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Toronto: Get Spooked After Dark

Lately I feel like I’ve been acting like the Toronto International Film Festival is the only thing in the whole begotten universe worth getting excited about, movies-wise. Sorry. ‘Cos while TIFF is great for those whose tastes run anywhere between artsy and fartsy, there’s also the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, bound to sate the appetites of Hogtown genre fans.

According to festival press copy...Toronto After Dark Film Festival is one of the world’s leading showcases of thrilling cinema. The critically acclaimed annual festival, now in its fourth year, screens new horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, animated and cult films from around the world, including many award-winning features and shorts. Last year’s festival was attended by a record 8,500 enthusiastic film fans and over 100 members of press and industry. In a poll of local filmgoers, Toronto After Dark was also voted Runner-Up for Best Film Festival in the City. We invite you to join thousands of film fans in Toronto this summer, August 14-21, 2009 at Toronto’s legendary Bloor Cinema, for eight unforgettable nights of cinematic mayhem!

Sounds fun, right?

Certainly, this year’s lineup is stacked. Kicking off the festival this Friday is Black Dynamite, a sly blaxploitation throwback piece that, by all accounts, pistol-whipped everyone’s ass when it premiered at Sundance this year. Another action flick worth checking out at After Dark 2009 is Rough Cut, a Korean beat-‘em-up from acclaimed Korean writer/direct Kim Ki-Duk. As you might expect, After Dark also offers a healthy splattering of undead offerings, including Strigoi, a Romanian vampire-comedy that may be the perfect antidote to the influx of overly-sentimental, school of Anne Rice bloodsuckers that Twlight and True Blood have recently reinvigorated.

But the thing this guy`s most excited about is the Toronto premiere of Trick `r` Treat. A horror anthology in style of Stephen King and George Romero’s Creepshow, Trick ‘r’ Treat weaves together four creepy yarns all set on Halloween night. The (sort of) star-studded cast includes (Zodiac, Adapation), Dylan Baker (Happiness, Fido) and True Blood’s own Anna Paquin. This film has been beset (haunted?) by releasing problems for years, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s at all worth the hype.

It’s also pretty fitting that After Dark is going down at the Bloor. Besides being blocks from my house, it’s also Toronto’s premiere venue for cult films and other popcorn schlock. Plus, the theatre’s decrepit state is pretty suited to this sort of thing. If anything, the inaudible dialogue from the long-outdated sound system will just make everything seem more moody and atmospheric! And just imagine that the rattle of all the broken seats is like the creaky floorboards of a haunted house. Spooky!

For more information on the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, including a full schedule, film synopses and trailers, check here.

To purchase tickets online, check here.