TIFF’s 25 Years of Midnight Madness: Best of the Fest #2

TIFF’s Midnight Madness program turned 25 this year, and for two and half decades, the hardworking programers have gathered some of the strangest, most terrifying, wild, intriguing and downright entertaining films from around the world. From dark comedies to Japanese gore-fests and indie horror gems, the Midnight Madness program hasn’t lost its edge as one the leading showcases of genre cinema. In its 25-year history, Midnight Madness has introduced adventurous late-night moviegoers to such cult faves as Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. But what separates Midnight Madness from, say, Montreal’s three and half week long genre festival Fantasia, is that TIFF selects only ten films to make the cut. In other words, these programmers don’t mess around. Last week I decided that I would post reviews of my personal favourite films that screened in past years. And just like the TIFF programmers, I’ve narrowed it down to ten films – well sort of. I’ve decided to include the following two picks as a tie for two main reasons:

1- I’ve already previously reviewed both films here on my Greatest Cult Films column.
2- My first entry in my countdown was the short film Smoke ‘Em if ya Got ‘Em.’ After posting this review, I received some feedback from readers stating that I should have narrowed it down to ten full length features, and left shorts as a special mention.

I’ll be posting my number one pick this time, tomorrow – and boy is it a doozy! For now, here are my next two entries, followed by a list detailing the complete history of Midnight Madness.



The Loved Ones
Directed by Sean Byrne
Written by Sean Byrne
2009, Australia

Sean Byrne’s debut feature, The Loved Ones is a unique mix of teen angst, torture porn, melodrama and the conventional slasher tropes. It’s a gore-filled shocker that goes for laughs by paying homage to the outlandish low-budget video nasties of the ’70s and ’80s, blending together Misery, Saw, Prom NightThe Evil Deadand Carrie… (read the full review here)


Reservoir Dogs
Directed By Quentin Tarantino
Written By Quentin Tarantino
1992, USA

What is left to say about the first outing for director/ writer Quentin Tarantino, a then 29-year-old product of the Sundance Institute’s Director’s Workshop? Along with the likes of Tim Burton, John Waters, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg, Tarantino is one of the few filmmakers whose every film has a cult following. However in my books, the true definition of a cult film, is a movie that only finds the majority of it’s following, years after it’s initial release. Reservoir Dogs may have been a Sundance hit, but most Q.T. Fans (including myself) only discovered the small indie triumph years later on VHS. Unlike Pulp Fiction, which was a huge box office success and an Academy Award nominee, Dogs only found a true following on home video. So there will only be one Tarantino film to appear on this list, and in my opinion the only true “Cult Film” from the director, and that honour goes to his directorial debut… (read the full review here)


History of the Toronto International Film Festival’s MIDNIGHT MADNESS Programme

Midnight Madness 2013
Programmer: Colin Geddes
Afflicted, (Canada/USA) Dir. Derek Lee and Clif Prowse
All Cheerleaders Dir. (USA) Dir. Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson
Almost Human (USA) Dir. Joe Begos
The Green Inferno (USA) Dir. Eli Roth
Oculus (USA) Dir. Mike Flanagan
R100 (Japan) Dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto
Rigor Mortis (Hong Kong) Dir. Juno Mak
The Station (Austria) Dir. Marvin Kren
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Japan) Dir. Sion Sono
Midnight Madness 2012
Programmer: Colin Geddes

Dredd 3D(South Africa) Dir. Pete Travis
Seven Psychopaths (USA/UK) Dir. Martin McDonagh
No One Lives (USA) Dir. Ryuhei Kitamura
Hellbenders (USA) Dir. JT Petty
The Lords Of Salem (USA) Dir. Rob Zombie
Aftershock (USA) Dir. Nicolás López
The Bay (USA) Dir. Barry Levinson
Come Out And Play (Mexico) Dir. Makinov
The ABCs of Death (USA/New Zealand) Dir. Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Xavier Gens, Jason Eisener and more
John Dies At The End (UK) Dir. Don Coscarelli

Midnight Madness 2011 
Programmer: Colin Geddes

The Raid (Indonesia) Dir. Gareth Evans
God Bless America (USA) Dir. Bobcat Goldthwait
You’re Next (USA) Dir. Adam Wingard
Livid (France) Dir. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
The Incident (France) Dir. Alexandre Courtes
Sleepless Night (France) Dir. Frederic Jardin
Lovely Molly (USA) Dir. Eduardo Sanchez
The Day (USA) Dir. Douglas Aarnioski
Smuggler (Japan) Dir. Katsuhito Ishii
Kill List (UK) Dir. Ben Wheatley

Midnight Madness 2010 
Programmer: Colin Geddes

Fubar II (Canada) Dir. Michael Dowse
SUPER (USA) Dir. James Gunn
Bunraku (USA) Dir. Guy Moshe
Vanishing on 7th Street (USA) Dir. Brad Anderson
The Ward (USA) Dir. John Carpenter
Insidious (USA) Dir. James Wan
Red Nights (Hong Kong / China / France) Dir. Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud
The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman (Hong Kong / China / USA) Dir. Wuershan
Stake Land (USA) Dir. Jim Mickle
Fire of Conscience (Hong Kong / China) Dir. Dante Lam

Midnight Madness 2009
Programmer: Colin Geddes

Jennifer’s Body (USA) Dir. Karyn Kusama
A Town Called Panic (Belgium/Luxembourg/France) Dir. Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar
Bitch Slap (USA) Dir. Rick Jacobson
Daybreakers (Australia/USA) Dir. Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead (Canada) Dir. George A. Romero
The Loved Ones (Australia) Dir. Sean Byrne
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (Thailand) Dir. Tony Jaa
[REC] 2 (Spain) Dir. Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza
Solomon Kane (UK) Dir. Michael J. Bassett
Symbol (Japan) Dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto

Midnight Madness 2008
Programmer: Colin Geddes

JCVD (France/Luxembourg/Belgium) Dir. Mabrouk El Mechri
Detriot Metal City (Japan) Dir. Toshio Lee
Deadgirl (USA) Dir. Marcel Sarmiento & Gadi Harel
Not Quite Hollywood (Austalia) Dir. Mark Hartley
Acolytes (Australia) Dir. Jon Hewitt
The Burrowers (USA) Dir. J.T. Petty
Martyrs (Canada/France) Dir. Pascal Laugier
Eden Log (France) Dir. Franck Vestiel
Sexykiller (Spain) Dir. Miguel Martí
Chocolate (Thailand) Dir. Prachya Pinkaew

Midnight Madness 2007
Programmer: Colin Geddes

The Mother of Tears (Italy/USA) Dir. Dario Argento
Frontiére(s) (France) Dir. Xavier Gens
George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead (USA) Dir. George Romero
Vexille (Japan) Dir. Sori
Stuck (USA/Canada) Dir. Stuart Gordon
Sukiyaki Western Django (Japan) Dir. Takeshi Miike
Flash Point (Hong Kong) Dir. Wilson Yip
The Devil’s Chair (UK) Dir. Adam Mason
Dainipponjin (Japan) Dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto
À l’intérieur (France) Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo

Midnight Madness 2006
Programmer: Colin Geddes

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakstan (USA) Dir. Larry Charles
The Host (South Korea) Dir. Bong Joon-ho
Black Sheep (New Zealand) Dir. Jonathan King
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (USA) Dir. Jonathan Levine
Trapped Ashes (USA/Japan/Canada)
Dir. Monte Hellman, Ken Russell, John Gaeta, Sean Cunningham & Joe Dante
The Abandoned (Spain) Dir. Nacho Cerda
Severance (UK) Dir. Christopher Smith
Princess (Denmark) Dir. Anders Morgenthaler
S&MAN (USA) Dir. JT Petty
Sheitan (France) Dir. Kim Chapiron

Midnight Madness 2005
Programmer: Colin Geddes

The Great Yokai War (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
Bangkok Loco (Thailand) Dir. Pornchai Hongrattanaporn
SPL (Hong Kong) Dir. Wilson Yip
Evil Aliens (UK) Dir. Jake West
Banlieue 13 (France) Dir. Pierre Morel
The District (Hungary) Dir. Áron Gauder
Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (Canada) Dir. Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise
Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic (USA) Dir. Liam Lynch
Isolation (UK/Ireland) Dir. Billy O’Brien
Hostel (USA) Dir. Eli Roth

Midnight Madness 2004
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Japan) Dir. Mamoru Oshii
Creep (UK/Germany) Dir. Christopher Smith
The Machinist (Spain) Dir. Brad Anderson
Rahtree: Flower of the Night (Thailand) Dir. Yuthlert Sippapak
The Raspberry Reich (Germany) Dir. Bruce LaBruce
Dead Birds (USA) Dir. Alex Turner
Zebraman (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
Calvaire (Belgium/France/Luxembourg) Dir. Fabrice du Welz
Saw (USA) Dir. James Wan
Kontroll (Hungary) Dir. Nimród Antal

Midnight Madness 2003
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

Cypher (USA) Dir. Vincenzo Natali
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (Thailand) Dir. Prachia Pinkaew
Haute Tension (France) Dir. Alexandre Aja
Underworld (USA) Dir. Len Wiseman
Ju-On: The Grudge (Japan) Dir. Takashi Shimizu
End of The Century: The Story of the Ramones (USA) Dir. Jim Fields & Michael Gramaglia
Gozu (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
Save The Green Planet (South) Dir. Jang Jun-hwan
Undead (Australia) Dir. Michael & Peter Sperig

Midnight Madness 2002
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

Cabin Fever (USA) Dir. Eli Roth
Alive (Japan) Dir. Ryuhei Kitamura
MC5: A True Testimonial (USA) Dir. David Thomas
Spun (USA) Dir. Jonas Akerlund
Bubba Ho-tep (USA) Dir. Don Coscarelli
The Eye (Hong Kong/Thailand) Dir. Oxide Pang, Danny Pang
Volcano High (South Korea) Dir. Kim Tae-kyun
My Little Eye (UK) Dir. Marc Evans

Midnight Madness 2001
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

Full Time Killer (Hong Kong) Dir. Johnnie To Kei-fung, Wai Ka-fai
Antinome (France) Dir. Grégory Morin (short)
Ichi the Killer (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
The Bunker (UK) Dir. Rob Green
Bang Rajan The Village of the Warriors (Thailand) Dir. Thanit Jitnukul
Clip Cult (Music Video Compilation) Dir. Chris Cunningham, Hiroyuki Nokomo, etc.
Electric Dragon 80,000 V (Japan) Dir. Sogo Ishii
Dogtown and Z-Boys (USA) Dir. Stacy Peralta
Versus (Japan) Dir. Ryuhei Kitamura
The American Astronaut (USA) Dir. Cory McAbee
The Brotherhood of the Wolf (France) Dir. Christophe Gans

Midnight Madness 2000
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

The Mission (Hong Kong) Dir. Johnnie To Kei-fung
City of Lost Souls (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
Wild Zero (Japan) Dir. Tetsuro Takeuchi
The Irredutable Truth About Demons (New Zealand) Dir. Glenn Standring
American Nightmare (USA) Dir. Adam Simon
The Foul King (Korea) Dir. Kim Jee Woon
Tell Me Something (Korea) Dir. Chang Younhyun
6ixtynin9 (Thailand) Dir. Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Time And Tide (Hong Kong) Dir. Tsui Hark
Quartered At Dawn (Germany) Dir. Norbert Keil

Midnight Madness 1999
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trickbaby (USA) Dir. Matthew Bright
The Wisdom of Crocodiles (UK) Dir. Po Chih Leong
The Item (USA) Dir. Dan Clark
Born To Lose: The Last Rock and Roll Movie (USA) Dir. Lech Kowalski
Wadd: The Life & Times at John C. Holmes (USA) Dir. Cass Paley
Possessed (Denmark) Dir. Anders Ronnow-Klarlund
Fever (USA/UK) Dir. Alex Winter
Komodo (USA) Dir. Michael Lantieri
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (Japan) Dir. Shusuke Kaneko
George Lucas In Love (USA) Dir. Joe Nussbaum (short)

Midnight Madness 1998
Programmer: Colin Geddes 

The Acid House (Great Britain) Dir. Paul McGuigan
Perdita Durango (Spain) Dir. Alex de la Iglesia
Heaven (USA/New Zealand) Dir. Scott Reynolds
Six-String Samurai (USA) Dir. Lance Mungia
Bystander From Hell (USA) Dir. Mathew Harrision (short)
Hang The DJ (Canada) Dir. Marco La Villa & Mauro La Villa
Cascadeur – The Amber Chamber (Germany) Dir. Hardy Martins
I Woke Up Early The Day I Died (USA) Dir. Arlis Iliopulos
Night Time (Germany) Dir. Peter Fratzscher
Mighty Peking Man (Hong Kong) Dir. Ho Meng-hua

Midnight Madness 1997
Programmer: Noah Cowan & Colin Geddes 

Office Killer (USA) Dir. Cindy Sherman
A Chinese Ghost Story – The Tsui Hark Animation (Hong Kong) Dir. Tsui Hark
Orgazmo (USA) Dir. Trey Parker
I Married A Strange Person (USA) Dir. Bill Plympton
Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (USA) Dir. Kirby Dick
Fudoh: The New Generation (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
The Ugly (New Zealand) Dir. Scott Reynolds
Love God (USA) Dir. Frank Grow

Midnight Madness 1996
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Curdled (USA) Dir. Reb Braddock
Killer Tongue (Spain) Dir. Alberto Sciamma
Road Movie (USA) Dir. Peter Care
Organ (Japan) Dir. Kei Fujiwara
The Stendhal Syndrome (Italy) Dir. Dario Argento
All Of Them Witches (Mexico) Dir. Daniel Gruener
Ratchet (USA) Dir. John Johnson
Screwed (USA) Dir. Alexander Crawford
Gamera 2: Assault of Legion (Japan) Dir. Shusuke Kaneko

Midnight Madness 1995
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Screamers (USA/Canada/Japan) Dir. Christian Duguay
Crying Freeman (USA/Canada/France/Japan) Dir. Christophe Gans
Tokyo Fist (Japan) Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
Mute Witness (USA/Russia) Dir. Anthony Waller
Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe (Japan) Dir. Shusuke Kaneko
Trailer Camp (USA) Dir. Jenni Olson
To Kill A Dead Man (UK) Dir. Alexander Hemming (short)
Synthetic Pleasures (USA) Dir. Iara Lee
An Evil Town (USA) Dir. Richard Sears (short)
The Day of the Beast (Spain) Dir. Alex de la Iglesia
Wizard of Darkness (Japan) Dir. Shimako Sato

Midnight Madness 1994
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Nightwatch (Denmark) Dir. Ole Bornedal
Love and a .45 (USA) Dir. C.M. Talkington
Schramm (Germany) Dir. Jörg Buttgereit
Naked Killer (Hong Kong) Dir. Clarence Fok
Dellamorte Dellamore (Italy) Dir. Michele Soavi
Tokarev (Japan) Dir. Junji Sakamoto
S.F.W. (USA) Dir. Jefery Levy
The Eagle-Shooting Hero (Hong Kong) Dir. Jeff Lau
Music Video programme

Midnight Madness 1993
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Dazed and Confused (USA) Dir. Richard Linklater
Freaked (USA) Dir. Alex Winter
Wicked City (Japan) Dir. Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Wicked City (Hong Kong) Dir. Mak Tai Kit
Trauma (Italy/USA) Dir. Dario Argento
Accion Mutante (Spain) Dir. Alex de la Iglesia
The Making of And God Spoke (USA) Dir. Arthur Borman
Jack Be Nimble (New Zealand) Dir. Garth Maxwell
Frauds (Australia) Dir. Stephen Elliot
The Last Border (Finland) Dir. Mika Kaurismaki
Music Video programme

Midnight Madness 1992
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Candyman (USA) Dir. Bernard Rose
Back to the USSR (Finland) Dir. Jari Halonen
Romper Stomper (Australia) Dir. Geoffrey Wright
Braindead (New Zealand) Dir. Peter Jackson
Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (Japan) Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
Swordsman II (Hong Kong) Dir. Ching Tsui Tung
Tokyo Decadence (Japan) Dir. Ryu Murakami
Man Bites Dog (Belgium) Dir. Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoit Poelvoorde

Midnight Madness 1991
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Children of the Night (USA) Dir. Tony Randel
The Sect (Italy) Dir. Michele Soavi
The Borrower (USA) Dir. John McNaughton
The Arrival (USA) Dir. David Schmoeller
Motorama (USA) Dir. Barry Shils
Guilty As Charged (USA) Dir. Sam Irvin
The Raid (Hong Kong) Dir. Tsui Hark
Blood & Concrete (USA) Dir. Jeffrey Reiner
A Chinese Ghost Story III (Hong Kong) Dir. Ching Siu Tung

Midnight Madness 1990 
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Two Evil Eyes (Italy/USA) Dir. Dario Argento, George Romero
The Bride of the Re-Animator (USA) Dir. Brian Yuzna
Hardware (Great Britain/USA) Dir. Richard Stanley
My Degeneration (USA) Dir. Jon Moritsugu
The Church (Italy) Dir. Michele Soavi
Frankenhooker (USA) Dir. Frank Henenlotter
Def By Temptation (USA) Dir. James Bond III
Meet The Feebles (New Zealand) Dir. Peter Jackson
Iron Man (Japan) Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto

Midnight Madness 1989
Programmer: Noah Cowan 

Dr. Caligari (USA) Dir. Stephen Sayadian
Lenny Henry: Live and Unleashed (Great Britain) Dir. Andy Harries
Opera (Italy) Dir. Dario Argento
Carnival of Souls (USA) Dir. Harold Harvey
Space Avenger (USA) Richard W. Haines
Funny (USA) Dir. Bran Ferren
Over Easy (USA) Dir. Ignacio Valero (short)
Shimmelsteen (USA) Michael Wolfe (short)
No Such Thing As Gravity (USA) Alyce Wittenstein (short)
Whoregasm (USA) Dir. Nick Zedd (short)
Heavy Petting (USA) Dir. Obie Benz
Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Over-Fiend (Japan) Dir. Hideki Takayama

Midnight Madness 1988
Programmer: Noah Cowan

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (USA) Dir. Penelope Spheeris
Big Time (USA) Dir. Chris Blum
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (USA) Dir. Tony Randel
Heavy Petting (USA) Dir. Obie Benz
Forbidden to Forbid (Germany) Dir. Lothar Lambert
Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em (Australia) Dir. Ray Boseley (short)
Brand New Day (Great Britain/France) Dir. Amos Gitai (short)
Brain Damage (USA) Dir. Frank Henenlotter


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