Where Horror Gets the Red Carpet Treatment

It’s a far cry from 20 years ago, when Mr. Geddes, a voluble fellow in ever-present red pants, switched from Midnight Madness fan to employee. He set out to argue on behalf of films like “The Host,” whose genre trappings he felt had automatically consigned them to second-class status.

Mr. Geddes’s tenure here figures into any number of origin stories. There’s the time he fished out a screener of Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever” from the festival’s rejection pile. And the time he ignored the response that “Saw” received at the industry-heavy Sundance Film Festival and put it in front of its proper audience.

“I have had good service and bad service based on what waiters thought of a Midnight Madness film,” Mr. Geddes said.

His fan base extends to filmmakers as well. Quentin Tarantino schemed (unsuccessfully) to give the first half of “Kill Bill” a hush-hush premiere there. Takashi Miike (“13 Assassins”) has called Toronto the place where he first realized he was making films for a global audience. And Ryuhei Kitamura (“Versus”) credited Mr. Geddes with giving him a career outside his native Japan.


Acacia Christensen waited in line to attend a Midnight Madness screening on Saturday.

Cole Burston for The New York Times

“It’s my favorite place both as a filmmaker and as a fan,” said Mr. Kitamura, who returned this year with the small-scale sniper chiller “Downrange,” his fourth Midnight Madness offering. “There’s always a high-voltage audience, and I like to watch movies in that atmosphere.”

But Mr. Geddes didn’t pick “Downrange.” Earlier this year, his longtime assistant, Peter Kuplowsky, took over as programmer. A floppy-haired 31-year-old, Mr. Kuplowsky once wrote a grad school paper on the hyperkinetic “Crank” movies, which he called “cultural mirror movies in a post-Verhoevian way” (as in the…

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