The Toronto International Film Festival celebrates 25 years of Midnight Madness with a murderers’ row of wild cinematic thrills. Programmed by Colin Geddes, the international lineup aims right for the jugular with everything from an extraterrestrial gore-thriller and sinister sex-comedy, to an Asian exotic horror film and a visually-stunning reinvention of the Italian cannibal genre. The program presents films from Midnight Madness alumni Hitoshi Matsumoto, Eli Roth and Sion Sono, as well as the debut feature of Hong Kong pop singer Juno Mak.
But that’s just a taste of the 38th Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 5 to 15, 2013.
The Vanguard program, also out together by Geddes, is jam-packed with genre goods. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all genre fare taking Toronto by storm this September. It’s easily one of the festival’s best line-ups in its history!
Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, Canada/USA World Premiere
Best friends Derek and Clif set out on a trip of a lifetime. Their plan: travel to the ends of the earth, see the world, and live life to the fullest. But the trip soon takes a dark and bloody turn. Just days in, one of the men shows signs of a mysterious affliction which gradually takes over his entire body and being. Now, thousands of miles from home, in a foreign land, they must race to uncover the source of his illness before it consumes him completely. Footage of their travels meant to document pleasant memories may now become evidence of one of the most shocking discoveries ever captured on film…and may be their only postcard home.
Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson, USA World Premiere
When tragedy rocks Blackfoot High, rebellious outsider Mäddy Killian shocks the student body by joining the cheerleading squad. This decision drives a rift between Mäddy and her ex-girlfriend Leena Miller — a loner who claims to practice the dark arts. After a confrontation with the football team, Mäddy and her new cheerleader friends are sent on a supernatural roller coaster ride which leaves a path of destruction none of them may be able to escape.
Joe Begos, USA World Premiere
Mark Fisher disappeared from his home in a brilliant flash of blue light almost two years ago. His friend Seth Hampton was the last to see him alive. Now a string of grisly, violent murders leads Seth to believe that Mark is back, and something evil is living inside of him.
Jeremy Saulnier, USA North American Premiere
A classic American revenge story, Blue Ruin follows a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Finding himself in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family, he proves to be an amateur assassin. Starring Macon Blair.
Alex van Warmerdam, The Netherlands/Belgium/Denmark North American Premiere
Borgman is the central character in Alex van Warmerdam’s dark, malevolent fable. Is he a dream or a demon, a twisted allegory or an all-too-real embodiment of our fears? Borgman is a sinister arrival in the sealed-off streets of modern suburbia. His presence unleashes a crowing gallery of distortion around the careful façade constructed by an arrogant, comfortable couple, their three children and nanny. Starring Jan Bijoet, Jeroen Perceval and Hadewych Minis.
Manuel Martín Cuenca
Carlos is the most prestigious tailor in Granada, but he’s also a murderer in the shadows. He feels no remorse, no guilt, until Nina appears in his life. She will make him realize the true nature of his acts and, for the first time, love awakens. Carlos is evil incarnate, unaware of itself. Nina is pure innocence. And Cannibal is a demon’s love story.
Eli Roth, USA World Premiere
How far would you go for a cause you believe in? In horror master Eli Roth’s terrifying new film, a group of college students take their humanitarian protest from New York to the Amazon jungle, only to get kidnapped by the native tribe they came to save: a tribe that still practices the ancient rite of cannibalism, and has a healthy appetite for intruders.
Alexandre Aja, USA World Premiere
Horns, a supernatural thriller driven by dark comedy, mystery and romance follows Ignatius Perrish as he awakens after a hard night of drinking to find he has grown a pair of horns. In addition to his devilish appearance, the horns cause people to fall into a trance and voice their most unspeakable thoughts, an effective tool in Ig’s quest to discover the truth of his girlfriend’s murder. Starring Juno Temple and Daniel Radcliffe.
Mike Flanagan, USA World Premiere
Oculus is a spine-chilling supernatural tale of two damaged siblings (Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites) who, as children, witnessed their parents’ harrowing descent into madness and murder. At long last, brother and sister reunite as adults to expose and destroy the paranormal entity they believe is responsible: the Lasser Glass — a legendary mirror their family once owned.
Zack Parker, USA World Premiere
While walking home from her latest OB appointment, a very pregnant Esther Woodhouse is brutally attacked and disfigured by a hooded assailant. This horrible event seems to be a blessing in disguise when Esther finds consolation in a support group. Her life of sadness and solitude is opened up to friendship, understanding, and even acceptance. However, friendship and understanding can be very dangerous things when accepted by the wrong people.
Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan World Premiere
An ordinary man with an ordinary life joins a mysterious club. The membership lasts for one year only and there is one rule: no cancellation under any circumstance. The man enters into an entirely new and exciting world which he has never before experienced.
Juno Mak, Hong Kong North American Premiere
Juno Mak’s debut feature Rigor Mortis is an eerie and chilling, contemporary action- and special effects-laden homage to the classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980s. Starring Chin Siu-Ho, Kara Hui, Anthony Chan, Lo Hoi Pang and Richard Ng.
Ti West, USA North American Premiere
From acclaimed writer/director Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) and horror master Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever, The Last Exorcism), The Sacrament follows two Vice media correspondents as they set out to document their friend’s search to find his missing sister. They travel outside of the United States to an undisclosed location where they are welcomed into the world of “Eden Parish,” a self-sustained rural utopia comprised of nearly 200 members. At the centre of this small, religious, socialist community is a mysterious leader known only as “Father.” As their friend reunites with his sister, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems. What started as just another documentary shoot soon becomes a race to escape with their lives. Starring Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley, Amy Seimetz and Gene Jones.
Marvin Kren, Austria World Premiere
At a climate research station in the Alps, the scientists are stunned as the nearby melting glacier is leaking a red liquid. It quickly turns to be very special juice — with unexpected genetic effects on the local wildlife.
Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France/Luxembourg North American Premiere
A woman vanishes. Her husband inquires into the strange circumstances of her disappearance. Did she leave him? Is she dead? As he continues his search, he plunges into a world of nightmare and violence… Starring Klaus Tange, Jean-Michel Vovk, Sylvia Camarda, Sam Louwyck and Anna D’Annunzio.
Sion Sono, Japan North American Premiere
Two men, Muto and Ikegami, hate each other. Muto desperately wants to help his daughter Mitsuko star in a movie. Meanwhile, Ikegami falls in love with Mitsuko, knowing that she’s the daughter of his foe. Hirata, a filmmaker, and Koji, a young movie-lover, get dragged into this complicated situation that heads into an unexpected direction.
Tickets to screenings for this programme will be available for individual purchase as well as through the Midnight Madness Pack, which includes all 10 screenings for $176, or $113 for students and seniors. Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, by phone Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the box office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 19.