Shock’s Fantastic Fest Blog: Part 1

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Shock touches down in Austin, will take on Human Centipede

Thursday morning. 8:45am, but I’m still on Los Angeles time, so nearly 7am.

Over the last month or so, we’ve been priming you for this: Shock’s extensive coverage of the premiere Austin, Texas genre film event Fantastic Fest.

It’s been a long time coming.

Organizer Tim League has been trying to get me down here for a few years now, but either due to budget or scheduling, I was never able to make it happen. Alas, here I am, updating the site out of the Embassy Suites in downtown Austin, just a block or so away from a bridge where they say, if you wait around at dusk, thousands of bats descend from the bridge’s underside and take to the night sky.

Yeah, I got to see that.

But first, movies. That’s what this fest is all about, right? Genre pics from around the world. And this year’s crop is a doozy. The blog here is temporary, just a way to keep you readers posted on where Shock is and offer you a preview of what’s to come. I suggest you hit up our Facebook and Twitter pages, too, just for scattered updates/random images throughout the day.

After a flight yesterday from LAX to Austin, where I spied pretty much the best sweater of all time (imagine a faded picture of real cats standing side by side all wearing cowboy hats…you had to see it), it was off to the famous Alamo Drafthouse for badge pick-up. This is where the madness will unfold over the next week, although, I’ll only be here until Monday. It’s also the location of Mondo Tees, that incredible boutique that specializes in original posters and t-shirts you always see us touting here on the site. Apparently, they’re unveiling a series of new posters for the fest. I saw one of them last night: Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. I loved it. From what I hear, they’ve got An American Werewolf in London poster coming.

This place is going to kill my bank account.

Inside the Mondo shop, they had vintage film toys and trading cards…stuff I hadn’t seen in decades. Batman trading cards. Gremlins 2. Y’know, stuff you’d probably find in the basement of my parents’ house on the East Coast.

Once my badge was secured, it was time to pick up tickets for Thursday’s programming. On the schedule right now: Blind (a serial killer flick), Kill Me Please (a black comedy), The Squad (and the short film Cost of Living by pal BenDavid Grabinski), The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence and Manborg. Yes, Manborg. F**k it. Sounds like a good one to experience with an audience.

I’ll be hitting the Centipede red carpet and will hopefully have some photos and sound bites to share later tonight. Expect a review a.s.a.p., too. Out of the lot, that is the one I’m most excited about today, followed by The Squad, a horror film from Colombia we were lucky to get wind of early.

Last night ended with drinks at the nearby Highball followed more drinks at the arcade called Pinballz, unequivocally the largest collection of pinball machines I’ve ever seen. The size of this collection was matched by the crowd of familiar faces I saw there like Devin from Bad Ass Digest, Harry at AICN, the fellas from FEARnet, /Film, Collider, Bloody-Digusting and Fangoria.

Oh, and Elijah Wood. Weird. I’m told he’s a Fantastic Fest regular, however, so not unusual for anyone else but me, I suppose.

The evening was a good warm-up of what’s to come. For now, it’s back to working on reviews. I was able to catch Jaume Balaguero’s Sleep Tight and the Canadian thriller The Corridor early, so I’m banking those reviews until they premiere at the fest over the next few days.

See you around.

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor