TIFF’s Midnight Madness program turns 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 from around the world. 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. This year, all 10 films are making either their world or North American premieres, including new releases by festival alumni directors Hitoshi Matsumoto, Sion Sono and Eli Roth. For those of you unlucky enough to attend the fest, I’ll be spending the week posting reviews of some of my personal favourite films that screened in past years. And just like the TIFF programmers, I’ve narrowed it down to ten films. Enjoy!
Smoke ‘Em if ya Got ‘Em
Written and directed by Ray Boseley
This energetic piece of ozploitation cinema depicts what may well be the only rational response to the Apocalypse. Set in Elwood in Melbourne, Australia, Smoke ‘Em if ya Got ‘Em follows the last days of the world in the event of a nuclear war. This short film, 48 minutes long, focuses on a couple of survivors who try to look at the positive side of surviving an Armageddon. While scavenging the wasteland-countryside for supplies they stumble across a bomb shelter and in it, a year’s supply of food and alcohol, and a raging post-apocalyptic party in which everybody bops, drops, and goes out with a literal blast. Littered with unexpected surprises, flamboyant characters, a great punk soundtrack and a closing title that will leave you in stitches, this jet black comedy is at times poignant, flippant and funny. From the opening atomic blast, set to a jazzy score and featuring Ray Harryhausen-esque stop motion animation, to the touching final goodbye, Smoke ‘Em if ya Got ‘Em is a must see! If there is one movie I’d want to spend my time watching before the bombs came dropping down, it’s this one. Director Ray Boseley’s Smoke ‘Em if ya Got ‘Em is an extremely rare gem. Luckily for us, we now have the magic of the internet.