Fantastic Fest 2007 in Austin, Texas: Day One

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Fantastic Fest 2007 in Austin, Texas: Day One

[Above: George Romero in Austin for Fantastic Fest 2007]

As festival attendees reveled in a blood-and-gore opening party nearby, director George Romero

(Night of the Living Dead) describes Fantastic Fest better than anyone: “Everybody here wants to be here. [It's] less business and more fun.” Romero was so taken by his first visit to Austin’s international horror/sci-fi/fantasy festival that he chose it as the sight for the U.S. premiere of his newest zombie-ode, Diary of the Dead, which kicked off the eight-day fest Thursday night.

Now in its third year, festival co-founder Tim League teamed with Ain’t It Cool News maven Harry Knowles and others to offer a stream of films any festival would envy. Last year, Fantastic surprised audiences with the U.S. premiere of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto with Gibson himself in attendance for an extended question and answer period. This year’s special screenings will again be a secret with the first of three coming Saturday night.

Diary of the Dead
Maybe the best Romero Dead film since his 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, and 1978’s Dawn of the Dead. Contains some inventive social commentary on what Romero calls the “multi-tentacled media machine which is capturing us all. We’re all getting invaded by it and seduced by it.”

For more on Diary of the Dead, click here.

Some complex twists and challenging deduction give director Nacho Vigalondo's story about an average guy’s accidental journey to the past a bigger punch than your typical time-travel film.

For more on Timecrimes, including a trailer, click here.