8/27/15

THE CHICKENING is One of Indiewire's Hidden Gems!


Over at Indiewire, Eric Kohn recommends "7 Hiddent Gems from the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival." And guess what's roosting right in the middle of them? Davy Force and Nick DenBoer's The Chickening!

"Little is known about this five-minute short film scheduled to precede Jeremy Saulnier's Nazi punk thriller Green Room, but the synopsis hints at a crazy surprise: "It's hard for a boy not to get excited when his dad gets a new job as Senior Chief Night Manager at Charbay's Chicken World and Restaurant Resort, the world's largest fast-food entertainment complex in North America. But things quickly get very, very clucked." Elsewhere, the festival program refers to director Davy Force and Nick DenBoer's "lucky fast-food horror flick." So it's a scary movie about chickens? Rumor has it that The Chickening is something far stranger..."
THE CHICKENING screens with GREEN ROOM:
Thu, Sept 10th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Fri, Sept 11th, 8:45 AM SCOTIABANK
Sat, Sept 12, 2:15 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS

8/26/15

First Look at Joe Begos's Mysterious Thriller, THE MIND'S EYE!

As is the case with a number of the Midnight Madness selections this year, there isn't much information out there about The Mind's Eye. Joe Begos's followup to 2013 Midnight Madness selection, Almost Human is something of an enigma, but your intrepid blogger did some digging (okay I looked at Joe Begos's Twitter) and found some screenshots that reveal...well, not much about the plot of The Mind's Eye per se, but certainly something that rivals the over-the-top batshittery that was Almost Human's trademark.

The first shot is Graham Skipper, the lead from Almost Human, playing "Zack Connors". Using forensic photo analysis, we've determined that he should probably use a napkin:


This is Lauren Ashley Carter (Jugface, Pod, Premium Rush) playing an awfully crabby-looking Rachel Meadows:


Here's John Speredakos (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) as "the nefarious Dr. Michael Slovak". Now, call me crazy, but I think if I see Dr. Mike in the operating room during my next kidney transplant, I'm probably going to take a raincheck:


And finally, the immortal Larry Fessenden (!!!) playing the spooky Mike Connors, as only Larry Fessenden (!!!!) can:

Like most people, I left 2013's Midnight Madness premiere of Almost Human wanting more from Joe Begos, and it looks like we're about to get it.  Whatever The Mind's Eye has in store, it sure doesn't look pretty, which suits the Midnight Madness audience just fine.

The Mind’s Eye screens:
Tue, Sept 15, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Wed, Sept 16, 12:00 PM SCOTIABANK
Thu, Sept 17, 12:15 PM SCOTIABANK
Thu, Sept 17, 3:30 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS
Sat, Sept 19, 7:00 PM SCOTIABANK

A Very Sparse First Look At THE DEVIL'S CANDY!

Details about Sean Byrne's new haunted house feature are pretty hard to come by, but let's just say it's one of the most anticipated movies of the Festival for me. Byrne's last Midnight Madness entry, 2009's The Loved Ones, was the winner of the Midnight Madness People's Choice Award that year and is one of my all-time favourite horrors. I can't wait to see what he does with Devil's Candy.

This is literally the only image we have for Devil's Candy, and it's certainly intriguing:



Smart money says to keep Byrne's creepy candy on your Midnight Madness shortlist!

The Devil’s Candy screens:
Sun, Sept 13, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Mon, Sept 14, 10:45 AM SCOTIABANK
Tue, Sept 15, 6:45 PM SCOTIABANK
Wed, Sept 16, 9:45 AM SCOTIABANK
Sat, Sept 19, 1:15 PM SCOTIABANK

The Thrilling Posters and 'First Look' Teaser for HARDCORE!

Making the first POV action movie is kind of a big deal, but director Ilya Naishuller wasn't satisfied with that challenge. He opted to fund this ambitious film with an Indiegogo campaign, exceeding it's $250,000 goal in only a month. Here's the first look at the film, as well as some eye-popping poster art for Hardcore.




I'm dizzy just looking at them! With it's unique perspective and flamethrower attitude, Hardcore is set to be one of the most unique experiences Midnight Madness has ever seen.

Hardcore screens:
Sat, Sept 12, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sun, Sept 13, 2:30 PM SCOTIABANK
Mon, Sept 14, 4:15 PM SCOTIABANK
Wed, Sept 16, 9:45 PM SCOTIABANK
Fri, Sept 18, 1:00 PM SCOTIABANK

Take a Ride With SOUTHBOUND!

One of the best things about Midnight Madness, and TIFF in general, is that you often get to see a cut of a film, or a film itself, that is off everyone’s radar.  That’s the case with Southbound, the new film from the creators of V/H/S.  I don’t have a trailer, a poster, or much of anything besides a couple of screenshots to convince you that this is going to be one wild ride, but I like to think that you and I have something of a rapport, Midnight Madness fan, and I wouldn’t lie to you would I?


A creepy hallway! This is one of the only images we have from Southbound.  
Anyway, we do have a few scant details about Southbound which should convince you to come on this gnarly road trip with us.  We know that, like V/H/S, this is an anthology piece and all the segments of the film take place on a dusty stretch of highway. We also know that here’s an intriguing slate of directors on board. Here’s the rundown:


The lovely leading lady from Bruckner's Amateur Night
David Bruckner - Though he wrote and directed the chilling "Amateur Night" for the first V/H/S anthology, a lot more people have learned Bruckner’s name since he’s been tapped to direct a new installment of Friday The 13th.  There’s also the feature-length version of "Amateur Night" called Siren which should see release next year. If there are horror director’s rookie cards, I’d hold onto my mint-condition Bruckners.


Roxanne Benjamin is a producer on the creepy cult movie, Faults
Roxanne Benjamin - Benjamin is making her directorial debut here, but has been a producer on V/H/S, Midnight Madness 2015 feature Devil’s Candy, and on Faults, one of my favourite films from last year. Her entry into this anthology is a complete unknown, but if you’re watching an anthology horror, or a Midnight Madness movie in general, and aren’t expecting to be surprised, you’re doing it wrong, friends.


One of Patrick Horvath's surreal illustrations. No followup questions, please
Patrick Horvath - If 2012’s harrowing Entrance didn’t convince you that Patrick Horvath is the real deal, his sequel to The Pact from last year should have. Also under Horvath’s belt is one of the only films, horror or otherwise, whose title alone has made me spray beer out of my nose. Horvath is also a hilarious, awesome illustrator who often tweets out his creations.


Radio Silence's bizarre pregnancy horror
Radio Silence - The directors of the "10-31-08" segment in V/H/S as well as last year’s haunting pregnancy horror Devil’s Due are back with...Well, we don’t really know what they’re back with. Like I said, details are scant, but you’re not going to want to miss whatever they’ve come up with this time around.
Not gonna lie, I don't see this road trip ending well.
With the talent at the helm of Southbound, there’s all the makings of a solid anthology that, like this post, will keep the Midnight Madness crowd guessing at every turn!

Southbound screens: Wed, Sept 16, 11:59 PM RYERSON Thu, Sept 17, 9:30 AM SCOTIABANK Fri, Sept 18, 12:45 PM SCOTIABANK Fri, Sept 18, 6:00 PM SCOTIABANK Sun, Sept 20, 3:30 PM SCOTIABANK


A Simple Poster and an Amazing Trailer For THE FINAL GIRLS!

There aren't many films in all of TIFF that have the kind of buzz around Todd Strauss-Schulson's The Final Girls, which will close out the Midnight Madness lineup this year. Here's the very fresh, three-day-old trailer for The Final Girls:


And a very basic, but very effective poster:


Be sure to join us for the biggest party at TIFF on the last night of Midnight Madness and The Final Girls!

The Final Girls screens:
Fri, Sept 11, 6:45 PM SCOTIABANK
Sat, Sept 19, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sun, Sept 20, 5:00 PM SCOTIABANK

BASKIN First Look: One Hell of a Poster


At TIFF 2015, five cops -- and the audience at Midnight Madness -- are going to Hell.



The beauty below isn't actually the poster for the feature version of Baskin world premiering at Midnight Madness 2015. It's the poster for director Can Evrenol's first version of the Baskin concept, a short film that raised hell on the festival circuit in 2013. Until the final poster art for the feature version arrives, this will serve to warn you of the grisly trip that is Baskin:



BASKIN
Friday, Sept 11th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sunday, Sept 13th, 4:00 PM SCOTIABANK 13
Thursday, Sept 17th, 6:00 PM SCOTIABANK 4

YAKUZA APOCALYPSE First Look: Posters and Trailer



Takashi Miike's films have played all over TIFF in recent years. He was in the Masters section in 2010 with 13 Assassins and the Vanguard section in 2014 with Over Your Dead Body. This year, he's cooked up a gonzo yakuza freakout so brain-damaged nutty, it can only belong in Midnight Madness, the programme that featured Miike's Fudoh: The New Generation, City of Lost Souls, Ichi the Killer, Gozu, Zebraman, The Great Yokai War, and Sukiyaki Western Django. Just wait till you meet this guy:



Check out the film's trailer for a hint of the insanity in store at Midnight Madness 2015:



YAKUZA APOCALYPSE
Friday, Sept 18th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Saturday, Sept. 19th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 2

GREEN ROOM First Look: International Poster & Clip



Director Jeremy Saulnier is following up his TIFF 2013 Vanguard smash Blue Ruin with Green Room, a bruising punks-vs.-skinheads thriller that's going to open Midnight Madness 2015 with a bang. And a slice. And a pow, a thwak, a scream, and much more. Green Room doesn't have a final theatrical poster yet, but it does have this killer international poster art that accompanied its world premiere in the Directors Fortnight section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival:


























Green Room also has a clip online to give you an inkling of the intensity of its particular brand of nightmare:



GREEN ROOM
Thursday, Sept 10th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Saturday, Sept 12th, 2:15 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

8/24/15

Navigating TIFF Part 1: Distance & Foot Travel Time Between Venues

Navigating TIFF's village can be a daunting task for the uninitiated. So, over the next few days, I'll be doing a series of posts on getting around using various modes of transport. My personal favorite way to get around is on foot and a few years ago I created the matrix below. I've personally walked these routes numerous times over the last 10+ years and can vouch for their accuracy.

For those worried about the location of the Bloor, if you use Bell Lightbox as a reference point it's almost the same distance as the Bader if you walk. In fact, the Bloor is closer to the Lightbox than Bader if you drive!

8/23/15

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE WITH MIDNIGHT MADNESS AT THE 2015 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Midnight Madness returns to the Toronto International Film Festival® to satiate late night audiences’ appetites for wild sensory stimulation. The programme will present the best in action, horror, shock and fantasy films from the rabble-rousers of cinema, opening with Jeremy Saulnier’s tense siege shocker Green Room.

 “Midnight Madness winds up Festival audiences as the days are winding down and they are hungry for more,” says Colin Geddes, International Programmer for the Festival. “From adrenaline-filled action and untamed horror to twisted comedy and darkly blurred lines of reality, this year’s lineup welcomes back celebrated masters and fresh visionaries of renegade genre cinema.”

Among this year’s returning Midnight Madness directors are Joe Begos and Sean Byrne, who both debuted in the programme and are back with their much anticipated follow-up features, and Japanese bad boy auteur Takashi Miike with his high-octane Yakuza Apocalypse. Closing out the selection is the raucously reverent homage to classic slasher movies The Final Girls.

Films screening as part of the Midnight Madness programme include:

Can Evrenol, Turkey World Premiere 

A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building. The nightmarish feature debut Baskin is the first-ever Midnight Madness film from Turkey.

Sean Byrne, USA World Premiere 

The director of the 2009 Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award winner The Loved Ones is back with an equally fresh twist on the supernatural genre. A struggling artist (Ethan Embry) and his family buy the house of their dreams only to discover the property's mysterious dark past and a former tenant who wants more than to simply come back home. From the producers of Midnight Madness hits You’re Next and The Guest.

Midnight Madness Closing Night Film. 
Todd Strauss-Schulson, USA International Premiere 

Max (American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga) is a high school senior whose mom (Malin Akerman) was a celebrated ’80s scream queen. At a screening, Max and her friends are mysteriously transported inside her mom’s most infamous movie, where they must fend off the camp counselors’ raging hormones, battle a deranged machete-wielding killer and find a way to escape the movie and get back home.

Nick Simon, USA World Premiere 

Big-city glamour clashes with small-town values and a killer’s knife, in this bloody cocktail of terror from director Nick Simon and executive producer Wes Craven. Colleen’s life in the sleepy town of Spearfish is disrupted when she starts receiving photographs of brutally murdered women. Things get even crazier for Colleen when L.A. based celeb-photographer Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn) returns to his hometown of Spearfish to investigate.

Midnight Madness Opening Night Film. 
Jeremy Saulnier, USA North American Premiere 

Broke, tired and at each other’s throats after a cancelled gig, a young punk rock band accepts a sketchy matinee show to get themselves home. When they stumble upon something they weren’t supposed to witness, the quartet is trapped in a terrifying siege. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (of 2013 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner Blue Ruin), the film stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, and Patrick Stewart. Green Room is preceded by the previously announced short film The Chickening from directors Nick DenBoer and Davy Force.

Ilya Naishuller, Russia/USA World Premiere 

Resurrected with no recollection of his past, a cyborg named Henry (the audience’s POV) and his ally, Jimmy (Sharlto Copley, District 9) must fight through the streets of Moscow in pursuit of Henry’s kidnapped wife in the world’s first action-adventure film to be entirely shot from the first person perspective.

Joe Begos, USA World Premiere

Joe Begos returns with a psychokinetic thriller about Zack Connors (Graham Skipper), whose abilities have kept him off the grid for years until he’s recruited by the mysterious Dr. Slovak. The snowy New England landscape turns into a whirlwind of psychic rage, flying axes, and brutal revenge as Zack does everything in his power to stop Dr. Slovak's deadly descent into synthetically engineered telekinetic madness.

Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and Radio Silence, USA, World Premiere 

Five intertwining tales of terror unfold along an endless desert highway. On a desolate stretch of road, weary travellers — two men on the run from their past, a band on their way to the next gig, a man struggling to get home, a brother in search of his long-lost sister and a family on vacation — are forced to confront their worst fears and darkest secrets in these interwoven tales of terror and remorse on the open road.

Soi Cheang, Hong Kong, International Premiere 

The anticipated follow-up to the bone-cracking martial arts brawler SPL (also known as Sha Po Long and Kill Zone) that debuted in the programme in 2005 stars Midnight Madness discovery Tony Jaa (Ong Bak). When an undercover cop (Wu Jing) has his cover blown and is thrown into a prison in Thailand run by a crime syndicate, he must team up with a prison guard (Jaa) to bust out and get revenge on those who wronged him. Filled with gun battles, prison riots and frenetic fight choreography, SPL 2 might knock the wind out of you — and possibly a few teeth.

Takashi Miike, Japan North American Premiere 

Japanese cinematic extremist Takashi Miike returns to his gonzo roots with this mind-melter that finds room for vampires, gangsters, monsters, martial arts and even a yakuza knitting circle. A true master and MVP of the programme, Miike wowed previous Midnight Madness audiences with such hits as Fudoh: The New Generation, Audition, The City of Lost Souls, Ichi the Killer, Zebraman, The Great Yokai War and Sukiyaki Western Django. He returns with a film too wild to be described and too fun to be missed!

The 40th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10 to 20, 2015. 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 $185 or $120 for students and seniors. Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 26 while quantities last.

6/27/15

TIFF Alumnus Peter Strickland's "The Len Continuum" is Available for Your Listening Pleasure!


Wc assume "The Len Continuum" looks something like this.


Did you sneak over to the Vanguard Program last TIFF and see Peter Strickland's tribute to Eurosleaze cinema, The Duke of Burgundy or maybe you saw his tribute to giallo and sound design, Berberian Sound Studio, which also premiered at the Vanguard? It's okay, we're tight with Vanguard. Well now  Strickland's radio drama "The Len Continuum" is airing on BBC Radio 4. It stars Toby Jones from Berberian Sound Studio and it sounds plenty promising.

The debut for radio by the critically acclaimed British filmmaker Peter Strickland, writer and director of cult films Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy.

Sometime in the early eighties, struggling actor Len is increasingly overshadowed by his wife Alice's successful career in local radio. As his bitterness grows, he comes by a chance to finally prove himself.

Surreal soundscapes and black humour with Toby Jones and Belinda Stewart-Wilson.

Will there be ladies with black leather gloves or mole crickets singing? Listen to find out.  You can listen to it on the Radio 4 site for another three weeks.
Mole cricket!



9/20/14

Midnight Madness Movies Coming To A Theater Near You!

So the Festival is over, and that means so is Midnight Madness... at least for another year. But many of the films were picked up for distribution, which means you'll still get the chance to see them. Here's a list.


If you want to see Samuel L. Jackson as an ass-kicking US President, you're in luck! Big Game was picked up by Elevation Pictures, a Canadian distribution company, and will be released in the US by RED/Relativity.


The whole world is going full walrus. A24 films picked up Tusk and will release it in the US this fall, while Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will be handling distribution for the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Portugal, Spain and Greece.


It Follows was picked up by Icon Film Distribution for the UK and Radius Films for the US. P.S. Make sure no ghosts are lurking in the cinema when you attend a screening.



Screen Gems holds the rights for US distribution of the latest and last installment in Jaume Balaguero's zombie found footage franchise, [REC]4, but no firm release dates have been set. It opens in Spain on October 31.


If you want to enjoy a nice room temperature plate of busghetti worms bushgetti, you'll be able to when What We Do In The Shadows hits US and Canadian theaters and home video, thanks Unison Films, The Orchard, and Video Services Corp.


The Guest opened in US theaters on September 17 through Picturehouse and D Films will release it in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal on September 26, with nationwide expansion the next week. UPDATE: The Guest will be opening in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal on October 10, with further Canadian dates following after.




9/17/14

Midnight Madness 2014 Playlist!


MM Interviewer Rob Mitchell has put together a playlist of all his interviews, the introductions and post-screening question and answer business for all the films that played Midnight Madness this year. Twenty-two videos and just under five hours of content!


Video: THE GUEST Complete Midnight Madness Premiere Intro/Q&A With Adam Wingard Simon Barrett Dan Stevens Maika Monroe


The Guest the new film from the directing, writing team Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett You're Next was the 2014 closing night film of the midnight madness programme of the Toronto International Film Festival. Actor Dan Steven and actress Maika Monroe -- who was also in the David Robert Mitchell film It Follows which premiered at this year's midnight madness -- joined Mr. Wingard & Mr. Barrett on stage. Here is the complete introduction and post-screening Q&A moderated by programmer Colin Geddes.