When I cover a film festival, I usually do a small handful of interviews for various publications. In nearly every case, the sit-down is with a young filmmaker or some indie actors. When I was asked if I'd like to spend a half-hour with the Midnight Madness Guru for the Toronto International Film Festival, I figured it'd be a whole lot of fun. I mean... the guy's job is to pick through the world's newest wierd movies and pick his ten favorites! Now that's a guy you want to drink a coffee with! Here now is a conversation between Colin Geddes, filmmaker J.T. Petty and yours truly. And I had to snip about 35% of this chat session because it often devolved into a really nerdy conversation between three hardcore genre geeks. Obviously it was a lot of fun.

Cinematical: How important is a "midnight movie" slate to a festival like Toronto?

Colin Geddes: The Midnight Madness category was originally devised as a spot for films that didn't really "fit in" with a traditional festival agenda. We're talking back in, say, 1988, when genre films didn't necessarily "belong" at a film festival. So the category gave us a chance to introduce quality genre films to an appreciative audience. Plus these movies often work as a "gateway" for new audience members. With the festival being so huge, it's sometimes overwhelming. And if you're an 18-year-old kid coming to Toronto, like I was, where are you going to start? You're probably going to start in the horror stuff, the weird stuff. The rest of the film festival gets the "art," and I get the "fun." And the art. And what we see now is that, of all the different slates, Midnight Madness is one that almost always sells out, ticket-wise. From an industry standpoint, these are quite often the films that sold -- and seen.

Cine: And they're not always horror films either. You have seven or eight of 'em, but then something like Borat makes the cut as well...

CG: Yeah, it's a mixed bag. Now, Borat is an outrageous comedy, but I also knew it would it would bring a lot of attention, and it's great to have that kind of "hook" sometimes. If I can get an 18-year-old kid who'll come and see Borat, and then he comes back to see The Host from Korea or Princess from Denmark, I've done my job there. Borat is kind of the "anchor." On the other hand, I like to take a chance with one or two selections. Two years ago I programmed Calvaire (The Ordeal), which was ... an out-there film. Half the audience was truly perplexed by that one, but it's an excellent film and precisely the kind of title we like to "introduce" to our viewers. This year we have J.T. Petty's S&MAN, which is in a similar vein. Something that's going to be confrontational; something that might divide audiences.

Cine: Something that's going to get people talking. ...