By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 31, 2012 at 11:21AM
Variety being the spice of life, every film festival needs the opportunity for a bit of a change of pace. After a few days of subtitles and grueling kitchen sink drama, even the most stoic cinephile starts to get in the mood for watching a few heads get ripped from their bodies, and that's why things like TIFF's Midnight Madness strand exists. Highlighting genre fare, often with lashings of blood and gore, the strand has seen films premiere that have gone on to international success -- last year alone brought films like "The Raid," "Kill List" and "God Bless America" to TIFF audiences.
Well, this year's line-up has just been unveiled, five weeks before the festival gets underway, and it certainly looks promising. Probably the biggest draw is comic-book actioner "Dredd," which, having premiered at Comic-Con to good notices, continues its buzz-building tour ahead of its appearance at Fantastic Fest later on in the month, before hitting theaters on September 21st. But we're much more interested in the world premiere of "Seven Psychopaths," the second feature from "In Bruges" writer-director Martin McDonagh, which stars Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Abbie Cornish, and promises another blackly funny, blood-soaked comedy.
Also cropping up is the latest from Rob Zombie, "Lords Of Salem," about a hard-rock DJ who summons a coven of witches back to Salem; Chile-set earthquake film "Aftershock," starring Eli Roth and Selena Gomez; horror "No One Lives," from "Versus" director Ryuhei Kitamura and starring Luke Evans, and "Hellbenders," a horror-comedy about a hard-drinking group of Catholic priests, starring Clancy Brown and Clifton Collins Jr.
There's also a new film from Barry Levinson, curiously, who tackles the horror genre with "The Bay," as well as portmanteau gorefest "The ABCs of Death," Sundance grad "John Who Dies At The End," from Don Coscarelli, and "Come Out And Play," which sounds like it's a remake of the seminal 1976 horror "Who Can Kill A Child?," and is sure to be controversial.
The Vanguard strand, described as "Midnight Madness’s older, more mature sister, with a darker, confrontational and transgressive core," also has some promising pictures, including the Toby Jones-starring "Berbarian Sound Studio," which won serious acclaim at the Edinburgh Film Festival recently, and Ben Wheatley's "Kill List" follow-up "Sightseers," which was praised at Cannes this year. And they're joined by Michel Gondry's "The We & The I," Ben Drew's "iLL Manors," Kubrick doc "Room 237" and the London-set remake of Nicolas Winding Refn's "Pusher." You can check out the ful line-up for the section here, or read a full list of all the new additions, including films from the documentary and children's strand, on the following pages, courtesy of our colleagues at Indiewire.