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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

DKTM 148


Hello everyone! I'm posting something extra special for Canada Day tomorrow, but there was way too much cool stuff this week for me to preempt my Sunday news post, so, here it is, one day early!

Mondo Animated.

I'm sure you saw - and drooled over as I did - the Olly Moss Evil Dead poster that was released a few years ago. Well, graphic artist Daniel M. Kanemoto used the poster as inspiration for his own mind-blowing homage to the Evil Dead Trilogy.


Swallow This!

On the subject of Evil Dead love, check out this picture of the Gastronomicon.

Mmmm, tastes like evil.

I found this over at the Blog of the Fed and it was created by a painter named Elizabeth. To make your very own thin crusted tome of Candarian goodness, you can find the recipe here.

Charting Nightmares.

It's been a good week for art. Check out this print entitled "The Horror Die Cut Collection" from Max Dalton.


A limited, hand-numbered 18 x 24" edition of 250 is now being sold here, for fifty dollars a pop. Oh so very tempting.

Okay, that's it for now.  There is a patch of patio and a Moosehead (or six) with my name on it, so I will take my leave of you for now. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my Canada Day post.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Possession (#17)

The next film I watched from the Time Out Best 100 Horror List was Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession.


In an attempt to save his crumbling marriage, Mark (Sam Neill) has his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) tailed to see if she is having an affair, only to discover she may be involved in something much worse.

After a few Time Out titles that have been a little middling, here we have a bonafide gem.  This movie is fuuucked up, and frankly I’m amazed that it's not more widely known considering some of the unforgettable images within. I mean, if it wasn’t for its provocative VHS cover, I probably would’ve never heard of this movie at all.

I must admit that I wasn’t initially on board with Possession, as the first act was a rough go for me. I have a strong aversion to films about doomed relationships, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an onscreen couple more toxic than Neill & Adjani.  I also thought there was a bit of overacting early on, but then discovered that it fit the overt weirdness of the piece once things got going.  It does take a full fourty-five minutes before you discover what it is actually about, but once you clock into it, even the out there ending makes some kind of sense.

Isabelle Adjani & Sam Neill.

Adjani is gorgeous in this film and invested one-hundred-and-ten per cent, both emotionally and physically.  Sam Neill also throws himself into this role.  I checked to see if his part in Omen III had anything to do with him being cast for this, but it turns out both movies came out in 1981.

I love the calculated, whipping camera movements in this film.  They keep the viewer disoriented in a way that is much like the films of Gaspar Noe. Speaking of influences, and being fairly late to the party I’m sure I’m not the first to come to this conclusion, I have to wonder if Clive Barker drew inspiration from this film while writing (or at least directing his subsequent film adaptation) The Hellbound Heart.

My favourite thing about this film has to be the creature design though.  It is completely unique and nightmarish, like something out of an H.P. Lovecraft novel. Even the score is fantastic, perfectly accentuating the film when it has to.

One of many wonderful shots from this film.

I think this movie caught me a little off guard, as I did find my jaw hung open for a lot of the last act.  As I said, I’m surprised this film isn’t more highly regarded, but considering its place on the Time Out List, it must have made its way into the eyeballs of at least some of the greatest creative minds of our time.  If you haven’t seen Possession, and like weird, erotic & surrealist horror films, this is a must watch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do You Know Your ABC's?

Here's a delightful little game to break up your day. Sarah Javier of The Spooky Vegan recently turned me onto this cool piece of art/trivia from UK graphic artist Stephen Wildish.


Most of these were gimmies, but I have to admit there were one or two that had me stumped. "G" threw me because of its resemblance to The Shining, and I don't think I've ever seen "U" before.  I was also a little sad that Quetzalcoatl didn't show up as the letter "Q".


Looking around Stephen's site, I found that he's done pictograms for several genres, including science-fiction, war and James Bond films. To check out his website, click here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Up All Night.

This weekend, I went to Shock & Awe, a movie marathon at The Revue orchestrated by Toronto film historian Dion Conflict.


Shock & Awe consists of six vintage films from Dion’s collection (on 35mm, and in some cases 16mm!) screened all in a row, starting just before midnight. It has been going for a while – I believe this one was the sixth iteration – but this was the first I'd attended.

There was lots of food available, “flashing light” specials, tons of raffle prizes – I am sad that I did not win one of the Islamic clocks up for grabs – and crusty pre-show entertainment, so it made for a completely unique experience. As for the films, here’s a rundown.

The night started off with the zany seventies spoof The Groove Tube. The movie is a series of comedy sketches and felt like a precursor to Saturday Night Live. It even featured a young Chevy Chase in some of the skits. The movie also had several faux commercials, including this one for the Uranus Corporation.



Most of the sketches were at least somewhat amusing, and I must have enjoyed myself because it was over before I knew it. Now if I could just get ‘I’m looking over a four-leaf clover’ out of my head!

Next, was the 1985 actioner What Waits Below. It’s about an expedition into some uncharted caves to setup some sort of military transmitter, and it’s pretty cheesy. Although, it is not without its charm. My friend Peter had the best quote, when he said he liked it better than Prometheus because it had “smarter scientists”. I can’t really argue when considering pearls of wisdom like;

“The only predictable thing about these caves is that they are unpredictable.”

Plus, What Waits had Lisa Blount who is always easy on the eyes.

From the depths of the Central American jungle, we moved to the British countryside for the 1973 horror film Horror Hospital. I’d seen this movie as a kid, as it was a regular on First Choice back in the day, but it’s been a looooooong time. Pretty much all I remembered was Michael Gough’s decked-out Rolls Royce.



After watching it this time, I realized it’s actually a comedy. There are several scenes that go on too long, but there was still some fun to be had.

After that, Dion played the promised ‘mystery’ film, which we were all (literally) sworn to secrecy about not revealing. All I can say is there was a lot of applause, booing and catcalls throughout. Oh, and Leonard from Community.

The fifth film was the eighties musical Rappin’. I have a low tolerance for rap music at the best of times, let alone at six at the morning, so I took this opportunity to nap in my seat.

The last movie, on loan from The Alamo Drafthouse, was the eighties slasher Sleepaway Camp. It had also been a while since I’d seen this one, and was excited to watch it on the big screen. Even though it is known mainly for its crazy ending, I think the movie works on the whole, as well.



It is a lot meaner than I remembered, with lots of disturbing elements, such as pedophilia and one implied scene where a character gets a hot curling iron up the hooha. ‘Still gotta love that ending though.

And then it was done. As we stumbled toward the exit, and the blinding sunshine beyond, Dion was there to hand us samplers of All Bran as a reward for our endurance.

Regularity is key.

It was a fun time and definitely the most films I’ve ever watched in a row, at home or in a theatre. Dion now has designs on another Shock & Awe in October, so I eagerly await announcement of what films he intends to show.

To read about last weekend’s events straight from the man himself, check out Dion’s blog here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mr President!

It was a busy weekend for me, but I made sure to catch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.


Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) not only had to run the United States of America, but also keep it from being overrun by vampires. With only a few companions and his trusty silver-coated axe, this is his story.

This movie was tons of fun. I'm a fan of Timur Bekmambetov's work (Nightwatch, Wanted) and it's refreshing to see he is still rocking his tried-and-true blend of over-the-top visuals with epic ideas. This man knows how to shoot an action sequence, and there are two great set pieces that anchor this movie. I think this is what has always impressed me about Bekmambetov. He is notorious for doing unbelievable things in his movies – the Mazda driving along a sidescraper in Daywatch and the curving bullets in Wanted to name two – but within the context of how he presents them, they seem plausible, or at least enough for me to suspend my disbelief. The same is true for his latest venture. I mean, it should be obvious from the title that this is not a movie that should be taken seriously.

Erin Wasson (top) as Vadoma with Benjamin Walker.

For all intents and purposes, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a big budget B movie. It has all the sensibilities of the gothic vampires movies we grew up on, but with all of Bekmambetov's multi-million dollar toys. He takes many liberties with American history, but it worked for me because all of the actors involved, heroes and villains, were invested one-hundred percent. The pace was also rather expedient. The origin story is set up, quickly followed by Lincoln being mentored by rogue vampire Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) and then we're off to the races. Also, there was a big bonus for me, as I did not realize that MaryElizatbeth Winstead was in this. When she came onscreen, my impression of the movie immediately went up a few notches.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln.

For the most part, I was totally in this movie. It was pretty much what I was expecting and hoping for. The trailer is a pretty good representation of what you are in for, so if that struck your fancy, you'll likely have a good time with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

DKTM 147



Through the power of retroactive blogging, I give you this Don't Kill The Messenger.  At the moment of this posting, I can guarantee I am unconscious somewhere after having been up all night watching eighties movies at this year's edition of Shock & Awe.  More on that later, for now, here's what happened this week.

Mondo Struzan!

How's this for awesome? The Alamo Drafthouse has been recreating the summer movie season of 1982, which includes the likes of Conan, E.T, Star Trek II, Poltergeist, Blade Runner, and perhaps most importantly John Carpenter's The Thing.  Naturally, Mondo has been creating original posters for these screenings, but they came up with something extra special for The Thing.  In addition to their original print, they also teamed up with the original artist - the iconic Drew Struzan - for a gorgeous variant of the 1982 version.


Want it? I hope you've got deep pockets because they start at $250. In connection with this announcement, Movies.com posted an interview with Struzan here.  Here's a snip below.

Movies.com:  I know that creating the art for The Thing was an unusual process over 30 years ago. Can you tell me what happened?

Struzan: I got a phone call, the simplest phone call I ever got, saying, "We have a job, we want to know if you can do it, the catch is we need it by tomorrow." So they're talking a major motion picture with a full color, painted poster and they wanted it by the next morning. [Laughs] I said, "Sure, what is it?" and they said, "Do you remember the movie The Thing from the '60s?" "Yeah, I saw it. Neat movie." "Well, we're redoing it. That's what it is." "Okay, cool. You need it when?" "Tomorrow morning. We don't have any photos for you, we don't have any concept stuff, we just want you to do the drawing of what you think you'd do and then do a painting of it by tomorrow morning." "That's it? You spent millions of dollars on this thing and you don't have any reference materials, just make it however I feel? Sure, I'll try." [Laughs]

This is further proof that - like James Horner's unforgettable score for Aliens - sometimes the best stuff is done on a deadline.

R.I.P. Richard Lynch 1936-2012.

I was very sad to hear of the passing of character actor Richard Lynch this week. He died last Monday in Palm Springs, Califorinia at the age of seventy-six.  He had over one-hundred-and-fifty titles to his credit, and was a recurring face on television during my childhood, as he always popping up on TV shows I ingested like Automan, Blue Thunder, The A Team & Werewolf.  His rugged looks had him often playing the villain, and therefore did many horror films during his career, two of my faves being Bad Dreams and Puppet Master III - the latter playing Major Krauss who became the inspiration for the puppet Blade.  My all-time favourite role of Richard Lynch's though, was his turn opposite Chuck Norris in the balls-out eighties action flick Invasion USA.  Here below, is a clip where he deals with a young Billy Drago.



Beware!

On the heels of the poster released for the upcoming horror anthology film V/H/S, is this red band trailer.  I must warn you though, it is chock full of potential SPOILERS, so watch at your own risk.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mon Dieu!

I'm now officially locked and loaded for my yearly jaunt to Montreal for the Fantasia Film Festival. There is always no shortage of great films to see - the initial lineup of titles was announced a few days ago - but this year, there is something extra special on display.

Artwork by Gary Pullin.

According to the press release, Rue Morgue head honcho Dave Alexander has corralled several Canadian filmmakers to contribute to a gallery of faux movie posters.  Just a few of those on board are Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun), Bruce McDonald (Pontypool), George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine), Lee Demarbre (Smash Cut) and Astron-6 (Father's Day).  I can't wait to see what imaginary nightmares these guys have cooked up.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shinsedai!

Tickets for the 4th annual Shinsedai Cinema Festival go on sale today.  Showcasing the best in fringe and independent Japanese cinema, the festival runs July 12th to the 15th.  Check out the sizzle reel below.



I'll surely be checking out a few of these.  For ticket info, click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daughters of Darkness (#18)

The next film I watched off the Time Out Best 100 Horror List was Harry Kümel's 1971 film Daughters of Darkness.


A newlywed couple staying at a resort hotel meet a mysterious woman named Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and strike up an increasingly bizarre relationship with her.

This film is best described as a beautiful looking film with beautiful women.  The cinematography is top notch, and the central location, Belgium's Grand Hôtel des Thermes, seems like it was made to be immortalized on film.


I also love the way colour is used in this film. Except for the first scene in the train car, which is bathed in blue, the entire film is accented with red, much like Mario Bava's slasher Blood and Black Lace.

I found Daughters of Darkness to be fairly unique in its handling of vampire mythos, as well.  The filmmakers ditch the fangs and crosses employed by most of their contemporaries and go for a more suggestive feel.  The film is still soaked in erotica, but is miles from the vampire films being produced by the likes of Hammer in the sixties and seventies.

Delphine Seyrig (right) with John Karlen & Danielle Oiumet

Though I found some of the character's behaviour puzzling during much of the film – I had to through my hands up at the scene where Stefan (John Karlen) viciously beats his wife Valerie (Danielle Oiumet) – the ambiguous nature of the hold the Countess had on the people around her made it easier to swallow.  This was mainly due to Seyrig’s spectacular performance here.  It is said that she modelled her performance on silent movie star Marlene Dietrich, which makes sense, as it her presence onscreen that is just as commanding as anything that comes out of her mouth.  Ouimet and Andrea Rau are also extremely striking in this film.

Danielle Ouimet as Valerie

I can quite easily say that there is no shortage of things to look at in this film and that it is, I assume, why  Daughters of Darkness made it onto the Time Out list. It is a visual feast, but in my opinion, its narrative stumbles often, especially in its rushed third act.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

DKTM 146



Off to see the ol' patriarch shortly, so I'll get right to it this morning.

A Return To Midian.

There was fantastic news out of Los Angeles recently, as the New Beverley played hosted to the restored director's cut of Nightbreed that the fans have been craving for years. With director Clive Barker in attendance, along with the film's lead Craig Sheffer and some of the production team, this was one hot ticket indeed.  Barker plans to not only tour this "Cabal cut" around the US (and fingers crossed, Canada) but also eventually release the film on Blu-ray.  Here's where we come in though.  In order for rights holder Morgan Creek to put money into a release, they must be first convinced by the movie's fan base that it is a worthwhile venture.  You can Occupy Midian, by going here.  Below, courtesy of Fangoria, is some footage of the event .  Barker still doesn't look one-hundred percent, but it is very good to see him out and about after his recent health woes.



Summer After Dark.

A while back, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival announced it would be playing four films as part of a summer film series, ahead of its usual string of nine nights in October. Well, earlier this week, the four films were announced.


On Wednesday June 27th, The Bloor will be host to the cuban zombie tale Juan of the Dead and Canadian haunted house flick The Pact. Then a few weeks later, on July 11, Joseph Kahn's Detention followed by the super-anticipated anthology film V/H/S.

I have seen Detention and Juan of the Dead already, so this event to me is all about V/H/S.  Speaking of which, the film just released a sweet poster a few days ago.

Looks familiar, doesn't it?

For more information on getting tickets, check out the festival website, by going here.

A 2D Nightmare.

Lastly, a friend recently turned me on this indie video game called The Lone Survivor.  It is a cool retro-2D survival horror game which reminds me a lot of Silent Hill.  Here's a peek.



You can currently play the demo on Congregate, or buy the entire game for $10 at their website.  I've played it and simply put, it is awesome.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Night Shift.


I took in The Night Shift, a mammoth Worldwide Short Film Festival programme of genre short films that screened at The Bloor last Saturday. It was three ninety-minute sections, mercifully broken up by small intermissions.  Oh, did I mention that this began just before midnight?  Yes.  Night Shift indeed.  Here’s a rundown of the films I enjoyed the most.

The short I was most looking forward to was former Rue Morgue magazine editor Jovanka Vuckovic’s debut film The Captured Bird and it did not disappoint.  With stunning visuals and a fantastically grotesque creature designed by Paul Jones, Vuckovic shows great potential as a filmmaker.

Skyler Wexler in The Captured Bird

One of the longer offerings was the Swedish zombie tale The Unliving, which I really dug.  It immediately immersed me in its universe by showing blue collar workers of an undead apocalypse functioning day to day.  There was so much material squeezed into its twenty-eight minute running time, that I really kind of wished it was a feature.

It's a living.

I was very happy to see a former ABC’s of Death contest entry show up onscreen.  Adjust Tracking aka T is for Tracking was one of the best offerings of the hundred-and-seventy-one and am glad to see it living on. Brimming with VHS era nostalgia, it should be no surprise to THS readers that I am a big fan of it.

Speaking of contest entries, there were also two solid Canadian films representing Bloodshots, the 48-hour-film challenge out of BC.  The first was Requiem For a C.H.U.D, which had remarkable creature effects and several great gore beats – for a normal production, let alone a timed one! – and the second was Children Of The Dark which was kind of like The Road with zombies.

Requiem for a C.H.U.D.

Nicolas Bacon’s film Odette was also very entertaining.  I found the dialogue to be crisp and the ending is that which I’m sure everyone watching is hoping for.

But, nothing, NOTHING was better than Bobby Yeah. I’d been hearing about this short for sometime now, but I wasn’t prepared for just how bizarre, how batshit loco it was.  The amount of imagination on display from UK animator Robert Morgan was astounding, as was the amount of expression he got from his puppeted subjects.  Every subsequent creature that popped up had me reeling with just how one would even conceive such things.  Morgan clearly functions on another level than the rest of us.



In fact, there were many strong animated shorts in the programme, including the darkly beautiful Black Doll, Ülo Pikkov’s Body Memory and Moxie from the creator of a past favourite of mine, Black Dog’s Progress.

All of these shorts made the event a successful endeavour, but overall, four-and-a-half hours in the dead of night was a bit much I’d say. It was an admirable experiment, but I wager a really solid two-hour programme would be a better way to go. Well, that and not asking everyone to “get up and dance” at 3 a.m.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

MacabreCon!

Last weekend was the inaugural Niagara Falls Comic Con, and more specifically MacabreCon!


It was a really good time with a fantastic turnout. The convention centre floor was a fairly large space with equal areas given to comic book artists, celebrities and vendor booths.

Take a load off!
Predababe!

There was also a gaming booth, which was demoing, among other things, the new zombie game Lollipop Chainsaw.


There was also an added element to this event, that I made sure to take advantage of.

Take that, Fan Expo!

I walked around the show floor, bought the newest Walking Dead trade from Mostly Comics and a DVD previously unknown to me from Suspect.

Starring Anna Friel!!!

I also spent a lot of the day hanging with the crew from Android Re-Enactment.


However, my main reason for attending was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Reunion, which included a screening and a Q&A with three members of the original cast, Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) Marilyn Burns (Sally) and Teri McMinn (Pam). The post-screening discussion was really fun and all three seemed in very good spirits.

Teri McMinn, Gunnar Hansen & Marilyn Burns.

It started out with them answering questions about if they think there are any modern ‘Texas Chainsaws’ to which the answer was a resounding no. Gunnar then used the differences between the 1974 and 2003 versions of the film to prove his point.

“Everytime they (the remake) have a chance to make it really disturbing, they chicken out and splatter blood on you. The great example being when the girl finds her boyfriend hanging on the meat hook with his leg cut off, with his toes touching the keyboard. They could have made that scene excruciating because they are deathly afraid that Leatherface is going to show up. What if that scene had been five, six, seven minutes long? And she's struggling to get him off the hook. His toes are touching the piano, so they're making noise, I mean the audience would have been horrified because any second he's going to come back. It would have been like the dinner scene (in the original). But instead, she gives up immediately and guts him. Literally, it's a bloodbath. Just a big bucket of blood splashes all over her. And I thought, do they really think this is psychological horror? They chickened out.”

It is pretty clear to anyone who has seen the film that it was a gruelling experience to shoot, so they all recounted which scenes were the most difficult. For Hansen & Burns, it was the dinner scene, which was filmed over a marathon shooting day of twenty-six hours in hundred plus degree heat. For McMinn, it was her death scene which had to be shot over and over because of director Tobe Hooper’s fondness for multiple takes. It was McMinn who I found to be the most charming, especially while relating her apprehension about a certain iconic camera setup.



“At that time wearing red short shorts and your cheeks showing was a very risqué thing to do. I was very worried because I came out to the set that morning and I see Daniel (the cinematographer) hunched over the camera under the swing. I knew what was supposed to happen and that I was going to have to sit on that swing. I'd never taken Tobe on about anything so far, but I went over and said 'come on, what's the camera doing there?' So Toby and I argued for about ten minutes and after I stood my ground, he just said, 'Oh Teri, dammit, I'll just shoot around it.' So I thought, great, my cheeks won't be in the shot. Then of course, when I went to the screening for the first time to see it, I was so embarrassed to have, in Cinemascope and Technicolor, my cheeks going, ba-badum-bada-badum across the screen.”

The trio also confirmed that Paul Partain (Franklin) was just as miserable offscreen as he was on. Burns made a point to mention that they had made amends at a recent convention though. It turns out that he'd been method acting and deliberately staying in character the entire length of the shoot.

Someone asked about the upcoming Texas Chainsaw 3D project, which Hansen and Burns are both in. They were forbidden to say much, but did reveal that the movie picks up right after where the original left off. Hansen added that he saw some footage while doing some recent ADR and was quite impressed.


I had a great time at this show and I'm sure the event was enough of a success to warrant future iterations. Congrats to those involved for pulling it off. For me, it was back on the road and straight up the QEW to the WWSFF event Night Shift.

To be continued…

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

See No Evil, Speak No Evil.

Here below is the latest episode of the Laser Blast podcast.  This time around, we watched the 1967 Audrey Hepburn film Wait Until Dark and nineties thriller Mute Witness. The usual tangential shenanigans ensue.



To check out past episodes, click here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prometheus.

Last weekend, Ridley Scott’s new Alien prequel, Prometheus rocketed into theatres.


A team of scientists travel to a remote planet to investigate what they believe may be the origin of humankind.

Overall, I enjoyed this film, but there is no skirting the issue that it is heavily flawed.  The key phrase I kept hearing from people who'd seen it was ‘don’t go in expecting an Alien prequel and you’ll like it.’  This seemed like a foolish thing to ask. Prometheus exists in the Alien universe and every scene is deeply entrenched in the canon set up in the first two films of the franchise. It’d be like if I said to anyone standing in line for Episode I, ‘don’t look at it as a Star Wars film, and you’ll be all right.’

The best science fiction, in my opinion, springs from two factors.  The first is taking a simple concept and making it more fantastical by what is inferred, and not necessarily shown.  The second is to then ground it with dense, well drawn out characters to make it human.  Prometheus doesn’t really succeed in doing either of these. 


Even though I think it is solid when taken at face value, it is one of those movies that starts to crumble when put under a microscope.  It does not infer anything, but instead tells you everything, and the pieces do not fit together as well as they should. I think the blame for this should – and the Internet would appear to agree - probably fall on the shoulders of writer Damon Lindelof.  After Lost, this is rapidly becoming his M.O.  The man is full of wonderful broad ideas, but often stumbles when it comes to the intricate details – and more importantly, their relation to each other.

As for characters, the crew of the Prometheus are nowhere near as substantial as the crew of the Nostromo in Alien.  When shit goes down in that film, each character’s fate means something.  Here, the best character is the android David (played awesomely by Michael Fassbender), someone who isn’t even human at all.  That can’t be a good thing, can it?  This is not to say the rest of the performances are anything less than stellar though.  Noomi Rapace brings her usual intensity to the role as the film’s protagonist Dr. Shaw and though Charlize Theron and Idris Elba are both solid, they are ultimately rendered irrelevant.


Even after saying all of that, I still look on Prometheus positively.  In terms of pure cinematic spectacle, it is actually very good.  If the high level of care and detail that went into the effects and creature designs had transferred over to all facets of the production, then it would have surely been a home run.  I know it sounds like I’m disappointed, but I think my experiences surviving four inferior addendums to the cinematic perfection that is Alien/Aliens have given me a pretty thick skin.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012.


We sadly lost an important icon this week. Ray Bradbury was one of the greatest creative minds literary fiction has ever known.  He passed away this Wednesday at the age of ninety-one.  He was best known for his classic novels Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, but over his long career was credited with over six hundred works of fiction.

To me, Bradbury always stood alongside Rod SerlingRichard MathesonStephen King as larger than life idea men who constantly inspired me to write.  The Illustrated Man was one of the cooler books I read as part of my school curriculum.


Probably most memorable for me was his HBO show Ray Bradbury Theater.  I loved the opening of that show.



The idea that one can absorb ideas from their environment (and the things they surround themselves with) really stuck with me.  I salute you Mr. Bradbury, for your limitless imagination and the wonderful legacy that you have left behind.

Friday, June 8, 2012

E3 2012 Wrap-Up.

Well, E3 wrapped up yesterday, so here is a wrap-up of upcoming video games that caught my eye.

Dead Space 3 had a lengthy showing during EA’s press conference.



Though the gameplay demo was a tad uninspired – fighting a giant drill is not particularly stimulating – it did end on a high note with Isaac re-enacting Boba Fett’s trip down the Sarlaac’s gullet. Nevertheless, Dead Space remains one of my favourite video game universes so I’m still eager to get back inside my rig.

I can sum up Tomb Raider in two words. Yes, please.



Capcom looks to be pulling out all the stops with Resident Evil 6, bringing back all of our favourite characters from the series. 



I’m excited not only for the three different co-op campaigns, but also how they’ve “Journey-ed” them together, so you can hook up with random partners when the stories intersect.

Perhaps the most impressive demo of actual gameplay was Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs.  With little-to-no info on GTA V present at E3, this is the game everyone seems to be gravitating toward for their open world action fix.



All three of the big press conferences were lacklustre (actually Nintendo’s was downright painful) but the reason Sony won out was due to their ace in the hole. David Cage of Quantic Dream took the stage to introduce his new property, Beyond.  He announced that actress Ellen Page would be the protagonist – which was funny, considering she kind of already appears in Playstation’s other new & upcoming IP – and showed a lengthy cut scene from the game. 



Being a big fan of Heavy Rain, I’m stoked to see Quantic Dream further push the boundaries of the video game medium.

Sony then put a much needed exclamation point on their press conference with a shotgun blast to the face with The Last Of Us



Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us continues to be my most anticipated game of 2013.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flesh For Frankenstein (#19)

The next title I watched off the Time Out Best 100 Horror List was Paul Morrissey's 1973 film Flesh for Frankenstein.


Baron Frankenstein's (Udo Kier) plan to create a super race becomes problematic when his two reanimated subjects refuse to copulate.

I'm not sure why I never saw this title until now. I did see the follow-up, Andy Warhol's Dracula – which was on a different list of mine, one of films that the band Skinny Puppy had sampled in their music – when I was working at the video store, so I maybe I just figured I got the gist. The film is a highly sexualized retelling of The Bride of Frankenstein, but features a role reversal on the classic tale, which I found kind of interesting. I did find it hard to tell if was meant to be a black comedy though. I mean clearly it is, as almost everything about the film is over-the-top, but was that the intention I wonder?


So, that's why I find the inclusion of Flesh For Frankenstein on the Time Out List a little peculiar. Truth be told, I seem to remember its vampire counterpart being a little more substantial. Both have glorious gore set pieces and unrestrained performances by Udo Kier, but I recall Dracula flowing a little better. It has been a long time, so I could be mistaken. However, there is no mistaking that it is Kier's presence that elevates the film over similar works from filmmakers like Jean Rollin, for instance. Rollin's ouevre may have had better cinematography – granted there are some shots in Flesh that you could hang on a wall – but none of his films had anyone as commanding as Kier in them. And none of them ever had a line like;



I wonder why Skinny Puppy never sampled that one.  This is the first title I've come across on the list whose position is a little dodgy, but I still had fun watching it.