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2013’s Midnight Madness Line-up include Venice bound flick from Sono & Juno Mak Plus 7 World Preems (McKee, Roth, Matsumoto)

Announcing nine out of ten titles from its 2013 lineup, TIFF’s Midnight Madness blazes in with a fever pitch, promising to be one of the most notable programs we’ve seen from the most perennially pleasing film festival sidebar dedicated to the horror genre.

Colin Geddes has placed the latest film from Lucky McKee, All Cheerleaders Die (co-directed by Chris Sivertson of I Know Who Killed Me fame) as the section’s opener and this marks the first time for horror alum McKee in the lineup (he usually premieres at Sundance, and if you remember, his last film, 2011’s The Woman got quite the notable reaction there). While Siverston’s name as co-director may arouse some naysaying, McKee is an excellent and exciting name to open with (see pic above).

It’s no surprise that Midnight Madness alum Eli Roth will premiere his latest effort, The Green Inferno, which looks like a promisingly violent re-hash of Americans in peril, this time in the Amazon jungle. Another returning alum is Hitoshi Matsumoto, with R100, who’s past, unclassifiable films, Big Man Japan (2007) and Symbol (2009) both graced the lineup. A vague plot synopsis about a man who joins a mysterious club with strange rules promises to be another bizarre entry.

Newer filmmakers include a Canadian entry from debut duo Derek Lee and Clif Prowse with Afflicted, a documentary style narrative about a pair of friends that undergo a transformation after meeting a mysterious woman on their worldly travels (and was previously known as Ends of the Earth while in development). Also presenting his debut feature is US filmmaker Joe Begos with Almost Human, concerning the sudden disappearance of man, whose surprising return heralds a grisly string of murders.

Indie filmmaker Mike Flanagan’s latest Oculus also makes the lineup, which seems to be based on a previous short film concerning a supernaturally charged tale of two siblings, and one who must prove that the other didn’t commit murder.

Previously announced in the 2013 Venice lineup, Japanese director Juno Mak arrives with his debut, Rigor Mortis, produced by Takashi Shimizu, paying homage to classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980’s with this tale of a set of freaky inhabitants in a Hong Kong public housing tower. Additionally, marking the first time an Austrian film makes the Midnight Madness lineup is Marvin Kren’s sophomore feature The Station (whose 2010 film Rammbock dealt with zombies on the streets of Berlin and featured Michael Fuith) which promises to be an exciting genetic mutation/environmentally informed horror film. And finally, the disturbingly busy Sion Sono’s latest, Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (which was also recently announced in the Venice lineup) will be one of the most anticipated entries in a promising lineup. Here’s the list:

Afflicted – Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, Canada/USA World Premiere
All Cheerleaders Die – Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson, USA World Premiere
Almost Human – Joe Begos, USA World Premiere
The Green Inferno – Eli Roth, USA World Premiere
Oculus – Mike Flanagan, USA World Premiere
R100 – Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan World Premiere
Rigor Mortis – Juno Mak, Hong Kong North American Premiere
The Station (Blutgletscher) – Marvin Kren, Austria World Premiere
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de Naze Warui) – Sion Sono, Japan North American Premiere

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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