Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is back for 2012, and it's bigger, funnier and spookier than any year before. The little horror-genre-festival-that-could turns seven this year and has expanded programming for NINE horrific nights. Audiences will be pleased that the festival returns to the newly licensed Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, which will keep festival-goers happy while they get to imbibe, eat delicious snacks, watch over twenty feature films and play a video game or two in the festival's first ever Darkcade! Could this get any better? Oh, but there's more...

Who says women don't like horror or things that go bump in the night? The Canadian Soska sisters open up Toronto After Dark with American Mary, a horror film about a talented medical student who grows disenchanted by the surgical grind and her ever-growing mountain of debt. To make some money on the side, she starts performing unauthorized procedures in an underground surgical modifications scene... and likes it. The film features Ginger Snaps favourite Katharine Isabelle and promises to be a creepy way to get the festival started.

The title is a bit misleading, this mid-afternoon screening of the international short films won't actually be after dark, but it's definitely a good way to start the Toronto After Dark weekend. Co-presented by Little Terrors, my favourite monthly horror film screening, be prepared for not one, but two shorts featuring lobsters, Caterwaul and Decapoda Shock. But my favourite has to be a meaty, grotesque Å vankmajer-inspired stop-motion short about a boy who likes to push red buttons, Bobby Yeah!

South Korean cinema fanatics may be eager to know that Doomsday Book is a collaboration between Kim Pil-sung (Hansel & Gretel) and Kim Jee-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, I Saw the Devil) and is a study of the end of the world in three separate chapters. In one, a plague tears through the populace turning citizens into pseudo-zombies, possibly spread through contaminated meat. In the second piece, artificial intelligence threatens the very core of humanity when a robot tour guide is believed to be the next reincarnation of Buddha. In the third, a young girl may have accidentally summoned a deadly meteor through the click of a mouse when she ordered a billiard ball off the internet. Wacky, weird and ominous.

How far would you go to find your best friend? In Wrong, our protagonist Dolph is an interesting character, because he can see fantastical things that nobody else can see. When Dolph is confronted with the loss of his dog (not to mention his job), mission in life becomes turning the world upside down until he can get that dog back, no matter what. Director Quentin Dupieux, (also known as Mr. Oizo) returns to Toronto After Dark with his second feature after the wildly quirky Rubber. If you loved that film, you'll probably love this one too.

Simon Pegg is no stranger to awkward comedies, but A Fantastic Fear of Everything may be his strangest role yet. This Gondry inspired 'semicomedy' features our favourite new-gen Scotty as a children's author determined to make the leap to crime thrillers after spending too many nights reading and feeding into his obsession with Victorian serial killers. Petrified of being murdered, his paranoia comes to a head when a studio wants a copy of his script and his delusions threaten to overwhelm him, unless he can squash them first!

Want something other than these suggestions? There's plenty more where these came from, browse through the schedule for more films and I'll see you at Pub After Dark!

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs from October 18 - 26 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Tickets can be purchased online or at the theatre.

Still from American Mary.

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