There are many great genre film festivals in the U.S. these days. Throw a dart at a calendar and you’ll probably hit a weekend with one somewhere. Or you’ll miss, because throwing darts is hard. But easily one of the best I’ve ever gone to is LA’s Beyond Fest. The highest-attended genre film fest in the country has just released its full lineup for 2019 and they’re showing another robust catalog of 39 features, a mix of new and beloved. Last year, I checked out Wolfman’s Got Nards, Shadow, Widows, and All the Colors of the Dark. What will we find this year?
As usual, the festival has an announcement video that perfectly sums up its sensibilities. It’s a clip from Blues Brothers, with the French audio track, but the subtitles about Beyond Fest. A thing of beauty, really.
There’s obviously a lot of amazing things coming to Beyond Fest this year, but we’ve chosen six that we’re the most excited about.
1. Jojo Rabbit
One of the most hotly anticipated films of the year, Taika Waititi’s Hitler comedy feels right at home in the Beyond Fest crowd. It’s weird, it’s funny, it uses taboo imagery to tell a heartfelt story. Plus, I mean, it’s got Waititi playing a kid’s imaginary Hitler friend. That alone puts it high on our list.
2. An evening with Tom Atkins
The ’80s would not have been the same without the sturdy, mustachioed Tom Atkins. Not only did he appear in things like Escape from New York, Lethal Weapon, and Creepshow, he ruled the roost in B-flicks like Maniac Cop and The Ninth Configuration. But Beyond Fest is honoring Atkins—who’ll be there in person—with a triple bill of maybe his best lead performances: The Fog, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and Night of the Creeps. Thrill us, Tom. Thrill us.
3. Color Out of Space
Lovecraft movie adaptations come and go in cycles, but I don’t think any have had as much potential as this one. Cult movie maverick Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil) wrote and directed this version of the 1927 Lovecraft short story. It comes from SpectreVision, the production company that gave us A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Greasy Strangler, and last year’s phenomenal Mandy. Not only that, but Nicolas Cage stars in Color, too. It’s a hodgepodge of awesome we can’t begin to describe. The movie will open the fest along with another SpectreVision title, Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real.
4. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
I love a good classic zombie movie, and so does Beyond Fest. In years past they’ve given us Dawn of the Dead in 3D and Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond to name just a couple I’ve gone to. Jorge Grau’s The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (also known as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) is one of the creepiest and most influential of the era. Made in 1974, in between Romero’s Night and Dawn, Manchester Morgue pits environmentally created zombies against counterculture wanderers. Naturally the uptight police sergeant thinks it’s the hippies’ fault.
5. Dolemite Is My Name
The trailer for director Craig Brewer’s Dolemite is My Name pretty much blew us away. Eddie Murphy stars as Rudy Ray Moore, the ’70s comedian who turned his stage persona into a Blaxsploitation legend. Ed Wood and The People vs. OJ writers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander penned Dolemite is My Name and truthfully it couldn’t be anyone else. Following the screening of this movie, at which Karaszewski and Alexander will speak, Beyond Fest is screening the original Dolemite.
6. Jennifer’s Body
The world wasn’t ready for Jennifer’s Body in 2009, but it’d be right at home in 2019. Beyond Fest will host a special screening of the movie with director Karyn Kusama and star Megan Fox in person.
And these barely scratch the surface of things we’re excited about! How about this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Parasite? Or the creepy-as-heck-looking haunted house movie Girl on the Third Floor? And surely some of you will be excited for a closing night screening of Natural Born Killers with director Oliver Stone, Juliette Lewis, Woody Harrelson, and Don Murphy in person. Full slate can be found here!
Beyond Fest 2019 runs from September 25 to October 8 at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre. The United States of Beyond Fest has returned!
Featured Image: Disney