Yesterday, The Toronto International Film Festival announced the films that will be flaying our psyches as part of their Midnight Madness & Vanguard programmes.
It is hard to believe that the Midnight Madness programme has been going twenty-five years now. Starting in 1988, with titles such titles as Hellbound and Brain Damage, they have since screened titles like Braindead, Dellamorte Dellamorre, Ichi The Killer and Martyrs. Here are some of the selections from this year’s MM crop.
Lucky McKee makes his first appearance at Midnight with a remake of his 2001 debut All Cheerleaders Die. He and longtime collaborator Chris Sivertson have been releasing dark and disturbing work for years, and I’m sure this one will be no different.
Eli Roth returns to Midnight Madness with his fourth film (if you count last year’s Aftershock which he produced and starred in), an ode to eighties cannibal flicks entitled Green Inferno.
From Austria comes The Station, which seems to be another nature fights back parable involving some weird-ass glacier juice. I sure hope this one plays out better than 2006's The Last Winter.
Every year there is usually a film that sells me on its screenshot, whether it be High Tension in 2003, or last year’s Thale. Why Don't You Play In Hell? (pictured above) definitely looks like this year's. Not that I would ever need an extra nudge to see anything from Sion Sono.
It’s always great to see some local blood infect Midnight. This year it is a nasty looking ditty called Afflicted featuring two travellers running afoul of a mysterious disease. I am a little weary of the found footage aspect eluded to by the synopsis, but I may give it a shot.
It's been a while since I've seen a good alien abduction yarn - Eduardo Sanchez's underseen flick Altered is the only one that comes to mind, and that was 2006 - so I'm definitely up for Almost Human. Plus, nothing says Midnight Madness like a guy with a chainsaw!
You really only had to tell me that Oculus was made by Mike Flanagan, the man who brought us 2011’s Absentia. Also, the whole possessed mirror thing gives me warm recollections of The Boogeyman, so good or bad, I think we’ll be in for a treat.
On the other side of things, the Vanguard program has been quickly gaining momentum over the past few years. I’d go so far as to say the 2012 programme easily trumped that of Midnight’s. Here are some of the announced titles I’m eager to check out.
Alex Aja’s triumphant return to TIFF sees him adapting Joe Hill’s novel Horns, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple.
After two solid genre efforts (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), Ti West bursts into Vanguard with the religious horror of The Sacrament starring indie darlings AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg and Amy Siemetz.
Perhaps the most anticipated sophomore effort is that of Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani’s with The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears. I’m all for their style of visual sex – first experienced in 2010’s Amer– but I’m hoping for a little bit more of a narrative this time around.
Others that caught my eye were the revenge thriller Blue Ruin, the Dutch home-invasion tale Borgman and Zack Parker’s Proxy, also again starring Swanberg.