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Fantastic Fest 2012

Fantastic Fest releases full eye-popping calendar of head-crushing special events

Austin photo: Contributor_Michael Graupmann
Austin photo: News_Fantastic Fest 2012_Poster
Poster Art by: Mike Saputo
Austin Photo: News_Mike_Fantastic Fest Events_Dragon Sound
Miami sound machine, Dragon Sound, will lead the Chaos Reigns Karaoke Party.
Austin Photo: News_Mike_Fantastic Fest Events_Nerd Rap Throw Down
Nerds with mad skillz are invited to take part in the Nerd Rap Throw Down at the Highball.
Austin photo: News_Mike_Frankenweenie_Still
Tim Burton's Frankenweenie is the motivation for the opening night Monster's Ball. Courtesy of Disney Enterprises

All summer, we've assailed you with the cool feature films premiering at this year's blood and gore and fun-filled Fantastic Fest, coming up at the end of the month.

This week, the Drafthouse released all of the scheduled non-film events that help to make Fantastic Fest the most memorable and loved movie event of the year for thousands of sci-fi and horror geeks who descend upon the South Lamar Alamo each September.

Of course, annual favorites like Fantastic Debates, 100 Best Kills and Chaos Reigns: the Fantastic Fest Karaoke Party will all be back, with special guest stars from many of this year's films (and, as always, some surprises, too).

The opening night party on Sept. 20 transforms the Highball into the Monsters' Ball. The entire entertainment complex will be decked out in classic black and white horror cinema designs in honor of the FF premiere of Tim Burton's new animated movie, Frankenweenie. Everyone is encouraged to come dressed in formal attire or as their favorite silver-screen monster — or perhaps some combination thereof. The most creative costume (besides my own "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" costume) will win Fantastic prizes.

The next night, multi-national martial arts synth rock band Dragon Sound will be the KJs for the late-night Chaos Reigns Karaoke Party at the Highball. This is your opportunity to show your fellow drunk horror buffs who's the real master of musical genius in these parts. We are promised that the Highball will be not unlike "the hottest nightclub this side of Florida AND all of Asia," so that's more than enough to confirm our attendance.

On Saturday, Sept. 22 Austin Gym will again house The Fantastic Debates, where celebrity contestants pair up against Alamo legends, like owner Tim League, for intellectual fisticuffs, followed by actual friendly punching time. Everyone is invited to pick their favorite squabbler and cheer him or her on to victory as the furious fists and the roundhouse rebuttals fly.

The Nerd Rap Throw Down hits the Highball on Sunday, Sept. 23, featuring an honest-to-goodness rap battle between six of the most... energetic nerds at the Festival. It's a movie-themed rap battle, so everyone is encouraged to brush up on references in order to beef up your posse and earn the chance to win the grand prize of a 2013 Fantastic Fest badge.

Even later that night, there is a very special screening of the new Halloween documentary The American Scream that will follow a specially prepared haunted house set up by one of the movie's subjects. Once you make it through the Homemade Haunted House Hellbash, you are welcome to enjoy all the Halloween candy you want as you take in one of the festival's most delicious confections.

Monday will include not only the over-the-top and in-your-face Fantastic Fest Awards where winners will literally be blasted in the face with fan appreciation, but also more debate at the Scott Weinberg-hosted, horror-focused trivia bout, Fantastic Feud and a special Fantastic Fest version of the Action Pack's bingo and porn party, Tittie Bingo.

If you're not exhausted yet from all of the food and drink and head-crushing merriment, there is still plenty of merriment to be had! Comedian Doug Benson, host of the movie podcast Doug Loves Movies, comes to the Highball — appropriately at 4:20 p.m. — to host a horror movie-themed game show. You don't have to be high to appreciate it, but it maybe wouldn't hurt.

That night, the annual favorite event, 100 Best Kills, hits the Alamo screen again, featuring scenes of exactly that: the absolute best in gruesome death scenes from movies and the web, submitted by the fans who know the genre best. Basically, this is the epitome of what you want from a horror movie festival in one collected shot. So you're welcome.

The makers of the Norwegian miniseries Hellfjord bring their highly specific aesthetic to the Highball for the Hellfjord Norwegian Party on Wednesday night. This death-metal and rakfisk party will feature plenty of "face-shredding Norwegian-style black metal" and a complimentary corpsepainting makeover for anyone not already covered in animal blood. La oss feire!

And finally, as Fantastic Fest 2012 comes to a close, the limping, crippled survivors of the bloodiest genre festival in the world will gather at the American Legion Hall for the ultimate Red Dawn-inspired prison party. Yep: prison party. Everyone attending is welcome to a complimentary de-lousing or head-shaving as much as chef-prepared bites from Alamo Executive Chef Jon Bullington. He'll be preparing wild game paired with shots of warm deer blood. We couldn't make this up.

Looking this list over, it's no wonder why movie fans fly all across the globe to attend Fantastic Fest. It's honestly one of the biggest, craziest, most all-inclusive parties you can experience anywhere in the world.

Between the nearly 120 films at the festival, all of the celebrity sightings and these special events, all we can say is: "... 7, 8, better stay up late / 9, 10, never sleep again..."

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Check out the entire Fantastic Fest 2012 lineup and get your badges (if there even are any left!) on their website. Screenings begin Thursday, Sept. 20.

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