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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: When A Stranger Calls.

Here's the trailer for the 1979 babysitter-in-peril flick When A Stranger Calls.

Wow, they certainly didn't waste any time boiling the film down to its selling point, did they?

I felt like posting this trailer, as it was one of three influences on my newest short film, The Monitor, which is now in the can and ready for the festival circuit. But that's a story for a future post...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

DKTM 235

Wow, it's been so crazy lately that this is the first Don't Kill the Messenger post of this month, and it's almost done! I've got some good stuff for you this week, so let's dive right in.

Black Debates Part II.

The Black Museum announced their next few lectures recently. A little over a week from now, Andrea Butler - who wowed me last year with her fantastic presentation on movie poster art - returns with...

There is certainly no shortage of films to pull from on this category, so I'm betting this will be a great night. The next lecture, on November 12th is a rematch of the fan-favourite debates event. Last year, four teams locked horns about which Stephen King adaptation was superior. Now, this octet of pundits & filmmakers will be fervently arguing the best sequel.

Returning speakers Alexandra West (Famous Monsters of Filmland) and J.M. McNab (Rewatchability podcast) will be praising the merits of Sam Raimi's splatstick classic Evil Dead 2 while the duo of Less Lee Moore ( & Shaun Hatton (The Electric Playground) will be championing sci-fi powerhouse Aliens. New to the ring, are Alison Lang (editor-in-chief of Broken Pencil Magazine) & musician Simon Borer who will be battling for The Exorcist III. Rounding out the four teams, are returning champions Tal Zimerman (Rue Morgue Magazine) & Steve Kostanski (Astron 6) who intend to convince the judge and jury that Dawn of the Dead is the best follow-up.

I don't even know which one to root for myself, it's so close, but you can be sure that this will be one hell of an evening, regardless of whoever goes home with the Golden Tentacle trophy.

Camp Blood.

Videogram is back with their newest track, Camp Blood. Available on October 1st, it's a funky riff on the unforgettable score from Friday the 13th Part 3. In celebration, they released this video which features the track set to clips from the Indonesian F13 rip-off Srigala.

After watching this, I also found this video for one of Videogram's earlier tracks I Warned You Not To Go Out Tonight, which features a montage of scenes from 1976's jet black slasher Naked Massacre.

King Of The Small Screen.

Here's the trailer for the film adaptation of Stephen King's novella Big Driver.

Lifetime, why so dark lately? Though I'm too keen to see Maria Bello abused for a half-hour-plus, I have to admit this doesn't look half bad. Big Driver premieres on Lifetime on October 18th.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

At Last We Meet.

My main reason for last weekend's trip to Bloomington was the Diabolique Film Festival, but not the only one. As I said yesterday, I skipped out on one of the blocks of short films to check out a local establishment called Plan 9 Film Emporium

I had been aware of its existence for a few years through a friend who lived in the area - and also happened to be my lovely host that weekend - so I made sure to make the pilgrimage along the main shopping strip to visit it in the flesh. It is not a big store, but, much like Toronto's Suspect Video, is filled to the brim with wonderful oddities. They are like kindred spirits these two, with their films divvied out into colourful categories.

My favourite category is “Goops”

Plan 9 even had a sizable amount of VHS for rent, sporting classics from vintage companies, such as Wizard and Midnight Video.

Walking past that rack was like spiralling back in time thirty years. Okay by me. In addition to a Plan 9 T-shirt, which I intend to wear the shit out of, I also picked up a few zines while I was there. With a provocative name like National Sleazographic, how could I not?

I am not only glad that Plan 9 exists, but also that it has a community that supports it. I wish every burg still had at least one of these kicking around. It doesn't take much to keep the lights on, just a core base of customers that revel in the social experience and are willing to put forth a little more effort beyond what is recommended by Netflix.

I'm not knocking Big Red, I'm just saying there is no reason why both movie delivery methods can't co-exist. Anyway, public service announcement over. It was really awesome to finally get to walk around the racks of Plan 9 and see it is still going strong.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DIFF Short Cuts

As I stated yesterday, the Diabolique International Film Festival was rife with amazing content, the bulk of which were several genre shorts programmes on the Saturday. Here below, is a rundown of my favourites from the festival.

Entity - A spirited cross between Gravity and 2001: A Space Odyssey, this French sci-fi tale from Andrew Desmond sported some impressive visual effects and a wildly dark sensibility.

Strange Thing - Alrik Burrill's yarn about a couple that finds a door has appeared in their house overnight was hugely entertaining with a balanced mix of fan service, action and creature effects.

The Pride of Strathmoor - Einar Baldvin's starkly haunting tale told through stark black-and-white animation that reminded of those old pieces from the NFB. What is perhaps most disturbing is that the story is actually taken from excerpts from a pastor's journal in 1920's Georgia.

Kvistur - This Canadian short film from Alexandre Roy had a fantastic look to it. Its weird combination of live-action and stop-motion reminded me of the work of Jan Švankmajer. It was truly bizarre and surreal.

The Banishing - I loved this Iceland/USA co-production. I have to tip my hat to director Erlingur Thoroddsen who capped off a solid haunted house short with one mother of an ending!

Timothy - Great genre cinema has been coming out of Spain for decades now, and this effort from Marc Martinez is just more gas on the fire. It is absolutely fantastic in tone, presentation and execution.

Sadly, I wasn't able to see all of the shorts playing. I skipped out on the fourth block to grab some chow and visit the local video store (which I'll get to tomorrow), but I heard that Ben L. Gordon's The Carriage, Nicholas Peterson's The Visitant and Christopher Rohde's Odd One Out were the highlights.

My favourite of the fest though, was Stephen W. Martin's Dead Hearts. I adored this short film. Its storybook narrative charmed the pants off me, as did its comedic timing. Who knew I was such a romantic?

It was such a wondrous day of short films. You can check out the full programme by going here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Well, I'm back from my trip to Bloomington, Indiana to attend the Diabolique International Film Festival. It was an absolute blast in every regard.

Even the drives there and back were smooth as could be, to the point it made me contemplate whether traffic is a Canadian phenomenon. Absurd, of course, but maybe not so much when all the American roads I encountered were free and clear.

The weekend got off to a fine start when I showed up at the theater on Friday evening and bumped into Ti West who happened to be in lobby awaiting his impending Q&A for his latest film The Sacrament. It was a surreal moment, considering what was about to transpire in the Lone Star state only a day later. I didn't mention it when I introduced myself.

Ti West Q&A

The U of I theater is a fantastic place to watch a film and rivals that of my favourite venues in Montreal and Toronto. I stuck around for the screening of The Innkeepers - on 35mm! - after which I decided, having seen it on the big screen three times now, that it is his best film. Though I still stand by my original comments about The Sacrament being his most consistent, there is something to be said about West's use of subtlety in his tale about the Yankee Pedlar Inn. Due to said restraint, I think it possesses a huge rewatchability factor.

The wonderful U of I Cinema.

On Saturday, I headed back to the theater for the first of six blocks of short films. I have to say that the range and quality of short films that Diabolique brought together was extremely impressive. I'll go into more detail about the standouts in a later post, but holy hell, what a great lineup!

My short film Lively played in the third block at 4pm. It was a good turnout, with the numbers likely swelled by cinema studies students due to the theater being located right on campus. I was very happy with the reception (nobody booed, always good) and was excited to talk about it afterwards. It was a really awesome day and it ended well beyond last call with fellow filmmakers Alrik Bursell, Michele Lombardi & I closing down the after party.

Livin' the dream...

I want to thank festival organizers Scott Schirmer, Joshua Coonrod, Leya Taylor & David Pruett for not only inviting me to be part of their festival this year, but also being such gracious hosts. The possibility is very high that I will be visiting future editions of DIFF whether I have something to show there or not.

Friday, September 19, 2014

On The Road.

Well, I'm off to the U S of A to check out the Diabolique International Film Festival.

If you live in Indiana, why not come by the U of I campus and check out an awesome block of shorts this Saturday. My short film Lively is playing the third block of shorts at 4pm. Come on by!

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you all next week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TIFF Vids 2014

As in many previous years at TIFF, videographer Robert Mitchell has been on The Ryerson's red carpet to talk with the cast and crews of the Midnight Madness lineup. Here below are highlights from this year's crop.

And, if you're not concerned about spoilers, you can also check out Mitchell's coverage of the post-screening Q&A's on his YouTube channel. Enjoy!