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Neuchatel trips light fantastic

'Cabin,' 'Raven,' 'Mooring' unspool at Swiss fest

BERLIN — Ciaran Foy’s nightmarish urban thriller “Citadel,” Boris Rodriguez’s cannibal comedy “Eddie,” Franck Khalfoun’s “Maniac” and Pat Holden’s “When the Lights Went Out” are among the pics unspooling in the International Competition section at the Neuchatel Fantastic Film Festival.

Established in 2000, the fest has become a major event in Switzerland for fans of horror, thriller, mystery and fantasy films as well as a key launch pad for genre titles. Last year the event sold some 27,000 admissions.

Running July 6-14, the fest revolves around “fantastic” cinema, while also offering separate showcases on Asian film and digital works.

The fest’s Films of the Third Kind sidebar focuses on films that bridge the fantasy and thriller genres with such titles as James McTeigue’s “The Raven,” David Zellner’s “Kid-Thing,” Jeremy Regimbal’s “Replicas,” Jens Lien’s coming-of-age drama “Sons of Norway,” Tsui Hark’s “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” and Bobcat Goldthwait’s “God Bless America.”

The Ultra Movies section centers on the more bizarre side of genre films with a midnight screenings selection that includes Glenn Withrow’s thriller “The Mooring,” John Gulager’s “Piranha 3DD,” Alex Chandon’s U.K. horror entry “Inbred” and, from Germany, Andreas Marschall’s “Masks,” about a young thesp who gets more than she bargained at a mysterious (and diabolical) drama school.

Other high-profile screeners include Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin in the Woods” and Leos Carax’s “Holy Motors,” both of which unspool in Ceremonies.

The fest is paying tribute to U.S. filmmaker Jeff Liebermann this year with a homage that includes special screenings of 1976’s “Squirm,” 1978’s “Blue Sunshine” and 1981’s “Just Before Dawn.” Lieberman is also serving on the international jury.

In addition, the event is presenting retrospectives on fantasy musicals and “found footage” movies. The former includes such classics as “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life,” “Phantom of the Paradise,” “Pink Floyd The Wall,” “Streets of Fire,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Tommy,” “Hairspray,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy,” while the latter includes such works as “Cannibal Holocaust,” “Chernobyl Diaries,” “Cloverfield,” “Paranormal Activity,” “The Blair Witch Project” and “[REC].”

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