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culture

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival Delivers Cinematic Craziness

The seventh annual horror, sci-fi, and cult film fest has zombies, werewolves, LARPers, gangsters, cyborgs, tentacles, and sashimi.

Katherine Isabelle in surgical shocker American Mary.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)
October 18–26
Individual screening tickets $14, or $24 for a double feature

The phrase “creature feature” has a whole new meaning at the seventh annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which runs for nine ass-kicking nights at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Viewers will be treated to the weirdest and wildest in genre cinema, featuring everything from bloodsucking, tentacled aliens and devil-zombie wedding crashers, to body-modification addicts and carnivorous sushi rolls.

With 20 feature films and dozens of shorts, it’s hard to pick just a few highlights. However, buzz has been building around a number of this year’s titles, including Tribeca Film Festival hit Resolution (October 23, 9:45 p.m.), a cerebral lo-fi horror thriller that takes a decidedly different trip to the proverbial cabin in the woods than did Joss Whedon; stylish surgical shocker American Mary (October 18, 9:45 p.m.), with Canadian scream queen Katherine Isabelle (she was in Ginger Snaps) taking on the eponymous role of a gifted medical student whose underground extracurricular work takes a disturbing psychological toll; and My Amityville Horror (October 23, 6:45 p.m.), a chilling and surprising documentary profiling Daniel Lutz, who was just eight years old when his parents went public with the paranormal events they claimed to have experienced in their notorious family home.

Roe on a rampage in Dead Sushi.

For those who like their chills and thrills laced with laughs as well as gore, we’ve heard good things about the screwball Irish monster movie Grabbers (October 18, 6:45 p.m.); the Spanish horror farce Game of Werewolves (October 26, 9:30 p.m.); the nasty bloody British comedy Inbred (October 19, 9:45); the defiantly surreal crime thriller Wrong (October 25, 9:45 p.m.); and the outrageously goofy culinary crowd-pleaser Dead Sushi (October 24, 9:45 p.m.). In a class of its own is the bombastic bone-cruncher Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (October 21, 6:45 p.m.), starring none other than real-life action figures and perennial Universal Soldiers Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren.

A pack attack in Game of Werewolves.

Saturday night is the festival’s annual Zombie Appreciation Night. Following the 10th Annual Toronto Zombie Walk, Toronto After Dark is screening back-to-back Canadian premieres of [REC] 3: Genesis (6:45 p.m.) and Cockneys vs. Zombies (9:45 p.m.), with discount tickets available for the walking dead.

Discount tickets are also available for those who turn up in costume for the live-action role-playing comedy Lloyd the Conqueror (October 21, 3:45 p.m.), starring nerdy comic Brian Posehn and Trailer Park Boys alumnus Mike Smith.

And be sure to keep an eye out for the festival’s first-ever Toronto After Darkcade, co-presented by videogame-arts organization The Hand Eye Society.

Images courtesy of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

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