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Meet a Fantastic Fest DIE HARD: Brad McHargue

Brad McHargue - A Fantastic DIE HARD!
by Jason Whyte

In our continuing series of interviews for Fantastic Fest, now takes a look at a Fantastic Die Hard from outside of the Austin zone. Brad McHargue is a freelance writer based out of Denver, Colorado.

“I moved from Florida to Colorado in June of 2009, and since then have managed to cultivate a mini-pseudo career out of writing about movies. In the past I’ve contributed to Horror Squad (a now-defunct Cinematical offshoot), Fangoria, my own sites, and will be contributing reviews to Bloody Disgusting at this year’s Fantastic Fest. I have a day job, but my ultimate goal is to write and make movies. I won’t let a lack of experience get in the way.”

What makes you travel from your home town to attend Fantastic Fest in Austin every year?

All you need to do is go to Fantastic Fest once to have that question answered.

What makes you a Fantastic Fest DIE HARD?

It’s the ultimate destination for someone who loves genre film, good food, and getting hammered every night. I initially learned about it from Peter Hall, film journalist and producer extraordinaire (author’s note: Peter Hall is one of the biggest supporters of Fantastic Fest and can now be found on, who convinced me to purchase a ticket on a whim. It was the best decision I ever made and, if I may be so bold, it helped launch my career as a film journalist.

How do you explain Fantastic Fest to someone who is not familiar with the film festival? What would you do or say to get them to attend the following fest?

It’s basically nine days of non-stop movies and fun. If you’re a fan of genre film, drinking and parties, then you should go.

Every attendee experiences Fantastic Fest differently, so I'm curious as to what a day is like for you at the festival.

There is no typical day at Fantastic Fest, at least not for me. For the first few days it’s all about movies and parties, but as the week continues you start to get tired, a little worn out, and movies take a backseat to just general camaraderie and sharing the atmosphere with friends. This can mean anything from just hanging out to indulging in the diabetes-inducing goodness that is Gordough’s.

Overall, what are you looking forward to the most at Fantastic Fest, 2011 edition?

More than anything I’m excited to once again see all the great friends I’ve made over the past two years. Austin is filled with some of the greatest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, even if half of our conversations are centered on why the other person is wrong about a particular movie.

Would you say that you have a particular genre or filmmaker that you follow at the festival every year?

Anything horror or thriller related. If Brad Anderson were to ever make an appearance I would do everything in my power to interview him.

What is your favorite food/drink combo at the festival's key venue, the Alamo Drafthouse? Better yet, do you have any favorite area places to get food and/or drink in between films?

If it weren’t frowned upon, I would have sex with the Alamo Drafthouse cheese fries. Beyond that, Gordough’s is awesome.

What has been your favorite non-film related event of past editions of the fest?

Karaoke in my first year. I got that perfect amount of drunk where my inhibitions were lowered enough to allow me to get on stage several times and rock out with some good friends.

Looking to the future, Is there anything you wish the festival would try out for the 2012 edition?

For one thing, a more stream-lined method of ticketing. There’s something about waking up at 7 AM to get in line for tickets after a night of partying that kind of sucks the fun out of some aspects of the festival. I hear they’re moving to an online method, so fingers crossed.

What has been your favorite moment or experience at any previous FF that you have attended?

Despite the crowd calling for my blood, my participation in the Fantastic Debates at the 2009 festival was a highlight. At the time I was just a lowly fan trying to break into the entertainment journalism world and thanks to a few people, I managed to be included in an event typically reserved for filmmakers, legit critics, and, of course, Tim League. I was embarrassed, but God damn-it, it was awesome.

What is the single, greatest movie that you have seen at any Fantastic Fest?

I’ll catch Hell for this, but Paranormal Activity. Not because it’s a “great” film, but because I saw it before all the hype and is a shining example that you don’t need a huge budget or a convoluted premise to make a truly terrifying horror film.

And finally, what is your all time favorite movie and why?

It’s a tie, actually, between “Session 9” and “Pontypool”. Both films exemplify what I feel true horror films should be; visceral without being excessively violent, and relying more on the abject as opposed to the object.

Follow Brad McHargue’s experience on Fantastic Fest via his Bloody Disgusting Coverage, Follow him on Twitter or go to

For more information on Fantastic Fest including programming, ticketing information and updates, point your browser to

Be sure to follow my updates on Fantastic Fest via my Twitter page which can be found HERE.

Jason Whyte –

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 09/24/11 23:32:19
last updated: 09/24/11 23:33:32
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