If you follow genre-related film festivals at all, you may already heard about Toronto After Dark. The festival has been around since 2006, and each year since then, it has continued to showcase some of the best new Horror, Sci-Fi, Action, and Cult films around. TAD is easily one of the most interesting and fastest-growing festivals around, and in only a few short years, it has managed to become a member of the prestigious North American Fantastic Film Alliance (NAFFA), which makes it one of the top six world-class festivals on the continent (other NAFFA-recognized festivals include Fantastic Fest, Screamfest, and the Fantasia Film Festival).
I made it out the the last half of the 2009 iteration of the festival, and I had a blast. That particular festival showcased such awesome films as Trick r’ Treat, Grace, Black Dynamite, Dead Snow, The Revenant, and Strigoi, which was TAD‘s first-ever world Premier. I had so much fun last year, that I became dead set on attending the entire festival this year, which officially kicks off tonight (Appropriately enough, it also happens to be Friday the 13th!). What’s more, I also made the decision that I wanted to cover the entire thing here on The Blood Sprayer, so that you folks out there that can’t make it don’t have to miss anything!
So, after much planning and scheduling, I am now sitting in my hotel room up here in wonderful Toronto, Ontario, (im)patiently counting down the minutes until things kick off this evening. As such, I figured that the best way to bide my time until then than to give you all a quick overview of what you can expect to read about here over the next eight days or so!
Essentially, beginning tomorrow, I will be posting a recap of the previous day’s festival happenings. These will include things like announcements, info on Q&A sessions, and news on any other interesting things that happened over the course of the day. You can also expect brief overviews of each film shown that day and my quick thoughts on them. Accompanying these daily updates will be reviews of all of the feature films screened at the festival (the shorts that accompany each feature as part of Canada After Dark will be discussed in the daily recaps, with the exception of Shorts After Dark, which will most likely have it’s own separate article discussing all of the films included in it).
So, now that you know all of that, let’s get into exactly what films you’ll be reading about!
Day 1 (Friday, August 13th):
The festival kicks off with The Last Lovecraft, which is a monster-flick/comedy hybrid about a group of social misfits battling an assortment of sea monsters trying to take over the earth. This will be the International Premier of the film, and it will be followed by the Opening Night Gala.
Day 2 (Saturday, August 14th):
The first showing of the night will be TAD‘s annual Shorts After Dark, which features a collection of 10 short films from around the world. This will be followed by another TAD staple, Zombie Appreciation Night (co-sponsored by the Toronto Zombie Walk), in which two different zombie-themed films are screened, with a reduced ticket price fro those who come dressed as the undead!
This year’s features include the British import, Doghouse, and the Greek-made Evil In the Time of Heroes. The first film, a comedy-horror, tells the story of a group of guys that find themselves in a town filled with undead women that want to eat them. The second is the sequel to the film Evil, and it features Billy Zane as an immortal who must stop a huge zombie-outbreak in Greece.
Day 3 (Sunday, August 15th):
Day 3 kicks off with Cargo, a tale of terror in space from Switzerland. Early buzz has been drawing comparisons to 2001, and of course, Alien. The stills I’ve seen from the film look great, so hopefully the movie will too!
Next is the Japanese film RoboGeisha, which is about a pair of dueling Geisha assassins with deadly robotic parts. Seeing that this film comes from Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl, Tokyo Gore Police), you can bet that it’s going to be over-the-top bloody fun!
Closing out the night is the cult stoner-comedy High School, which features Adrien Brody as one of a pair of teens who hatch a plan to get their entire school high so that they don’t fail a test. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous (Brody as a teen?!), but that is the entire point!
Day 4 (Monday, August 16th):
The fourth day of the festival features the Eli Roth-produced The Last Exorcism. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the film is about a preacher records his final act of exorcism on camera with terrifying results. Roth will be on hand, along with cast members Ashley Bell and Patrick Fabian, to do a Q&A after the film. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the film, so I am excited to finally see if it lives up to the hype.
However, I have to admit that I am more excited to see the night’s second feature, Alien vs. Ninja. The name pretty much sums up the plot of this fine example of Japanese cinema. It’s supposed to be extremely violent and ridiculous, so it’s right up my alley…
Day 5 (Tuesday, August 17th):
Tuesday night starts off with the Thai film, Phobia 2. The film is anthology piece that focuses on five separate tales of terror. I still haven’t seen the first film, but I’m guessing that, in true anthology fashion, I don’t really need to. Still, I snatched it up and brought the DVD with me, so if I have time, I’m going to try and watch it…
Following Phobia 2 is All About Evil, a movie about a serial killer who owns an old movie theater. From what I’ve seen, this movie looks really fucking weird, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise, seeing as it was directed by Joshua Grannell, better known as his drag alter ego PEACHES CHRIST, and it stars Mink Stole (of John Waters fame) and Elvira (yes, the Elvira, Cassandra Peterson). Grannell will be in attendance for a Q&A, and audience members are encouraged to come dressed up in their best “Gore Couture” to participate in a costume contest at the screening, which will be judged by Grannell and Toronto’s own FAY SLIFT… Yes, WTF?! indeed… Awesome!
Day 6 (Wednesday, August 18th):
Day six kicks off with the Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) film Centurion. The film is supposed to be an epic about the Romans fighting the Celtics. I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of Marshall‘s films thus far, so bring it on!
Following the ancient war film is Heartless, a UK import from Philip Ridley. The movie tells the story of a disfigured young man who is haunted by demons. From the sounds of things, this may be a nice little mindfuck of a movie…
Day 7 (Thursday, August 19th):
Thursday night opens with Black Death, a medieval tale about witchcraft and the Black Plague. This film comes from Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance), so it should be fairly entertaining.
As with past years, Thursday night also coincides with Rue Morgue‘s Cinemacabre Movie Night, which means that the second film of the evening is co-hosted by the RM crew. This year’s film is the remake of I Spit On Your Grave, which is directed by Steven R. Monroe, who will also be in attendance for Q&A after the screening. If this is anything like the recent Fantasia screening, it should be interesting. Fans of the original have been very “passionate” during Q&A’s… Personally, I’m not against the idea of a remake of this film, and from what I’ve heard, this one does it right…
Day 8 (Friday, August 20th):
The last night of the festival starts with the killer tire film (yes, you read that right!) Rubber. From what I’ve heard, this movie packed multiple screenings at Fantasia this year to full capacity, so I’m interested to see what all the buzz is about! Plus, who turn down the chance to see a movie about a tire that kills people? Not me, anyway…
Following that film, and closing out the festival, is the notorious Human Centipede, which is having it’s Toronto Premier at the festival. With all the hype about this movie by the mainstream press, I’m not sure what to expect. I’m guess that it is far from as messed up as they make it out to be, but that part aside, I’m hoping that it is at least a fun watch… I’ll be sure to let you know…
The Closing Gala follows…
So, that’s about all I have for the overview of the festival… For more info on the festival or the films, feel free to mosey on over to TAD‘s official page HERE. I have to run to get ready for the first film, but I’m going to leave you with the official promo video for the festival, which is below… Remember to keep your eyes here for a lot more to come!