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Our Five Favorite Films from Fantastic Fest

This year Fantastic Fest showcased over 70 of the finest and most original horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and dark comedies 2012 has to offer. The thing is, most of the movies programmed won't be released in 2012, and that's if they ever even get a US release. But not all of the films that played are obscure oddities unlike to find a theatrical home in America. Some are more mainstream movies that happen to have deep genre roots, and so we've pulled out a sample of five of our favorites from the festival that you'll definitely be able to see in the near, or not too distant, future.
Note: We left Looper off since it opens today, but we do highly recommend seeing it as soon possible.
Frankenweenie (October 5, 2012)
When Fantastic Fest announced Frankenweenie as its opening night film, a lot of fan's scoffed at the selection. After all, a Disney kids film directed by Tim Burton didn't really seem to fit in to a festival dedicated to the finest and boldest genre films from around the world. But it really does. This may not be Burton's best film ever, but it's a loving tribute to the way kids view monster movies. It's packed with imagination, a few subversive ideas, and probably is certainly closer in spirit to the Burton that made Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands than the one who made Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.
Sinister (October 12, 2012)
Think you've seen everything Hollywood horror has to offer? See Sinister. This film about a true crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into the wrong house is one of the most legitimately scary horror movies in years. It's got an instantly memorable, truly creepy score, a great plot, and plenty of well-earned jolts that may make you sleep with the light on for a few nights after seeing it.
Cloud Atlas (October 26, 2012)
The Wachowskis have teamed up with Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer to make a movie that is an utter marvel to behold. It's not the sci-fi epic you'd expect from the directors of The Matrix, though sci-fi certainly plays a big part in it. Rather this is a sprawling, time-and-space jumping story about cycles of life and death and love and rebirth. It's a remarkable piece of filmmaking, features some very fun and impressive performances from Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and many more (all playing several different roles), and will surely find itself on more than a few Best of Lists by the time 2012 ends.
The Collection (November 30, 2012)
The pair that wrote most of the Saw sequels once conceived a prequel to the series that would show how Jigsaw got his start. The producers didn't want to do a prequel, though, so Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton reshaped their ideas and turned it into 2009's The Collector, an intense movie about a burglar who breaks into a house the same night a serial killer has filled it with traps. The Collection is its unlikely - despite the first film being quite good, it barely made it to theaters - sequel, which pits a team of mercenaries against the trap-laying madman obsessed with pushing human endurance to its limits. It's not a movie for everyone, but if you like your horror with as big a body count as possible, you likely won't find a gorier entry this year.
Room 237 (Spring, 2013)
Whether you love or hate Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, Room 237 is a must-see documentary not about the making of the film, but about how some fans have interrupted the movie over the years. It's a fascinating film that never once shows the faces of any of the people discussing it, instead opting to fill its runtime with footage from the film and several of Kubrick's other works. And regardless of how insane some of the fans' theories are (that The Shining is really Kubrick's hidden admission that he filmed the fake moon landing, for one), it's a kick to see all the evidence they've found and hear them make a case for why the film is so much more than most people think it is.
Follow along on Twitter @PeterSHall and @Fandango.
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