TIFF Announces 2013 Midnight Madness Slate

Jason Gorber, Featured Critic
It seems kind of fitting that I'm stumbling back to a keyboard well after midnight with thoughts about this year's Midnight Madness slate. In what has to be the most unique release done at the storied festival, programmer Colin Geddes chose a free screening of 2006's All The Boys Love Mandy Lane as the showcase to divulge this year's group of late night fare.

The audience was treated to three exclusive trailers, which started with Rigor Mortis by Juno Mak, a slightly somber, wispy vampire movie. Next up was The Station, where the press notes facetiously refer to a bunch of researchers uncovering a "special juice". There was certainly a Austrian version of The Thing-like vibe, but we'll see how it plays out.

Finally, we saw the sneak for Eli Roth's The Green Inferno, a film certain to divide audiences. I'm not the big "horror guy" here at Twitch, but ever since being at the premiere screenings of Cabin Fever and Hostel I've had a soft spot for Roth's contributions to the fest, and even found his work in last year's Aftershock surprisingly effective. 

This "environmental activists crash a plane only to be attacked by cannibals" film certainly looks to be exactly the kind of fodder we want for late night filmgoing, it's at least heartening to know that with the caption "cooking soon" and use of GnR's "Welcome to the Jungle" on the soundtrack there's at least a modicum of self reflexivity at work here. It's clear that Roth's trying to challenge the likes of Cannibal Holocaust for outright gore, but with a bit of wit and some semblance of convincing narrative this might be the most enjoyable film of this year's group, certainly one I can't wait to see with a rabid Midnight mob.

Jonathan Levine provided the dedicated group with an intro to Mandy Lane, extolling the virtues of both Colin and Midnight Madness, and the role that the festival has had in propelling his career.

As for the films announced that we didn't get trailers for, I'm personally excited about the North American premiere of Sion Sono's Why Don't You Play In Hell, although again his moody and atmospheric films are sometimes even more effective when screened during the Vanguard section (think Cold Fish), where the necessities of keeping an audience alert are far less of a concern.

We're still to hear about one more film in the programme, and we've yet to hear about the slew of Geddes programmed films from Vanguard, but at least we've got a lock on what's playing for most of the week after the witching hour. When action films like Keanu's Man Of Tai Chi play in the regular programme, it's probably no surprise that we're getting a slew of supernatural or horror films, instead of a run of action flicks like we've seen in recent years (opening films for the last two years have been The Raid and Dredd 3D, respectively). With a film titled All Cheerleaders Die starting things off, we're at least guaranteed a certain expectation for what we've got in store.

The festival begins September 5th, see you at the Ryerson Theatre for another season of Midnight Madness!

Full press release below

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.

Afflicted
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.

Almost Human
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.

Oculus
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.

R100
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.
Around the Internet:
  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Afflicted
    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."

    I get the feeling we are getting a bodyhorror shot in a found footage format, could work, sounds interesting.

    "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."

    hahahahhahhahah...hell yeah!

    Now you are talking Mr Gorber, cheerleaders AND dark arts.

    "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."

    Not a big fan of Eli Roths films, but this could be something.......at least entertaining.

    Thanks for the list Mr Gorber, lots of great stuff here.

  • Don't thank me yet... :)

  • Juan Andrés Valencia

    I would love to see Why Don't You Play In Hell? and The Green Inferno.

  • Kurt

    Very, very excited about R100, The Station and Why Don't You Play in Hell? and hoping that the new Aja film finds its way int MM Or vanguard...

  • There have been problems with post production on the Aja. One of the main VFX houses involved is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and that's slowed things down ...

  • Frank Costello

    The world premiere of Sion Sono's Why Don't You Play In Hell will be at Venice Film Festival (Orizzonti section).

  • Kurt

    Nothing is more tedious in the cinema world than film festival dick swinging over world premieres. I wish the sort-of movement a few years ago had quashed the labeling of films as such in catalogues and programmes

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