How did I know this would eventually happen to me! Writing The Film Reel is an amazing thing which has put me in touch with tons of creators, artists and fans across the globe. It’s also put me right in the middle of what’s new from all over. Today I realized that it also means I’ve seen 3 of the flicks that are scheduled for Toronto After Dark this year. Sadness fills my soul sometimes!
Robogeisha, The Human Centipede and Phobia 2 will be playing this year and I’ve already reviewed them for the blog. Of course, my Robogeisha didn’t have subtitles yet so that will be a new experience at least. Phobia 2 was pretty well done and I can’t wait to watch the last short of that movie again but The Human Centipede didn’t even come close to expectations. It’s not that the movie was bad, it’s just that there’s so much hype for it that it couldn’t live up to. It’s the Trick R’ Treat of this years festival honestly. Everyone wants to see it, the place will be packed and everyone will love it but I’ll leave the theater thinking about how many other flicks were so much better at the festival.
At least I’m ahead of the curve for some of the flicks. Of course, seeing 3 flicks out of 16 isn’t really that much so lets move beyond my whining (I’m in a particularly bad mood today, sorry folks!) and check out what we have for this years fest. For those who are new to the fest I’ll explain a little first. Before each feature film one Canadian Short film will play as part of what is called Canada After Dark. Check the entire line-up here. Hopefully I’ll get to have my own short up there one year! On the first Saturday of the fest is a program called Shorts After Dark which features international shorts. This year there will be 10 shorts and you can get that list here. I’ll be going over every little tidbit of info they have out there so get ready for what always becomes my longest post every year, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival Announcement!
Spoiler warning!!! If I can find some of the shorts online I will be posting them here for the benefit of those who can’t come to the TAD festival. If you don’t want to see them then don’t watch them.
All synopsis’ come straight from the After Dark website.
Friday August 13th
7:00 pm – The Necronomicon – CAD Short – Dir. Joseph Nanni
Making your way in the world today takes everything you got… Thank Cthulhu for Abdul Alhazred and his book that’s got all the answers!
A search for the short turned up this youtube clip. I won’t pretend to think this is the actual short but it could be. I wouldn’t want to look like an ass if it wasn’t! If you can’t make the fest then check the clip out, if you’re heading to After Dark then just skip the clip and watch it at the theater. Hey, I’m just trying to show all the readers that can’t make it what they’re missing. Don’t yell at me if you’re going and I spoiled the short for you. You’ve been warned! HAHA!
7:00 pm – The Last Lovecraft – Dir. Henry Saine
Part creature-feature, part buddy-comedy, Henry Saine’s debut film THE LAST LOVECRAFT is a genre fan’s delight. Imagine a cross between SHAUN OF THE DEAD and JACK BROOKS MONSTER SLAYER and it’s easy to see why this film was a hit at Slamdance! Jeff’s life is heading nowhere fast: he’s stuck in a crummy office cubicle job, and he’s drifting apart from his comic book reading buddies. But when Jeff finds out that not only is he the last living relative of legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but only he can save the earth from an invasion of Sea Monsters, he realizes it’s time to reconnect with his old pals. At least one of them might know what to do when faced with a swarm of monstrous tentacles! Featuring a slew of memorable characters (Old Sea Captain Olaf practically steals the film), cool animated comic book sequences mixed in with lofi but effectively creepy monster effects, THE LAST LOVECRAFT is an unmissable crowd-pleaser for both FREAKS & GEEKS (Martin Starr from the show of the same name even has a cameo), and the perfect way to kick off the 5th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival!
Looks promising. I hate judging a film based on its trailer though, I’ve been burned by that a lot lately. TAD always kicks off with a bang and I’ve never been disappointed by an opening night feature so I hope the trend continues. I love the idea of the lo-fi monster effects and that fish person thing in the trailer looks amusing. Should be good times.
Now normally I would head out to the after party for the opening night but the ghouls over at The Toronto Zombie Walk are having a fiendraising event the same night and I want to show my love for the Zombie Walk. Sorry TAD opening night party but there’s only so much Hagi to go around and I gotta spread the love! We’ll always have the closing night party!
Saturday August 14th
4:15 pm – Shorts After Dark
Here comes a slew of stuff! This year there’s 10 shorts so lets check them out.
Barcelona Venice – Dir. David Munoz
An executive stumbles upon an inter-dimensional secret that could shake the very foundations of human existence. And the airplane companies are not very happy about it.
Demiurge Emesis – Dir. Aurelio Voltaire
TAD alumni Aurelio Voltaire presents his latest stop motion short portraying the anguish of the artist through the experiences of a mummified cat. Narrated by Danny Elfman and featuring the music of chamber-rock band Rasputina!
You can check the full short at this link.
Last year Voltaire had X-Mess Detrius at the fest and you can check my very short review and a clip right here.
Deus Irae - Dir. Pedro Cristiani
Humming a sweet lullaby, a mother tucks her daughter into bed. It’s a shame that she has been possessed by a hellish demon from beyond our world.
Holy crap! Judging from that trailer alone this one looks like an amazing short. Can’t wait for it.
Frank Dancoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer – Dir. Andrew Jones
When Neo-Mega-Ultra-Tokyo is besieged by a new drug that is wrecking havoc on its citizens, it’s up to ace reporter Holly Malone to uncover and squash the source – no matter how many stop-motion fiends get in her way.
You can check the full short at this link.
Wacky looking stuff. Way over the top. Another one I can’t wait to see on the big screen
The Library – Dir. Levi Macdougall & David Dineen Porter
From the video game company that brought you Resident Evil, comes their most frightening and emotionally exhausting game yet.
Check the full short out right here!
I don’t think I would play that game. Just saying.
Off Season – Dir. Jonathan Van Tulleken
In the remote Canadian winter, a transient robs summer cottages in the bleak days and drinks in the bleak nights. Until his dog stumbles upon a less-than-empty cottage with a terrifying secret.
Here’s a quick clip from the short.
That’s not much to go on but it sounds interesting.
Primer Contacte (First Contact) – Dir. Pau Escribana
A lonely astronaut wanders the stars. He sleeps. He eats. He cleans. He waits. But when he finally makes contact, will he be able to perform?
Pumzi - Dir. Wanuri Kahiu
In a dystopic future where water is scarce and society is forced underground, a young scientist believes she might have found signs of life on the planet, and risks her life to investigate.
Looks interesting and clocks in at 23 mins which should allow for some great character exploration.
The Thomas Beale Cipher – Dir. Andrew Allen
Sickness. Madness. Murder. All three haunt a century old riddle that hides the location of a lost fortune. Cryptographer Professor White joins the league of the many before him who have attempted to solve the notorious cipher, but White is not alone in his pursuit.
Sorry, couldn’t find any info beyond the synopsis over at TAD!
United Monster Talent Agency – Dir. Greg Nicotero
Directors Frank Darabont, Robert Rodriguez and Eli Roth cameo amidst dozens of horror film icons in this impeccably meticulous and loving tribute to monster movies. Produced by the award-winning artists at KNB Effects Group (Army of Darkness, Scream and hundreds of other classic horror films).
Couldn’t find anything on this one either but this sounds like something I can really get into. Big name talent with those cameos and Greg Nicotero. Can’t wait.
7:00 pm – Inferno of the Dead – CAD Short – Dir. Jeremy Gillespie
When the dead walk the earth, it won’t just be our lives that will be in jeopardy, but also our patience.
Check the full short right here.
7:00 pm – Doghouse – Dir. Jake West
What’s a middle-aged man to do when his wife has left him and he’s down in the dumps? Go to a small English village with your best mates and try to drown your sorrows in endless pints of beer in a town where women outnumber men 3 to 1. But when Vince and his pals arrive in Moodley, they find that the women are indeed insatiable, but not for sex! Being used in a strange government experiment has turned the women of Moodley into man-flesh-eating zombies! As the friends find themselves under attack from the infected, cannibalistic women, the disparate group must band together to get the hell out of dodge. Directed by Jake West (EVIL ALIENS, RAZOR BLADE SMILE) and starring Danny Dyer (SEVERANCE) and Noel Clarke (DOCTOR WHO), Doghouse is in the grand tradition of British horror-comedies, where the men face down death with British wit, fortitude, cursing… and cricket bats.
Hot damn that looks sweet. I’m a big fan of Danny Dyer so when I noticed he was in there I got a little more excited! This is also zombie appreciation night in association with the Toronto Zombie Walk so dress like a zombie and get in for $8 instead of $13
9:45 pm – They Shall Pay With Rivers of Blood – CAD Short – Dir. Buck Anderson
It is the end of days. The dead now walk the earth. One man stands against the zombie onslaught, but is he humanity’s savior or an even worse force of destruction.
Check the full short right here.
9:45 pm – Evil in the Time of Heroes – Dir. Yorgos Noussias
The Greeks are coming, the Zombies are here! In 2005, Yorgos Noussias brought the zombie apocalypse film home with Greece’s first foray into Romero country… EVIL. Don’t worry though, EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES is a sequel that requires no introduction. (Think EVIL DEAD 2) An ancient evil has once again transformed the populace into flesh-hungry undead, just like it did 2,800 years earlier. Part period piece, part Zom-Com, part gore-tastic excess, we follow a rag-tag group of survivors, including our narrator, a swarmy taxi driver who has somehow survived an unfortunate impaling, and may have more in common with the heroes of olde than you’d ever guess, as they evade crazed degenerates and zombies alike. Thankfully, the Prophitis is here to randomly slice and dice the zombie horde and impart the wisdom of the ages upon our survivors. Did I mention that the Prophitis is none other than Billy Zane!? (DEAD CALM, ZOOLANDER). EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES is tailor made for the zombie lover in all of us, filled to the bloody brim with vicious battles, pitch-black humour, and a whacked-out sense of epic mythology.
This one I’m a little less sure of. It does have Billy Zane in there which already makes it an interesting choice. Again this is a zombie event so come dressed as a zombie for $8 admission.
Alright, that covers Friday and Saturday. There’s still 6 more days but I don’t want this post to be an endless stream so I’m going to break it up. this will be part 1 and I’ll probably break the rest of the TAD fest up into 2 more posts, to make it easier to get through. On to the next part!
Under the marquee – Will