While walking into the theatre for [rec] the other night, I ran into Adam Lopez - director of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (about to begin its third annual fest). We only met briefly last year, but he's always seemed (via his film introductions at the fest screenings) to be very upbeat and enthusiastic. And it's obvious he loves the "genre" films that are being programmed at festivals like this, Fantasia (Montreal), the Fantastic Film Festival (Amsterdam) and Fantastic Fest (Austin - check out Fox's coverage at Tractor Facts). He was handing out flyers for the festival to those in line and he appeared to genuinely be very excited for this year's lineup.
And now that the full festival lineup has been released, I see why...
Festival Trailer #2
Festival Trailer #1
My initial Pavlovian response is that I'm going to go see every single film...The Toronto After Dark site has trailers for all of them (under their separate titles), so please visit the site to dig deeper. Here's a couple of them that I quite liked and a few comments on each of the selections.
Toronto After Dark Film List
Let The Right One In - This Swedish vampire production won Best Film at the Tribeca, Fantasia and Edinburgh festivals and has had a great deal of buzz. Trailer looks great:
Idiots And Angels - The winner of the Best Animated Film at Fantasia. It looks like it could be pretty cool with lots of strange characters and occurrences. I just hope the animation style doesn't get tiring for a full feature length film.
MirageMan - Low-ish budget Chilean super-hero movie with what looks to be great fights and a good sense of humour.
Repo! The Genetic Opera - Come on, the title alone lays out the necessity to see this. I'm a bit concerned due to the presence of Paris Hilton, but it won Most Groundbreaking Film at Fantasia and looks like a new Rocky Horror - but about repossessing donated organs. I want to see this now.
Donkey Punch - So far the least interesting looking of the bunch - young people party, take drugs, kill each other. I'm hoping they build some solid tension.
Shorts After Dark - The vast majority of horror/sci-fi shorts I've seen at After Dark and the International Short Film Festival have been highly enjoyable. This slot has a whole slew of them.
Kevin Tenney's Brain Dead - This could be goofy gory good fun ("That zombie's packin'!"). Or it could totally gross me out. I'm crossing my fingers for the former.
Trailer Park Of Terror - The reanimated corpses of trailer park denizens begin to attack the passengers of a broken down bus. See how simple it is to put together an elevator pitch?
Red - Seriously, should anyone really go around pissing off Bryan Cox? Lucky McKee's latest film (he's a co-director here) is a tale of revenge and though the trailer didn't grab me, there's certainly some possibilities here.
4BIA (Phobia) - A Thai anthology of 4 horror stories containing segments by the directors of "Shutter" and "Alone" (one of the best films at last year's festival and sadly still hasn't shown up in any kind of release around here). I'm betting on incomprehensible story lines, but some great solid creepiness.
Netherbeast Incorporated - A horror comedy with office vampires. The cast has some known names (Dave Foley, Darrell Hammond, Judd Nelson) and what could be a good premise. The trailer didn't inspire many laughs, but I'm gonna stay positive and hope that it builds as the picture goes on.
Who Is KK Downey? - A couple of losers turn their fictional novel's hero into a real person and begin a cult of personality. I'm hoping this is a biting satire, but that's a hard task to accomplish for even the most seasoned of filmmakers.
Mutant Chronicles - Though it looks like one of those dark humourless sci-fi future tales, the special effects look well done and the cast is solid (Malkovich!). Devon Aoki's also in it, so at least my eyes will be happy.
South Of Heaven - Highly stylized crime film which looks to have lots of dark humour. I like the cartoonish visual sense of it.
Tokyo Gore Police - Over the top gore...I'm going into this one with a bit of trepidation - gore can be fine in small doses and when it fits in the film, but I find it's not as good when it's wall to wall. My understanding is that this film takes it way beyond standard over-the-top levels and therefore makes it almost common place. Gulp...
Home Movie - Home videos of two 10 year-old twins becoming progressively more evil. Looks promising, but the gimmick can be tough to pull off.
I Sell The Dead - After a life of digging up vampire and zombie bodies, a young graverobber learns to "never, ever, trust a corpse". The closing gala event, and second Ron Perlman film of the fest, looks to be a strong finisher.