Aw yeah, this is just about my own personal version of Christmas Eve. The first wave of titles for the Austin's lovely Fantastic Fest has splattered into my inbox, so instead of me rambling on about how great Austin is in late September, especially if you're a massive fan of films gory, scary, sexy, twisted and weird, I'll just direct you to a very handy FF press release.

But not before I say this: Of the flicks chosen already, I've seen precisely five: Let the Right One In, Donkey Punch, Spine Tingler, Terra, and Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. A Swedish vampire coming-of-age story, a British thriller about boat-bound terror, an American documentary about a beloved schlock-slinger, a multi-national animated adventure story, and a scrappy little indie full of monsters that Rick Baker would adore. So from just one random sampling, this is one eclectic mixture of movies. Oh, and for the Hollywood fans: DJ Caruso's Eagle Eye will have its premiere at Fantastic Fest. By only a few days but damn cool anyway. Oh, and a screening of The Tingler? Beyond cool.

Click on in for the first full press release on Fantastic Fest 2008.

We are proud to announce the first wave of our feature film programming for the 2008 edition of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. For the past 9 months, we have been scouring the globe for the strangest, the most heart-pounding and the most challenging new genre films. With over 100 films representing over 30 countries, Fantastic Fest is the largest festival of its kind in the United States. We are proud to announce our first slate of 22 confirmed feature films. Also included is information about our signature Fantastic Fest special events and parties.

Feature films:

Art of the Devil 3 (2008, Thailand, director: Ronin Team)

A prequel to one of the most graphic and visually creative horror movies in recent times, ART OF THE DEVIL 3 is a tale of unrequited love set amid the exotic world of rural Thai black magic.

Cargo 200 (2007, Russia, director: Aleksei Balabanov)

Acclaimed Russian director Balabanov's tale interweaves stories of cowardice, corruption and horror set against the backdrop of the birth of perestroika in the Soviet Union.

Dark Floors (2008, Finland, director: Pete Riski)

Finnish heavy metal legends Lordi (dressed in their actual stage costumes!!!) star as demons from another dimension who torment a band of strangers trapped in a hospital.

Doctor Infierno (2008, Spain, director: Paco Limon)

A demented gynecologist discovers a cure for all the world's illnesses and uses it as leverage to become sole dictator of the earth. Jam-packed with monsters, kung fu, battling robots and deviant sexual practices, DR. INFIERNO doesn't let budget get in the way of executing a mountain of crazy ideas. Producer Sergio Martínez Mourelle and actor Carlos Ortega Ceacero live in person!

Donkey Punch (2008, United Kingdom, director: Oliver Blackburn)

Seven sexy young Brits are hanging out on a "borrowed" yacht for a day of drugs, debauchery, and ultimately donkey punching. It's the last activity that causes everything to unravel. After the screening, follow us to Ladybird Lake for the potentially inappropriate Donkey Punch Boat Party.

Eagle Eye (2008, USA, director: D.J. Caruso)

Two strangers (Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan) become the pawns of a mysterious woman they have never met, but who seems to know their every move. Realizing they are being used to further her evil plans, they must work together to outwit the woman before she has them killed. During the week of the festival, take part in the EAGLE EYE cell phone scavenger hunt. Director D.J. Caruso (DISTURBIA) live in person!

Estomago (2007, Brazil, director: Marcos Jorge)

Love, sex, jealousy, food and murder in the streets and prisons of . Fantastic Fest is also offering, for an additional charge, an opportunity to enjoy the ESTOMAGO Feast, a four-course meal with wine pairings prepared by Alamo executive chef John Bullington. The feast is inspired by the actual dishes from the film and will be delivered to your seat as they appear on screen.

Ex Drummer (2007, Belgium, director: Koen Mortier)

Three low-life handicapped losers recruit an arrogant and abusive author to play drums in their punk band. Layered with brutality, surrealism and bloody violence, EX DRUMMER is like no music film you've ever seen.

Fighter (2008, Denmark, director: Natasha Arthy)

A Danish (?!!) kung fu coming-of-age drama choreographed by and featuring a supporting role by action master Xian Gao (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, FONG SAI YUK)

Gachi Boy: Wrestling with a Memory (2008, Japan, director: Norihiro Koizumi)

After a car accident renders Igarashi without a short-term memory, he abandons his dreams to become a lawyer in favor of becoming a masked wrestler. Director Norihiro Koizumi live in person!

How to Get Rid of the Others (2007, Denmark, director: Anders Rønnow Klarlund)

When it is discovered that the least productive 5% of Danish society consumes 60% of government spending, the conservative politicians decide to quietly eradicate the problem.

I Think We're Alone Now (2007, USA, director: Sean Donnelly)

This fascinating and severely disturbing documentary takes you deep into the worlds and obsessions of Kelly McCormick and Jeffery Deane Turner, who have been separately stalking 80s pop icon Tiffany for nearly 20 years. Director Sean Donnelly live in person!

Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (2007, Canada, director: Jon Knautz)

Horror legend Robert Englund costars in this epic battle of angry plumber vs. the demonic creatures of the night. Packed with fantastic practical effects and spot-on humor, JACK BROOKS should prove to be an audience fave. Director Jon Knautz live in person!

Let the Right One In (2008, Sweden, director: Tomas Alfredson)

An awkward, introverted boy (Oskar) befriends a new neighbor girl (Eli) who helps him to confront the bullies at school. Eli, however, has a dark secret, and there are bodies piling up at the local morgue.

Muay Thai Chaiya (2007, Thailand, director: Kongkiat Khomsiri)

An action-packed Muay Thai fighting drama by Kongkiat Khomsiri (ART OF THE DEVIL 2), Cinematography by Wisit Sasanatieng (TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER).

The Short Films of Nacho Vigalondo (various, Spain, director: Nacho Vigalondo)

Festival darling and last year's grand prize winner Nacho Vigalondo didn't just come out of nowhere with his first feature TIMECRIMES. In 2003 he directed academy award-nominated short 7:35 IN THE MORNING and has a large and impressive body of short films. Fantastic Fest is premiering the collected short works of Nacho Vigalondo, many subtitled in English for the first time for this program.

South of Heaven (2007, USA, director: Jonathan Vara)

Two brothers on the wrong side of everyone must face an endless array of torture, terrors and indignities in this darkly comic and visually striking noir. Director Jonathan Vara live in person!

Spine Tingler - the William Castle story (2007, USA, director: Jeffrey Schwarz)

William Castle, one of the mighty giants of fantastic film and media manipulation is lauded and explained by the ones who knew him and loved him best.

Substitute, The (2007, Denmark, director: Ole Bornedal)

The middle-high school students in a small Danish village have figured out that their abusive new substitute teacher is actually a space alien on a vanguard mission to investigate taking over the earth. They just can't seem to convince their parents or the administrators.

Terra (2008, Canada, director: Aristomenis Tsirbas)

An Armada of humans arrives on a habitable planet with intentions of colonization, but the seemingly peaceful indigenous creatures turn out to have some unexpected moxie. Beautifully animated with voice talent by David Cross, Brian Cox, Dennis Quaid, Rachael Wood and Luke Wilson.

Tingler, The (1959, , director: William Castle)

William Castle's masterpiece, an electrifying celebration of tactile horror that culminates in a shocking climax which audience members may never recover from. For this special presentation, the theater at the Alamo will be wired to recreate Castle's greatest gimmick: "Percepto!"

Tokyo Gore Police (2008, , director: Yoshihiro Nishimura)

The privatized Tokyo police force led by Audition's Eihi Shiina is authorized to execute judgment on the spot. They are threatened, however, by a breed of "engineers," genetically modified super-villains who grow mutant weapons from their injuries and amputations.

In addition to the features above, we are proud to announce more details about our Fantastic Fest parties and special events:

Opening Night Party: Air Sex World Finals

Following the opening night film (title TBD) join us for the official Fantastic Fest opening night party – the Air Sex World Finals. Badge holders and the general public are invited to the culminating event of a year's worth of preliminary competitions. It's a lot like Air Guitar, but a bit spicier.

Closing Night Party: "Get Lit"

Following the closing night film, we'll be heading outside of town for what we feel will be the Austin party of the year: "Get Lit," a subterranean dance party a mile beneath the earth at nearby Longhorn Caverns.

Fantastic Feud and All-Night Karaoke Party*

Scott Weinberg, managing editor of Cinematical, brings his 2nd annual trivia challenge that pits festival guests and select badge holders against one another to do battle in the arena of genre film trivia. Following this clash of intellectual titans, we'll settle in for another tradition – the post trivia all-night Karaoke Party.

Fantastic Debates

We are proud to honor the age-old tradition of over-opinionated verbal nerd combat by introducing FANTASTIC FEST DEBATES at FF 2008! For the first time in genre festival history, the audience will be truly heard...through blazing displays of surefooted, acid-tongued mindpower!

100 Best Kills

Fantastic Fest celebrates the great legacy of stomach-churning, blood-spurting movie magic with this interactive showdown party where YOU THE AUDIENCE are invited to join the FF programmers in providing the all-time greatest on-screen headbursts, rib-rips and gutblasts!

Signature Alamo Special Events

In addition to the traditional fare of Fantastic Fest, this year we're also offering badge holders a sampling of the Alamo signature shows: sing-alongs, quote-alongs, Master Pancake Theater, Weird Wednesday and Terror Thursday. Badge holders get free admission to these special shows at the new flagship Alamo location, the Ritz. See the live comic stylings of the Master Pancake troupe as they skewer the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, enjoy the communal experience of the EVIL DEAD 2 Quote-Along and 'Fantastic' 35mm classics as part of our free midnight movie series Weird Wednesday and Terror Thursday.

Details for all of these shows, parties and more can be found on our website: www.fantasticfest.com

Important dates have been announced for the 4thAnnual Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

Thursday, August 7, 2008: Second wave of festival content announced

Thursday, September 4, 2008: Final content and schedule announced

Thursday, September 18, 2008: Festival begins

Saturday, September 20, 2008: 2009 Festival Badges go on sale

For more information about Fantastic Fest, please visit our official website: www.fantasticfest.com

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL:
Fantastic Fest is an eight-day festival of the best new sci-fi, horror, fantasy and genre films, as well as choice classic and obscure cult titles from all over the world. The festival director is Tim League (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema). Programmers include Harry Knowles (Ain't It Cool News), Blake Ethridge (Cinema is Dope), Todd Brown (Twitchfilm.net), Zack Carlson (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) and Lars Nilsen (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema). Fantastic Fest is a supporting member of the prestigious Melies European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation and a founding member of the North American Fantastic Festival Alliance. Fantastic Fest is sponsored in part by Ain't It Cool News, Twitchfilm, Gamecock, Best Buy, DVD Empire, VIZ, Embassy Suites and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar.

(* Yes, you read that right: Not only am I privileged enough to be a member of the FF jury, but I accidentally created a monster when I came up with the Fantastic Feud concept. Hope to see you there!)