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, February 28, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Blood & Donuts.

Rounding out Women In Horror Month is the trailer for the 1995 Canadian vampire flick Blood & Donuts directed by Holly Dale.

It may be a little rough around the edges (and painfully nineties), but it's hard not to be a little charmed when you see Canadian film staples like David Cronenberg and Louis Ferreira pop up. Dale went onto have a prolific career in television that continues to this day.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Getting It Right

Last week saw the release of Jordan Peele's horror debut, Get Out.

While meeting his girlfriend's family for the first time, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) realizes there is something strange going on at their estate.

Even going in with high expectations from all the positive buzz (the 100% on RT included) I was still extremely impressed by this movie. Get Out was a success in every regard. I am literally still in shock from how well put together this movie was.

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris in Get Out.

This is a movie that is so well balanced. It has both horror and comedy, but it is not a horror comedy. In less capable hands, Get Out could have been Scary Movie 6, but Peele not only understands both genres, but also has the chops to execute. This was a veritable clinic on pacing and storytelling, as well as mining tension from even the most innocuous situations. The use of sound design during that hypnotism scene - one of the most off-putting sequences I've seen in ages - was absolutely brilliant.

I think the most striking thing about the movie was just how well acted it was. You really notice the difference when you see a horror project where everyone is giving one-hundred per cent. There is not a weak link in this entire piece. When you are dealing with high-caliber talent like this, you can't help but get invested in the proceedings.

The always terrific Bradley Whitford & Catherine Keener in Get Out.

We all know horror is subjective. Now matter how popular a new horror movie gets, there are always detractors. You're Next and Cabin in The Woods may have been too cheeky for you. It Follows' plot holes may have been too problematic and The Witch's commitment to authenticity may have made it inaccessible to some. I can understand that. However, if you didn't like Get Out, maybe you just don't like horror movies or - dare I say - movies in general.

I think this movie is going to do well and that is a very exciting prospect. It means the bean-counters may decide that fresh-takes are worth a second look over remakes and rehashes. Hell, let those Pineapple Express guys make a horror movie, but don't shoehorn them into a new Halloween title that no one needs. Let them run wild without constraints. This may be the very thing that brings about the next cycle of horror. 

Here's hoping.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

R.I.P. Bill Paxton (1955-2017)

I woke up to the terrible news that actor Bill Paxton has passed away at 61. 

R.I.P. Bill Paxton (1955-2017)

This one really stings, as I grew up on his films. Weird Science, Aliens, Near Dark, One False Move, Trespass, True Lies, A Simple Plan, Frailty... the list goes on.

He was one of those guys who if you saw their name in the credits, it immediately elevated the picture's credibility. I doubt I ever would've watched 1991's The Vagrant if his face hadn't been on the coverbox.

Bill Paxton as Chet in Weird Science and as Pvt. Hudson in Aliens. Talk about symmetry!

I was glad he was still working up until his untimely death due to complications from surgery, with great performances in films such as Haywire, Edge of Tomorrow and Nightcrawler as well as television shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Training Day.

I'm fucking gutted. It's been a while since I've watched the criminally underrated Frailty (which Paxton also directed) so I think I may have to watch that this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Woman's Touch.

One of my most anticipated horrors for 2017, the female-directed anthology XX, had its release on VOD last Friday. Fortunately, Toronto was one of a handful of cities that saw a theatrical run for which you can be sure I took advantage.

Five female filmmakers. Five tales of the macabre.

XX was a strange beast. I find myself at odds trying to decide how important it is for a film like this to deliver as an anthology. Are the filmmakers obligated to carry theme and tone throughout, or is performing the difficult enough task of telling a good tale enough? Let's think on that for a bit and I'll just get into the meat – the individual stories.

The opening short by Jovanka Vuckovic (the Canuck of the bunch) entitled The Box was pretty strong. Based on an old short story written by Jack Ketchum, this packs a Twilight Zone-style punch that is exactly the kind of self contained piece I like to see in anthologies. I felt it served Vuckovic very well, as I've always liked the visual style of her previous work, but found her stories lacking. This was a nice solution. It was also refreshing to see a Ketchum work that wasn't entirely abhorrent.

The next short by Annie Clark (aka musician St. Vincent) was more puzzling, as it possessed a more comedic tone. The Birthday Party was probably the most visually interesting segment, so I could have got on board the tone shift if it wasn't for the overbearing music cues. Even if there was one beat where it was quite effective, most of the time it was very distracting. Perhaps Clark's background in music made her feel the need to overcompensate with sound. After all, it's a balance even some of the best filmmakers have trouble with.

I thought Roxanne Benjamin's short Don't Fall was the most thematically problematic. If I had seen it as a stand-alone short, I would've been all “yes this is some decent straight-up horror”, but as part of XX it seems glaringly out of place. With all the other shorts fitting together as representations of motherhood and/or family, this one couldn't be further away from that. So getting back to my initial dilemma, do I scold someone for going against their mandate and creating something that is inherently not about gender? I mean, that is invariably where we should be heading, right? Within the context of XX and how it was marketed though, that seems counter-intuitive. Am I crazy?

Karyn Kasuma's Her Only Living Son was the one that, not surprisingly, features the best performances. Acting almost as a psuedo-sequel to Rosemary's Baby, I thought this one was pretty solid. Kasuma has a real knack (as evidenced last year in The Invitation) for creating tension through dialogue and this piece is now different. I thought the conclusion was a bit abrupt and one of the few times I wished a short existed as a longer work.

Wrapping everything together were the beautifully grotesque stop-motion animation sequences created by Sofia Carillo. Even if they didn't really serve to connect the stories, I felt they themselves came to a satisfying conclusion at the end.

So, very much like Benjamin's other anthology Southbound, XX is very consistent, although without a truly exceptional segment to latch onto, breaking into the mass consciousness may be a tall order. Despite its problems as an anthology though, I think this was a win for the individual filmmakers and hopefully they are able to springboard to bigger projects from this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Critters 3

Here's the trailer for Critters 3, directed by Kristine Peterson and starring a young Leo.

Man, I wish someone would bring back the creature feature movement spawned by Gremlins, Critters, Ghoulies et al.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Family Day!

Happy Family Day for those in those lucky areas to enjoy it. Be sure to hug those closest to you!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

DKTM 327

Hey all. I hope you are enjoying your long weekend. I know I'm going to make good use of my extra time. For now, here's what I've got for you today.

Big News.

We got a couple of doozies this week. First, the rumour dropped that Sam Raimi is in talks to possibly produce and direct a film featuring The Bermuda Triangle. Now I know it's not official, but I would love this not only due to Raimi's involvement, but also because that particular phenomenon is so underutilized in film. I'll take this news with a grain of salt, but hey, Evil Dead 4 did finally end up happening in the form of a television show, so hey, anything is possible now right?

The second was the announcement of Stephen King & JJ Abrams teaming up with Hulu to make an anthology featuring King mainstay Castle Rock.

I mean, Stranger Things might have had something to do with it, but I can't believe no one thought to do this before! This has so many wonderful possibilities, and I can't wait to see how this plays out.

Mondo Games?

The artist collective Mondo announced this week that they are getting into the board game business. First up, a board game called Infection at Outpost 31 based on the events of John Carpenter's The Thing.

Come to think of it, The Thing would work as a Werewolves type party game, as well. This isn't the first time that The Thing has been adapted, as I fondly remember playing a pseudo-sequel on the PS2

Hopefully, this game isn't as elusive as their prints and I can actually get my hands on a reasonably priced package.

Dead By Dawn.

The 2017 New York Toy Fair is on right now, and NECA dropped these beauties for the 30th anniversary of Evil Dead 2.

Man, the likenesses on these are terrific. I so want that Deadite dear head! As if I don't already have enough Evil Dead stuff!