Upcoming Horror – The General Verdict Out of Toronto

Posted by Peter Hall - September 13th 2006 @ 11:54 pm

Film geeks are surely already aware of it, but for anyone not paying attention, the Toronto International Film Festival has been going on for the past week or so (if you’re there, I hate you).  I’ve gone ahead and sifted through the buzz on the upcoming crop of genre pictures (some I hadn’t even heard of), of which several are having their world premieres at TIFF, to see what is probably worth keeping on the radar and what is better off abandoning hope for.

Depending on when their lineup gets announced, I’ll hopefully be able to make it out to to the Chicago International Film Festival and review some of these myself in October.

Oh, and yes a lot of the reviews linked go to Twitch.  They have damned good, balanced coverage and I trust them, so sue me if their linkage is overused here.

Trapped Ashes
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham, John Gaeta, Monte Hellman, Ken Russell, Joe Dante
Written by Dennis Bartok
General verdict – Dissapointment

I was really looking forward to Trapped Ashes.  It’s another anthology film, all which are almost guaranteed as hit and miss these days, but I dig a lot of the talent behind it.  Especially Ken Russell, who directed Altered States, one of my favorite films of the ’80s.  Joe Dante is usually a blast and Sean S. Cunningham did deliver the first Friday the 13th.  The story segments were interesting enough, including one about a special relationship between a woman and the worm living inside her (which may sound familiar), so what happened?

Well, apparently it starts out strong, but just falls apart half way through.  Bummer.  But, that should be expected these days, with this multi-director omnibus films.  Oh well, better luck next time.

Scott Weinberg called it, "Easily the biggest disappointment of the fest."

Reviews: Twitch

End of the Line
Directed by Maurice Devereaux
Written by Maurice Devereaux
General Verdict: Dissapointment, but with memorable strong points.

Hadn’t heard of End of the Line until I decided to make this post, which is either a testament to my inactivity these past two weeks or the film’s truly low profile, but apparently it’s about a group of people who hole up in the subway under Toronto to avoid crazed religious zealots taking over the streets above.

It’s a Canadian low-budgeter shot on HD (which should give you an idea of its aesthetics), but the thrills consist largely of jump scares.  Good dialogue when not pushing some straight faced gore, but the overall arch of the story seems to have trouble balancing the horror and comedy.

Reviews: Twitch

Directed by J.T. Petty
General Verdict: Damned Good Filmmaking.

A documentary that may or may not be about a real person, S&Man explores the horror genre, the people who create it and the people who watch it.  It’s, according to Mathew at Twitch, "a post-modern masterpiece, a documentary film in which one of the subjects is you, the viewer."

If documentaries aren’t your bag, you’ll probably want to pass, but for the rest of us it sounds like an old school documentary with as little cinematic manipulation as possible.  Basically, it’s a helluva lot more like Crumb than Fahrenheit 9/11.

Reviews: TwitchCinematicaleFilmCriticDread CentralEric D. Snider

The Abandoned
Directed by Nacho Cerdà
Written by Nacho Cerdà, Karim Hussain, Richard Stanley
General Verdict: Unsettling, but maybe a little slow

From the director of the notorious horror shorts Genesis/Aftermath, Nacho Cerda has served up a scary tale of dopplegangers in Russia.  Cool!

Seems it could have used a tad more tightening in the editing room, but other than that it’s a pretty solid film.  Heavy on the scares, even at times when the material may seem familar.  I’ll be looking out for this one.

Reviews: Twitch

Black Sheep
Directed by Jonathan King
Written by Jonathan King
General Verdict: Fun and gory

A farm in New Zealand is overrun by blood thirsty, genetically engineered sheep?  That and the picture above are all I need to be exposed to to know I need to see this flick.

But, concept loving aside, it’s apparently destined for cult classic status.  Good news.  Oh, and some low quality footage.

Reviews: Twitch


The Host
Directed by Joon-ho Bong
Written by Chul-hyun Baek, Joon-ho Bong, Won-jun Ha
General Verdict: Best of the year.  Period.

The box office records for The Host alone should speak of its quality – it set South Korea’s record for fastest ticket sales – TIFF just happened to be its North America premiere.

I can’t fucking wait to see this movie.

Reviews: Twitch 1, 2, 3Cinematical

Directed by Andrew Currie
Written by Dennis Heaton, Andrew Currie, Robert Chomiak
General Verdict: Charming, fun new direction for the zombie picture.

Destined for cult love, Fido is a about the relationship between a boy and his zombie in a world where the undead are domesticated.  Of course the device that keeps the domesticated fails, so the boy does his vest to cover up his friend’s victims.

Charming, funny mixture of Pleasantville with Shaun of the Dead.  Great performances all around, espcially by Billy Connolly as Fido.

Reviews: Twitch

Pan’s Labryinth
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro
General Verdict: Amazing and spellbinding.

Like the Host, Pan’s Labryinth is pretty universally confirmed as a must see in the world of fantasy.  One of the best films of the year, del Toro’s tremendous screenplay shows the power of the imagination over the harsh reality of a world beyond one’s control.

Damned good film, apparently.

Reviews: Twitch

Directed by György Pálfi
Written by György Pálfi, Zsófia Ruttkay, Lajos Parti Nagy
Trailer 12
General Verdict: Gory, bizarre and utterly mind boggling.

I was doing a good deal of research on the latest film from the acclaimed director of Hukkle a week or two ago, so for me it was already a given as a film I madly wanted to see.

It’s a tri-generational story of men and the things they stuff themselves with, be it lust, food, or literal self-taxidermy.  Stunning visuals, just check out the trailer.  It’s not explicitly a horror film, but it’s chock full of horrific imagery and has an intensely macabre break to it – so I’m counting it.

Reviews: Twitch

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Written by Jacob Forman
General Verdict: Sleeper success of the festival and probably the year.

Again, maybe I’m just out of it, but the first I’d heard of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was when I was reading the review on Cinematical.  It’s about the virgin girl in school that every high school guy is fighting for.  Said boys and said girl are out in the middle of nowhere, each vying for the first go, until someone decides to take things up and notch and begins to bust open some veins.

Pretty terrifying is what I hear.  Damned cool to hear that, I may add.

Reviews: Cinematical

comments are closed
  1. September 14th, 2006 | 8:38 am | #1

    Oooh, S&Man just took a huge leap on my things to see list, as I hadn’t really any clue what it was about until now.

    Now, the Host… would you file that under Foreign or Horror? ;)

  2. Brian
    September 14th, 2006 | 7:21 pm | #2

    Ummm…add another one that loves Mandy Lane (or at least the actress).

  3. Brian
    September 19th, 2006 | 7:58 pm | #3

    Horror’s Not Dead = Dead?

  4. September 19th, 2006 | 8:48 pm | #4

    It’s looked like that for the past month, but it isn’t. I’ve just been lazy and using starting a new job and finishing up writings for CIFF as an excuse for not spending time on the site. But now that I’m used to the schedule of the new job and CIFF is about to actually start, I’ll have a lot more free time.

    Plus I’m just a failure.

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