With multiple sold-out screenings on its opening weekend, the fifth annual Twin Cities Film Fest is looking to be the most successful one yet. While other festivals spend years carving out a niche, TCFF has already hit its mark: independent films, mainstream appeal. They're proud to say they program for the casual moviegoer. So what does the casual moviegoer like? Big names (Reese Witherspoon, Adam Sandler, Benedict Cumberbatch), big causes (Hunger in America, The Syndrome), and big feelings (Big Significant Things, To Say Goodbye).
And then there are the weird films. The outliers that, against all odds, made it into the TCFF lineup. So instead of a rundown of the movies everyone's already talking about, here are five films you may have had no idea were playing at the festival. Make it a point to hit up one of these screenings, and get a taste of something not coming to an AMC anytime soon.
What To See at Twin Cities Film Fest: Other Film Fests Weigh InThe Transylvania Television Real Meanin' of Halloween Special Show
(8:45 p.m. Monday, October 20)
What it's about: Transylvania Television is a web and television series centered on a vampire and a ragtag group of monsters attempting to run a television station. The movie is a 42-minute quest to, you guessed it, find the real meaning of Halloween.
Why it's weird: If Jim Henson, the Crank Yankers guys, and Peter Bretter of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (creator of the Dracula puppet rock opera A Taste for Love) produced a movie together, this would be it. Despite being an entirely puppet-based production, this film is not recommended for kids. If your kids really want to know the real meaning of Halloween, put on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
House of Manson
(9:30 p.m. Monday, October 20)
What it's about: A Charles Manson biopic that follows him from childhood to his arrest.
Why it's weird: The story of the Manson family continues to be haunting. House of Manson promises to go "psychologically deeper" into the mind of Manson than any film before it, while also not holding back on the brutality of his crimes. The project is anything but normal fare for mainstream moviegoers, but that didn't stop an earlier screening from being the first to sell out at the festival.
(8:45 p.m. Tuesday, October 21)
What it's about: Researching your family history isn't as fun as the commercials make it look. For young James Erikson, it involves an old storage locker and an evil force his family forgot to tell him about.
Why it's weird: Seemingly shot on 10 different cameras, Solitude has all the makings of a teen slasher flick, found-footage film, and campy monster movie. You'd expect this horror cocktail at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival, but at St. Louis Park's dine-in-your-seat ShowPlace ICON? Not so much.
The Control Group
(8:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 22)
What it's about: College students just trying to have a good time are captured for top-secret government testing, but both students and scientists have little chance of survival when the abandoned insane asylum turns out to be haunted.
Why it's weird: Wasn't this one of the trailers in between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse double-feature? Instead of sticking to one horror movie sub-genre, they're going all-in: haunted-house, thriller, zombie, slasher, psychological, B-movie, and torture porn. Go to this screening, and you'll get your fill of scary movies for the next 10 years.
The Last Time You Had Fun
(9 p.m. Friday, October 24)
What it's about: A group of 30-somethings, all with their own personal struggles, go out for a night on the town they'll never forget. YOLO!
Why it's weird: Cinephile or not, everyone can probably name at least three mid-life crises movies. This takes that model and applies it to people 10 to 20 years younger. Plus, the names Demetri Martin and Charlyne Yi may have been all TCFF needed to see to snag this flick.
IF YOU GO:
Twin Cities Film Fest
Kerasotes Showplace ICON Theatre at West End
$10; $45-$120 for festival pass
Daily through October 25