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, December 31, 2010

New Year's Evil.

It looks like I must be on Brian Pulido's (of Mischief Maker Studios) mailing list because I got another awesome Holiday greeting from him this year.

Happy New Year to everyone out there. Here's to a prosperous 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

CAST Awards.

Recently, I participated in the inaugural CAST (Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto) awards. Basically, a blogger named James McNally (of Toronto Screen Shots) contacted a bunch of bloggers from the GTA and asked them to submit their top twenty-five films of 2010. I was happy to oblige and with thirty other cinephiles, the final tallied list hit the Web a few days ago. The CAST top five are below.

1) Inception
2) Toy Story 3
3) Black Swan
4) Shutter Island
5) The Social Network

The top five of my submitted list were as follows;

1) Inception
2) Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The
3) Black Swan
4) Girl Who Played With Fire, The
5) 127 Hours

Now, the fact I've only seen nine of the twenty-five films that made the final CAST list tells me my tastes dramatically differ from the majority, but at least our number ones & threes matched up. For the full CAST list of twenty-five, click here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best & Worst Horror of 2010.

It's that time again for my wrap-up of the best and worst genre titles of this past year. Again, there were a good handful of titles in 2010, but finding five that stood out was a little tricky. Here are the ones I came up with, in no particular order.

USA, Dir: Adam Green

I had been a fan of Green's after Hatchet, his love letter to eighties slashers, but I never could've expected this powerhouse of a chiller. I was into this thing from the get-go. The idea was simple, the three characters were well realized and the dialogue was so wonderfully fresh that I couldn't help but feel I was right up there with them. There is a maturity to this film that shows that Green is a talent who is determined to stay at the top of the pile.

Let Me In
USA, Dir: Matt Reeves

As I've said, I think my first reaction after seeing this at TIFF, was relief. Reeves not only managed to honour the original Swedish film by maintaining the stunning visuals and equally great performances by Kodi Smit-McPhee & Chloe Moretz, he also injected his own experience of growing up as a lonely kid in the eighties. While it is true that there is some unfortunate CG in the film, some of the other subtle tweaks further invigorated the narrative immensely. This is a rare remake triumph that I feel fully earns its existence.

Stake Land
USA, Dir: Jim Mickle

After Mickle's debut in 2007 with Mulberry Street, I had high hopes for his follow-up and they were all met entirely. This part-vampire apocalypse, part-modern western tale is brimming with well rounded characters, awesome set design and a wonderful score to boot. I hope that Mickle continues his partnership with Glass Eye Pix because they made some magic together on this picture.

Spain/USA, Dir: Rodrigo Cortés

Ryan Reynolds' one-man show makes my list of top genre films and rightly so. This is a fantastic showcase of not only Reynolds' talents, but also the power of minimalist filmmaking. Director Cortés' decision to never leave the coffin was inspired and really heightened the sense of dread and claustrophobia that the main character felt. Buried is a solid character piece that cements Reynolds as an A-list talent and not just a pretty face.

Phobia 2
Thailand, Dir: Paween Purikitpanya, Virsute Poolvoralak, Songyos Sugmakanan, Parkpoom Wongpoom & Bonjong Pisanthanakun

The follow-up to 2007's anthology Phobia was even more solid than its predecessor. It has a gradual progression of scares and then leaves you laughing with its most entertaining yarn, “In The End”, which is a follow-up to the first film story, “In The Middle” featuring the same bumbling characters. Thai horror has been slowly fading from the international scene, but Wongpoom & Pisanthanakun are clearly still hard at work at bringing the scares.

Looking back at this list, I was surprised to see that four-out-of-five were actually domestics this year. Could we be seeing a quiet American resurgence? I hope so.

Honourable Mentions

I've found the work of James Wan & Leigh Whannell to be largely mediocre. I have mad respect for what they achieved with Saw, but let's face it, the final product left a little to be desired. I've never felt that Wan has been able to nail the third act – until now. His newest offering Insidious, was a fantastic haunted house story that focused on atmosphere, rather than his usual wheelhouse of gore. It is actually astonishing to me how much Wan & Whannell have grown as filmmakers since their last effort. I have no idea when Insidious will be getting a release, but make sure you support it, when it does.

I had a blast watching Piranha 3D. Aja delivered on every bit of the gore, tits & ass he promised from the trailers. It was just a fun ride filled with skin, cheese and vapid characters you couldn't wait to see torn to shreds by angry aquatic death machines.

I was also surprised by two films in particular this year. The first was Paranormal Activity 2. What could've been just a cash grab, was a well realized sequel that I found not only technically superior, but also served the first film very well. The second was The Last Exorcism, which anchored by its two amazing leads, Patrick Fabian & Ashley Bell really impressed me. Its emphasis on character and build-up works well with its found-footage conceit. It is a shame this movie was mismarketed, as I don't think it got a fair shake with audiences.

Lastly, I want to say that even though The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Black Swan would not be what you would technically call horror, I feel that they were two of the best films I saw this year period.

Okay, now onto the worst. As with previous years, I had a good record of avoiding stuff I knew I wouldn't like, so there will be no Nightmare remake, no My Soul To Take or Devil on this list. There were however, some disappointments. I was completely unimpressed with Hatchet II, especially after seeing Green's awesome Frozen just a few months before. I understand why he made it, but it felt very flat and cheap to me. Brad Anderson's newest Vanishing on 7th St, was also painfully mediocre. I'd like to blame it on his choice to cast cardboard leading man Hayden Christensen, but the movie just had no pop on any level. However, if I had to nominate a lead stinker this year, I guess I'd have to go with Skyline, which I might add was not my choice to see. This movie is basically a demo reel for the filmmakers special effects talents because there was nothing that made a decent movie here otherwise. The ending is laughable and framed for an inevitable sequel that you can be sure I will not be seeing.

All righty, that is another year in the books. 2011 looks to have an exhaustively crammed calendar, so check back next year to find out what I am most looking forward to.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I hope you all had a festive Christmas. I thought I'd pop in and show you my two most recent gains.

The first was a recent Ebay purhcase.

Oh yeah, you betcha. Now, I can watch giant rats attack Toronto at my own leisure and not have to wait for the three-peat screening at Trash Palace. Joy unilimited!

The second was a Christmas gift from my brother and his family.

This is especially awesome because I have a Battle Royale poster, but it's too large for standard framing and a custom job would cost upwards of three hundred dollars. This is perfect.

Hope you are all enjoying your time off work and spending it with family and friends. I'll be back here in a few days with my 2010 wrap-up post. See you then!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good Advice.

Thanks be to DirtyRobot for the link.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Is The End.

So, the time has come for to ryhme off the rest of my poster collection. Here comes the balance.

Before he was Walter Skinner, Mitch Pileggi was Horace Pinker!

Solid thriller with a great premise AND Jeff Fahey. What more do you need?

This strange Silence of the Lambs clone has the best antler impalement this side of Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Oh, HBO. We could have really used you on that one.

That's one theatrical release it seems people have forgotten about.

Okay, that's two theatrical releases it seems people have forgotten about.

What's one more Julian Sands flick, right?

Of all of the ridiculous plot twists in nineties sex-thrillers, that last one is the one that still makes me chuckle.

And that's all she wrote. Well, actually there are a few odds and ends - like the stuff currently on my walls - but no need to get into that until the New Year. Hope you enjoyed looking through the gallery over the past few months. If you'd like to peruse through the archives, click here. Take care everyone.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger 85.

Concentrated Zombie Killin'

YouTube user Landstrider compiled a video of the zombie deaths from the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead. Obviously, if you haven't seen the show yet, you shouldn't watch this, but for everyone else, this will be a stroll down a very bloody memory lane. Here it is below.

Soldier Indeed.

My buddy Rob Mitchell is a very hard working fellow. With his partner Sheleigh, they have spent the last few years documenting countless media events from the Big Smoke. He has of ben of great help to me, as his videos have augmented several of my past festival reviews. Well, now Mitchell has started up his own blog entitled Soldier of Cinema. To sum up his introductory post, he needed a place to fit all this content he had built up and didn't have a place to showcase it. SoC has been up for about a week and already has two interviews posted - one with veteran actor William Forsythe and one with independent filmmaker Lucas McNelly. Click here to check it out.

Rollin, Rollin, Rollin...

Here's a taste of a cool gallery of Jean Rollin poster art I came across over at Video Junkie.

The Grapes Of Death. I LOVE IT!

This one looks familiar, heyyyyy wait a second...

Some of these bring back a lot of memories. Back when local specialty cable horror channel SCREAM was still such - and not its currently watered-down incarnation DUSK - they used to do a Friday-or-Saturday night Rollin double bill. Who could forget the interchangable storylines, nubile naked nymphs and long (and I mean looooong) shots of beautiful countryside landscapes? For the full gallery, click here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

To Deprave & Corrupt.

A few weeks back, I posted about this awesome looking DVD set called Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide. Well, rest assured I jabbed that bad boy’s contents into my eyeballs faster than you can say ‘Lucio Fulci’. Here’s the verdict.

If there’s one word to describe this DVD set – aside from my go-to superlatives ‘wicked’, ‘epic’ and ‘awesome’ – it is value. This is not false advertising. They crammed these discs with so much stuff, it literally took me three solid evenings to get through it all.

The presentation of the DVD is brilliant. The amount of love that went into this set is astonishing. Along with the great cover, it also includes a few lobby cards of some of the more infamous Nasties like Cannibal Holocaust and I Spit On Your Grave.

The centerpiece of the set is Jake West’s documentary, Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape and it’s a treat to watch. While it is mainly talking heads & newspaper clipping montages, being a UK documentary, it features a lot of new faces. I have no problem with John Landis or Eli Roth popping up in every homegrown horror doc made in the last five years, but it was nice to get some fresh perspectives. In particular, I speak of horror writers Alan Jones, Marc Morris – whose book The Art of the Nasty served as the genesis of this set – and Stephen Thrower. I’d been reading their books for years, but had never actually seen them onscreen before. The latter gentleman is of special significance to me because of his work as a musician in the band, Coil. Other interviewees of note were British actor Andy Nyman, who I think after memorable performances in Severance & Dead Set could be as popular this side of the pond as Simon Pegg with the right project, and directors Christopher Smith and Neil Marshall.

I’ve always been fascinated by the censorship contrast between North America & Europe, or more specifically the UK. Over in the motherland, nudity is commonplace, with topless girls featured in the daily newspaper and TV commercials, but graphic violence in media seems to be carefully monitored. Over here, you’d be hard pressed anymore to find a movie – no matter how reprehensible – that is rated NC-17. Even network television is constantly pushing its boundaries. However, flash a nipple on air and the whole continent shuts down.

Obviously, you would expect the documentary to take the side of the filmmakers, but honestly, they didn’t have to try very hard to make those who lobbied against said films look like idiots. The following is an actual quote from British MP Sir Graham Bright;

“I believe that research is taking place and it will show that these films not only affect young people, but I believe they affect dogs, as well.”

This is from the mouth of somebody in a position of authority? What the fuck was going on back then? Though, as I say that I realize that political ineptness is still rampant these days. This only reinforces the truthful adage, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape highlights the fact that the powers that be will always look for a scapegoat to explain away the problems in society. More recently, it is violent video games that have become the target of those who think they know what’s best for us.

Ironically, due to the BBFC’s assertion of “do not watch these films”, all they really did was increase demand. I guarantee there are a handful of Nasties, that would have been completely forgotten – and rightly so – if they had not been immortalized by their inclusion on the list. It became the best marketing tool the distributors could’ve asked for.

Let’s get back to the DVD though. Also on the first disc, is a gallery of coverboxes of all the banned films, which you can imagine to me, was like crack. And if that wasn’t enough, there is a montage of UK video distributor intros, my favourite being the one below for Kace International.

I love that one. It’s like its own little movie. It makes me want to say, “fuck the movie I rented. I want to see more of this!” And these intros go on for almost an hour!!! Like I said. Value. If this was everything, I would have still said it was a well worthwhile purchase, but there are two more discs.

You also get trailers for every single one of the seventy-two titles that appeared on the Video Nasties list with each prefaced by an introduction. The second disc features the thirty-nine titles that were successfully banned by the courts and the third has the thirty-three that managed to get their verdicts overturned somewhere down the line. To further drive home how thorough this package is, even the main menu screen features a lengthy short featuring Jake West muse Emily Booth destroying video tapes with all manner of deadly weaponry.

I was obviously familiar with a lot of the stuff on here, like the old faves from Fulci & Argento – who had five titles on the Nasties list between them - but there was also a fair share of recollection involved, as well. Since there were copious amounts of Italian titles on here, it reminded me of all their badass music scores. I should really try to create some sort of mix with all those old tunes ala Deadboy’s recent Halloween mix. I mean, just take a listen to this trailer for Bay of Blood aka Carnage.

Of course, the best part was discovering new titles. Much like after my experience watching Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed, I came away with a few more to track down. Axe and Late Night Trains were added to the likes of Nightmares In A Damaged Brain and The Slayer, which I’ve already been trying to find for years.

Then there are the ones that I seek for a different reason. Because they look freakin’ hilarious.

It should go without saying that Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide is a must-own for any horror fan. If you are a child of the home video generation, this will offer you a tidal wave of nostalgia. If you are a wee bit younger, it will serve as a fantastic history lesson on a glorious era in horror.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Totally Worth It!

I found this video on DirtyRobot's Tumblr the other day and just couldn't wait until Sunday to post it. It's a music video directed by Cédric Blaisbois for a band called Huoratron and it is AWESOME SAUCE. Behold the Corporate Occult!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nachos N' Stuff!

It's funny how some of these random get-togethers come about. I have a friend who does shift work, so Mondays are really the best day she can hang out – at least for the foreseeable future – so they have ostensibly become the new Thursdays for us. Then, another friend recently won Larry Cohen's The Stuff on DVD in a raffle, so you put the two together with our shared love of nachos and you have a winning combination.

Nachos provided by DirtyRobot.

So, the movie. I remember liking The Stuff when I saw it some twenty-odd years ago, but this movie is even more entertaining than I recalled. There is just such an element of fun in Larry Cohen's horror flicks with Q: The Winged Serpent being another prime example. I believe this is in no small part due to star Michael Moriarty. This guy is great because he often acts like he's in his own movie, adding all these mad little quirks to his character, that must have been improved on the day. They just had to be. The scenes with him and the late Garrett Morris, as the unforgettable sass talkin', kung-fu choppin' Chocolate Chip Charlie, are just really special.

I think the world is a lesser place for there never having been a Lethal Weapon-style buddy cop movie starring those two. The Stuff, more than most eighties flicks, is a veritable time capsule. Everything, down to how things were marketed in that decade, is on display here. Cohen even got the “Where's the Beef?” lady to show up in a cameo declaring Where's the Stuff? That's just awesome, people. The Stuff trots out a parade of character actors, including Danny Aiello, Patrick O' Neal and Paul Sorvino as an unhinged military leader, as well. When I see creature features like this, it always makes me yearn for the days when practical effects were paramount. I love good CG as much as the next guy, but it has still to achieve the weight of actually having something onscreen, no matter how cheesy it looks.

So, the movie was a success and the nachos tasty, but the evening could of course not have been complete without dessert!

Enough is NEVER enough!

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's feedin' time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Return To All Hallows'

It was just announced yesterday that the Toronto After Dark is returning to October, after having spent the last two years thrilling and chilling in August.

The 2011 edition of Toronto After Dark will run from October 20-27. Though I didn't have a problem with its late summer slot, it does seem more appropriate to have a genre festival during the Halloween season. It is also very advantageous from a marketing standpoint to have a presence at the annual Festival of Fear in Late August. I can't wait to see what helpings of fresh meat TAD 2011 will bring forth. For more info, click here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lazy Sunday.

No DKTM today, but I do have a link to an awesome John Carpenter Soundtrack Mix from Alan Howarth. Howarth is a composer who worked on many of Carpenter's film scores, including Escape From New York, They Live and Prince of Darkness. Last Halloween, he made this special mix, incorporating many of the memorable Carpenter scores he's contributed to over his long career. Click on the image below to check it out (via Rebellen).

Thanks to Caroline & Heather for the link.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


The Horror Section turns three today! They grow up so fast, don't they?

Video footnotes:

0:45 The Hall Concordia; Fantasia 2008
0:49 Yoshihiro Nishimura & Eihi Shiina at Tokyo Gore Police screening; Fantasia 2008
1:01 Robert Englund at Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer screening; The Bloor July 2008
1:17 Wes Craven; Festival of Fear 2008
1:21 Ruggero Deodato; Festival of Fear 2008
1:25 Tobe Hooper at The Texas Chainsaw Massacre screening, The Bloor August 2008
1:45 The Ryerson Theatre; TIFF 2008
1:49 Bruce McDonald at Pontypool screening; TIFF 2008
2:09 Thomas Waites at Thingfest; The Bloor Oct 2008
2:17 Trash Palace; February 2009
2:49 Zombie Walk; Toronto After Dark 2008
2:57 Angus Scrimm at I Sell The Dead screening; Toronto After Dark 2008
3:21 Zombie Walk; Toronto After Dark 2009
3:33 Michael Dougherty at Trick 'r Treat screening; Toronto After Dark 2009
3:37 Paul Solet at Grace screening; Toronto After Dark 2009
3:49 Joshua Hoffline’s Lady Bathory; Festival of Fear 2009
4:01 Bruce Campbell; Festival of Fear 2009
4:05 Roger Corman; Festival of Fear 2009
4:17 Megan Fox, Johnny Simmons & Amanda Seyfried at Jennifer’s Body screening; TIFF 2009
4:21 George A. Romero at Survival of the Dead screening; TIFF 2009
4:37 Willow watching over the Poster Archive
4:49 Tomás costume; Halloween 2009
5:05 Nightbreed Video Game
5:17 Nancy Trilogy Movie Night Cake!
5:21 The Gun Store zombie target from Las Vegas trip; April 2010
5:33 Squid Lid performing at Rue Morgue’s Black 100 Party, May 2010
6:01 H.G. Lewis at Godfather of Gore screening; Fantasia 2010
6:29 Eli Roth, Ashley Bell & Patrick Fabian at The Last Exorcism screening; Toronto After Dark 2010
6:37 David Cronenberg & Ken Russell; Festival of Fear 2010
6:41 Heather Langenkamp; Festival of Fear 2010
6:45 Lance Henriksen; Festival of Fear 2010
6:57 Leigh Whannell & James Wan at Insidious screening; TIFF 2010
7:01 Nick Damici & Jim Mickle at Stake Land screening; TIFF 2010
7:13 Headset from Videodrome; TIFF Lightbox, October 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fistful Of Posters.

Okay, so let me continue on with my poster collection. It is my aim to get the rest of them posted before the New Year. Here below are the N through R's.

Yet another flick that used a tagline riffing on a then-popular mainstream title.

When I wanted a little brightness on the wall, I put up the above poster for Savini's underrated remake.

Yet another Lance flick to add to the list!

One of my fave posters ever!

Such fond Full Moon memories...

I remember having to fight for this one at ye olde video store.

Surprisingly, not a Troma production.

That's it for now, but check back on Thursday for something extra special.