Toronto After Dark is pretty much the best damn way to spend a week in October. It’s a horror/action/sci-fi/cult film fest run out of the Bloor Cinema by this great dude named Adam Lopez who is truly passionate about the dissemination of blood and guts and gore.
We saw all these movies and you are jealous.
(reviews by Sam Sutherland + Ashley Carter)
Mutant Chronicles (Dir. Simon Hunter)
The first After Dark movie to feature Ron Perlman in a monk outfit, this movie is so insanely bad it’s great. Also, John Malkovich is in it, which is certainly puzzling. Basically, this machine under the earth starts turning people into mutants so Ron Perlman and the guy from The Mist team up with a rag-tag group of soldiers to destroy it. Along the way they say and do things that make absolutely no sense in front of really awful CGI and green screen. Seriously, I don’t think anyone involved in making this movie (save for Malkovich, who looks like a sad, beaten man) had any idea they were making the worst movie ever. Which is why it totally rules. Go see this with all your friends and I promise you it will be the best time ever. Seriously, go now. It’s awesomely terrible.
Tokyo Gore Police (Dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura)
If this doesn’t win an Oscar, that shit is rigged. Words were not made strong or awesome enough to express the utterly fantastic nature of this film. Mere mortals are not worthy of its treasures. There’s a plot somewhere in Tokyo Gore Police but it’s way too insane to try to explain. Basically all this crazy shit happens and your mind is blown. I don’t even know where to start, except to say that at one point, a guy who’s has had his legs cut off uses the blood pulsing from the wounds to elevate himself off the ground and fly around. If you like feeling insane you should see this movie. The name really says all you need to know. It’s bat shit insanity at its most bat shit insane. It’s so, so good I wish it was playing inside my glasses all the time so whenever I did anything boring I would be watching the best movie ever.
Who is KK Downey? (Dir. Darren Curtis, Pat Kiely)
Great! Look what I made at my real job!
4BIA (Dir. Youngyooth Thongkonthun, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom & Paween Purikitpanya)
Four horror shorts from the Thai dudes that brought you Shutter and Alone, plus two others, also Thai dudes. The two other dudes’ entries aren’t so great, with Thongkonthun’s Happiness suffering from just being kind of boring and Purikitpanya’s being promising but kind of cheesy. Then the big guns (you know, the guys who made Shutter and Alone) come in and shit gets real. Pisanthanakun’s tale of a youthful camping trip gone wrong is like a self-referential Thai version of Scream, with lots of discussion of famous horror films (including the director’s own Shutter) alongside some scary ghost bullshit. It’s awesome. Wongpoon’s short is a mummified tribute to that really scary Twilight Zone with the gremlin on the plane, and it’s also great. Mostly just jump scares, but awesome, stylish jump scares. Overall, the good stuff outweighs the bad. Totally worth checking out.
I Sell the Dead (Dir. Glenn McQuaid)
The second After Dark movie to feature Ron Perlman in a monk outfit (seriously, it was weird), I Sell the Dead was a fine closer for the totally best year of After Dark ever. The movie has its flaws; the framing device, which involves a young graverobber detailing his sins to a monk (Perlman) is kind of cheesy and dangerously close to a dealbreaker, but the overall arc of the story is just so darn appealing we’re able to forgive the way in which it gets told. Dominic Monaghan (a hobbit) plays a twerp who steals from the dead alongside some super-funny dude named Larry Fessenden, and there’s aliens, vampires, and zombies. So basically the movie has to be at least okay, but it also has a really hot girl and the Tall Man from Phantasm, which rules, so it ends up being way better than okay. Good times if you like that hobbit kid, hot girls, or dead aliens.
Trailer Park of Terror (Dir. Steven Goldmann)
Based on the Imperium comic book series of the same name, this movie is about a bunch of ne’erdowell high school kids who end up on a character building retreat with their wiener pastor. Of course they crash their schoolbus during a thunderstorm and of course they find shelter for the night in a trailer park zombie village called Trucker’s Triangle. Then all kinds of evil wacky sexy shit happens. This movie has tons of weirdness like a cameo by country music dreamboat Trace Adkins as the man in black/devil (due to the director also somehow being a popular country music video director). Good production value, full of stereotypes, and great if you have ever wanted to see what a dude looks like being deep-fried alive.