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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Palisades.

This week's intro is for the US-based Palisades Entertainment.



The intro above was taken from my worn copy of The Scorpion With Two Tails, an old Sergio Martino flick starring John Saxon. Palisades was founded in the 1970's by Richard Grod and quickly became a notable distributor of cult “midnight” movies such as The Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left and Night of the Living Dead.


They also - in connection with my review of Felidae earlier this week - were responsible for releasing a few fringe animated titles such as Wizards, Fritz the Cat & Heavy Traffic. And unlike a lot of distributors that disappeared or got swallowed up after the home video boom, Palisades is still going strong.

For more info on Palisades Entertainment, including a visual history of the films they have distributed, click here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Growing Up Is Hard To Do.

After a sizable break, I was finally able to dig into the second episode of The Walking Dead game's sophomore season entitled A House Divided.


I was happy that in this episode Clementine wasn't in as much direct danger, as I needed a breather after the intensity of All That Remains. This episode dealt more with relationships and inter-group politics, of which Clementine often had to act as mediator. In fact, it was during A House Divided that I realized just how much she has grown over the course of this series. Her dialogue tree options are nothing like they once were. Clementine now challenges and deflects in a manner far beyond her years. She has become an active member of the group, rather than a liability and is no longer the timid little girl Lee rescued from her tree house a lifetime ago.


Speaking of the group politics, I am continually impressed with how Telltale manages to keep the dynamics fresh. The story is constantly serving up interesting dilemmas and rarely gives you an easy choice. Negotiating the ensuing situations is tricky business, especially considering you have no control over the actions of the other characters. And it doesn't help that certain individuals seem predisposed to making the worst decisions possible. It's then always up to you to put out the fires. It's a lot to ask of an eleven-year-old, wouldn't you say?

There were some nice surprises this episode, as well. When the new villain Carver, first mentioned in the previous episode, showed up, I recognized the gravelly voice of Michael Madsen almost immediately. The first meeting between him and Clementine was fantastic and rivalled Hollywood production in its pot boiling intensity. It was also good to see the return of a character that was thought long devoured. Of course, the jubilation was short lived because it then brought up instant loyalty issues between comrades, old and new.

Clementine meets Carver (Michael Madsen)

The last set piece of the episode was, again, top notch. I, unfortunately, fucked things up good during my playthrough though. However, now knowing how the mechanics work, I'm sure I would've ended up in the same spot regardless, it just may have been less my fault. 

Anyway, I'm even more excited to see where things go from here. Keep up the great work, Telltale!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Felidae

I watched a German animated film called Felidae last weekend, and boy has it been on my mind ever since.


Francis, an inquisitive house cat, moves into a new neighbourhood with his owner and immediately learns of a rash of local cat murders. Despite the danger, he goes about trying to solve the crimes.

If The Secret of NIMH, The Plague Dogs and a giallo had a three-way, I believe the result would be something approaching that of this movie. Based on the 1989 novel of the same name – the Latin term for the feline family – Felidae is certainly NOT for kids. I had to wonder to myself while watching this just how many German children were traumatized by this film that features all manner of grim death including decapitation, evisceration and electrocution. For those who gravitate toward stuff with more of an edge than the sugar coated stylings of Walt Disney, Felidae is among the cream of the crop.

I never thought I would see another animated film that would be as disturbing as the aforementioned Plague Dogs, but here it is. My mouth fell open on a few occasions because it had been so long since I’d seen subject matter – really shocking and disturbing stuff – presented in this manner. It was truly disarming.

Right there with you, Francis.

I loved the animation style of this film, as it reminded me a lot of my favourite visionary, Don Bluth. This applies to not only the personalities and mannerisms of the characters (Francis, Blaubart & Felicitas especially), but also the fantastic action set pieces. Coming in at under eighty minutes, the pacing was also very good. Felidae builds a world, separate from the one we know as humans, yet still functions alongside it. There was a lot of exposition put forth over this time, and I was surprised at how intricate a mystery was contained in this initially innocuous cartoon.

Francis & Felicitas during happier times.

I’d love to own this movie (especially on Blu-ray) but sadly the only English release of this movie is dubbed. There is a decent subtitled version on YouTube though, which I have embedded below.



To be honest, I was a little floored by this movie. Felidae stands wonderfully alongside classic subversive animated films like Wizards, Heavy Metal and Fritz the Cat, featuring images you won’t soon forget.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: Night of a 1000 Cats.

This is a trailer for a film I remember renting from Jumbo Video many, many years ago. 



There are several things I love about this trailer. First, the quote “Alone, a harmless house pet. 1000 strong they become a man eating machine!” Second, that the film management was nice enough to offer free burials for those who dies in their theatre. I'd love to know why caskets are optional on the west coast.

Also, I love that on the movie's Imdb page there is an actress credited as “Woman who shoots doves.” Love it!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

DKTM 223


To all my Yankee readers out there, hope you are having a good Memorial weekend, and you got a chance to check out that awesome new X-Men flick. Here's what I have for you this week.

Trailers Unhitched.

Here's a trailer for the upcoming possession horror Deliver Us From Evil.



There's some great stuff in this trailer - that bit with the stuffed owl is super great - but the “from the makers of Sinister” leaves me  little weary. Those guys have a knack for visuals, but the last act of Sinister was pretty balls. Also, the fact that Olivia Munn is in this is a huge bonus, especially since I thought she'd sworn off the genre after fake blood destroyed her Blackberry during the filming of 2008's Insanitarium. Deliver Us From Evil releases July 2nd.

Speaking of “evil”, this trailer for Dark Dungeons defies explanation.



I mean... wow. I just this last week found out about Chick Tracts (comics put out by some religious zealot named Jack Chick on which this movie is based) so the sheer absurdity of this whole thing hit me like a speeding train.

It's like this movie doesn't take place on Earth. Where in this world would role playing games and frat parties ever, EVER converge??? What makes Dark Dungeons even more confounding it that it is not - or at least not intended to be - parody or satire! Although, I'm sure a lot of backers to the Kickstarter must have thought that it was, because I mean... COME ON!!!

As much as I would love to own a copy of this movie, I can't condone this lunacy by paying good money for it. However, if you would like to, you can do so by clicking here. Your soul will thank you. Apparently.

South of Heaven.

It was announced this week that Eli Roth will be teaming with Jason Blum to produce a series called South of Heaven. An eight episode has been ordered by AMC-owned WE tv. South of Heaven features a young demon hunter named Maria vanquishing evil along with her brother, David.

Eli Roth.














WE tv, formerly Romance Classics, seems like a weird fit for this type of show, but I suppose if it is of the Supernatural and Bitten ilk it could be successful. Roth will direct the pilot episode. His other television property, Hemlock Grove begins its second season in July.

Save Linnea's House.

You may heard that America's Scream Queen Linnea Quigley has fallen on some rough times of late and has reached out to the horror community for help. I'll let her explain in her own words;

“Hello friends and fans. My name is Linnea Quigley. America’s Scream Queen. I have been in over 100 movies including Return Of The Living Dead, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 and Night Of The Demons, to name only a few. Several years ago I put my career on hold and moved into my parents house to take care of them. While taking care of them my money was soon depleted and the family home developed a serious roof problem. I tried many ways to get the money to repair it but nothing worked. My parents have passed and I recently started back to work but just can’t come up with the money fast enough to save the house. Last week I got an estimate from a local general contractor. It’s going to cost $10,000 to fix the roof and $5,000 – $8,000 to fix the damage inside the house. The drywall has fallen from the ceiling and wall in places. My clothes and other things are being ruined. There is black mold in several places now too.  I’m an animal lover and have rescued many animals and several of them share the house with me. I ask that you please help me save my family home and give me and my rescued animals a safe place to live.”

Linnea Quigley, as Trash in Return of the Living Dead (left) & Sam in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (right)












It's a really unfortunate situation, so if you'd like to help, click here.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Video Two-Fer.

I've got a dual video home video intro for you today.



Malofilm was a Canadian company that was started in 1983 in Montreal, Quebec that dabbled in both film and television production. It was named for its founder René Malo. They distributed almost two hundred titles in the Canadian market, including genre films such as Scanners, House II, Frankenhooker and Hide And Go Shriek. Malofilm (sans Malo after he retired due to illness in the late-nineties) is now currently operating under the name Seville Pictures.

The second intro, for RaeDon Entertainment Group, is far more infamous. Founded in 1987 and operating out of Southern California, they were known for making some of the worst movies of the home video boom, including Alien Private Eye, Death Collector and Brain Sucker.

The music heard during the RaeDon intro is the opening score from my copy of the 1987 horror anthology Chillers, which technically is a Troma picture, but distributed by RaeDon. I recall this being somewhat decent, but it has been over twenty years since I actually watched it, so who knows? 


I can't really harp on RaeDon too much, as they did give me Rollerblade Warriors starring two of my favourite scream queens Kathleen Kinmont and Elizabeth Kaitan.


For more info on RaeDon's infamy, check out this great piece by Mike Malloy by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: Razorback

While we're on the subject of Aussie horror, it seems fitting to play a trailer for one of my faves, the 1984 killer boar picture Razorback.



Directed by Russell Mulcahy - who would subsequently go on to direct the classic film Highlander - this is a great little flick. Not only does it feature the numerous set pieces spied in the trailer, but also Dean Semler's amazing cinematography, which was extremely influential on the next generation of filmmakers.

This is a title that is screaming for a domestic Blu-ray release. Are you listening Scream Factory?

Monday, May 19, 2014

G'day.

Last week, Rue Morgue screened Greg McLean's follow up to his 2005 survivalist slasher Wolf Creek at The Royal for their May edition of Cinemacabre.


Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) continues his reign of terror in the Australian outback.

This was a solid sequel for a number of reasons, first and foremost being John Jarratt. I've heard Mick Taylor described as an “insane Crocodile Dundee”, and if you cross that with say John Ryder from The Hitcher, I think that's as apt a description as any. McLean, along with writer Aaron Sterns, give him more characterization this time around, further delving into the theme of xenophobia touched on in the first film. Whether Mick uses this as a real motivation or just an excuse to justify his grievous acts remains to be seen, but he certainly seems to enjoy what he does.

John Jarratt as Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek 2

I also appreciated that McLean and company tried to distinguish this one from the first by doing some things differently. Wolf Creek 2 bucked the final girl trend by making the protagonist male (played by Ryan Corr) and I thought it created a rather fresh dynamic. I was surprised by how much it worked, as I've spoken before about how this type of thing creates a disconnect with me. I was also impressed with some of the set pieces, as there are some great chase sequences, including one involving a big rig. Once again, the cinematography is top notch. Toby Oliver uses the landscape to its fullest potential with a varied array of tight and wide shots.

I did have a few problems with the movie though, as there were some logic leaps. A German character seemed to have a spine made of steel – if all Krauts were as resilient as this guy, they would have won the war – and I wished the old couple that appeared in the middle had been utilized a little better, but these are minor qualms. I do have to mention I wasn't crazy about the ending. It seemed incongruent with Mick's modus operandi and went against everything that had been established previously. Oh, I could've done without all the CG kangaroos, as well.

Tie me kangaroo down, SPLAT!

After the film, writer Aaron Sterns was Skyped in from Singapore. He had some cool tidbits to share, including that the truck crash was all done practically, eating up a good chunk of the seven-million dollar budget and their references to films like Texas Chainsaw, Duel and the aforementioned The Hitcher were all intentional. I also learned that there is a novel out about the origins of Mick Taylor, aptly titled Wolf Creek: Origin.

Wolf Creek 2 is a great follow-up to one of the better millennial slashers out there. Next up for Greg McLean is 6 Miranda Drive starring Kevin Bacon. This one is apparently a haunted house flick so, after mastering the more grounded terrors of Rogue and Wolf Creek, I'm interested to see what he can do with supernatural material.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DKTM 222


Hey all! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend, especially those blessed with an extra day off. Here's what I've got for you today.

Garmonbozia!

I heard the greatest news in perhaps, well, EVER, on Thursday. Twin Peaks, one of the greatest shows to ever hit the small screen, is getting the Blu-ray treatment.


Releasing on July 29th, this has EVERYTHING, including - and this is the truly mind-flaying part - the hugely coveted ninety minutes of deleted material from the original cut of the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. This is the shit for which people, including myself, have been waiting for over twenty years. This teaser below was released with the announcement on EW.com, and it gave me chills.



A million thank yous to David Lynch and the diligence of all that signed the petition started in 2011 to make this a reality. You can also check out this cool Tumblr for more on the Blu ray release.

Coming Soon To Vestron!

I saw this awesome Ebay auction on the Facebook group Horror VHS Collectors Unite! for this old Vestron catalogue from 1988.





My locale disqualifies me from bidding, but if you're in the US, this auction is still on for a few more days. Buy buy buy!

Trailer Trash, Cannes Edition.

Here are a few trailers that premiered during the Cannes market this week. The first is for the latest incarnation of the V/H/S anthology series.



A pretty solid trailer, although I had to stop watching halfway through, as I remembered just how much they show in those things. Though the directors included in this installment may be lesser known than the ones that came before, there is still much talent to go around. Marcel Sarmiento was responsible for the phenomenal ABC's of Death segment “D is for Dogfight” and Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead burst onto the scene in 2012 with their genre-bending debut Resolution.

The second trailer, for Lost After Dark, is less impressive, but I figured, what the hell?



When I heard about the whole shtick of it being set in 1984, I was hoping it was going to have the same aesthetic ala House of the Devil, but that doesn't appear to be the case. The only thing that really pulls me into this is the appearance of Robert Patrick. Oh well, I guess we'll see where this project ends up.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Video Gems

This week's intro is for the home distribution company Video Gems.



I'm always sad when a company's logo is not accompanied by a jingle, but what can you do? Video Gems released distributed dozens of films in all different genre during the home video boom and due to their penchant for big box packaging, a lot of their wares are highly collectible today. Some of their more notable horror titles included The Blob, Love Me Deadly, Messiah of Evil and The Severed Arm. The above intro was culled from my VHS copy of The House of Seven Corpses.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

R.I.P. H.R. Giger 1940 - 2014.

The very sad news of the passing of Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger awaited me this morning. He was 74. His paintings and sculptures were known the world over for their dark imagery. Here is just a taste.

Swiss artist H.R. Giger





This one graces my bedroom wall.

Giger contributed to many forms of media including film, music and even video games over his long career, but was best known for his now iconic (and Oscar winning) xenomorph designs in Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi Alien. This week's trailer is dedicated to one of the greatest artistic minds of our time.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

DKTM 221


Good morning everyone. Hope you'll be spending some time with the one who bore you today! In the meantime, here are some vids from this week past.

First Person Monroeville.

Here's a video for a cool mod called Project Dawn. Taken from the 2005 video game Land of the Dead, Dawn puts the player in the mall from George A. Romero's 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead.



I love the attention to detail in this mod, from the store names and locales right down to the chanting music in The Gunner's Den. For more info, check the main page by going here.

Trailer Tandem.

I have a few trailers for you today. The first is for Black Fawn Films' newest effort The Drownsman.



I have to stay that I'm pretty impressed with how slick this thing looks. Black Fawn's partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment seems to have been a fruitful one and they've certainly gathered a lot of buzz for this project over the last few months. The Drownsman will be playing the market at Cannes next week, so I wish them luck on capturing a distributor.

The second trailer is for the upcoming documentary Leviathan about the first two Hellraiser films from director Kevin McDonagh.



I love a good horror doc, but I do find the apparent absence of Clive Barker a little disheartening. Regardless of that, if it is half as good as the epic Nightmare and Friday docs of recent years, I'll be hooked!

Deja TVu

I just read on Bloody Disgusting about this new show coming to Fox this summer called Wayward Pines about a federal agent going to a mysterious small town searching for two of his missing comrades. Of course, all is not what it appears. Here's the logline;


“Based on the best-selling novel Pines by Blake Crouch and brought to life by suspenseful storyteller M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs), Wayward Pines is said to be an intense, mind-bending event thriller evocative of the classic cult hit Twin Peaks.”

No shit, really? The name Shyamalan makes me want to run from the hills, but the fact that this is pre-existing material gives me hope that it won't end with the revelation they were all inside a snow globe or something. Plus, the cast is pretty stellar. With people like Toby Jones, Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis and Terence Howard involved, it's just further proof that the small screen is now attracting more and more high profile talent. 


For the original BD article, click here. To visit the official Wayward Pines website, click here.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Meta Video!

This week's intro is for the company International Video Entertainment aka IVE.



By the time IVE was founded in 1986 by Noel C. Bloom, it already had a storied history, having previously been USA Home Video, which was responsible for, among other things, bringing the controversial Silent Night, Deadly Night to home video.

IVE released such genre titles as Angel Heart, Deep Star Six, Jacob's Ladder and also Jeff Lieberman's fifth feature Remote Control, the VHS of which the above intro was pulled. As a bonus, I have included the two other intros from the first scene when it goes all film within a film within a film!





In the early nineties, IVE became Live Home Video before being rebranded as Artisan Entertainment in 1998. Then a few years later, it was swallowed up by Lionsgate.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trailer Tuesdays: Firestarter

Thirty years ago this week, Mark R. Lester's adaptation of Stephen King's Firestarter was released in theatres.



I watched this again recently and it still holds up. There are some fabulous practical pyrotechnics and Drew Barrymore still remains one of the greatest child actors of all time. Oh, and let's not forget the fantastic score by Tangerine Dream!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

DKTM 220


Hey gang. You ever had a ton to drink and then inexplicably not be hungover the next morning? It must have been the company. Anyway, here's what i got.

Coasting In Style.

I came across a cool vendor on Etsy this week. Check out these wares from Sick & Tiled.






Each coaster is handcrafted by artist Bazooka Jenn. To browse all of her creations, which also include fridge magnets and “motivational” plaques, click here.

Catching Up With Charles.

Here's an episode of Full Moon Entertainment mogul Charles Band's vidcast shot at Chiller Theatre last weekend featuring actresses Megan Ward, Charlie Spradling and Kari Wuhrer.



To say I had a crush on Spradling as a teen would be an understatement. Good to see Band still as many irons in the fire as always.

Newt & The Queen.

Here's a new Mondo poster for Aliens that is being sold at this weekend's Texas Frightmare.


Drawn by artist Randy Ortiz with a run of only 350, I am super envious of the lucky few who got to snag one.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Return Of The Intros!

I've decided to bring back my vintage VHS intro feature from a few years ago. Yes, it took me that long to find another eight to pull from. I could've cribbed them from YouTube, but where's the fun in that?

So, at least for a little while, there will be a new intro here waiting for you every Friday morning. To start things of, here is the VHS banner for Charter Entertainment.



This was pulled from my recently acquired VHS of Brian Trenchard-Smith's 1986 flick The Quest. Charter was around for a few years in the mid-eighties. They distributed over seventy titles, including such horror titles as Slaughterhouse, God Told Me To, Manitou and I Was A Teenage Zombie. To see some Charter VHS covers, head on over to the incomparable Critical Condition.

For my previously posted home video intros, check the right hand sidebar, or click here.