Blood in the Snow Takes Over Toronto

The snow will run red this weekend as the 3rd annual Blood in the Snow film festival hits Toronto, running from November 28th-30th at the Carlton Cinemas.  Celebrating the latest and greatest in contemporary Canadian horror, BITS offers a diverse selection of 8 feature films and 15 shorts to choose from this year, including the crowd-pleasing Short Film Showcase which screens 7 original shorts back-to-back.  Festival attendees can expect appearances by a vast majority of the featured filmmakers this year as well, many of whom are bringing along key members of their cast and crew, and will have an opportunity to discuss their films and answer audience questions during post-screening Q&A’s.  There will also be a “Vendor Village” set up within the main area of the Carlton, where the festival’s many supporters and sponsors will be offering products for sale.

The festival has maintained a steady growth in popularity since it’s inception, thanks to the enormous passion for film culture and the support of independent cinema that has come to characterize the city of Toronto.  Horror fanatics, film lovers and casual viewers alike will all have a chance to experience and celebrate this fantastic lineup of original Canadian content from some of our nation’s best young filmmaking voices.  The festival also continues the excellent tradition started by the Toronto After Dark film festival of screening a short film before each feature presentation, providing short format filmmakers with a rare opportunity to present their work on the big screen in front of a packed audience of horror fans.  But above all else, BITS continues to highlight just how diverse and imaginative the horror filmmaking community is within our own borders, offering insight into the many talented voices who continually push the limits of what shocks and terrifies us, and giving us fans and filmgoers a chance to experience and discuss their work first-hand.

You can check out the full festival lineup here, but in case you’re curious about my top choices, these are the film’s I’m the most excited about this year:
(synopses courtesy of BITS)
Black Mountain Side (dir. Nick Szostakiwskyj)
Opening Short:  The Resurrections of Clarence Neveldine
Synopsis:  Black Mountain Side follows a group of archaeologists after they uncover a strange structure in Northern Canada, dating over ten thousand years before the present. The team finds themselves isolated when their communication systems fail and it is not long before they begin to feel the effects of the solitude.
Why I’ll See It:  The trailer for this one suggests some nice production values, not to mention strong influences from claustrophobic classics like The Thing.  I’m hoping for a tense and well-shot thriller with some sort of wild twist, relating either to the paranormal or the occult or something of that nature.  But more than anything, I’m hoping this film just surprises me in some unexpected way.
Ejecta (dir. Matt Wiele and Chad Archibald)
Opening Short:  Uncommon Enemies
Synopsis:  Ejecta is the story of two men who witness an unexplainable event in the atmosphere on the eve of a historic solar storm and must survive a terrifying life form that’s hunting them. An anonymous group will stop at nothing to unearth the truth behind what happened that night to the men and prove to the world that we were never alone in the universe.
Why I’ll See It:  Written by Tony Burgess (Hellmouth, Pontypool), this sci-fi chiller looks a little bit bonkers to be honest, but it’s also sure to offer up some genuine scares.  I foresee it being a great film to catch at a festival like this, and I’ve been a fan of Canadian actor Julian Richings over the years, so it’ll be nice to see him front-and-centre in a leading role like this.
Berkshire County (dir. Audrey Cummings)
Opening Short:  Serpent’s Lullaby
Synopsis:  Kylie Winters, a bullied and self-loathing teen, reluctantly agrees to babysit at an isolated country mansion on Halloween night. When a small boy in a pig mask appears at the door trick-or-treating, Kylie’s night transforms into a horrifying and violent cat-and-mouse game. She must go beyond what she ever thought possible if she and the children are to survive the night.
Why I’ll See It:  This one doesn’t offer much in the way of a revealing trailer, but the brief scene that has been used to promote it certainly suggests a tense atmosphere to go along with the creepy pig-masks worn by the film’s antagonists.  I’m picturing something of a cross between You’re Next and Halloween, and remain hopeful that it has more to bring to the table than your typical clichéd babysitter/slasher elements.
Kingdom Come (dir. Greg A. Sager)
Opening Short: Domestic Blood
Synopsis: A group of strangers wake up in an abandoned hospital to find themselves stalked by a supernatural force with sinister intentions.
Why I’ll See It:  Aside from the fact that it is starring Canadian indie-hero Ry Barrett, Kingdom Come just looks like a creepy fun time at the movies.  I’m not expecting it to re-invent the wheel, but it appears to be sufficiently self-aware to relish in the guilty pleasures of the genre while also delivering some truly haunting scenes involving malicious supernatural spirits of all shapes and sizes.

And of course, I’ll be sure to catch the aforementioned BITS Short Film Showcase, which screens the following short films:

Damned Selfie
Malleus Maleficarum  
The Makeover
Massacre at Femur Creek
Greater Than

So if you’ve been fighting off the post-After Dark blues this November like I have, then feed the urge and check out the Blood in the Snow film festival.  But make sure you get your tickets soon, because they’re selling out fast!


Mark D'Amico

Mark D'Amico

Film Editor and Writer at Addicted
Mark is a lover of film, television and literature, with a particular passion for all things horror. Born on the 31st of October, he was conditioned at an early age to perceive zombies, vampires and masked lunatics as signs of forthcoming presents and candy. He also has several years of experience working in the film, television and advertising industries, both on set in the camera department, and in the harrowing world of post-production.
Mark D'Amico

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