Toronto After Dark in the Spotlight

Next stop on Maniacs and Monsters’ tour of horror events is the Toronto After Dark (TAD) Film Festival. Founded in 2006, the event showcases new and independent films, bringing together fans and filmmakers for a nine night extravaganza of horror, sci-fi and cult genre films. The 14th edition of this growing event is set to open October 17th at Toronto’s Scotia Bank Theatre with 50 feature-length and short films on this year’s programme.

A truly international festival with films produced from all corners of the globe, the event kicks off with Irish supernatural comedy, Extra Ordinary. Directed by Mike Ahern & Enda Loughman, the film stars former SNL cast member Will Forte as an occultist in the tale of a man trying to find out why he’s being haunted in a small town in Ireland. The film has already won awards at several other film festivals and makes its Toronto debut at TAD.

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Horror and comedy converge in Extra Ordinary.

For those looking for a more traditional horror experience, opening night continues with the Canadian-made Witches in the Woods directed by Jordan Baker. Making its North American debut, the film invokes the familiar horror trope of students setting out on a road trip through the remote wilderness only to have their vehicle break down. Rather than the fun-filled snowboarding adventure they sought they end up battling an evil spirit that has much darker plans.

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Another ill-fated youth road trip unravels in Witches in the Woods.

Throughout the remaining eight days of the festival, many other subgenres are covered with something for every horror fan’s taste including supernatural, werewolf, and slasher flicks. One evening focuses on zombie films with The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale from South Korea about a family that adopts a stray zombie and Mutant Blast from Portugal, a post-apocalyptic action zombie comedy.

The eclectic programme also includes the world premiere of the US film, The Assent, which tells the tale of a single father who suspects his son is possessed and enlists an exorcist to rescue him from an evil presence. Directed by Pearry Teo, this film is being billed as possibly the scariest film at the festival and sounds like it’s definitely worth a watch.

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Turn around bright eyes…casting out demons in The Assent.

Another unique entry at the festival is the Canadian film Making Monsters which recently won the Best Horror Feature Film award at Shriekfest and has its Canadian debut at TAD. Directed by Justin Harding & Rob Brunne, the film tells the story of a couple known for producing scary prank videos that have the tables turned on them when they visit a friend’s countryside home. Look for our full review of Making Monsters, coming soon.

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Making Monsters makes its Canadian debut at TAD.

Other features of the festival worth noting include collections of international and Canadian short films and closing night feature, Come to Daddy, starring Elijah Wood as a man whose trip to visit his estranged father turns into a dark, wild ride. The festival includes many more features including some making their world debut. A full schedule can be found at the TAD website.

In addition to the wide variety film entries being shown at the festival, fans can also connect with filmmakers at Q&A’s being held over the nine day run as well as their Pub After Dark social event each evening.

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Pubbing after dark: Filmmakers and fans converge at TAD.

Given the diversity of the films and filmmakers taking part, Toronto After Dark should be on the to-do list of any horror film aficionado. The event runs October 17th – 25th at the Scotia Bank Theatre in Toronto. Information about the event and tickets can be found at torontoafterdark.com.

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