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.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Carnival Of Souls

The good thing about renting movies via an online retailer is you get to fill in the blanks. Carnival Of Souls is a title I’d heard cinephiles talk about adoringly for years, but I never got around to watching it until it showed up in my mailbox last week. I got a real kick out of this movie. It really encapsulates the time period in which it was made. I can imagine it influencing America’s contemporary filmmakers. While watching the imagery of the climactic fairground sequence, I wondered if dark directors David Lynch and Tim Burton saw this in their youth and filed it away in their twisted psyches. I have no idea if they’ve even seen the movie, but something tells me it’s quite likely. There are also the easy parallels to be drawn between Carnival Of Souls director Herk Harvey and legend George A. Romero. Both started in the business shooting local shorts and both set out to make a low budget horror feature with the help of local investors. A lot of ingenuity and sheer will made their projects rise above their low budgets. History has been a lot kinder to Romero, but Carnival has still garnered a modest following over the years.

I’ll tell you something that baffles me about Carnival though. Why didn’t lead actress Candace Hilligoss have a bigger career? I mean, look at her. The camera loves her. She’s absolutely striking.

If you are wondering, yes, my phone camera is still shit.

I expected to look her up on Imdb and find a string of sixties B movies, but 1964’s Curse of the Living Corpse was the only one. I'm aware that Carnival was shot in rural Kansas - far from the bright lights of Hollywood - and released to very little fanfare, but I still find it extremely curious. I was hoping for another epiphany, like when I saw Edwige Fenech for the first time. After seeing Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (yes, no joke, anyone familiar with gialli should know titles like this are par for the course) and being quite taken with Fenech, I was ecstatic to discover a vast filmography to track down. Unfortunately, with Hilligoss, I was not as fortunate.

The score by Gene Moore is so great. It just feels like the sixties, resonating like Bernard Herrmann and H.G. Lewis’s old stuff. Carnival Of Souls plays out like an elongated Twilight Zone episode – which is no surprise since it is fairly similar to Zone ep ‘The Hitch Hiker’ – with a conclusion which has sadly been used countless times since. The antagonist (known only as The Man and played by director Harvey himself) isn’t much to look at – kind of reminded me of Grandpa Munster to be honest – but some of the “scare” setups were way ahead of their time.

Overall, an excellent piece of vintage American horror cinema and should be sought out by anyone who is interested in that sort of thing.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


There were only two things I really knew about Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem going in. The red band trailer, which was pretty badass and that Reiko Aylesworth was the female lead. Say what you will about her being a poor man’s Ripley, but I like her and was sad to see her part from her role as Michelle Dessler on TV’s 24.

As the movie started, I was glad to see Steven Pasquale (Garrity from TV’s Rescue Me) – whom I was just recently wondering about why I’d never seen him anywhere else – was in it, as well. Now I had two people to cheer for. Good stuff. I was already ahead of the game.

AVP-R is better than the original, I’d say. It’s simpler and there is more to like in it. After a fairly standard first act of character setup, the back and forth narrative comes together in a string of pretty good battle set pieces. Thankfully, this time around the action is actually well shot. It’s true that there are some sequences that are too dark for their own good, but at least the camera doesn’t seem like an epileptic is holding it.

And it wasn’t too effects heavy either. Now, obviously there are numerous shots that were done with CG, but there were also an equal amount of practical effects, which I really appreciated. The makers of I Am Legend could have learned a few things from The Brothers Strause. You also get to see some of the Predator’s home world, which was something new. I imagine – as the final scene would seem to imply – this is where the series will go if there is a third movie.

AVP-R doesn’t deliver the full potential of its red band trailer, but there’s enough cool stuff here to make it worth the ride. Seeing Michelle and Garrity kick some alien ass was also highly entertaining.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best & Worst Horror of 2007

The end of the year is a time for reflection and with it brings a sea of ‘Best of’ lists. Who am I to break from convention? Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts on the best and worst of the genre this year.

El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
Spain, Dir: Juan Antonio Bayona

I was pleased to have caught this at the Toronto film festival this year. The atmosphere built in this film is extremely effective. Bayona should be proud of his first turn behind the camera because he does some really creative stuff, crafting some great jump scares. Now, because Guillermo del Toro produced this you can make easy comparisons to his 2001 film The Devil’s Backbone, but The Orphanage focuses more on the adults (namely the mother figure) rather than the children. It’s a bit slow, but the film spikes enough to have you on edge during those long stretches.

Spain, Dir: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza

I had heard good things about this film and I wasn’t disappointed. It is all shot Blair Witch style with a handheld camera and even though there is a lot of shaky cam technique, it is still very well executed. The filmmakers are always careful to show you what you need to see. There are so many great shots in this movie. I’ve heard people harping on the performances, saying they are over-the-top. I don’t know. They seemed pretty natural to me. How else would you react in a situation like that? It’s a really fun, yet visceral experience that unfortunately the majority of people won’t get to see because the American remake (with Jennifer Carpenter and Jay Hernandez) is already underway for release in 2008.

Ils (Them)
France, Dir: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

This is another title that got almost no theatrical release here and that’s a shame because it’s one of my current favourites. Like High Tension and The Descent before it, this was a film that I absolutely MADE people watch. It’s a perfect example of smart, simple and tight filmmaking. Ils is an outstanding little French home invasion thriller with excellent sound design – think High Tension without the gore and audience splitting ending.

30 Days Of Night
USA, Dir: David Slade

Considering Ghost House Pictures shoddy record (The Boogeyman, The Messengers), I was almost shocked with how well this turned out. They totally captured the visual style of the graphic novel, which was of paramount importance to me. Despite some annoying shaky-cam which I think may have been due to the director just not being comfortable shooting action (his debut was the phenomenal Hard Candy which was really just two people in a house), I think Days was an overall success. I also give mad props to Raimi & Co for going for the R and playing the subject material completely straight.

Faet (Alone)
Thailand, Dir: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom

Alone was by and large the best film I saw at this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The directors somehow managed to improve on their remarkable debut Shutter. I’d totally rank this up there with the best Asian horror has to offer. It is not only scary as hell, but also has a clear and well-paced narrative – something missing from at lot of its peers. There has been a surge of good Thai films lately. Monthon Arayangkoon’s The Victim is one I’ve heard good things about and am still trying to track down.

Honourable Mentions:

George A. Romero's Diary Of The Dead.
Romero’s newest zombie opus is tons of fun. This would have made my top five if it hadn’t been trumped by REC, which has not only the same sub genre, but also narrative format.

A l'interieur (Inside)
Another French home invasion thriller (sensing a trend here?) that would have surely been at the top of my list if it weren’t for that MADDENING last ten minutes.

Both Mulberry Street and P2 were a lot better than I was expecting them to be, but the biggest surprise was probably Stuart Gordon’s new film Stuck. He deserves praise for being able to effortlessly stretch the scant material to feature length. It’s tight, bloody and the two leads (Stephen Rea and Mena Suvari) are totally believable.

As for the worst, that’s a tougher one. Generally, if I think I’m going to hate a movie, I tend just not to see it. I did catch some stinkers though. Rise: Blood Hunter was pretty bad. So was Skinwalkers. But the dishonour of worst horror movie of 2007 goes to Captivity. It was predictable, repulsive and just plain empty. I still have no idea how Elisha Cuthbert got mixed up in this dreck. This movie was so bad; I actually swore off the medium that weekend and caught up on my reading. Captivity made the Saw films looks like Citizen Kane by comparison. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

So, that’s it for the 2007 wrap-up. Here’s to a blood soaked 2008!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Well, the weather outside is frightful...

Well, that time is upon us folks. Since the first cover box art edition of The Horror Section is on Christmas Eve, it didn’t take me long to decide on a theme. Pardon the sloppiness, I had to grab the pics from several different places. It was a lot harder to find some of them than I thought it would be. I still haven’t been able to find the appropriate one for Black Christmas, so the one below will have to suffice for now. I’m entertaining the thought of taking a camera to some of my favourite places in Toronto to see if they’ll let me get captures of the real thing. To be honest though, I don’t even remember if any of them still carry VHS, but that’s a job for the New Year. Behold Christmas, Horror Section style!

We actually only had parts 2 & 4 at the store for some reason, but the completist in me wanted to put up the other ones too.

So, there you have it. Have a very bloody merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Am Legend review

I Am Legend is the story of Robert Neville (Will Smith), the last man in New York, after a genetic virus has wiped out the entire population. Neville and his dog, Sam forage for supplies by day and lock down the house at night because though he is the last human, he is not alone in the city.

I guess I should start off by saying that I'm not a fan of Will Smith. It's weird to say that because that statement is not based on anything tangible. I never "got" Fresh Prince and certainly avoided his music career, but I avoid that whole music genre as a rule. I don't have anything against him, I just don't see his movies. They are either ones that I have no interest in like (Hitch, Pursuit of Happiness) or ones I won't see for a larger reason (Bad Boys 1&2). However, there are titles that I would see (Ali, I Robot), but curiously, just haven't. I think the last (and may be only) movie I saw him in was Independence Day and you can't make a judgment based on that piece of fluff. Being a big fan of the book on which I Am Legend is based though, there was no getting around this. I have to give Smith props because he was really good in this. I mean, REALLY good. He carries this movie on his back effortlessly and even got me a little choked up at one point. That's no easy feat, let me tell you.

The first act of this movie has some really cool stuff. The opening is well executed and I'm still not sure how they did the sequence where Will Smith is speeding through the empty streets of New York in a Ford GTO. The camerawork is first rate. Director Francis Lawrence cleverly uses other means than just dialogue to convey information. A watch alarm, a magazine cover on a fridge door, stuff like that. This little easter egg, tearing up the Interweb this week, gave me a chuckle too.

I Am Legend is also an extremely quiet film. You really get the sense that Smith is the last person left in a once bustling city. I was very interested to see how they adapted the second half of the book and was not surprised at all that they went in a different direction. I didn't really have a problem with the route they went, except that it seemed to end too quickly.

Which brings me to the only major problem I had with I Am Legend. There was an inordinate use of CGI, especially with the films antagonists. I think some of it could have been done practically and it would have enchanced the scares tenfold. They reminded me of the Mummy, except those effects look pretty shoddy now by today's standards. A lot of potential scares (beyond the usual jumper variety) were lost because of this.

Overall, I Am Legend is a good film, but not a great one. It's elevated by Will Smith's performance, but brought down by the overuse of visual effects.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Silver City Oakville. Worth its weight in, well... silver.

This weekend I was very excited to try out the new "super" theatre that opened up in my area. It is absolutely miraculous how fast they threw this thing up. At the beginning of the year, I remember reading in the local paper that they were planning on building this and here it is already! I apologize for the image quality of the pictures, I took them with my shitty cell phone camera.

A flyer came in the mail earlier this week, regalling me with its many features. A bowling alley and pool tables, a video store and a licensed lounge upstairs.

What really caught my eye though, were the VIP theatres. I was intrigued and sought to find out more. SC Oakville has three VIP theatres. For the increased ticket price of $16.95, you get the following perks;

-No one under 19 is permitted (worth the extra five bucks right there!).
-Assigned seating which you pick when you buy your tickets (via computer touch screen).
-Larger, comfier reclining leather seats.
-At your seat refreshments service (yes, it's what it sounds like. You buy food, they bring it to you).
-No commercials at showtime (it's funny, I didn't even notice that until later, when I saw it on the website. So awesome!).



The licensed lounge is right outside the entrance to the VIP theatres. At this time, you are not allowed to bring alcohol in there because of an Ontario bylaw (which reminds me, I have a letter to write), but they are apparently working to change that.

Saturday afternoon, me and a buddy checked out I Am Legend (review to come) in one of these VIP theatres. I have to say that I can see myself spending a lot of time here in the future. I'm not kidding when I say it's close to me. In the summer, I will literally be able to walk there. How great is that? I can't help but think that there was some higher power involved in making something so perfectly tailored to me, plop down right in my neck of the woods. There were only eight people at my showing, but granted it was one thirty in the afternoon. I really hope that the increased price isn't too much of a sticking point for people and that this experimental venture (at least here in Ontario) is a success because it is truly a superior way to watch movies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Petey Jackson never looked so good...

Why can't all cover art look like THIS?!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Choose Your Own DVD Adventure Part Two

I spent a few hours with the Return to House on Haunted Hill DVD on the weekend and I must say that it was quite a fun experience. The movie itself is pretty standard, but the novelty of the navigational cinema thing really elevates its likeability.

There are seven points in the movie where you are asked to make a choice and going back over it I found three variant endings – one of which is the cinematic version of ‘your adventure ends here’ – but there may very well be more. I couldn’t however, despite much effort on my part, find a scenario where Cerina Vincent takes her top off. Curious. It usually happens so easily. This new way of watching movies is a cool feature that I hope to see more of in the future.

As for the movie itself, it’s fairly average. The visual style that I liked so much in the original seemed watered down in this one. Also, they were a little too liberal with the CG. Now, I know that the climax effects of the 1999 remake have always been a point of reference for all those haters out there, but in Return they just seemed overused. The director (Victor Garcia) has an SFX background, so I guess he made the call on that one. I just would have liked to see more practical effects. Jeffrey Combs is underutilized, as well. I thought they could have delved more into his story, but he ended up just being what the Pinhead character has been boiled down to in most of the Hellraiser sequels. He makes an appearance here and there, says a few lines and that’s pretty much it. I mean, great actors like Combs can pull off that stuff in their sleep, no doubt, but it left me wanting more is all.

Return is definitely worth checking out for the novelty at least. If you happen to have a next-gen player (it was also released on HD-DVD), get a couple of likeminded friends together, have a few drinks and enjoy the ride – any which way you want to take it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Choose Your Own DVD Adventure

Serena gave me a great Xmas gift yesterday. The Bluray edition of the recently released Return To House On Haunted Hill.

Now, I know I'm in the minority, but I actually like the 1999 House on Haunted Hill remake. It's a much maligned title, that I have to defend all the time, but I've always really enjoyed it. The solid cast, great sound design and awesome visual style really work for me. I guess that makes me a tad hypocritical considering my last post, but so be it. House was also one of the first movies I ever purchased on DVD.

So, I guess it makes some sort of cyclical sense that Return would be one of the first next-gen DVD's that I own. What makes this disc really unique is the 'navigational cinema' functionality. Simply put, the movie plays like one of those old choose your own adventure books that I used to read as a kid. As I understand it, at frequent points during the movie, a menu screen will pop up with a question like, "Should Paul run away? Yes or No?". You make a choice using your remote and the movie continues based on your decision. Apparently, there are ninety-six different scenarios.

I'm really looking forward to digging my teeth into this. I'll update this blog on my 'adventures' soon. Oh, Cerina Vincent and Jeffrey Combs are in it, too. Score!

Thanks Serena!

Holiday Horror. Old & New.

My friend Serena regularly hosts horror movie nights at her place and this time the theme was Christmas horror. Over spiked eggnog, we watched the Bob Clark classic Black Christmas and its recent Hollywood counterpart back to back.

One is a classic. The other. Not so much.

It had been a while since I’d seen the original and the refresher reminded me not only about how good it is, but also how influential, as well. During the opening sequence, you can immediately see the similarities between it and horror movie staple Halloween. Black Christmas also takes it time. It doesn’t rush into things. The prank phone calls are an extremely creepy device. I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking wow, for a movie made in the mid-seventies, they are throwing the word ‘cunt’ around fairly liberally. Ah, us Canadians, always stretching the boundaries. We’re like the Europeans of North America. Margot Kidder is great as the house lush, Olivia Hussey adds some Shakespearean exuberance (i.e. overacting) and Andrea Martin is good for long… awkward… pauses. And for giggling at all of her fellow sorority sisters jokes. John Saxon rocks of course, as well.

For a film that was Halloween’s - the grandfather of the American slasher – main influence, Christmas isn’t really a slasher at all. At its heart, it is a slow burning mystery thriller.

So, after Black Christmas ’74 came to its chilling conclusion (I’ve always really liked that ending; absurd as it is), Serena popped in the remake. I had already seen it because she – being one of only people I know who actually likes the movie – had played it for me when it first came out on DVD. I promptly went to the fridge to grab another beer because well, I was gonna need it.

I really don’t know what Glen Morgan and company were trying to accomplish with this movie. I mean, there are points where it feels like an old style genre flick, but really, it’s everything the original isn’t. There are more people dispatched in the first twenty minutes of this movie than in the entire span of the original. So much for taking your time. None of the characters are likeable, the plot is incoherent – the first two acts seem like two separate movies running in tandem – and the climax is totally incomprehensible. I guess one positive is that since all of the actresses are fairly well known, it's not evident which one is the protagonist, so that’s something I suppose. At this point, I would like to shed a tear for Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I guess that’s a spoiler, but since this isn’t The Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense, I don’t think I’m ruining anyone’s day by revealing that.

I suppose at the end of the day, Black Christmas ’06 is mildly entertaining. Being a gorehound, I think that I would have enjoyed the EXCESSIVE gore a lot more if I weren’t in the back of my mind comparing it to the minimalist nature of the original. Unfortunately, that seems to be the late motif of these seventies revival remakes, doesn’t it? Both the Texas and Halloween remakes replaced suggestion with outright splatter and are lesser films because of it. But I digress. I’ll leave my remake rant for another day.

Oh, and we also watched the hilariously bad Jack Frost. I hadn’t seen it since it originally came out on video – come on, how could I have resisted that holographic coverbox? I’m glad that Shannon Elizabeth was able to take her experience being raped by an evil snowman and parlay it into a fairly successful Hollywood career. Good job, girl!

Jack Frost needs to be seen to be believed. I CAN SEE YOUR HOUSE FROM UP HEEEERE!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ten Great Modern Horror Films

In this day and age, when it seems like we are flooded with mediocre horror fare every week – on the big screen and at the video store – it’s easy to ask yourself, how come no one makes good horror films anymore? Well, like any form of mass media, they’re still being made, it’s just that there is so much gristle to chew through, it can sometimes be hard to get to the meat. This is a list of ten modern horror films that I wrote earlier this year for DvdWolf. These titles exemplify what I love about my favourite genre of film. Some are more mainstream than others, but all are worth a space on your DVD shelf. Here they are in no particular order.

The Descent
2004, UK. Dir: Neil Marshall
One really needs to look no further than Neil Marshall’s sophomore effort - the fine werewolf movie Dog Soldiers being his debut – to see that kick ass horror flicks still exist. The Descent is a success on every level. The atmosphere is claustrophobic, the antagonists effective and the gore perfectly balances the tension – something that a good deal of Marshall’s peers seem to have either forgotten or chosen to ignore.

Session 9
2001, USA. Dir: Brad Anderson
Session 9 has many strengths. A chilling build-up, a great set piece – the abandoned asylum, a character in itself ala The Shining – and some great performances. Brad Anderson’s track record continued with the remarkable The Machinist in 2004.

Gin Gwai (The Eye)
2002, China. Dir: Danny & Oxide Pang
The Eye has always been my favourite Asian horror film. It has more prolonged bouts of creepiness than Ringu and is more linear and coherent than Ju-on. It is a great ghost story, told well in tandem with fantastic sound design. See it before the American remake comes out this winter.

Haute Tension (High Tension)
2003, France. Dir: Alexandre Aja
Haute Tension is a flick I like more and more as time goes on. It excels at all the things I love about horror films. While combining elements of Texas Chainsaw, Bill Lustig’s Maniac and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, the screeching score, intense cinematography and visceral gore make this a revelation for fans of the genre. I know that many people like to shit on it because of the story’s outcome, but I’ve always considered it inconsequential to the overall bloody canvas on which Aja paints.

Open Water
2004, USA. Dir: Chris Kentis
This one is a perfect example of guerrilla filmmaking. The two leads put life and limb on the line to give what was one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had in a theatre. Open Water is simple, adeptly shot and really leaves you with a feeling of dread.

Espinazo del diablo, El (The Devil’s Backbone)
2001, Spain. Dir: Guillermo del Toro
Backbone is the ‘brother’ film to del Toro’s brilliant award winning 2006 film Pan’s Labyrinth. A lot simpler in story and tone, Backbone serves to remind us that del Toro can produce gold no matter what size budget he is working with.

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
2006, USA. Dir: Scott Glosserman
Mask was the biggest surprise of last year. It takes documentary style conventions – seen in films like Blair Witch and Man Bites Dog – and takes them even further. Nathan Baesel as the title character is just so hard NOT to like. The very difficult line of horror and self-referential comedy – a popular avenue these days since the arrival of the Scream series – is skirted adroitly, but never crossed.

Ôdishon (Audition)
1999, Japan. Dir: Takashi Miike
Audition is one of infamous director Miike’s best works. It's a real slow burner that boils over with a finale that is still referenced to this day. An interesting concept that only avoids coming off the rails because of the mad genius at the controls.

My Little Eye
2002, UK. Dir: Marc Evans
This film was on the forefront of a sub genre that has now become somewhat saturated, but Eye still remains one of the best examples. The story unfolds in such a way that you are alongside the characters and therefore feel the unease and uncertainty, as well. Probably one of the lesser known gems on this list, but still no less worthy of a look.

The Abandoned
2006, Spain. Dir: Nacho Cerda
Cerda, the director of the infamous and controversial short Aftermath, takes a simple story and makes it fresh by using superb sound design. Only employing, for the most part, one location and two characters, Cerda is able to craft a film that oozes atmosphere. The Abandoned was part of Maple’s “8 Films to Die For” series and the best of them by a grand margin.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Overcome by awesomeness

I'm still trying to figure out how I want to set this whole thing up, but in the meantime... BEHOLD the radness of THIS!

Real or not, it rocks! Although I do have one question... how practical a weapon IS a drill bra really?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A lost art

I guess another reason I wanted to document these old VHS cover boxes is that it has become something of a lost art. Ever since Scream, it seems that often times, all the cover really does is sell who's in it. I know that sounds silly because selling is obviously what a cover is supposed to do, but nowadays it's just 'let's put everyone in the cast in a semi circle and call it a day'. I could probably find half a dozen examples easily and post them up here, but not only am I a blogging noob, but I'm also extremely lazy.

The old VHS boxes from the seventies and eighties had actual art. And the real rub is that when they finally get around to re-releasing these old movies on DVD, they often CHANGE it. No, no, no, that won't do at all. I mean, take My Bloody Valentine for instance. Can you really argue that the newer DVD cover art (below left) is better than its predecessor?

So, consider it a public service. I'm helping to preserve the history of the VHS cover box.

N is for Nostalgia

I worked at a video store in my youth for almost four years. Starting in October 1990, I worked at a retail chain called Major Video. In August of 1992, it went into receivership and was unfortunately swallowed up by Blockbuster. I then worked there until my unfair dismissal in August of 1994. Anyway, enough with the history lesson. The purpose of this blog is not to lament about how Ballbuster runs their business, but rather to document that old store's best attribute - their horror section.
Being an avid horror film watcher from a very early age, I was quickly put in charge of this vast section that took up a very large area of the store. Being the go-to-guy for people who cared to ask for recommendations was something I very much enjoyed. This was, of course at Major, before the corporate structure of Cockbuster had stifled all individuality. This horror section was a far cry from the pathetic back-of-the-store one unit sections they have today. It is a sad state of affairs, that pains me to even describe it.
There were several hundred titles in this section, some of which I have never seen since. Luckily, due to having spent so much time looking at their cover boxes - the horror section was closest to the registers - I have most of them committed to a special cache in my memory. I may not remember all their names, but if I see the cover box art, an instant spark of recognition is ignited. For those who have read or seen Stephen King's Dreamcatcher will recall the memory warehouse. Those old battered VHS cover boxes are in that "special" room. So, I guess this blog is a way of cleaning house.
Early on in my tenure, I had vowed that I would watch every single title starting from A through Z, but that turned out to be a little ambitious. Such an undertaking would have required a lot more time than I had at my disposal. My goal now is to recreate that old section from my past, bringing it back to its former glory. Armed with my memory and the world wide web, I hope to document it as best as possible. I haven't really decided how I'm going to do this yet, but I'll probably be updating it a little at a time. I'll also be throwing up new reviews and comments as they come to me, as well.
When all is said and done, our old catalogue might not seem too impressive to a real film aficionado - big city archives like my old Toronto haunts like Suspect and Queen Video would put it to shame - but for a small suburban video store owned by a major conglomerate, I propose that this section was quite unique. Now, you may also notice that countless titles from this era are missing (Last House, Cannibal Holocaust and Maniac to name a few), but keep in mind that this was a so-called "family" video store. Many of our titles were "Rated" versions. Dead Alive, Hellraiser and Return of the Living Dead Part 3 were titles I know for sure were heavily cut. This is where it gets odd though because some others (Romero's Dead films, H.G. Lewis' oeuvre) were available in their full bloody glory. It was as if this section had been made up of several different inventories. The bean counters had also failed to notice that some of them hadn't rented in years, yet they weren't purged from the system until way after I was ousted.
I still own a few of them today. The Video Dead, Cannibal Girls, Color Me Blood Red and the colourfully titled Beast of the Yellow Night are some I can see from where I'm sitting right now. This manifest will really only scratch the surface of the beautifully bizarre range of titles that were around during the golden age of video, but to me, that old section was my home away from home.

Just do it!

Even though this must be the billionth blog out there, I figured what the hell. Procrastination and inactivity are two of my favourite things, so it took a culmination of several events for me to finally start this blog.
The first and main reason was that the website I've been contributing to for several years is finally defunct - or at least inactive. There are probably about a hundred of my past reviews still sitting there. If you feel so inclined to check them out, the site is I wrote under Tom Servo, and my own name. I might link them to this blog at some point, but that is a job for another time. Motivation to write reviews is hard to come by - at least for someone as lazy as me - when you know it will just disappear into the ether once it's sent. Why don't you just post reviews somewhere else? you may ask. Good question. I don't know. I had established myself as the horror "guy", for lack of a better term, at and I guess I just didn't want to start over. However, I finally just had to suck it up and move forward. Secondly, I have a lot of friends who write for websites and I just wanted to get back in the game. Sure, it isn't, but it's still writing. And that's really what it comes down to. I feel the itch to write and this is the best way right now for me to scratch that itch.
I guess the final reason is that I came up with something I wanted to document. There are hundreds of blogs about horror movies I'm sure, but what I plan to do will hopefully be somewhat unique.
Also, I can't forget to mention that nowadays it is incredibly easy for a programming illiterate person like myself to put something that looks halfway decent onto the web. I'm learning as I go here, so please bear with me.
Anyway, on with the show. The Horror Section is open!