Vintage and Retro-Feel Genre Films Rule at Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival

By: Joseph Perry (@JosephWPerry @UphillBoth)


Ithaca Fantastik is now underway with the 7th edition of this upstate New York celebration of genre film, electrifying music, and dynamic art, and blasts from the past screen alongside many amazing new films, both retro-themed and not. The fest kicked off at its homebase of Cinemapolis on October 26th and runs through November 4th.  

Following are descriptions from IF’s official press releases about some of the fine horror, science fiction, and action fare screening there that should appeal to When It Was Cool readers. Some familiar classics appear along with possible future favorites!


Christopher Caldwell | 2018 | USA | 98 min

In a working-class future (in space!), a father and daughter mining team (Jay Duplass and Sophie Thatcher) struggle to make a living on an alien moon with worn out space suits and a barely functional spacecraft. When they learn about a large haul of the rare, valuable crystals they’ve been tracking, they decide to risk confrontations with their lawless competition.

Adapted from a short film of the same name, Prospect has a blue collar sci-fi atmosphere that evokes the highlights of the genre and follows the lead of films like Alien (1979) and Silent Running (1972).



Tilman Singer | 2018 | Germany | 70 min

Luz (Luana Velis) arrives at a police station. Seemingly in a state of shock, she begins the interview process of filing a report. Meanwhile, at a nearby bar, a mysterious man drinks alone. He’s approached by a young woman with a disconcerting manner. They strike up a conversation over drinks. A malevolent force seems to permeate both communions .

Shot on 16mm — and the thesis project for German film student Tilman Singer — Luz already feels like a movie out of its time with aesthetic trappings of a film made in the 1980s but characters and story contemporary in their design and feel.

Game Over (3615 Code Père Noël)


René Manzor / 1989 / France / 87 min

Thomas, a French kid obsessed with American action films, believes he will be the first kid to catch Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When a thief dressed as Santa shows up instead of the real deal, Thomas’s vengeance for broken childhood dreams takes on epic proportions in this cornerstone film.

Back to Castle: A Special Screening of The Tingler with live theatre

The Tingler

Wednesday, Oct. 31 7pm at The Cherry Artspace

William Castle | 1959 | USA | 82 min

When a pathologist (Vincent Price) discovers a creature that feeds and grows on fear, he quickly realizes the key to its defeat. He captures it to test his hypothesis. As the creature evolves in size and atrocity levels rise, the Doctor’s theories distill into one single urgent lesson: “Please, do not panic, but scream! Scream for your lives!”

This film’s just-wacky-enough execution of excruciatingly frightening ideas may just keep its viewers from requiring intensive therapy.

Released the very same year as House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler reprises and intensifies the same camp horror theatricality and B-movie zeal from William Castle’s wild imagination. The delicate dissonance between Castle’s gimmicks and Vincent Price’s outstanding performance gets perfectly showcased in this triumphant return of the pioneering duo.

Enjoy this one-time-only interactive event, created in partnership with The Cherry Artspace — true to William Castle’s innovative vision of an immersive 4-dimensional theatrical experience. Filmed in “Percepto”!

Vinegar Syndrome Presents:

Vinegar Syndrome is a film restoration and distribution company with a catalogue of hundreds of feature films, produced primarily between the 1960s and 1980s. With an ever growing archive we’re thrilled to team up to present two exhilarating entries for IF audiences to enjoy on the big screen once again.

Raw Force

Edward Murphy | 1982 | USA | 86 min

Ninjas and cannibal monks and zombies, OH MY! Martial arts students from the Burbank Kung Fu Club head out on a leisurely cruise, but when their ship drifts too close to a mysterious island, their vacation becomes a lot less relaxing. They’ve landed far from home on Warrior Island, a burial ground for shamed martial artists. And they are not alone. Others have made camp on this lowly island chock full of secrets just waiting to be unearthed.

White Fire (Vivre pour Survivre)


Jean-Marie Pallardy | 1985 | Turkey, France, UK | 101 min

When Bo was a child, a mysterious stranger sadistically murdered his parents. Only Bo and his sister Ingrid survived the bloodshed. Now, 20 years later, Bo and  Ingrid are employees at a diamond mineshaft in the desert. The mischievous duo stumble upon the discovery of a legendary diamond, the "White Fire." However, rapture for the diamond has provoked the angst of some short-tempered, not-so-nice villains. The quest to capture the most sought-out diamond in the world is afoot!

To see the full, fantastic IF lineup and schedule, visit

 Joseph Perry is one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast ( and Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast ( He also writes for the retro pop culture website That’s Not Current (, Diabolique Magazine (, Gruesome Magazine (, Scream Magazine (, Ghastly Grinning (, and several other print and online film critique and pop culture magazines.  

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