Seven days of mayhem has come and gone. As the Toronto After Dark Film Festival brought us a full week of jump out of our seat moments, scares, swords and last but not least, zombies! After consuming countless tea's, 2 bags of popcorn and the ink running dry of my pen from notes we are left with some great film and experiences. Considering the stellar film selection shown to enthusiastic and large crowds I would say it is destined to continue to bring us more spooktackular films in years to come. I know I have decided to add it to my yearly October rituals, and I think you should as well. If you need more convincing, here are some highlights of the fest.
Best Zombie Film: Mulberry Street - This is not only my favourite zombie film of the festival but also my overall favourite film of the festival. You have zombies, a great story and strong characters. It was a treat that the director as well as members of the cast and crew were present on Day 1 which made it an extra special screening.
Best Thriller: Alone - the trailer for Alone was so scary that on first viewing I had to stop watching, and the film itself led to many jumps and squeals and hiding behind my own hands.
Best Fantasy: Wolfhound - impressive epic Russian film that had all the mixings for fantasy fare, and then some.
Best 'Other': The Rebel, as a historical martial arts film seems not to fit in the other categories, but it was still excellent and well worth mentioning.
Best Short: Terror on the 3918 (Dir: Mathieu Fontaine) on Day 2. Inventive use of everyday items and an apartment as a ship. It's a must see.
Scariest Imagery: Dream sequences in Nightmare Detective
Icky-ist Imagery: Poultrygeist, on so many levels
Best Double Bill: Day 5 double bill of Wolfhound and Alone. Although the two films have nothing in common in terms of theme, they were stand outs in terms of quality.
Still has me thinking: Audience of One from Day 2. The documentary about one mans create a biblical Star Wars type film when he has no film background. What still has me thinking, is why the overwhelming instant reaction is humour.
Interesting Trend: In complete reversal of behaviour in the majority of screenings I went to, the crowd for TADFF often had people quickly opt to sit in the very front row. Centre/centre filled up as well, but people liked to be front and centre as well. I myself opted for the side section on the aisle for good sightlines.
Repeating themes: The world run out of natural resources and alternative are needed - usually scary ones, twins and of course, zombies!!!!
Fullest Screenings: Mulberry Street, Automaton Transfusion and Poultrygeist. Toronto After Dark fans love their zombies!
Wish I hadn't missed: Murder Party. The premise felt a little much for me, but it received glowing reviews across the board. Perhaps I will get a chance to see it on the Blood Car/Murder Party tour.
Wish I hadn't heard: Although I love that each film was introduced, on a few occasions I heard a little more than I would have expected about the film we were about to see. I loved the enthusiasm, but 'Don't worry - everyone dies' is a little too much. We are there in the theatre, we don't need further convincing to see the film.
Best Experience: Day 2 Screening of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Q&A with director Uwe Boll lead by Chris Alexander. The audience was enthusiastic, the film was highly entertaining and getting to see Dr. Uwe Boll in person was beyond cool.
Funnest collective experience: Zombies, zombies and more zombies. Walking out of Audience of One to a sidewalk full of zombies waiting for the double bill of zombie flicks that night. Totally awesome.
Can't wait for: Next October to come to see more amazing horror and fantasy films!
The Toronto After Dark Film Festival ran from October 19-25/07 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.