MIDNIGHT MADNESS If you're tired of watching paint dry during TIFF's art house offerings, then get your freak on at Midnight Madness, which unleashes crazed supermodel witches, zombies, bloodthirsty neo-Nazis, samurai cowboys and one homeless man stuck in a car windshield. Sick fun you won't soon forget. Midnight Madness runs Friday (September 7) to September 15. www.tiff07.ca. Rating: NNNNN
How do you choose the MM films?
Basically in the summer I don't get much sunlight. While everyone is out playing, I'm in a dark theatre. But the amount of bad films you have to watch, especially for Midnight Madness, to find the 10 you're going to show is something else. I see in excess of 100 films. Good films program themselves.
What makes an MM movie?
MM is the last stop after a day of seeing three or four other films. My mission is to wake you up, deliver some kind of hook in the first 15 minutes and make sure you never, ever fall asleep. I'm not of the so-bad-it's-good camp. It's gotta be so good it's great.
What film are you most excited about unleashing on an audience?
I'm not allowed to pick a favourite child. But the one I'd like to hide away and lock in a closet is A L'Intérieur (Inside). It's one of the most intense, bloody thrillers I've ever seen. I saw it at Cannes, where half the audience walked out and the other half gave it a standing ovation. At the same time, we've got great new films from some old veterans in George Romero, Stuart Gordon and Dario Argento.
What has been your most memorable MM experience?
Getting to introduce director Takeshi Miike to audiences in 97, or getting to premiere SPL (Sha-Po-Lang) last year, especially given my passion for martial arts movies and Kung Fu Fridays. I was able to bring Sammo Hung, a star I idolized, out onstage for his first international film festival appearance, and the crowd went crazy for him.
What MM film will catch audiences by surprise?
There are a few, but I programmed one in the Vanguard program called Ex Drummer that is like Trainspotting meets Man Bites Dog. It's equal opportunity offensive, so crazy, so loud, so punk rock, I think audiences might get mad.
How do you keep your energy up during the festival?
I start my day at Aunties and Uncles on Lippincott for a well-balanced brunch and then I'm running around until the wee hours of the next morning and ready to start it all over again.
Where do you go after a MM screening to relax?
I usually go with the filmmakers somewhere that's a bit less crowded than, say, the Gladstone or the Drake. I like the bar at the Windsor Arms. It's very relaxed.