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, March 31, 2013

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Hello all, I hope your Easter weekend is going well. Here's some horror tidbits to feast on, in between chocolate eggs.

The Animals Are Loose!

Last week, I posted the teaser posters for the upcoming home invasion thriller You're Next. This week, Lionsgate released the trailer for the film, which you can see below.

While this does show some of the “jumpers”, I'm happy that it leaves the second-half turn of the movie unrevealed. With this being my favourite horror film of 2011, I cannot wait to see it again.

Walking Dead Piano!

With the much-anticipated finale of The Walking Dead tonight, I wanted to pass on this little video I found on Bloody Disgusting, featuring Russian pianist Sonya Belousova.

Vintage VHS

Recently the site Freddy In Space collaborated with artist Frank Browning to create eighties-style VHS covers for some more contemporary genre favourites. Here are some samples.

I love the attention to detail on these things. Not only the simulated wear and tear, but also that they used the actual companies of the day like Media, Key and Embassy. To see the rest of the titles, check out the Facebook page.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vampyr (#5)

The next title I watched on the Time Out Best 100 List, was the 1932 German film Vampyr.

A man obsessed with the occult happens upon a small village that is being victimized by a vampire.

Okay, now we’re talking. This is the kind of thing I can get behind.

The film itself is a combination of two short stories from a collection called A Glass Darkly, but there are clearly elements from Dracula here, as well. There was so much going on here visually, with great use of shadow and a host of clever camera tricks.

Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer gets the most out of his cast, largely made up of non-actors, even though the film employs very little dialogue. Actually, Vampyr feels more like a silent film in execution.

As with my experience a few months ago watching Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf, this is one of those special films that was influenced as much as it was influential. The work of the expressionists of the twenties was clearly not lost on Dreyer, as he adopted the same anything-goes attitude that made their films so striking. It may not be as extreme as something like Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou – as Vampyr does still possess a linear narrative – but the sentiment is there. On the flipside, I can see much of this film in Hour of the Wolf, as well as the work of the surrealists that would come after him, like David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Even though the Time Out List is flooded with vampire flicks – nine in total – there is definitely a place for this film. It is a feast of visual wonders, made when the technology of film was still being mastered.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Old Dark House (#6)

I’m getting down to the nitty-gritty of the Time Out Best 100 List now, with only six titles left. By coincidence, all but one of the remaining films were made well before I was born – hell, before my parents were born! – so tracking them down has been a challenge. The latest one to struck from the list was James Whale’s 1932 film The Old Dark House.

Wary travellers seek shelter in a rickety old mansion during a raging storm, but soon find out that the inhabitants may be even more unpredictable than the inclement weather outside.

Whale made The Old Dark House fairly early in his career, releasing it in the four-year period between his two iconic films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. I feel this film has a more intimate quality to it. It is largely one location and features copious amounts of animated dialogue, much like a stage play.

We’ve all heard the term “it was a dark and stormy night” and I wonder if The Old Dark House is the film genesis of this byline. Once inside the house though, it turned into fairly standard fare. Apart from some nice flourishes with shadow, I didn’t find there was much going on visually. The house is certainly a wonderful set piece, almost feeling like a character itself at some points, but I can’t say it really came off as menacing.

Boris Karloff & Gloria Stuart in The Old Dark House.

Considering this was the first film that Boris Karloff received top billing, it didn’t really seem like he was given much to do. The few appearances he does make feature no dialogue – which could’ve been fine as we all know just his expressions spoke volumes – and his presence is, for the most part, ineffectual.

I think the most interesting fact about this film is that it was almost lost. When Universal failed to retain the rights, they were picked up by Columbia and the film was basically buried to make way for Bill Castle’s 1963 remake of the same name. It wasn’t until decades later when director Curtis Harrington took it upon himself to track down the only remaining copy that was hidden away in Columbia’s vault.

The Old Dark House is a curious little effort. It was a fun oddity to watch, but didn’t really strike me as something that deserved to be on the list – and certainly not as high as #57. Next up, will be another film from 1932, but from a different corner of the globe.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trailer Tuesdays: Future Kill

So, ladies and gentleman, I ask you. How does THIS--

relate to THIS??

Trailer courtesy of Bastard Cinema.

This is probably the best example of VHS coverbox art overselling a product. The number of video store customers that were duped must number in the thousands.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

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Good afternoon. Well, it's Spring now, but you'd never know it, as we're still freezing our bagettes off over here. No, I'm not bitter at all. But I digress.

FOF 2013.

This week, Rue Morgue announced the upcoming lineup for this year's Festival of Fear.

Now, that's pretty spectacular. And if that wasn't enough, there's another reunion coming by way of MacabreCon.

It would appear my calendar is filling up quickly.

A Match Made In Hell.

Check out this latest limited-edition T-shirt design from Fright Rags.

Somewhere, Chris Alexander's head just exploded.

Upcoming Next.

Remember that slasher film called You're Next that I was raving about in the Fall of 2011? Well, Lionsgate are finally releasing it this August and have begun rolling out the marketing.

Bring it on, boys!

Friday, March 22, 2013

It Came From The Archives 18!

In honour of the recent passing of author James Herbert, I decided to showcase my collection of his works. His catalogue began in 1974 with the release of The Rats and went all the way up to last year with the final chapter of his Daniel Ash Trilogy, entitlted Ash. Here we go!

For my past post on this graphic novel, click here

*Special thanks to my brother for sending me pics from his stash for the ones (Haunted, Jonah & The Fog) that I was missing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

R.I.P. James Herbert 1943-2013.

It’s a very sad day here at The Horror Section. Yesterday, British author James Herbert died at his home in Sussex. He was 69.

Horror novelist James Herbert.

The importance of this man’s work to me in my formative years is immeasurable. He and Stephen King blasted my imagination to pieces with their dark and descriptive tales.

Herbert’s The Fog was one of the first horror novels I ever read, and my ratty, ear-marked paperback of Creed was perpetually on my bedside table. I even used to re-enact scenes from The Rat Trilogy with my G.I. Joes as a kid.

Good times.

Being from overseas, several of his works never got released domestically, so that meant I either had to stock up when I was over there, or have my relatives bring his latest offering whenever they visited. Each new tale was devoured in an instant.

Long time readers of this blog know I lamented how untapped his works were in terms of adaptation. His catalogue contains countless dark wonders, yet only five  – the most recent being the BBC mini The Secret of Crickley Hall last year – out of twenty-three of his works have been brought to the screen. You may say that is a good thing, but now that the man has left us, we will no longer be graced with new material.

On the bright side, Herbert was able to complete his Daniel Ash trilogy, as the last chapter, simply entitled Ash, was released last year.

A great talent, and an even greater storyteller, Herbert will be greatly missed.

To read a nice little obit over at The Guardian, click here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trailer Tuesdays: Cat's Eye.

I happened to be discussing the movie Bad Moon with a friend the other day and after I described it as the “dog version of Cat’s Eye” she revealed that she’d never heard of the 1985 anthology. After later sending her this trailer, I was reminded of how much I loved this movie as a kid.

Trailer courtesy of Tower of Dark.

Cat’s Eye is one of my favourite celebrations of Stephen King’s work. Even thirty years ago, he was a superpower. Before he started farming his stuff out to Mick Garris, King had an almost unblemished adaptation record. I re-watched Firestarter and The Dead Zone on Netflix recently and they both still held up beautifully.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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Happy St. Pat's everyone!

Okay, now that's out of the way, here's what I've got for you this week.

Lustig Speaks.

I wanted to pass along Christian Niedan's fantastic interview with director Bill Lustig for the website Camera In The Sun. Lustig needs no introduction, having created some of horror's most notorious titles, including Maniac and Maniac Cop. He was also the mastermind behind the video distribution company Blue Underground, one of the first to specialize in bringing titles of the VHS era to DVD. In the interview, he talks at length about New York in the 70's, the inspirations behind his films, and also the inner-workings of the home video business. Here below are some snippets.

On films that influenced Maniac;

"Maniac was like a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Honeymoon Killers. I mean, there are bits and pieces from other movies where I look at the scenes and I remember what I was thinking when I shot them. As far as the rhythm of the shots, and the movement and everything, I was thinking of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The look and feel of the picture was very much in our thoughts, always. We wanted to create this feeling of the gritty underbelly of New York."

On working with Larry Cohen on the Maniac Cop films;

"Larry's a great storyteller. His love of movies came from him watching ’30s & ’40s films out of Hollywood — particularly film noir, B movies. He really has an affection of that kind of quirky storytelling. So he really, really knows how to write a story. The lottery ticket scene in Maniac Cop 2 was a brilliant idea. That was all Larry. Again, he has a comedic element to him where he finds the humor in juxtaposing different things in different ways."

On starting Blue Underground;

"In broad strokes, it was my intent to be able to continue to bring out films that I love that had not really been given respectable releases. Really high quality transfers with interesting bonus material. I kind of thought of Blue Underground as being the “pop culture Criterion Collection”"

Tape Heads.

Being a VHS enthusiast, it goes without saying that I'm ecstatic that we have not one, but two upcoming documentaries on the subject.

Rewind This just played SXSW last week and features the likes of Frank Henenlotter, Cassandra Peterson, and Lloyd Kaufman. Adjust Your Tracking is brought to us by the guys at VHShitfest and is more geared toward VHS Collectors. Rest assured, I am stoked for both.

Gimme That Book.

I'm gearing up for Evil Dead Week here, but in the meantime, here's a promotional poster that was commissioned for the SXSW screening of the Evil Dead remake drawn by my friend Trevor Henderson

If you want to get your grubby claws on one, just click here.

Friday, March 15, 2013


I am crazy busy with a few projects at the moment, but wanted to share some thoughts on a film I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while now. Late last year, I was able to check out the 2011 Swedish film Marianne by director Filip Tegstedt.

After Krister (Thomas Hedengran) loses his wife in a car crash, he is left alone to raise his two daughters, one a rebellious teen (Sandra Larsson) and the other a newborn infant. Racked with guilt over the incident, he starts experiencing insomnia, sleep paralysis and nightmares about being visited by a spectral figure. Is it his imagination, or is something out to get him?

I like this film because it is one of those titles that really creeps up on you. Marianne has a very surreal vibe running though it that echoes the protagonist’s mental woes. Past and present are mixed together to create this weird geography of events that is jarring at first, but somehow ends up suiting the material.

This film features some very grounded and sincere performance, making this piece more about the characters than the story. This is likely why it didn’t bother me that the film’s end-game was apparent from fairly early on. It also helped that the film is saturated with an atmosphere of dread and despair, perfectly complimented by – my favourite aspect of the film – the music by Mikael Junehag and Kid Arctica.

I love this stuff. It reminds me of the bands I was jamming to in the mid-nineties. The sound design in Marianne is also exceptional. I wager once you hear raspy tones of the Mare’s appearance, you won’t ever forget them. Speaking of Mares, this is also another recent film from Scandinavia that has mined its rich folklore for cinematic effect (Thale and Troll Hunter being two other examples). It is this spiritual foundation that keeps their film industry so unique and vibrant.

A sizable amount of time had elapsed when I finally got around to writing about this, so I actually went back and watched it again. I think I liked Marianne even more the second time around, for I was aware of what it was, and what it wasn’t. Marianne is a drama first and a horror film second, not the other way around, which, in this case, works in its favour. I can’t recall a film that has melded these two genres so well since – also sadly under seen – 2009’s The Eclipse with Ciaran Hinds and Aidan Quinn.

Sorry, there's not really a lot of images to choose from online...

Marianne is a bold, mature and heartfelt debut that lingers long after the credits have rolled. Though this film has still not received any kind of official release domestically, I urge you to keep your eye out for it, as these kind of genre-tinged character pieces do not come around that often.