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, February 28, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger 51

Let's see what I can scrawl down here, before heading out to my buddy's for the Canada vs. USA game today.

Bird Droppings.

So, last week I posted a teaser for Birdemic. It was pretty hilarious, right? Well, this week Severin Films released a full trailer. And, oh boy...

As you can see, they are obviously now playing UP how terrible this movie is and using it as a selling point. Ok, here's the deal. I don't think you can push that kind of thing. Bad cult movies don't start out that way. They start out as any other film, but become popular because an audience embraces them. I could be wrong, but this movie is starting to feel a little disingenuous. I mean, a movie this bad can't be unintentional, right? RIGHT?!

Nilbog On Tour.

Speaking of unintentionally bad movies that have snatched a hardcore following, there are none bigger than Troll 2. To this day director Claudio Fragrasso still thinks he made a good film. After playing the festival circuit for the last year, the excellent Troll 2 documentary Best Worst Movie by Michael Paul Stephenson (who played young Joshua in the film) is FINALLY getting a theatrical release this spring. And we, the fans, are a large factor in making this happen. I highly encourage anyone who has this playing in your area to go check it out. You don't even need to have seen Troll 2 to appreciate it, that's how amazing the doc is. To request Best Worst Movie be screened in your city, click here. Also, as an aside for regular readers of THS, you'll see that my home-away-from-home, Toronto's Bloor Cinema even makes an appearance.

They Bite!

My buddy Schwartz over at Cartoon and Horror put together this great collection of Critters for his latest installment of FAN ART FRIDAYS. Here's a taste.

For the rest of the gallery, click here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Great White North

I thought, with it being the Olympics and all, that I’d represent and throw up a Canadian company’s intro today. Here’s one for Cinépix Film Properties.

I had to use a clip posted by YouTube user MachineryNoise, as my recently purchased copy of David Cronenberg’s Rabid did not want to co-operate.

I always thought C/FP stood for Cineplex/Famous Players – Canada’s largest theatre chain – for some reason. C/FP distributed hundreds of titles theatrically throughout Canada in the seventies and got into the home video market shortly thereafter. As you would expect, they released many of the classic Canadian horror titles, such as Cannibal Girls, Shivers and Rabid. Other titles to hit video store shelves through C/FP over the years were The Crazies, Vampyres, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, The Pyx, Carnosaur and The Toxic Avenger. They were also a purveyor of exploitation content, including titles from the Ilsa, Emmanuelle and Mondo series.

In 2001, Cinépix Film Properties was acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment.

This will be the last home video company intro for a while. I’m going to wait for spring and the appearance of some hopefully fruitful garage sales in my area. Shortly after that, I hope to return with a new series of eight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fear Thy Neighbour

I went to see The Crazies earlier this week. It gave me everything I saw in the trailer. And not much else.

When the townsfolk of Ogden Marsh, Iowa begin committing random acts of violence, the sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife (Radha Mitchell) try to get out alive. This is made even more difficult when the military quickly arrive to clean things up.

These middle of the road entries are often the toughest for me to comment on, but I'll do my best.

The Crazies shares a lot in common with 2004's Dawn Of The Dead, another of George A. Romero’s films to get the remake treatment. Although a few things remain intact, they are both essentially boiled down, easily consumable versions of their original incarnations. The Crazies does show flashes of freshness – like a sequence that takes place within a car wash – but it ultimately gets bogged down with lazy contrivances and uninspired jump scares. I understand that the formula of the plague movie – and its thematic sibling, the zombie flick – is hard to break out of, but that never stopped both 28 Later films from excelling. The pleasure has to be in the details. The key is to do more than things right than you do wrong and at the outset, I think The Crazies might have come out slightly ahead. I love me a good plague movie though, so unless you truly go out of your way to annoy/enrage/bore me, you're going to get a pass. I certainly wouldn't lump it in with the tripe shit out by Platinum Dunes, even if its visual style came dangerously close at times. Breck Eisner's direction is not inept, just maybe a little repetitive. His credits include 2005's Sahara and the Fear Itself episode Sacrifice – one of the brighter spots of that drab series – and may explain why the individual set pieces are the best parts of the flick.


The Crazies is not a bad movie. I'm often totally fine with the stuff served up here, but I think its solid trailer may have raised my expectations a bit. When they pilfered that Tears For Fears cover from Donnie Darko, I perhaps subconsciously thought that it might contain some level of depth. No such luck. However, as far as throwaway horror flicks go, you could do FAR worse.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slash, Strangle, Slaughter.

This installment of Coverbox Wednesday is brought to you by the letter 'S'.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One Man's Trash...

Despite all the video stores I visited, and all the hours spent watching First Choice when I was young, there are still many horror films that I've never seen. More specifically – as simple math tells you no one could possibly see EVERY horror film – there are still tons of movies that I would have loved to have seen when I was younger, but just never had access to. Even when I got older and found the Toronto video stores that I've gushed over in earlier posts, there are still some glaring gaps. Well, last week I got to strike another one off that list.

After a New York liquor store owner finds an old crate in his cellar filled with bottles of Viper, he sells it off to the local homeless population for a buck a bottle. Unfortunately for them, drinking it has some gruesomely fatal side effects.

This movie was hilarious. Street Trash is like a glorious hybrid of Frank Henenlotter and Lloyd Kaufman, with a little Sam Raimi thrown in for good measure. The 35mm print Rue Morgue acquired for the screening was absolutely gorgeous. After the ugly projection of my last visit to The Bloor – and even with the depravity of Street Trash's content – this seemed like comparing a silver platter to a paper plate. I don't think I've seen this much colourful gore since Evil Dead 2. When is the last time you saw purple mixed in with your blood and guts? There was stuff in this movie that I'd never seen before, which is a rarity in itself. Severed penis monkey-in-the-middle?! That's just gold, people.

I loved the Viper liquor. If that isn't a wickedly esoteric icon of eighties horror, I don't know what is. I kept thinking to myself during the film, 'I have to check and see if anyone's made those and put them on the Web.' How awesome would it be to print one out and slap it on a bottle of Fireball? And the funny thing is, that even though the Viper seems to be a main element, there is a good chunk of the movie where it disappears completely and left me thinking, 'what the hell is this movie about?' It was yet another way this movie throws you for a loop. Now, I know I may sound like a hypocrite by praising Street Trash after recently scolding Cabin Fever 2 for padding its movie with silly gore scenes, but there just seemed to be a underlying level of technical skill involved that you just don't see in movies of this obvious low budget. Looking at director J. Michael Muro's ample experience working with a camera should tell you that he knew what he was doing. He is the reason this movie isn't an unwatchable disaster. Like the aforementioned Henenlotter and company, they keep you interested with visuals and situations you just haven't encountered before. It is that freshness that makes these crusty eighties gems claw their way out of the toilet of mediocrity and become classics that people will line up to see twenty-plus years later.

This was such a great night. As much as I wish I wasn't so late to the party, this was probably the best possible way I could have experienced Street Trash. In a theatre, with friends, after some hobo burlesque.

Viper label courtesy of Robert Mitchell.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger 50.

Wow, fifty eh? How about that!

The Eagles Are Coming.

Every once and a while, a trailer comes around that tears up the Internet like a bat - or rather poorly rendered eagle - out of hell. In case you haven't already seen it the trailer for Birdemic: Shock and Terror, here it is below. It's actually been around for a while - not sure how I missed it when it was featured on AOTS last July - but the renewed interest must be due its impending Severin DVD release. Oh, stick with it, as it 'pays' off at the end. I promise it is not a boo-scare video.

And I thought the vulture visual effects in The Rage were bad. Wow. Just wow. In case you need more Birdemic goodness, check out this clip from the *ahem* movie here. With the graphics within, I think a better title would have been Duck Hunt: The Movie.

Some Seventies Love.

Twitter user @freddysfingers directed me to this cool little site the other day called Its aestetic is fairly simple, but it does have a cool collection of horror films from said decade, along with a small profile of directors and a small study of the movies of the time period as a genre. I just wanted to throw it up here, as there may be a title or two that you may want to add to your viewing list.

More LNC.

It seems I can't go a week without mentioning Killerfilm's Late Night Classics recently. I tweeted about this earlier, but just wanted to call more attention to it here because, well... It's The Effing Video Dead! Here's a snip from a recently posted interview with Roxanna Manuel, one of the film's stars.

Killer Film: How did you get involved in THE VIDEO DEAD?

Roxanna Manuel: I responded to an ad in one of the San Francisco papers for auditions for the movie. I auditioned at a small studio in San Francisco where I met with the director, Robert Scott. I can’t remember but I think he either offered me the part on the spot or called me within a day to make the offer.I was really excited. I had moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to attend the Summer Training Program at the American Conservatory Theatre, and my meeting with Robert was my first audition for a film. Man, I was young.

Killer Film: What was the atmosphere on set like?

Roxanna Manuel: It was frenzied but friendly. By the time I was called to work, the crew and the zombies had been working together for awhile, and they all appeared to know and like each other. Robert was so great – he couldn’t afford to pay anyone up front, so people were working for free, which meant he had to schedule filming around people’s other work schedules. He was very professional and respectful of people’s time commitments, so when we were on set, we were totally focused on getting things done quickly.

To check out the rest of the interview, click here. And while you are at it, join the petition to get The Video Dead FINALLY released on DVD. It's up to us to convince MGM that is worth their time to put it on store shelves in digital format.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Media Is The Message.

This intro for Media Home Entertainment (plus a little added bonus on the end) is one I KNOW you’ll remember.

Media set up shop early in the home video revolution circa 1978 and put out hundreds of titles before dying out in the early nineties. They had their hands in every genre, which is why their catalogue was so pervasive. You could find everything from action movies to adult titles under their Private Screenings sub-label. Media also welcomed the independents with open arms and distributed films from companies like Troma (Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Mother’s Day and Rabid Grannies) and New Line Cinema. Speaking of, my VHS copy of A Nightmare On Elm Street was what I pulled the above clip from.

As you can see, Media – much like last week’s Key Video – had one of the more recognizable logos. Their vast horror catalogue had titles such as Fade To Black, Basket Case, Blood Beach, Creature, Maniac, Hell Night and Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

Today, the rights to Media’s library are spread out over New Line, Anchor Bay and 20th Century Fox.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Bloody Mess.

Cabin Fever 2, the long awaited sequel to Eli Roth's 2002 gorefest came out this week. Okay, maybe ‘awaited’ is too strong a word.

Director Ti West washed his hands of the project after losing control of it to the moneymen during post production. He moved onto other things and Cabin Fever 2 lay dormant for some time, until finally hitting video store shelves a few days ago.

The flesh-eating disease of the first film makes its way to a nearby small town, where the local high school is preparing for prom night.

Earlier this month, director Joe Lynch tweeted this about the sequel, “Cabin Fever 2 is like if John Hughes jerked off to Street Trash.” Confused, I asked him if that was a positive or a negative, to which he quickly responded, “that’s for you to decide.” Fair enough. Well, now I’ve seen it.

It’s a negative. Definitely a negative.

Cabin Fever 2 is really not very good. It’s a shame because it actually starts out great. It had been so long since I’d actually been paying attention because of all the delays, that I’d completely forgotten that this sequel was actually a continuation of the first movie. I figured it was just a stand-alone movie about a flesh-eating disease that got a '2' slapped on it, like when the solid 2006 direct-to-video title Adrift, got renamed Open Water 2 because it had people trapped in the ocean. This was indeed not the case here. Out trotted Cabin Fever’s Rider Strong into traffic, followed quickly on the scene by Giuseppe Andrews, the bumbling deputy that gave me countless chuckles during the first film. From there, the movie went into a strange, but no less foot tapping animated musical interlude during the main credits ala Dead & Breakfast. For the next twenty minutes or so, it was – as Joe pointed out – very John Hughes. I even found myself laughing out loud at some of the lines. Then, the shit hit the fan, or more specifically, cum hit the sink. It was like the movie just turned a corner, where its only intent was to bombard me with gross-out set pieces that were as empty as they were silly. We’re talking downward spiral here, people.

I can’t really fault the cast assembled here. I don’t know what it is about Noah Segan that I find so inherently likable, especially considering he’s been in so many films that I detested. The enraged speech he gives to the object of his affection Cassie (Alexi Wasser) was one of the few things I liked about the movie’s last half. Man, I’ve been there. I project a breakout role coming for Segan in the near future. And then there’s Marc Senter, who seems to go out of his way to play characters I can’t stand. I guess you could take that as a compliment, since he does what he does so well, but that doesn’t make movies like The Lost and Wicked Lake any less loathsome. Finally, the ending, that included a strip club sequence that felt painfully tacked on, is completely unsatisfying to boot.

It would, of course be interesting to see Ti West’s original vision of Cabin Fever 2 – which I assume was more atmosphere and less ridiculous – but even the framework of this movie seems tainted, like it would only be a marginal improvement. Fortunately, since Ti West has already rebounded from this debacle with The House Of The Devil, we can start forgetting about this unfortunate blip on his resume. I know he probably has.

For an interview with Ti West, where he elaborates on his experience with CF2, click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trade Ya!

Several months ago while chatting online with Cory over at the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, he broached the subject of doing a post swap between our respective sites. I would write something zombie related, and he'd come up with something in the vein of vintage home video. After taking some time to get our ducks in a row, and a date nailed down, here it is...

I didn't have the benefit of a friendly neighborhood mom-n-pop video store as a kid. I mean, maybe they were around, but at my house renting movies was more the exception than the rule. My early education and indoctrination in the film genres of science fiction, horror and exploitation came from that other great infiltrator of living rooms of the '80s -- cable. My parents were early and enthusiastic adopters of cable and, although we owned a VCR, it was used far more often to record movies than to play back rentals. Why rent when we already had a couple of pay movie channels, plus another dozen or so channels of programming coming in?

Because of that I didn't become aware of movies based on a cool box art or poster in the store. My tastes were set by whatever my dad was watching and whatever was on late at night, after my parents had gone to bed. But it wasn't much of a handicap. My parents had a laissez faire attitude toward what I watched, so I remember watching Phantasm, and being completely freaked out by it, when I was around 9 years old. Scanners, Piranha, Humanoids from the Deep, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Night of the Comet -- I have vivid, indelible memories of all of those and many more. They came directly into my home, unbidden and uninvited but so, so welcome. And I knew nothing about them -- lacking even the hints one might find on a box cover -- until I sat down to watch them, sometimes halfway through (always a weird way to watch a movie, but hey, whatever's clever).

And over on the non-premium channels, there was a veritable torrent of great, weird old stuff. Elvira, Commander USA's Groovie Movies, later USA Up All Night, and similar shows. Most of them played to my night-owl tendencies, the rest filled Saturday afternoons, bringing a slew of older, weirder and ridiculous trashy and bad movies into my life. It was a beautiful thing. And yes, many of them were edited, sometimes to a ridiculous degree. That just gave me ample motivation to go back later and hunt down unexpurgated versions of the films I half-remembered, to see what was really going on -- a process which has helped illuminate many interesting corners of film history.

In all honesty, cable was perhaps the perfect thing for me. I've always been a bit picky about what I will go out of my way to watch. If I give myself a chance to overthink it, I can talk myself out of taking the trouble to watch anything. So even if I had the unlimited access to a killer VHS store like many of my peers seemed to, I still likely wouldn't have had the same kind of broad-based, wide-ranging education in the fine art of trash that I got from cable TV. And sure, I never had the benefit of being able to rent a favorite title over and over again, but a lot of those movies were shown dozens of times over the course of a few months, and I'd see them seemingly every time my folks went to bed, so I had ample opportunity to study the nuances (plus, I taped a few of my favorites).

Thanks again to Cory for proposing we do this. His post totally brought in a new dimension I hadn't even considered. To view my article over at The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse - where I assemble the ultimate zombie-killing dream team - click here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heavy Rain Impressions

Last Thursday, the demo for Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream's upcoming interactive film noir was released on the PSN. I ran through it a few times and here are some thoughts. The first thing that struck me was the aesthetic. This game really does look and feel like you are walking around in a David Fincher film. It is dark, dank and shadows lurk everywhere. Just the tutorial, where all you are doing is leaving your car and walking down an alleyway, is bursting with detail. The next thing - and obviously the most difficult to get used to - were the controls. My gaming diet consists mainly of first-person-shooters, so not using the analog stick to move was immediately disorienting. Instead, the controls are an evolution of the ones Quantic Dream employed in their previous game Indigo Prophecy, where the analog sticks are used for interaction and one of the shoulder buttons (R2) is used to move. As you can see from the graphic below, there is a bit of a learning curve.

I got used to them fairly quickly though and by the end of the demo, I was already anticipating what I would have to do, like 'I'm walking towards police tape, I bet I'll have to push down with the analog stick...'

As was spied in various videos released over the past few years, there are a good deal of Quick Time Events in the game. However, they never seemed out of place or frustratingly difficult. Unlike a game, like Resident Evil 4, where one missed button meant a grisly death, failure to hit a button simply causes a reaction in a sequence of events. In the demo, you get into a fist fight in a hotel room. It was a sequence of a dozen or more QTE's and my actions determined how the fight played out. My interaction had a flow that made the fight play out like it would in a Hollywood movie. I was really into it. Also interesting, are the investigation techniques. The Scott Shelby character is a private eye and has to use interrogation to get information, but another character you play in the demo is a fed and also has technology at his disposal. Using a pair of glasses and a special glove, Norman Jayden can get instant forensic analysis from anything at a crime scene. Walking around the site in the demo was really cool as you collected clues to reconstruct the incident. Here's the tech in action, from last year's E3.

I think my only concern with the demo was some of the voice acting. After being spoiled by games like Uncharted, this seems like a step back and considering how important dialogue is to this game, it could be a problem. It was only mildly distracting though, so if the story is compelling I'm sure I'll be able to overlook it.

This demo delivered on what I hoped Heavy Rain was going to be and now I can't wait to explore this dark new world.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger 49

Don't Look In The Mirror!

The creator of the No Signal horror cliché montage from last year is back with another video. This time FourFour has strung together a compilation of the ubiquitous 'mirror scare'.

I might cut Kiefer some slack, as I doubt a movie actually CALLED Mirrors could get away without using a least one mirror gag. For a breakdown list of the films appearing above, click here to visit the FourFour blog.

Split Screen Madness.

A new trailer for the upcoming retro-giallo Amer arrived on the Web last week.

You can see that this French/Belgian production directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani is just soaked in the atmosphere of the Italian thrillers from the seventies and eighties. Amer is playing SXSW in March, so I have my fingers crossed that it makes its way north soon.

Blood & Estrogen.

Recently, there has been a wave of great interviews with women in horror and I've been loving every one of them. Here are just a few.

The fantastic content of Killerfilm's Late Night Classics continues with a great interview with Scream Queen Brinke Stevens, who appeared in countless horror films, including Slumber Party Massacre, Soul Survivor and Nightmare Sisters. Jason Bene talks to her about how she got into the business, working with fellow Scream Queens Linnea Quigley & Michelle Bauer and her experiences on the set of Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama. Click here to check out the interview.

Icons Of Fright - which is a site I look in on every once in a while since they broke the story about the Let The Right One In subtitling snafu a year ago - recently posted an audio interview with Kathleen Kinmont. Kinmont has always been one of my faves, after her memorable roles in such horror films as Halloween 4 (Cops Do It By The Book!) and Bride of Re-Animator. The interviewer speaks to her at length by phone about her roles in the two aforementioned films, meeting her fans at conventions and also her work on the cult nineties TV show Renegade. Click here for the link to download the mp3.

Lastly, as part of their Women In Horror series, Sarah Jahier of Fatally Yours posted this awesome interview with horror maven Axelle Caroyln. She wears many hats within the industry, among which are writer - her book It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium is available through Amazon - and actress, most recently as a Pict warrior in her husband director Neil Marshall's new film Centurion. Here's just a snip.

Fatally Yours: What made you fall in love with the horror genre?

Axelle Carolyn: Ever since I was little I’ve always been attracted by the darker side of things, ghosts and skeletons and haunted mansions and spooky stories. But I think what really made me fall in love with the genre was discovering my dad’s collection of horror books when I was about 7 or 8. He had several books of ghost stories by Belgian writer Jean Ray, and also Dracula, Frankenstein… the classics. A few years later I read my first Stephen King novel, and I was hooked for life.

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?

Axelle Carolyn: Anything supernatural or scary, anything that takes you away from reality. What the French call “fantastique”… Perhaps the reason there aren’t quite as many female horror fans is that the genre is too often confined to gore and cheap scares.

I'm in love with this woman. *Ahem* Did I type that out loud? Anyway, click here for the rest of the interview.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Autumn Moon Is Bright.

Today I took in The Wolfman, or as a friend of mine adorably pronounces it - The Wolfmun. I have to admit I was skeptical going into this movie. Nothing up until this point had really made me at all excited about it. I had been led to believe that it was just another CG wankfest ala Van Helsing and without Kate Beckinsale to keep me interested, I failed to see what would. However, considering how important the character of the Wolfman is to horror canon, I couldn't in good conscience avoid it.

Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) returns to his childhood estate after his brother's murder. He soon finds the one responsible is a werewolf and is bitten himself. Now, all around him, including his brother's fiancé Gwen (Emily Blunt) and his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins), are in mortal danger.

I have to say that this movie was WAY better than I thought it would be. There are several reasons why I think it quickly allayed my fears, but first and foremost was employing the correct tone. The Wolfman is the furthest thing from the camp of Van Helsing as you can get, instead being more like 1992's Dracula, but without Keanu's terrible English accent. Populating your movie with top tier talent is another way to win your audience over. Even though a limited amount of time is spent building a rapport between del Toro and Hopkins, it IS there. Emily Blunt didn't really do anything for me, but she certainly didn't look out of place in the presence of such thespians.

Additionally, the story was quite serviceable, with several similarities and nods to the original 1941 version. I also thought Hugo Weaving's character, that of Inspector Aberline, head investigator of the Jack The Ripper murders – which took place three years before this movie's events – was a nice little detail. And the fact that there were several set pieces spread throughout the film really helped the pace considerably. Now, moving onto the effects, the CG wasn't nearly as intrusive as it could have been. Yes, the transformations were done digitally, but for the most part they were fairly seamless. Fortunately, the production had the mad skills of Rick Baker at their disposal, so not only did he push for practical effects, but the original Lon Chaney design remained intact for the most part. Baker has spent his entire career waiting to work on a Wolfman movie and his enthusiasm shows, as he doesn't hold back. This movie was much gorier than I was expecting, which was a welcome surprise. I found myself noticing a few similarities between this and Baker's seminal work American Werewolf In London actually, but I doubt it was intentional.

I wouldn't go so far as to say this movie was anything spectacular, but it is certainly worth a watch. It tells a tried and true tale and looks and sounds good doing it. When it comes right down to it, that's all I could really ask for.

Friday, February 12, 2010

One More Unlocked.

This week's intro is another goodun'. After my failed attempt a few weeks ago, I finally managed to find another Key Video title during my travels this week.

I hope you enjoyed that because one of my VCRs gave its life trying to bring you the above footage snagged from a heavily stickered copy of Killer Fish. Ah, no matter. It actually gave me a chance to hook up my new VCR/DVD combo machine that I bought last week for a song.

Key Video was a subsidiary of CBS/Fox that thrived in the eighties. Their titles are always easy to spot in a crowd as they all sport the same distintive set of rainbow stripes.

Key's catalogue consisted of all genres, but some of their horror titles included Cat's Eye, Phantom Of The Paradise, Dario Argento's Inferno, Anguish, Night School and the much sought after TV movie Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, which is slated to finally be released - after having being already delayed once - on DVD in 2010.

Though Key is no longer around, ownership of their titles is split up over a few different companies including 20th Century Fox, Sony, MGM and Lions Gate.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hell On Wheels.

Last night, while downtown on one of my VHS hunts, I popped into The Bloor to check out a screening of the 1972 zombie biker flick Psychomania.

After biker gang leader Tom Latham (Nicky Henson) dies and comes back to life, he goes about trying to convince the rest of his crew to join him on the other side. All of them seem willing, except his girlfriend Abby (Mary Larkin) who may take a little more persuading.

I had a fairly good time with this, despite the terribly wavy and washed out quality of the projection. Most of the movie was pretty dated and stiff, but there was some fun to be had here. The ideas present in the film are sound, it is just the execution that is flawed. It doesn’t go as far as it should have and left me feeling there was a lot withheld. Considering, this would have been around the time A Clockwork Orange’s maniacal youths assaulted audiences, it makes Psychomania seem downright sanitary. Now, you know where I stand on remakes, but in this case I can’t help but think this one might benefit from a retelling. Like I said, the framework is solid, so in the hands of a talented cast and crew, this could really pop. I mean… Zombie bikers! If that’s not an untapped resource, I don’t know what is. I guess there’s Ghost Rider, but we needn’t speak of that. The most interesting stuff for me was all the motorcycle footage though, often taken at break-neck speeds while oncoming cars whizzed by. The seventies really did have the best car chases, didn’t they? The music by John Cameron is also wicked as well and will no doubt delight audiophiles into quirky film scores from that time period.

Psychomania was quite the up-and-down experience for me. It is for the most part pedestrian cheese, elevated once in a while by stunt driving and the occasional standout bit – like when Tom bursts out from his grave – but it was enough of a curious oddity to make me want to post, albeit briefly, about it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Third Time's The Charm?

Recently, I was looking through the ever-dwindling list of titles (now down to about seventy or so) from my store that still need to be archived and noticed that a good deal of them had a 3 next to them. Naturally, the ol' light bulb came on and here I am today, theme in hand for this installment of Coverbox Wednesday.

That's it for the new additions. Here's the rest.

And then of course, we can't forget the third dimension.

Lastly, a couple of AKA's.

aka House III

aka Demons 3