Three years have passed since io9 traveled to Austin, Texas for a week of fun, fucked up films. The event is Fantastic Fest, one of the coolest, most unique genre film festivals in the entire world—and this year, it’s finally back in full force. For several days, we’ll be spending hours upon hours in the dark, watching mostly movies no one outside of the festival circuit has ever heard of. Which makes choosing difficult. What weird, wacky movies do you watch?
To help, we go through and read about every single movie playing. Some of them, like Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave or Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, are intriguing but are not exactly films we’d cover on io9. Some, like the excellent Somewhere in the Dirt, we’ve already seen. But for the films that are fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and more, we just go by our gut. Does the premise sound interesing? Is the filmmaker exciting? And slowly but surely, a list is formed.
What follows are the top 21 films we’re excited to see at Fantastic Fest. Will we see them all? Probably not. Will others rise to the top? Of course. But either way, this is a great sampling of just how off the wall the festival can get.