The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced the 10 eclectic films that will make up this year’s Midnight Madness lineup when it returns from September 5–15, 2019.
Midnight Madness includes new genre filmmakers with remarkable debuts, including Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s dystopian sci-fi film The Platform; Rose Glass’s unnerving psychological thriller Saint Maud, starring Morfydd Clark (Love & Friendship) and Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty); Andrew Patterson’s paranormal period piece The Vast of Night, which won the audience award for Best Narrative Feature at Slamdance and features breakout performances by Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick; and Keith Thomas’s supernatural horror film The Vigil.
One of the highlights from this year’s selection is Richard Stanley’s hotly-anticipated H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space, which stars Nicolas Cage and signals the director’s return to the Midnight Madness lineup after 29 years.
Also screening is Joko Anwar’s Gundala, based on the Indonesian superhero comic books by Harya “Hasmi” Suraminata and Takashi Miike’s Japanese action-comedy First Love. The programme will close with the World Premiere of the international version of Isaac Nabwana’s gonzo action flick Crazy World, a celebration of the Ugandan film movement Wakaliwood. Previously announced Canadian titles in the programme include Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum and Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century.
“This year’s selections challenge the traditional parameters of genre and shock cinema, but — most excitingly — half of the lineup’s wicked provocations are courtesy of filmmakers making their feature-film debut,” said Peter Kuplowsky, Lead Programmer for Midnight Madness.
“Along from Blood Quantum, horror fans will no doubt gravitate to the Richard Stanley’s return to the section with Color Out of Space – and with good reason, as Nicholas Cage is joining him for this psychedelic cosmic horror freakout, but definitely take a chance on the new voices,” he tells Bloody Disgusting. The Platform begins like Cube, and which proceeds like Snowpiercer towards a gore-filled climax; Saint Maude is unnerving psychological horror, reminiscent of Raw in its slow-burn, major pay-off trajectory; The Vigil is THE movie to see if your seeking SCARES – kind of like The Autopsy of Jane Doe meets Viy and steeped in Jewish demonology. Also, Satan Slave‘s director JOKO ANWAR may have directed a superhero martial arts epic (Gundala), but he actually uniquely soaks it in a palpable horror atmosphere.”
Here’s a full breakdown of the Midnight Madness program.
*Midnight Madness Opening Film*
Blood Quantum | Jeff Barnaby | Canada | World Premiere
Cast: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kawenna’Here Devery Jacobs, Michael Greyeyes, Brandon Oakes, William Belleau, Gary Farmer, Forrest Goodluck, Kiowa Gordon, Olivia Scriven, Stonehorse Lone Goeman.
“Jeff Barnaby’s astutely-titled second feature is equal parts horror and pointed cultural critique. Zombies are devouring the world, yet an isolated Mi’gmaq community is immune to the plague. Do they offer refuge to the denizens outside their reserve or not?”
Color Out of Space | Richard Stanley | USA | World Premiere
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Elliot Knight, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong
“From the mind of H.P. Lovecraft, Color Out of Space is a cosmic nightmare about Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family, whose recent retreat to rural life is quickly disrupted by a meteorite that crashes in their front yard. The Gardners’ peaceful escape quickly becomes a hallucinatory prison, as an extraterrestrial organism contaminates the farmstead, infecting everything and everyone it can.”
*Midnight Madness Closing Film*
Crazy World | Isaac Nabwana | Uganda | World Premiere
“In the latest from Uganda’s gonzo action auteur Isaac Nabwana, a gang of child-snatching mobsters make a fatal mistake when they kidnap the Waka Stars, a team of pint-sized kung-fu masters who soon turn their cunning wits and deadly skills upon their captors.”
First Love (Hatsukoi) | Takashi Miike | Japan/United Kingdom | North American Premiere
Cast: Masataka Kubota, Nao Omori, Shota Sometani, Sakurako Konishi, Becky
“A doomed boxer and a haunted drug addict find themselves inadvertently caught in the crosshairs of two warring gangs, in the latest from Midnight Madness provocateur Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition).”
Gundala | Joko Anwar | Indonesia | International Premiere
Cast: Abimana Aryasatya, Bront Palarae, Muzakki Ramdhan, Tara Basro
“Sancaka has been living in the streets since both parents left him. Going through a tough life, Sancaka grows up survives by minding his own business and shelter his own safe place. When the city comes to its worst state and injustice looms throughout the country, Sancaka finds himself at an intersection, to remain in his comfort zone or arise as a hero to defend the oppressed.”
The Platform (El Hoyo) | Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia | Spain | World Premiere
Cast: Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Masangkay
“In a future dystopia, prisoners housed in vertically stacked cells watch hungrily as food descends from above; feeding the upper tiers but leaving those below ravenous and radicalized; in Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s profound parable about the socio-political potency of genre cinema.”
Saint Maud Rose Glass | United Kingdom | World Premiere
Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle
“A mysterious young nurse develops a toxic, dangerous obsession with her patient as she becomes convinced that she can save her from damnation. Tony and BAFTA Award-winner Jennifer Ehle and rising star Morfydd Clark come together in this electrifying psychological horror from director and Screen Star of Tomorrow, Rose Glass. Religiously devout nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark) arrives at the grand home of her new patient Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), who remains a pleasure-seeking diva with extravagant taste despite being frail from illness. Amanda is intrigued by this serious young woman, and enjoys talking to someone so deliciously innocent. Maud, however, is not all that she seems. She is tormented by a bloody secret from her past, and by visions which she believes come directly from God. As Amanda begins to taunt Maud more and more with her hedonistic and unpredictable behaviour, Maud becomes convinced that she is there to serve a divine purpose. In a frenzy of ecstasy, madness and passion, Maud’s religious zeal becomes deadly to anyone who stands in her way.”
The Twentieth Century | Matthew Rankin | Canada | World Premiere
Cast: Daniel Beirne, Sarianne Cormier, Mikhaïl Ahooja, Catherine St-Laurent, Sean Cullen
“Winnipeg’s Matthew Rankin (The Tesla World Light) doubles down on his signature mode of gonzo history films with this bizarro biopic of William Lyon Mackenzie King, which reimagines the former Canadian Prime Minister’s early life as a series of abject humiliations, both professional and sexual.”
The Vast of Night | Andrew Patterson | USA | Canadian Premiere
Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer, Bruce Davis
“Set at the dawn of the space-race over the course of one night in 1950s New Mexico, a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ uncover a strange frequency that could change their lives, their small town and the future forever.”
The Vigil | Keith Thomas | USA | World Premiere
Cast: Adam Margules, Dave Davis, Menashe Lustig, Malky Goldman, Lynn Cohen, Fred Melamed
“Set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hassidic “Boro” Park neighborhood, The Vigil follows Yakov, a former Hassid, as he accepts a position as a shomer, hired to “sit the vigil” and watch over the body of a deceased community member. Having lost his faith, Yakov isn’t eager to go back to the insular religious community he only recently fled. But when Reb Shulem, a rabbi and confidante, approaches Yakov after a support group meeting and offers to pay Yakov to be the shomer for a recently deceased Holocaust survivor, he reluctantly accepts the job. Shortly after arriving at the dilapidated house, Yakov realizes that something is very, very wrong. This will not be a quiet vigil. Steeped in ancient Jewish lore, The Vigil is a visceral and terrifying supernatural horror film set in a world audiences have never before experienced.”