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Toronto After Dark Film Festival – A Look Back

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It can be said that every film, director, actor, actress, producer…etc. needs a launching point – somewhere they can get their work out there for the masses to soak in and enjoy, and one of the horror genre’s biggest film festivals has been going strong since 2006 – it’s Toronto After Dark, and with its 12th annual gala upon us (October 12th-20th), we’re going to dive into this pool of up and coming chills and see what movies made their mark with fans and critics alike in years past.

The festival kicked off in 2006 with a relatively small crowd of a little over 43 hundred attendees, and one of the more notable presentations was Behind The Mask: The Rise And Fall Of Leslie Vernon – this black comedy/horror product has maintained a fairly heavy cult following since its release, and remains director Scott Glosserman’s biggest film to date.

Behind the Mask

The second annual festival launched in October 2007, and with a broader extension of films that were on display, more than a few of them reeled in the crowds, including the complete insanity that was Troma’s Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead and Mulberry Street, which gained inclusion into the short-lived After Dark Horrorfest 8 Films To Die For. Director Jim Mickle parlayed his directorial entry into further projects, leading to other movies such as 2010’s Stake Land and We Are What We Are in 2013.

2008’s festival included a three-headed monster of films that garnered some seriously heavy praise (and awards won) – Let The Right One In, with director Tomas Alfredson moving onto much larger projects such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the upcoming The Snowman. Yoshihiro Mishimura’s blood-soaked Tokyo Gore Police was an underrated hit, as well as I Sell The Dead from Glenn McQuaid.

Let The Right One In

Rolling into 2009, the festival shifted its dates from October to August, but it didn’t diminish the level of fantastic movies that were presented to even larger crowds, and the biggest title to come out of the show was Trick ‘r Treat, and it’s managed to hold down a colossal cult following amongst its supporters. Another notable was the pregnancy-gone-wrong flick, Grace – directed by Paul Solet, and produced by Adam Green.

trick r treat

With a much higher attendance than its first year (now over 9000 attendees), the 2009 festival marched out the film that’ll make you think twice about overeating ever again: The Human Centipede. Alongside it ran the possession frightshow, The Last Exorcism starring Ashley Bell and the remake of 1978’s I Spit On Your Grave with each film ringing up awards and accolades alike.

Returning to a more horror-friendly month like October, 2011’s festival most notable presentation was the absolutely off-the-wall Father’s Day from Astron-6 and Troma. Following up was Ti West’s creepy The Innkeepers and Lucky McKee’s disputatious feature, The Woman starring Pollyanna McIntosh.

2012 ushered in two of the festival’s more prominent entries, with the first being the anthology piece V/H/S, boasting directorial efforts from names such as Ti West and Adam Wingard. The second film was the Soska Sisters’ body-modification chiller, American Mary – this marked their second directorial go-round, and they’ve been tabbed to helm the remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid. The rest of the lineup really did offer some decent sequels as well, with Rec 3: Genesis and Grave Encounters 2 also getting some screen time.

2013 brought in some underrated little gems that were focused upon, and Jim Mickle followed up his 2006 film Mulberry Street with the best proposition for going vegan with We Are What We Are. Other notable submissions included Big Ass Spider!, zombie flick The Battery, Bobcat Goldthwait’s found-footage film Willow Creek and a film that still manages to give me the heebies, Banshee Chapter.

The festival that took place in 2014 cranked out more than a handful of fun features, including the visually striking Hellmouth, starring Stephen McHattie, followed by the undead/Mad Max blender Wyrmwood, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (Tommy Wirkola’s work) and the “sequel” to the 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The one product that came out with both mitts swinging, and still manages to act as a conversation piece of “you either loved it or you hated it” – The Babadook, a first time directorial effort for Jennifer Kent, and to this day the film has become somewhat of a symbol for the LGBT community.

The roster for 2015 and 2016 was a bit lackluster as far as more notable films were concerned, but still managed to pop out a few decent watches, with movies like the anthology piece, Tales Of Halloween, Deathgasm, Train To Busan (honestly one of the most solid zombie flicks I’ve seen in moons), From A House On Willow Street and a movie that has become a huge hit on the Blu-ray market, The Void.

There are so many more fantastic films that I’ve left out of this 11 year span, and trust me it’s not for lack of caring – there’s only so much that can be covered, but all you need to do is check out the roster of all the films that have been screened over the years, and I’m sure that you’ll find some unwatched gems that beg to be released, even to this day. This year’s festival promises to showcase some fantastic flicks, and while I can’t list them all, here’s just a condensed list of what’s up for viewing: Marc Meyers’s peek into the teen years of one of America’s most notable cannibals: My Friend Dahmer – the newest entry into the Hatchet movie series, Victor Crowley, and the latest hijinx from that little red-headed bastard-doll, Cult Of Chucky. Everything that I’ve mentioned is only covering the first day/night – seriously, guys – if you’ve got the time and a little traveling dough, I HIGHLY recommend making the jaunt to this year’s festival, and all the pertinent info can be found at Torontoafterdark.com – they’ve got a full schedule of films to be seen as well as tickets for the screenings. This full-blown assault on your horror and sci-fi senses takes place October 12-20th, so don’t miss it!

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Amazon Developing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower TV Series

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The Dark TowerIt’s been a while since we brought you guys an update on the planned TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower book series.

But today it looks like we have confirmation via Deadline that, “Amazon… is developing a slew of high-profile titles, including The Dark Tower…”

The series is being developed by Amazon as part of their bid to move into bigger budgeted spectacles ala their recent acquisition of the rights to The Lord of the Rings.

No further info is available at this time but we will keep you up to date as we hear word on Amazon’s “The Dark Tower.”

Are you excited about this series? Let us know below!

Synopsis:

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Rutger Hauer Says There Was No Love and No Soul in Blade Runner 2049

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I don’t know about you, but I dug the hell out of last summer’s Blade Runner 2049. I found the film to be a tonally perfect addition to the Blade Runner universe and appreciated how it built on the story established in the original film.

That said, there are some out there that aren’t fans of the sequel – most of all, it seems, is the original film’s baddie, Rutger Hauer.

Recently, Hauer spoke with THR and didn’t hold back on his dislike of the new film.

“I sniff and scratch at it,” Hauer says. “It looks great, but I struggle to see why that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don’t lean with one elbow on the success that was earned over 30 years in the underground.”

He continues: “In many ways Blade Runner wasn’t about the replicants; it was about what does it mean to be human? It’s like E.T. But I’m not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It’s not a character-driven movie and there’s no humor, there’s no love, there’s no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that’s not enough to me. I knew that wasn’t going to work. But I think it’s not important what I think.”

Wow, don’t hold back, Hauer. Tell us how you really feel!

I’m kidding. And while I don’t agree with Hauer on this particular issue, the man has more than earned the right to think it IS “important what [he] thinks.

Do you agree with Rutger Hauer on Blade Runner 2049? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

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Ash vs Evil Dead Set Visit Part 2: Learning About Kelly, Pablo, and Brandy

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If you haven’t read through the first part of my set visit for the third season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, make sure to do so here.

After walking through the halls of Brandy’s high school, the sperm bank clinic that has been seen in the trailer, Brock’s house, and the streets of Elk Grove (all through the magic of set designs), it was time to sit down with stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, who told me about their characters Kelly and Pablo through this season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”! Oh, and there’s also a lot from Arielle Carver-O’Neill about her character Brandy as well, because who can resist hearing from Ash’s daughter?

After finding out that Dana, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, our interview nearly ended. After all, your boy is a Wolverine, through and through, and anyone who knows sports rivalries knows that Buckeyes and Wolverines don’t get along. That being said, we managed to put aside our differences so that I could learn a bit about Kelly and what she’ll be going through this season.

I really loved Kelly’s journey in season one and two. It was very exciting to play because, in a way, it mirrored my own as an actor coming into a franchise like this. Just like Kelly was dragged into this fight against evil and was caught completely off guard, it was very similar to the actor struggling for 10 years. I was living in Los Angeles working at a bar when I got this job. All of a sudden I’m being thrown into this with this incredible franchise, with the amazing producers of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, where a franchise that’s built upon one man, a lone wolf as we’ve said, who is the star of this show and now he’s going to have sidekicks, that was terrifying as well! But it was really cool because I feel like I got to grow with Kelly and every time Kelly did something new, it was me doing something new,” DeLorenzo explains.

Expanding on that, DeLorenzo starts telling me more about Kelly and how she specifically changes through the upcoming season, saying, “At the end of season two, there’s the parade. And if you look, you can see that Kelly isn’t happy. Kelly is the smart one of that trifecta, the ghostbeaters. She knows that evil is not gone for good, which brings us to season three. Now that she’s tasted blood, she’s constantly chasing that high. So, at the start of season three, Kelly is a warrior without a war. She wants to stay on her game for when evil comes back. Her journey for season three…evil paints Kelly in a bloody corner and sets up her to fail where she can’t do what she does best, which is kick evil’s ass. She’s put in these catch-22 situations that she can’t fight her way out of without someone she cares about getting hurt. I think fans will be shocked at her transformation [this season].”

The theme of family running throughout this season of the show is not lost on DeLorenzo, who recognizes that Kelly’s ultimate purpose throughout this series is called into question through events that she wasn’t able to elaborate upon. However, she did tell me, “It was always about protecting and staying by the side of Ash and Pablo because they are not her family by blood but they are her family by bloodshed.

When describing the ghostbeaters, she calls Ash the “brawn”, Pablo the “heart”, and Kelly the “brains”. Later, as I sat with Arielle Carver-O’Neill, I asked what Brandy represents, to which she stated, “the hope”. “They all become very protective of Brandy and are very supportive of her journey,” Carver-O’Neill explains.

I asked her to envision a world where a fourth season is confirmed and how she’d like to see Brandy’s role expanded. Pondering this for a couple of moments, she then told me, “I’d like to see her find herself a bit more. I think just because she’s a teenager, you go through that journey at that age where you are figuring out who you are and your parents, either consciously or unconsciously, play a large role in that. For her, she only had her mum and then she found parts of herself in her dad. But she’s got a lot of growing up to do and I think that’d be really fun to explore how she goes about that.

For Santiago, the character and evolution of Pablo throughout the series has a very personal meaning for him. “As a kid, I grew up watching horror films and I always wanted to be the hero saving people from the monster and I always wanted to be the person chased by the monster. I think, in this show, I have the opportunity do that every day as Pablo and I’m one step closer to becoming the superhero I wanted to be as a kid,” he states.

As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. “We’ve seen Pablo go from this naive guy [in the first season] that’s pushed through the ringer to last season and…the Necronomicon and Pablo have an undeniable relationship that will never end. As we move into this third season, Pablo sees things differently. He’s not just tormented by his visions of darkness, we see that he may not be just a sidekick but also psychic! We’re going back to his family and we callback to his roots. Perhaps it wasn’t just a coincidence that he met Ash and that he himself was always destined to be somewhat of a Jefé. I think season three is where we see all that coming to fruition. He’s not just along for the ride, he’s become an integral part of the team.

Part III of our set visit coming soon!

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