Let the countdown begin! In 10 days the city of Toronto will be the hub of the horror/sci-fi/action and just plain weird world when the Toronto After Dark Film Festival launches it’s (gulp) 11th season!
The Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF) had simple beginnings. Back in 2006 the festival launched at the Bloor Cinema and screened such fare as Slaughter Night, Retribution and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Less than 5,000 patrons attended the festival over its 5-day run but a spark was ignited. One that grew bigger than the confines of the Bloor and Underground Cinemas could contain.
In 2015, Toronto After Dark had a hit a groove most festival organizers would give their left assistants for. The ScotiaBank theatre in the entertainment district of the city provided the perfect housing for a rabid bunch of fans that sell-out most performances. Festival organizers now had filmmakers knocking on their doors in hopes of having their films as part of the TADFF line-up. The little freakish film festival that sat in the shadow of the more renowned Toronto International Film Festival grew to establish its own roots. And we can guarantee any new audience member that the crowds are rambunctiously enthusiastic before, during and after each screening.
2016 looks to be yet another banner year. The first 10 films were released in title around the same time the TADFF organizers were whooping up interest at the Toronto FanExpo. Last week, the final 10 films were announced. And the titles are as diverse, as interesting, as potentially horrific (in a good way) than any line-up the festival has clumped together.
We get started on Thursday, October 12th with the opening night film, Under the Shadow. Comparisons to 2014’s festival horror hit, The Babadook, have been abundant and Under the Shadow has been commonly credited as the scariest film of the year. Audiences are encouraged to bring a change of undergarments because just a few hours later, Richard Bates Jr brings his Sundance horror hit, Trash Fire, to the fest.
Over the following 8 days, the festival will bring such potential classics as Let Her Out, The Rezort, Kill Command, Blood Father and Stake Land 2 to Toronto audiences. Films by directors Ti West (In a Valley of Violence), Takashi Miike (As The Gods Will) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Creepy) get their Toronto premieres. Familiar faces also grace the screen. Mel Gibson and William H. Macy in Blood Father. Ethan Hawke and John Travolta in In a Valley of Violence. Natashia Lyonne in Afterbirth. And Johnny Galecki, Anjelica Huston and Oliver Platt in Cleanse. Some might call these genre films B-films but the star power on screen this year is no short of A-listers.
So in a year when horror films have found a box office resurgence with studio hits Don’t Breathe, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Conjuring 2, where better to continue the trend than at the Toronto After Dark Fest.
The Festival runs from October 12th through October 21st with all screenings at the ScotiaBank Theatre. Some screenings have sold out but others still have tickets available which can be purchased through Cineplex.com.