What could those be? I imagine that Vampiros Lesbos will be one of them, but with the Drafthouse’s programming staff and the depth of Franco’s filmography (and depravity), anything is possible!

If that isn’t enough to get you excited about FF09, I don’t even want to know you anymore. This is going to be one of the biggest events of my life, hands down. But for the rest of you who aren’t quite as keyed in with exploitation greatness, the festival has also released their first wave of title announcements. The full list is below, but I’ve highlighted some specific greatness:

42nd Street Forever Volume 5: The Alamo Drafthouse Edition

The hugely popular Synapse trailer compilation series 42nd Street
Forever is featuring the Alamo Film Archive for it’s fifth volume.
Here’s your chance to check out a sneak preview screening of the actual
35mm trailers which are featured in the DVD compilation.

Bronson

(dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, 2009, UK)

The criminal career of Britain’s most violent and notorious prisoner is

the subject of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. Originally sentenced

to 7 years for a post office robbery, he reinvented himself into

Charles Bronson, superstar, whose crimes behind bars have led to 34

years of incarceration (so far).

Clive Barker’s Dread

(dir. Anthony Diblasi, 2009, UK)

Graduate students are making a thesis film called Dread, videotaping
fellow students talking about their innermost fears. The experiment
turns into a nightmare when one of the team decides it will be
therapeutic for the subjects to truly face those fears. Participants
will be asked to reveal their innermost terrors on camera.

District 13 Ultimatum

(dir. Patrick Alessandrin, 2009, France)

With the wealthy and powerful once again looking to eliminate
District 13 – and turn a tidy profit while doing so – it is up to
supercop Damien (Cyril Rafelli) and vigilante Leto (David Belle) to
once again save the district and the residents, a task they can only
complete with the help of five rival gang leaders.

Fireball

(dir. Thanakorn Pongsuwan, 2009, Thailand)

Freshly released from prison, Tai must go underground and infiltrate
the shady world of Fireball to take revenge on the gang that put his
brother into a coma. And what is Fireball? No holds barred,
to-the-death, full contact combat basketball. Bring your lead pipe,
’cause you know the other guy is going to.

Rampage

(dir. Uwe Boll, 2009, Canada)

Fed up with his dead-end life, Bill constructs a full-body kevlar
armor suit and rampages through the streets of his hometown killing
everyone in sight, particularly the barista that failed to make him a
proper macchiato.

Robo Geisha

(dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2009, Japan)

This geisha army can transform into

tanks, their nipples can squirt acid or propel rapid-fire bullets,

their mouths can contain chainsaws or frog-tongue samurai swords and

they are aided by a giant shinto temple robot. The war of the Geishas

is beginning, and I’m getting a front row seat!

Stingray Sam

(dir. Cory McAbee, 2008, USA)

In order to earn back their freedom, two cowboy space-convicts must
accept a dangerous mission to save an innocent young girl from a
self-obsessed ruler in this one-of-a-kind science fiction serial
musical comedy from the director of The American Astronaut.

Trick ‘r Treat

(dir. Michael Dougherty, 2008, Canada/USA)

Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high

school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin

might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a

mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her

holiday-obsessed husband.

Holy shit! Holy shit! Those movies ALONE make Fantastic Fest 09 the most exciting festival of the year. And they still have more to announce. AND they have top secret premieres that are sure to blow you the fuck away!

Click here to buy your tickets for Fantastic Fest. Below is the complete list of announced films. Expect more announcements soon!

Opening night film: Gentlemen Broncos

With GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, Jared and Jerusha Hess return to form with many
of the elements that made NAPOLEON DYNAMITE such a break out cult hit.
Like Napoleon before him, Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) is a loner
misfit who would rather spend his time alone in his room honing his
craft than interact with other kids his own age. But while Napoleon was
all about nunchuk skills and drawing ligers, Benjamin dreams of just
one thing: being a published fantasy/science fiction writer, like his
hero Ronald Chevalier. With that goal in mind, Benjamin takes his
latest story, YEAST LORDS, with him to a writing convention
specifically for other home-schooled children, and can’t believe his
eyes when Chevalier himself is one of the panelists and teachers for
the weekend.
Like much of Hess’ work, a lot of the comedy in BRONCOS is derived from
the eccentric characters who inhabit a world that seems just slightly
off center from ours. To make things even more sublimely ridiculous,
though, throughout the film we’re also treated to several different
versions of YEAST LORDS played as almost a film-within-the-film, and
watching that story change as it passes through the hands of the
various characters in the main film becomes one of the most
entertaining aspects of BRONCOS. The absolute highlights of the film,
though, are twofold – the jet pack wearing stags armed with rocket
launchers that the heroes of YEAST LORDS fly around on, and Jemaine
Clements’ outstanding portrayal of the smug, egotistical, and
ultimately delusional Ronald Chevalier, whose scene-stealing
performances will undoubtedly generate some of the most frequently
quoted lines from any film in the festival.
But don’t be fooled; whereas NAPOLEON DYNAMITE has been met with
criticism for being comprised almost exclusively of little moments of
cleverness, BRONCOS fills in the gaps around the Rocket Stags and
Chevalier-isms with real plot and, for lack of a better word, heart.
Anyone who ever spent a Sunday afternoon when they were fourteen trying
to make their own movie in the backyard, or writing their own short
stories or poetry, or even just building and painting models in their
room, will feel a true connection to Benjamin through that early
adolescent dreamer that’s still alive somewhere inside of all of us.
Having that sort of protagonist we can easily and immediately identify
with is new ground for the Hesses, and it fleshes out the worlds they
create perfectly.

42nd Street Forever Volume 5: The Alamo Drafthouse Edition

The hugely popular Synapse trailer compilation series 42nd Street
Forever is featuring the Alamo Film Archive for it’s fifth volume.
Here’s your chance to check out a sneak preview screening of the actual
35mm trailers which are featured in the DVD compilation

Breathless

(dir. YANG Ik-june, 2009, South Korea)

Breathless is a foul-mouthed drama that delivers an unlikely mix of
pathos, brutality and humor. First-time director Yang Ik-June plays an
angry thug named who gets involved in a dysfunctional relationship with
a high-school girl. It eventually becomes apparent that the pair are
linked in ways that neither of them realize.

Bronson

(dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, 2009, UK)

The criminal career of Britain’s most violent and notorious prisoner is

the subject of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. Originally sentenced

to 7 years for a post office robbery, he reinvented himself into

Charles Bronson, superstar, whose crimes behind bars have led to 34

years of incarceration (so far).

Buratino: Son of Pinocchio

(dir. Rasmus Merivoo, 2009, Estonia)

A space-born magic seed initiates the virgin birth of Buratino, the
Estonian son of Pinocchio who quickly forms a rock band, commits
terrorist acts, falls in love and gets embroiled in a maniac’s plot to
conquer the world. And yes, it’s a musical.

The Children

(dir. Tom Shankland, 2008, UK)

Three families meet up at a country estate to celebrate the winter
holidays together. Everything starts out idyllic but as the day wanes,
the rambunctious playfulness of the kids takes on a sinister edge, and
soon the freshly fallen snow is soaked in blood.

Clive Barker’s Dread

(dir. Anthony Diblasi, 2009, UK)

Graduate students are making a thesis film called Dread, videotaping
fellow students talking about their innermost fears. The experiment
turns into a nightmare when one of the team decides it will be
therapeutic for the subjects to truly face those fears. Participants
will be asked to reveal their innermost terrors on camera.

Cropsey

(dir. Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman, 2009, USA)

Cropsey is a documentary about a real-life murder case in Staten
Island, New York. A disturbed transient named Andre Rand was convicted
of murdering two kids, but did he actually commit the crimes? Cropsey
digs deep into the case, and in the process, exposes the weird, secret
underbelly of Staten Island.

Dirty Mind

(dir. Pieter Van Hees, 2009, Belgium)

A head injury resulting from a disastrous film stunt gone wrong
transforms shy, socially inept Diego into the confident, womanizing
daredevil Tony T. Although his new personality captivates family and
coworkers, Tony is unable to impress Jaana, an attractive and ambitious
young neurosurgeon who wants him to undergo an experimental treatment
that will restore him to his original self.

District 13 Ultimatum

(dir. Patrick Alessandrin, 2009, France)

With the wealthy and powerful once again looking to eliminate
District 13 – and turn a tidy profit while doing so – it is up to
supercop Damien (Cyril Rafelli) and vigilante Leto (David Belle) to
once again save the district and the residents, a task they can only
complete with the help of five rival gang leaders.

Fireball

(dir. Thanakorn Pongsuwan, 2009, Thailand)

Freshly released from prison, Tai must go underground and infiltrate
the shady world of Fireball to take revenge on the gang that put his
brother into a coma. And what is Fireball? No holds barred,
to-the-death, full contact combat basketball. Bring your lead pipe,
’cause you know the other guy is going to.

Fish Story

(dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura, 2009, Japan)

In 1975, the year before the Sex Pistols released their first album, a
Japanese punk band called Gekirin recorded their single, “Fish Story”
and then they broke up, never to record again. Thirty-seven years
later, in 2012, their song saves the world.

Hausu

(dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977, Japan)

A bevy of young girls are swept up in a massively unearthly
spazzride by the maniacal forces of the unknown in the craziest goddamn
movie Japan has ever unleashed. Filled with airborne autonomous limbs,
sinister house pets and other hell-born impossibilities, this lawless
exercise in insanity plays like a psychotic’s brain melting across your
eyeballs.

House of the Devil

(dir. Ti West, 2009, USA)

House of the Devil is an occult shocker that is not only set in the
1980s but invokes horror films from that era. In Ti West’s latest film,
a simple babysitting job turns into a long night of terror for a
college student.

Journey to Saturn

(dir. C. Frank, K. Vestbjerg Anderson, T. Christoffersen, 2008, Denmark)

Denmark sends a team of astronauts to Saturn and start an
intergalactic war in the process in this rude and crude CG-animated
comedy from the directors of Terkel in Trouble.

K-20: The Fiend With 20 Faces

(dir. Shimako Sato, 2008, Japan)

The fearsome Fiend With 20 Faces – a master of disguise and thief
without peer – is terrorizing the wealthy of Teito, striking at will
and taking whatever strikes his fancy. But the police net is tightening
and to escape the fiend frames a young acrobat to take the fall,
leaving the young man no choice but to take on the Fiend’s identity and
challenge the villain directly.

Kaifeck Murder

(dir. Esther Gronenborn, 2009, Germany)

Marc appears to be having a breakdown, the stern man now plagued by
visions and prone to walking in his sleep, a situation that set in when
he arrived in the village of Kaifeck with his young son. But could
there be truth to Marc’s visions? And is history about to repeat?

Kamogawa Horumo – Battle League in Kyoto

(Dir. Katsuhide Motoki, 2009, Japan)

A group of freshmen at Kyoto University join the Azure Dragon, a
perfectly ordinary social group, nothing unusual about it. But when the
club meetings runs late into the evening, the beer starts flowing and
the trousers start to come off, something distinctly
out-of-the-ordinary happens.

Kenny Begins

(dir. Carl Astrand and Mats Lindberg, 2009, Sweden)

A Swedish sci-fi comedy about a moronic Galaxy Hero in training
(Kenny Starfighter) and his quest to avoid becoming a hairdresser in
the family business. Kenny has the charm and attitude of Jeff Daniels
in Dumb and Dumber, the mullet of MacGyver, and nonsensical
catchphrases that you’ll be repeating for days! A Swedish Spaceballs
for the ages, this is not to be missed for anyone who loves fun!

Krabat

(dir. Marco Kreuzpaintner, 2008, Germany)

What price is attached to power? This is the lesson that Krabat must
learn, a lesson learned while apprenticed to a grim Lord training
Krabat and a select group of other orphans in the dark arts of black
magic. But magic leaves no room for love and a beautiful village girl
has caught Krabat’s eye…

The Legend is Alive

(dir. Huynh Luu Luu, 2009, Vietnam)

Dustin Nguyen (The Rebel) plays a mentally challenged martial arts
expert who is hell-bent on breaking every dirtbag face, back and flower
pot that stands in the way of saving a young girl from the clutches of
a human-trafficking gang.

Love Exposure

(dir. Sion Sono, 2009, Japan)

A devoutly religious young man masters the art of upskirt
photography in an effort to save his father’s soul, and meets his true
love in the process in this new four hour long epic from Sion Sono,
director of Suicide Club and Exte: Killer Hair Extensions.

Morphine

(dir. Aleksey Balabanov, 2008, Russia)

A vastly inexperienced rural doctor develops an unquenchable thirst for
the morphine in the hospital medicine supply room. Morphine is another
dark tale from Aleksey Balabanov, director of last year’s Fantastic
Fest critical sensation Cargo 200,

Private Eye

(Dae-min Park, 2009, South Korea)

A medical student in 1910 Korea discovers a corpse in the woods and
secretly takes it for dissection practice. When he discovers that the
body is the son of the city’s most powerful gangster he enlists the
help of a shady private detective to find the killer before the murder
is pinned on him.

Rampage

(dir. Uwe Boll, 2009, Canada)

Fed up with his dead-end life, Bill constructs a full-body kevlar
armor suit and rampages through the streets of his hometown killing
everyone in sight, particularly the barista that failed to make him a
proper macchiato.

The Revenant

(dir. Kerry Prior, 2009, USA)

An Iraq war casualty turns the frown of returning from the dead as a
blood-sucking vampire upside-down by reveling in the power of
infallibility and feasting on the dregs of humanity.

Robo Geisha

(dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2009, Japan)

This geisha army can transform into

tanks, their nipples can squirt acid or propel rapid-fire bullets,

their mouths can contain chainsaws or frog-tongue samurai swords and

they are aided by a giant shinto temple robot. The war of the Geishas

is beginning, and I’m getting a front row seat!

Salvage

(dir. Lawrence Gough, 2009, UK)

On Christmas eve in a sleepy Liverpudlian suburb, terror strikes
without warning. Paramilitary forces start gunning down the residents,
but it’s unclear whether they are hunting the citizens or protecting
them, and if protecting… from what?

Stingray Sam

(dir. Cory McAbee, 2008, USA)

In order to earn back their freedom, two cowboy space-convicts must
accept a dangerous mission to save an innocent young girl from a
self-obsessed ruler in this one-of-a-kind science fiction serial
musical comedy from the director of The American Astronaut.

Trick ‘r Treat

(dir. Michael Dougherty, 2008, Canada/USA)

Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high

school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin

might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a

mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her

holiday-obsessed husband.

Truffe

(dir. Kim Nguyen, 2008, Canada)

Charles is the undisputed champion of Montreal’s truffle miners, a
man with an incredibly sensitive nose. And that nose makes him
valuable, especially to the sinister pair of furriers plotting to seize
control of the local truffle industry with the help of their furry,
mind-controlling creatures. Note: one of the screenings of Truffe will
feature a 5 course Truffle feast created by Alamo executive chef John
Bullington.

Vampire GIrl Vs. Frankenstein Girl

(dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2009, Japan)

Fantastic Fest 2008 winner Yoshi Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) is
back with the craziest, bloodiest spin on the high school love triangle
ever, bursting with mad scientists, dismemberment, black-face comedy,
hallucinations and lots and lots of arterial blood spray.