Permanent Midnight is a weekly Complex Pop Culture column where senior staff writer, and resident genre fiction fanatic, Matt Barone will put the spotlight on the best new indie horror/sci-fi/weirdo cinema, twisted novels, and other below-the-radar oddities.
In Toronto for the next eight days, while the potential Academy Awards darlings and other prestige dramas keep the critics and casual moviegoers enlightened during the day, the freaks come out at night. After hours, the lovably messed-up cinephiles will stay up at around 2:00 a.m. every night watching a variety of big-screen mayhem. They’ll see Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States fighting back against a bunch of homicidal terrorists in something directed by a Finnish dude. They’ll stare wide-eyed as Japanese rappers square off against the Yakuza in a raucous musical. They’ll defecate in their drawers while being introduced to cinema’s first sexually transmitted ghost. And, thanks to fanboy filmmaker extraordinaire Kevin Smith, they’ll see Justin Long turn into a part-man, part-walrus abomination.
And they’ll love ever crazy second of it all.
A highlight of the annual Toronto International Film Festival, the Midnight Madness program is widely regarded as the official launching pad for what’s next in worldwide independent horror, science fiction, action, and unclassifiable, genre-bending insanity. The gatekeeper of TIFF’s wildest section is Colin Geddes, a venerable key-master who’s given first-look platforms for beloved genre movies like Candyman, Cabin Fever, High Tension, Inside, Insidious, and The Raid: Redemption. And through those cosigns, he’s been largely responsible for igniting the careers of folks like Eli Roth (Hostel, Netflix’s Hemlock Grove) and Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, Daniel Radcliffe’s upcoming Horns).
But who in the 2014 lineup will reach those guys’ and films’ plateaus of success and acclaim? I spoke with Geddes at length about the most intriguing new movies in this year’s Midnight Madness slate, as well as TIFF’s Vanguard section, which Geddes also programs and covers genre fare that’s less batshit and much more artistically elegant.