The Midnight Madness film announcement is a press release I look forward every year at TIFF. Who will be kicking ass this year? Or getting thier ass kicked? Will there be new horrific horror films, monsters, psychos, vampires, stylish crime films and martial artists? What I love most of all is that often the answer is yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. It's also a the list where I'm very likely to have never heard of any of the titles before, which gets me in hyper-research mode. I like hyper-research mode. Here's my take on the titles post hyper-research mode!
The ones in which my eye and interest keep swerving to including the post apocalyptic The Day in part because I'm loving the cast of Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism), Dominic Monaghan, Shannyn Sossamon and Shawn Ashmore (Frozen) and also because I'll always give post apocalyptic films a shot as survivalist films often go in interesting places and I'm hoping the 'fight or die' has some awesome fighting. Also excited for The Raid right out of the gate for some fighting goodness as it stars "Indonesian martial arts sensation Iko Uwais", and the few Indonesian films I've seen so far I've enjoyed. I'm big on the supernatural these days so that puts Lovely Molly high on the anticipation list, a psychosis/possession film from Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project).
The hit man movie Kill List looks positively brutal (and their website has a trailer - yay!), it has has some unfamiliar faces (Neil Maskell and Harry Simpson) with impressive familiar faces (MyAnna Buring of Devil's Playground, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and Robin Hill of Down Terrace), which is always a good combination, plus I'm always up for a stylish UK crime thriller. More crime with Sleepless Night / Nuit blanche, a drug-dealing cop who goes too far and "must fight his way through packed dance floors and dark corridors of the labyrinth-like club.". Fighting & dance floors & clubs? Oh yea... I'm there. I'm always up for club-set films with dancing. Woot!
Looking to the brutal, I can only image that the French film The Incident set in an insane asylum and following regular folk that work there when the power (read: security) goes out can only be brutal, especially as French horror has been breaking some scary ground in recent years. More French craziness with Livid from A L’Interieur /Inside directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo with a mansion-set gothic horror - can't wait for that!
Filling in the more 'just plain weird!' spot would be Smuggler from director Katsuhito Ishii (Funky Forest) and just check out the Trailer if you don't believe - and no, it doesn't matter that there are no subtitles, the quirky oddness easily shines though. That's going to be awesome.More familiar names with Bobcat Goldthwait's comedy God Bless America and You’re Next from director Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die) with a home invasion film that promises many weapons flying.
One of the great things about Midnight Madness is that it's rare that the screenings will conflict with anything else. They are all at midnight, and rarely does another film run to or past that. TIFF offers a special pass to all of the Midnight Madness Screenings - see more info at the box office right here. If staying up super late isn't your thing, but extreme film is - don't worry, the films tend to have additional screenings throughout the festival. But now - I *really* want the schedule! What will open? What will close? My guess is The Day & The Raid respectively, but sadly it's too early to know! Talk about keeping us hanging. Not literally though - let's save that for the films.
And for the list-lovers, here are the details of the 10 titles in the 2011 TIFF Midnight Madness Programme right from the press release with additional links to IMDB Pages, trailers & official websites and original language titles if available. I've only found a few trailers & official sites so far, but I'll be sure to update them as I find more.
2011 TIFF Midnight Madness Programme
Dir: Douglas Aarniokoski, USA
IMDB Page, Official Facebook Page
In a post-apocalyptic future, an open war against humanity rages. Five survivors wander along rural back-roads, lost, starving and on the run. With dwindling food stocks and ammunition, an attempt at seeking shelter turns into a battleground where they must fight or die. Starring Ashley Bell, Dominic Monaghan and Shannyn Sossamon.
God Bless America
Dir: Bobcat Goldthwait, USA
Loveless, jobless and possibly terminally ill, Frank has had enough of the downward spiral of America. With nothing left to lose, Frank takes his gun and decides to off the stupidest, cruellest and most repellent members of society with an unusual accomplice: 16-year-old Roxy, who shares his sense of rage and disenfranchisement. From stand-up comedian and director Bobcat Goldthwait comes a scathing and hilarious attack on all that is sacred in the United States of America.
The Incident / 2011 Incident at Sans Asylum
Dir: Alexandre Courtes, France
George, Max and Ricky are in a rock band and waiting for their big breakthrough. Between small gigs and rehearsals they work in the kitchen of a high-security asylum for good pay at minimum risk – they have no physical contact with the inmates. One night just before dinnertime, a big storm shuts down the security system, the doors open and the lunatics break loose. Help is on its way and should soon arrive... they just have to survive until it does.
Dir: Ben Wheatley, United Kingdom
IMDB Page, Official Website & Trailer
Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier-turned-contract-killer Jay is pressured by his partner Gal into taking a new assignment. As they track their prey, they descend into a disturbing world that is darker and more depraved than anything they experienced on the battlefield.
Dirs: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, France
The directors of 2007’s Midnight Madness hit A L’Interieur (Inside) return with a twisted gothic nightmare. A young woman and her friends break into a decrepit mansion looking for treasure, only to unlock a dark secret of unspeakable horror ready to dish out bloody punishment for their greed.
Dir: Eduardo Sanchez, USA
No IMDB Page unless it's also/previously called The Possession - given the description it seems like could be a strong possibility
When newlywed Molly Reynolds returns to her long-abandoned family home, frightful reminders of a nightmarish childhood begin seeping into her new life. She soon begins an inexorable descent into evil that blurs the lines between psychosis and possession. From the director of The Blair Witch Project.
Dir: Gareth Evans, Indonesia
Deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums lies an impenetrable safe house for the world’s most dangerous killers and gangsters. Until now, the run-down apartment block has been considered untouchable to even the bravest of police. Cloaked under the cover of pre-dawn darkness and silence, an elite swat team is tasked with raiding the safe house in order to take down the notorious drug lord that runs it. But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news of their assault reaches the drug lord, the building’s lights are cut and all the exits blocked. Stranded on the sixth floor with no way out, the unit must fight their way through the city’s worst to survive their mission. Starring Indonesian martial arts sensation Iko Uwais.
Sleepless Night / Nuit blanche
Dir: Frederic Jardin, France/Belgium/Luxembourg
When Vincent, a double-dealing cop, steals a big bag of cocaine from some drug dealers they counter by kidnapping and threatening to kill his son if the bag isn’t returned – fast. The swap is to go down at their headquarters in a big nightclub on the outskirts of Paris, but Vincent gets caught in a spiral of deception and betrayal and must fight his way through packed dance floors and dark corridors of the labyrinth-like club.
Dir: Katsuhito Ishii, Japan
IMDB Page, Official Website & Trailer
After his dreams of becoming an actor go nowhere, 25-year-old Kinuta does nothing but gamble every day. Broke, framed and now neck-deep in debt, he is recruited as a smuggler – an underground mover of everything from dead bodies to illegal goods – but one cargo triggers the rage of a psychotic gangster hellbent on revenge. By acclaimed cult director Katsuhito Ishii of Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl and Funky Forest fame.
Dir: Adam Wingard, USA
From the director-writer team that brought TIFF audiences A Horrible Way To Die in 2010 comes a new experiment in tension. A family comes under a terrifying and sadistic attack during a reunion getaway. Barricaded in their secluded country home, they have to fight off a barrage of axes, crossbows and machetes from both inside and outside the house. Unfortunately for the killers, one of the victims proves to have a talent for fighting back.
The Toronto International Film Festival 2011 runs from September 8 - 18, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.