Volume 20, Issue 6 / June 2016

Fantasia 2015

In this issue

As has become the custom, Offscreen presents its filled to the brim Fantasia issue as the new edition nears arrival. Hence we are presenting our look back at Fantasia 2015 as the new edition hits the screens. We should soon have a follow-up preview on what to look out for in the 2016 edition. Randolph Jordan opens the Fantasia 2015 issue with his eclectic overview stemming from the notion of an artifact, which sometimes morphs into a fetish object, when its value exceeds its appearance, and attains an ‘aura’. My own report follows with a ‘dirty dozen’ helping of a broad range of films, from horror to satire to comedy to fantasy. Teresa Lobos analyzes three of her favorite films at Fantasia 2015, Cruel (France), Goodnight Mommy (Austria) and Shrew’s Nest (Spain), offering a modern understanding of a horror thematic that flowered during the 1970s, horror of the family, with such classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), The Exorcist (1973), It’s Alive (1974), Omen (1976), and The Hills Have Eyes (1976). In comparison with the 1970s films, these three films posit a different composition of the family by breaking away from classic hetero-normative family (husband—wife—child), while adding a Gothic sensibility. Writer-Producer Sonny Mallhi brought his impressive directorial debut to Fantasia, the psychological-supernatural horror film Anguish. Mallhi comes to this film with a long list of horror films he produced and/or wrote, including The Stranger, Shutter, House at the end of the Street, and At the Devil’s Door. Having seen the previous films, I rank Anguish an even stronger film, marked by a less conventional and generic approach to horror. Offscreen interviews this intrepid producer, writer and now director. Justin H. Langlois, high school teacher, holder of an MA in Film Studies from Concordia University, and (as of 2015) member of the Fantasia programming team, has just the right pedigree to write an historical overview of the Fantasia Film Festival from a programmer’s standpoint. Is Fantasia a cult film festival? Defining cult is never easy. In his essay “Programming Cult: Fantasia Film Festival and Programming Oppositional Taste” Langlois outlines how he feels Fantasia has evolved into one of the premiere cult film festivals in North America. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

More Fantasia coverage: David Hanley on Fantasia at 20

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