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With its steady barrage of Halloween haunts, retro screenings, and new horror releases, October tends to be the top month for keeping genre film fans busy. But July really makes a strong case for that crown. Between Comic-Con in San Diego and Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, pop culture aficionados have to stay sharp to keep up with the entertainment options flying fast into their futures. What films have chances to break out with the biggest buzz at the 23rd edition of Fantasia running July 11th through August 1st? Culture Crypt takes five guesses below.



Three films have had the name “Halloween” while two of those movies take place in the same timeline. “The Ring” looks to get in on a similar reused title act with “Sadako,” which is a brand new sequel not to be confused with 2012’s “Sadako 3D.” What really amplifies interest in this one is that it marks Hideo Nakata’s return to the director’s chair for the long-running series. Nakata fathered the feature film arm of the franchise with “Ringu” in 1998, but hasn’t been back since “The Ring 2” in 2005. What does the original visionary have up his sleeve this time?

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If it wasn’t already on your radar after SXSW, “Daniel Isn’t Real” should earn a ping after Fantasia. Adam Egypt Mortimer’s psycho-thriller about a deadly imaginary friend frightening a fractured man’s fragile mind cinematically unsettles in all the best ways. Look for breakout performances from Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger in a “Fight Club”-style face-off against a backdrop of haunting hallucinations and macabre madness.

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I can’t tell you anything about “The Lodge” because I’ve gone out of my way to avoid clips, stills, or spoilers of any kind. What I do know is that those who’ve already seen it on the festival circuit are crowing that the movie will hit the horror world with seismic force. We’re all wary about hype-heavy claims of “game changing” or “best horror film in years.” But with tempered expectations, reliable chatter promises that “The Lodge” delivers an unforgettable platter best served going in knowing as little as possible.

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Of the various film festivals Culture Crypt covers each year, Fantasia is probably the most diverse in terms of representing varied countries, genres, and artistic styles. Sometimes though, you just want to dial it down a shade and indulge in old school drive-in delirium. “Critters Attack” may be just what the doctor ordered for a throwback thriller with the flashback charm we came to love in the VHS era. Besides, you don’t need Leonardo DiCaprio or Angela Bassett for Crites to pull off a wild midnight movie.

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It sounds funny to say this, but of the dozens of films featuring at Fantasia this year, the screening I most want to witness in a full theater is “Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby.” This bizarro made-for-TV sequel to the Mia Farrow classic originally aired on ABC in 1976. Patty Duke plays Rosemary while legendary Canadian character actor Stephen McHattie stars as an adult antichrist who disco dances. I’m not kidding about any of this. This restoration promises to be a howler for everyone in attendance, and I’m eternally envious of anyone who scores a seat!