Fantastic Fest 2012: Final Recap

Fred Topel closes out the festival with reviews of Henge, The History of Future Folk and My Amityville Horror.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Whew, what a week. I managed to see 3-4 movies a day (five on Day 7) and interview lots of filmmakers, many of which we’ll bring you as the movies open in the next month. There are still many interesting movies I missed so I will be looking for them as they get distributed or play again at other festivals. Here then are the last of my Fantastic Fest 2012 viewing.



Henge is such a Fantastic Fest movie and it’s so not my thing, but it wouldn’t be a Fantastic Fest if I didn’t see at least one Japanese movie about a dude mutating into a monster. Yoshiaki is plagued with this in Henge and his wife Keiko helps him feed. The makeup and visual effects are really good in producing an ugly, repulsive creature. Not that all creatures have to be elegant but this thing just has stuff going everywhere in a jumble. It does become a full on Kaiju movie by the end so that’s fun. I don’t particularly enjoy this genre but I can appreciate when it’s done well for the fans. It’s something to see for culture.


The History of Future Folk

Future Folk is a band I hadn’t heard of until this movie, which fills in the backstory of their red bucket helmets and weird lyrics about the planet Hondo. Gen. Trius (Nils d’Aulaire) lives a normal life as a family man working a day job with musical gigs on the site. When Kevin (Jay Klaitz) comes to kill him, Trius reveals he’d been sent to earth to kill the humans, but wanted to live as a human once he heard our music. Kevin joins the band and they have to stop other Hondonians from coming to wipe out earth. D’Aulaire’s deadpan gravitas makes the low budget sci-fi undertones feel real enough to juxtapose with the ridiculous premise. That is to say it’s really funny. The music is decent too. With funny folk music, I can’t help but think of Flight of the Conchords, who are superior in both music and narrative stories, but History of Future Folk is a good romp.


My Amityville Horror

This documentary profiles Daniel Lutz, the child of the real life Amityville Horror family. It investigates the case of paranormal activity from his perspective, his interaction with experts both psychological and paranormal, and archival material about the case. Daniel Lutz is an intense guy. He’s automatically more interesting than the usual people who try to convince you they’ve experienced supernatural phenomena, because he’s bitter and annoyed that anyone wants to talk about it, let alone doesn’t believe him.  A contentious subject automatically makes the doc more interesting. The documentary is thorough, and through stock footage and reports of incidents, creates a more vivid portrait of the supernatural than any of the Amityville movies. It makes an equally compelling case for post-traumatic suggestion, but Lutz has obviously been through some trauma regardless so who are we to invalidate him?