So, Day 7 at Toronto After Dark 2010 is now over, which means there is only one more day of films ahead of us… To be honest, it feels like just yesterday that I was reporting on the opening night, and I really wish that the experience wasn’t drawing to a close. But, alas, all good things must end, and tonight was a very good way to lead into the closing festivities tomorrow.
The first film of the night, Black Death, came to us from British director Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Triangle). But, before we get into that, I should say a few words about the Canada After Dark short that played in front of it, The Other Side.
The Other Side was a bleak short that was set during WWII and featured some good performances. It must have come from French-Canada, as the entire thing was in French, with English subtitles. Overall, it was pretty good. However, it was far from being my favorite short of the festival. It was another World Premiere, but I couldn’t even find a trailer for it online to share, so I guess you’re out of luck for now.
Black Death actually ended up being a bit better than expected. The story, about a group of Christians sent to cleanse a small village of witches during a time when the Plague was running rampant, was far better than the previous night’s Centurion. Not once did I find myself wondering what the hell was going on or growing bored, and the performances were very good. In particular, Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings) did a wonderful job.
Originally, I thought the film would be centered mostly on the Plague. But, it turned out that witchcraft was really the subject that the film focused on. The violence was pretty unrelenting, and it served the storyline well. This was especially true towards the end of the film, and it really worked well for it; something I can’t say for Centurion. Still, in the end, Black Death was not an amazing film either, but it kept me entertained, and that’s definitely a good thing!
Next up was the real crowd-draw for the night, Steven R. Monroe’s remake of the seminal exploitation classic, I Spit On Your Grave. The short that was supposed to play in front of it was apparently pulled at the last minute because the filmmakers decided to play it at a different festival. However, it turns out that the Astron 6 boys (who were responsible for Inferno of the Dead, and Fireman) were kind enough to provide us with the full, uncut trailer for their film Father’s Day, which is going to be distributed by Troma in the near future.
In short, Father’s Day looks like a sick and twisted little film. Shot and produced to look like a throwback exploitation film, it tells the story of an eyepatch-wearing kung-fu master who is out to get revenge on the crazy guy who raped his father. I really can’t say much else about it, other than there were lots of boobs, sick jokes, and lots of man-on-man rape action. Yes, it was insane…
The trailer was a World Premiere, and it isn’t available online yet, but you can check out the 1-minute “Sneak Peek” below (this trailer was 3 minutes or so). I can definitely say that this is one film that I have to see, and it got a huge amount of raucous applause after it was over.
That leads us to I Spit On Your Grave, which was heads and shoulders above what I expected from the film. Sure, I was aware of the controversy that ensued when a crazed fan of the original basically accosted Monroe (the remake’s Director) at the recent FantAsia screening of the film, but honestly, I never really thought the original was all that spectacular, and usually when I hear a film is “graphic and disturbing,” I figure that it only applies to those who are far less desensitized to horror and gore than I am.
Well, let me just say that that’s not the case with I Spit On Your Grave. In fact, I must admit that the film, which is basically just about a woman enacting revenge on a group of men that previously raped her and left her for dead, had me squirming in my seat for almost the entire second half. Believe me when I say that this movie pulls no punches and does not flinch when it comes to dishing out the graphic violence. What you see on-screen here is light-years beyond what was in the original. It’s brutal and twisted, but in a strange way, it seems totally fitting under the circumstances.
Several people walked out during the screening, and two people actually passed out. At first, I thought it might be a publicity stunt when I heard someone yelling for a doctor, but when I talked to Festival Director Adam Lopez at the pub later that night, he assured me that it was all real. I’m not sure how those people didn’t know what they were in for, as all of the marketing and advertisements warn that there is extremely graphic violence in the film, but somehow it happened.
Anyhow, in the end, I Spit On Your Grave wound up surpassing the original in every way for me. After the credits began rolling, we were treated to a Q&A with Monroe that was hosted by Dave Alexander from Rue Morgue (who were co-sponsoring the night’s film as part of their Cinemacabre film series). His insights really explained why the film worked so well, as you could really tell that he cared about the source material and was trying to make the film the best, and that he could. I’m sure that there will be people who hate this film — some because it’s a remake, and others because it’s vile (though it never gets even close to Serbian Film territory) — but I really dug it, and it affected me in a may that few films do these days. So, if you’re in for some totally unapologetically brutal rape-revenge, then this film is for you.
After the film, Pauper’s was busier than it has been since the beginning of the week. Some of that is probably because the theater was practically sold out for I Spit On Your Grave, and some is probably because we really are at the tail end of the festival. Either way, there were a lot of good conversations going around, and Steven R. Monroe hung out for a while to chat with fans. The DJ last night was also the best of all the Pub After Dark nights so far, and it was fun to hang out to tunes from Fright Night, The Lost Boys, and a lot more…
Anyhow, that about does it for Day 7 of Toronto After Dark 2010. Tonight we are in store for two of the most anticipated films of the festival, Rubber and The Human Centipede. Personally, I’m looking forward to Rubber the most (how can you not want to see a movie about a killer tire?!), but it should be interesting to see Human Centipede with a totally sold-out crowd.
Since I’m leaving on Saturday morning, my Day 8 Recap may not be up here until Sunday, as I will most likely be burned out from travel and all that. That means tomorrow may be a great time to catch up on any previous coverage that you may have missed (you can find it all in our Archive). Also, as always, be sure to check out TAD’s Official Facebook Page for more photos from the night’s festivities.