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.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

TAD 2019

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is once again upon us. Check out this year's (the 14th) sizzle reel below.

Of the titles I've seen already, I recommend Paradise Hills, Come To Daddy and The Furies. TAD runs Oct 17-25. For ticket info, click here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Videogram Lunchmeat

A few weeks back, Swedish synthwave artist Videogram put his Lunchmeat VHS tape on YouTube. It was originally released in 2015 to commemorate his self titled album and features his music set to clips from such grindhouse flicks as Driller Killer, Naked Massacre and Alien Factor. Enjoy.

For more info on Videogram, click here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Short of the Week #75: Belial's Dream

Here's the 2017 short Belial's Dream from the incomparable Robert Morgan that up until now was only available on the Arrow Blu-ray release of Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case.

Yep, surreal and nightmarish as per usual! Morgan's partnership with Arrow appears to be ongoing as he most recently created a short film for the Blu-ray release of Jörg Buttgereit's Schramm entitled Tomorrow I Will Be Dirt.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Turkey Indeed.

With Thanksgiving upon us this weekend, I watched a holiday horror VHS from 1981 entitled Home Sweet Home.

An escaped mental patient (Jake Stanfield) crashes a family's Thanksgiving dinner party.

Man, there's no way to sugar coat this. Home Sweet Home was legit terrible. It started with a cold open where Stanfield murdered some dude for his car and then celebrated by injecting PCP into his tongue. Is that how you do that??? Then, after a lengthy credits sequence where he drove around in a station wagon, he promptly ran over an old lady. I thought, oh, this is a like a Troma film? Nope, I'd have been lucky if that were the case. At least those movies are halfway entertaining.

While our killer puttered around, I got to meet a handful of insipid characters, including a talking mime named – I shit you not – Mistake who ran around with his guitar annoying everyone. It took so long for this guy to get offed, I actually started to wonder if he was supposed to be the hero of this piece. 

Was there a script for this movie? It seemed to me like every interaction inside the house was ad-libbed. “Okay guys, this scene you're going to look for the peas. Just mention peas. A lot.”

Eventually our killer, shitty Lou Ferigno – I shouldn't be mean, apparently he was a fitness guru back in the day, but as an actor he's the least performative slasher I've ever seen – finally started knocking people off, but the kills were pretty lazy. Although Don Edmonds did get crushed under a car hood. Geez, I just saw someone else die like that the other day. My low coolant light has been coming on in my car, and now I'm doubly afraid to check the level. 

I digress. It is hilarious to me that I consider Edmonds to be slumming here and this is the cat who made the first two Ilsa flicks. Also of note, the little girl, the one who seemed to have no idea what was going on, was Vinessa Shaw who later went on to work with the likes of Kubrick, Soderbergh and Bigelow.

So yeah, Home Sweet Home blows. It's boring, it's not shot well and even the kills aren't particularly memorable. If you're looking for some filling Turkey Day horror, you are much better off with John Grissmer's Blood Rage. Another bad movie to be sure, but miles better than this, just for Louise Lasser's bonkers performance alone.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Splatter Matters

Check out this new video from Rue Morgue TV about the 1986 Canuck faux doc Splatter: Architects of Fear where Canuxploitation's Paul Corupe tells the story about how the filmmakers put one over on the censor board.

While I was watching this video, the only thing I could think of was, “how have I never heard of this?!” However, when I was subsequently looking it up on Imdb, I immediately recognized the coverbox.

I always thought this was some shitty sub-Troma flick so I never looked into it. Damn, what a missed opportunity. Oh well, live and learn I guess. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Short of the Week #74: Deathbox

This week I give you my pal Mike Pereira's newly posted short Deathbox from 2015.

Look out for his upcoming debut feature Shout For The Devil to be unleashed next year.

Friday, October 4, 2019

My Top 25 Twilight Zone Episodes (#5-1)

Okay so here we are, these are TZ's top episodes in my book.

Season 5, Episode 3 / First Broadcast Oct 11, 1963
Written by Richard Matheson / Directed by Richard Donner

My favourite of Matheson's contributions, this episode was so iconic, they even decided to re-use it for the 1983 theatrical version, as well as arguably the best segment of The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror. Due to this, a case could be made that this is the most pervasive episode of the Twilight Zone, as much like open water is to Jaws and showers are to Psycho, have you not ever, while on a flight, looked out onto the plane wing to see if there was a gremlin staring back at you?

Season 2, Episode 6 / First Broadcast Nov 11, 1960
Written by Rod Serling / Directed by Douglas Heyes

Yet another episode that it is synonymous with The Twilight Zone that has been parodied and re-appropriated over the years. It still remains one of the greatest twists in television history. Also, watching it again recently, I was able to really appreciate the artistry in filming in such a way to hide everyone's faces for most of the episode.

Season 1, Episode 8 / First Broadcast Nov 20, 1959
Teleplay by Rod Serling / Directed by John Brahm

This episode really freaked me out as a kid and my go-to when I think of the real “gut punch” episodes. I concur with Albert Brooks' when he speaks of that episode during the opening of the 1983 movie. I too have a back-up pair of glasses, especially since my vision is now starting to rival that of Burgess Meredith's. This was the best realization of TZ's popular theme of “be careful what you wish for.”

Season 1, Episode 22 / First Broadcast Mar 4, 1960
Written by Rod Serling / Directed by Ronald Winston

Paranoia and mob mentality was always an oft-used theme in The Twilight Zone, but it was never better utilized than here. It's just as poignant now as it ever was, although we still don't need alien interference to get riled up. I also have a soft spot for this one because it was heavily sampled by Skinny Puppy for their song, Monster Radio Man.

Season 3, Episode 14 / First Broadcast Dec 22, 1961
Teleplay by Rod Serling / Directed by Lamont Johnson

This episode, based on a story by Marvin Petal, may likely be a contentious choice for number one, but it holds great significance for me. I first discovered The Twilight Zone in the eighties while it was in syndication. When I was about twelve or so, I got a TV in my room, but the rule was that if I went to bed at ten, I could watch TV for an hour – which consisted of reruns of Benny Hill and Bizarre – and then it was lights out! However, one time I kept the TV on and this episode came on. I was immediately transfixed and I remember turning the TV real low so I wouldn't get caught because I absolutely had to see the end. And then my mind was blown. I have dabbled in fiction over the years and nothing has inspired me (save maybe Stephen King) more than that story, which I feel is still one of the greatest twists ever.

So that's my list. Hopefully, this inspires you to go back and watch some old Twilight Zone episodes because they really are fantastic. It's also fun to see early appearances of some big stars, which are too large to count in number, but the one where Burt Reynolds (doing his best Brando impression) get punched out by William Shakespeare is certainly a gas.

Anyway, have a good weekend and I'll see you in the fifth dimension.