Fantasia 2021: Film Festival Announces 25th Edition with ZomCom ‘Brain Freeze’
The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 25th edition as a virtual event accessible to audiences across Canada, with a dynamic program of scheduled screenings and premieres, panels, and workshops running from August 5 through August 25, 2021, once again using the leading-edge platform created by Festival Scope and Shift72.
As the summer approaches, the festival will be following advice from local health authorities, with the possibility of also adding a range of flagship physical events to the lineup.
Last summer’s virtual edition was a phenomenal success, screening to 85,000 spectators and amassing a record amount of media coverage, with 475 accredited journalists from around the world covering Fantasia and its titles. The 2020 Fest showcased 104 features, a quarter of which were World Premieres, with the majority securing distribution out of the festival.
I was able to cover the fest virtually in both 2020 and 2019 (before going digital was a necessity), and personally, I loved every minute of it. They screened some fantastic films that I’m thrilled are now starting to see wider distribution, such as Lucky, Yummy, For the Sake of Vicious, The Dark and the Wicked, Anything For Jackson, and The Mortuary Collection.
For the creation of its 25th anniversary poster art, pictured below, Fantasia has once again turned to the talents of renowned illustrator Donald Caron. Taking inspiration from Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s beloved Lone Wolf and Cub, Caron has created a work that not only acknowledges the key role that Japanese culture has played across Fantasia’s history, but also one that hints and honors our upcoming edition’s embrace of Japanese cinema as a core cinematic theme.
Fantasia is proud to be opening its upcoming edition with the World Premiere of a major Québécois genre feature – Julien Knafo’s Brain Freeze. First pitched at Frontières, the festival’s world-renowned international co-production market, the film is a smart and stylish zombie comedy that slyly comments on social concerns both domestic and universal, telling the tale of an environmental disaster that leads to a fast-spreading virus ravaging a wealthy gated community off the island of Montreal. Brain Freeze joins the ranks of recently-released cinema that holds an eerie mirror up to our collective experience even though scripted and shot pre-pandemic. While production on the winter-set chiller was abruptly halted four days before completion following Quebec’s lockdown, shooting was miraculously able to wrap the following summer. There could not be a more perfect film for Fantasia 2021 to kick off with! Following the World Premiere on August 5th, Brain Freeze will see theatrical release throughout Canada on August 13th from Filmoption International.
Produced by Barbara Shrier (The Year Dolly Patron Was My Mom, Memoires Affectives), the film stars Roy Dupuis (La Femme Nikita, The Rocket), one of Quebec’s leading actors for the past three decades who celebrates his 50th feature with this role, alongside Iani Bédard (Mon Ami Walid). The impressive cast is rounded out by an array of acclaimed figures in Québec cinema, including Marianne Fortier (Aurore), Anne-Élisabeth Bossé (Laurence Anyways), Mylène Mackay (Nelly), Simon-Oliver Fecteau (Bluff), Stéphane Crête (Dans Une Galaxie Pres de Chez Vous), Mahée Paiment (Les Boys), Louis-Georges Girard (Mafia Inc), Claudia Ferri (Bad Blood), and Jean-Pierre Bergeron (Sur le Seuil).
Equally gorgeous as it is bloody, Brain Freeze presents a clever take on corporate greed, the growing rift between the haves and have-nots and a government in crisis that uses a zombie outbreak to express its truth and succeeds at being both a charming horror comedy, coming-of-age tale, and a story of unexpected friendship in hazardous times.
The 25th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival will be presented by Videotron in collaboration with Desjardins, and will be made possible thanks to the financial assistance of the Government of Quebec, SODEC, Telefilm Canada, the City of Montreal, the Conseil des arts of Montreal and Tourisme Montréal.
Fantasia’s full programming lineup will be announced in several waves across the coming months.
Fangs, Nic! This Final ‘Renfield’ Trailer is Beyond
We aren’t sure what to make of the upcoming movie Renfield, but after watching this final trailer, we are definitely interested. Although it’s coming across as a straight-up comedy, the movie isn’t light on blood according to the latest, and final, trailer.
When you watch it, the zingers and (CGI) blood fly, but there also seems to be some inspiration and romance at the heart of the story. Not between Dracula and his titular assistant (that would be interesting), but between Renfield and a cop named Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina).
Horror movies with a comedic edge are becoming very popular this year. First, we had the hilarious and often brutal Cocaine Bear and soon we are getting the saliently self-aware African American film The Blackening which pokes fun at POC horror tropes: their tagline is “We can’t all die first.” Then there was Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, but was that a comedy, or just “funny.”
It still remains to be seen if Renfield is Mel Brooks funny or Edgar Wright funny.
Either way, Renfied looks like it’s going to be a good time with Nic Cage being his usual campy self. It’s currently making the festival rounds now but will be released theatrically on April 14.
Renfield is directed by Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War, and Lego Batman Movie) and stars Nicolas Cage, Nichoals Hoult with co-stars Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, and Shohreh Aghdashloo.
In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men) stars at Renfield, the tortured aid to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Oscar ® winner Nicolas Cage). Renfield is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, after centuries of servitude, Renfiedl is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of the Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his codependency.
America’s Most Haunted House Isn’t in Amityville
There is a haunted house in Bridgeport, Connecticut that doesn’t get the attention the one in Amityville does, but in 1974 it caused a media stir that captivated the country, and nobody ever talks about it, not even genre movie folks.
By the end of this story, you–like the many witnesses in 1974–will wonder what’s real and what isn’t.
What did happened inside this tiny house in the middle of the block on Lindley Street?
Before we get to that, let’s talk about the recent upswing in ghost story cinema and celebrity paranormal investigations, starting with James Wan’s Conjuring universe (a fourth film is currently in the works).
The Conjuring franchise has given us some great scares over the last decade. These “based-on-a-true-story” earmarks on haunted America, and across the pond, have re-invigorated the poltergeist pop culture phenomena that was so popular in the 70s.
Based on the real-life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring cinematic universe started with the Perron family in Rhode Island.
Although Mr. Warren died in 2006, Lorraine served as a consultant to The Conjuring. She maintained before her death in 2019 that she didn’t allow the filmmakers to take too much creative license. She asserted everything you see on screen is actually how it happened.
The sequel, Conjuring 2 moved to Britain and documented the famous Enfield haunting. That case involved two young sisters who were tormented by a ghost that threw things, spoke by way of possession and was just an overall supernatural baddie. Cops, priests and social workers went on record to confirm the reports. Lorraine also helped with that case.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Lutz family was battling their own demons on a now-famous lot in Amityville. Again, the Warrens were on hand to assist.
966 Lindley Street
But there is another chilling tale that the Warrens were involved in that nobody talks about. It took place in Bridgeport at 966 Lindley Street in 1974 and it caused such a media circus the neighborhood would go on lock-down.
Reporters, witnesses, and other professionals would go on record saying they saw furniture move without provocation, hovering refrigerators, and physical attacks.
In the book “The World’s Most Haunted House,” writer Bill Hall takes a deep-dive into this case. What’s staggering is not only the bizarre happenings that took place, but they were so well documented by so many trusted sources.
Respected Witnesses Document Their Experiences
Firefighters and law enforcement agents have gone on record to say they witnessed everything from chairs moving on their own, crucifixes being ejected from their wall anchors, and knives being thrown by an invisible force. The activity seemed to center around a little girl.
Gerard and Laura Goodin lived in the small bungalow when they adopted their young daughter Marcia in 1968. It wasn’t long before strange things began to happen in the house–little things that people usually ignore. Still, the activity was strong enough to captivate the family.
People said when Marcia was around the events would intensify but even when she was gone things could get crazy.
The Goodin’s were subject to a loud rhythmic pounding in their walls, the source could never be located. Items would disappear from where they were left, only to be found in another spot in the house. Doors would slam. Police investigated the incidents but even they were perplexed after finding nothing.
The Media Frenzy
In 1974 the property was a hotbed of activity not only from the poltergeist but media attention. The Warrens were called in as was the American Society for Psychical Research and the Psychical Research Foundation.
Police were on hand 24 hours a day and interviewed the family. At that time there were reports of TVs being pushed from their stands, window blinds snapping up and down and shelves falling off the walls.
The public frenzy had started too. Onlookers would crowd the street in front of the haunted house to see if they could witness something for themselves. One citizen even tried to burn the house down. The entire street had to eventually be cordoned off.
At this time the entity reportedly showed itself. According to Hall’s book, it “resembled a large, cohesive assemblage of smoky yellowish-white ‘gauzy’ mist.”
The Cat Talks
Not only were there physical manipulations there were also audio phenomena. People reported hearing Sam the family cat say weird things like “Jingle Bells,” and “Bye Bye.” Outside plastic garden swans reportedly made frightening noises too.
The website Damned Connecticut also wrote about this story. In their comments section one person, Nelson P., claims to have worked in City Hall in 1974 in the records room of the Bridgepoint Police Department. They had this to say:
“…we gained a copy of a written report by an officer who was present when the paranormal s*it hit the fan on Lindley St. The most chilling account was when in his writing ‘and the cat said to the officer “How’s your brother Bill doing?, and the officer looked down and replied “My brother’s dead.” The cat then scowled “I know” swearing repeatedly at the officer then ran off. Other visual events in the report include a levitating refrigerator and an armchair that flipped over and could not be lifted back into place by the officers. One officer who witnessed it all took an immediate leave of absence having been that shaken by the experience. I today firmly believe these events took place in the home.”
Levitating Frigidaires and creepy cats aside, the whole thing came to an abrupt halt when a police officer allegedly saw Marcia try to tip over a television set with her foot when she thought no one was looking.
After questioning, Marcia eventually admitted to doing everything in the house on her own and the case was closed; deemed a hoax. Or was it?
Although her parents disputed the claim, Marcia was quick to admit her part in the “haunting.” But questions remained about how she could be in two places at once.
How respected witnesses saw things happen when Marcia wasn’t even in the house and why things continued to happen even after her confession.
The case was eventually forgotten and regarded as fraud.
Bill Hall’s book “The World’s Most Haunted House,” is the quintessential story about the Lindley haunting. His book includes unprecedented interviews from firefighters and other reputable witnesses who were there. They speak about their experiences and what they saw.
It’s been reported that Marcia, the girl behind the haunting, died in 2015 at the age of 51.
The house still stands in the same spot it did over 40 years ago and looks the same as it did back then. You can visit it personally. You can also type it into Google Maps.
But instead of bothering the current residents keep a safe distance away if you decide to go.
Whatever you believe, this haunted house case was definitely one for the history books if only for the attention it got from the public and the details professional eyewitnesses documented as it happened.
This story has been updated. It was originally posted in March 2020.
Paranormal Games: Red Door, Yellow Door
Let’s play a game: Red Door, Yellow Door
Also Known As Doors Of The Mind
Spooky games that border on the paranormal are a mainstay at slumber parties around the world. From light as a feather, stiff as a board… Doors of the Mind
to the classic Ouija board, we’ve all played at least one, but there are others out there, perhaps less well known, and one of the spookiest is Red Door, Yellow Door. Doors of the Mind
What is Red Door Yellow Door?
Sometimes this paranormal game is called Doors of the Mind or Black Door, White Door, and well, any other combination of colors, you can think of.
Red Door, Yellow Door takes two to play. However, it’s perfect for a late-night audience of scared teens, so it’s no surprise that it’s made a resurgence in recent years.
The Game Rules
The rules are simple, but the outcome could be dire, or so the urban legends claim.
One player is the guide, and the other is the subject.
- The guide sits on the floor, cross-legged with a pillow in their lap.
- The subject will then lie on the ground with their head in the guide’s lap and their hands raised in the air.
- The guide should, at this point, begin to massage the subject’s temples in a circular motion chanting, “Red Door, Yellow Door, any other color door” over and over again, joined by any witnesses to the game. Doors of the Mind
- As the subject slips into the trance, they will find themselves in a room in their mind and at that point, they should lower their arms to the floor signaling the guide and any witnesses to stop chanting.
The game has officially begun.
At this point, the person acting as the guide will begin to ask questions to the subject in order to get them to describe the room.
Any witnesses should be silent so that there is no sound except for the voice of the guide and the voice of the subject answering the guide’s question.
The instructor might ask what colors the doors to the room are, how they feel about the doors, and instruct them to go through varying doors into other rooms.
The subject is encouraged to answer all questions honestly until the guide decides to end the game, but there are some warnings and signs of danger to keep in mind.
Dangers To Keep In Mind Doors of the Mind
According to Scary for Kids:
- If you encounter people in the room, it may be best not to interact with them. They may be evil and try to trick you.
- If you find yourself in a room full of clocks, leave immediately. Clocks can trap you.
- You can go wherever you want, but it is safer to go up than down.
- Light things and light colors tend to be better than dark things and dark colors.
- If you should find yourself trapped in a room, you must try to wake up. If you don’t, you might be trapped forever.
- If you die in the game, you will supposedly die in real life.
- If you encounter a man in a suit who makes you uncomfortable, end the game immediately.
- If the guide is having a hard time waking the subject from the trance, they should shake them roughly to bring them into wakefulness.
Sounds creepy, right?!
The whole point of the Red Door, Yellow Door, seemingly, is to explore the inner workings of your own mind and to also understand that there are also dark sides to everyone.
Some of the things you might encounter inside the game may be those very things about yourself that you don’t wish to face.
Have you ever played Red Door, Yellow Door or any variation of this spooky game? Let us know in the comments!
This article has been updated. it was originally posted in February 2020.