The Toronto International Film Festival (September 6-15) announced all 10 daring films to screen as part of Midnight Madness this morning. The 20th edition of this heart-stopping, late-night blow out features a range of audacious, bone-chilling and eerie genre flicks that thrust a thick blade into the banal. Grab front row thrills from terror-fiends George A. Romero and Stuart Gordon, watch giant Japanese supercharacters throw it all down and Hong Kong gangsters crack heads, but try not to let the ghoulish neo-Nazi freaks keep you up at night in fear. Read on to see which films you’ll be seeing before anyone else in the world, and more importantly, how to score your tix.
Keep your eyes on the official Bloody-Disgusting TIFF page for all updates.
Click any title for more info on each film:
In his first independently produced zombie film in over two decades, George A. Romero returns to ground zero in the history of the living dead. When a group of film students making a horror movie in the woods discover that the dead have begun to revive, they turn their cameras on the real-life horrors that suddenly confront them, creating a first person diary of their bloody encounters and the disintegration of everything they hold dear. Told with Romero’s pitch-black humor and an unflinching eye on our post-Katrina world, DIARY OF THE DEAD marks the noted filmmaker’s return to his roots. Starring Michelle Morgan, Josh Close, Shawn Roberts, Scott Wentworth, Amy Lalonde and Joe Dinicol.
Middle-aged slacker Daisato (played by director Hitoshi Matsumoto, one of Japan’s famous comedians) seems an unlikely subject for a documentary crew following his banal daily routine; that is, until he transforms into a giant superhero with tight purple briefs, tattoos and a crazy hairdo to battle outlandish villains and revolting monsters. But with the superhero’s falling TV ratings, noise complaints from citizens, blame for destruction of public property and family problems, he has become the scapegoat of New Japan. A wickedly deadpan spin on Japanese po-culture and traditions, DAINIPPONJIN is an outrageous comedy destined for cult status. Also starring Riki Takeuchi, UA, Ryunosuke Kamiki and Itsuji Itao.
Director Adam Mason’s sharp supernatural rollercoaster follows Nick West (Andrew Howard), who has spent years in incarceration for the alleged brutal murder of his girlfriend. Released into the care of a noted psychologist and his students, hell-bent on exposing the truth behind the killing, they return together to the scene of the crime, an abandoned asylum, where a blood-drenched secret is revealed. With the team in mortal danger, the criminally insane Nick is their only hope for survival. Also starring Elize du Toit, Matt Berry, David Gant and Louise Griffiths.
FLASH POINT Wilson Yip, Hong Kong/China
After the success of SPL in Midnight Madness in 2005, director Wilson Yip and actor and fight choreographer Donnie Yen (IRON MONKEY and HERO) hit back with another two-fisted cinematic powder keg. Hot-headed cop Jun (Yen) is after a gang of drug-dealing brothers. His undercover colleague, Wilson (Louis Koo), infiltrates the gang but has his cover blown, which lands one of the brothers in jail. The other members vow to wipe out Wilson, the only witness, and set off a series of high-octane chases and bone-cracking fisticuffs. Also starring Collin Chou, Lui Leung-wai and Fan Bing-bing and Xing Yu.
The debut feature of Xavier Gens (HITMAN) is a bloody head butt into the stiff face of French cinema. Paris’ projectsburn where protesters riot against a newly elected extreme right-wing party. Among the chaos, a gang of youths flee with stolen money towards the Luxembourg border. They reconvene at an inn and encounter their hosts, a motley clan of neo-Nazi fanatics only too keen to invite them into their twisted Gothic household. Starring Karina Testa, Samuel le Bihan, Estelle Lefbure, Aurlien Wiik and David Saracino.
Four months after the tragic accident that claimed her husband’s life, apregnant widow, Sarah (Alysson Paradis, sister of Vanessa Paradis), receives an unexpected knock on her door on Christmas Eve. A stranger (Batrice Dalle) asks to use her phone, which raises Sarah’s suspicion and she immediately calls the police. They find no trace of the woman. Locking her door after the police leave her home, Sarah unwittingly traps herself in a terrifying, jealous maternal struggle for the life of her baby in this nail-bitting French thriller.
Brandi (Mena Suvari) hits Tom (Stephen Rea) with her car on her way home from a night of partying. With Tom still alive but lodged through her windshield, she promises to go a hospital but then decides to leave Tom to die in her garage as she realizes that her future is inextricably tied to her victim. Realizing this plan, Tom knows escape is his only chance for survival. Based on a true incident, director Stuart Gordon (THE RE-ANIMATOR) has made an urban chiller with a jagged edge of black humour.
VEXILLE Fumihiko Sori, Japan
Dive into the ground-breaking, animated futuristic odyssey of VEXILLE, surface in Tokyo Bay and discover a country sealed off from the rest of humanity. In 2077, Japan has isolated itself from the rest of the world, opposing a United Nations treaty restricting areas of advanced research in biotechnology. Vexille, a female commander in charge of a U.S. Special Forces unit that polices treaty violations, is sent to infiltrate Japan. The revelation of the country’s new reality shakes her when she witnesses the destruction of both land and citizenry by a Japanese mega-corporation and monstrous, android worms. Starring the voices of Meisa Kuroki, Shosuke Tanihara, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Takahiro Sakurai and Romi Pak.
Italian horror fans rejoice! The maestro of cinematic murder, Dario Argento, is back with the long-awaited conclusion of his The Three Mothers trilogy (SUSPIRIA and INFERNO were the first two films) with THE MOTHER OF TEARS. Archaeology student Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento, the director’s daughter) opens an ancient urn that releases the demonic forces of a powerful witch. Havoc explodes in the streets of Rome as waves of suicide and violent crime herald the dark priestess’ rebirth. The Age of Witches is at hand, but Sarah is the only one who can save the world from descending into a hellstorm of supernatural chaos. Also starring Udo Kier and Daria Nicolodi.
Tighten your saddlebags, load your revolvers and pack your chopsticks for cult cinema bad boy Takashi Miike’s audacious wagon ride mash-up into the wild, wild east. A familiar spaghetti western premise that involves a mysterious stranger arriving into the middle of two clans feuding over hidden loot gets sliced and diced into new Americana-Kabuki-baroque fare: Buddhist temples sit alongside saloons, samurai swords hang from gun belts and sake flows with blood. Blue-eyed samurai Quentin Tarantino makes his first Japanese film appearance in Miike’s first English language film. Starring Hideaki Ito, Koichi Sato, Yusuke Iseya, Yoshino Kimura, and Masanobu Ando.
Not part of Midnight Madness:
Laura returns to the house where she was raised, and decides to transform it into an orphanage. Soon, her son, Simón, makes an invisible friend…
A young mother and her six-year-old son come face to face with the mysteries of two murders and a great crime against the Chinese community into which they have recently arrived from Shangh.
Quim drives around an isolated rural area through a maze of lanes. When he drives into the woods, he gets lost. Trying to find his direction, he suddenly gets shot from the hill. On his escape from gunshots, he meets Bea, an attractive young woman, who apparently is lost as well. Suspicious of each other, they join forces to run away through the forest, unprotected, cold, hunted…
*New this year: Get plugged into the latest news and scoops at the brand new Midnight Madness Blog. Now live as part of tiff07.ca, this mad blog offers a forum for TIFF programmers, Midnight Madness filmmakers and fans to discuss the films that will screen as part of this year’s Festival.
Keep your eyes on the official Bloody-Disgusting TIFF page for all updates.
Get your tickets here