The Week in Horror: TIFF Midnight Madness Edition 2023!

Festival season is ramping up in the movie world, and despite the looming effect of the ongoing industry labour action against the studios that steadfastly refuse to compensate creators appropriately, things are starting to heat up. Horror-wise, one of the biggest milestones of the release schedule is the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness programme, which provides a slate of ten of the most buzz-worthy titles that’ll be on the horror map for the next year. The lineup has just dropped from intrepid programmer Peter Kuplowsky, so check out the list ahead of the Festival, which runs from September 7-17, 2023!

Dicks: The Musical (dir. Larry Charles, USA)

Larry Charles’ Dicks: The Musical

Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp star in A24’s first movie musical, based on the pair’s Upright Citizens Brigade stage show. Directed by Larry Charles of Borat and Seinfeld fame, the musical riffs on the Parent Trap formula and co-stars Nathan Lane, and Megans Mullally and Thee Stallion. I can barely begin to describe what’s happening here, but you can get this trailer up in your eyes to see if it makes any more sense to you.

KILL (dir. Nikhil Nagesh Bhat, India)

Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s KILL

Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s new action-thriller stars Lakshya Lalwani as one of a pair of commandos pitted against 40 bandits in brutal, close-range combat on a speeding train to New Delhi. I’m getting strong Snowpiercer and The Raid:Redemption vibes from this one, and I know the Midnight audience at the Royal Alexandra Theatre will eat it up.

NAGA (dir. Meshal Aljaser, Saudi Arabia)

Meshal Aljaser’s NAGA

Saudi Arabia is one of the two nations making their debut in the Midnight Madness lineup with NAGA. Hints of a creature feature lie underneath this story of a young woman racing to get home before curfew and the wrath of her authoritarian father. There’s definitely more to this one than meets the eye.

When Evil Lurks (dir. Demián Rugna, Argentina)

“Two brothers find a mutilated corpse near their property and convene with the locals to suss it out. They learn that the odd happenings in their village are the cause of a spirit that’s found its way into a local man waiting for the proper protocols to rid his body of the festering demon. An escape attempt ensues as the film keeps its protagonists on-edge, racing against imminent danger to shake the spirit’s relentless clutches.” This one’s said to have some gnarly deaths and visceral terrors.

Hell of a Summer (dir. Finn Wolfhard, Billy Bryk, USA/Canada)

Finn Wolfhard & Billy Bryk’s Hell of a Summer

In Finn Wolfhard and Billy Bryk’s writer/directorial debut, a masked killer stalks the too-old counselors at a summer camp. Starring alongside Bryk and Wolfhard are Fred Hechinger, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Abby Quinn, and Pardis Saremi.

Working Class Goes to Hell (dir. Mladen Đorđević, Serbia)

Mladen Đorđević’s Working Class Goes To Hell

“After losing their loved ones, jobs, and dignity to a tragic factory fire and corrupt privatization, a group of ex-workers seeks solace and hope in the supernatural.” In Mladen Dordevic’s feature from Serbia, the other country debuting at Midnight Madness this year, labour rises up against its masters in a timely story, especially given the SAG/WGA labour action going on.

AGGRO DR1FT (dir. Harmony Korine, USA)

Harmony Korine’s AGGRO DR1FT

Harmony Korine’s first film in four years is an infrared action thriller starring Travis Scott, and I’m here for it. Clues about the film have been dropping all over the place in the past few months, with the 80-minute film tying into Scott’s new album, UTOPIA in intriguing ways.

Boy Kills World (dir. Moritz Mohr, Germany/South Africa/USA)

Moritz Mohr’s Boy Kills World

“Boy (Bill Skarsgård) is a deaf-mute with a vibrant imagination. When his family is murdered, Boy escapes to the jungle and is trained by a mysterious shaman to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death.”

Co-starring with Skarsgard are Jessica Rothe, Yayan Ruhian, Andrew Koji, Isaiah Mustafa, Famke Janssen, Sharlto Copley, Michelle Dockery, Brett Gelman, Quinn Copeland, and twins Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti.

Sleep (dir. Jason Yu, South Korea)

Jason Yu’s Sleep

In what could end up being an, ahem, sleeper hit of the lineup, “expectant parents navigate a nightmare scenario when a spouse develops a sleep disorder that may belie a disturbing split personality in writer-director Jason Yu’s intense horror feature debut.”

Riddle of Fire (dir. Weston Razooli, USA)

“Three rascal children run afoul of an enigmatic coven in Weston Razooli’s whimsical neo-fairytale, which evokes a menagerie of esoteric genres and dreamy cult-film vibes.”

Find information about the Festival, including schedule and ticket information at ! The Festival runs from September 7-17, 2023 and you can find coverage right here at Biff Bam Pop!

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