After nearly a week's worth of delicious, if not at all nutritious, fried food, four to five out-there movies a day, and very hot weather, Complex's Pop Culture is back in the office on a genre movie high. Held out in Austin, Texas, at the expertly ran Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, this year's installment of the eighth annual Fantastic Fest was a glorious celebration of strange, unique films from all over the world, including Scandinavian crime thrillers, Canadian body horror, Australian nightmares, and darkly comedic Japanese oddities. In all, it was a sensory overload for the most adventurous of moviegoers, and the PC team can't wait to do it all again next year.

The best thing about events like Fantastic Fest is how the post-screenings reactions can generate buzz around independently made films that would otherwise struggle to gain attention, and there were plenty of those kinds of flicks shown in Austin over the last six days.

A few big deal Hollywood premieres did happen, though, all of which were top-notch, from the deeply unnerving Sinister (in theaters October 12th) to Tim Burton's playful return to form Frankenweenie (October 5th) and the stellar time travel head-rush Looper (in theaters tomorrow). But for the sake of showing love to smaller pictures, our picks for The 15 Best Movies at Fantastic Fest 2012 don't include any major studio productions. Here, it's all about the underdogs.

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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