Fantastic Fest to debut Stephen King’s ‘Gerald’s Game,’ Martin McDonagh’s ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

Fantastic Fest, the annual genre cinema bonanza in Austin, Texas, and the largest film festival of its kind in the United States, is doubling down on Stephen King mania in its 2017 edition with Netflix’s highly anticipated “Gerald’s Game” and a feature adaptation of the author’s horror novella “1922.”

Both King projects were announced Tuesday in the first wave of Fantastic Fest’s 2017 programming lineup, which is also headlined by the U.S. premiere of Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage.

Carla Gugino stars in “Gerald’s Game” as Jessie Burlingame, the protagonist of King’s 1992 suspense novel, who finds herself handcuffed to a bed in an isolated cabin after a romantic tryst with her husband goes horribly wrong. Bruce Greenwood co-stars in the Netflix release directed by Mike Flanagan (“Oculus,” “Hush”), which will make its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest.

The annual film festival celebrating horror, fantasy, science fiction, action, crime and other colorful categories of films from across the globe runs Sept. 21-28 out of Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse theaters, attracting a dedicated audience of hardcore genre fans and filmmakers with unconventional, boundary-pushing fare.


This year’s iteration includes a program dedicated to Arabic cinema from countries such as Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq, including “ANYAB” — the Egyptian equivalent of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” — and “Al Asleyeen,” from filmmaker Marwan Hamed.

“It’s truly a joy to be able to showcase a variety of Arabic genre films never before seen in the U.S. to shatter preconceptions,” said Fantastic Fest creative director Evrim Ersoy. “Cinema from this region is as exciting, inventive and as wild as anything we’ve ever seen and we’re here to prove it.”

Also unveiled in Tuesday’s initial programming announcement: “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” starring Vince Vaughn as an ex-boxer fighting to stay alive in a maximum-security prison, from “Bone Tomahawk” director S. Craig Zahler, and “The Endless,” a sci-fi offering from “Resolution” and “Spring” duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead starring the directors as brothers returning to the cult they once escaped from.

The Texas fest will also host “Blade of the Immortal,” the 100th film by Japanese auteur Takashi Miike; the U.S. debut of Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Square,” from director Ruben Östlund; and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” the Cannes best screenplay award winner starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, from “The Lobster” helmer Yorgos Lanthimos.

Here’s the first batch of Fantastic Fest titles, with more programming announcements to come in the lead-up to September’s festival:

“1922” (U.S. 2017), world premiere, director Zak Hilditch

”78/52” (U.S. 2017), regional premiere, director Alexandre O. Philippe

“Anna and the Apocalypse” (Scotland 2017), world premiere, director John McPhail

”ANYAB” (Egypt 1981), director Mohammed Shebl

“Blade of the Immortal” (Japan 2017), U.S. premiere, director Takashi Miike

“Brawl in Cell Block 99” (U.S. 2017), U.S. premiere, director S. Craig Zahler

”Cold Hell” (Germany 2017), U.S. premiere, director Stefan Ruzowitzsky

“Dan Dream” (Denmark 2017), U.S. premiere, director Jesper Rofelt

“The Endless” (U.S. 2017), Texas premiere, directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

“Generation B (Generatie B)” (Belgium 2017), Episodes 1-4 North American premiere; Episodes 5-6, world premiere, director Pieter Van Hees

“Gerald’s Game” (U.S. 2017), U.S. premiere, director Mike Flanagan

“Hagazussa — A Heathen’s Curse” (Germany 2017), world premiere, director Lukas Feigelfeld

“Jailbreak” (Cambodia 2017), U.S. premiere, director Jimmy Henderson

“Juvenile” (U.S. 2017), world premiere, director Bradley Buecker

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (Ireland/United Kingdom 2017), U.S. premiere, director Yorgos Lanthimos

”King Cohen” (USA 2017), U.S. premiere, director Steve Mitchell

“MAUS” (Spain 2017), world premiere, director Yayo Herrero

“My Friend Dahmer” (U.S. 2017), Texas premiere, director Marc Meyers

“The Originals” (Egypt 2017), international premiere, director Marwan Hamed

“Ron Goossens: Low-Budget Stuntman” (Netherlands 2017), North American premiere, directors Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil

“The Square” (Sweden 2017), U.S. premiere, director Ruben Östlund

“Super Dark Times” (U.S. 2017), regional premiere, director Kevin Phillips

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (U.S. 2017), U.S. premiere, director Martin McDonagh

“Tiger Girl” (Germany 2017), U.S. premiere, director Jakob Lass

“Top Knot Detective” (Australia 2016), North American premiere, directors Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce