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You’ll Lose Sleep Over TIFF’s Midnight Madness Lineup

yakuza apocalypse

If you know a thing or two about genre cinema, you know the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness programme as one of the world’s foremost events for all things horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, and action. The only catch is it has to be batshit cray.

One of the chief reasons Midnight Madness is such a stunner year after year is programmer Colin Geddes, who knows his audience probably more than any other TIFF curator. “Midnight Madness winds up festival audiences as the days are winding down and they are hungry for more,” says Geddes. “From adrenaline-filled action and untamed horror to twisted comedy and darkly blurred lines of reality, this year’s line-up welcomes back celebrated masters and fresh visionaries of renegade genre cinema.”

Enough teasing, here’s this year’s complete Midnight Madness lineup, complete with TIFF synopses. See you Sept 10-19 at midnight!

Opening Night Film: Green Room, Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, USA, North American Premiere

Broke, tired and at each other’s throats after a cancelled gig, a young punk rock band accepts a sketchy matinee show to get themselves home. When they stumble upon something they weren’t supposed to witness, the quartet is trapped in a terrifying siege. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (of 2013 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner Blue Ruin), the film stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, and Patrick Stewart.

Green Room is preceded by the previously announced short film The Chickening from directors Nick DenBoer and Davy Force.

Baskin, Directed by Can Evrenol, Turkey, World Premiere

baskin

A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building.” The nightmarish feature debut Baskin is the first-ever Midnight Madness film from Turkey.

The Devil’s Candy, Directed by Sean Byrne, USA, World Premiere

devils candy

The director of the 2009 Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award winner The Loved Ones is back with an equally fresh twist on the supernatural genre. “A struggling artist (Ethan Embry) and his family buy the house of their dreams only to discover the property’s mysterious dark past and a former tenant who wants more than to simply come back home.” From the producers of Midnight Madness hits You’re Next and The Guest.

The Girl in the Photographs, Directed by Nick Simon, USA, World Premiere 

the girl in the photographs

Big-city glamour clashes with small-town values and a killer’s knife, in this bloody cocktail of terror from director Nick Simon and executive producer Wes Craven. Colleen’s life in the sleepy town of Spearfish is disrupted when she starts receiving photographs of brutally murdered women. Things get even crazier for Colleen when L.A. based celeb-photographer Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn) returns to his hometown of Spearfish to investigate.” Wes Craven executive produces.

Hardcore, Directed by Ilya Naishuller, Russia/USA, World Premiere 

hardcore

Resurrected with no recollection of his past, a cyborg named Henry (the audience’s POV) and his ally, Jimmy (Sharlto Copley, District 9) must fight through the streets of Moscow in pursuit of Henry’s kidnapped wife in the world’s first action-adventure film to be entirely shot from the first person perspective.

The Mind’s Eye, Directed by Joe Begos, USA, World Premiere 

the minds eye

Joe Begos returns with a psychokinetic thriller “about Zack Connors (Graham Skipper), whose abilities have kept him off the grid for years until he’s recruited by the mysterious Dr. Slovak. The snowy New England landscape turns into a whirlwind of psychic rage, flying axes, and brutal revenge as Zack does everything in his power to stop Dr. Slovak’s deadly descent into synthetically engineered telekinetic madness.

Southbound, Directed by Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, and Radio Silence, USA, World Premiere 

southbound

Five intertwining tales of terror unfold along an endless desert highway. On a desolate stretch of road, weary travelers—two men on the run from their past, a band on their way to the next gig, a man struggling to get home, a brother in search of his long-lost sister and a family on vacation — are forced to confront their worst fears and darkest secrets in these interwoven tales of terror and remorse on the open road.

SPL 2 – A Time For Consequences, Directed by Soi Cheang, Hong Kong, International Premiere 

The anticipated follow-up to the bone-cracking martial arts brawler SPL (also known as Sha Po Lung and Kill Zone) that debuted in the programme in 2005 stars Midnight Madness discovery Tony Jaa (Ong Bak). When an undercover cop (Wu Jing) has his cover blown and is thrown into a prison in Thailand run by a crime syndicate, he must team up with a prison guard (Jaa) to bust out and get revenge on those who wronged him. Filled with gun battles, prison riots and frenetic fight choreography, SPL 2 might knock the wind out of you—and possibly a few teeth.

Yakuza Apocalypse (Gokudo Daisenso), Directed by Takashi Miike, Japan, North American

Japanese cinematic extremist Takashi Miike returns to his gonzo roots with this mind-melter that finds room for vampires, gangsters, monsters, martial arts and even a yakuza knitting circle. A true master and MVP of the programme, Miike wowed previous Midnight Madness audiences with such hits as Fudoh: The New Generation, Audition, The City of Lost Souls, Ichi the Killer, Zebraman, The Great Yokai War and Sukiyaki Western Django. He returns with a film too wild to be described and too fun to be missed!

Closing Night Film: The Final Girls, Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, USA, World Premiere

the final girls

Max (American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga) is a high school senior whose mom (Malin Akerman) was a celebrated ’80s scream queen. At a screening, Max and her friends are mysteriously transported inside her mom’s most infamous movie, where they must fend off the camp counselors’ raging hormones, battle a deranged machete-wielding killer and find a way to escape the movie and get back home.

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