This week is Dianne Bellino's terrific 2016 stop-motion animated short film The Itching. While not horror persay, I think it is one of the best visual representations of social anxiety I've ever seen put to screen. Have a watch and see.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Monday, March 19, 2018
Here's another Kickstarter worth taking a gander at if you're into either black humour and/or weird indie cinema. Last year you may recall an Australian film called Cat Sick Blues getting under my skin. Well, director Dave Jackson (who is now calling Japan his home) is campaigning funds for his new short, Gacha Gacha. Check out the pitch video below.
As troubling as Cat Sick Blues was I can't help but support fresh new voices in genre cinema, now matter how perverse they may be. Click here for more info.
Friday, March 16, 2018
This week’s VHS is the instantly recognizable 1987 John Hough joint, American Gothic.
A group of vacationers end up stranded on an island inhabited by a family of psychos.
I have no real excuse as to why I hadn’t watched American Gothic until now. I guess I just got distracted by flashier stuff I suppose. The movie isn’t anything special, but the fact it was directed by John Hough is significant. His earlier works for Disney, The Watcher in the Woods and both Witch Mountain flicks, were some of my first encounters with the fantastical as a kid. I owe him a debt for his contribution to my love of genre film for sure.
This one, however was a bit problematic mainly due to all the protagonists, save the lead played by Sarah Torgov (she’s got her own problems) were complete fucking assholes. I think that only one character was supposed to be the stereotypical jerk, but they were all fairly unlikable. I mean who walks into someone’s house and starts messing with their shit, even putting on clothes! Considering how homicidal Ma & Pa were, I think they handled that first interaction quite well.
|Hicks vs Dicks.|
Even the husband (Mark Erickson) – who dragged his wife out into the wilderness right after she was discharged from the loony bin – made some deplorable comment to the effect of, oh yeah my wife, the wet blanket. You brought her here, dude!
The movie was a fairly pedestrian affair until the three “children” showed up (one of whom was consummate character actor Michael J. Pollard) and the killing started. While even that wasn’t particularly bloody, at least it was fulfilling to see all these idiots being punished for their sins. If you’ll indulge me in a completely random observation, two deaths in this movie are almost exactly the same as those in the 2017 video game What Remains of Edith Finch. Totally unrelated of course, it’s just one of those completely inexplicable parallels.
|Janet Wright as Fanny in American Gothic.|
American Gothic was fairly standard in execution, but did score points for straying into the bizarre. It might not be as entertainingly bonkers as Freddie Francis’ similarly themed 1970 film Girly, but – what is? – its last fifteen minutes did veer in an unexpected direction that elevated it somewhat.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
The Kickstarter campaign for Scott Schirmer's latest opus, The Bad Man launched today. As you can see from the trailer below, it has just the level of depravity you would expect from the director of Found and Harvest Lake. Maybe more!
The Bad Man was a project that had long been in the pipe so it's great to see it finally coming to fruition. As with previous campaigns, The Bad Man is already almost finished and these pre-orders will facilitate the rest of the production.
For more info on the campaign, click here.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
A short I caught at Fantasia last year has recently found its way online. Without further ado, here is Jessica Curtright & Santiago C. Tapia's short film It Began Without Warning.
There's some definite Who Can Kill A Child? vibes here, but I love the weird turn it takes about halfway through. When you watch as many shorts I as do, you find that more often than not they overstay their welcome. It Began however, is one of those rare instances where I was left wanting more. It was subtitled Phase 1 so who knows? Maybe there is more to come.
Friday, March 9, 2018
The next VHS off the pile was William Fruet's 1986 effort Killer Party.
A sorority pledge party in an condemned frat house turns bloody when an uninvited guest arrives.
This was another title that I knew nothing of past its familiar coverbox so I had no idea what to expect. I naturally imagined it would be some sort of slasher, but was immediately thrown off by the first few scenes. As those who have watched this movie will know, Killer Party begins rather unconventionally. Then once you think it started, it becomes a music video with a level of eighties I haven't seen since the opening of Night Train To Terror.
Okay so when that is done, we finally get into the real movie. I didn't even know this was Canadian movie until Soldier's Tower appeared in the background just before “Directed by William Fruet” flashed on the screen. While all this was happening, a song called “Best Times” played and it was all good. This thing is as cheesy as it is catchy.
Man, I'd love to hear Freezepop cover that song. It was shortly after this that the movie became the sorority slasher that the back of the box promised. Or did it?
I have to say that Killer Party was fairly schizophrenic in that it's a slasher, haunted house flick and possession joint all at once. I can understand that traditional slashers would've been old hat by eighty-six, but this film's all over the place. Having said that, I thought that the only glaringly dated aspect were the fraternity pranks inflicted on the neighbouring sorority. That stuff isn't as amusing now in light of the whole “no means yes, yes means anal” movement.
Aside from that though, the heart of the movie was the relationship between the three pledges (or “goats”) Phoebe, Vivia & Jennifer (Elaine Wilkes, Sherry Willis-Burch & Joanna Johnson respectively) and that felt pretty sincere. I was especially impressed with Johnson because her performance in the last fifteen minutes was miles from anything that came before it. Who knew she had it in her?
|Joanna Johnson, Elaine Wilkes & Sherry Willis-Burch in Killer Party|
Perhaps the biggest detriment to the movie was how badly it was hacked to pieces by the MPAA. While watching it, I was quick to notice that pretty much every death blow cut right at the point of impact. A section of the movie even had four of said scenes all lined up in a row. I found out later that it was deliberately edited like that because of how much had to be trimmed. That's a real Goddamn shame. Given all the cuts, I wonder if those first two unrelated scenes were filmed later just to make up the running time.
|As gory as it gets, folks!|
I marvel at why the killer's costume in this movie – like the bear suit in Girls Nite Out – does not get talked about more by fans. It's a fucking old-timey diver's suit, for Christ's sake! Like if that's not the most cumbersome kill outfit I've ever seen, I don't know what is. It's preposterous, especially considering how random its appearance seemed.
|Even at a masquerade party, this seems out of place.|
Killer Party was kind of a mish-mash, but even though it lacked cohesion, it was rarely boring and that's mainly due to its eclectic cast – which also included cult hero Paul Bartel. I'd have likely have preferred something more traditional like The Initiation, but I've got to admire Fruet's intent.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
I discovered a cute little game/joke/demo the other day called “David Lynch Teaches Typing”.
It's good for more than a few laughs and, as you would expect, goes to places both wonderful and strange. The “trial” version is available for download here.