In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Nine Lives!

Today, The Horror Section turns NINE years old. To celebrate, I made this little video compilation featuring one of the genre's most time-honoured tropes - the cat jump scare. Enjoy!

I'd been cooking that one up for a while. I knew there were some other similar videos out there, so my aim was to just make it as comprehensive as possible. I could've tracked down a few others, but I decided to cap it at thirty for the sake of symmetry.

Anyway, here's to another year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Empire of the Ants

In honour of the release of the new book When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Movies About Killer Animals, it seems fitting to play this trailer from 1977.

Empire of the Ants may not carry the weight of a classic like Them! or have the trippy visuals of Phase IV, but damned if that compositing isn't a little freaky.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I Did A Thing!

Many moons ago, I wrote an article on one of my most beloved B-movies Deadly Eyes for a book on Animals Attack flicks. It had been so long that I had almost forgotten about it, but, much to my delight, I have just found out that it is now available.

Check out that bad-ass artwork by Gilles Vranckx! This turned out to be a much larger project than I was expecting with seventy(!) films being covered within, including some of my other favourites like Rats: Night of Terror, Of Unknown Origin, Grizzly and Razorback.

I'll be digging into this imminently, and if this looks like your bag, you can order it here

Sunday, December 4, 2016

DKTM 319

Hey everyone, how's it going out there? I'm just dropping in to post some horror tidbits before getting to work on a project I'll be unveiling this Friday. Enjoy!

Play If You Dare!

Ahead of the theatrical & VOD release of Jackson Stewart's Beyond The Gates on December 9th is this neat faux commercial for the board game featured in the movie.

I love the fact that commercial was practically indiscernible from the real-life ads for Nightmare and their ilk back in the day. To check out the actual trailer for Beyond The Gates, click here.

An Eye-Opening Short.

Calvin Reeder's The Procedure, one of my favourite shorts from this year, just hit the Web this week, so I wanted to share it with you. You know those “Try Not To Laugh” vids that are so popular on YouTube? Well, they should really use this one, cuz...

Is It Live, Or Is It Memorex?

After months of rumour and speculation, Naughty Dog finally released the first teaser trailer for The Last Of Us Part II. And, as expected, it is equal parts gorgeous and bad-ass.

I cannot wait to dive back into this universe. No release has been set yet, but sometime in late 2017 is a good bet.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bloodies 2016

The awards for this year's Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival (fittingly dubbed The Bloodies) were handed out last weekend, with a wide range of titles coming away with honours. Check out the winners below.

Best Poster
Paul Ainsworth, Josh Budich, Sara Deck, Gary Pullin, Matt Tobin

Best Music Score
Stephen Schooley for 3 Dead Trick or Treaters

Best Ensemble

Best Screenplay
Felipe Rodriguez for Kidnap Capital

Best Editing
Kevin Burke for 24 x 36: A Movie About Movie Posters

Best Special Effects
Carolyn Williams for Madre De Dios

Best Director
Kevin Burke for 24 x 36: A Movie About Movie Posters

'Rising Star' Award
Jennifer Fraser for Capture Kill Release

Best Actress
Tianna Nori for The Sublet

Best Actor
Aden Young for The Unseen

Best Short Film
Jean Claude LeBlanc's Cauchemar Capitonne

Best Feature
Geoff Redknap's The Unseen

Lastly, a Vanguard award was presented to Post-Life Productions in honour of being the first filmmakers to have five short films screen at BITS.

So, that's a wrap on the fest. From what I saw, it appeared attendance was way up, so hopefully the BITS crew can take that momentum into 2017.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Renter's Remorse

The closing film at Blood In The Snow this year was Black Fawn's newest offering, The Sublet from John Ainslie.

Left alone with her baby in their rented sublet, Joanna (Tianna Nori) begins to suspect all is not right with their apartment.

I really liked this little thriller. I feel like a broken record at this point, but it seems like each release of Black Fawn's eight picture deal with Breakthrough Entertainment gets subsequently stronger. It may be the fact that The Sublet deals with more visceral and psychological terrors than some of their previous releases, but I felt that this was a top-to-bottom solid production. The construct, which shared thematic DNA with Roman Polanski's Apartment Trilogy (most notably 1976 film The Tenant) was some oft-travelled material, but it was the bits & pieces that Ainslie employed here that really made this work.

The first of these was the casting of Tianna Nori. She was terrific in this, as she not only sold the escalation of her insanity, but also the desperation as she slowly succumbed to it. I thought the scenes where she was pleading in vain to her husband (the also great Mark Matechuk) about wanting to leave were legitimately heartbreaking. Nori ended up taking home the Best Actress Award at BITS this year, and it was well deserved. The first movie I ever saw her in (Tricia Lee's Clean Break) played at this fest in 2013, so it's like things have come full circle.

Tianna Nori as Joanna in The Sublet.

I must admit that with some of these previous Black Fawn pictures, the dialogue was sub-par, but here I think there were some really powerful exchanges between the two main characters. Writers Ainslie & Alyson Richards were able to really mine common relationship issues and bring them up in those pivotal scenes.

I can't talk about The Sublet without mentioning the apartment itself, as it oozed with character. The rooms and hallways had substantial texture, with snags and grainy wood floors that seemed as much of a threat as anything else that was going on in there. What's more impressive was that it was built from scratch inside a warehouse. Never in a million years would I have guessed that it was not a real location. I can't fully describe how much it added to the proceedings.

Much like my comments regarding Let Her Out, I was really impressed with Shaun Hunter's special effects. His blood work was on point in this, with an especially cringe-worthy scene involving a razor blade.

The Sublet was a solid thriller. You may see where it's going, but how it gets there was really well put together. It also puts Tianna Nori one step closer to stardom because if she keeps putting in work like this, the sky's the limit.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bloody Short Cuts 2016

Blood In The Snow featured a record number of shorts this year, screening twenty-four bite-sized tales over the course of the weekend. I've always found the loving attention that BITS gives its short films really admirable, and with some of the stuff that's coming out of here lately, it must be getting harder to choose. Here are the shorts I dug the most from the line-up.

Evan Hamza's My Brother Charlie was a well told little short that really conveyed a sense of dread throughout and offered up one of the most memorable (and diabolical) moments of the fest.

Perhaps my favourite short that played was Ingrid & The Black Hole by Leah Johnston. I loved its unique take on memory as a version of time travel and its flowing camerawork really reminded me of Mike Flanagan's Oculus. I really appreciated that BITS programmed this, as it is not outwardly genre, but still absolutely wonderful.

Also, I was really glad to see Larica Perera's Tik Tik finally get its Toronto premiere. Taking place in a single shot, its a super effective telling of an old Filipino folktale. I very much look forward to Perera's next project.

There were also a lot of returning filmmakers this year. Greg Kovacs' continued his streak (having had a short play every year since BITS' inception) with his fun romp Mrs. Rafferty's Red Red Roses and festival fave Renaud Gauthier gave us his animated take on the heist genre with Storm of the Century. I was most impressed with Charlie Hanilton & Zach Ramelan's newest What Do You See? though. Anchored by one of my favourite up-and-coming actresses Raven Cousens, there's a lot to like in this hybrid of Western and Eastern paranormal narratives.

Lastly, I really liked Cauchemar Capitonné from Jean-Claude Leblanc. It had an awesome visual style, terrific gore effects and is likely one of the best cursed object shorts I've seen in a long time. I was not surprised when it was awarded Best Short at this year's Bloodies.

In addition to the shorts on display this year, the Bloody Bits DVD also went on sale. 

Featuring some of the best shorts from BITS' previous years (including one of mine!) it's a great little package. But, don't take my word for it, click here for more info.