Fantastic Fest Final

The annual Fantastic Fest film festival is tool place in Austin this week. It’s the largest genre-based film festival in the United States. We sent special correspondent Brennan Foster to hunt down the weirdest films, the coolest parties and the biggest star sightings he could find. Here's his final wrap-up.

The end is here. I look forward to my return. I much prefer Albuquerque’s weather and local breweries. But I’ll keep many good memories of FF2011. Where else can I sit in a theater with friends and genre fans from around the world, order a beer and pizza and enjoy watching an uncircumcised penis undergo a vasectomy procedure?

Nowhere else. I promise.

This morning, I caught a screening of Morgan Spurlock's genial documentary, Comic-Con Episode 4: A Fan's Hope. Initially, I took the title to be a geek joke, but it actually speaks to the varied dreams that its subjects want to see realized. Spurlock profiles a soldier who travels cross-country to submit his portfolio; a collector eager to score a 19-inch Galactus figurine; even a young man who proposes to his girlfriend at a Kevin Smith Q&A. While there are no surprises or fresh insights, the film zips through its multiple plotlines with a clear inclination that each story, come closing day, will have its happy ending.

The final day of Fantastic Fest also trends toward happiness--after blazingly hot weather, cool winds and rain clouds appeared.

After watching dozens of blood-soaked films, my final selection was a perfectly light meringue: the adorable Audience Award recipient, A Boy and his Samurai, about a time-traveling warrior transplanted from Edo to Tokyo who lays down his sword and takes up pastry making.

And after the festival's final reel, the Superhero Carnival erupted: I saw an awesome Dr. Strange in attendance, Flash, Aquaman, Duffman, Tacoman and Cookie Monster. There was even a very aerodynamically outfitted Batman. The party was fueled by free Shiner beer, tequila shots, deep-fried, cornflake-crusted bacon strips, fried butter and something that made my mood (and cholesterol) soar higher still: the nacho cheese fountain.

My good friend Mary marveled: “You’ve just taken me to the world’s biggest sausage fest, served with a side of bacon. “

A quick review:

Outstanding films from this year are Clown and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, an epic crime film that contains elements of Goodfellas, All The President's Men and "The Wire."

Must-sees: Bullhead, A Boy and his Samurai, A Lonely Place to Die, Headhunters and Kill Me Please.

Recommended: Borderline, Let the Bullets Fly, Boys on the Run, Milocrorze: A Love Story, You Said What? Knuckle, Rabies and The Yellow Sea. Now get out there and find 'em.

Thanks for reading!