Sunday, July 19, 2009

Anticipating Madness

It's July 21st, so you know what that means: lock up the kids, put the chickens to bed and set the house on fire: it's Midnight Madness time!

Yup, the films are about to be announced and the excitement is palpable. This year, just for fun, I'm going to make a completely wild, non-educated, only half paying attention guess at the lineup for the programme. Why? Because I have no life, folks. That's why. So, take that, non-existent audience!

Anyway, here are my guesses for tomorrow's announcement:


Jennifer's Body (Karyn Kusama)

WHY? It's a trashy b-movie with a high profile, thanks to it being Diablo Cody's follow-up to Juno. Plus, it stars Megan Fox, who seems to be some sort of actress, I'm not sure. I guess I'll have to look her up or something. Anyway, this one gets a wide release on the last Friday of the festival, so the TIFF premiere will get it tons of publicity.
WHY NOT? Can't think of one.

Doghouse (Jake West)

WHY? This one's a horror-comedy from the director of 2005's Evil Aliens, so he's a TIFF legacy, which is always a bonus. Its mix of Maxim-style "guy humor" and horror should go over well with the Midnight Madness crowd. Frankly, I'm kind of getting sick of "guy humor" these days, especially after The Hangover. Regardless of how I feel, I'd say it's a solid bet to be one of the ten films.

The Horde (Yannick Dahan)

WHY? It's got zombies, guys with guns, exploding heads, gore, gore, more gore, and gangsters. It's also French, which seems to be the home of serious horror these days (see also, Inside, Martyrs, Frontieres, etc.). It's got Midnight Madness written all over it, frankly.


Town Called Panic (Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar)

WHY? It's the requisite crazy film (unless Symbol finds a place in the line-up), an animated film from Belgium about three friends (an Indian, a cowboy and a horse) who have wacky adventures. Wild comedies are a standard for MM and this one, based on a cult television show, looks like a shoo-in.

Banlieue 13 Ultimatum (Patrick Alessandrin)

WHY? There's always an action film or two in the Midnight Madness and this one looks like the most likely. As a bonus, it hasn't played at any of the major festivals yet (it will appear at the Fantastic Film Festival in Austin, but that's after TIFF). I have no other reason to suppose it'll be there--just a hunch.

The Pack (Franck Richard)

WHY? Another French horror film, filled with gore and crazy monsters. Seems like a no-brainer, except for the fact that it might get confused with The Horde, which seems like a more likely pick for the fest. My only complaint: ideally, any film called The Pack should have either wild packs of evil, roaming dogs or Joe Don Baker. Or both.

House of the Devil (Ti West)

WHY? I don't know, since I haven't actually read much about this one. All I know is that it's being talked about a lot on the internet and...well, that's about it. I never said all of these would be winners, folks.


RoboGeisha (Noboru Iguchi)

This one's pretty crazy. It has something to do with fighting geishas, a deadly robot, and buckets of blood and viscera. And fried shrimp. As a weapon. The director was responsible for the equally insane Tokyo Gore Police from a few years ago and this looks like more of the same. It seems perfect for a slightly buzzed midnight crowd, but it might be a little too crazy for the festival. Then again, they have played a lot of Miike films and this doesn't look any wilder than Ichi the Killer or Gozu.

Symbol (Hitoshi Matsumoto)

I'm not sure about this one. Matsumoto's last film, Dainipponjin (released as Big Man Japan), played the festival in 2007, to much acclaim. This one might be perfect midnight material as well, but I can't say, since I don't know anything about this film. The only information that's leaked out is a seriously whacked-out teaser and something about the film utilizing hundreds of extras. Is it a comedy? Drama? Fantasy? Nobody knows. If it doesn't end up here, keep an eye on the Vanguard and Visions programmes, where it might find a home.


Untitled George Romero Film (Currently listed as ... of the Dead on IMDB)

This seems like a no-brainer, since any new Romero film would seem to be a shoo-in. But I haven't heard anything about this film for months, ever since a promo reel showed up at the beginning of the year and promptly vanished. All that's known at this point is that it might or might not be a follow-up to his lackluster Diary of the Dead, and that it's set on an island, a la Zombie (which was an unofficial sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead). It's likely that the film is finished and ready to go, but the silence on this one is deafening, so I wouldn't be surprised if it failed to show.


Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)

I would love dearly if Martin Scorsese would release his latest in the Midnight Madness programme, especially since it appears to be an unabashed genre film. But Scorsese doesn't usually do the festival and even if he did, it would definitely be a Gala, not a lowly midnight movie.

Antichrist (Lars Von Trier)

As a straight-up genre film with copious gore, this would definitely be a good fit at midnight. But would Colin Geddes program such a high-profile film for his wonderfully disreputable corner of the festival? I'd love it if he did, but I don't see the film getting anything less than a Special Presentation showing at the Elgin. Which amuses me to no end, when you consider how unprepared most of that audience will be for this one.

And that's about it. I'm hoping I'm right about four or five of these, but we'll see. Some other possibilities include: The Box (the new one from Richard Kelly); Raging Phoenix (martial arts meet hip-hop dancing); Zombieland (the big-budget, Woody Harrelson-starring zombie comedy); [Rec] 2 (the follow-up to the well-regarded [Rec.]; Splice (Canadian horror, likely to be in the Vanguard programme); Cargo (Swedish science fiction/horror); Chaw (Korean monster film, with effects by the people who brought us The Host); Stingray Sam (the follow-up to the bizarre The American Astronaut); and Hiss (the latest from Jennifer Lynch).

See you some time later today, when I've assessed how I did!

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