The next couple of months are going to be a good time to be a horror fan in Toronto. In August we've got Toronto After Dark (stay tuned next week to find out the rest of the lineup) and September 10-19 the city is host to the Toronto International Film Festival and it's genre-rific program Midnight Madness. We'll see a few high profile debuts in Midnight Madness including "Jennifer's Body," "George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead" (which is apparently the official title) and "[REC] 2". I'm hesitantly optimistic about all three (some more hesitantly than others) but everybody knows that the real gems are the ones nobody had heard of coming in and everybody is buzzing about coming out. Let's check out the other tasty wares TIFF has on offer.
The movie I'm most looking forward to based on the trailer is "Daybreakers," a futuristic sci-fi vampire action movie starring Sam Neill, Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. It's the Spierig Brothers' long awaited follow-up to the underrated 2003 Aussie zombie splat-com, "Undead."
"Bitch Slap" is billed as a return to the sexploitation action films of the 60s and 70s but the trailer looks more like 80s Skinemax with a dash of "Kill Bill." It's from some of the guys behind "Hercules" and "Xena" and features cameos from Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo. People care about that, right?
"Symbol" is the latest outing from "Big Man Japan" director Hitoshi Matsumoto. How do you follow up a movie about a giant in purple underwear fighting genitalia-themed monsters? I'll let the official TIFF description speak for itself.
"In the central tale, a Japanese man (Matsumoto) wakes up alone in a brightly illuminated white room with no windows or doors. When he presses a mysteriously phallic protuberance that appears on one wall, a pink toothbrush materializes from nowhere, clattering to the floor and setting in motion a genuinely bizarre chain of events. Soon the imprisoned man is engaged in absurd and hilarious attempts to escape the gleaming room, releasing random objects from the walls, creating a life-sized Mouse Trap game in which a rope, a toilet plunger and an earthenware jug full of sushi might just be the keys to his escape.
Meanwhile, in a dusty town, a green-masked Mexican wrestler known as Escargot Man prepares for an important match. His family gathers around him, worried about his seeming impassivity before battle. As the nameless prisoner appears closer to escape and Escargot Man steps into the ring, Matsumoto amplifies the baffling yet suspenseful atmosphere to a crescendo of ridiculous excess."
Solomon Kane is a puritan swordsman best known as the creation of pulp writer Robert E. Howard who isn't Conan the Barbarian. Intended to be the first entry in a trilogy of films, the buzz so far is very positive so this could be "Van Helsing" minus all the sucking. There's no trailer yet but here's a video of director Michael Bassett describing his take on the movie.
"A Town Called Panic"
Fans of crudely animated, mildly amusing Belgian stop motion animation, your prayers have been answered. "A Town Called Panic" started as a series of ho-hum 5 minute shorts and now has been expanded to a ho-hum feature length movie. Yay?
"The Loved One"
Rounding out the lineup (well, except for "Ong Bak 2" which is hard to get too excited about) is another Australian film, "The Loved One." There's no trailer and not a lot of info out yet but the synopsis sounds like torture porn goes to the prom. A boy turns down a girl's invitation to the prom and is abducted by her and her father and forced to take part in some deranged event where he is the entertainment. Wait a minute... they have proms in Australia?