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Fango was on hand at this year's Toronto After Dark, grabbing bite-sized clips and chats with some of the folks behind MONSTER BRAWL, EXIT HUMANITY, THE DIVIDE and more!
The 2011 Toronto After Dark Film Festival’s opening gala
really got off to a bang with the city’s premiere of MONSTER BRAWL. Basically,
MONSTER BRAWL is series of monsters squaring off against each other in
graveyard, setup as a pay-per-view event. Naturally, they cast some actors that
also have wrestling backgrounds as well. First up is one of the famous managers
in the WWE, the "Mouth of the South" himself, Jimmy Hart playing
himself in the film. It’s amazing seeing such wrestling icon up close in
person, and while he’s very soft-spoken one-on-one, he really puts on the act
when he needs to in front of the camera.
Next up were two of the main monstrous stars of MONSTER
BRAWL; Robert Maillet (300) seen in the film as the Frankenstein monster and RJ
Skinner, who pulls double duty as both the Werewolf and the Mummy. I think I
was kind of spooked at first seeing Robert's size next to me, but couldn’t have
spoken to a nicer couple of guys.
Onto day two, where I caught up with MONSTER BRAWL director
Jesse Cook, attending the fest for both his film and EXIT HUMANITY, where he
served as producer. You couldn’t get more opposite than MONSTER BRAWL and EXIT
HUMANITY in both style and substance, an aspect that makes it quite interesting
to see where this versatile and varied production team is headed.
Of course, I couldn’t leave without having a few words with
one of stars of EXIT HUMANITY, the legendary and lovely Dee Wallace (ET, CUJO).
Day three was dubbed “Zombie Appreciation Day” at the
festival (where zombies get in with a discount and you may have to say to
someone walking out of the washroom, “Oh I think you dropped your arm!”), so the
double bill on deck was a pair of zombie-themed features; DEADHEADS and WAR OF
I spoke to Brett Pierce and Drew Pierce, the brothers behind
the much buzzed about, horror/comedy DEADHEADS. Amassing sell-out crowds at both
Toronto and the Austin Film Festival (Brett was flying back and forth between
them), it’s amazing the film hasn’t been picked up for distribution in North
WAR OF THE DEAD was one of four-world premieres at the
festival. I spoke to understandably exhausted filmmaker Marko Mäkilaakso, along
with star Jouko Ahola (KINGDOM OF HEAVEN) and cinematographer Hannu-Pekka
Vitikainen. Having flown in from Germany and Finland for the film’s debut, the
least I could do is help them find the Pub After Dark after the interview!
Jumping ahead, Day Six was a big night at the festival,
hosting the Toronto premiere of THE DIVIDE. All the more exiting, star and
genre veteran Michael Biehn (THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, PLANET TERROR) was in the
house, sending the place abuzz (hence the loud crowd in the background in this
video). We spoke about THE DIVIDE, but I also got a few words from him on his directorial
effort, THE VICTIM.
I also spoke to Biehn’s co-stars Milo Ventimiglia and
Michael Eklund. Best known for his softer-edged role in HEROE, the dark path
that Milo and Michael's characters go through is quite dynamic and jarring; think
two Travis Bickles, and you'll know what I mean when you see this film.
After all the noise on the red carpet, I managed to pull director Xavier Gens for a quick talk about the making of
THE DIVIDE (a film that should announce him as a director to be reckoned with
in the future), and what he’s got coming up next.
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