TIFF 2017’s Midnight Madness Returns To Terrify, Mystify, And Electrify

For genre movie fans in Toronto and pretty much anywhere else on the planet, the daily programming at the Toronto International Film Festival doesn’t get interesting until around midnight.

For many years, the Midnight Madness program has been expertly curated by Colin Geddes, but he recently passed the late night torch to Peter Kuplowsky. “I’ve sought to assemble an eclectic group of films that expand and explode traditional definitions of genre and shock cinema,” the new TIFF programmer explained. “Some will terrify, and others may mystify, but all will electrify audiences well past the witching hour.”

Based on what we know at this point, here are five likely highlights:


1. Bodied

Bringing together music video director Joseph Kahn, writer/rapper Alex Larsen (Kid Twist), and producer Eminem, Bodied is being described as “a satirical exploration of the world’s most artistically brutal sport: battle rapping.” More importantly, Bodied landed Midnight Madness’ coveted opening slot, one of TIFF’s more reliable signs of excellence.


2. Revenge

If you’d be happy to never watch another film about a guys’ getaway, you should probably make an exception for Revenge. The debut of writer-director Coralie Fargeat, this film promises to teach “a violent lesson” to three wealthy married men on a hunting trip.


3. Brawl in Cell Block 99

Coming off the acclaimed 2015 horror western triumph Bone Tomahawk, writer-director S. Craig Zahler appears to have delivered another lively genre concoction with unexpected casting. Starring alongside Don Johnson and Jennifer Carpenter, Vince Vaughn plays “a former boxer turned drug runner,” who “lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.”


4. Mom and Dad

After crossing every conceivable line with last year’s divisive Midnight Madness selection Dog Eat Dog, Nicolas Cage looks to cause another stir with the latest from Crank co-writer/co-director Brian Taylor. TIFF’s brief description teases a promising premise, describing Mom and Dad as a “pitch-black horror-comedy about a worldwide mass hysteria where, for 24 brutal hours, parents turn violently against their own children.”


5. The Disaster Artist

It may surprise you to learn that James Franco has already directed more than 10 feature films, but The Disaster Artist is unique in that it has genuine commercial potential. Exploring the making of notorious cult movie sensation The Room, this film is being described as a “giddy tribute to eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and his best friend, actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco).” Based on the above teaser trailer, expect to see strong echoes of Tim Burton’s tribute to another terrible filmmaker, 1995’s Ed Wood.

The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7 to 17. You can find details on the complete Midnight Madness program—which also includes The Crescent, Downrange, Let the Corpses Tan, The Ritual, and Vampire Clayhere.