Navigating TIFF Part 6: Off Sale? Don't Panic!

I’m sure a lot of you have started to notice screenings are showing up as “OFF SALE” at the online box office (accessible here), “RUSH ONLY” on the boards at the Festival Box Office at 225 King Street West, or generally unavailable by phone at (416) 599-TIFF or 1-888-599-8433.

Don’t panic, there are still ways for you to get tickets. Here are a some options:

1) Don’t give up! Keep checking the various box offices listed above. Many of the seats for films listed as off sale were ticketed during the advance order process last week. Any of those ticketholders could change their mind between now and the screening and exchange their ticket for a voucher. If tickets are available, they'll show up at 7:00 AM when the systems update. FYI The systems only update once a day so there is no point in checking more than once a day.

2) If it is the day of the screening and you still can’t get a ticket at any of the box offices, your last resort is the rush line. Rush seats become available when people decide not to exchange tickets like I described above and simply just don’t show up. 

Remember, the festival's goal is to make sure that every seat in a theater is sold. The earlier you get in line the better. If the film is *HUGE* you want to get there at least 3 hours before the film starts. For midnight screenings the line will be crazy long, but it probably has a lot of people rushing a 9:00pm or 9:30pm screening. Once those people leave, you should be close to the front of the line. Make sure you are in the rush line (not the ticket holders line) and confirm which line you are in with a volunteer. The Ryerson seats over 1200 people so the odds are good if you are at the front of the line you've got a shot at a seat but there is no guarantee that seats will be available.


3) Catch a repeat screening. The atmosphere is more relaxed than the midnight screenings and there is always a chance that some of the talent is still in town to do a Q&A.

4) Watch social media. Keep your eyes on the Midnight Madness Facebook page and Twitter. If there are contests for tickets to sold out screenings, they're likely to be posted there.

5) Hang out in the autograph line. If you get to the rush line late and it is ridiculously long you might want to hang out behind the red carpet and hope the talent will offer you a ticket. It's rare but I've seen it happen. The autograph line is behind a barricade opposite from the entrance to the Ryerson.

[REC] 4 APOCALYPSE Poster and Trailer

Though it's only been 2 years since [REC] 3 Genesis, it wasn't a direct sequel to the story of plucky reporter Angela Vidal. [REC] 4 Apocalypse picks up the story after the end of 2009's [REC] 2. The poster above shows the promise of some intensely violent zombie carnage while the trailer below delivers on the claustrophobic intensity for which the series is best know.

Come witness the Apocalypse with at Midnight Madness!

[REC]4 APOCALYPSE screening times:
Tue., Sept. 9th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 10th, 10:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 8



Mark Hartley makes his second appearance in Midnight Madness with Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Hot of a triumphant World Premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Hartley was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.

Midnight Madness: Every Cannon Film probably could have a feature length doc made about it. How difficult was it to tell the whole Cannon story in just one film?

Mark Hartley: There are soooooooo many Cannon Films (for starters just try counting the America Ninja sequels!) but obviously we had to be a little bit selective. If you want to see an in-depth discussion of HOT CHILI or DETECTIVE SCHOOL DROPOUTS, you will be sadly disappointed – but I think we’ve covered most of the fan favorites as well as a few jaw-dropping curios.

MM: This is your 2nd Midnight Madness entry and 3rd TIFF Film. Are you really going to stop making docs? Do you think you have any more docs in you?

MH: I keep telling people that this is my final doc – and no one believes me, but it is the truth. I’m an accidental, wildly undisciplined documentary filmmaker – and it’s now time to leave this caper to the professionals. I had the opportunity to finally make a narrative feature in 2013 with PATRICK – and I had such a wonderful and thrilling experience during that production that I really want to invest all my energies into narrative filmmaking. The incredible thing about having made these three genre docs is that I often meet movie lovers that tell me that these films have encouraged them to explore their own National cinema. Job done.

MM: While many of the Cannon films are so bad they're good, there are many that are borderline unwatchable. How often during pre-production did you find yourself saying: I can't watch another minute of these films!

MH: It wasn’t the quality that was daunting--it was the quantity! I’m not sure how healthy a steady diet of Golan & Globus productions was on my sanity--but they made them, so I felt I should watch them. To be honest, I did draw the line at the Lou Ferrigno star-vehicle, Sinbad of the Seven Seas – and the last six Lemon Popsicle sequels.

MM: Was it difficult getting people to talk about parts of their career that they'd rather forget?

MH: I’ve been lucky with my docs that they’ve covered subjects that haven’t been overly explored--and so telling these stories is a novelty (and sometimes therapy) for many of the interviewees. I’m not sure how many dinner party conversations have started with, “So tell me about working on Bolero…”

Certainly with Not Quite Hollywood and Electric Boogaloo, the subject matter covered was a training ground for many. Generally, people are fond and nostalgic about their introduction to the business--no matter how badly treated they were… and if they’re still scarred, well, it makes for even better drama. 

MM: Having spent so much time exploring the seedy underbelly of cinema, are you ready to run screaming from the business and never look back?

MH: Not at all. I’m ready to launch myself from a cannon, slam into the evil heart of this business and hopefully start filling up my IMDb page.

MM: After Not Quite Hollywood, you decided that Patrick was ripe for a remake. Any particular Cannon film you'd like to reboot?

MH: More important is the fact that there are certain Cannon films that should be left untouched by the reboot machine. Can you imagine anyone topping the scope, scale and lunacy of Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce? If there’s one film that we should get on our knees and thank Golan & Globus for, it’s that visionary masterwork. Another jewel in the Cannon crown is Boaz Davidson’s The Last American Virgin--which I do believe Millennium are planning to remake. I’ll have to ask our co-producer, Brett Ratner, if he was inspired by Cannon’s Hercules. I have my doubts.

Mon., Sept. 8th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 10th, 9:00 AM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 14th, 12:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 11

CUB First Look! Poster & Trailer

Cub looks like one of those films you will be telling your friends that you saw at the world premiere at Midnight Madness. That is one of the most exciting aspects of midnight madness the discovery of new cinematic voices. Jonas Govaerts is holding true to old school practical effects and his love for the genre is clearly evident. You can check out my interview with him here! The poster by Justin Erickson is stunning. You don't want to miss this one--Scouts honor! Here is the trailer:

CUB screening times:
Wed., Sept. 10th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Thu., Sept. 11th, 8:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sat., Sept. 13th, 12:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

The Life and Films of Manahem Golan

On August 8th, the world lost one of cinema's greats, Manahem Golan. Golan, along with his cousin,  Yoram Globus were the men behind Cannon Films. Without them, we wouldn't know what a kumite was (Bloodsport), there would be no films that paired up Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris (Delta Force), there would probably never have been a film made about competitive arm wrestling (Over the Top), and the Village People most definitely would never have made a film musical starring Steve Gutenberg (The Apple).
Though Manahem Golan is no longer with us, his work left an indelible mark on generations of genre film fans, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude. I can't wait to see dozens (if not hundreds) of my favourite film moments up on the big screen in Mark Hartley's Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.

The New York Times wrote this very nice article about Manahem Golan's career after his passing.

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO screening times:
Mon., Sept. 8th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 10th, 9:00 AM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 14th, 12:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 11

The Team behind THE EDITOR are still COOL GUYS

ASTRON-6 is a proud homegrown Canadian filmmaking force like no other! This year we welcome the co-directing team of Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks, who this time lead the charge with their new film and Midnight Madness selection The Editor.

With movies like Manborg, Father's Day, and a plethora of unforgettable bizarre ultra-violent and ultra twisted shorts on their resume, I'm always excited to hear there's a new release on the horizon from Astron-6.

However, the film that first captured my heart was Cool Guys.  Cool Guys (2008) is a 28 minute 80s style screwball comedy, that drastically deviates from its expected path.

 I thought I'd catch up with Matthew Kennedy, Adam Brooks, Steve Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie, and Conor Sweeney online, to hear their thoughts of this early, yet resolutely twisted signature film.

The Anti-After School Special
Midnight Madness Blog: Gentlemen of Astron-6,  what are some of your memories of making Cool Guys?
Matthew Kennedy: My first thought is one we've all had. At one time, we thought Cool Guys was the hardest movie we had ever made. It was supposed to be a fun short that we shot over a weekend at the beach but slowly everything went wrong. Locations pulled out on us over and over again. The heat was unreal that summer, we shot all through the night in an awful motel room blowing fuses and eventually the air conditioner. We ended up not getting a bunch of beach footage and had to shoot on a vacant beach in September to finish the movie. it was cold. It almost destroyed Astron-6.  But every film since that one has been one hundred times harder and it only gets harder.  AND HARDER.
Steven Kostanski: It had a few high points, that snack shack on the beach was probably the easiest time we ever had being on location. The owner was super chill and let us do whatever. That was the one fun day. But it was all downhill after that.
Jeremy Gillespie: The first cut of the movie was twice as long, totally unfunny, and was deemed "the worst thing we've ever done." Somehow Matt saved it in editing.
MMB: I'm glad you guys saw it through; it's really funny, great acting, and once you're lulled into the perceived safety of 80's style screwball comedy, it goes off the rails into hilariously twisted insanity and never stops surprising. I think it's a rare achievement.
Adam Brooks: I think it was a tiny bit ahead of its time to get as dangerous as it does, but now that's kind of the norm.
Conor Sweeney: I don't talk to these guys anymore.
Adam Brooks: Who invited that guy?
MMB: Awesome thanks for your time fellas! I'll always cherish your friendships in Cool Guys!
Adam Brooks: You may not have seen the last of the cool guys...
MMB: (I do a grinning emoticon)
Conor Sweeney: (does sunglasses guy emoticon)
MMB: Yeah, was gonna say, wrong emoticon...
Conor Sweeney: The movie is based on that emoticon

If haven't caught the film yet, you can watch Cool Guys here. Be sure to catch Astron 6's NEW giallo-comedy The Editor at Midnight Madness!

THE EDITOR screening times:

Thu., Sept. 11th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Fri., Sept. 12th, 9:15 AM, SCOTIABANK 3
Sat., Sept. 13th, 6:15 PM, SCOTIABANK 4


Festival Trailer Mash-Up 2014!

Midnight Maniacs, steady yourselves because we have five hours of pure, concentrated TIFF film trailers concentrated into a pure and beautiful three minutes and five seconds by the amazing videographer, Aaron Van Domelen.


Let's go...

The Continuing Madness of Sion Sono

Remember when Sion Sono scrambled your brain at Midnight Madness 2013? Here's a little clip to take you back:

Yep, it's the gonzo toothpaste song from Sono's Why Don't You Play In Hell?, winner of the 2013 Midnight Madness People's Choice Award. Here is a Japanese trailer for the film that ends with a montage of spots where the toothpaste song recurs in the film:

Don't miss Sono's triumphant return to Midnight Madness with this year's opening night film Tokyo Tribe.

TOKYO TRIBE screening times:
Thu. Sept. 4th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Fri. Sept. 5th, 10:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:30 PM, LIGHTBOX 3

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: The Buzz From Melbourne

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is director Mark Hartley's latest documentary. Hartley's  Not Quite Hollywood also screened at midnight madness in 2008 and was extremely well received. For those unfamiliar with the Cannon films produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus think of the Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson Jean Claude Van Damme movies from the eighties and nineties and that is only a fraction of the output of films made by Cannon Films. Here are some reviews from the premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

"The film works as a fascinating look behind the scenes of a genuine outsider company. it feels about a half an hour shorter than it's 107 minutes, thanks to how much damn fun it is to experience these cult 'classics' in a fast paced, greatest hits format." - SilverScreenSnobs.com

"Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Film doesn't pull its punches." And "Hartley's film is consistently entertaining..." - The Hollywood Reporter

"Mark Hartley's follow-up to Not Quite Hollywood is an amusingly enjoyable excavation of Cannon Films, the definitive 1980s B-movie production house run by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yorham Globus. "Outlaws...hustlers...junk peddlers," - The Sydney Morning Herald.

"The best parts of this film are the archival footage of Menahem Golan in action on set, doing business in his office and doing publicity for his copious films. This is one charismatic, fascinating dude[.]" And, "In what could easily devolve into simply bashing these films for the low-budget schlock they generally were, Hartley treats the topic with reverence and he hits the tone of the documentary just right." sorryimlate.com

"Like Hartley's previous documentaries, Electric Boogaloo is an energetic confection, buoyed by zippy editing and more than occasional use of animation." - melbournecentral.com.au

"'Cannon films were the epitome of the '80's in terms of stars and films,' Hartley reflects. 'It's also a great story - it's about a couple of outsiders taking on the might of the studios. There's a real David and Goliath element to this.'" - Beat Magazine

"Hartley's films play like a wildly enthusiastic thesis submissions from the ultimate student of exploration cinema." -  screen-space.squarespace.com

"[I]t was bloody marvelous to see so many of these past stars, directors and writers up on the screen again. I was also reminded of movies I had forgotten about and will now seek and find." - fakeshemp.net

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO screening times:
Mon., Sept. 8th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 10th, 9:00 AM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 14th, 12:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 11

TUSK: Origin Story

Admit it, wouldn't we all look better with walrus tusks protruding out of our faces? 

All great movies have an origin—that little seed of an idea that ends up sprouting and growing into the majestic beast of a movie its meant to be. Damn, that was poetic. Maybe too poetic considering we're going to discuss the origins of Tusk, a movie where Michael Parks turns Justin Long into a walrus in... Canada (DUN, DUN, DUN). But, whatever, we do what we want here on the Midnight Madness blog.

Unless you've been trapped under a rock as of late, you know that Tusk is written and directed by none other than Kevin Smith. And if you're a Kevin Smith fan, like you should be if you know what's good for you, you listen to his podcasts and know that the inspiration for this very film was discussed in episode #259 of his and longtime collaborator Scott Mosier's podcast, SModcast. It was called "The Walrus and the Carpenter" and it was amazing. June 25, 2013 started out just like any other day, but little did anyone (especially Justin Long) know the seeds for maybe the craziest movie ever were being planted.

The full podcast can be found here, but we've embedded an edited version that only discusses the concept of the movie. Have a listen!

If you don't have time to listen (jabrone!), we've compiled a list of the most important points of the podcast: 

1. It's all based on a deliciously creepy tenant advert placed on a British classifieds ads website.
2. There is some confusion about whether the month or day goes first when discussing dates across the pond. 
3. The writer of the advert was looking for someone to live with him for free. Live with him and also dress in a walrus costume. (Seems legit.)
4. This is because the writer of the advert had a best friend who was a walrus named Gregory.
5. This is because walruses provide the most fulfilling of friendships. (Pretty sure there's a Discovery Channel special about it.) 
6. Whilst in the walrus costume, one must BE a walrus. BE THE WALRUS.
7. The tenant would be responsible for finding appropriate walrus sounds via the internet (because walruses don't speak English, duh).

Those better be walrus sounds you're making!

8. This is obviously absolutely terrifying. This advert writer is probably a serial killer. 
9. But, hey, there's a spacious double room to live in. Just don't go near the workshop! 
10. Of course, this is an irresistible idea for a movie, so Kevin and Scott set about describing the plot of their future film. 
11. It will be a cuddlier version of Human Centipede
12. There will be a walrus enclave and it will be glorious. Probably with seagull sounds.
13. There will be a lot of creepy POV shots. Maybe something like Robocop. 
14. Wait, now it's more tolerable but more fucked up version of Human Centipede
15. James Franco would probably be in it. He's all over that kind of shit. Walrus shit, you know.

And now having caught up with all of that, check out the trailer and see what of their first, jokey ideas actually made it to the final cut. We're pretty sure that's a glorious walrus enclave... 

TUSK screening times:
Saturday, Sept 6th 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sunday, Sept 7th 9:45 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Friday, Sept 12th 3:45 PM SCOTIABANK 1


WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS: Vampire Profiles: Carmilla

Oh, you've got a little schmutz on your lip. Let me get that for you.

Today's the 200th anniversary of the birth of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu and with What We Do In The Shadows part of the Madness this year, it's a serendipitous occasion to look at his creation, one of the first, and best, sexy vampires and the industry standard in Lesbian vampires.

"Carmilla" first appeared in a magazine, The Dark Blue, as an illustrated serial recorded by Le Fanu's hero, Dr. Hesselius. It was collected into a novella in 1872. You can read the book in your preferred form at Project Gutenberg.

Carmilla befriends Laura, a lonely young woman living in a castle with her retired father in Styria. As a young girl, Laura dreamed she was bitten on the chest by a beautiful woman. When Carmilla appears on her castle doorstep or on the other side of the portcullis or whatever Laura's schloss has, the young women recognize each other from this dream. And Carmilla bears an uncanny resemblance to an ancestral portrait of Countess Mircalla Karnstein. But, of course, that portrait was painted in 1689 and this resemblance is purely coincidental. How silly to think it is anything more.

The Man does not approve.
Carmilla is as smitten with Laura as she is with anagrams. And instead of dining and dashing, as she had with other, more recent victims, she woos Laura.
She used to place her pretty arms about my neck, draw me to her, and laying her cheek to mine, murmur with her lips near my ear, "Dearest, your little heart is wounded; think me not cruel because I obey the irresistible law of my strength and weakness; if your dear heart is wounded, my wild heart bleeds with yours. In the rapture of my enormous humiliation I live in your warm life, and you shall die--die, sweetly die--into mine. I cannot help it; as I draw near to you, you, in your turn, will draw near to others, and learn the rapture of that cruelty, which yet is love; so, for a while, seek to know no more of me and mine, but trust me with all your loving spirit."
But as always, it just doesn't work out between the living and the dead. And in 1872, The Man just can't handle the love between a living lady and a langorous dead one who sleeps in a coffin filled with blood.

There are a whole slew adaptations of the story. Ingrid Pitt portrays Carmilla in Hammer Studio's The Vampire Lovers (1970).

Carl Theodor Dreyer based his 1932 film Vampyr on the story--though with no intra-lady feelings.

Roger Vadim's Blood And Roses (1960) is a stylish adaptation.

 And Carmilla appears in stories as diverse as Vampire Hunter D, Doctor Who and Kim Newman's novel, Anno Dracula. Incidentally, The Guardian published a piece Newman wrote about Sheridan Le Fanu and Le Fanu's influence on horror today and it is totally worth reading.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS screening times:
Fri. Sept. 12th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sat. Sept. 13th, 9:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:45 PM, SCOTIABANK  3

And while the women of The Duke of Burgundy are not vampires, they are Lesbians in love and it is a gorgeous film.

THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY screening times:
Saturday, Sept 6th 10:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1
Monday, Sept 8th 3:15 PM SCOTIABANK 12

INTERVIEW: CUB Director Jonas Govaerts Earns His Feature Film Merit Badge

One of the most exciting aspects of the Midnight Madness program is the the emergence of new cinematic voices and talent from around the world. A film and director to look out for this year is Cub directed by Jonas Govaerts. After directing several short films, Cub marks Jonas' first feature film and the first horror film produced in Flanders. I recently had the opportunity to speak with him. -- Robert A. Mitchell 

Using one or two sentences can you tell me what the basic story for Cub is? 
Cub is the story of a summer scout camp gone horribly wrong, seen through the eyes of Sam, our twelve year old protagonist. 
Where did the idea come from? Were you, yourself a Cub Scout?
 I've been jotting down loose ideas for this story since I was a cub scout myself. I had some wonderful leaders back then, who introduced me to the world of underground comics, horror movies and alternative music; it seemed only fitting I would set my first film at a scout camp, since that's where my imagination was first triggered. My scout totem is Imaginative Toucan, by the way--no lie! 
You have made several short films. Cub is your first feature length film. How was that transition? What were some of the difficult aspects of production you had to overcome? 
All of my shorts were based on existing short stories I loved: at least there I had the security of a decent script. On Cub, which I co-wrote, I was often second-guessing myself: do we need really this scene? What am I trying to say here? Also, the ambition and scope of the film far exceeded anything I had done in my earlier work. Luckily, I had my movie family around me: most of the crew have been with me since my first short, Mobius. I actually went to film school with my cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis (Michael R. Roskam's Bullhead & The Drop, John Hillcoat's upcoming Triple Nine): he flunked after the first year, while I needed six years to finish school! 
There is that old adage in show business, never work with kids or animals. Obviously your film is centered around a story featuring kids. How difficult was the casting to find the kids to play the characters? What was it like to work with these young actors? 
If I hadn't accidentally seen Maurice Luijten, who plays Sam, in the music video The Gift by Ralf Demesmaeker, I wouldn't be talking to you right now. He really was a gift from the movie gods. He looked like a young River Phoenix or something - that same effortless charisma. Once Sam was in place, it was really a matter of mixing and matching: for the other cubs, we saw a couple of hundred kids, and we tweaked the parts to fit their personalities, specific talents and looks. We didn't find Gill Eeckelaert,
who plays the Masked Feral Child, until very late in the game: in his audition tape, you can really see my face going from absolute exhaustion to huge relief!...Animals, though, are another matter entirely. The most grueling part of the shoot involved a dog - of course, I had to pick the dumbest breed in existence. Safe to say, I'm in no big hurry to work with dogs again - though I doubt I'll get offered many animal movies after Cub comes out! 
What would you say to folks looking at the film selection of why they should see Cub? 
As a life-long horror fan, I've been disappointed with the direction the genre has taken lately, at least in main stream cinema: loud bangs, cheap CGI, grubby shaky-cam, cardboard characters... It's just not my thing. With Cub, I've tried to bring back those elements I miss most in modern horror: a decent build-up, some humor to contrast with the violence, a certain visual poetry, characters you can actually relate to... Oh, and a cool, Carpenter-style title font, of course!

CUB screening times:
Wed., Sept. 10th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Thu., Sept. 11th, 8:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sat., Sept. 13th, 12:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

BIG GAME: Samuel L. P.O.T.U.S

Jalmari Helander, the director of TIFF 2010's Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale returns to TIFF this year with his latest film, Big Game. There's no sign of Krampus and jolly old Saint Nick in Big Game, but Helander has instead recruited the biggest b.a.m.f. of them all, Samuel L Jackson as the President of the United States, who must rely on a 13 year-old boy to help him survive after Air Force One is shot down by terrorists.

Check out these sweet stills and then click the handy link below to buy your tickets.

BIG GAME screening times:
Fri., Sept. 5th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sat., Sept. 6th, 9:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Sat., Sept. 13th, 2:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 12


THE GUEST: Sundance Film Festival Buzz

For those of us who are big fans of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, but were not able to attend Sundance this year (ahem), it was kind of a bummer because their new movie The Guest screened at the festival.

But wait! All is not lost. The Guest will be screening at this year's Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness programme!

What is The Guest about anyway? After Caleb Peterson dies in Afghanistan, his army pal David pays Caleb's family a visit. Sounds tender and heartbreaking, right? WRONG. David is not who he appears to be and things turn creepy with a quickness.

Now why should you care? That's where this blog comes in. Here are some juicy tidbits from the Sundance reviews of The Guest that will leave you hungry for more.

"A concept hatched after an accidental double-feature of The Terminator and Halloween, The Guest is the perfect synthesis of Cameron, Carpenter and Cannon [Films] and one of the most fun films at this year's Sundance Film Festival."

"Played in a key of macabre black comedy that's deadpan save whenever all hell breaks loose," The Guest is "nasty fun."

"Barrett and Wingard haven't lost their ironically humorous touch, as most of the film's uneasy laughs revolve around upending typical thriller expectations."
--The Hollywood Reporter

"Adam Wingard's The Guest feels like a lost [John] Carpenter film from the director's golden age. The picture effortlessly moves between a nerve-wracking mystery to a gleefully dark comedy, and at its best it even mixes the two together."

"The Guest is a modern movie, but one that has a sensibility that feels a bit like a return to a lost form. It's tight and smart and often very funny..."
--Badass Digest

"The Guest is genuinely great filmmaking... a crafty crowdpleaser that's still intelligent enough to warrant real consideration about what it's saying about the contemporary culture that gave birth to it, through both style and substance."
--Crave Online

"Equal parts creepy, slow-burn horror and bloody, balls-out actioner, Wingard and Barrett again prove that best kind of genre movie is the one with which you can have the most outright fun."

"This is a ninety-minute thrill-ride that fits right in with the very best genre fare of that era. Big thrills, big laughs, and tons of carnage--The Guest has it all and deserves to be a real crossover hit for both Wingard and [actor Dan] Stevens."

So let's review: John Carpenter, retro yet modern, black comedy, and creepy slow-burn horror. I think I'm in love with The Guest. Don't forget to get tickets to a screening.

THE GUEST screening times:
Sat., Sept. 13th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sun., Sept. 14th, 6:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3


THE GUEST: First Look Poster and Trailer

This Ain't Downton Abbey, People!
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the powerhouse creative team behind genre favorites: A Horrible Way to Die and You're Next are back with THE GUEST. Check out Dan Steven's creepy stare in the poster as well as the recently released trailer below.

THE GUEST screening times
Sat. Sept. 13th,11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sun. Sept. 14th 6:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3



Friends and family of Midnight Madness,

My name is Nancy Taylor, and I am a TIFF newbie. I am a senior at Syracuse University and will making the trek up to Toronto in my yellow Jeep Wrangler for my first TIFF, and thus my first Midnight Madness! I have already seen two of the films from the highly anticipated line up, including David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows and Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows. They are incredible, enticing, terrifying and satisfying--in completely different ways, so I am beyond enthusiastic to see what the rest of the line up has in store for me.

(Side note: here I am with my good friend Wey and Jemaine Clement after the screening of What We Do in the Shadows at Sundance 2014. )

You may be asking yourself, how does a college student manage to intern at Cannes, Sundance and TIFF? Well, throughout my college career, I have been incredibly fortunate to participate in several of The Creative Mind Group’s internship programs, and I would not be going to Toronto if it weren’t for them.

Creative Minds is an internship program designed to help launch the careers of up and coming filmmakers by setting them up with host companies to intern with at the major film festivals throughout the world. They also arrange housing, festival accreditation and organize networking events with industry professionals, which is where I met Midnight Madness Programmer Colin Geddes. Check out the Creative Minds in Toronto promo video--it's awesome.

Anyway, it was a 9 am breakfast talk on the rooftop of a gorgeous hotel in Cannes. I had never heard of Midnight Madness before, but as soon as Colin casually mentioned his love for Hong Kong cinema and genre films—I had a feeling that MM was for me. 

I am a self proclaimed “genre cinephile,” so it seems that I have found a home in the Madness, before I have even stepped foot in Toronto. From now on, I would like to invite you all to join me on this journey as I chronicle my first experience at TIFF, in what I am calling “The Diary of a TIFF Newbie.” 


IT FOLLOWS First Look: Posters

Cannes Film Festival sensation It Follows will have its North American premiere at Midnight Madness 2014. There are plenty of rave reviews online and a couple of poster designs that appeared at Cannes (see below), but little in the way of material from the film itself. No trailer, no clips, etc. But honestly, it's better that way. All you need to know about this one is it's off-the-charts creepy. Beyond that, the less you know going in, the better. Oh, one other thing. Maybe don't bring a date to this one. Cause no one's getting laid after It Follows infects the Ryerson.

IT FOLLOWS screening times:
Sun., Sept. 7th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Tue., Sept. 9th, 4:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 9

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS First Look: Posters and Trailer

Directors Taika Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark; Boy) and Jermaine Clement (co-creator of Flight of the Conchords) are bringing their riotous vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows to Midnight Madness 2014.

 Get a peek at what happens when a documentary crew follows of a group of centuries-old vampire roommates in the trailer:

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS screening times:
Fri. Sept. 12th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sat. Sept. 13th, 9:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3


THE EDITOR First Look: Posters & Teaser Trailer

Winnipeg-based film collective Astron-6 (perpetrators of Father's Day and Manborg) are bringing the world premiere of their new film The Editor to Midnight Madness 2014. They've already generated a number of gorgeous and macabre poster designs for the film. The ghoulish design above is the teaser artwork. Below is the recently released final artwork, which perfectly captures the spirit of the '70s Italian giallo films that The Editor lampoons:

The filmmakers have also released the following designs for fake giallo films that feature in The Editor:

Here is the gonzo teaser trailer for this wild ride:

THE EDITOR screening times:
Thu. Sept. 11th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Fri. Sept. 12th, 9:15 AM, SCOTIABANK 3
Sat. Sept. 13th, 6:15 PM, SCOTIABANK 4

TOKYO TRIBE: Sion Sono Returns to Kick Off Midnight Madness 2014

The opening night film of Midnight Madness 2014 is directed by Sion Sono. So much for gradually working up to the really nutty stuff. Sono won the 2013 Midnight Madness People's Choice Award for the spectacular mind-melter Why Don't You Play in Hell? He's back this year to defend his title with Tokyo Tribe, a "yakuza/street-gang/hip-hop musical epic." For a taste of the mayhem set to be unleashed on the Ryerson on opening night, check out the Japanese trailer:

TOKYO TRIBE screening times:
Thu. Sept. 4th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Fri. Sept. 5th, 10:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:30 PM, LIGHTBOX 3

TUSK First Look! Poster & Trailer

Tusk is one of the most anticipated films in the 2014 Midnight Madness program. It is the latest film from that raconteur, Kevin Smith. A film idea that was born from his Smodcast, episode number 259 to be exact. The episode was entitled The Walrus & The Carpenter. Tusk at first glance looks like a wild, funny, crazy, scary and weird, weird ride. Perfect for Midnight Madness! This is a film you do not want to miss the legendary Midnight Madness crowd. Here is the trailer:

Showtimes for TUSK:

Sat, Sept 6  11:59pm  Ryerson Theatre
Sun, Sept 7 9:45pm   The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Fri, Sept 12 3:45pm   Scotiabank Theatre 1