Retrospective: 25 Years of Japanese Films at Midnight Madness!

Wow, has it really been 25 years! A whole quarter century of Midnight Madness.  Add to this -- over 35 entries from Japan, or featuring major Japanese Talent.  Let me know what I've missed!

Let us jump into the scroll bar time machine and take a loving look back at all of the deranged, beautiful, hilarious, terrifying and outrageous entries we've seen from Japan!


Programmer Noah Cowan rings in the first year of Midnight Madness, there were no films from Japan. This would soon change.


This is an insanely great choice for a first Japanese movie!  I still haven't seen this one, but boy have I heard about it.

Found a rare above the waist shot of the multi-endowed demon!
Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Over-Fiend (1989)


 One of my favourite films ever, premieres at Midnight Madness.  A visually explosive master class of what can be accomplished with a camera and a guerrilla spirit!

Tetsuo fully transformed!
Tetsuo The Iron Man (1990)


Japanese films: none.  Things would more than balance out in the future!


Doubled down; back in business.




BIG year for Japanese films (including two international co-productions), with FIVE entries.

7. Screamers (USA/Canada/Japan)

8. Crying Freeman (USA/Canada/France/Japan)

Tokyo Fist left a giant pulsing hematoma on my heart... filled with love!
Tokyo Fist (1995)


12. Organ 


Of note:  Colin Geddes take the stage for the first time,  with Noah Cowan.


No Japanese films this year, but Colin Geddes is appointed the sole maestro of midnight.  The future of Japan films at TIFF is BIG.


Literally his first solo programmed Japanese film is a giant monster movie!


What's the matter... Chicken? Sorry. Matrix style Chicken fight tho!
City of Lost Souls (2000)


This blogger's first actual midnight madness, at the uptown. Changed my life forever!

The ICON of horror started here!
Ichi The Killer (2001)

19. Clip Cult(Music Video Compilation)
Dir. Hiroyuki Nokomo (among other non-Japanese directors)

Directed as Sogo Ishii (since changed his name)

21. Versus
Dir. Ryuhei Kitamura
* there is talk now, FINALLY of a sequel to this wonderful action packed film, re-teaming director Kitamura with Versus leading man Tak Sakaguchi, for a fifth time)


22. Alive 

2003 A very creepy year!  Ju-On would have a lasting effect on the GHOST genre.  Gozo would have a lasting effect on the way I think about milk.

24. Gozu 



A truly bizarre... kids movie!
The Great Yokai War (2005)

27. The Great Yokai War 


28. Trapped Ashes (USA Japan Canada)

Friday the 13th (1980) Director Sean Cunningham's segment "Jibaku" was shot in Japan, featured many Japanese actors, and followed Japanese mythology.


29. Vexille

Dir. Takashi Miike

Matchan comes in all shapes and sizes!
Dainipponjin aka Big Man Japan (2007)

Dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto (Matchan)


Matchan's sophomore visit to MM, Colin kept the Pyjamas!
Symbol (2009)

33. Symbol

2010 - special mention... no films of Japanese origin, however:

34. Bunraku - USA -- wait, what?
Dir. Guy Moshe

Note: Featured Japanese music and acting sensation GACKT in his first Hollywood role.  It would be crazy not to mention this! And he even made it over for the screening, much to the delight of his legion of adoring fans!


35. Smuggler

2012 - None.  Wait -- though, what's this? Japanese director, and Midnight Madness Alumni Ryuhei Kitamura's second Hollywood feature film joins the line up!

36. No One Lives (USA)

2013 - YES! The exciting part about this, is it hasn't happened yet! This is an actual timeline moment you can still jump off of and enjoy in reality!

Oh Matchan, what do you have in store for us this year?
R100 (2013)

37. R100
Best way to finish your film: Yakuza investors. Just scary when they come for their "cut".
Why Don't You Play in Hell (2013)

Dir. Sono Sion

So there you have it!  The future looks good - and the future is now!  Be sure to catch both R100 and Why Don't You Play in Hell!

R100 Screening Times:
Thursday, Sept 12th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Friday, Sept 13th, 11:30 AM SCOTIABANK 9
Saturday, Sept 14th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

Friday, Sept 13th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Saturday, Sept 14th, 3:45 PM SCOTIABANK 1

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