Vampires at Midnight (aka, my picks for TIFF 2013)

Every year at this time I plan my 10-day movie-going adventure that is the Toronto International Film Festival. And every year at this time I try to convince my friends who don’t regularly “do” TIFF that despite how big and chaotic the festival is it’s really not that difficult to get tickets to great films, even at the last minute. If you look beyond the big premieres of films with Hollywood A-list guests you’ll find literally hundreds of movies to choose from. I always start with the Midnight Madness program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year—it’s the home of horror, action and general weirdness picked especially for the witching hour. The screenings can be closer to going to a rock show than a movie theatre. Expect lots of hollering. More and more, the Vanguard program, which describes itself as provocative, sexy and dangerous, is also where I find my new favourites. But then things that go “boo” jump out at me where I least expect them, too.

Because this month is all about vampires for me, I’m going to have to see everything I can in that genre. Thankfully, there are three interesting ones indeed.

"only lovers left alive"

Only Lovers Left Alive promises to be the coolest vampire movie since the Hunger, starring Tilda Swinton. Confession: I’ve never actually seen a Jim Jarmusch movie. I’m excited that this is premiering the first night of the festival, which should set me up well for the week ahead.

Story of My Death, an experimental film from Spain, mixes Cassanova with Count Dracula. This could be sumptuously, deliriously satisfying or totally odd. I’m going to find out.

Rigor Mortis. Chinese hopping vampires at Midnight Madness?! Hello! If you’ve never seen an Asian vampire movie, they’re generally a wild and fun ride.

Apart from these vamp flicks, I’m pretty keen to see the sexy sci-fi thriller Under the Skin, Alexander Aja’s adaption of Joe Hill’s Horns, the historical drama Mary, Queen of Scots, the Icelandic coming-of-age story Metalhead, and Tom at the Farm, a psychological thriller from Canadian wunderkid Xavier Dolan. Oh, and about 50 others!

See you there, in the dark.

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