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, August 30, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Night School

So, with the summer winding down, I thought I'd play a trailer for Night School, an eighties slasher I watched on the weekend.

Well, it finally happened. I am now old enough and seen so many movies that I have actually started to forget ones I have already seen. I was a full hour into this movie - the scene in the Boston Aquarium to be exact - until I realized that I'd seen it before. It must have been during my video store days. I remember recognizing the aquarium back then because I'd been on a school trip there only a few years before. I recalled absolutely nothing else about the movie though. Of course, the motorcycle helmeted killer was familiar, but I figured that was because there were several of those in the eighties with The Nail Gun Massacre and The Exterminator, etc.

Man, getting old sucks...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Don’t @%#*$& Talk!

A movie in the mainstream horror stable that I’ve been excited about for some time is Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe. I've started shutting off trailers as soon as I decide I'm going to see the film, so I knew pretty much nothing about this one, except its setup. It looked solid, though after Lights Out I made sure to keep my expectations tempered.

An easy score turns into a life-or-death struggle for three petty thieves (Jane Levy, Dylan Minette, & Daniel Zovatto) when they break into the house of a blind army veteran.

Don’t Breathe was a strong piece of work that kept a remarkable pace once it got going. Alvarez decidedly has a knack working in confined spaces, as the camerawork here was on point, especially during the “one-r” sequence when the thieves were investigating the house after they broke in. I thought the movie flowed well from set piece to set piece and I was with it pretty much from the get-go. Using Detroit as a backdrop certainly added to the atmosphere, as well. More filmmakers should film there because at this point, it looks like a horror film by itself.

It may be no surprise that the highlight of this movie was the menacing presence of Stephen Lang as the blind vet. He may be old, but that house was his domain. He always seemed like he was in control, and all these thieves were doing was making him more angry. When the movie took a turn in the second act, he became even more diabolical. Man, it really is so much easier to sell your antagonist when you don’t have to rely on CGI.

I found the production as a whole a step up from the Evil Dead remake. I remember my first uh-oh moment during that movie when they flashed back to something that had happened mere minutes before, as if we weren’t smart enough to remember it. Don’t Breathe was much more confident storytelling and the emphasis on visual narrative was extremely effective. And by visually, I mean that the audio was often scaled back. Not every sudden scare had bombastic accompaniment. It knew when to be quiet to prolong the tension.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the two fucking idiots sitting next to me in the theatre. I so wanted Mr. Blind Guy to reach through the screen and strangle those bitches. Seriously, can you not just sit still for ninety minutes without feeling the need to open your fucking mouth??? But I digress.

Don’t Breathe was definitely one of the best titles that Ghost House has released to date. It’s taut, tense and went to places I wasn’t expecting. Studios take note. More of this, and less of Rings and/or Ouija.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Awww Maaaan!

No DKTM this week. Rather some words about some bad news I heard this week. Another video store, perhaps THE video store in Toronto, is closing its doors. The legendary Suspect Video which has been operating in Mirvish Village for twenty-five years will be shutting at the end of the year.

While it is true that the brand will still continue in online form, that little shop on Markham has been a chapel of underground film worship for decades. This saddens me deeply. The flagship location of Queen Video and Film Buff are now gone, as well, so that only leaves a handle left, like Eyesore Cinema (newly relocated to Bloor St W) and Bay St Video to carry the torch.

In the final months leading up to the closure, Suspect is having a clearance sale.

So, if you happen to be in the GTA, go on in and say hi to Luis. Tell them The Horror Section sent you.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Welcome To Lake Nowhere.

So, I’m not looking at a vintage VHS title today, but Christopher Phelps & Maxim Von Scoy’s cabin-in-the-woods slasher, Lake Nowhere very well could have been.

It was a long journey to get this movie made, as the crowdfunding teaser pitch first surfaced online in 2013. After a very tumultuous production with some additional footage being shot much later, the final product finally hit Vimeo last week. Lake Nowhere was made by a collective called Ravacon that, much like Canada’s Astron 6, revels in that home video B-movie aesthetic. Although, Ravacon’s output is decidedly not as overtly comical as their Northern counterparts.

I thought Lake Nowhere was pretty entertaining. In typical retro fashion, the piece starts out with some highly amusing faux trailers. The Italian gillao The River Runs Red was as spot on a representation of that subgenre as Edgar Wright’s Don’t from back in 2007 and the extended trailer for Harvest Man played out like a cross between Treevenge and an old GI Joe cartoon I remember watching as a kid. These trailers book-ended a beer commercial for Wolf White that made me momentarily question if I wasn’t watching a Canadian production.

But, onto our feature presentation. Lake Nowhere was a super authentic portrayal of the home video era horror. If Phelps & Scoy were trying to emulate the dark and washed out look of The Evil Dead, they succeeded. Helped out by extensive VHS degradation that thankfully died down before it got too distracting, this movie was almost indistinguishable from its eighties counterparts.

They look so happy, don't they?

The story was fairly standard and contained your average genre setups, but I did appreciate that it wasn’t clearly evident who the final girl (of the three lovely actresses Laura Hajek, Wray Villanova and Melody Kology) was going to be. The main antagonist was pretty menacing in that he towered over the rest of the cast in much the way Kane Hodder did in the later Friday the 13th films. As for the gore gags, they were fairly well done, almost charming in that lo-fi kind of way.

Lake Nowhere came to a close in fifty minutes, which meant that not only did it not overstay its welcome, but that the filmmakers shied away from committing the crime made by so many indie horrors of padding out their product to feature length. Though this curt length naturally made traditional distribution avenues problematic, it has fortunately found a home on Vimeo.

Not anymore...

If you’re a fan of vintage slashers and Don Dohler’s age-old adage “blood, boobs and beast”, then head on over to Vimeo to rent Lake Nowhere for a mere three dollars.

Case of Wolf White not included.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Brain Damage

The TIFF schedule came out today, and while I recover from negotiating their insufferable website, I thought I'd post a trailer for a classic that screened at Midnight Madness's inaugural year waaaaay back in 1988.

I actually only saw this for the first time just recently. Well, if five years can be considered recently. Jesus, time flies! Anyway, here's hoping I see something this year that is as zany and resilient as Frank Henenlotter's oeuvre. Talk soon, kids! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

DKTM 312

Hey kids. Hope you enjoying your weekend, as there are only a few left this summer. Here's a few video nuggets before I shoot off to the city today.

Uninvited Guests.

Toronto artist (and sometime filmmaker) Matthew Therrien recently went down the YouTube horror short rabbit hole and was inspired to create his own one evening for zero dollars. Here below, is Houseguests.

I think it's pretty effective, and starts with the great nugget (as most good shorts do) of what would you do if you went to take a piss in the night and there was someone in your bed when you came back? Plus, Therrien got to plug some of his own artwork in the short, too.

Land of the Rising Scare.

I found this neat video from last month that I wanted to share. See below how The Film Theorists broke down what makes Japanese horror so scary and compelling. They bring up some really accurate points about the differences between Western and Eastern horror. Enjoy.

Road To Nowhere.

The retro slasher Lake Nowhere from Christopher Phelps & Maxim Van Scoy dropped this week on VOD. Click here to rent it from Vimeo for a couple of bones. Here's the trailer below.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Stranger Sounds.

Volume 1 of the soundtrack to the Netflix series Stranger Things came out last week, and it's pretty glorious. I have since wedged it into my writing playlist between Perturbator and Videogram, and they are getting along swimmingly.

Make your own Stranger header at

I think what grabbed me the most was how symbiotic the score is with the show. I hear tracks like Kids, Biking To School & Dispatch and it immediately recalls the events of the show. Ultimately, how I feel about this soundtrack is pretty much almost exactly how I felt about the show itself. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, like The Duffer Brothers, have wonderfully captured the essence of the seventies and eighties. Although, on occasion maybe too well.

I've listened to Vol. 1 about a dozen times through now, and you do start to recognize the patterns and blatant similarities. Tracks like Cops Are Good At Finding, Friendship, Castle Byers are almost interchangeable with the stuff Tangerine Dream were orchestrating in their heyday.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is quietly judging you.

Same goes for the latter half of the track Upside Down if you put it side-by-side with John Carpenter & Alan Howarth's work on Halloween III.

However, this emulation is not restricted to days gone by, as I could hear shades of the more recent work of Disasterpiece on It Follows in tracks like One Blink For Yes.

Now, I know this all may sound like an accusation, but it really isn't. After all, at the end of the day, who really gives a shit? The whole point of the show was capture a period in time, and I don't think anyone can dispute that everyone involved did a bang-up job. Besides, the music does kick ass, and obviously has re-playability if I've now listened to it ump-teen times.

Huh. My second post featuring the alphabet this week...

Volume 2 releases today, and I've been listening to that over the last few days, as well. It features more of the original score from Dixon and Stein, including some reprises of sections from Vol. 1. Even though there are some “hey I know this” moments, namely on tracks Rolling Out The Pool and They Found Us - I don't even have to say what they reference as it will be immediately apparent - but overall it's just a fantastic tapestry of genre music.

Click here to buy Volume 1 via Lakeshore Records.