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, June 29, 2014

DKTM 227

Hey everyone. Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful weekend. It's far too nice out to be huddled in front of my laptop, so I'll get right to it.

Second Wave!

Fantasia announced another slew of titles last week and they were just as exciting as the batch they unveiled the week before. I've been making the pilgrimage to Montreal for seven years now, and I can't rightly remember a year this packed with genre titles I am eager to see. Here are some recent additions that I'm hoping play the opening week that I am there.

First and foremost is the 40th anniversary ceremony for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which will include Tobe Hooper receiving a lifetime achievement award, followed by a screening of the new 4K restoration of the iconic film. I've seen Texas Chainsaw on the big screen a few times and still maintain that it has real power when projected, as the last act is still as unrelenting as it ever was.

Coming off his impressive debut The Pact, Nicholas McCarthy returns with another house-centric thriller called At The Devil's Door. Bending time and narratives in a way that sounds much like Oculus - one of my current faves - did, I am definitely on board.

Fresh off its premiere at SXSW, Nacho Vigolondo (Timecrimes) brings his latest film Open Windows to Fantasia. Starring Elijah Wood & Sasha Grey, this one is sure to scratch your voyeuristic itch.

Local filmmaker Chad Archibald is premiering his boogeyman throwback The Drownsman at the festival. I remember when this was just an idea, so it's great to see the guys at Black Fawn Films add another project to their growing library.

Another film from SXSW is Housebound from New Zealander Gerard Johnstone. This one apparently turns the haunted house genre on its ear, perhaps in the way Cabin In The Woods did last year. That's really all I need to know.

The UK-Irish production Let Us Prey from Brian O' Malley sounds like a cross between The Twlight Zone and Assault on Precinct 13. You might as well have said chocolate and peanut butter. I'm in!

A film that's been on my radar for a while is Dennis Widmyer & Kevin Kolsch's tinseltown horror flick Starry Eyes, so I'm very glad it is coming to Montreal. Hopefully, star Noah Segan will make the trip and hang out at the Irish because he's one cool dude.

The full line-up will be revealed on July 10, but you can check out the rest of the titles recently announced by clicking here.

A Kick To The Head.

As you'll recall, I was pretty chuffed about a coming-of-age horror flick called Found last year. If you've seen it, you'll certainly remember it featured some pretty ghastly scenes from a fictional slasher called Headless. Fictional that is, until the filmmakers decided they were going to make a feature length version to satiate the gorehounds out there. So, considering what a niche project this is, it makes sense that they would turn to their fans - and the morbidly curious - for help. Check out the campaign video below.

Click here to join the debauchery. Here's blood in your eye!

Trailer Trash

I'll end things off here with a few trailers. I posted a video from the guys at StudioADI last week talking about the constant jockeying between practical and digital effects. Well, here's the trailer for one of their latest projects called Harbinger Down.

The influences are obvious, but really all I care about is whether this movie is The Thing remake they originally intended to be a part of. Their technical prowess and Lance Henriksen are really all I need to check this one out. It's interesting to note that Harbinger Down was partially funded through Kickstarter, so that only lends more credence to Gillis & Woodruff Jr's assertion that people WANT to see practical effects.

The second trailer is one for Adam Wingard's newest The Guest.

Gorgeous trailer, guys! Wingard & Barrett are currently on a roll, so let's hope this one is another winner.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Canadian Giant.

With Canada Day on the doorstep, it seems fitting that this be the last in this batch of video intros.

Cineplex Odeon Home Video was the home distribution division of the Canadian theatre chain of the same name. Founded in 1978 as Pan-Canadian Film Distributors and based out of Toronto, it became Cineplex Odeon Films in 1986. In the early nineties, it was Canada’s largest independent film distributor.

Cineplex Odeon distributed hundreds of titles in all genres, from sex comedies to children’s entertainment, but some notable horrors included Just Before Dawn, Deadtime Stories, Witchboard, Maniac Cop and Brideof Re-Animator.

The above intro, a riff on their theatrical logo, was taken from my VHS of Hardware and used on their tapes until 1990. A revamped logo was then used until Cineplex was forced to scrap its distribution arm in 1998. Cineplex Odeon was then folded into Alliance Atlantis, which itself was absorbed by Entertainment One in 2013.

Even though their home video counterpart is gone, Cineplex’s presence in Canada is still widely felt, as they – after swallowing up Famous Players, Empire and the theatres built by AMC in their fifteen year foray north of the border – now command more than seventy-five percent of the theatres operating in Canada.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Netflix Pix 8.0

It has been some time since I've posted about what's available on Netflix Canada, so now seems as good a time as any. The solid content has not stopped coming in - mad props to them for adding both seasons of Hannibal so quickly, I guess that it shoots here probably helped - and here is just a taste of some recent dark delicacies.

Mexican import Here Comes The Devil is now available on Big Red. This is a solid genre piece that is refreshingly straightforward and built on atmosphere punctuated with moments of extreme gore. Director Adrián García Bogliano's has sound filmmaking skills, even if he does love the shock zoom a little too much. Much like Jorge Michel Grau's 2010 flick We Are What We Are, this film features a fractured family dynamic, so fans of such will find much to chew on here.

Banshee Chapter was a nice surprise at last year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Using the bizarre and unexplained phenomenon of number stations and meshing it with Lovecraftian lore, director Blair Erickson makes a ton of great choices here. It is largely a found footage flick, but he cleverly abandons the format when it doesn't suit the story. There are a ton of well executed set pieces - like double what you get in paint-by-numbers Hollywood fare - so if you're in the mood for some creeps, check this one out.

Last year's documentary love letter to George A. Romero's debut masterpiece Night of the Living Dead is now on Netflix. I enjoyed this quite a bit and had a nice mix between academia and fan service, with fantastic artistic visualizations by Ghoulish Gary Pullin, and includes the likes of Jason Zinoman (author of the great book Shock Value), genre industry pillars like Gale Ann Hurd & Larry Fessenden as well as Romero himself. For fans of zombies and genre film history, this is a must watch.

Moving on to television, I was very glad to this on here. Gillian Anderson is fantastic in this as an icy inspector on the trail of a serial killer. The parallel storytelling mode following cop and killer simultaneously is very compelling and Jamie Dornan is also great as the calculating killer Paul Spector. Only five episodes long, I wager you'll devour this in an evening.

Well, there you go, that should keep you busy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish watching the second season of Hannibal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: Intruder

Twenty five years ago, Scott Spiegel's splatterfest Intruder was released, so here's, courtesy of, is the trailer.

I love this movie for many reasons. First, it has an insane energy to it, as Spiegel's visual style is like Sam Raimi's, except on speed. If you were to drink every time Spiegel uses an irregular camera move or angle, you would... well let's just say it would end badly for you. Second, Intruder showcases some of KNB EFX's best gore work, long before they started augmenting everything with CG. And third, Intruder not only features Ted Raimi, but also his brother Sam, in one of his rare turns in front of the camera. It's a splatstick gem I revisit regularly.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DKTM 226

Hey everyone. I'm happy to say that shooting has wrapped on my latest short The Monitor, so now I can get things back to normal - or what passes for normal anyway - here. Some cool stuff happened this week, so let's get right to it.


The first round of titles were announced for this year's Fantasia Film Festival this week and boy, are there some real doozies! Here's a rundown of the titles for which I'm most looking forward.

French filmmakers Alex Bustillo & Julien Maury (Inside, Livid) are back with their eighties horror homage called Among The Living. Said to combine elements of Stand By Me with Funhouse, I'm super excited for this one.

One filmmaker who brings an insane creative energy to his projects is Russian Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Nightwatch). Cybernatural, directed by Leo Gabriadze, revolves around the hot topic of cyber-bullying and takes place entirely through online chat cameras. Bekmambetov's projects are usually all-encompassing epics, so I am very eager to see what he does with more intimate subject matter. 

John McNaughton (Henry, The Borrower) returns to the director's chair proper after more than a decade with a film called The Harvest starring Michael Shannon and Peter Fonda. Whatever it is, I'm in.

The synopsis for action effort The Huntresses from South Korean director Park Jae-hyun“A trio of daring and dangerous bounty-hunting beauties find themselves in a high-risk, high-stakes game of subterfuge and swordplay in medieval Korea.” Yes, please!

The Mo Brothers' (Macabre) flick Killers made a bloody splash at Sundance earlier this year, and now comes to Montreal. This film is about two competing serial killers using the social media landscape as their battleground.

Noburo Iguchi (Machine Girl, Dead Sushi) returns with Live which is described as a “triathlon of death”. Iguchi's films always make me smile, and my love of the survival genre only makes me even more intrgued.

The Spierig's return (Undead, Daybreakers) with the sci-fi thriller Predestination starring Ethan Hawke and Noah Taylor. These guys have tons of spirit and their background in effects always gives way to wonderful visuals.

I feel a pang of sadness that my short film Lively didn't get accepted to the fest, but all this great content is more than consolation. The full line-up will be revealed on July 10, but you can check out the rest of the titles previously announced by clicking here.

Digital Murder.

It's a question film nerds ask often; why do studios insist on using CGI when practical effects are so much better? Well, effects gurus Alec Gillis & Tom Woodruff Jr. of Amalgamated Dynamics Inc. have some answers for you...

I can only imagine how horrified those guys must have been when they saw all their hard work on The Thing remake get pasted over with inferior CGI. What happened with that Cyclops in the video above was fucking CRIMINAL. I mean it looked amazing!

These guys are right though, there's always been a disconnect between what studios think we want and what we actually do. It's up to us to make sure that practical effects are the go-to method for creating nightmares on screen. If it can be done practically, do it!

Last Stop, Hell.

I found this cool news story online this week. For sometime now, a VHS copy of Hellraiser has mysteriously sat atop a London bus stop on Old Kent Road. 

As if public transit wasn't hellish enough...

What makes it even more odd, is that it regularly disappears and then reappears. Sometimes there is even more than one. Is it a prank or a portal to hell? For more on the story, click here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Twilight Time.

This week’s intro is for another tiny distribution company from the eighties…

I wasn’t able to find much info on them, mainly because all searches gave me a million results for that insipid vampire series from a few years ago, but what I did find is that they released a half-a-dozen titles in the eighties, including Haunts, The Milpitas Monster and The Queen of Black Magic.

The above logo was taken from my extra-crusty VHS of Kiss Daddy Goodbye, which includes the first bit of the opening score from the film.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Full Moon

Hello all! Tonight is the night of the Friday the 13th Full Moon, something that won't happen again for another thirty-five years.

It's just like Friday the 13th Part 2!

I also wanted to let you know I'll be taking a small break from THS, as my newest project The Monitor will be filming very shortly. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here next Friday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: Bad Moon

With a full moon approaching (on Friday the 13th no less!), it seems a werewolf movie trailer is required. Here's one for Bad Moon, a solid nineties horror flick from Eric Red.

It's funny that this trailer doesn't focus on the most appealing part of the movie, which is that the family dog is essentially the protagonist of the piece, if not certainly the hero. I've always thought of Bad Moon as a canine version of Cat's Eye, except without the anthology format, of course.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Family Values.

Tomorrow, a Canadian horror flick by the name of Torment hits DVD and Video on Demand.

Shortly after Cory (Robin Dunne) arrives at his cottage home with his son Liam (Peter DaCuhna) and new wife Sarah (Katharine Isabelle), they are set upon by a group of masked invaders.

While it is true that there are countless home invasion thrillers with masked antagonists out there, Torment does what it does well. It was similar in structure to one of my favourite thrillers Ils, but also possessed traits of its domestic counterpart The Strangers, as well as The Hills Have Eyes. The trailer does make it seem a little torture porn-y, but I found Torment distinguished itself from that by not lingering on the gore. It tried to focus, and succeeded to some degree, more on the visceral.

My main draw – and emotional investment – was, of course, Katharine Isabelle. I've always loved her wiry energy, and am glad she's making a comeback of sorts after her turn as the title character in American Mary a few years ago. She never really went away, mind you, but after seemingly being relegated to TV one-offs and small parts in direct-to-video fare like Dark Days and Rampage, she is back with a vengeance. With regular roles in Being Human & Hannibal, and half a dozen other projects on the go, the future looks bright. Isabelle was great in Torment and showed a more intense range than we're used to seeing.

Robin Dunne & Katharine Isabelle in Torment.

I liked the look of this film, as well. The family home location and the surrounding forest were a production designer's dream. I read that there were some lighting problems, so director Jordan Barker had to use the darkness to his advantage – one scene in particular in the cellar was very well crafted. That's what they call a “happy accident”, folks.

Another plus was with it clocking in at just under eighty minutes, Torment possesses very little fat. Again much like the aforementioned Ils, it spends just the right amount of time establishing the characters and then gets right to it. The “tormentors” motivations were just enough to be passable, and for every stupid decision our protagonists made, there was also a good one. That's a pretty good ratio by horror movie standards.

It will be tough for Torment not to get lost in the glut of similar-looking titles, but if you are sifting though your VOD menus this week – or should it someday reach Netflix – give it a shot. It's gritty, brisk and, perhaps most importantly, homegrown.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

DKTM 225 (Hungover Edition)

The Stand Marches On.

After deciding on a director (Josh Boone, Fault In Our Stars) for the latest adaptation of Stephen King's masterpiece novel The Stand, it appears the production have decided on a format. Boone plans to bring this newest iteration to us in the form of a three-hour R-rated movie.

Randall Flagg aka The Dark Man from The Stand.

Putting aside my concerns on Boone whose background lies in romantic drama (but hey, maybe some fresh eyes is what this needs, instead of just putting Mick Garris behind the crank), this feels like a very challenging move. The nineties version was six hours and even that felt condensed and collapsed at times. Although, my biggest problem with the mini-series was that it felt very sanitized, which the new R-rated incarnation would hopefully alleviate. A ten-part HBO extravaganza would have been the best route to go in my opinion, but hey, what do I know? I've only read it a billion times... Boone seems very passionate about the project, so let's hope he cares enough about it to keep it from going off the rails.

Every Corpse Has A Story.

Here's a Kickstarter that every fan of the eighties horror should take a look at. Indie filmmaker Ryan Spindell is looking for funds to produce his anthology film, The Mortuary Collection. Here below, is his promo video.

I am fully behind this. The premise sounds delicious and looks like it has a great variety of horror subgenres. As we know, there has been a resurgence of anthologies over the past few years, but not all of them have been worthwhile. Spindell looks like a man with the right sensibilities to make something special here, so, give generously!

Twisted & Bizarre.

Lastly, is a bit of musical madness. Director Brandon Cronenberg and crazy-in-demand cinematographer Karim Hussain collaborated on this music hit for Toronto band Anamalia's new single Stifling. Check it out below. Be forewarned that it may make your face hurt.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Urban Classics.

This week's intro is...

Urban Classics was a super low budget off-shoot of Empire International during the late eighties. As far as I can tell, they only distributed six films that included the likes of Assault of the Killer Bimbos, Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity and the film I posted the trailer for a few days ago, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. Are you sensing a trend here?

The above intro was pulled from my VHS copy of Creepozoids.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Little Terrors 28!

Last week, the twenty-eighth edition of Toronto's premiere genre short film showcase Little Terrors wrapped up its latest season. As per usual, curator Justin McConnell served up a strong menu of ghastly shorts. Here were some highlights.

I was very happy to see my friend Nate Wilson's short Glow featured here. It played TIFF earlier this year as part of the Next Wave Young Filmmaker Showcase, where it won first place. Nate continues to impress me with his skills that continue to exceed his age of seventeen years. The words “bright future” seem appropriate here. Here it is below.

In the realm of horror comedy, this Little Terrors brought us Michael Penney's Yeah Rite, which features a lawyer-turned-exorcist trying to debunk a family's claim of demonic possession. What impressed me was what could've been a second-rate SNL skit - by that I mean the same joke being used over and over - was skillfully balanced by crisp writing and great comedic timing from all involved. A very witty parody.

My absolute favourite of the evening though, was Joe Ballarini's effort Bedbug. The writer of the zombie flick Dance of the Dead from a few years ago, really knocked it out of the park with this one. The story is relatable, the pace is excellent, but most importantly it features one of the best child performances I've seen in years. Chelsea Carmichael is fantastic as the vulnerable youngster caught between her mother's abusive boyfriend and the thing under her bed. An Imdb search revealed that she is already a seasoned pro with over fourty credits - all before the age of ten! Bedbug is a wonderful short, with a great punchline to boot. Check out the trailer below.

There were also a lot of really great looking shorts, including Jesse Burks' One Please, Robert Boocheck's Horrific and UK collective Bloody Cuts futuristic Machine Stopped Working, although I don't believe for a second that the latter was made in 48 hours like they claimed.

After a summer break - save for its best-of compilation showing at the Fan Expo in August - Little Terrors will return in September, once again bringing forth new nightmares to the Carlton.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama

Today's trailer is for a movie with one of the most colourful titles of the eighties...

Sorority Babes' greatest claim to fame is that is one of two movies - Nightmare Sisters being the other - that stars all three Scream Queens Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer. This film is thick on the cheese factor, but I find its mix of demonic horror and sex comedy - much like Night of the Demons, also starring Quigley - quite endearing.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

DKTM 224

Good afternoon everyone. It's a beautiful day out there, so I'll make this brief so I can go visit Ye Olde Hammock as quickly as possible.


This week, Fangoria broke the news that there is a new horror convention coming to town this November. Managing editor Chris Alexander and Suspect Video owner Luis Ceriz have joined forces to bring us Horror-Rama, which they describe as “a niche convention, bringing together legends of horror cinema and dark pop culture for an intimate and interactive couple of days in the heart of the city.”

The first two guests to be announced were;

I am super excited to have another genre festival in the city. Fan Expo is fun, but each becomes more expensive and an increasing logistical nightmare, and it's a bit of a trek to get to the more intimate genre events in London and Niagara Falls. Horror-Rama is a much needed and welcome event, so big ups to Chris and Luis for getting it done. For more info and updates, check out the Facebook page here.

The Owlman Returns.

A while back, I posted about a cool viral campaign for a UK indie called The Lord of Tears. Well, this time the filmmakers took to an old abandoned hospital to scare the bejeezus out of some amateur photographers.

I love the guy who chose the third option - curl up and cry - in the fight or flight scenario. Watching this reminded me of my recent trip to Camp 30, and what Ali & I would have done if Owlman made an appearance there. The Lord of Tears released in Scotland last year, and is now available through their website.

Skull & Shark.

This isn't really news, as much as it is just passing along something I discovered this week - the retro stylings of LazerHawk.

LazerHawk is an Austin-based musician named Garrett Hays who clearly loves 80's cinema as much as I do. I look forward to digging into his entire catalog on Bandcamp over the coming weeks.