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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Back End.

I was perusing the ever-shrinking list of titles that I had back at my store and realized there was a chunk located at the end of the alphabet. For this installment of Coverbox Wednesday I figured I'd get those ones out of the way at one fell swoop.

Marc Singer AND Tracy Scoggins? That's a match made in B-movie heaven if there ever was one!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Plane Dead.

Flight Of The Living Dead: Outbreak On A Plane was another Zip.ca special that had spent a long time sitting on my coffee table. I finally got around to it recently and almost let it slide without mentioning it here… ALMOST.


Even though I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for, I truly wasn’t expecting it to get as ridiculous as it does. I mean, they REALLY heap it on. They pretty much used the same template as Snakes On A Plane, but Flight makes that Sam Jackson vehicle seem plausible by comparison. That is why instead of reviewing this movie, I'm going to just point out some of my favourite parts. And by favourite I mean the stuff that made me laugh out loud and/or throw out a quip as if Crow & Tom Servo were sitting next to me. Now, let me make myself clear. I am a firm believer in suspension of disbelief, hell this is a zombie movie, after all. However, if one chooses to set their film on a plane, one has to abide by certain physics. For instance, I’m pretty sure you can’t turn the inside cabin into a Wild West Show without there being severe consequences. At the climax, someone actually opens up the main exit, like they’re just reaching out for the mail. And that’s not even the worst of it! Someone makes a fucking grenade out of those tiny liquor bottles and aerosol cans and throws it down into the cargo hold.

video

This plane is INVINCIBLE! And since when do commercial flights have missile detection capabilities?

video

And the characters! There’s this pro-golfer who is obviously supposed to be Tiger Woods, but given recent events it’s pretty hilarious that there’s a scene where his wife gets uppity because she thinks he’s flirting with the stewardess.

No turkey, unless it’s a club sandwich.

Richard Tyson is in this movie! I’m not sure if this is a step up or down from his turn as a werewolf rapist in Big Bad Wolf. A lateral move, perhaps? You want to know what my favourite part was though? When they cut to an air traffic control centre in Yellowknife, Canada.

video

Hilarious! Come on, we’ve NEVER forbid anybody from doing ANYTHING!!!

Though there is a good deal of gore in this, it almost seems reserved under the circumstances. There’s no T&A to speak of either. In a zombie movie, these are not generally the areas where you practice restraint. Surprisingly, the premise itself did actually work better than I expected. However, like I said, the ridiculous does come fast and furious once more than a few become infected. I did find the idea of ‘the nest’ an interesting one though. I’d like to see that explored further in other titles. Flight Of The Living Dead is obviously best ingested with friends rather than oneself and its amateurish style isn’t going to win it any points, but there is some fun to be had here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger 55

Hello all. I'm squeezing this in between some errands I have to run today. Let's see what we got this week, shall we?

Keep This With You At All Times.

I found this comprehensive zombie flowchart on Digg earlier this week. You can click on it for a closer look.


It seems like they've got everything covered here, although is it just me, or does it all lead to the same conclusion?

A Nice Place To Live?

I saw a commercial for a new ABC show called Happy Town during last week's episode of Lost.



The first thing I thought was, 'so, this show is this year's Harper's Island?' Actually no, that's a lie. My first thought was, 'is that the chick from those annoying cream cheese commercials?' Anyway... Granted, this ad does nothing to sell the show to me - mentioning Twin Peaks already sets the bar impossibly high - but the idea of a murder mystery per year does intrigue. As you remember, I liked Harper's Island more than I disliked it, so I am not adverse to visiting Happy Town. Besides, anything with Sam Neill and Amy Acker gets a pass for at least a few episodes, am I right? Happy Town premieres April 28th.

Again With The Awesomeness.

Late Night Classics on Killerfilm posted another great interview this week. This time Jason Bene tracked down actress Devin DeVasquez, who appeared in Society, a great little gore flick by Brian Yuzna. Bene, I don't know where you keep finding all these people, but keep it up. Here's an excerpt.

Jason Bene: When you read the script did you think do I really want to do this movie?

Devin DeVasquez: The motto was you have to be born into ‘Society’. The rich suck off the poor literally in this movie, it’s a literal thing. This is a dark comedy.

Jason Bene: The story is metaphorical and allegorical on how we separate ourselves in society.

Devin DeVasquez: The fact that I played a very rich Beverly Hills girl that was very mysterious and who had this mother who coughed up hairballs and was very strange looking. You didn’t quite know what to think of my character, but I had lines in the movie like “coffee, tea, or would you like me to pee in it”? Some of the lines in the movie were very risqué. You just didn’t see anything like it at the time.

Click here for the rest of the interview.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Name That Beast.

Back in the early 2000's, I used to frequent a site called Filmwise. It was always good for some movie-related trivia during slow days at work, whether it be their visual or text-based stuff, or their renowned Invisibles segments. For whatever reason, I fell out of the habit of surfing their site, but yesterday - while particularly inert at my desk - I looked in on it. I found a cool little image quiz that I couldn't help sharing with you here. How it works is they pick a theme and give you a bunch of related movie screencaps. You then try to figure out what films they came from. This particular quiz focuses on the many creatures that have appeared on the silver screen over the years. Do you know what movies these abominations came from?



That was just a small selection of what they offered up. For the full quiz, click here. Go check it out and I'll see you back here for a brand new DKTM tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

That's My Kind Of Girl.

I have to admit that the film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has only been on my radar for no more than a few weeks. It is not often in this day and age for something this big to creep up on me like this. Even then I was initially misguided as to what it was, as when I heard ‘from the best selling series by Stieg Larsson’ my first thought was ‘oh great, another Harry Potter or Twilight or some other thing that’s of no interest to me.’ However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It turns out that Larsson’s scribblings are more in line with the works of Thomas Harris, and that my friends, does interest me. A lot. Fast forward to a few days ago, when I was standing in line for a screening with pass in hand. I still had no real idea what I was walking into, other than it was a Swedish murder mystery with a strong female protagonist. There's a special kind of excitement that goes with seeing a potentially awesome film with very limited knowledge about it because, as I said, it happens so infrequently.


When journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) investigation into a fourty-year old missing person’s case hits a dead end, he finds help from an unlikely source – a troubled computer hacker named Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace).

Having seen it now, I can say that even though the high praise on the above pass is a tad hyperbolic, I find I can’t necessarily disagree with it either. As far as thrillers go, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is pretty exceptional.

I think the best word to describe Girl is substance. I don’t know if it was due to director Niels Arden Oplev’s skills, the performances or the story (maybe all three), but this film had a definite weight to it. Even though the subtitled exposition was coming fast and furious in the first act, it unfolded with an intelligence that is rarely seen these days. You know how I know this was a well told story? Well, it’s because I could still follow it, even though there was a FUCKING JACKASS behind me using his popcorn bag as a percussion instrument for the first half of the movie. Seriously, how can people be so ignorant? This is a public place, not your living room - SMARTEN UP! When I become ruler of the universe and after I’ve done away with all the rapists and child murderers, those guys are next to be strung up by their short and curlies.

I KEEEL YOU!!!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Before you go thinking that Girl is just your run-of-the-mill thriller, I should warn you that this is some dark shit. Whenever I go a spell just ingesting Hollywood fare, I tend to forget just how different European films are. Let’s just say they don’t handle you with kid gloves and you should be prepared for that. The performances are solid in this film, right down to the tiniest roles. Noomi Rapace, as the tattooed title character, is fantastic here. It’s a meaty role and kudos to the casting department for finding an actress who can change between vulnerable and dangerous so effortlessly. What an awesome pair she and her co-star Michael Nyqvist make in this film.


After researching the series, I found that the remaining two books (The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest) have not only already been adapted, but Lisbeth & Mikael both return in them. It makes me so happy to know that I get to tag along with them for two more films.

I really don't have much negative to say about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The main conflict ends about twenty minutes before the film does, so the stretch after does feel a little draggy, but considering they were adapting a novel and it’s all engaging stuff I'd rather they cover it, than leave it out. There were some moments where I felt a few seconds ahead of the narrative, but there were twice as many where it went in an unexpected direction. I know Hollywood has already latched onto this series and good luck to them. Besides the fact that their foreign remake record is rather dubious, if there is an actress in Tinseltown that can better Rapace in the title role, I haven't seen her.


As far as I'm concerned, if you like the thriller genre at all, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a must watch.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paperhouse Props.

A film you've probably heard me mention on here a time or two, is an old British ditty from the eighties called Paperhouse.


I adore Paperhouse and it saddens me that so few people have seen this movie due to it never being released on DVD domestically. I've always been meaning to showcase it here, but have never gotten around to it. Thankfully, my buddy Schwartz over at Cartoonandhorror has gone ahead and done it for me.

In his newest MIA on DVD segment, he doles out some love, as well as posing a theory as to why Paperhouse may have not yet received the Special Edition treatment it deserves. To check out his post, click here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Revisitation.

That’s what last weekend was all about. Taking a look back on old goodies, some of which I hadn’t seen since I first watched them. Friday night was another one of Serena’s (in)famous movie nights, where we took in some select installments of the Nightmare On Elm Street series. I assume the intent was to refresh our memories on why we all love it so, before Platinum Dunes can spray their cinematic diarrhea over Wes Craven’s legacy.

One, two, Bay is coming for youuu.

I exaggerate, of course. I won’t see the remake, so it's really of no consequence to me. Even Wes Craven was being diplomatic about it back when he showed up at the Festival Of Fear a few years ago. He said something to the effect of --

“hey, if there’s one movie that can be improved by today’s technology, it’s Nightmare. You can really fully explore the dream world now.”

I’m afraid I have to disagree with you, Wes. We all know that CGI, for the most part is not scary, so I fail to see how this will help a retelling of Nightmare in any way. Besides, from the trailer, apart from dwelling more on Freddy’s trial and death, the remake looks like a carbon copy of the original. That worked out so well for the Psycho remake, didn’t it? I’m talking too much about the Dunes, so let’s move on.

It was a night of good friends, good movies and CAKE!

Eat this and that won't be a problem.

Watching the original A Nightmare On Elm Street is always a treat because it is such a visual feast. This was a mind-blowing concept at the time. It came out when the market was saturated with slashers, but unlike Jason (or any of his many contemporaries) there was no escape from Freddy, as he was where you went every night! It’s still a great movie, brimming with creativity and fresh ideas. From there we moved onto A Nightmare On Elm Street 3. This is where Freddy went from boogeyman to catchphrase-spewing pop culture icon. This is also the part that gave us the back story of Freddy’s lineage. Part 3 had not only Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon return from the first film, but also featured Larry Fishburne and then newcomer Patricia Arquette.

The lineup!

Lastly, the few still standing took in the final film of the ‘Nancy trilogy’, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. This was the first time I’d seen it since it originally came out in 1994. Again, another great idea. This movie was way ahead of its time and that is perhaps why it didn’t do so well when it came out. Well, that and horror as a genre was in the shitter at the time. Things didn’t get back on track until Craven returned with Scream two years later. Seeing the original and New Nightmare back-to-back, you really see how many parallels they share. I thought it stalled a bit towards the end, but they certainly took huge strides to make Freddy scary again.

The following night I saw the 1987 flick The Gate on 35mm. That was another one I hadn’t watched since its original release and holy cow, has it aged well! Stephen Dorff is so young in this movie; he’s pretty much unrecognizable. I was worried the effects would be cheesy now, but they are still solid. I always thought it was all stop-motion animation, but it turns out that they used a lot of live action stuff, as well. Those little demon guys were actually often dudes in suits. Jonathan Llyr (who played one of them) was at the screening and let us in on a few secrets. They were shot, either with props built to scale or by using perspective with strategically placed cameras. It’s ingenious stuff. The Gate was fairly big around here because it was shot locally - it actually beat out Ishtar for #1 at the box office in its first week of release. The TV commercials for The Gate are forever burned into my mind.



Sunday, I spent some time mucking around with my new toy, a Magnavox VCR/DVD combo that I'm using to transfer a whole bunch of my old stuff to DVD.

Yeah, I know, just what I need. ANOTHER project!

So much to do, so little time. Even this post I wanted to get up for Monday, but I had to drive straight from work to catch an early screening of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It was pretty fucking solid, but more on that later in the week. Until then...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger 54

It's been a busy last couple of days. I must have watched about a dozen movies over the last few days, so I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some gaming in today. I trust you all had a good St. Patty's. Without further ado, here's some cool things that popped up on the Internets this week.

One Minute Raimi.

The short below is the winning short of the Done In 60 Seconds category in the Jameson Empire Awards. Entrants were tasked with shortening their favourite films down to one minute. Winner Lee Hardcastle chose to miniaturize The Evil Dead... literally, by doing it all in claymation.



Pretty cool stuff! Some of the other entrants included a cartoon version of Predator and an a capella retelling of Donnie Darko. You can check out all twenty finalists if you want, by going here.

Another Bout For The Ages.

Not to be outdone by last year's Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus comes Dinocroc vs. Supergator! Looks like lots of fun.



My first reaction was 'hey, crocs can't run on two legs!' Then I realized, 'oh, it's a muthafuckin' DINOCROC!' Awesome.

Big Surprise. I'm In.

DirtyRobot forwarded me some images for an upcoming project called BloodTraffick. Here's the synopsis.

"A sexy Asian female vigilante and a has-been American cop stand at the crux of a holy war between angels and vampires."

When is this coming out, and where can I see it?! Here are some stills.


Click over to Quiet Earth for the rest of the pics, by going here.

They Call Him Fudd.

Just wanted to tack this awesome image on the end here. Below is graphic artist Bean Jamish's re-imagining of beloved buffoon Elmer Fudd.


Love the ACME poster on the wall. Bugs better watch his step from now on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Om Nom Nom.

Yesterday, I went to a screening I’d been looking forward to for quite some time. It was Cannibal Girls at The Bloor. It had been almost twenty years since I’d seen it, so it was like watching it again for the first time.


Damn, this movie was so much fun with an audience. The new remastered version (presumably the same one that played SXSW last weekend) made it look as good as it ever has. I remember it being funny seeing Eugene Levy & Andrea Martin outside of their usual element back when I saw Cannibal Girls circa 1990. Now, it was downright surreal. You really get an idea of just how hairy that man was in the seventies. And the clothes! I shit you not; he was wearing a knitted tie in one scene. As for Martin, after this and her stint in 1974’s Black Christmas, it’s almost surprising that she didn’t appear in more Canadian horror films from that era. They are great together though and made for some great moments, especially Levy’s cigarette-holding guitar serenade that had everyone in the theatre belly laughing. Considering the players here, it is no surprise there were hefty amounts of humour to be had – intentional and unintentional – making Cannibal Girls more comedy than exploitation flick.

Photo courtesy of godspell.ca


It does have its sprinklings of T&A (provided by lovely ladies Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Nielson & Mira Pawluk) and gore throughout, but considering this is the product of the man who would later bring us Animal House, Stripes and the quintessential Ghostbusters, it is pretty obvious where Reitman’s allegiances lie. I have to echo emcee Dave Alexander’s sentiment, that if not for the career path Reitman took with those above titles, he could very well have become the H.G. Lewis of Canada. There was a definite vibe there, with not only the subject matter, but the colourful characters, as well. You could have swapped out the Reverend Alex St. John’s (played by Ronald Ulrich) character with Lewis’ Montag The Magnificent or Fuad Ramses without batting an eyelid.

Two of the actors in the film, Alan Gordon and Allan Price, who played the first and second victims of the Girls, were in attendance and relayed some insights about the production. They were quick to point out that regardless of how cheesy the movie might appear, Reitman was always in control and comedy was the main intent. They also said that, as the main credit titles would suggest, a lot of the dialogue was adlibbed by the cast based on a treatment by Reitman, Robert Sandler & Daniel Goldberg. Fellow Torontonians might find it interesting to know that the lady who played motel owner Mrs. Wainwright was May Jarvis of the ‘Jarvis St.’ Jarvises. That’s a cool little connection that I’ll now recall every time I’m en route to DirtyRobot’s place.

Alan Gordon & Allan Price, under the dim Bloor Cinema lights.


Sure, the movie is dated and rough around the edges, but I think that works in its favour. Its historical value is undeniable. It predates The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, of which it shares a few elements, by a full year and Reitman was instrumental in kick-starting the Canadian horror scene, opening the door for other icons like Bob Clark and David Cronenberg.

Lastly, I’ll sign off with this little anecdote. When my father saw on Facebook that I was attending this screening, he messaged -

“I saw this at the No.5 Drive-In. Good movie. One hint, never let a chick handcuff you to the bedpost.”

As you can see, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Stranger Side Of Cover Art.

For this installment of Coverbox Wednesday I thought I'd point out some of the weirder covers we had at our store. In an age where the cover was basically the thing used to sell your product, it often gave me a chuckle to see what some companies decided to go with. Some were blatently misrepresenting what lay inside - but that's an age old deceit that we know isn't limited just to the world of home video - some stuck out because they were so inherently un-horror and some were just plain bizarre. So, without further ado, here's today's deluge.

I always wondered if The Mad Butcher was a giant, or if his victims were just really small. However, that would mean all his grinding equipment would have to be miniaturized, as well. So yeah, he must be a giant. I wonder if he trades recipes with Jolly Green.


WTF? Another giant! This one is presumably attacking women in an old building with unusually large windows. If these murders were so easily visible from the street, you'd think someone would have called the police. On a trivial note, I think the chick about to eat circular saw is Kristen Davis of Sex & The City fame.


There was period of time in the early nineties, when companies had moved away from hand-drawn and painted covers to really silly looking cut & paste jobbies. Non-horrors Quick Change and The Linguini Incident were two others I can recall being at my store. I mean, who's the villain of Highway To Hell? A demon with half a head? They could have at least put him flush with the horizon.


He's not home alone. Oh, brother. At least TCM 2's riff on The Breakfast Club was subtle. I can only imagine Bill Paxton having to pose for that. It's a good thing the movie is actually mildly entertaining.


There is a fate worse than death. It's being a dude, who's swallowed by a bigger dude who is then swallowed by an even bigger lady, who is then eaten by a gigantic white monster with a big knife sticking out of its forehead. Yep, no argument here.


Oh for fuck's sake. I get the feeling this was stuck in our horror section because no one knew where else to put it. I even remember the back cover not even telling you want the movie was about, just that some of the actors actually ate worms during the production. Oh well then, sign me up.


Nothing, and I mean NOTHING says horror like a tea party, so I can see why they wanted to put that front and center.


I suppose there is nothing wrong with this one's cover. That is until you actually watch the movie and see that THEY are just smoke shifters being blown up through sewer grates and not the creatures promised on the coverbox. Way to deliver, guys.

That's it for now, but check back soon because there are some awesome things going on downtown in the next week that you can be sure I'll be reporting on.