October 16th-24th, 2014, Scotiabank Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
So it’s that time of year again! For me, October is a lot more fun than December because not only is it the month for Halloween and my second anniversary with Rosemary’s Pixie (on October 17th), but it’s also time for the 9th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival. It’s become a huge gathering of devoted festival fans who count on seeing critically acclaimed horror films, attend q & a’s, and hobnobb with filmmakers and some of the film’s stars at a pub night after screenings. It also means I get to put all my worries aside for nine days and immerse myself in some of the best horror films out this year. Here are my top ten picks for this year’s festival:
Hellmouth– Stephen McHattie. That’s all I need to know about this film. I am a devoted fan and will watch anything that he is involved with, and I want to know why he doesn’t have a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame here in Toronto. Thankfully, this movie looks really unique and entertaining, and well, trippy, because it comes from the mind of Tony Burgess, who also wrote Pontypool and Septic Man. McHattie plays a grave-digger that must look after a portal to Hell. I am already pulled in by the retro look and campiness. Bring it on!
The ABCs of Death 2- I am practicing my cringing from now. I can take a lot of gore, in fact I think of myself as a horror gore veteran, but The ABCs of Death made me rethink that title for a moment. There are some really twisted individuals out there, and they had a voice in the first film, so I’m sure this second installment will be just as shocking and gross. I will endure though, because among the lunacy were some really beautiful and disturbing segments, like the ones from Xavier Gens and Marcel Sarmiento. At least this time, I’m better prepared…
Dead Snow 2– I had this one on my list for must-see films in 2014 and I can’t wait!! I loved the insanity of the first one and have high hopes for more zombie goodness!
The Drownsman– I’ve read about this film and I’m very glad that it is included in the festival. This looks like a classic boogeyman-tormenting-a-group-of-young-and-beautiful-people movie which I think we’ve been sorely missing in theaters lately.
Wolves– There are 2 draws for me here. Mr. McHattie again, plus Jason Momoa of Game of Thrones fame. I may not be able to be objective because of these two actors. Actually, I may just implode when the movie starts. From what I can gather since I was so distracted by these two men, it’s about a teenage werewolf and a rivalry in the pack he becomes involved with. And Jason Momoa looks all delicious and werewolf-y like.
Late Phases– Another werewolf film, this time with Nick Damici know for Stake Land. I met him at last year’s festival after the Toronto Premiere of We Are What We Are which he co-wrote (he was lovely and the film was brilliant), and I’m looking forward to seeing him play a detective investigating terrible murders in a retirement community.
Wyrmwood– It’s simple. I want to see this movie because it looks like a crazy freaking good time. Zombies, a post-apocalyptic world and action! Yay!
The Town that Dreaded Sundown– After seeing the original and hearing there was a remake in the works, I honestly wondered how they would do it. Although I generally don’t like remakes, I am confident the team making this film will do it justice. American Horror Story director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and producers from Insidious just may surprise us. And I need to see what they do about the trombone scene.
Why Horror?-This is a great addition to the line-up. It’s a documentary about why we horror fans choose horror. I am very excited to see this because from a young age, I have had no problem sitting for hours watching, reading or writing about things that go bump in the night, but my friends think I am crazy, which is why I attend this very festival by myself. Because I LOVE horror! Hopefully this will give those who don’t get us horror fans some insight on why this is a relevant and vibrant genre.
The Babadook– I am champing at the bit to see this film and cheesed that it is screening on closing night, but I guess good things come to those who wait. This Australian horror film about a mother and her son as they battle a storybook monster has been on the film fest circuit for some time now. The writer and director Jennifer Kent has created quite a buzz not only because she is a woman directing horror, but because it is touted as a darn good movie. It is already sold out, but I have my all-access pass ordered, so I plan to be there and not square!
So there you have it! My picks for what seems to be a back-to-basics, horror-filled festival this year. If you missed it at the top of the page, here is the link to the TADFF site and all the trailers for the films I’ve mentioned plus the rest of the festival line-up. Also a word of advice: if you are in the Toronto area and plan to see any of the films next week, get your tickets soon because they are selling out fast! I can’t wait since I’ve taken some days off of work to thoroughly enjoy the festival and vacation with zombies, werewolves, ghosts and psychopaths. Now that’s what I call relaxing!