CATEGORIES Action, Animation, Comedy, Foreign Language, Horror, Independent, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thrillers, Mystery & Suspense, Remakes and Sequels, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinematical Indie, Western, Toronto Film Festival, CinematicalYeah, blah blah blah. Here's the intro paragraph where I remind you (yet again) how much I love horror movies, foreign action movies and bizarre comedies that'd probably never play your local multiplexes. But we've been down this road once before so I'll skip all the foreplay and cut right to the chase: This year's Toronto Film Festival Midnight Madness slate looks pretty damn wild. It's basically a mixture of well-known masters and unknown imports ... all of which I aim to see (and review) at the festival next month. Here's what Colin Geddes and his genre posse have put together for us:
À L'Intérieur (France) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Hailed by Fangoria horror film critic Alan Jones as "the goriest film since Peter Jackson's Dead Alive ... a fresh work of Caesarean terror that reaches beyond the current American horror trend of Saw or Hostel." Yum! Sign me up!
Dainipponjon (Japan) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "A wickedly deadpan spin on the pop image of giant Japanese superheroes like Ultraman, Dainipponjin body slams with a stinging dry wit that ricochets to ever-higher levels of audacity." Ha! And get a load of this IMDb synopsis: "An eccentric man aged about 40 lives alone in a decrepit house in Tokyo. He periodically transforms into a giant, about 30 meters tall, and defends Japan by battling similarly sized monsters that turn up and destroy buildings. The giant and the monsters are computer-generated."
The Devil's Chair (USA) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Evoke(s) John Hough's 1973 paranormal gothic favourite, The Legend of Hell House, fiendishly mashing it together with the crass literary stylings of Irvine Welsh and serving it up with a devilish wink to the audience." And if you'd like to see director Adam Mason's first film (Broken), it hits DVD on September 25. Suffice to say it's not for the squeamish.
Diary of the Dead (USA) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Mixing Romero's brand of social commentary amid all the gut-munching, George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead critiques the media and its place in today's world of disaster and terror." From the little I've read on this flick, it seems to be Blair Witch meets Night of the Living Dead -- which would normally make me verrrrry skeptical. But c'mon, it's Romero.
Flash Point (China) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Hits melodramatic zeniths, ticking off the checklist of cop-flick conventions, but it matches them with fierce kicks and punches. The climactic bout between Yen and Chou will make you wince and hold your breath with every crushing blow." Neat. Some IMDb commenters have called it "awesome."
Frontièrres (French) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Follows close on the trail blazed by Alexandre Aja's Haute tension, serving a vicious head-butt to the often diffident, condescending face of French cinema, a Grand Guignol tale for the twenty-first century." Fantastic. I love Haute / High Tension! Plus the director also has Hitman on the way, so this will be a good chance to see what he's made of. And I could be wrong, but I think this flick has something to do with "cannibal neo-nazis." Which is not something you see every day.
The Mother of Tears (Italy) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Welcome to one of the most highly anticipated events in horror fandom – The Mother of Tears, Dario Argento's finale to The Three Mothers trilogy that started with Suspiria and Inferno." Woohoo! New Argento! I might have to bone up on my giallo before the festival hits!
Stuck (USA) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Stuck is a departure from traditional horror genres, instead taking its inspiration from a true story in which a nurse near Fort Worth, Texas, struck a homeless man and fled the scene with the body sticking out from her car." Director Stuart Gordon is one of my all-time favorites, so I'm definitely down for this one.
Sukiyaki Western Django (Japan) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Miike slices and dices the genre with an Americana-kabuki-baroque style: Buddhist temples sit alongside saloons, samurai swords hang from gun belts, and sake flows with blood." Takashi Miike's first English-language film? And with Quentin Tarantino as a gunslinger? Dang that sounds amusing.
Vexille (Japan) -- TIFF Guide Quote: "Reaches new levels of excellence in the world of animated art, placing expressive characters against a landscape of stunning vistas." Not always my cup of tea, but what would Midnight Madness be without one piece of flashy new anime?
And as an added bonus, here are a few genre-centric titles that are not playing as part of Midnight Madness, but most definitely ARE on my "to see" list:
The Orphanage -- TIFF Release Quote: "From producer Guillermo del Toro comes a film about a woman's return to the abandoned orphanage where she grew up and her conviction that something long-hidden and terrible is lurking inside." Ummm, you had me at "del Toro." Plus this flick has been getting mega-raves on the international festival circuit. Yay!
The Substitute -- A family friendly horror / sci-fi / comedy from Denmark? Sure, why not?
They Wait (Canada) -- TIFF Blog Quote: "There seems to be some back and forth about whether or not They Wait is a bona-fide "horror film," but I can attest to some jumps from the ghosts that inhabit the story." Plus the flick comes from the director of the underrated Cube Zero, so color me curious.
Weirdsville (Canada) -- According to a TIFF release, this one's about "two men who get in way over their heads after the overdose of a friend finds them at an abandoned drive-in to dispose of her body. But things get worse when they discover and disrupt a satanic cult performing a sacrificial ritual, run afoul of a psychotic drug dealer, and incur the wrath of an angry mall security guard." Plus it stars Wes Bentley and Scott Speedman, of all people. Sounds fun.
Lastly (well, until the full festival slate is announced on Wednesday) we have an amusing little tidbit from the very handy website TIFFReviews.com: Although not officially announced yet, the site believes that a movie called Terror Inside will play at the festival. Why is that amusing? Two reasons: It stars Corey Feldman -and- check out the trailer.