Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Toronto After Dark 2009 - First Wave of Announcements
Today marked the release of the first 8 film titles that will be showing at this year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival. It's the fourth year for the festival, but the first time it will take over the Bloor Cinema in its new August time slot (Aug. 14-21). There's still another 9 films to be announced as well as all of the shorts (there is usually a full program of shorts as well as individual Canadian ones preceding all features).
Here's the list and trailers for each (I don't think a single one of them is Safe For Work, so be forewarned):
TRICK ‘R TREAT
Michael Dougherty, USA, Toronto Premiere
This is a highly anticipated film in many circles and has managed to get itself an IMDB rating (granted from only ~500 people most of whom would have seen it at other horror festivals) of 9.4. Four separate creepy stories tie-in together on one particular Halloween evening. For a horror film, it has a pretty stellar cast (Anna Paquin, Bryan Cox, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb) and I'm hoping this will be as much fun as last year's "4bia" (why is that still not released? Argh!). It won an audience award at the Los Angeles ScreamFest.
Paul Solet, Canada, Toronto Premiere
What would you do if your new born baby would eat only one thing? One single thing...which happens to be BLOOD! OK, so not a quandry you'll likely be presented with anytime soon, but it could very well make for a very interesting horror film if handled well. This was also at Sundance this year and I seem to remember hearing some good reactions.
VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL
Yoshihiro Nishimura, Japan, Toronto Premiere
Dueling dead high school girls. With lots of blood. And romance! And comedy! And blood...By the same folks who brought us last year's "Tokyo Gore Police" (strangely hypnotic, very inventive, though slightly dull by the end) comes what could be splatter to the nth degree. I'm bringing a poncho to protect my clothing...By the way, Nishimura stars in another upcoming film (and also handles makeup and special effects) called "Robo-geisha". Now why did it take so long for someone to name their film that?
Warning - way over the top gore in this trailer...
Gerald McMorrow, UK, North American Premiere
Four separate character arcs are visited across two different time periods - current London and a strange futuristic world. My gut feel is that this is the least interesting of the bunch, but this is the very first I've heard of the film, so I'm hoping it surprises.
THE FORBIDDEN DOOR
Joko Anwar, Indonesia, Canadian Premiere
An Indonesian thriller that is compared to work from David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky, this sounds like it could be one of those mind-trip films that's chock full of gorgeous cinematography and very loose on plot. Word is the thriller angle is also quite well done and a surprise ending is in store too.
EMBODIMENT OF EVIL
José Mojica Marins, Brazil, Toronto Premiere
Marins brings back his character Coffin Joe - made famous from "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" and numerous sequels - for the first time in about 30 years. In this most recent version, the insane undertaker is let go from prison and proceeds to continue his quest for a mother to his child. I've only seen the initial Coffin Joe film - which had its moments but didn't really leave a lasting impression - so the jury is out on this one. I have to say the trailer isn't doing much for me...
Pierre Laffargue, France, Toronto Premiere
This sounds like it is the action packed film of the festival. I vaguely remember seeing the trailer for it many months ago and thinking that it had potential to be great...or terribly, terribly bad. The term "Blaxploitation" is also being bandied about in discussion about the film - so either that means it will be tons of fun or a lame attempt at recreating something that was of its time. Will either be a winner or total failure.
SOMEONE’S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR
Chad Ferrin, USA, Canadian Premiere
Twitch says “Rarely been so delighted by a movie so depraved”. I'm pretty trusting of the good folks at Twitch, but it's hard to read what they mean by "depraved". A bunch of medical students are suffering from hallucinations due to experimental drugs as well as being chased by a serial killer (not a great combination). Whether this ends up being of the "Hostel" variety or more of a throwback to real grindhouse films is the big question for me - I'm hoping the latter and the trailer indicates it may be.
Strangely enough, for all the gore on hand, this is probably the most fun and sociable fest of the year and always contains some truly terrific films. 5 weeks to go!