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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Festival Of Fear '09

Okay, so here’s my recap of my eventful weekend at this year’s Fan Expo.


As has been my practice for the last few years, I usually go early on the first day, so I can get my shopping done before it gets REALLY crazy. I quickly found two of the trades I was looking for – The Walking Dead Vol. 10 & Whiteout Vol. 2 and was actually really good this year, only making two impulse buys - a shirt and a DVD.

There was some really cool stuff on display this year, including a slick looking booth for the upcoming Tron sequel.

Walking around the aisles, this huge print in art alley understandably caught my attention.

I was like, Jeeesus Christ! I spent the entire weekend trying to find it again to take a picture. I figured someone had either bought it or they were asked to take it down. Thankfully, Schwartz found it on the last day and snapped the pic above with this phone.

The lamest thing at the con was finding out about Scream’s re-launch. Scream is - or perhaps I should say WAS - Canada’s cable horror station. It is changing its name to Dusk this September and going in a new direction. Apparently, when they started playing Supernatural reruns, the female demograpic shot up, so now they are gearing the whole channel around that. It will now move away from its stock-in-trade gore and horror to more female-friendly paranormal programming. The sad thing is that I know I’m partly to blame for this. I haven’t really watched Scream since Masters Of Horror was airing on it. I'm afraid I’ve gotten too used to watching HD content without commercials to give it the attention I should. But, DUSK? Really? I guess Twilight would have been too obvious. FAIL!

I also took a trip to the TIFF booth to pick up some advance tickets.

This little piece of paper is going to be a very hot commodity in about ten days. Like with the Madness screening of Borat in 2006, Jennifer's Body is going to bring a crowd that is not indiginous to the midnight programme. Having a super hot starlet show up for said screening might have something to do with that.


Saturday was absolutely frickin' redonkulous. I have never seen it so packed. By eleven o'clock, the building was over capacity and they weren't letting people in. I'd heard they were expecting numbers in excess of fourty-thousand, but to resort to turning people away? Not good. Luckily for us, Schwartz and I were able to find an alternate way in and just managed to make Max Brooks' Q&A.

Max Brooks is an awesome dude, with a great sense of humour. Right from the start he had the crowd in his pocket.

-“You guys all here for me?” he said, to which some goof in the third row heckled,

-“I thought this was for Mel Brooks.”
-“Who said that? You? Come up here.”

The guy hesistantly came up to the table and sat down.

-“What's your name?”
-“Uh... Andrew.”
-”Ok, tell us about yourself Andrew.”

He got about a few sentences in before he froze, to which Brooks mercifully bailed him out.

“All right, so this is how it's going to go. I'm going talk for a bit about my accomplishments, and then you can talk about yours. How 'bout that?” Then after a pause. “That's what you get for being a smartass, now go sit down.”

This was all in jest, of course. He then fielded questions about his seminal zombie fiction. When asked about how to read the signs of an impending apocalypse, he brought up the subject of gay marriage. Not the hot-button issue itself you understand, but how much coverage it gets.

“If the right wing politicians aren't protesting gay marriage, it means something else has their attention. And when they completely stop talking about it, THAT'S when you start stocking up on canned goods.”

Brooks also had stuff to say about the movie adaptation of World War Z. Brad Pitt's production company outbid Leo Dicaprio's for the rights, but it seemed for a while that neither one actually knew what they were bidding on. Brooks said he read the first screenplay adaptation (written by J. Michael Straczynski) and absolutely loved it.

“If they actually shot this movie like it was in that script, it would be an Oscar winner.”

However, he then went on to say that there have been many drafts since, including one commissioned by the currently attached director Marc Forster. Brooks hasn't read any of these subsequent versions and has sort of washed his hands of it.

“Now I just look at it like, in a few years I'll see a poster and say, hey look, there's a movie coming out with the same name as my book.”

It was a fantastic Q&A that ballooned the already ample respect I have for the man by ten fold.

I walked around for a bit and hooked up with my buddy Mikey. Here's some more pics from the show floor. Again, I didn't take nearly as many as I should have.


The third title announced for After Dark's Horrorfest 2010.

The last time you will see this referenced on THS.

Later that afternoon was the big event. Bruce Campbell's Q&A! I wasn't that close to the front of the line, but somehow managed to snag a front row seat. For anyone who has seen Bruce live, you know what to expect. He's kind of like a rock star. He's a born entertainer and very quick witted. From the moment he came on stage, he just fielded questions rapid fire and had fun with the crowd. It was more like seeing a comedian do stand-up than watching a Q&A. Just seeing Bruce do his thing for an hour was worth the price of admission alone.

Invariably, the first question that is ALWAYS asked is about Evil Dead 4. Here's what he had to say.

“I don't see it happening. Come on, you guys don't really want to see an Evil Dead 4, do ya? What's the point? We'll do it and spend all that time and money, and you'll see it and go, it was all right, wasn't as good as Army Of Darkness.”

One person finally asked a question that every Bruce fan has been wondering about for quite sometime. Why is he not involved with the Bubba Ho-tep sequel?

“I didn't like the script. And rather than get into it with (director Don) Coscarelli, I just walked away. I mean, it's his baby, he can do whatever he wants. I think some things are better left as a one-off.”

I was glad he talked a bit about Burn Notice. He mentioned there is a Sam Ax (his character on the show) movie in the works, which would be about the events leading up to his time in Miami. I'd be more than a little interested to see that.

My favourite part was – and he did this at his book reading in 2001 as well – is his turnaround game. He turns his back and the audience yells out movies he's appeared in that they think are shit and he either defends them or explains what went wrong. I really should have taken video of this, but here's the jist.

Alien Apocalypse - “Yeah, that's top five worst movies. Let me tell you something about shooting in Bulgaria. They are a fine and hard working people, but everyone in the movie except me and Renee O' Connor had Bulgarian accents, so it all had to be redubbed later.”

Serving Sara - “Yeah, that stunk. You see? Even big movies can be terrible.”

Intruder - “Aw come on, that was a long time ago. There's nothing wrong with that one, you're just being a jerk.”

It was just an amazing time! I'm sure you can imagine how quickly the hour flew by. After Bruce there was supposed to be a Tom Savini Q&A, but he had to cancel last minute because he was doing reshoots for the upcoming feature length version of Machete.

After the con was done for the day, I hooked up with a few friends (including DirtyRobot) at a bar downtown and we went to the Rue Morgue after party. We spent most of it downstairs in the lounge though, as we'd all had enough crowds for one day. I guess we all still had Inglourious Basterds on the brain because before we knew it, we were playing Headbanz in the middle of this club. I ended up getting home around three a.m. Not a bad birthday I'd say. Oh, and might I add – best present EVAR.

Thanks Schwartzy!


The last day of the Con I really had only one thing to do and that was the Roger Corman Q&A. This one was absolutely fascinating. This man's influence on American film cannot be understated. I mean how many careers, especially directors, has this man launched? Scorsese, Coppola, Howard, Cameron, Dante... the list goes on and on. The stories of how swiftly him and his associates churned out successful pictures are awe inspiring. The original 1960 Little Shop Of Horrors, which featured Jack Nicholson in one of his first film roles, was shot in three days. THREE DAYS!

He left off by saying that it seems fairly obvious, especially with the market being as volatile as it is, that the future of independent filmmaking lies with the Internet. The Q&A's with the icons that have been around a while – I remember the late Ben Chapman was another great who appeared here – are always engaging because they talk of times that just don't exist anymore.

There were also events with horror icons Barbara Steele and Udo Kier, as well. My friend Rob Mitchell was on hand at the Con, and snagged interviews with both, which I will link to once they are posted.

All in all, it was another successful year. It didn't seem like I went to as many Q&A's as I usually do, but the ones I did rank among the best I've seen in the six years the Festival Of Fear has been around. Now, I have a few days off before TIFF rolls around and things get crazy again. At least I have that week off.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Colouring

The one horror film that has likely been meme'd the most on the Internets has to be Stanley Kubrick's 1980 Stephen King adaptation The Shining. We've seen everything from mash-ups, reenactions and earlier this year, even Keyboard Cat accompaniment. All classics, and this one at now takes its place among them. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toronto's Nerd Prom is Nigh!

The Toronto Fan Expo - and more importantly for me, the Festival Of Fear - is almost upon us. As I did last year around this time, I am devoting this installment of Coverbox Wednesday to the genre celebrities that are coming out this weekend.

First, we have the guest of honour, the King himself - Bruce Campbell. Everyone knows his work as Ash from the Evil Dead films, but my old horror section had a few of his other titles to offer.

I'm looking forward to seeing him for obvious reasons, but also because his appearances are always so much freakin' fun. I've seen him twice before - once at a book signing for If Chins Could Kill and then again at the Midnight Madness screening of Bubba Ho-tep - and he always brings down the house. I wonder if I can distinguish myself from the pack by telling him how much I'm loving Burn Notice?

Film guru Roger Corman is appearing this year.

And I'll never forget this gem that stared back at me from the shelf from way back.

Legendary actor Udo Kier is also on deck this weekend.

Tom Savini returns to FOF, after having been here for its inaugural year in 2004. He's mostly known for being an effects guy and actor, but he's spent sometime in the director's chair, as well.

There was a shocking lack of Barbara Steele's titles at our store, but we did have two from her work during the seventies.

Even though Linda Hamilton is best known for her work in the Terminator films, she also co-starred with Peter Horton in this Stephen King adaptation.

Well, that's it for now. The next time you'll hear from me, I'll be on the show floor!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


An article that I contributed to has been posted over at today. Robyn asks the question, which incarnation of Michael Myers is the scariest, John Carpenter's or Rob Zombie's? As you can no doubt guess, my decision was fairly obvious, but click on the image below to see what the consensus was.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't Kill The Messenger XXVIII

Sorry this one's a day late, but better late than never, right?

Dark Beginnings.

For those unaware that the long awaited Halloween anthology film Trick 'r Treat (finally dropping on video this October) was originally based on animated short that director Michael Dougherty made in 1996, here it is below.

Good On Ya, TMN.

You remember the disappointment when Icons Of Fright cracked the story that the DVD & Blu-ray issues of the excellent Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In released with an inferior subtitle track? Well guess what I discovered last week? The Movie Network (Canada's version of HBO) has been playing Let The Right One In with the correct original theatrical subtitles! I guess I should have expected this from those crazy cats. They were also the only ones to broadcast the original cut of Grindhouse, after Dimension decided to split the DVD release into two separate parts. All I have to say is well done TMN. Well done.

There's A New Slasher In Town.

My friend Serena just got back from a stint in Lousiana, where she was trudging around a swamp working on a short film she wrote earlier this year. Based On Actual Events is about a guy who wakes up in a swamp with a bunch of strangers. He has no idea where he is, yet at the same time everything seems somehow 'familiar'. Having read the script, I can say it's a great idea and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. Below, is the first promo image that Serena tweeted this weekend.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Shorts After Dark

Over the course of the last week, I got to take in about twenty-odd Canadian and International short films at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Here were some of my favourites.

1. Zombie Zombie - This is one I actually viewed online last year, but seeing it up on the big screen was freakin' awesome. Zombie Zombie is a French retro-electro band that is heavily influenced by the music of John Carpenter and Goblin. This short is a music video for their single Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free which re-enacts John Carpenter's The Thing using stop-motion animated GI JOE figures. You can check it out online here. I picked up their album A Land Of Renegades right after first seeing this and it did not disappoint.

2. Practical Guide For The Imaginary Friend - This clever little short from Spain was a delight. It was the hilarious story of an imaginary friend named Captain Kiloton who desperately tries to hold onto his human partner. The short takes place at a motivational conference, as he speaks about being a successful imaginary friend. I loved the staggering amount of great ideas in this piece.

3. The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon - This funny short, which won the Gold prize last month at Fantasia, is set up like a really long movie trailer. We see a man continually being assaulted by an unknown figure in black with perhaps the most innocuous weapon ever – a spoon!

4. Heart of Karl - This is the new short from Astron 6, who gave us the short Lazer Ghosts 2: Return To Laser Cove last year. However, director Steven Kostanski decided to forge a darker path this time around. Even though I'm still not clear what the hell was going on in this short, the creature designs were spectacular, bonding Silent Hill and Clive Barker in sinewy marriage. Check it out here.

5. Blackheads - Perhaps the weirdest short at the festival was Chris Nash's Blackheads. I have to wonder how he ever came up with the idea for this. He manages to run the gamut here, making you feel uncomfortable, give you laughs and gross you out, all in less than fifteen minutes.

Some honourable mentions:

Bad Roomate - James Gangl & Kevin Whelan give us an infectiously catchy tune enacted in stop motion. It is a testament to what you can do with very little more than just a camera, while fuelled by booze and weed. I'll never look at Exhibition Place the same way again!

Danse Macabre - This Canadian short is absolutely gorgeous and really showcases the format as art. It may be ultimately depressing, but its dark beauty cannot be denied. It will also be screening at The Toronto Film Festival in September.

Die Schneider Krankheit - This German offering relays an entire alternate universe in the form of an old black and white newsreel. The production design is excellent and the images within stuck with me for a long time afterward. Check out the trailer here.

Fallow - Dave Alexander & Colin Landry's short Fallow about a town trying to protest its harvest was very well done. It had a very cool look to it and recalled some of the great stories told in The Twilight Zone and Tales From The Crypt. Click here for the trailer.

Overall, it was a great year for shorts. That about wraps it up for my coverage of the 2009 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. This coming weekend is the annual Festival Of Fear horror convention, so be sure to check back soon to hear about my exploits there.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Motherly Love

This year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival wrapped up yesterday with a screening of Paul Solet's much talked about film Grace. You have no doubt heard the tales of it causing fainting spells at Sundance and you can be sure the marketers have latched onto that nugget, much like they did when that dude took a header down an escalator at the 2005 Midnight Madness screening of Hostel.

When Madeline's (Jordan Ladd) stillborn baby miraculously springs to life, she will do anything to keep her baby alive. Even if that means supplying Grace with her 'special' diet.

Grace is a good film and has a startling amount of depth for a debut. It takes one of humanity's most powerful emotions – a mother's love for her child – and runs with it. Jordan Ladd is front and center here and she delivers a fine performance. She never pushes it too far and you always believe that Grace's well being is the only thing on her mind. I think our screening had a few walkouts, but I'm pretty sure the Toronto audience stayed conscious for the duration of the film. I certainly had no problem digesting the subject matter, but I can absolutely see why this film would get under the skin of young mothers and women in general for that matter. Perhaps even more disturbing than the main storyline of Grace, is the side plot involving Madeline's domineering mother-in-law Vivian, played by Canadian actress Gabrielle Rose. It grossed me out a little because I know there are actually people out there that engage in that sort of thing. The baby effects are intercut very well with the live action, employing a doll that the filmmakers lovingly referred to as 'Eraserhead'. I didn't realize until afterwards that this movie was shot in Canada (Saskatoon to be precise), so I bet that cut down on costs quite considerably.

Director Paul Solet

My only misgivings about Grace are almost unfair because they have nothing to do with the film itself. After seeing the trailer, there really isn't much for the movie to do, except fill in the blanks. Once the film passes what you see in the trailer, you get about ten minutes of climax and resolution – which are pretty intense and my favourite bit of Grace – and then it is over. And for some reason, I was expecting Grace to be more like 2007's French shocker Inside. They both involve mothers protecting their young, but the similarities end there. In retrospect, it works out better that it didn't go that route because the extreme violence of Inside would have conflicted with Grace's more subtle sensibilities. We should probably leave the nihilism to the French anyway.

Some cool swag courtesy of Anchor Bay.

Grace might not quite be the film I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it very much. Paul Solet is one of the many passionate filmmakers I have seen talk this past week, and they give me a lot of hope for the future. It's comforting to know that while mainstream horror continues to flounder, these guys are still there keeping the fresh ideas coming.

Well, that's it for the features. Check back tomorrow when I do a rundown of my favourite shorts from the fest.

Friday, August 21, 2009


It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days at Toronto After Dark. The highlight was getting to see The Children with an audience. The crowd ate it up, although they seemed to get off on the child-killing maybe a little too much...

Moving onto Thursday, this would be the part where I’d review an Indonesian film called The Forbidden Door. However, I don’t feel right doing that considering the unfortunate circumstances we all had to endure while viewing it. We had a crazy storm hit Ontario yesterday, that even included some tornados touching down (which NEVER happens) and the Bloor’s projector being fried early on in the show. This meant that rather than cancel the screening – like when the power went out at the My Bloody Valentine screening in January – we watched it off a DVD. This would have been fine except the player kept shutting off every thirty minutes or so. And we never did see the after-credits finale, which I’m told is kind of important. Oh, did I mention the air conditioning was on the same breaker as the blown projector? So, you see where I’m coming from. I have to hand it to the staff and volunteers working After Dark though, they really know how to handle a sticky situation.

I also got to see Trick ‘r Treat again. That was a crazy screening, with many people having to be turned away. It’s amazing just how much horror fans want to see this film. And yet it will have no theatrical release. Director Michael Dougherty was in attendance and here’s what he had to say when someone asked him about why it’s been shelved for so long. He basically said it’s up to us. If we don't support original horror, Hollywood is just going to keep pumping out the same old repackaged crap. The first thing the suits ask when you are pitching something is, “what’s it based on?”

Director Michael Dougherty

I have to agree with him. If the bean counters see that Saw V makes in one weekend what Drag Me To Hell makes in its entirety, which projects do you think they are going to green light? It’s our own fault. Do we so-called rabid and loyal horror fans want The Children, or The Children Of The Corn remake?

Probably just as enjoyable as the films for me have been the pub nights afterwards and getting to hang with my cinephile associates. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m suffering from severe sleep deprivation, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mitchell told us to channel Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. This is the best Darryl & I could do at three in the morning.

So, after all that, I came home to a wet mattress because my roof is leaking again. That means I got even less sleep last night. Argh! There’s just one more night, then dreamland and I can once again become reacquainted.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


One of the coolest stories of this year’s fest is about a little UK/Romanian production called Strigoi. My friend DirtyRobot had the labourious task of screening about two hundred blind submissions for Toronto After Dark this year. It may sound like a neat job, but I saw a few of those titles and boy oh boy they can wear you out. However, it was during this process, that he found Strigoi. Strigoi! Damn that word is fun to say.

Vlad (Catalin Paraschiv) returns home to his small Romanian village after trying to make a go of it as a doctor in Italy. When he finds out one of the local farmers has died, Vlad seems to be the only one who finds the death suspicious.

The vampire subgenre is even more saturated than that of the zombie, so it is always tough to find new stories to tell. Surprisingly though, Strigoi manages to do just that. It is an exceptionally well-made film, with characters that have a genuine weight to them. You believe this place exists – and in actual fact I guess it does, as many the town’s real inhabitants were used as extras. The genre elements of Strigoi are rarely front and centre. I was expecting (and decidedly hoping for) this film to be more like Michele Soavi’s 1994 classic Cemetery Man, but that wasn’t the case at all. It’s a far more straightforward piece about trying to shuck tradition and find your lot in life.

Director Faye Jackson and Producer Rey Muraru

I think pace is probably Strigoi’s biggest enemy. Much like The Revenant, a film I watched earlier this week at the festival, there was clearly a good chunk that could be shaved from the film. Unfortunately, what should go is not as clearly defined as it was with The Revenant. It also may have been best to screen it before and not after Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. I was climbing up the walls after that movie and to watch something incredibly low-key right afterwards was kind of a buzz kill.

Strigoi was a little too drawn out for my tastes, but there’s no question that this is an impressive debut for this husband and wife team. I think this successful showing at After Dark could be the jumping off point of a great future. All together… STRIGOI!

For more info on Strigoi, check out the screening’s Q&A video at Movie Moxie and a subsequent interview by Robert Mitchell.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nishimura & I.

Despite the four hours of sleep the night before, I had to soldier on because one of my most anticipated films of Toronto After Dark was on Monday’s eve. This was, of course Yoshihiro Nishimura’s newest effort Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. Preceding the movie, I also got to see friends of mine; Chris Nash and Ioana Vasile present their new short Blackheads. Anyone who has seen their previous work (Day Of John and Please Stand By) knows how delightfully bizarre they can be. All right, let’s get into the red stuff.

Japanese high schoolers Monami (Yukie Kawamura) and Keiko (Eri Otoguru) are battling for the affections of classmate Jyongo (Takumi Saito). The power struggle turns bloody when Monami reveals herself as a vampire and Keiko ends up dead. After Keiko’s mad scientist father reanimates her, she comes back looking for revenge.

Ah, Nishimura. His stuff never ceases to put a smile on my face. I eat this shit up like ice cream. Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is quite a bit different than its predecessor Tokyo Gore Police. I guess it’s what you would call a romantic comedy if you can believe it, only with lovely Japanese women brandishing sharp implements, body mutilation and immeasurable amounts of blood and guts. You know, the general insanity we’ve come to expect from the land of the rising sun. This one had considerably more CG in it than TGP, but almost every scene featured some degree of practical effects, so I hardly minded. I’d say that overall, VG vs. FG is probably my least favourite of the three recent offerings of this ilk – TGP and Machine Girl being the other two – but there are some ways in which it is superior, as well. The pace is much slicker than TGP’s, but that is most likely due to VG vs. FG’s running time being almost a half hour shorter. One of my favourite bits is when super cute Yukie Kawamura gleefully revels in geysers of arterial spray for over a minute. While some were probably thinking that scene needed an editor, I was mulling over how I could make it my desktop screensaver.

I had assumed the scenes with the two after school clubs – the wrist cutters and the ganguros – were just random vignettes, something which Nishimura is not beyond doing, but they were actually worked into the main story later on. Speaking of the after school clubs, I guess I should say something about some people’s cries of inexcusable racism. Fortunately, After Dark programmer Todd Brown was at the screening with a clarifying message from Nishimura himself. The exaggerated black stereotypes in the movie are not directed at African Americans, but rather at Japanese school children that like to dress and artificially tan themselves to look more like them – an inexplicable trend in Japan right now. Todd also passed on something else from the director. Apparently, Japanese film distributors care little about markets outside their shores, but Nishimura made it clear in his contract that this film HAD to play at four selected film festivals in North America (TAD, Fantasia, NYAFF & Fantastic Fest) because he is aware of his rabid fan base over here.

I can understand how this stuff isn’t most people’s cup of tea, but I can’t get enough of it. After the movie, I had a conversation with my buddy Darryl, which pretty well sums things up.

-“We know killer Japanese schoolgirls are your Kryptonite.”
-“Kryptonite? If that were the case, wouldn’t it take AWAY my powers? Melt me or something? If anything it’s the opposite. It’s more like catnip.”

Bring on Robogeisha!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The March Of The Undead.

Sunday was the day things really kicked into high gear for me, for this day was the yearly zombie night at Toronto After Dark. This is the one night of the festival where the line-up outside is as gory as the films inside. There were ghouls of all different flavours in attendance and here’s one of a dude who was standing in front of me.

I’m always too overwhelmed to take as many pictures as I should but thankfully I’m not the only blogger in town, but more on that later. First up was the Toronto premiere of Dead Snow, which I had no problems giving a second view. The crowd in Toronto was actually more lively than Montreal’s this time. We do really love our zombies here. We had something homegrown here too, as Alberta filmmaker Spencer Estabrooks showed off his awesome looking zombie western short Deadwalkers beforehand. I had met him a few nights before and it was good to finally see the product of his efforts. It made me realize that the zombie western is a terribly untapped subgenre. After Dead Snow, was a totally independent find straight from its audience award at the Cinevegas Film Festival – TAD has spies everywhere – called The Revenant.

Joey (Chris Wylde) gets the shock of this life when his best friend Bart (David Anders) comes knocking on his door in distress one night. This surprise is due to his having been at Bart's funeral a few days before!

The Revenant was a real treat. I really didn’t know what to expect other than the description handed to me was 'undead buddy comedy'. Usually this type of fare relies heavily on flashy gags and gore, which this has of course, but The Revenant is largely dialogue driven. This is almost unprecedented – the first half of From Dusk Till Dawn is the last time I can recall this – and only works because the two leads Anders and Wylde are so awesome together. The film is at its best when it is just the two of them, either bickering like an old couple or working together as a two-man wrecking crew.

And don’t let me make you think that they skimp on the effects here. Far from it. In fact, there are some of best severed head effects I’ve seen in a while on display in The Revenant. The gags don’t come as fast and furious as they do in say, something like Dead Snow, but they are no less effective when they do. I think the only glaring negative is that The Revenant could be a sizable amount shorter. I don’t feel there’s necessarily anything wrong with these extra bits, but they end up diluting the strength of the piece as a whole. I also got the feeling writer/director Kerry Prior may not have had any idea how to end this monster he’d created, which is understandable considering how unconventional the film becomes.

Writer/Director Kerry Prior

I do hope that The Revenant gets picked up by somebody. With a little editing in parts, this film could really become one of those hidden gems that come out of nowhere. It is truly a rare instance of many different things like storytelling, dialogue and genre-mixing coming together to make a delicious bullet sandwich.

For more info on the happenings this week, check out the sites of my peeps – who are way more resilient and resourceful than I – Movie Moxie and Rob Mitchell.