There are a lot of things I miss about my short residency in Toronto many moons ago, and the Toronto International Film Festival is just another reminder of why we should all be jealous of our Canadian film geek compadres. One of my favorite parts about the festival is the Midnight Madness line up -- featuring ten genre films over ten nights. Programmer Colin Geddes has delivered the goods this year, with four titles that are sure to please horror fans.
TIFF's Midnight Madness program will be host to the world premiere of James Wan's Insidious, John Carpenter's The Ward, Jim Mickle's Stake Land, and Brad Anderson's Vanishing on 7th Street. You can check out a detailed synopsis of each film, and the list of other titles under the Midnight Madness banner after the jump -- including James Gunn's new film SUPER, which may interest horror fans who liked his genre title, Slither.
The festival marks a return for two directors whose work is too few and far between: John Carpenter and Brad Anderson. I never had the opportunity to see Anderson's Transsiberian, but I'm a huge fan of the highly underrated Session 9 and look forward to seeing what he has on tap with Vanishing. Even bigger news is Carpenter's return to cinema after a nine year hiatus. I'm always interested in new Carpenter -- though I have avoided all mention of this film, because I'm holding onto the hope that after five crappy films this one might actually be something worth watching. Fans of scream queen Danielle Harris will be able to catch her in Stake Land, and Saw director James Wan has teamed back up with writing pal Leigh Whannell on Insidious.
Hit the jump to survey the scene and let us know which titles you're looking forward to most.
Directed by James Wan
When proud parents take possession of an old house, an accident results in one of their sons falling into a coma. The tragedy doesn't stop there when they are beset by vengeful spirits from another realm in this new chiller by the director and writer of Saw and by the producers of Paranormal Activity. The film stars Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey and Patrick Wilson.
Directed byJim Mickle
In the aftermath of a vampire epidemic, a teen is taken in by a grizzled vampire hunter on a road trip through a post-apocalyptic America, battling both the bloodsuckers and a fundamentalist militia that interprets the plague as the Lord's work.
Vanishing on 7th Street
Directed by Brad Anderson
When a massive power blackout causes the population to inexplicably vanish, a small handful of survivors (Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo) band together inside a desolate tavern, struggling to survive as the darkness hones in on them. From director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Transsiberian) comes an apocalyptic thriller with a terrifying vision of our world's end and a story that wrestles with the nature of existence itself.
Directed by John Carpenter
Acclaimed director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) makes his long-awaited return to the screen with a thriller about a young woman (Amber Heard) in a 1960s mental institution who becomes terrorized by malevolent unseen forces.
Also on tap at Midnight Madness:
Directed by Guy Moshe
In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett), a young samurai and a bartender (Woody Harrelson) plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. This visually stunning film is filled with uniquely choreographed action sequences of a new style that melds east with west and old school with new. The film also stars Demi Moore.
The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman
Directed by Wuershan
A group of misfits become mixed up in the struggle to own a deadly kitchen cleaver made from the top five swords of the martial arts world in this wild and brash action comedy that is sure to have audiences running to Chinatown after the film for a late night snack.
Fire of Conscience
Directed by Dante Lam
Dante Lam proves himself to be a talent to look out for in this slam bang action film where robbers and gunrunners battle with cops on the busy urban streets of Hong Kong. Starring Leon Lai, Fire of Conscience is easily one of loudest action films from Hong Kong in recent memory, with an orchestra of exploding grenades and machine gun rounds.
Directed by Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud
This shocking debut by director duo Carbon and Courtiaud is a seductive cat-and-mouse thriller set in Hong Kong, about a woman's obsessive desire to own a rare object that hides a deadly and perverse secret.
Directed by James Gunn
After his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), a frustrated husband (Rainn Wilson) decides he will win her back as Crimson Bolt, a costumed vigilante armed with a monkey wrench. His actions bring him an admirer, an overeager comic store clerk (Ellen Page) who wants to be his sidekick.
Opening the festival is:
Directed by Michael Dowse
Canada World Premiere In the sequel to the 2002 cult comedy Fubar, headbanger hosers and lifelong friends Dean (Paul Spence) and Terry (Dave Lawrence) realize they're weary of constantly trying to "give'r" while barely scraping by and hit the road to find wealth, happiness and more beer in the oil fields of Alberta.