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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Make My Movie!

I just caught wind of this last week and I thought I would pass it on – even if it is almost finished. The New Zealand Film Commission are currently offering up $100,000 to indie filmmakers through a competition called...

Several months ago, entrants were charged with coming up with a poster and synopsis to promote their million dollar – or I guess hundred-thousand dollar – idea. There were hundreds of entrants, but at the start of October they were culled down to twelve, which you can see below. Click on the each image for more information.

I think the ones that speak to me the most are #8 Wire and Taxi Tapes. While it is true they are both of done-to-death subgenres – survivalist & found footage ghost story respectively – they are also the ones that would most likely deliver.

I look at something like The Helmet and all I can think is I’d rather just watch Primer again. Same goes with Never Forget up against The Disappearance of Alice Creed. As for Foley & Kill by Mouth; great ideas, but I wonder if there is enough meat there for an entire feature.

After reading the synopsis of The Bach, I have to say that unless the filmmakers have an unknown Olivier up their sleeve, the main character’s motivation is going to be really difficult for me to swallow.

Lastly, I recognize the potential of This Giant Papier Maché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy, but again, will this running joke last ninety minutes? There’s also the fact that this initially struck me as a Jared Hess take on vintage Doctor Who, which makes me want to turn and run in the other direction.

Anyway, you can vote for your favourites up until tomorrow evening, with the final two being announced December 8th. Good luck to everyone involved!

Monday, November 28, 2011

R.I.P. Ken Russell 1927-2011

I was sad to hear about the passing of director Ken Russell this morning. He was 84. Russell was a unique talent that gave us such memorable films as Altered States, The Devils & Gothic. I was fortunate enough to see him in person at last year's Festival of Fear, where he presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to iconic Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg.

Shortly after that, he spoke at a special screening of The Devils, which I later featured as my 666th post. I'll always remember him shouting at the photographer chick to "get out of it!" when she leaned in too far to get a shot. Good on ya, Mr. Russell.

Here below is a cool piece from the BBC honouring his life and work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Sorry for my absence here this week, but it was for a good cause I swear. Basically all my free time last week was sucked up preparing for a short that we shot yesterday. My unbelievable crew of seven & I withstood the rather chilly elements, problematic audio and crazy squirrels inside High Park to shoot a short film that I wrote a while back.

Pictured in frame, Tonya Dodds & Jeff Sinasac.

Everyone performed beautifully and we got a huge amount of footage during the seven hours of light we had available. Now it is off to the editing room to see if we can't put all this footage together into something coherent and watchable. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First Time.

Things are going to be a bit light here this week, as I've got some other "stuff" going on, but I did want to throw up a link to a podcast I appeared on a few days ago following a Michele Soavi double-bill of Dellamorte Dellamore & Stage Fright.

I couldn't get the embed code to work, so click on the image above to be redirected. Initially, I was bit stunned having a recorder shoved in my face, but I think I loosened up toward the end. I mean, if I can't talk about Italian horror, I can't talk about anything.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DKTM 124

Just a quick one today, as I have to take off into town for the day. Here's what I got for ya.

Coming to ABC.

Here's a trailer courtesy Bloody-Disgusting for the upcoming series The River created by Paranormal Activity's Oren Peli.

As you can see it sports an impressive cast, but not I'm sure if this formula can be spread over an entire season or more. The PA series is about building suspense & dread and I'd have trouble feeling that week-to-week and between commercials. It also looks there like there might be a built-in drinking game, involving people being thrown backwards into the camera lens. I'll give it a few episodes anyway.

Say Good Night To The Bad Guy.

My buddy Darryl contributed a great article to The Cultural Gutter this week. He uses his review of Human Centipede 2 to speak about the current state of horror. Here's a snip.

"It is a perfectly executed film. I challenge you to name a recent horror movie that was more effective. I’ve seen A Serbian Film – while genuinely disturbing, I have to say HC2 does so much more without breaking a sweat, or ever feeling self-conscious. I look at this year’s critically-acclaimed Kill List – a great film in its own right, with a fully developed story with pristine character arcs, brilliant dialogue, a knockout in so many ways–and yet I feel HC2 buries that with sheer visceral firepower."

Click here for the rest of the article.

Content As Advertised.

And lastly, here's a trailer for Jonathan Gladening's Strippers vs. Werewolves. Need I say more?

Friday, November 18, 2011


Shortly before Toronto After Dark, I watched a 2010 Spanish home invasion thriller called Secuestrados.

A upper class family are terrorized in their home by three masked assailants.

As I said, I saw this over a month ago and it is still rattling around in my brain. So, what made this stand out from the countless other home invasion flicks that are flooding the market of late? Well, there are a few things.

The first thing is its simplicity, and the second is its inherent realism. It felt entirely plausible to me and I’m actually kind of surprised that there wasn’t a “based on actual events” title card thrown up at some point. In contrast to the spartan storyline though, the technical aspects of this film are no less than spectacular. I was aware of the one-take sequences and use of split screen, but it was so naturalistic that I didn’t realize just how pervasive they were until later. This entire film is a series of intensely orchestrated continuous shots that marvellously succeed at pulling you in. I think that director Miguel Ángel Vivas is every bit as skilled as Michael Haneke in this regard. Secuestrados also featured one of the best instances of CG-enhanced gore I've seen, with a head-bashing scene that ranks right up there with the fire-extinguisher bit from Irreversible.

The performances are all solid, as well. Manuela Vellés gives a chilling performance as the daughter Isabel, as she truly looked like she was losing her shit – and rightly so. Fernando Cayo – it took me a while to recognize him from The Orphanage – is also memorable as the helpless patriarch.

I had to chuckle while writing the synopsis above, as that byline is almost identical to Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, but in tone they could not be more different. Secuestrados is dark, morose and made with such an adept hand that your mind will not soon forget it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And The Winner Is...

The winner of the ABC’s of Death competition was announced yesterday, with Lee Hardcastle’s T is for Toilet being crowned the victor. I didn’t find this verdict surprising, since I think most would agree that from very early on, Toilet was the entry to beat. Here it is below.

Hardcastle will join very good company, as the other twenty-five ABC directors include the likes of Xavier Gens, Jason Eisener, Ti West & Yoshihiro Nishimura.

The contest runner-ups included two of my favourites, T is for Talk & T is for Table, as well as Canadian representative T is for Turbo, and T is for Termite. Here they are below.

2nd Place

3rd Place

4th Place

5th Place

Congrats to all the participants, and hopefully we can all battle it out again if there is ever a sequel! The ABC’s of Death is set to release through Drafthouse Films in 2012.

Monday, November 14, 2011

VHS Nite Part IV

When I was nine, I happened to see a little movie called Microwave Massacre. And because of this coverbox--

--I've always kept my eye out for it since. Fast forward twenty-seven years later to when I managed to find a battered copy of it within the depths of Ebay. Thus VHS Nite Part IV was conceived.

The turnout on Saturday was bigger than I expected, so I perhaps oversold it a bit in my event invite. However, if there was ever a bad movie to watch with a group of people, this was probably it. And as has become custom on these joint Horror Section/DirtyRobot events, the latter fashioned a culinary delight for all of us to enjoy. And magically, it was if he knew that two-meat lasagna was perfectly appropriate for the occasion!

It was half eaten before I could even snap a pic!

But onto the movie. It makes sense to me now why I remembered all the sex bits of the movie and not the gory bits. It was because there really isn't much gore and my pre-adolescent brain was just glad to see boobies.

In fact, I'd say Microwave Massacre has more in common with eighties sex comedies like Porky's and Night Patrol, than it does the horror slashers of the day. The fast and furious one-liners here make the infamous ones delivered by Joe Piscopo in Dead Heat look like high comedy, but there were a few that had us laughing.

"You look so much better in the dark."

"What do you want me to do? French? Greek? Japanese?"

"I'm so hungry I could eat a whore!"

Even on my first viewing, I was able to clue into the double entendres in the movie, but I also had a base reference of countless Three's Company reruns under my belt by that point.

No matter how bad the movie got, I think that most in attendance were having a good time. Though I think all were horrified that I told them beforehand that star Jackie Vernon was the voice of the cartoon Frosty the Snowman.

Happy Birthday!!!

Yeah, let that sink in. I have to say that I found a lot of the badness endearing though. I loved that this massive microwave (seriously, did they ever make them that huge?) was bigger than the box it came in.

A lot of the scenes were obviously "we've got to get this in one take" situations and the result was borderline at best. Hey, what do you do when "let's do it again" isn't an option? I guess you just move on. Like say when someone has a strong impulse to work in a Chinese food joke, but doesn't feel it is important to, you know, actually cast an Asian in the role.

Maybe she's one-quarter Asian.

Oh, I also kept my eye out for a late uncredited cameo from Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens.

Reubens doing his best Adrien Brody impression.

So, yet another successful movie night. Nine-year-old me would be proud!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

DKTM 123

Good morning all. Here's some tasty tidbits to warm you against those November chills.

A Beautiful Mind.

Recently, the trailer for the documentary on B-movie pioneer Roger Corman entitled Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel appeared online. His influence on Hollywood, just in the careers he helped launch, is unmatched and the best thing is, a lot of them speak in this documentary. The doc is filled with Hollywood royalty, ranging from directors like Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard to actors Bob DeNiro and Jack Nicholson. Here is the trailer below.

AFM '11

This year's American Film Market was held last week and perhaps the most bizarre news that came out of it was about a Maniac remake. Twitch reports that Alex Aja is producing a remake starring Elijah Wood as the title character. I don't have a knee-jerk reaction against a remake of this movie, I just don't understand the impetus behind one. Maniac is a film of its time, and beyond the gore and gritty performance of the late Joe Spinnell, there's nothing really unique about it. The Elijah Wood news is odd as well, since I heard that this new version is apparently supposed to be all in POV. Click here for the original announcement.

Viva Berlin!

Germany has been coming on strong recently with zombie projects. Last year, they gave us the excellent movie Rammbock, and now the trailer for a new endeavor has hit the Web. Check out the German trailer for Viva Berlin!

The most astonishing thing about this project is that it is A WEB SERIES. I mean, look at the quality of that above clip. The head explosions alone make it seem like a top notch production. I can't wait for this!

The Thing That Could Have Been.

After my Thing prequel review, AllHallowSteve was kind enough to post a link in my comments section about an interview with the original effects guy on the project. Apparently, some practical effects were shot, but replaced later. Well, Bloody-Disgusting recently posted some of the designs for what some of those creatures may have looked like. Let us lament on it together, shall we?

Okay, that's it for now. Have a great Sunday, folks.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Yellow Saturn of Doom.

This distributor logo I have for you today, is from a Canadian budget label called Interglobal Video.

Interglobal thrived in the eighties by releasing titles of all genres in the lesser quality LP & SLP formats. According to the VHS archive site Critical Condition, it was common for their tapes to cut out before the movie was even finished!

The intro above from taken from my VHS of the 1977 sorority-revenge flick Sisters of Death. Interglobal also released titles such as The Clown Murders (featuring a young John Candy) Satan’s Cheerleaders, The Asphyx, Night of the Zombies, & the Stephen King Night Shift double-bill The Woman in the Room & The Boogeyman.

I also had a tingle of nostalgia when I saw Avenging Disco Godfather among the list of their releases, as that coverbox was a big hit at my store back in the day. For more Interglobal covers, click here.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Odd One Out.

This weekend I finally got a chance to check out Paranormal Activity 3. Being a pretty big supporter of the first two, I was curious to see if the filmmakers caught lightning in a bottle a third time.

The third film, set in 1988, explores Katie & Kristi’s first encounter with the spectral force that terrorized them in the first two films.

Yeaaaah so… I wasn’t into this one so much. I think Paranormal Activity 3 may be a case of going back to the well too many times. I mean, there are still some nicely constructed scares, most notably the ones involving a camera mounted to an oscillating fan, but this concept as a whole just isn’t as fresh as it once was.

There is something about Paranormal Activity 3 that seems not as well put together as the previous two installments, as well. The reason Paranormal Activity 2 worked so well was that the writers somehow managed to flawlessly link it up to the first film. After re-watching the first two on Netflix shortly after, the same cannot be said for this latest installment. There were several plot points in this movie that didn’t gel and the ending was fairly problematic. I can forgive that the last scene was very similar to one in a ‘found footage’ flick I saw last year, but not that it messes with the series' lore that up until now had been pretty airtight. It would have made so much more sense to finish on the house fire referenced in the first two movies than what we actually got.

The justification for the father to film the last act was also pretty thin. Obviously, when dealing with this format there is a certain level of suspension that must be allotted, but I couldn’t come up with any rational reason why he would still be carrying the camera around after they switched locations.

Aside from all that though, I suppose that my disappointment with Paranormal Activity 3 was largely due to expectation. I went into the second movie with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised, whereas here I was hoping it would sustain the high; and it didn’t.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crazy Clown Time!

David Lynch. He is one of those few auteurs whose brilliance has actually become a brand. His dark & dreamy style has a tangible essence, that once experienced, is never forgotten. Yet it is not only his visual style that has resonated with cinephiles over the years, but also his firm grasp of sound & music. His wonderful past collaborations with artists such as Angelo Badalamenti, Chris Isaak and Julee Cruise have created some of the most memorable pieces of music in film history. I know the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack would be on my 'desert island' list for sure. So, when I heard that Lynch was writing & producing a music album, I was more than a little excited.

The 14-track album entitled Crazy Clown Time has been available online for sometime now and holy crap, can I not get enough of it.

Though every track is intrinsically Lynch, there is an almost unexpected level of diversity here, as well. The first track Pinky's Dream sounds like something I would have heard in one of the goth clubs I frequented in my youth, whereas A Good Day is unmistakably modern.

I love, love, LOVE the below track I Know. I could literally just play this on a loop, close my eyes and imagine myself in The Pink Room chillin' with Laura & Ronette.

The same goes for So Glad.

Man, is there anything this man cannot do?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DKTM 122

Now that it has slowed down a bit after all the Toronto After Dark and Halloween shenanigrams, things can get back to normal around here. I have an all-video DKTM for you today.

Save Thy Soul.

Last year at Toronto After Dark, my favourite short was an Argentinian effort called Deus Irae. This week, I received a kind email letting me know that the full short was now online, so here it is below.

Oh, The Horror.

Toronto blogger Bob Turnbull (of Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind) recently posted a brilliant horror film montage, set to the Mogwai tune Batcat. Here it is below.

I find it fascinating how certain images can stay in your brain. I haven't seen some of the movies referenced in that video in ages - a few of them I'd like to forget - but they immediately flooded back when their fleshy bits came up onscreen. Excellent job, Mr. Turnbull!

What's French for Trailer?

Here, thanks to Twitch, is the new trailer for Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo's sophomore effort Livid. I had my problems with the film when I saw it at TIFF, but the trailer certainly makes it pop. And hey, I'd re-watch it, if only just to see the lovely Chloé Coulloud again. Here's the trailer for the French release below.

So, that's it for another week, guys. Now I'm off to finally check out the latest Paranormal Activity flick, so check back during the week to hear my thoughts on it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

TAD Awards 2011.

The awards for Toronto After Dark were announced today on their website. The audience award for Best Feature was tallied from over 3,000 votes this year. Here below are the winners.




In the shorts category, the awards are split up into two categories, Canadian and International.

For the Canucks, festival circuit favourite The Legend of Beaver Dam took Gold, and Matthew Nayman's Blind Spot and Chris Nash's My Main Squeeze went home with Silver and Bronze, respectively.

In International, the devilishly cute animated short Nursery Crimes took top honours, followed by two of my favourites, Spanish splatterfest Brutal Relax and Steve Daniels' Dirty Silverware.

There were several individual awards handed out this year, based on ballots cast by All-Access pass holders, with Xavier Gens' post-apocalyptic film The Divide and Lucky McKee's The Woman taking a good share of them. Click here to see the full list.

There were a few films that got shut out that I would've liked to have seen recognized somehow, but I guess that just shows how strong the lineup was this year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Pics

Here's a couple of shots of my Halloween costume this year.

If you aren't yet aware of You're Next, you soon will be, as I believe Lionsgate - with Saw now put out to pasture - is grooming this little slasher from Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett to be their next big thing. I loved the flick when I saw it in September and clearly I'm not alone because I wasn't the only animal-masked killer walking the streets of Toronto this Halloween.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The ABC's of Death competition wrapped up last night, with our short, T is for Thread finishing a very strong 16th out of 171 entries. Nash & I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for it, and helped us get it out there. We're frankly humbled by the response from all of you.

And congrats to T is for Turbo, Toilet, Tantrum, Time #1, Tamales, Tomato, Table, Tranny, Time #2 & Trick for making it into the Top Ten. The final winner will be announced on November 15th, so check back then for an update. Here below, is the ABC's of Death competition sizzle reel!