As you may have gathered from my hastily thrown together Shock Stock post, I'm currently preoccupied with other things of late. I've been in the throes of pre-production on my latest short for the last few weeks, so things have been pretty rammed. Consequently, I'll be taking a break from THS while I get “Lively” in front of a camera.
I will endeavour to get you back to your regularly scheduled programming in May. Till then...
The 3rd edition of London's Shock Stock Convention went down last weekend. Sadly, I was only able to check out the Saturday this year, but there was still no shortage of stuff to do. Here it is, in pictures.
Even more VHS!
Been looking for these bad boys for a while! Thanks to Zack from The Vault for hooking me up!
Watching that, I was immediately transported back to the mid-eighties when it aired here in Canada. It gives me chills, as even that short trailer accurately conveys the tangible dread that emanates from the screen while watching it. The really insane thing is that where the trailer stops, the really horrifying section begins. It's the stuff of nightmares.
Clearly, I look back on the eighties very fondly, so I often forget about some of the uglier things that happened during that decade. I wonder how close we actually came to total annihilation back then.
Hey all. This is a pre-recorded Messenger post, as I am currently recovering from my Shock Stock pilgrimage. Here's hoping I made it back from London okay after that midnight screening. Anyhoo, a lot happened this week...
R.I.P. Richard Brooker.
Richard Brooker 1954-2013.
We lost yet another icon in the horror community this week. Stuntman Richard Brooker, best known for portraying Jason Voorhees in the third Friday the 13th movie, died this week at the age of 58. He was, of course, the first to wear Jason's trademark hockey mask and the only one to kill in 3D! Here below is a sample of his handiwork.
Here are two things that caught my eye this week. The first is some lovely weaving from artist Sabrina Parolin.
The second is this bad-ass action figure from a company in Japan.
So, a few months ago, Charles Bandposted a video about finding a bunch of original VHS big boxes in his warehouse, which he is now selling on his website. It was a find that seemed too good to be true. Well, Paul from VHSCollector.com is maintaining that is, in fact, the case. Earlier this week, he posted this video.
After this damning evidence, some came forward to defend Band, including Fangoria editor Chris Alexander. He posted a video of his own comparing Demoniac releases, as well as getting in touch with Band himself for comment. Soon after, Alexander posted a voice mail of Band addressing the validity of his claims.
In response to this, Paul posted another video, which pretty much shot down those points, as well.
In the end, you have to take Paul's advice and just “look at the evidence and decide for yourself”
I am ashamed to admit that my only knowledge of voodoo as a kid was gleaned from this, Creepshow and the James Bond movie Live & Let Die. Oh, and there was also the voodoo doll I bought at a novelty store in Niagara Falls. Come to think of it, I don't know whatever happened to that thing. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say my Mom chucked it out, as I remember her not being thrilled that I had it.
A nurse named Betsy (Frances Dee) travels abroad to care for
Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), the catatonic wife of a rich businessman (Tom Conway). Once
there, she finds that Jessica’s illness may have a more supernatural cause. Delving
into the voodoo culture of the island inhabitants, she seeks to set things right.
This is a solid film. After viewing all these old Universal
pictures over the last few years, the thing that has struck me the most is how
they evolved over time. Starting with the monster movie character pieces of the
thirties, they morphed into more ensemble-based efforts like this one, and
later my personal favourite, The Thing From Another World in
1951. I like the rhythm of I Walked With A Zombie and how naturally the
exposition is conveyed via dialogue.
Tom Conway & Frances Dee in I Walked With A Zombie.
It was also interesting to see what pre-Romero zombies were
like. Before flesh-eating ghouls invaded Pittsburgh, zombies were just mindless
slaves, usually controlled by voodoo or black magic. Or as Dr. Maxwell (James
Bell) explains in one scene.
“(A zombie is) a
ghost, a living dead. And it’s also a drink.”
That made me think of some Nicotero zombies sittin’ around a
pool drinking Bloody Marys.
I liked the look of this film, as well. The scene with Betsy
and Jessica walking though the cane fields in genuinely creepy, and well, I
don’t think I need to say how striking Carrefour (Darby Jones) was in this
film. It likely took no work on the part of the cinematographer to make Jones
look eight feet tall. It’s a rare talent for an actor to look menacing by doing
barely anything at all.
Carrefour (Darby Jones) stands guard.
So, I Walked With A Zombie is another winner,
succeeding with straightforward narrative and stark visuals. That’s no easy task with a
colourful title like that.
Sad news this week, as we lost two cinema icons. The first was filmmaker Jess Franco, who passed away in Spain on Tuesday at the age of 82. With 199 directing credits spanning seven decades, he was one of the most prolific genre filmmakers in history. Though a good number of them weren't exactly winners, I have fond memories of watching some of his more stimulating pictures like She Killed In Ecstacy and Vampire Lesbos on late-night television and his flick Bloody Moon is among my favourite examples of slasher sleaze. It is depressing to hear another one of the old guard has left us, but at least his legacy with live on. The second loss this week was film critic Roger Ebert, who passed away Thursday. He was 70.
Jess 'Jesus' Franco (1930-2013) & Roger Ebert (1942-2013)
Siskel & Ebert's At The Movies was extremely important to me as a youngster. Apart from the fragmented glimpses I got from all-too-brief TV ads, their show was really the only place I got to see clips of the newest horror flicks. I can still remember when they covered Halloween II. I recall they weren't exactly impressed, but I vividly remember the clip they showed was where Karen (Pamela Susan Shoop) answers a room buzzer and gets jumped by Bud (Leo Rossi). I wasn't able to find that review on line, but here's a very favourable discussion about its predecessor.
Farewell, Mr. Ebert. We'll miss seeing you at TIFF.
There were a bunch of trailers released this week, so let's go through a few of them, shall we?
I find this one a little confounding. Even if I did suspend my disbelief, the logic of this setup still seems flawed. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how giving psychopaths a day pass will lower unemployment and improve the quality of life. Perhaps Universal wanted the feed off the buzz of Lion's Gate's upcoming You're Next by making their own home invasion thriller with masked antagonists. The difference is, I want to see You're Next (again).
Yeah, this trailer isn't really selling me. I love Moretz and Moore, but the only thing that seems different than the original are the visual effects. Like I said, not selling me.
I think I can get onboard with this. A thirteen episode run will allow this project to take its time and not rush things like most of King's television adaptations. Most of the cast are unknowns to me, so they'll be blank slates in a sense. So, yeah. I'm kind of excited for this. One of three ain't bad, right?
This week, a poster was released for Isaac Cravit's Canadian campsite horror flick, Solo.
The movie centers around a camp counsellor whose initiation involves spending two nights alone on the camp's island. Of course, the tension mounts when she realizes she may, in fact, not be alone. Okay, show me more.
Okay, so here we go. My thoughts on Evil Dead 2013...
Having seen this movie twice in the
weeks leading up to its release, I’ve had ample time to digest Fede
Alvarez’s redo of Evil Dead. Before I get into it though; a small
preface. Regardless of all the things I am about to say, I did
actually have a fun time watching this movie...
Evil Dead 2013 is a heavily flawed
piece of work. My main problem was just how slick and manufactured it
looked, which constantly reminded me – much to my chagrin – of
the Platinum Dunes canon. Even though the pretense of why the
characters are at the cabin was rather clever, the first act was
extremely clunky. To be honest, the whole sequence before the title
card could’ve been omitted and no one would have missed it. And
even when the movie was running at full clip, it still lacked the raw
energy of its predecessors.
There were many other small decisions
that perplexed me, as well. Rather than an unseen force, Alvarez
chooses to take the J-horror route with his demons, which makes the
movie rife with now tired clichés. Even the actual Deadite designs
– not the execution mind you, as that is solid – seem out of
place, like they would've been more at home in an Exorcist sequel than an
Evil Dead remake.
There is also the fact that this incarnation of Evil Dead isn’t scary. Claims of “this is the most terrifying film you will ever experience” look good on posters, but you have to, you know, actually back it up. Sam Raimi’s 2009 flick Drag Me To Hell had way more tension and frights, and that was 95% camp.
However, this movie does deliver in the gore department. There are a pile of set pieces – for which a good chunk are in the trailer sadly – which likely add up to the bloodiest film that has ever had a wide release. Most importantly, the reports that most of the effects were done practically are most definitely true. So, gorehounds rejoice!
My, my Jess. You do Dead up nice.
All the building blocks were in place
to make this a rousing success, so I’m not sure what happened here.
I have to chalk it up to the oft-used phrase at the top of this post. The world has moved on, and horror
films are just aren’t made with the same sensibilities. Films like
The Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw and Last House on the Left were made by
wiry mavericks who likely only followed through because there was no
one there to tell them they couldn’t do it. Hollywood films are
made by committee these days, not singular vision. This is not an
environment conducive to fostering the take-no-prisoners attitude of
And yet, I did have fun. For some
reason, my reaction to this remake not being as awesome as SXSW had
me believe was not one of anger. If you can believe it, depsite all
its faults, I’d say that Evil Dead is still one of the better remakes out there. For what its worth...
So, now it's time to turn my attention over to the 2013 incarnation of The Evil Dead. There's been a lot of great things unearthed from the Web over the last few weeks, so here's a sampling.
First, is a cool claymation recreation of the Evil Dead remake trailer.
Adding onto the retro VHS covers from last week, here is CMac Custom Design's take on The Evil Dead.
Check out this bad-ass poster for the remake from graphic artist Laz Marquez.
And finally, here is an excerpt from a recent Tribute.ca interview with Fede Alvarez, the director of the new remake.
Tribute:You really put your actors through hell in this movie! How did you convince them to take on their roles knowing what they were going to have to endure.
Fede Alvarez:I tell you they were all troopers going into this movie. Not only was there a lot of blood and physical exhaustion from the intensity of the script but we also shot everything at night. They were all up for the challenge and they were ready to do anything I asked of them. They knew that it was going to be a tough shoot and we warned them as much as we could when things were going to get really rough.
Evil Dead 2013 director Fede Alvarez.
T: Was there anything from the original film you felt obligated or just wanted to put in your movie?
FA:Definitely the house, the five friends and the Book of Dead. Those are the quintessential Evil Dead elements. Plus the chainsaw and the girl in the trap door and the car, those are just elements, but conceptually the idea of the demons and the girl torturing men. That was crucial in the original film and I felt it had to be present in this one.
T: What scares you and what kind of movies scared you growing up?
FA:What scares me is everything you see in this movie (laughs). As a writer, when you’re going to write a scary film and every time you are facing a new scene, you write your deepest fears. I'm not going to write about something that I think may scare people but doesn’t scare me, that would be stupid. So having made this film, it’s hard to get scared when I watch it, but I can tell you that I was really scared when I wrote it. I had a few sleepless nights!! Films that influenced me or ones that really scared me growing up was definitely the original Evil Dead. I rented it when I was 12 and I was really terrified. Another film that scared me when I was younger was The Exorcist and I pay homage to that one in my film.
My initial intent to throw some of my Evil Dead stuff on here became a bigger job than I was expecting. I really didn't realize how much I had until it was all out in one place. Granted, most of it is Army of Darkness related, as I didn't really start hoarding until I was in my teens. Anyhoo, to celebrate Evil Dead Week here at The Horror Section, here are some goodies from everyone's favourite Sam Raimi trilogy!
First off, some wit from the man himself.
Now onto the archives. Let's start with the posters.
The next four things were mail ordered from Western Renaissance. I got some T-shirts from them too, but they have since disintegrated into nothingness.
The two figures below are so beaten up it was a chore to get this picture taken without something falling off. How's that for authenticity?
So, that's when I learned to never take things out of the box.
Now, onto the mags.
Before people incessantly talked about Evil Dead IV, they talked about...
On the gaming side of things...
Here are programs for both Toronto incarnations of The Evil Dead Musical. The first one on the right opened the same night as the infamous 2003 blackout. The show went on, taking it outside to the front lawn of the theatre where it was lit up by flashlights and even car headlights.
Here are three variant covers of Issue #1 of A.O.D Ashes 2 Ashes.
Evil Dead Analogue.
Check back tomorrow as Evil Dead Week continues...