Howdy everyone! Jeff here to check in for our continuous coverage of Toronto After Dark 2010 here on The Blood Sprayer.
Now, while every day has been a blast so far, last night was a tad bit crazier because, for the first film of the evening, the festival housed the Toronto Premier of Daniel Stamm‘s The Last Exorcism. And, what’s more, Producer Eli Roth was in attendance, along with cast members Ashley Bell and Patrick Fabian. With such a high profile screening taking place (love it or hate it, the film has had a pretty aggressive ad campaign, and Roth is great at getting attention), the street outside of the Bloor Cinema was like a madhouse.
The media stations were there, the police were all over, and there was security at every door in the house (presumably to make sure nobody took filmed footage of the movie). Plus, every single ticket holder and pass-holder showed up tonight for the sold out screening, making for some very long lines down the block. Add to that the hundreds of folks who showed up to try and get a glimpse of the actors walking the red carpet, and the huge line of people who were trying to find tickets and/or standing in the rush line (if some seats end up being empty, some rush line folks might get in), and it was a pretty wild sight.
In fact, the line of people hoping to get in at the last minute was pretty much all the way to the subway stop around the block when I got there, and that was a couple hours before the movie started. I ended up having to walk in the middle of traffic just to get to the pass-holder’s line, because the sidewalk was overflowing with activity. Not very safe, but it beat trying to maneuver my way through the wall of people that were gathered there.
Anyhow, we eventually got inside, and I managed to get a great seat for the show (pass-holders generally do, so if you’re ever planning on going, it’s definitely the way to go). Even though we were all shoulder to shoulder in the place, everyone in my row was easy-going and respectful, so I really couldn’t have asked for more.
Eventually, Festival Director Adam Lopez took the stage to say a few words and introduce Roth, who was very entertaining and extremely gracious to the Toronto crowd. This is unsurprising, as Toronto played a very integral part in getting his first film, Cabin Fever, a distribution deal, so he really does owe a lot to the fans in the city, and he openly admitted as much before welcoming Bell and Fabian up on the stage.
Roth then sung the praises of the two cast members, saying that they were really the ones who made the film what it was. He also told the fans that, after years of working on it, the film was now theirs and he encouraged people in the audience to go and put their opinions out using whatever social media tools they may choose, as that was really what would help the film when it opens at the end of the month. In true Eli Roth fashion, he also had a few very humorous (and very sarcastic) comments at the end about what people who don’t like the movie should do. It really was a hilarious moment, and meant as a joke, so hopefully nobody took it out of context; though you would have to be pretty stupid to think he was serious, as any press is good press.
I managed to film most of the intro on my digital camera, so if it came out as decent as it looks like it may have, I’m hoping to get it up here after I get back home. Unfortunately, I don’t have the kind of Internet access here that would really allow me to do it sooner, as it is probably a fairly large upload.
Anyway, as with all films at TAD, The Last Exorcism was preceded by a Canadian short film. This was another one from the guys who made the Inferno of the Dead short, the Astro 6 team, and it was entitled Fireman. It was a mock trailer that was made to look like an old late 70’s/early 80’s horror/revenge flick, and it was easily my favorite short that I have seen at the festival. Since it is online, I have included it below, and I highly recommend taking a look at it. Keep an eye out for the references to classic horror films (and there are tons!) like Halloween and The Burning.
After Fireman ended, we got a trailer for Alexandre Aja‘s Piranha 3-D, which opens this weekend, and then The Last Exorcism started. Overall, I liked it quite a bit, which was a pleasant surprise, as I was fairly unsure of how it would turn out when I went in. I plan to write a full review when I get some time, but the one thing that I do want to say here is that the studio’s marketing for the film really doesn’t fit with what the movie ends up being about. The film is less about the plight of the young girl who may or may not be possessed, and more about the story of fraudulent preacher who finds himself questioning his faith (or lack of faith, if you will). That being said, there are still some very horrific moments, just not the type that the trailer might suggest, and some are more real-world than others.
As with most horror films, people will definitely be divided on this one. However, there are some strong performances, and the “found footage” style of the film is far less gimmicky (and nauseating) as many others have been. Plus, there are some genuinely creepy moments, and Stamm used the jump scares much less frequently than expected. That being said, I thought it was a good little film, and I hope people go out and see it; just don’t expect the story to center solely on the possession aspect.
After the credits started to roll, the house lights came up and Roth and company took the stage again for some Q&A. Again, the group was very entertaining as they fielded questions on everything from the possibility of a sequel (Roth says there isn’t any plans on his part to make one), the actors’ involvement in the story process (they had a lot of input), and the film’s ending (which was much different than many probably expected). I managed to get some footage of this as well, and if it comes out, I’d be more than happy to share it, so check back for that sometime next week. Just bear in mind that there are some spoilers included in it.
After the crowd dispersed, I went out to line up for the night’s next film, Alien vs Ninja. I have to admit that it was rather nice to be in a much less crowded audience for this. Once we got inside, things were pretty much back to normal TAD standards. Lots of people, but you still had room to move.
After the usual introduction, we got to check out the Canadian short Massacrator from Pierre Ayotte. This ended up being a very eccentric film about the Terminator fighting Elvis. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it to be nearly as fun as it sounded; mostly because the Elvis aspect seems to be secondary. However, there were some humorous moments and people getting their heads punched off, which is always a plus in my book. I couldn’t find the whole short, but I’ve posted the trailer below.
Once that ended, we got right into the Japanese film Alien vs Ninja, which unlike some other films with similar names (*cough, cough* Alien vs Predator *cough, cough*), actually delivered on it promise for most of the running time. The film comes to us from much of the same team who were responsible for awesome (and ridiculous) fight scenes in Versus, and many of the cast members from that film are in it as well. So, if you liked that movie you should enjoy this one.
There’s not much to the premise of AvN — a bunch of ninjas fight some aliens, that’s it — but then again, if you’re going to see a film like this, you should already know that going in. Of course, you also get the over-the-top visuals, violence, and acting that Japanese films of this sort are famous for. The alien is basically a dude in a big rubber suit, and the filmmakers really don’t do much to cover that, and the dialog is pretty laughable, but all of this is done on purpose, and it works better than you would expect. Plus, the fight scenes are just out of control and have to be seen to be believed. If this sounds like your kind of movie (if you need more convincing than what I’ve said already, it’s not), then you shouldn’t hesitate to check AvN out.
After the last film, I headed over to the pub and had a couple drinks. However, I was pretty beat after all of the previous days’ excitement, so I headed back to the hotel pretty early (around 1:30am, I think). Other than some fun conversation about the night’s movies, there isn’t much else to report.
So, that about wraps it up for Day 4 of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Overall, it was another successful night, and probably one of the busiest and highest profile in the festival’s history. Tonight we are going to be treated to the Thai anthology film, Phobia 2, as well as the insane-looking All About Evil, which will have its director in attendance for a Q&A session and a costume competition.
Don’t forget, if you missed any of the previous days’ coverage, or just want to find all of the related articles in one place, you can use the badge on our front page or go HERE. Remember, there will be more to come even after the festival is over, so keep checking back to make sure that you don’t miss anything! Also, for more pictures from the festival, check out TAD‘s Official Facebook Page.
And, with that, I leave you with the short films from Day 4… Enjoy!