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, April 24, 2015

Ol' Number Five.

I'm back on the road this weekend, this time cruising down to London, Ontario for the fifth edition of Shock Stock.

They've got some cool peeps on hand this year, including Italian exploitation icon Giovanni Lombardo Radice, I Spit On Your Grave star Camille Keaton and Candyman himself Tony Todd.

I'm going down on the Friday, as my short film The Monitor is screening as part of the Short Shock Film Festival. If you're in the area, it starts at 730pm. Hope to see you there, and if not, check back next week to see what went down.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Beware The Babysitter.

During my trip to NYC, I was able to cross Tribeca off my festival bucket list. Knowing that I'd be driving back to the T dot the next morning, I wasn't keen on attending a midnight show, so I set my sights on an earlier screening, the intriguing thriller Emelie. It was a world premiere from a first-time director, but this screencap below – pretty much the only promotional item that exists for the movie at this point – certainly got my attention.

Thomas Bair & Sarah Bolger in Emelie.

When their regular babysitter is unavailable, the Thompsons find a last minute replacement named Anna (Sarah Bolger) to look after their three kids while they celebrate their anniversary. No sooner have the Thompsons pulled out of the driveway does it become clear that Anna is no ordinary babysitter.

I'm not really sure what it is about babysitters, but they've always intrigued me. Even now that I've grown up and contributed my own spin on the tale, I still crave more. Maybe my fascination is rooted in the fact I never really got the full experience as a kid. With my brother being seven years my senior, I have only faint memories of the neighbourhood girl named Dorothy who looked after us when our parents needed a break. I can also assume the allure was nurtured by my early love of horror films, of which we all know the babysitter is a beloved trope. A young girl, not only alone and vulnerable, but also tied to the children she sworn (or at least paid) to protect, so she can't exactly bolt at the first sign of trouble. But, what if the babysitter and trouble were one in the same? That is the delicious premise that Emelie puts forth.

I liked this movie, mainly for its performances. Bolger gives a layered portrayal as the unstable title character. She is cool, calculating and unpredictable, which builds some palpable tension in the first half. I have to also heap some praise on the three children, Joshua Rush, Carly Adams and Thomas Bair. All had some difficult subject matter to work through, and considering two of the three original child actors pulled out fourty-eight hours before the shoot, that they got any usable footage at all, is an absolute marvel to me. It wasn't just the performances though, as the characters were well realized, even the ones that didn't necessarily need to be. The parents in these stories are basically there to grab their coats and leave, but here they were rounded and felt like actual people.

There were a few times where Emelie's motivations seemed a little muddied, but it's possible some of these issues would be smoothed over with another viewing. It also helped that the movie ended on a strong note with a satisfying confrontation between Emelie and her eldest charge. Also, at a brisk eighty minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome.

Director Michael Thelin was on hand for the Q&A and nicely handled the not-so-bright lady sitting to my left when she asked why he decided to set the film in the nineties because there was a VCR and an old phone in it. She obviously neglected to notice the kids playing with iPads and current-gen handhelds the entire fucking movie. His response was pretty priceless,

“You even been to Buffalo?” (where the movie was shot)

Director Michael Thelin

I had to stifle a laugh when she let out an “Oh wow” when he told her it was actually set in the present.

Thelin is a local boy and the film doesn't currently have distribution, so who knows where Emelie will go from here. That said, I'm glad I saw it, as it's a decent character-driven piece with some genuinely uncomfortable moments. And it was nice to see the babysitter finally have a little fun for once.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Big Apple.

So I drove down to NYC with some friends this weekend. Hell of a town! The drive was fairly painless and we only took two wrong turns on the way there. We stopped for gas in Hallstead, PA and I was pretty chuffed to see a sign for a video store in the plaza.

Alas, the store was long gone, another relic of a fading age. Traffic was pretty light all the way to New York. It only slowed to a crawl through the Lincoln Tunnel, and I was reminded of Larry Underwood from The Stand.

It took a half-hour to drive through it, so I can't imagine what it would have been like to walk that distance in total darkness. Chills...

We got to our apartment in Hell's Kitchen (W 49th in between 9th and 10th) and marvelled at the view from the rooftop patio. It was awesome having context after just having watched Daredevil. Madame Gao's drug den and Hoffman's safe house were just a few blocks from us!

After brunch at Justin Timberlake's BBQ brunch place, we hit the MOMA and then fed the ducks in Central Park. I couldn't help but wonder if this wasn't the pond from Inferno where that dude drowned those cats, then got attacked by rats, and then stabbed by that hot dog vendor. New York is a magical place!

At night, we took the subway downtown to a catch a screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.


I have to say I was quite surprised how nonchalant (for lack of a better term) everyone was about it. No line-ups, as everyone just seemed to show up less than ten minutes before showtime. I guess I'm just used to the madness of TIFF, where if you're less than thirty-minutes early, you're getting a shitty seat. Anyway, the movie I saw was called Emelie from local director Michael Thelin

I dug it. My friends did not. I'll elaborate tomorrow.

Before we left New York on Sunday, we checked out the Hell's Kitchen flea market. I was disappointed by the lack of VHS, but there were plenty of other crazy curiosities, a few of which I picked up.

Of the boxes and boxes of used postcards at this market, there were a surprising amount that had the messages written on the front, like they had no idea they were supposed to use the back.

There were many magazines I could have bought, like old issues of Eerie and Heavy Metal, as well as the Playboy issue featuring Barbi “Hospital Massacre” Benton, but I remained strong. There was also THIS piece of whatthefuck!

We were really only in town for a short time, so there was only so much we could do and I have to admit I spent a good deal of it stressing about street parking. Fortunately, the main reason for the trip (the Bjork exhibit at the MOMA) was a pretty heavenly experience, so I can't complain really.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trailer Tuesdays: New York Ripper

Hey. I'm back from NYC! Saw the sights, walked the streets and rode the subway, though sadly did not see any giant rats. I also didn't run into Donald Duck, but then, I'm not really his type.

Stay tuned for more, I just gotta get my proverbial ducks in a row.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Off To NYC!

You won't hear from me for a few days, as I'm making tracks to New York City this weekend!

I'll be wandering around Hell's Kitchen, as well as looking in on the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to that, as if this weekend wasn't exciting enough, my short film The Monitor is screening at the Calgary Underground Film Festival!

If you happen to be in town that night, my short plays in front of I Am A Knife With Legs at midnight.

Anyway, kiddies. Have a good one and I'll see you on the other side of the weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It Came From The Archives 24!

As you know, I've been spending a lot more time of late in the archives for 2015's Crawlspace Dive, cataloging all the non-genre stuff in my possession. It's pretty safe to say that after twenty-some ICFTA episodes I have mined most of my horror stuff, but still some remains. I recently dug up a box of horror novelizations, which I'll share with you now.

I always dug the Halloween books, and found Jack Martin's interpretation of Michael's psychosis pretty unsettling.

 I don't recall if the book version of Part 2 is as homoerotic as the film...

Regular readers of this blog know that my connection to The Legacy runs deep, so it should be no surprise that the book on which the film was based made its way into my house.

The original novel on which the 1982 film was based. 

Those last two were continuing stories of two popular eighties series.

Anyone else remember this TV movie phenomenon from 1985?

This one has no connection to a movie, but it is significant. This book, along with Killer and Amok (which I spoke about before), always sat just inside the entrance to the crawlspace, as if to say, “abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” I still have no idea what Gilded Needles is about, but those blood tipped fingers sure made an impression on my young mind. So, that's it. Until next time, stay safe kids!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trailer Tuesdays: Henry

With the passing of actor Tommy Towles last week at the age of 71, it seems appropriate to post a trailer in tribute to his career. Though he had several significant genre roles, including Harry Cooper in Tom Savini's remake of Night of the Living Dead and George Wydell in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses, his most striking performance was most likely Otis in John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.