The ever-popular programs are packed once again with shock and suspense.
The Toronto International Film Festival pulled back the curtain on more of this year’s schedule yesterday, announcing titles from the popular Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs, as well as the lineups for the Documentary and Masters series. For this year’s fest, both Midnight Madness and Vanguard welcome back some of TIFF’s most notorious alumni, who are doubtless looking to top their previous levels of shock, suspense, and overall outrageousness.
Twenty years after Clerks debuted in Toronto, indie auteur Kevin Smith brings his set-in-Canada horror comedy Tusk, starring Justin Long (whose moustache alone makes this a must-see), Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez, Michael Parks, and possibly Johnny Depp, to town for its world premiere as part of the Midnight Madness series. Written and directed by Smith, Tusk is about an intrepid podcaster who is forced to undergo a peculiar transformation at the hands of one of his interview subjects.
Hot on the heels of last year’s spectacular Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, Japanese craze-master Sion Sono returns with Tokyo Tribe, based on a popular hip-hop-inflected manga series by Santa Inoue about a massive (and, needless to say, ultraviolent) turf war among gangs in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.
Writer-director duo Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, whose 2010 film A Horrible Way to Die premiered in that year’s Vanguard programme, and whose home invasion thriller You’re Next wowed Midnight Madness audiences in 2011, are back with The Guest, whose charming titular character insinuates himself into the lives of a bereaved family even as military police hunt him down for, well, reasons.
Spanish writer-director duo Juame Balagueró and Paco Plaza return to the roots of their zombie epidemic franchise with [REC] 4: Apocalypse. While the series’ sensational debut, [REC], wasn’t screened officially at TIFF 2007, a special showing was held behind the scenes for buyers and festival programmers before the film’s debut in its home country of Spain. In 2009, Midnight Madness formally hosted [REC] 2, and the rest is zombie history.
Other titles in the Midnight Madness series include Big Game, Cub, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, It Follows, and What We Do in the Shadows.
Formally more experimental but seldom less shocking, the Vanguard programme features a few TIFF veterans of its own. With Over Your Dead Body, celebrated Japanese director Takashi Miike turns his evil eye to the world of the theatre as he adapts the classic ghost story Yotsuya Kaidan. Midnight Madness favourite Álex de la Iglesia, whose raucous Witching and Bitching was one of last year’s highlights, is producer of this year’s Vanguard psychological thriller Shrew’s Nest. And British filmmaker Peter Strickland, whose Berberian Sound Studio unnerved TIFF audiences in 2012, is back with a dark melodrama entitled The Duke of Burgundy.
Also on the Vanguard slate are Alleluia, Hyena, Goodnight Mommy, Luna, Spring, They Have Escaped, and Waste Land.
All images courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.