From 'Human Centipede 2' to 'Zombie Ass': Fantastic Fest organizer Tim League talks about this year's line-up
The still ongoing Toronto Film Festival may have boasted appearances from such cinematic luminaries as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling. But is it screening a film called Zombie Ass? It is not! To see that movie — and world premieres of a host of other horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and/or action movies — you will need to travel to Austin, Tx., which from September 22 once again plays host to America’s largest genre movie film festival, Fantastic Fest.
EW spoke with Fantastic Fest director, and Alamo Drafthouse cinema co-founder, Tim League for the lowdown on the (at times NSFW) mayhem.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re opening Fantastic Fest with director Tom Six’s already infamous Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). Have you actually seen it?
TIM LEAGUE: I saw it a couple of months ago. In my mind, the first Human Centipede film was actually quite restrained. It’s a very titillating concept and it’s a great title. But there’s not a lot of nudity, there’s not a lot of actual blood or guts or anything like that. It’s more just suggestive. This time, he’s actually delivering what people were potentially expecting in the first one. It’s much more intense. It will not be a movie for everyone. There are going to be a lot of people who think it goes too far. But there are a lot of people who are pretty steeled in the Fantastic Fest crowd. They’ll probably love it.
Will you be serving food at the screening?
It’s at the Alamo Drafthouse. We always serve food. We might even do some really ill-advised food pairings.
The closing night film is Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which I’m going to assume has fewer incidents of people having their mouth sewn to someone else’s butt.
Slightly fewer, yes. I really love that film. I wasn’t quite sure, with Morgan Spurlock, what sort of tone he was going to take. I honestly thought he was going to screw it up and goof on Comic-Con. But he chose to take the sort of Spellbound approach and follow five or six different people on the road to Comic-Con and their own personal sense of fandom and why they’re going. It’s very respectful and I think our audience is going to really respond to those stories.
What other movies do you think are going to have people talking?
There’s a Colombian movie called The Squad that I really like, that’s world premiering at the festival. It’s about a military squadron who go to this base and everybody is dead. They find, walled up behind this wall, a woman who’s tied up, and they release her but, unbeknownst to them, it’s some sort of supernatural entity. That’s pretty creepy. And there’s a really interesting low, low, low budget from Canada called Manborg. Steve Kostanski is the director’s name. He’s been making shorts for the past six or seven years and this is his first feature. He does everything: there’s stop motion animation, there’s CGI, there’s matte painting backdrops, lots of practical effects. I love do-it-yourself creative guys and he’s got a really funny sense of humor.
Personally, I’m intrigued by the Fantastic Fest website’s summary of a film called You Said What?: “The producers of Dead Snow re-imagine Takashi Miike’s Audition as a rom-com and make Peter Stormare ride a paper mâché dragon shrieking that he is the King of Darkness.” That sounds like value for money to me.
It’s about movie nerds who work in a video store, so it literally takes the premise of Audition, but it doesn’t go dark in any way. They set up a fake audition for their friend who’s just lost his girlfriend and he falls so head over heels in love with one of the girls that auditions that they go ahead and set up this crazy, dragon-slaying movie. They try to pull off this façade that they’re actually making a movie, so that he can have a chance at a real relationship with this girl. It’s really fun.
You’re also screening a film called Zombie Ass. Now, is that the new Mike Leigh movie?
[Laughs] No, it’s not. This is made by a Fantastic Fest veteran. It’s a Japanese filmmaker, Noboru Iguchi, who did Machine Girl and Robo Geisha, to name a couple. He’s a really funny guy, but he’s got this strange fixation with the posterior. This is the movie he’s been dying to make forever and it’s really strange.
Every year at Fantastic Fest you debate and then physically fight someone. This year, you’ve challenged James Quinn McDonagh, a bare knuckle boxer and star of the Fantastic Fest selection Knuckle. I guess the obvious question here would be, What the f— are you thinking?
Well, I had a boxing lesson today. This is my second one and I’ve got two more to go. So I don’t know what his training regimen is like, but I’m feeling pretty good! No, every year we do this Fantastic Debate event and it seems like every year I make larger and larger mistakes. This will be the first time in my life that I will have really punishing pain inflicted upon me. I’m pretty sure I will just go down fast, like a sack of potatoes.
The Human Centipede