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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Here’s a short and sweet intro for A.I.P. Home Video.

At first, I assumed this was American International Pictures, the company that Roger Corman talked at length about when he was at the Festival of Fear a few years ago. But no, this particular logo is for Action International Pictures.

Founded in the mid-eighties by David A. Prior and a few other filmmakers of similar repute, A.I.P. was an independent that dealt exclusively with low-rent, straight-to-video titles. Even though the majority of their catalogue would have resided in my old store’s “Super Action” & “Wild Action” sections, they did release a few horrors like Elves, Hellmaster, Savage Lust, Island of Blood and Soultaker, starring Joe Estevez & Robert ‘Maniac Cop’ Z’Dar. Like several other companies of the era, A.I.P. fizzled out about a decade later.

The above intro was taken from my VHS of Rage To Kill, starring B-movie icons Oliver Reed and Cameron Mitchell.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Looking For An Exit.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about me.
I’ve never walked out on a movie.
I know. Weird, right? Considering how many I’ve seen over the course of my life, you'd think, especially with so many of them being of questionable content, at least ONE would’ve had me bolting for the exit. But nope. In the beginning, I think my reluctance to leave may have just been my easy-going attitude toward film. I was usually able to find at least one positive thing in even the most trite titles. Then, as time went on, never leaving a film became a “thing”. When watching a particularly absymal offering, I began to think, “is this really bad enough to be the one that broke me?” Then, my cocktail conversation piece would no longer be, “You know, I’ve never walked out on a film”, but “you know, I’d never walked out on a film, until such and such.”
However, there have been times when I've seriously considered it. Here below, are five notable almost-walkouts from my three decades of movie going.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween was a movie I would’ve been very happy to boycott. To bitch about remakes in general is a knee-jerk reaction, but this one seemed especially blasphemous. What was it that Zombie, or anyone for that matter, could bring to the table that would make Halloween anymore relevant than it already was. Plus, there was the whole thing about Zombie previously being quoted as saying that anyone who remakes a classic is an asshole. So, my friend Serena basically had to drag me, but I did end up seeing it. It DID have Malcolm MacDowell and Danielle Harris, and The Devil’s Rejects WAS a vast improvement over 1000 Corpses, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Well, it wasn’t terrible, but it was far from good. Really all I remember about that movie now - apart from Harris lying topless in a pool of blood – is that terrible, TERRIBLE sequence where a young Michael sits waiting on his front porch to go trick or treating, set to the tune of Nazareth's Love Hurts. I almost wanted to cry, because it was the worst fucking thing ever. I looked over at Serena and gave her a look like “is this actually happening?” Fortunately, the second half of the movie was a little bit more palatable.
Holy God, Captivity was dreadful. I just felt bad for Elisha Cuthbert. This movie was so far beneath her. Shit, it was beneath ANY actress. I’ll unfortunately never forget that scene where the villain fed her blended up body parts through a funnel. That was so vile, it actually made me embarassed to be a horror fan. I think that was also the moment I turned the corner on the whole torture subgenre.
Mad Cowgirl was an indie that played the first year of Toronto After Dark. TAD is prone to a stinker or two per year, but this one went below and beyond the call of duty. It was past midnight on a Monday when Serena, DirtyRobot & I sat through this piece of shit, and all we could collectively think through most of it was the sleep we were missing out on. I still cringe when I see the DVD in a video store.
If you make an Alien sequel that makes Alien 3 look like a masterpiece by comparison, then you know you’ve made a grave error somewhere. That Joss Whedon wrote this – the crew of the Betty was basically a blueprint for what would become Firefly – is interesting in retrospect, but what a complete mess this was. The underwater sequence is solid, but so much of Alien: Resurrection is just meandering bullshit. I think what put me over the edge was Brad Dourif cooing “What a beeoootiful baby!” at that alien hybird thingie. I had to shake my head and go, “why the fuck am I still here?”
Hole In My Heart is by far the worse “film” I have ever seen on the big screen. This is somewhat ironic considering during his TIFF intro, Swedish director Lucas Moodyson, actually had the audacity to say this would be the best film we would ever see. Seriously? It is basically two dudes and a chick trying to film an amateur porn, interpersed with one of their kids spewing philosophy into an infrared camera. It is the most self-indulgent, pretentious exercise in repugnance I have ever been witness to. Above is the poster that doesn't have that girl lying in a pool of vomit. You're welcome. You know what the sad thing is? I WOULD have actually walked out of this one, but some fat, wheezy fucktard decided to plop himself down beside me about five minutes in. There was a wall on my other side, so I was pretty much boxed in. I recall I had to later scrape up hot garbage that had been strewn about my driveway by the neighbourhood raccoons. That was a preferable experience.
So, there you go. As the years tick by and I grow more jaded, I wonder if I'll ever reach my breaking point. Like I tend to say at year's end, I'm pretty good at spotting the zeros. I don't generally see many movies that I hate outright anymore. However, I have this nagging feeling that there is one out there somewhere, waiting to take the title. Maybe I should make a trophy or something.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Return To Silent Hill

The last event at The Bloor, before it shuts down for renos, was a 35mm screening of Christophe GansSilent Hill, presented by Fangoria editor Chris Alexander.

I was a big supporter of the movie when it came out, and don’t think it deserved to get shit on as much as it did. As you know, I tend to be drawn to flicks that have visual flair, and Silent Hill has that in spades. It is all about building mood and atmosphere. Watching it again, I was immediately reminded of just how well Gans captured the feel of the video games. The locations, creatures and even shot composition are reconstructed in meticulous detail. Even gameplay touchstones, like the foghorn and radio static are used to full effect. Gans loved the games, and it shows onscreen. In my opinion, Silent Hill is the still the best video game “adaptation” out there.

The print looked wonderful, and the sound was probably the best I’ve heard that space sound in quite some time. The only real grievance I had seeing this five years later, apart from it being more noticably bogged down by exposition, were some of the dated visual effects. It’s a common problem with CG heavy horror movies, but the gore, which is sometimes shockingly extreme for a mainstream flick, acted as a good counter balance. The most important parts of Silent Hill are its disturbing set pieces, and those still hold up beautifully. Nightmares, it would seem, translate in any medium.

Those who text during the film will be flayed.

The Q&A afterwards was quite informative, with lots of great tidbits being shared. On hand were F/X man Paul Jones and the actor who played the unforgettable Red Pyramid, Roberto Campanella. Director Michael J. Bassett and producer Don Carmody of the upcoming Silent Hill: Revelation 3D were there, as well. Jones and Campanella, who both worked on the sequel as well, talked at length about translating the creatures of the games to the big screen. Here below, is a bit of video I shot, with Jones and Campanella talking about mixing practical effects with CGI.

Later, Bassett came on stage and said his vision of Silent Hill is slightly different from Gans', but maintaining the feel of the games was still the first priority. He also mentioned his initial reluctance about using 3D gave way to realizing that the technology could be well utilized during the transitions between the realms of the Silent Hill universe.

I don’t necessarily share Alexander’s sentiment that somewhere down the line, Silent Hill will be as important to the genre as classics like The Shining and The Exorcist, but I do agree that it is a woefully underappreciated gem of surrealistic horror.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

DKTM 108

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Here's what I've got for you this time around.

Hail To The King, Baby.

Bruce Campbell, of Evil Dead, and more recently Burn Notice fame, turned fifty-three last Thursday. Over the past three decades, Bruce has amassed a colourful body of work and a legion of loyal fans. I still get a chuckle every time I see him in the back seat of that Oldsmobile, at the beginning of The Evil Dead. He looks so impossibly young in that movie. They all were, and that's part of the reason that film is as important as it is. In keeping with that, he's an early short from the Renaissance Boys called Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter. Special thanks to YouTube user BloodyDreamer for putting this up, as it saves me having to capture it off my old VHS copy. Happy Birthday Bruce!

More Links!

I found a few more cool websites last week, that I wanted to share here.

VHShitfest, and its companion Tumblr site VHShit-Scans, is a wonderful collection of VHS titles from days of yore. Run by two dudes named Tim May & Dan Kinem, VHShitfest features reviews, scans and unboxing videos of vintage VHS from all genres. Their latest review is for the 1989 revenge flick Hell High.

Another great VHS archive blog is that of Vestron Dan. He collects VHS and scans from anything released by, you guessed it, Vestron Video International. His collection now numbers in the hundreds. Click here to check out the site.

Last up, is something I saw on Fatally Yours. Camp Motion Pictures is releasing a Big Box collection of rare 80's gore flicks this September. In addition to a whole whack of special features, the set includes five crusties, including The Basement, Video Violence and Cannibal Campout. Here below, is the trailer.

T Is For...

I just heard about this on Thursday, and it sounds amazing. Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse and curator of the Fantastic Fest film festival, is putting together a film project called The ABC's Of Death.

It is an anthology of shorts, each helmed by a different director and involve a grim death corresponding to their particular letter. Twenty-five directors have been assembled, and boy is it impressive. It reads like a whos-who of the cutting edge right now. I mean, look at this lineup!

Kaare Andrews (Altitude)
Angela Bettis (Roman)
Ernesto Diaz Espinoza (Mirageman, Mandrill)
Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun)
Bruno Forzani and Héléne Cattet (Amer)
Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Cold Sweat)
Xavier Gens (Frontiers, Hitman)
Noburo Iguchi (Machine Girl, Robo Geisha)
Thomas Malling (Norwegian Ninja)
Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Frankenstein Girl Vs. Vampire Girl)
JT Petty (Soft For Digging, The Burrowers)
Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter, Alone)
Simon Rumley (The Living and the Dead; Red, White and Blue)
Marcel Sarmiento (DeadGirl)
Chris Smith (Severance, Triangle)
Srdjan Spasojevic (A Serbian Film)
Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre)
Andrew Traucki (The Reef, Black Water)
Nacho Vigalondo (TimeCrimes)
Jake West (Doghouse, Evil Aliens)
Ti West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers)
Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List)
Adam Wingard (Pop Skull, A Horrible Way to Die)
Anders Morgenthaler and Mikael Wulff (Princess)
Yudai Yamaguchi (Yakuza Weapon, Battlefield Baseball)

But Jay, you say, that's only twenty-five names. There's twenty-six letters in the alphabet! Well, here's the kicker. League and company and reaching out to us for the twenty sixth short, or more specifically, the letter "T". Get your submission in by October 1st, and the top ten will be posted online. The winner will then be determined by the filmmakers above and be included in the movie. How cool is that??? I am seriously thinking about entering this. For more info on the contest, click here.

Okay, that's all I got. Now, I'm off to the couch to spin through the first season of this Game of Thrones show everyone's been raving about lately.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Killer TV

The first season of AMC’s The Killing wrapped up last Sunday. This is somewhat of a relief, as it has held my consciousness hostage for the last few months. I have ten unwatched episodes of Game of Thrones on my DVR for the simple reason that there was just no room for other shows, while The Killing was unfolding. That’s rare, folks.

On the eve of her transfer to California, Det. Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) becomes involved in the search for a missing teen named Rosie Larsen. Saddled with showing her replacement the ropes, she tries to close the case before beginning her new life. Rosie soon turns up dead, and suddenly things become a lot more complicated.

So, why is this show so good? Well, let’s take a look at its pedigree, shall we? The Killing bears a lot of similarities to Twin Peaks, one of my all-time favourite television shows. Beyond the fact that it is set in the Pacific Northwest and centers around the mystery of a murdered high school girl, there are many other parallels. Two of Rosie’s bad boy classmates are early suspects, a high profile public figure may be somehow connected and every character seems to have something to hide. The resemblance continues well into the show, including the end of a later episode, where I actually yelled out, “oh my God, it’s like (Twin Peaks location)!” Where The Killing differs from Twin Peaks is its tone. You will not find any Lynchian quirk here. In fact, it shares more in common with Canadian gem Durham County’s palette. Apart from the occasional camaraderie between the two detectives, The Killing is dead serious. It is this grim reality that makes this show hard to watch at times. The first few episodes are depressing and deeply affecting stuff.

I can’t lump enough praise on the cast that the creators have assembled here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character quite like Detective Linden before. Enos’ role is as unglamorous as can be. She constantly toes the line between strength and vulnerability, and her actions are very often flawed. But, Enos is not the only standout here. I think when I really knew I was going to like this show was when Callum Keith Rennie showed up ten minutes into the pilot. Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton are heartbreaking as the grieving parents, Mitch & Stan Larsen and Joel Kinnaman, as Linden’s partner Det. Holder, seems out-of-place at first, but quickly becomes a bright point in a world of darkness.

And again, I’m not kidding about that. This is not light subject matter. The first four episodes were really hard on the soul, to the point I wondered if it was worth the emotional wear and tear. I had to know though. I had to know who killed Rosie Larsen. I was upset every time an episode finished and had to wait another week. The thought of holding out for the Blu-ray occurred to me, but I couldn’t take the chance of hearing critical spoilers during the interim.

This inaugural season of The Killing ended on a cliff-hanger (again, like Peaks) so now I am left wanting – in a big mothereffing way – season two, which AMC thankfully promised during the credits. They better not renege on that, either. If they Carnivale that shit, I’m going to go ballistic. There's been a lot of negative chatter online about how The Killing signed off, but I don't subscribe to that. While it is true a puzzling - and uncharacteristic - plot hole may have arisen in the eleventh hour, I personally think those people should just chill the fuck out.

The Killing is a masterful juggling of three engaging storylines that are populated with dense characters and a gritty realism that can make even the most mundane seem interesting. In my opinion, AMC has another winner on their hands.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Irish Charm

This month's Rue Morgue Cinemacabre screening was a new horror flick from Ireland called Wake Wood.

Patrick and Louise, (Aiden Gillen & Eva Birthistle) devastated by the loss of their only child, are given the chance to spend three more days with her. Only Alice doesn't seem to be exactly like the daughter they knew.

Wake Wood is a movie that relies heavily on its influences. Just the by-line above will no doubt have you thinking of Pet Sematary, but it also borrows heavily from vintage British classics Don't Look Now and The Wicker Man, as well. However, Wake Wood does manage to project its own voice through the din of its many references. There is a sincerity to the proceedings, that I found endearing for the most part. It starts off very strong, with a well edited and wonderfully scored opening credits sequence and then shifts gears into a more traditional piece.

It had its share of lulls where my mind wandered, but that could've just as easily been from the three pints I had before walking into The Bloor. Wake Wood is anchored by the performances of its leads. Gillen and Birthistle are solid as the grieving parents. You can see the weight of their loss and hence their actions are made at least somewhat believable.

Ella Connolly, who plays the resurrected Alice, is also very good, employing a restraint that only adds to the creepiness of the role. I thought she beared a striking resemblance to one of the murderous kids in Tom Shankland's The Children. If Connolly hadn't been billed as “Introducing”, I would have thought it was the same actor. I mean they've even got the same coat!

Ella Connolly (left) and Eva Sayer.

You know what's funny though? That I didn't notice, until I looked it up, that the mother in Wake Wood is ALSO the lead in The Children. How did I miss that one?

I would say the rebranded Hammer Films has a pretty good track record so far. I haven't seen The Resident with Hilary Swank, but as you know, I was quite impressed with Scott Reeves' Let Me In. This lastest offering is pretty sedate, with little flash, but it gets its sentiment across rather well. If you prefer your horror more on the gothic side, than the in-your-face styles of late, I would urge you to take a trip to Wake Wood.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

DKTM 107

Here's some recent horror tidbits from the Web, before I take off to visit the Old Man.

Eighty-Two Bloody Candles.

Off the top, I want to mention that Goremeister Herschell Gordon Lewis turned eight-two this week. A perveyor of genre films for over six decades, he is likely best known for Two Thousand Maniacs, Blood Feast and Color Me Blood Red, collectively known as The Blood Trilogy. I have seen him a few times in person and it is always great to hear him talk about his storied career. He is just as important a figure as Roger Corman & George Romero, when it comes to filmmakers who molded the modern horror film. Here below, is a trailer for last year's H.G. Lewis documentary Godfather of Gore. You can also click here for my review from Fantasia.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lewis!

Rated M for Madness.

When it's a slow news week around here, I can always count on Drew Daywalt for one of his always solid horror shorts. Below, is his newest nightmare, Polydeus.

Shark Vs Mermaid.

Finally, here's a pretty awesome swimsuit via

For more pop culture themed swimwear, check out

Friday, June 17, 2011

It Came From the Archives 12!

Here’s an interesting blast from the past, swiped long ago from my father’s ‘secret’ stash. It is an article from a reputable gentlemen’s magazine – or at least as reputable as something that features a pictoral entitled ‘Rear Entry’ can be – about the new technologies taking the world by storm in the early eighties. Click on the images to enlarge the Video Madness.

See! We really do read them for the articles!

It is funny how inflation affects all things, except electronics. Twelve hundred dollars for a VCR??? Nowadays, that chunk of change would buy you three Blu-ray players and you’d still have enough left over for a decent television to use them with. It’s sheer craziness!

Sorry, I missed a bit there in between those two columns. It was a tiny blurb outlining your three television viewing options; basic cable, paid cable and subscription services.

Even if Mr. McClain had a crystal ball at his disposal, I don’t think he could have predicted how far we’d come in thirty years. Now, anything you desire is at your fingertips. And if by chance it isn’t available digitally, it can be delivered to your doorstep within a few business days. Ain’t technology grand?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hi Brian!

As I mentioned in my last DKTM post, the TIFF Lightbox started up its Best of Midnight Madness programme last Saturday. The inaugural screening was Frank Henenlotter’s 1988 flick Brain Damage. You may be surprised to learn this, but up until recently I’d never seen any of his movies. I was familiar with the titles of course; having passed by their colourful covers for years, but never partook for some reason. I eventually saw Frankenhooker at one of Serena’s movie nights, and Schwartz – a ‘Lotter super fan – initiated me into the world of Basket Case shortly thereafter.

I have no explanation as to why I hadn’t previously seen Brain Damage, but in my defence, I wasn’t alone. It was surprising how many people in attendance on Saturday were seeing it for the first time.

Brian (Rick Hearst) has found the perfect drug; the juice dispensed by a parasite that has set up shop on his body. The only snag is having to constantly feed it human brains.

Naturally, I thought Brain Damage was a blast. It is just one of those movies that makes you grin from ear-to-ear because it is equal parts fucked up and fun. Henenlotter’s oeuvre shares a lot of the same qualities as the stuff released by Troma around that time, but his stuff seems not only more significant somehow, but also more legitimate. It must have something to do with its timelessness, as some genre flicks are tied to their era and have a distinct ‘you had to be there’ vibe. However, Brain Damage is enjoyable whether you’re like Schwartz, who watched it over and over again on a tiny TV, or, DirtyRobot & I, seeing it in a state-of-the-art theatre in 2011.

It could also be that Henenlotter did a lot, with very little. The gore, provided by splatter vet Gabe Bartalos, is top notch and the trippy visuals stand out immediately. I would recommend to anyone who dabbles in illegal substances to put this on a to-watch list. You’re getting brain damaged anyway, right? The movie also employs some animation techniques that, like Basket Case, give it a unique feel. The real highlight of the movie though, and this shouldn’t be news to anyone who has seen it, is Aylmer, Brian’s slimy symbiant. It is shocking how little time it takes for you to accept there is a talking parasite onscreen. Imagine Basket Case’s Belial, but with a penchant for belting out show tunes. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more random, we're treated to a hilarious exposition speech from one of Brian’s neighbours.

Frank Henenlotter is truly a one-of-a-kind filmmaker, and Brain Damage could very well be his crown jewel.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

Super 8 might seem like a strange one to be reviewing here, but The Horror Section is nothing if not nostalgic, so it kind of fits, wouldn't you say?

A group of children witness a train crash while filming their Super 8 zombie movie. Shortly after, when strange things start happening in their town and the military shows up, they realize there may be something more sinister going on.

I enjoyed this movie a lot, but couldn’t help feeling somewhat unfulfilled afterward. Super 8 feels like two films. The first is the coming-of-age tale that Amblin is so well known for, having given us E.T. and Goonies, and the second is JJ AbramsCloverfield-style monster movie. The unfulfilling part is that one of those is a sight more interesting than the other. All the stuff with the kids interacting with each other, while making their Super 8 movie was fantastic and really the meat of the film. It not only made me fondly remember similar movies from the eighties, but also my own childhood summer vacations, where, for two months, the sky was the limit.

Unfortunately, when the monster movie takes over in the third act, Super 8 begins to stall. The back-story should have been engaging, but wasn’t and that disconnection hurt the conclusion, as it should have been more impactful than it actually was. This is a shame because the setup is near flawless. There were so many subtle touches reminiscent of Steven Spielberg that I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn’t directing it. Just the crafting of the first few moments – and how much information is conveyed without dialogue – brought me great joy and reassured me I was in good hands.

I have to mention that I wasn’t all that impressed with the “monster” though. Everything leading up to the reveal was fine, but the majority after that was excessively dark or murky – though with the piss poor maintenance of multiplex projectors these days, who can say if I was seeing the intended result? I was surprised to find that ILM did the effects because there’s a big onscreen difference between Super 8 and Transformers. But then again, there’s also a gap of two hundred million dollars, so I should probably cut Super 8 some slack in that regard. I was just expecting them to be a step up from Cloverfield – now over three years old! – and they weren’t.

Overall, Super 8 is a solid flick. The mystery surrounding the movie may be what gets you in the seat, but what you’ll take away is the time spent with Joe (Joel Courtney), Alison (Elle Fanning) and the rest of the gang. To confirm this, you need to look no further than the end credits, where you get to see the finished film the kids were making during Super 8. It’s one of the best parts of the movie and a nice little touch that will at least have you walking out of the theatre with a smile on your face.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Smokey Is Pissed.

Last Thursday, I checked out the 1976 flick Grizzly. It was playing at the Toronto Underground Cinema, as part of the ongoing Exploitation Alley programme.

An American forest range is terrorized by a murderous Grizzly bear.

Grizzly is quite an entertaining watch. It starts off a bit slow, with heavy helpings of seventies cheese, but I thought it had a really solid second half. For a while, the bear attacks consisted solely of POV shots and puppeted bear claws grabbing screaming victims, to the point where I wondered if that was all it was going to be. However, as the film progressed, there was actually a significant amount of impressive bear footage.

Hello, I'm your bear.

Prominent in the mix was the score, which was incredibly upbeat for a movie of this type. It’s like the filmmakers said, “We want something like the chase scenes from Jaws… But peppier!” Speaking of Spielberg’s first summer blockbuster, Grizzly didn’t really try to hide the fact that it was cashing in on its success. In fact, it even featured a speech delivered by Stober (Andrew Prine), that mirrored Robert Shaw’s tale of the USS Indianapolis, about man-eating bears wiping out an entire Indian tribe.

That said, I’m not going to play down the fromage in this movie. It’s okay though; it’s the good kind. Grizzly is populated with colourful characters, from the naturalist Scotty (Richard Jaeckel) who spends most of his time out in the bush covered in animal pelts, to Gail (Vicki Johnson), the bubbly ranger who thinks nothing of disrobing to frolic in the nearest river, whilst on the clock. That sort of thing doesn’t happen around my office – and for that I am thankful because it is ninety-five percent dudes. The dialogue is also often good for a few laughs, mostly when the chief ranger Kelly (Christopher George) clashes with his superiors.

“Kelly. You’re a maverick. We don't have room for mavericks!”

Then later,

-“There's only one person who can tell it how it was. And that's little Bobby.”
-“He’s alive??”
-“Part of him is.”

Another winning attribute is some of the unintentionally funny faces pulled off by some of the bit players.

I find the poster kind of misleading. I was expecting the female characters to be more central to the plot, but if anything the romance aspect of the film is completely abandoned in the third act to stay on track with Jaws’ formula. It all leads up to an explosive conclusion that got a round of applause from all those in attendance.

It was a fun night, made even better by this hilarious preview trailer for Three On A Meathook.

“Little broken dolls, that go on dancing… after the music has stopped… Three… On A Meathook.”

I want this guy to narrate my day-to-day life! EPIC!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

DKTM 106

Hey all. Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Here's what I have for you this week.

Another One In The Books.

I've still got that post-E3 glow brought on by all the stellar games coming up in the next eighteen months. There are a ton to look forward to, but the hard part will be finding the time to play them all. Here below, are my most anticipated.

On the horror side of things, we got more of a look at Dead Island and the new Resident Evil game. Here's some video.

Behold, the Nightbox!

There were a few awesome announcements made this week. First, a new programme has just begun at TIFF Lightbox. The Best of Midnight Madness will screen several titles from its colourful twenty-two year history. Yesterday night, things kicked off with Frank Henenlotter's 1988 mind-fuck Brain Damage. Other upcoming titles include Man Bites Dog, Ichi The Killer and À l'Intérieur. I love that the Lightbox is doing this, and kudos to Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes for putting this together. For the full lineup, click here.

Elsewhere, two more guests were added to this year's Festival of Fear. Rue Morgue announced this week that Danielle Harris and Martin Landau will also be coming to Toronto for the event.

Whether you are fan of Harris from her turn running from Michael Myers - in both eighties and millenium Halloween incarnations - or her more recent work in the awesome Stake Land and the not-so-awesome Hatchet 2, it will be great to see her. Martin Landau needs no introduction, as he has appeared in countless genre films. I love it when they bring in veterans like this. As with Roger Corman and Ben Chapman in previous years, you really get a sense of the Old Hollywood was like, when listening to these guys talk. It's just two more reasons to countdown to the end of August.

Long Live The New Media.

I checked out a audio-visual art installation called Videodrome on Friday night. It took place at the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art and involved several hours of video featuring seventeen different artists. The majority of it was pretty badass, sometimes featuring clips from different genre movies looped to make some trippy mashups. It kind of reminded me of the industrial concerts I used to frequent, as they used to play stuff like this before the bands took the stage. To give you an idea of what it was like, here below is a Videodrome trailer as well as some earlier stuff from Ouananiche, one of the artists featured. Imagine it in a dark room, projected on every wall around you.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Higher Learning

This week’s video distributor intro is Academy Entertainment.

This intro was taken from my newly acquired VHS of Bloody New Year.

Academy Entertainment came into being in the mid-eighties and released several horror titles, including Terror at the Red Wolf Inn, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, Night of a Thousand Cats, Killer Workout and the Witchcraft series, before winking out around 1995. Academy also dealt out action & softcore thrillers, as well as bizarre offerings like the The Linguini Incident with David Bowie & Rosanna Arquette and Prayer of the Rollerboys with Corey Haim. After looking through their catalogue, I was surprised to find how many of them we actually had at my store.

For an extensive gallery of Academy coverboxes, check out the site Critical Condition, by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

WSFF '11

Every year during the Worldwide Short Film Festival, I try to get out to at least the midnight Creepy Programme. This year I had to race to The Bloor, as I’d just come from a late screening at Trash Palace – if you ever get the chance to see an Italian crime flick called Strange Shadows in an Empty Room, please do so.

I don’t know, overall, I’d say this wasn’t one of the strongest years I’ve seen from the Creepy programme. It certainly didn’t help that the best short being offered up was not only the first shown, but also one I’d already seen – The Legend of Beaver Dam. The other one I was pretty high on was Dan Gitsham’s Ella. IT was a cool take on Little Red Riding Hood that starred Anthony Stewart Head, an actor I don’t get to see near enough of these days.

The rest of the shorts all had their moments, but there was always something that detracted from them as a whole. The Spanish short The Circular Glance had me; then lost me, and all I could think of during Jonathan Caouette’s All Flowers In Time was ‘okay, man. You like David Lynch. We GET it.’

More memorable was The Adder’s Bite, which had a wonderfully dark visual style, but its start & finish seemed unrelated to its middle. Director Firas Momani was apparently inspired by a Nietzsche poem, so I wouldn't be surprised if the connection was just over my head. I had a friend tell me after that I was reading into it too much and should have just taken it for what it was. That may be true, but I still think that it would’ve been stronger without the uninteresting bookends.

The final short, Ninjas had its moments, with one particularly gruesome sequence, but I think this offering from Brazil ended up being a little too esoteric for its own good.

My slight disappointment may be the result of not getting that one short that’ll stick with me, like Off Season or Violeta have from previous years. However, it is possible that I was just too burnt out to enjoy myself. It was the end of a stressful week and I’d watched two flicks just before walking into The Bloor, so my mental state may not have been ideal. I’ll guess you’ll just have to check them out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

DKTM 105

I have a few appointments in town today, so I'll keep this one brief. Here's what I got for you today.

Go Ahead, Follow It.

Here below, is a trailer for the horror flick Yellow Brick Road, that popped up on Twitch last week. I'll have to keep my eye out for this one.

Far East In The Big Apple.

The lineup for the New York Asian Film Festival was announced a few days ago. There are all manner of films to be shown here, but the trio that caught my eye were...

Bedevilled - This thriller from Chul-soo Jang is described a female version of Deliverance. And we all know what revenge flicks in Korean hands turn out to be, don't we? Awesome.

Haunters - A superhero/horror hybrid, this Korean flick from Min-suk Kim sounds like one of the more interesting titles on the sched.

Horny House of Horror - The title should be enough explanation, but this Japanese effort sounds every bit as crazy as the stuff being put out by Sushi Typhoon.

The Century Club.

Lastly, I forgot to mention last week, that horror icon Vincent Price would have turned one hundred on May 27th. Here's a fitting Horror Section tribute, courtesy of YouTuber WNED17.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It.

Canadian indie The Collapsed is currently playing a limited run in Toronto, so me and a few buds checked it out last weekend.

A family desperately tries to find safety as the world crumbles around them.

For some reason, I always thought the end of the world would be more… exciting.

The Collapsed is one of those movies that is good in concept, but not so much in execution. You can’t pad out a simple idea like this to feature length and not expect to try the patience of your audience. While I did appreciate that the movie hits the ground running, not feeling the need to explain what is going on or how it happened, it tends to stay at the same level for a painful amount of time. The performances and dialogue are serviceable, but they can’t sustain a movie that is largely people moving through a forest, occasionally stopping to point their guns offscreen while the camera spins around them, or pushes in Raimi-style. This constant repetition was probably why I lost investment in the characters, resulting in the big moments not landing as heavy as they should have. Eventually, this all leads to a conclusion that - though not entirely original - was somewhat interesting, but takes waaaay too long to get there.

I wish I like The Collapsed more, as the production values are pretty good, making it look like it cost more than it likely did. When it comes down to it though, there just aren’t enough interesting plot points to justify its running time. If this had been a fifteen-to-twenty-minute short, it would have had more punch. As a feature, there just isn’t enough here.