Sleep is for sissies!

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Er, actually, I shouldn't say shit like that, considering whatever cruddy virus I carted from California to Canada is lingering, probably due to acute lack of shut-eye. I am now officially "that coughing asshole" during quiet moments in movies.

Fortunately, the flicks on my schedule today at the Toronto International Film Festival haven't been too library-like. I hit up the 9am (ouch) screening of Heavy Metal in Baghdad -- a doc about Iraq's only heavy metal band, although at present it would seem Iraq has zero metal bands, considering the members of the outfit profiled here, Acrassicauda, are currently hiding out in Syria. Produced by VICE films, exec produced by Spike Jonze, and inspired by an MTV trip to Iraq soon after the war broke out, I could easily see this doc finding a home on VH-1 or MTV. It's got a little too much filmmaker presence for me (voice-over, appearing on-camera, and so on), but it's hard not to love any film that delivers a political message for the kiddies snugly wrapped in a burrito of heavy-metal appreciation (with some intimate glimpses at post-Saddam Iraq, where the sounds of machine-gun fire are just part of the urban landscape). Metal fans can't even headbang in Iraq, much less grow their hair long for maximum hair-whip effect ... but Acrassicauda (a type of scorpion) learned to speak English by listening to Slayer, Metallica, and Mayhem records. Now if that ain't the very definition of metal, I don't know what is.

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This is the CD a band member holds up to illustrate "what life here looks like." Dude ain't joking, neither.

The day's main event has, so far, been Dario Argento's Mother of Tears, the first in the fest's Midnight Madness series and the director's long awaited final chapter in his "Three Mothers" trilogy (the others are, of course, Suspiria and Inferno.) I get to interview the Italian horror master tomorrow, and let me tell you ... I'm very relieved I dug the film so much. Witches! Crazy occult shit! Daria Nicolodi popping up from beyond the grave, Obi Wan-style! Udo Kier as a nutty exorcist! Suzy Bannion shout-outs! Asia Argento swimming through a pool of mud that looks like maggoty vomit! A crazy monkey! Insane synth music! EYE GOUGINGS GALORE!

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What's going on here? I know, and I ain't telling.

I have a few more flicks in the queue tonight. Phlegm patrol over and out.

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