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Fan Expo 2012: Cinema Sneak Peak

Films fans had much to get excited about the at Fan Expo this year, as distributors used the time to showcase some very exciting films and festivals coming up in the near months, nearly all of which are for those seeking to be challenged and scared, offering plenty of solace to the end of summer.

Alliance Films
The tireless distributor has a whole slew of movies coming out, many of them quite dark and eerie, making the excitement in the air all the more palpable. Among the scares include the latest Resident Evil, Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral, of which there was creepy red fluid-filled bottle on prominent display, and Sinister, a horror by the Paranormal Activity and Insidious team, showcased by Alliance with a blood-soaked and darkened hallway you could walk through and get a quick glimpse of the frights to come.

The group was also promoting Quentin Tarantino’s much anticipated feature Django Unchained with a costumed cowboy handing out coins, and a couple props including a chain-filled bucket close at hand. There were posters a plenty for fans, and prizes to win including a Resident Evil hat, and their continuing promotion Blu-Ray Makes It Better (it’s hard to argue with that).

Walt Disney Pictures Canada
One of Disney’s two big forthcoming releases was on full display, with an engaging look at the world of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. Years in the making, the film is a stop-motion endeavor ripped from the imagination of Mr. Burton, with all the darkness and detail you would expect from the prolific auteur. Three sets were showcased, including many of the puppets used in the film, and fans had the opportunity to peer into the classroom, the home, and the attic-as-laboratory that feature in the movie. You could easily spend some time standing and staring at creations that are so riveting, so detailed, and so full of surprises.

Warner Bros.
WB used their time at the festival to continue promoting two of their biggest franchises, one on TV and one of the big screen. Fans had the chance to pose and get their picture taken on the awe-inspiring throne from The Game of Thrones, while there was plenty of memorabilia and some very popular free shirts from The Dark Knight Rises.

Anchor Bay
With roster of promotions of the darker and deadlier persuasion, Anchor Bay gave out posters, pamphlets, and other merchandise featuring The Walking Dead and a few other gore and blood-filled feature. Action and horror fans should get excited, as the company has quite a few exciting films on the horizon, with screenings at the expo including Jennifer Lynch’s Chained and the fight film Brawler. As the fall approaches and nights grow longer, Anchor Bay has some forthcoming DVD and Blu-Ray releases for the cold, chilling evenings, including Spartacus: Vengeance, The Walking Dead, and the horror The Speak.

Toronto After Dark
The ever-growing and always-anticipated movie festival that provides endless scares announced their first set of horror and sci-fi films, a collection wonderfully bizarre and fantastically absurd.

Three of the more notable films include a pair of films adding another chapter to a successful franchise in [REC]³ Génesis and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.  The former continues the Spanish zombie series, this time placing the horror at a sumptuous wedding, while the latter sees Dolph Lungren and Jean Claude Van-Damme together on the big screen for the second time this year. The third film that looks most promising is Excision, which tells the story of a teenager who escapes the limits of reality to a fantasy world where she performs surgeries on herself and others. The film features a strange cast to be sure, with AnnaLynne McCord as the disturbed youth, with John Waters, Traci Lords, Malcolm McDowell, Marlee Matlin, and Ray Wise, among others.

Of course, there are plenty of others, filling in nicely all the subsets of horror and sci-fi. Simon Pegg returns in a British horror comedy, one that should prove quite different than the horror-comedy Dead Sushi coming out of Japan. And both should be much different than the horror-comedy coming out of Ireland, where it would seem that getting drunk plays a pivotal role – who would have guessed?

More films will be announced at the end of September, and in less than two months the scariest and most bizarre film festival will descend upon Toronto as night falls.

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.