Fantasia 2023 Is Right Around the Corner!

Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

It’s that time of year again! The Fantasia International Film Festival is one of the biggest and best genre festivals around, and it’s gearing up for another run of fantastic showings. The 2023 edition is set to go from July 20 until August 9, and we here at Horror Obsessive can’t wait to sink our teeth into it. We’ll be bringing you all the highlights from this amazing event, and to hold you over until then, here’s a little sneak peek at what our writers covering the festival are looking forward to.

JP Nunez

Fantasia holds a special place in my heart. Back in 2021, it was the first film festival I ever covered, and I had an absolute blast. I saw some amazing films that I still enjoy revisiting whenever I get the chance, so I’m super excited to be back covering the festival again this year. I’m sure it’ll give me a whole slew of new movies to obsess over and to purchase when they come out on Blu-ray, and as a horror fanatic, I couldn’t ask for anything more. So without further ado, here are five upcoming Fantasia films I can’t wait to see.

The Primevals

A Yeti fighting off other monsters
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

The Primevals is quite possibly my most anticipated movie of the entire festival. It’s about a group of explorers who travel to Nepal to capture a Yeti for scientific research, and when they arrive, they find a whole new world inhabited by strange and mysterious creatures. That premise alone is super intriguing, but what really makes this a must-watch for me is the way the monsters are brought to life on screen. They’re stop-motion animated, and as a guy who grew up on King Kong and Ray Harryhausen films, that seals the deal for me. The Primevals feels almost like it was made just for me, so naturally, I absolutely need to see this movie.

Empire V

Empire V poster
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

Empire V is a Russian film about a world where vampires exercise what’s being described as “an anonymous dictatorship” over the human race, and as a huge fan of vampires, I’m dying to see it. I love movies that put their own unique spin on the vampire lore we all know and love, so this sounds like it’s going to be right up my alley. What’s more, Empire V has been banned in its home country, so it’s sure to pack an explosive political allegory that couldn’t have come at a better time.

Shin Kamen Rider

Shin Kamen Rider poster
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

I have to be honest, I don’t know much about the Kamen Rider franchise. I know it’s about motorcycle-riding superheroes who have some sort of insect motif and who often fight monsters, but that’s pretty much it. So why am I so excited about the new reboot Shin Kamen Rider? Well, first of all, I love superheroes, so I’m sure I’m going to love this film. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it’s written and directed by Hideaki Anno, the guy who did Shin Godzilla and Shin Ultraman, and that makes this an absolute must-watch for me. Shin Godzilla is one of my favorite Godzilla movies, and Shin Ultraman is one of my favorite films of the year so far, so naturally, I’m really excited to see what Anno can do with this next classic tokusatsu franchise.

In My Mother’s Skin

A kid bowing to a fairy
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

In My Mother’s Skin is being described as “a Filipino folk-horror fairy tale,” and that’s pretty much all I need to know. I’m a huge fan of folk horror, and I love horror-centric fairy tales like Pan’s Labyrinth, so, of course, I’m excited about this movie. But if you want to know a bit more about it, it’s set in the Philippines during the final days of World War II, and it’s about a teenager named Tala and her little brother Bayani who encounter a beautiful fairy in the woods. At first, this creature seems benevolent, but as you can probably guess, Tala and Bayani’s good fortune ends up being too good to be true.

Late Night with the Devil

A man looking concerned
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

Last but not least, we have Late Night with the Devil, and this one sounds like it’s going to be amazing. It’s about a late-night talk show host named Jack Delroy who’s been facing declining viewership, so he does what anybody in his situation would do. He plans a live broadcast with a young teenager who survived a Satanic church’s mass suicide and who claims to be demonically possessed, and predictably, this idea goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil forces into his viewers’ homes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could ask for a better premise. This movie sounds totally bonkers in the best way possible, so I absolutely can’t wait to see Last Night with the Devil.

Sean Parker

Fantasia Festival will open its 27th edition this year, and by now, my guess is you’ve probably all seen the overwhelming and jaw-dropping list of features, shorts, events, and parties planned for the event. From celebrated Canadian filmmaker Pascal Plante’s Red Rooms (Les Chambres Rouges) opening the festival to Summer of ‘84 and Turbo Kid directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell’s goretastic-looking closing night film We Are Zombies, JP Nunez and I have combed through the list of films meticulously for the three-week event and were tasked to choose five of the films we’re most excited for. I don’t even know how that could even be possible with this lineup.   

From the festival’s spotlight on South Korean cinema to its extensive list of anime titles alone, I found five films I was excited about, and yet none of those made this list. Vinegar Syndrome’s first original film, The Eight Eyes, with the crew of The Last Drive-In producing, looks like a nightmare incarnate, yet it’s not on this list. Xavier Gens’ (Frontier(s), Cold Skin) bloody gang thriller Mayhem! Looks like a high-octane thrill ride, but it’s not top-five. And even The Adams Family, the family who brought us Hellbender and The Deeper You Dig, are bringing us the World Premiere of their latest Where the Devil Roams, and yet, there is just no room to talk about it. With so many amazing entries in this year’s festival, I still couldn’t help myself, and I still chose six for this preview.


A man looking concerned
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

Larry Fessenden’s 1997 vampire film Habit started the director on a challenging course to make a film using every monster. His sea creature film, Beneath, graced screens in 2013, and his Frankenstein film Depraved came out in 2019. Now, with Blackout, the horror icon offers the film he’s wanted to make for years to the Fantasia 2023 audience.  

The film, like most of Fessenden’s features, is set somewhere in New York and concerns a painter who’s convinced he’s causing chaos in a small town during the full moon. Charley (Alex Hurt) is set to expose the corruption of a land developer (Marshall Bell) while trying to get back in the good graces of his daughter (Addison Timlin). When a Latino construction worker gets blamed for Charley’s actions during the full moon, the town’s desire to punish the innocent man plateaus as Charley begins to transform again.  

Fessenden has long brought themes of ecological and social injustices forth in his work, and Blackout looks like a trip down a similar rabbit hole. Joining him in the film are long-time collaborators like Barbara Crampton (Jacob’s Wife, We Are Still Here), James LeGros (Stray Bullets, The Last Winter), Kevin Corrigan (Stray Bullets, The Last Winter), Joe Swanberg (Depraved, All the Light in the Sky), among others.   

Sympathy for the Devil

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be excited about more Nic Cage genre films, especially when Joel Kinnanman’s in the supporting role. The Altered Carbon and The Killing actor plays a Las Vegas taxi driver in Sympathy for the Devil, desperate to get to his wife as she goes into labor, but just as he’s about to call it a night, a fiery-haired, satin-dressed Cage will enter his life and hold him hostage, and he doesn’t intend to leave until he gets the driver to reveal something. 

A neo-noir tale set at night in Sin City is definitely a way to get the audience’s attention, but the award-winning Bethlehem director isn’t set to stop there. Yuval Adler’s film is said to contain the kind of twists and turns that will have you questioning the character you might be rooting for. Also, Cage is said to give a particularly unhinged, over-the-top performance in Sympathy for the Devil as his cat-and-mouse game builds.  

The cab driver noir is becoming a prevalent mainstay in horror-thrillers, and Sympathy for the Devil feels like an interesting vehicle for a “Rage Cage” feature. A lot of my initial reaction reminded me of the indie film Endangered, about an Uber driver and her mysterious passenger. Many films use this dynamic, but I’m betting Sympathy for the Devil brings something we haven’t seen before to the table, and if not, we always have Nicolas Cage to provide the entertainment.  

Cage is also being honored at Fantasia International Film Festival this year as a “one-of-a-kind treasure in American Film,” according to what artistic director Mitch Davis told Variety. I couldn’t agree more. With his journey into genre cinema, Sympathy for the Devil will be Cage’s third film to grace Fantasia in the last five years, with Mandy showing in 2018 and Prisoners of the Ghostland in 2021. Fans like me have loved his ability to turn up the crazy to places only Cage can go, and Sympathy for the Devil has him dialed up to eleven.

The Becomers

Two people standing
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

Joe Swanberg, who I just mentioned among the cast in Blackout, produced this extraterrestrial road-tripping romantic comedy about a couple of aliens inhabiting the bodies of two earthlings. Through the eyes of these visitors, director Zach Clark shows our world, its politics, and the fragility of humanity through the view of a complete outsider. This includes some Cronenberg-style body horror moments as well. The film is being repped globally by Yellow Veil Pictures for sales distribution with hopes The Becomers gets snatched up during the festival.

In an interview with Variety, Clark said, “During the pandemic, I binged the original Star Trek series for the first time, and then I made this movie. It felt like life as we knew it was ending, but then again, it also felt like that might not be the worst thing either. The Becomers is a story of love, longing, and alienation. A kitsch-soaked, pathos-laden melodrama about our sad, sad planet. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever made, and I can’t think of anyone better than Yellow Veil to get it out into the universe.” 

The Sacrifice Game

A man looking amped up
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

If you’ve never seen Jenn Wexler’s extremely entertaining cabin in the woods picture The Ranger, you should definitely right that wrong. It’s been five long years of waiting for a follow-up film from the indie director, but Wexler is already turning heads with the synopsis for her sophomore feature.

The film takes place in the 1970s at a boarding school campus during Christmas break in a dorm where students Samantha and Clara are residing. If not being able to go home for the holiday isn’t bad enough, things get worse when a group of cultists, intent on summoning a demon, arrive. Now the girls must fight for their lives as they’re chosen to participate in The Sacrifice Game.  

I’m extremely excited about the Black Christmas setup in Jenn Wexler’s new picture and curious to see where this one goes, given there’s not a whole lot known about the film. In a previously released statement, Wexler said, “The Sacrifice Game is my tribute to the beauty and boldness of ’70s horror, anchored in an unlikely friendship between outsiders.”  

The film was picked up by Shudder and is likely to premiere around the holiday season. 

Home Invasion

A person standing by a door
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

I was a huge supporter of Skinamarink when it debuted at Fantasia one year ago. The movie made my list of films I was looking forward to over a lot of high-profile movies debuting at the fest. Home Invasion looks like the kind of film that shares Skinamarink’s low-fi, experimental spirit. Part documentary about technological endeavors and a narrative on technological cinematic achievements like parallel editing and the Ring video doorbell, and part social commentary on the exploitation of neighborhood surveillance and policing, Home Invasion incorporates a mix of found footage and home invasion films set to a tense soundtrack for a unique exposé on individuals who “Fear thy neighbor.”


While many were not very receptive to Reeder’s Shudder pandemic movie Night’s End, I had a different opinion. The isolative qualities mixed with Geno Walker’s fine performance were enough to find me relating to his situation with heart-pounding anxiety. It’s rare for a film to seep in and unsettle as Night’s End does, and I’ve been waiting for more of that since.  

Perpetrator follows a recklessly impulsive teenager named Jonny (Kiah McKirnan), who is sent to live with her estranged aunt (Alicia Silverstone) in a town where young women continue to go missing. Jonny begins the process of undergoing a transformative family spell called “Forevering” and, as her classmates begin disappearing, hunts down the Perpetrator as a feral, beastly creature.

The film divided audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival, but I remain interested given that Night’s End was a rather divisive film too. Perpetrator was picked up by Shudder ahead of Berlinale (The Berlin International Film Festival) back in February. A fall streaming release is likely.  

Suitable Flesh

Suitable Flesh poster
Image provided by the Fantasia International Film Festival

If there’s one movie on the top of my list for the year, festival or otherwise, it’s probably Suitable Flesh. The hype is real for this Lovecraftian body horror film that reunites Barbara Crampton and Joe Lynch after having worked together on Creepshow episode “Pipe Screams.” Society director Brian Yuzna is also on board as executive producer, so you know whatever Lynch has baked into this body-horror adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep, it’s gonna be good. 

I have been a fan of Lynch’s since he turned Wrong Turn 2 into an enjoyable, darkly humorous, full-camp straight-to-video blast, so when he makes a Stuart Gordon tribute movie, you bet your @$$ I’m sold. What’s more is that he tapped Heather Graham to star, with Crampton and The Babysitter’s Judah Lewis to support. 

Suitable Flesh follows an ambitious, well-respected psychiatrist, an authority on out-of-body experiences, and a patient with multiple personalities that she becomes entangled with. When the patient is murdered, it throws her into a downward spiral as she tries to figure out the truth about the patient’s illness. Through possessions and carnage, Suitable Flesh tees up an allegory about the flaws in the mental health system through the mistreatment of patients and the doctors ignoring their experiences within their own skin.  

The film has already been acquired by RLJE and Shudder, and I have to believe that an October release date is likely, though whether that’s streaming or theatrical could be a toss-up.  

One Comment

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  1. The trailer for Suitable Flesh looks terrible. And I haven’t seen Heather Graham act in anything where she gave a bearable performance. But then, I really just can’t stand bad acting. Some people are fine with it. I want a really good lovecraft-inspired film to come out just as much as the other horror fans out there, but I am not at all sure this is going to be one of them.

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Written by Horror Obsessive

This article was written either by a Guest Author or by an assortment of Horror Obsessive staff.

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