The Toronto International Film Festival is great because while it plays host to the typical slew of indie dramas and Oscar hopefuls (this year those titles include August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate, Gravity, Labor Day, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Rush, 12 Years a Slave, and about a gazillion others) it also features the genre-friendly Midnight Madness series, which kicks ass and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
The festival just announced this year's slate, and there are some pretty curious entries. Have a look:
FESTIVAL SALUTES 25 CHILLING YEARS OF MIDNIGHT MADNESS:
ROCKING, SHOCKING AND SAVAGING THE SENSES
TORONTO -- 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.
"Since its 1988 launch, the Midnight Madness programme emerged as a touchstone of cinematic shock, satiating the adventurous palate of bloodthirsty cinephiles from all over the world," said Geddes, International Programmer for the Festival. "When the witching hour strikes and the human brain starts slipping into dream mode, the Ryerson Theatre will once again serve up a feast of phantasmagorical characters and jaw-dropping scenes, playing host to bizarre biological monstrosities, ruthless dominatrix gangs, paranormal mirrors, and the hijinks of supernatural cheerleaders."
The programme 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.
The 38th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 to 15, 2013.
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.
Midnight Madness Opening Night Film.
All Cheerleaders Die
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.
The Green Inferno
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.
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.
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.
Rigor Mortis 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.
The Station (Blutgletscher)
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.
Why Don't You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de Naze Warui)
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.
For more information, visit tiff.net.
New films from Eli Roth and Lucky McKee are sure to grab the most attention. I'm personally hoping to see Why Don't You Play in Hell? for the title alone.