No one loves ghosts but everyone loves a ghost story. Think of your childhood, when late at night, you heard an elder sibling narrate a spooky yarn, complete with sound effects. Some may brag, Darna mana hai, but hundred lily-livered souls would whisper back, Darna zaroori hai!
Out there in Canada, the locals seem to be exorcising the ghouls in their lives. At the Toronto International Film Festival, opening next fortnight, a section named Midnight Madness will screen, commencing at the witching hour..midnight.
Blood will fly
Indeed, the Toronto fest has into this bloodcurdling spree as a matter of convention. This year it will be the 20th edition of Midnight Madness.
The blurbs for this sidebar event of the fest, announces gleefully, "This heart-stopping, late-night blow-out features a range of audacious, bone-chilling and eerie genie flicks which thrust a thick blade into the banal." Kya baat hai ! The package of 10 movies to be shown in Toronto from September 6 onwards is from various parts of the world. Besides Europe and America, Japan has sent in entries.
None from Transylvania though, where Count Vlaad (better known as Dracula) had resided. Maybe, his ghost has been laid to rest. But for how long... you can't keep a bad man down for long.
Why not any movie from our bewitched country ? Here, things aren't quite looking up (or down, if you so prefer) on the spooky score lately. The old firm of Ramsay Brothers, which produced flesh-‘n'-gore movies in the past, appears to have called it a night. Some prospective chiller chefs have transferred their cuisine to the TV bowl.
Even Ramu Varma had stopped scaring us after his Darna series. Others may not stand ghost of a chance in any Bhoot Utsav.
On the other hand, in the techno-savvy Japan, even film-animation is now being used to scare viewers.
It's Vexille, an animated film, grabbed the honour of opening the Locarno film fest earlier this month. And it has included among the Midnight Madness package.
Horror, Japanese style
The film depicts destruction of land and people by "monstrous, android worms." Ugh ! Also showing are Xavier Gens' Frontière (France) and Dario Argento's Mother of Tears (Italy).
The Toronto fest's tariff does not allow the spook watching to come cheap. A season ticket for the entire package costs 156 Canadian dollars (about Rs.6000) with taxes.
A one-third discount is being offered to students though. Ditto for senior citizens though it is not known whether there will be doctors in attendance ! How about emulating it out here in India? Before I give my views, let me first see who can be knocking on my door at this unearthly hour…