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Midnight Madness is unlike anything else at the Toronto International Film Festival. With screenings scheduled every night at 11:59pm at the Ryerson Theatre, the lineup attracts a special kind of moviegoer—the kind that isn’t afraid to stay out late, enthusiastically applaud an especially brutal bad guy, or show up to a screening with an inflatable Spider-Man (hey, it’s happened). Basically, the Midnight Madness kind of audience is the extra-fun kind.
Festival programmer Colin Geddes has been the guy behind the Midnight show for nearly 20 years, selecting the horror, action, and fantasy movies shown during TIFF. We asked him what makes the program and it’s audience so unique. Here’s why you’ll want to check it out if you’re in Toronto this September.
“This year the lineup really has something for everyone,” promises Geddes. “There’s the misconception that Midnight Madness is just horror films but it’s not—this is where Borat premiered! This year we have action with Free Fire and Headshot, We’ve got dark thrillers with Belko Experiment and Dog Eat Dog, we dip into horror with Blair Witch and horror/sci fi with the Girl With All The Gifts. We even have a documentary: Morgan Spurlock’s Rats, which is probably the one film that’s going to make people check under their beds.”
Three years ago I WAS NEXT pic.twitter.com/xT0qsrcHT0
— Barbara Crampton (@barbaracrampton) September 1, 2016
“One of the things about the Midnight Madness audience is that we’ve been going since 1988, so we’ve really spoiled them with the best,” says Geddes. “Much of this audience has grown up with Midnight Madness, so they have a certain level of expectations. They’re smart, savvy cinephiles who happen to like genre films and know all the rules and know how these things should go—and that’s why I’m always trying to find something to subvert the expectations.”
— Jess Shadlock (@JShadl) September 11, 2015
Geddes’ advice? “Enjoy the lineup. Talk to people in the lineup—these are people who’ve been seeing films all day. Ask them what they’ve seen and what’s good. This is where you’re going to find your tips. This is also where you make friends.”
— MidnightMadness@TIFF (@mmadnesstiff) September 19, 2015
And by anything, we mean a guy in a frog suit might run up and down the aisles blowing kisses to the crowd at 2am.
Patrick Stewart had the crowd on its feet last year while Megan Fox’s appearance at the premiere of Jennifer’s Body in 2009 made people lose their voices completely. Other stars to take the stage at Ryerson include Nina Dobrev, American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga, and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat.
“Make sure you’re properly caffeinated,” Geddes advises, “and just get ready to embrace the experience with one of the best audiences ever.”
TIFF’s Midnight Madness program kicks off tonight at 11:59pm with the world premiere of Free Fire and runs until September 17 every night at 11:59pm. You can also catch these films at more traditional afternoon and evening screenings throughout the festival.
Ryerson Theatre, located in downtown Toronto.
Order your tickets online over at TIFF’s official website or Ticketmaster. Or visit the Metro Centre (225 King Street West) between 7am and 7pm. If you don’t feel like heading over irl and also ran out of Internet data, call them toll free at 416-599-TIFF between 7am and 7pm and they’ll sort you out. Ticket packages are off sale, but individual ticket prices can be found here.