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, July 3, 2011

DKTM 109

Hope you're enjoying your long weekend. Before I go soak up some rays, here's some comings and going from the world of horror.


Even though the full announcement of titles playing the 15th edition of the Fantasia Film Festival is still a week away, that didn't stop showrunner Mitch Davis from releasing a few to whet our appetite.

Fresh from its showing at SXSW a few months ago, this year's opener is Kevin Smith's foray into horror Red State. I will be there on the 14th, so hopefully I can get in to what will likely be a hot ticket. Here, courtesy of Twitch, is the list of the other titles that were unveiled last Wednesday.

THE DEVIL'S ROCK - New Zealand - Dir: Paul Campion
The feature directorial debut from gifted New Zealand visual effects artist Campion (the LORD OF THE RINGS and NARNIA films, CLASH OF THE TITANS remake) is an intense occult thriller taking place in WW2 on the eve of D-Day, with a single soldier uncovering a Nazi plot to conjure supernatural forces with which to win the war. A satanic Nazi chamber piece featuring three characters and bottomless tension. North American Premiere hosted by Director, Screewriter and Executive Producer Paul Campion and Actors Matt Sunderland and Karlos Drinkwater.

EXIT - Australia - Dir: Marek Polgar
Taking place in a labyrinthine city where many individuals are looking for a mystical door that could lead them to a better world, this promising genre film from a visionary director explores the theme of urban alienation while remaining a poignant piece of cinema that will audiences breathless. Splendid and cerebral, EXIT opens the door for a distinctive new voice in fantastic cinema. World Premiere, hosted by Director Marek Polgar and Screenwriter Martyn Pedler.

A LONELY PLACE TO DIE - UK - Dir: Julian Gilbey
This film hits levels of intensity that are absolutely exhilarating. Think CLIFFHANGER with characters you actually care about, fuelled with the adrenaline and panic of THE DESCENT. Bafta-nominated director Gilbey (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER) trained himself in rock climbing in preparation to shoot this film the right way, and does it ever show. The imagery, stunts and staging he manages here will suck the breath clean out of your lungs. Winner of Jury Awards for Best Feature and Best Director when it launched at ActionFest earlier this year, it stars Melissa George. Canadian Premiere, hosted by Director, Screenwriter and Editor Julian Gilbey.

LOVE - USA - Dir: William Eubank
Opening this year's edition of Fantasia's Camera Lucida section, LOVE is a marvel. Rebuking the current conventions of science-fiction cinema coming from Hollywood with a cerebral approach to the genre closer to Kubrick's 2001, it questions Man's place in the universe through a fascinating tale that alternate between two distinct epochs, a violent past and an uncertain future. Produced by Angels & Airwaves (the alt-rock effort led by Blink-182's Tom DeLonge) LOVE conjures pictorial perfection, promising to be an unforgettable experience. International Premiere, hosted by Director, Writer, Cinematographer and Production Designer William Eubank, Actor Gunner Wright and Executive Producer Mark Eaton.

MARIANNE - Sweden - Dir: Filip Tegstedt
In recent years, Sweden has begun emerging as a country to watch when it comes to hypnotic, adult genre filmmaking, and MARIANNE continues this pathway. A guilt-ridden father, grieving over the death of a wife he had been cheating on, finds himself haunted by more than his conscience in this eerie, character-driven supernatural horror film. World Premiere hosted by Director, Screenwriter and Producer Filip Tegstedt.

MONSTER BRAWL - Canada - Dir: Jesse T. Cook
Those of you with equal love for monsters and wrestling are about to be slammed through the mat by this outlandish creation that combines the two with glee. That's right, your favorite monsters bashing the unlife out of each other within a setup designed to feel like a pay-per-view sporting event. Features Dave Folley, Jimmy Hart, Art Hindle, Kevin Nash and... monsters! World Premiere hosted by Director, Screenwriter and Producer Jesse T. Cook, Producers John Geddes and Matt Wiele, Actors R. J. City, Art Hindle, Robert Maillet and Rico Montana, and many more members of the cast and crew.

NINJA KIDS!!! - Japan - Dir: Takashi Miike
Japan's maniacal master of movie magic Takashi Miike has banged out about three films a year over the last two decades, from ultraviolent yakuza pictures through off-kilter genre pastiches to, well, possibly his most brutal, bash-'em-up work yet. That's right, maestro of mayhem Miike's gone and made a kiddie flick again! It merits its three exclamation points and rates five razor-sharp ninja stars out of five! Canadian Premiere, hosted by Distributor Shochiku.

RABIES - Israel - Dir: Navot Papushado & Aharon Keshales
Israel's first horror feature is all about subverting expectations as a blood-soaked black comedy/horror/thriller that understands the genre conventions and uses them as sleight-of-hand to deliver one surprise after another like a twist-ripped celluloid corkscrew ground into your skull. A major hit at the Tribeca Film Festival, RABIES is heaps of misanthropic fun, with spikes of social commentary and a surprisingly affecting sense of tragedy stabbed into the mix for maximum potency. Canadian Premiere. Hosted by Co-Directors and Screenwriters Navot Papushado & Aharon Keshales.

RETREAT - UK - Dir: Carl Tibbets
Cillian Murphy and Thandie Newton star as a couple who journey to an island retreat in order to heal recently-opened wounds. They are completely isolated from the world. Alone. That is, until a blood-spattered man (Jamie Bell) washes ashore with terrible news of an airborne plague sweeping across Europe. A brilliantly-staged slow-burn thriller that builds to absolutely ferocious horror, RETREAT is one of this year's strongest discoveries. World Premiere hosted by Director Carl Tibbetts.

SAINT - Netherlands - Dir: Dick Maas
Santa Claus is coming to town, and that's bad news for everyone in this stylish Dutch oddity from the maker of THE LIFT. SAINT is a very Dutch horror film, packed with many Christmas stockings full of local flavor and bizarre terror sequences. Meanwhile, the moments with SAINT's teen protagonists have the feel of an '80s Wes Craven film, making for a very fun death dance in horror's global melting pot! Canadian Premiere.

UNDERWATER LOVE - Japan - Dir: Shinji Imaoka
An inspired hybrid of musical comedy, classical fairy tale and pinku eiga (Japanese softcore sex film), UNDERWATER LOVE may well be the most oddball entry in Fantasia's schedule this year (and that's saying something!). Features gorgeous cinematography by Wong Kar-Wai's regular Director of Photography Christopher Doyle. Sweet, kooky, sexy and completely feel good, this UFO of a film is truly something to be cherished. Canadian Premiere.

URBAN EXPLORER - Germany - Dir: Andy Fetscher
Beneath the city of Berlin is an extraordinary network of abandoned bunkers and tunnels, shadowy remnants of the Nazi era. This film - one of the most unsettling that you will find in our 2011 lineup - opens with four young urban explorers from different countries meeting up at a Berlin nightclub, beneath which is rumored to be a pathway of catacombs that lead to a legendary Third Reich bunker. They descend into the tunnels and.... We won't reveal another beat! North American Premiere.

VAMPIRE - Canada/USA - Dir: Shunji Iwai
The English-language debut from the acclaimed director of SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY and ALL ABOUT LILU CHOU-CHOU is a haunting existential horror/drama. It will be making its Canadian launch at Fantasia after bowling audiences over at Sundance, Berlin and the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.

You are about to encounter what very well may be the single most successful H.P. Lovecraft adaptation ever to lick fear across a screen. Shot with an aesthetic, production design and performance style angled to emulate the feel of a '30s/'40s Universal horror film - without falling into camp - WHISPERER arrives like shadows out of time, a discovered relic from another dimension. A genuinely scary film and a hellishly great time. Canadian Premiere.

There are some promising titles in that list. I only hope I am there, while some of them are playing. Please be kind, scheduling Gods! All will be revealed on July 7th.


I'd like to wrap up with a few videos here. First, is episode five of Lianne Spiderbaby's web show Fright Bytes. As you can see with this installment - directed by Reese Eveneshen - the production values are steadily increasing with each one.

Next, is some lighter fare that popped up in my inbox last week. Not sure why it is subtitled, but Sock Babies! is good for a chuckle or two.

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