It’s just about that time of year again. No, not Halloween, but that too. It’s almost time for Toronto After Dark 2013. TLD’s resident podcast specialist, Jeff Konopka, tries to attend the festival every year, and last year, he pulled off some major coverage of the festival, including two “Pub After Dark” episodes of the podcast, where he recorded an episode of the podcast, on location, and got plenty of amazing interviews as a result. Jeff is attending again this year, so you can look forward to more of that, but those of us unable to attend the festival wanted to pitch in a little bit, and do some TAD coverage ourselves, at least for the things that we can do/see stateside, without being in Toronto. Several of the films playing this year are currently on VOD in the states, so you may see a review or four from folks like myself and Eric King, who weren’t actually able to attend the film’s screening, but paid to rent it online so that we could help Jeff out, since he’s going to be absolutely swamped. I wanted to whip up a quick list, outlining the five films from this years festival that I’m most looking forward to.
1.We Are What We Are – If I hadn’t already seen The Battery, that would be my #1 most anticipated. Honestly, there is no question in my mind, that The Battery will end up being on my top ten of the year list. Since I’ve seen it prior to the festival though, my #1 most anticipated film playing there this year is We Are What We Are. I absolutely loved the original film that it’s based on, and Jim Mickle, in my eyes, is a certified badass. If you are unfamiliar, Mickle is the man that brought us such horror gems as Mullberry St. and one of the few films I’ve ever given a ten out of ten, Stake Land. I don’t know that I would advise you to watch the original before you watch Mickle’s remake of this slow burning dramatic study of a family of cannibals, as it is certainly an acquired taste. If you like films of that nature though, and can deal with the fact that it is wholly antithetical of films like Cannibal Holocaust. We Are What We Are is being screened on Thursday October 17th at 7:00 PM, and is the opening gala film.
2. The Last Days On Mars – A bit of a heads up, the numbering of the rest of this list will be totally arbitrary. I try to remain as ignorant of a film’s contents as I possibly can before actually seeing it. This means, I do my best to avoid reading detailed plot synopsis, as well as any kind of trailer. The only reason I was able to decide on my #1 was due to having seen the original film that We Are What We Are is based on. Having said that, all I need to know about The Last Days On Mars, is that it is some kind of “viral” horror film that takes place on Mars, and showcases the badassery of Liev Schrieber in the lead role. Hell, even without knowing the basics, tell me that Liev Schrieber plays the main character, and I’m on board. The Last Days On Mars, based on what little I know about it, sounds absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one at some capacity. The TAD ’13 screening of The Last Days On Mars is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 22nd at 7:00 PM.
3. Big Bad Wolves – I know absolutely nothing about this film, other than the fact that it is an Israeli Comedy/Crime/Thriller, that Tarantino called the best movie he saw this year. I know it’s “cool” to hate on Tarantino, but when someone with such an encyclopedic knowledge of genre films makes a statement as bold as that, it’s within my nature to take note. A quick glimpse at the film’s IMDB page leads me to believe that it is more of a crime thriller, that dabbles with elements of the horror genre. Sounds good enough to me, bring it on. The TAD ’13 screening of Big Bad Wolves is scheduled for Friday October 25th, and is the closing gala film.
4. Cheap Thrills – Cheap Thrills I’m looking forward to for a number of reasons. Most of which, is that the director, E.L. Katz is from that kooky pack of filmmakers led by Adam WIngard and company. Another reason is that the film reunites Pat Healy and Sara Paxton, who not long ago teamed up for the main characters in Ti West’s film The Innkeepers. Based solely on word of mouth from people that saw the film at SXSW, I am expecting great things from this one. I love the Wingard school of film making, and I have no doubt that some of that magic has rubbed off on those that he continuously works with. And, having read that Cheap Thrills takes some chances at making light of some super dark subject matter, I couldn’t be any more excited than I already am. The TAD ’13 screening of Cheap Thrills is on the same night as Big Bad Wolves, October 25th at 7:00 PM.
5. Odd Thomas – Okay, so I’m cheating a little bit with this one. Back when I thought there was no way that Odd Thomas would ever see a stateside release, due to the legal hell it has been through, I broke down and ordered the Hungarian DVD from ebay for fifteen bucks. I’m surprised there’s not a little more hype behind this one, especially since it’s somewhat similar to Don Coscarelli’s newest film, John Dies At The End. Odd Thomas is based on a Deal Koontz novel, and stars Anton Yelchin as a sort of, freelance paranormal detective. Thomas can see dead people, and since, in the universe of Odd Thomas, the dead can’t talk, he has to follow the clues to figure out what each dead person wants. I’m almost positive that Odd Thomas will be met with a mostly positive reception, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the TAD crowd reacts. The TAD ’13 screening of Odd Thomas is on Monday the 21st October 2013 at 7:00 PM