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This Year’s Midnight Madness Lineup Promises To Terrorize And Mesmerize

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Now in its second year under the supervision of programmer Peter Kuplowsky, Midnight Madness is still the Toronto International Film Festival’s most reliable source of provocative entertainment. “This year’s Midnight Madness slate promises another idiosyncratic confluence of established and emerging genre filmmakers,” Kuplowsky explains. He also plans to “demonstrate the dexterity of genre cinema as a canvas for both sublime satisfaction and stunning subversion.”

Midnight Madness is known for offering an equal mix of sure things and wild card surprises. While we’ll have to wait to find out about the latter (namely Diamantino, The Man Who Feels No Pain, Nekrotronic, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, and The Wind), here are the genre essentials that best exemplify the former.

The Predator

After several delays, Shane Black’s Predator revival will finally hit theatres on September 14. But die-hard fans will get a chance to see the film—and its stars—a week early at TIFF. As the festival synopsis (“destructive extraterrestrials wreak havoc on a small town, forcing an ex-soldier and a biologist to take action”) makes clear, this is action-horror in a blunt, no-nonsense vein—just the way we like it.

Halloween

Believe it or not, the Halloween franchise has been dormant for nine years, but eclectic auteur David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Stronger) has enlisted Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter (who serves as composer and executive producer) to bring back the spirit of the original.

In Fabric

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After demonstrating a distinctive command of arthouse genre aesthetics with TIFF favourites Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy, director Peter Strickland makes his Midnight Madness debut with In Fabric, a mysterious new ghost story that “follows the surge of misfortunes afflicting customers who come into contact with a bewitched dress at an eerie department store.”

Assassination Nation

Following in the footsteps of last year’s Midnight Madness opener Bodied, Assassination Nation delivers topical, button-pushing satire that’s a perfect fit for the culture wars of 2018. Already a sensation at Sundance, the sophomore effort from director Sam Levinson (son of Barry) follows four young women who are “accused of hacking and publishing their community’s private information, launching a proverbial witch hunt with very real consequences.”

Climax

Shock-obsessed filmmaker Gaspar Noé didn’t generate much heat with 2015’s Love, but the impact of his earlier exercises in excess (Irreversible, Enter the Void) make his latest provocation essential viewing. The surprise sensation of the Cannes Film Festival, Climax is a “true story” depicting “the malevolent madness that envelops a dance troupe’s post-rehearsal party after a punchbowl of sangria is spiked with LSD.”

Beginning with The Predator on September 6, Midnight Madness debuts new movies for 10 consecutive nights at the Toronto International Film Festival—with repeat screenings later in the festival. Ticket packages are available now.