Thursday, September 21, 2006


‘Feast’ brings back the Midnight Movie – if only for one weekend

Strong memories from the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival include great new discoveries like writer/director Rajnesh Domalpalli’s lush South India coming-of-age drama “Vanaja” and British director Paul Andrew Williams’ gritty gangster thriller “London to Brighton.”
Fantastic new works by established masters such as Patrice Leconte’s “Mon meilleur ami” (“My Best Friend”), a clever adult comedy starring Daniel Auteuil, and Ken Loach’s “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” an epic period drama about freedom fighters in 1920 Ireland, continue to stay on my mind.
But one of my favorite festival habits continues to be the Midnight Madness series of foreign horror films, adult animation and politically incorrect comedies. In a packed auditorium on the Ryerson College campus, I watched “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,” “Black Sheep,” “The Host” and thirty minutes of the hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen comedy “Borat” before a broken-down projector stopped the screening (more on that another time).
Masters like Leconte have a hard time getting their foreign-language films into U.S. theaters long enough to generate audiences. Meanwhile, an emerging artist like Rajnesh Domalpalli struggles to get his film bought by a distributor. Weekend classics series have gone by the wayside at many U.S. art houses. The same is true for midnight cult series. But anyone at Toronto’s late-night showing of “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” will tell you about the joy of watching a scary movie in the midnight hour surrounded by a crowd of horror fans.
Midnight madness comes to the U.S. courtesy of “Feast;” the horror feature produced via the reality TV series "Project Greenlight 3." In the nine-part show, director John Gulager and screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan tackled a quick shoot and a $3 million budget to bring to life the tale of flesh-eating beasts attacking the occupants (including Judah Friedlander and Navi Rawat, pictured above) of a working-class tavern.
“Feast” will enjoy its debut on DVD in October but before then, on September 22 and 23, it will play late-night showings at select theaters across the United States. It’s the type of debut every horror filmmaker dreams about having, a midnight showing in front of hungry horror fans.
Let’s hope the cinemas are packed and “Feast” becomes part of an ongoing midnight movie trend.

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