The 44th Toronto International Film Festival kicks off September 5, 2019 and the first wave announcement already promises an impressive showcase of horror and genre film. Previous year’s official selections have included S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017), James Wan’s Saw (2004), and the world premieres of Rob Zombie’s Lords of Salem (2012), Adam Wingard’s You’re Next (2011), and David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018).

Today’s announcement highlights the first selections in the Gala and Special Presentations programmes, and while we horror fans are typically more interested in the Midnight Madness films, this first wave has more than enough to get excited about. Sprinkled in among this year’s prestige films are Todd Philips’ Joker, Bon Joo-H’s Palme d’Or winning Parasite, Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.



Directed by Todd Phillips | USA
North American Premiere  – Gala Presentation

Joaquin Phoenix becomes the iconic comic-book villain in director Todd Phillips’ (War Dog, The Hangover) dark chronicle of a vulnerable man’s descent into violent madness.


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Knives Out

Directed by Rian Johnson | USA
World Premiere – Special Presentation

Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper) assembles an all-star cast — Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield — in this intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective (Craig) who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist (Christopher Plummer).


Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi | USA
World Premiere – Special Presentation

Taika Waititi directs a riotous cast — including Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen — in this equally daring, droll, and touching story of a young German boy who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his home and consults with his imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler (Waititi).


The Lighthouse


Robert Eggers | USA
North American Premiere

Shot on 35mm black-and-white film, this psychological thriller from Robert Eggers (The Witch) follows the slow descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote New England island at the turn of the 19th century.


Parasite (Gisaengchung)


Bong Joon-ho | South Korea
Canadian Premiere

A family of cunning derelicts scheme to enter a wealthy household’s employ in this genre-bending, Palme d’Or–winning thriller of class struggle from South Korean master Bong Joon-ho (Okja, Snowpiercer).


The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019 and the full festival schedule will be released August 20th. Will you be attending this year’s festival? Let us know which movies you’re most looking forward to seeing over on Twitter, in the official Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!