Tomb it may concern: strap in, secure your spooktacles, and feel free to let loose a mighty battle cry, because Midnight Madness has just launched its lineup for the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival, presented by new programmer Peter Kuplowsky! Screening for near-riotous crowds into the wee hours, this year’s films are guaranteed to, as usual, melt minds, split sides and drop jaws.
Midnight Madness opens with Joseph Kahn’s provocative World Premiere of Bodied, and also presents the World Premiere of The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco and based on the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult film, The Room. Kuplowsky also welcomes back several Festival alumni, including David Bruckner, Ryuhei Kitamura, S. Craig Zahler, Hélène Cattet, and Bruno Forzani. A new film directed by Canadian musician Seth A. Smith of Dog Day will also screen, as well as the Canadian Premiere of the acclaimed short-film “Great Choice”, which will precede the World Premiere of Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad, starring Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair. Finally, the section will introduce two new feature filmmakers with Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge and the section’s Closing Night presentation of Sôichi Umezawa’s Vampire Clay.
“With my inaugural lineup, I’ve sought to assemble an eclectic group of films that expand and explode traditional definitions of genre and shock cinema while still preserving the infectious rock ’n’ roll gusto that TIFF’s Midnight Madness audiences have come to relish over the past three decades,” said Peter Kuplowsky, Programmer for Midnight Madness. “Starting with Joseph Kahn’s proverbial mic-drop Bodied, a transgressive and self-critical battle rap satire produced by Eminem, and ricocheting between occult rituals and brutal brawls, the tropes across these 10 Midnights may be familiar, but the execution always innovates, be it in their distillation, fragmentation or subversion. Some will terrify, and others may mystify, but all will electrify audiences well past the witching hour.”
Under Kuplowsky’s new direction, Midnight Madness will continue to showcase the classically terrifying, as well as boundary-pushing, stylized and innovative films — wiring up and energizing its loyal late-night fang-club!
The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7 to 17, 2017.
Films screening as part of the Midnight Madness program include:
Midnight Madness Opening Film
BODIED; Joseph Kahn, USA (World Premiere)
A satirical exploration of the world’s most artistically brutal sport — battle rapping — from music video director Joseph Kahn, based on a script by Toronto rapper Alex Larsen (Kid Twist) and produced by Eminem.
In the comedy drama, “A progressive graduate student finds success and sparks outrage when his interest in battle rap as a thesis subject becomes a competitive obsession.”
Anthony Michael Hall, Calum Worthy, and Debra Wilson star.
BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99; S. Craig Zahler, USA (North American Premiere)
“A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.”
“Dexter” and Quarantine‘s Jennifer Carpenter star with Vince Vaughn, and Tom Guiry.
THE CRESCENT; Seth A. Smith, Canada (World Premiere)
“After an unexpected death in the family, a mother and son struggle to find spiritual healing at a beachfront summer home.”
Andrew Gillis, Amy Trefry, and Britt Loder star.
THE DISASTER ARTIST; James Franco, USA (World Premiere)
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003).
Alison Brie, James Franco, and, of course, Tommy Wiseau star.
DOWNRANGE; Ryuhei Kitamura, USA (World Premiere)
Eleven Arts shares this first look at Kitamura’s next, Downrange, a “terrifying” new thriller starring newcomer Kelly Connaire, Stephanie Pearson (Insidious: Chapter 2), Rod Hernandez-Farella, Anthony Kirlew, Alexa Yeames (The CW’s The Originals), and Jason Tobias (ABC Television’s Notorious).
In the film, “Six college students are carpooling cross-country when one of their tires blows out on a desolate stretch of country road. Getting out to fix the flat, they quickly discover that this was no accident. The tire was shot out. With their vehicle incapacitated, the group is pinned down and mercilessly attacked by an unseen assailant as they desperately attempt to find a way to escape.”
LET THE CORPSES TAN!; Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France (North American Premiere)
Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, the duo behind the stunning giallo inspired Amer as well as The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, are heading to TIFF with Let the Corpses Tan (Laissez bronzer les cadavres!), courtesy of BAC Films, Anonymes Films and Tobina Film.
Adapted from Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid’s 1971 crime thriller, Let the Corpses Tan takes place during a Mediterranean summer: blue sea, blazing sun….and 250 kg of gold stolen by Rhino and his gang. They had found the perfect hideout: an abandoned and remote hamlet now taken over by a woman artist in search for inspiration. Unfortunately, surprise guests and two cops compromise their plan: the heavenly place where wild happenings and orgies used to take place turns into a gruesome battlefield.
Said to be “relentless and mind-blowing,” Elina Löwensohn, Stéphane Ferrara, and Bernie Bonvoisin star.
MOM AND DAD; Brian Taylor, USA (World Premiere)
“A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.”
Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, and Anne Winters star.
REVENGE; Coralie Fargeat, France (World Premiere)
Written by Coralie Fargeat, the story sees three wealthy, middle-aged CEOs – all married family men – get together for their annual hunting game in a desert canyon. It’s a way for them to let off steam and affirm their manhood with guns. But this time, one of them has come along with his young mistress, a sexy Lolita who quickly arouses the interest of the two others… Things get out of hand… Left for dead in the middle of this arid hell, the young woman comes back to life, and the hunting game turns into a ruthless manhunt…
Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, and Kevin Janssens star.
THE RITUAL; David Bruckner, UK (World Premiere)
David Bruckner is a part of the Bloody Disgusting family having directed the “Amateur Night” segment in V/H/S and the infamous surgical sequence in Southbound. He’s also one of the directors of the The Signal (2007) and nearly ended up directing the next installment of Friday the 13th.
“When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn’t possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artifacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…“
It stars Rafe Spall ( Rafe Spall (The Big Short, Life of Pi), Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey, Spike Island), Arsher Ali (Line of Duty, Four Lions) and Sam Troughton (Robin Hood, Alien vs. Predator).
Midnight Madness Closing Film
VAMPIRE CLAY; Sôichi Umezawa, Japan (World Premiere)
Japanese director and master makeup artist Soichi Umezawa gives life to a plasticine demon that subsequently devours the denizens of a rural art school.
Festival ticket packages start at $105. See all the Midnight Madness films using your 10-ticket regular flex pack. Purchase packages online at tiff.net/tickets, by phone (416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433), or in person at TIFF Bell Lightbox until August 13 while quantities last.