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.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


It was at Shock Stock last weekend that Fangoria editor Chris Alexander let me know some wonderful news - the article I turned into him a few months ago had been published in the latest issue of Delirium!

For those who don't know, Delirium magazine is a labour of love started by Alexander to explore the vast empire of genre icon Charles Band. Some time ago, while engaged in a discussion about Full Moon collectibles on Facebook, I linked to one of my Archives posts. I guess it caught his attention, as Alexander then asked if I would write a piece about my collection. Since I had no shortage of stuff to offer, I was happy to oblige. I just had no idea he'd turned it around so fast!

It's pretty awesome seeing your name in a horror mag. I mean, I've had letters printed over the years, but being an honest-to-goodness contributor is pretty darn neat.

To get more information about Delirium, click here. I've read the first three issues so far and they're good reads; funny, lurid and informative in equal measure. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Shock Stock 2015 Part 2

On Saturday, I checked out of my swanky suite in the morning, but not before sharing an elevator with one of the permanent residents. No sooner had the doors closed that, this old lady turned to me and said,

“You know they're finding AIDS and Hep A in blood products. I'm tellin you, all this sexual immorality has to cease. What do you think?”

I said that things were getting of hand, which she took to mean I wanted to hear her life story about raising several kids on her own in Alberta. Then, mercifully, the doors opened and I was saved by the concierge at the front desk. Apparently, this woman just does this sort of thing.

I walked down the street to Centennial Hall and through the door of the Con. With the screening behind me, I was finally able to get a good look at the floor. There were some new vendors and, like I said before, an increased number overall.

The old standards were in attendance of course, like Suspect Video, The Vault, Twisted T's, Troma, Fangoria, Hollywood Canteen, The Butcher Shop, Black Fawn and Blood In The Snow.

Part 7 mold taken straight from Kane Hodder's own mask.

BITS crew Melanie, Jen & Jason.

There were two newcomers that especially caught my eye. The regular poster vendor in the back corner had been replaced with a new outfit called Poster Mortem. It was basically a guy who was selling off his recently acquired collection of foreign horror posters, of which there were some bee-oots.

The second one was a glass artist company called Slay It Mosaics. There were some great stuff here, very creative and striking work.

Not cheap, but custom glass work never is. Shock Stock always a few local indie filmmakers promoting their works, and this was no different. I have to give a shout-out to Reel Phobia Productions based out of Cambridge, Ontario. Super nice people.

What a great Goddamn title, right? Hopefully these guys get hooked up with Zack for a screening at The Vault, or maybe even a premiere at Blood In The Snow? Stranger things have happened!

I was actually surprised by the amount of VHS this year. Last year, it seemed like the demand had dropped off a bit, but it was back with a vengeance this year. I'd say there were at least ten different sellers schlepping their wares this time around. 

I was very good this year though, and only picked up these.

This was the first time I'd seen Demented in the wild for many years, so I picked that one up for sure. Plus, until the whole Tangerine Dream rights get sorted out, it's gonna be a while before we see an official digital release of The Keep, as well.

As far as guests go, Italian exploitation icon Giovanni Lombardo Radice was really interesting to listen to. You don't really realize how many people he has worked with until you go down the list. Fulci, Deodato, Lenzi, SoaviMargheriti, the list goes on.

He talked about his first role on House on the Edge of the Park, and how he became indispensable on set because he was the only one who could speak all three languages of the cast and crew (Italian, English and French) and also spoke of his experience working with the great Lucio Fulci.

“I'd heard the stories of his screaming and such, but he was always gracious with me. He later told me that sometimes he had to make up problems to keep the crew on edge. If they weren't, they would get sloppy. So I think any bad behaviour on his part was more an act rather than in his nature.”

Actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice.

However, he did not sugar coat his time working on Cannibal Ferox.

“Okay, this is the thing. If you're going to be working in the Amazon, you have to be working with Scorsese. If you're going to be working with Umberto Lenzi, you have to be shooting in the south of France and staying in a five-star hotel. Working with Lenzi in the Amazon was hell, it was a nightmare. God created the Amazon when he was really pissed.”

Radice also mentioned that his autobiography, A Zombie Life would be out later this year.

Speaking together were actors Tony Todd & Eugene Clark. They had great chemistry and riffed off one another. Todd was really excited about his new project, a retelling of Frankenstein. Reunited with Candyman director Bernard Rose, their efforts recently won them best picture at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Todd also said he was working on a one man play about the life of boxer Jack Johnson.

Actors Tony Todd & Eugene Clark.

When asked if the two of them would ever appear in a movie together, Eugene replied;

“Nah, they'd never put two brothas in the same movie.”

Later, Edwin Neal did a short Q&A before the retro-screening of 1985's Future Kill. He was every bit as eccentric as his character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but you know, more in a jovial kind of way, than in a slice you & eat you kind of way.

He said that the question he most gets asked is how they did the shot with the swing;

“Everybody assumes it was really complicated and used like $40,000 crane, Christ, that was almost the whole budget. These big time directors would come up with these elaborate ways we must have done it - and I'd say. 'the girl gets up from the swing and then the two biggest guys on the crew lifted the swing so the camera could pass under it.' They'd just look at me in shock. It just goes to show you, that you don't need big equipment to get some of these shots, just ideas and some strong crew.”

Actor Ed Neal.

When he was talking about Future Kill, he did say that working with particular first-time (and coincidentally last time) director Ron Moore was a challenge.

“Unfortunately, when you're dealing with someone fresh out of school, they spend a lot of time asking the crew 'should I do this? should I do that?' I remember having to palm money to members of the crew just to make sure they didn't walk off the set.”

I hadn't actually seen Future-Kill before, but was obviously familiar with the instantly recognizable H.R. Giger cover art. Even though that cover was probably responsible for hundreds, nay thousands of rentals, it is so good that the movie couldn't possibly live up to it. I didn't mind it though. Sure, it's ultra low budget and its limitations are constantly evident, but its Animal House meets Escape From New York vibe kind of worked.

Later that night was the Scumbag Soiree. It was crazy. I mean, the Shock Stock parties of year's past have been epic, but this one was absolute off the chain. Death metal and self immolation were the warm up acts! And the Miss Shock Stock crowning ceremony was the stuff of legend.

Sharlotte Dresden, Shotzi Blackheart & Sadie Katz.

Think Girls Gone Wild mixed with Backyard Wrestling. Stuff I'd seen on VHS, but never in real life, and within spraying distance. It makes a difference.

After making sure to leave a high score on the bar's Galaga machine, I took off into the night and made the inadvisable three-a.m drive back across the 401. Though still fairly young at five years, this was definitely one of the best editions of Shock Stock I'd say. And now that they've has teamed up with the other new horror entertainment event on the block, Horror-Rama, I see bright things in the near future.

Congrats to the scumbags, Jake & James for another memorable beer & blood drenched event!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Shock Stock 2015

Well, another epic Shock Stock is in the books.

A better description does not exist.

This was one of the best I'd say. It was the first year I'd gone down on the Friday (mainly because my short was playing that evening) and the first time I'd stayed over in London. When I checked into my hotel, I was shocked at the size of my room. I mean, this place was a palace!

It even had TWO TV's!

When I got to the convention, I was reminded of this sad event a few weeks prior.


Inside, the place was already bustling. I immediately noticed that it seemed a bit more compact, as there were more vendors on hand this year, with a good deal of variety. But I'll get to that later.

The Short Stock Showcase was fun and The Monitor went over well. Over the course of the weekend, a few people complimented me on it, so that's always cool. There were a few standouts in the program, including Chris Walsh's The Shutterbug Man was a wonderful little animated horror, and I loved the premise of Red Love by James MacDougall

My favourite though, was Micheal Noonan's Aussie offering Evil Mexican Child.

After some drinking and socializing in few different hotel rooms that night, I took my leave and got some shut eye, as the next day would be a long, eventful one. Check back tomorrow to hear what went down.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ol' Number Five.

I'm back on the road this weekend, this time cruising down to London, Ontario for the fifth edition of Shock Stock.

They've got some cool peeps on hand this year, including Italian exploitation icon Giovanni Lombardo Radice, I Spit On Your Grave star Camille Keaton and Candyman himself Tony Todd.

I'm going down on the Friday, as my short film The Monitor is screening as part of the Short Shock Film Festival. If you're in the area, it starts at 730pm. Hope to see you there, and if not, check back next week to see what went down.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Beware The Babysitter.

During my trip to NYC, I was able to cross Tribeca off my festival bucket list. Knowing that I'd be driving back to the T dot the next morning, I wasn't keen on attending a midnight show, so I set my sights on an earlier screening, the intriguing thriller Emelie. It was a world premiere from a first-time director, but this screencap below – pretty much the only promotional item that exists for the movie at this point – certainly got my attention.

Thomas Bair & Sarah Bolger in Emelie.

When their regular babysitter is unavailable, the Thompsons find a last minute replacement named Anna (Sarah Bolger) to look after their three kids while they celebrate their anniversary. No sooner have the Thompsons pulled out of the driveway does it become clear that Anna is no ordinary babysitter.

I'm not really sure what it is about babysitters, but they've always intrigued me. Even now that I've grown up and contributed my own spin on the tale, I still crave more. Maybe my fascination is rooted in the fact I never really got the full experience as a kid. With my brother being seven years my senior, I have only faint memories of the neighbourhood girl named Dorothy who looked after us when our parents needed a break. I can also assume the allure was nurtured by my early love of horror films, of which we all know the babysitter is a beloved trope. A young girl, not only alone and vulnerable, but also tied to the children she sworn (or at least paid) to protect, so she can't exactly bolt at the first sign of trouble. But, what if the babysitter and trouble were one in the same? That is the delicious premise that Emelie puts forth.

I liked this movie, mainly for its performances. Bolger gives a layered portrayal as the unstable title character. She is cool, calculating and unpredictable, which builds some palpable tension in the first half. I have to also heap some praise on the three children, Joshua Rush, Carly Adams and Thomas Bair. All had some difficult subject matter to work through, and considering two of the three original child actors pulled out fourty-eight hours before the shoot, that they got any usable footage at all, is an absolute marvel to me. It wasn't just the performances though, as the characters were well realized, even the ones that didn't necessarily need to be. The parents in these stories are basically there to grab their coats and leave, but here they were rounded and felt like actual people.

There were a few times where Emelie's motivations seemed a little muddied, but it's possible some of these issues would be smoothed over with another viewing. It also helped that the movie ended on a strong note with a satisfying confrontation between Emelie and her eldest charge. Also, at a brisk eighty minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome.

Director Michael Thelin was on hand for the Q&A and nicely handled the not-so-bright lady sitting to my left when she asked why he decided to set the film in the nineties because there was a VCR and an old phone in it. She obviously neglected to notice the kids playing with iPads and current-gen handhelds the entire fucking movie. His response was pretty priceless,

“You even been to Buffalo?” (where the movie was shot)

Director Michael Thelin

I had to stifle a laugh when she let out an “Oh wow” when he told her it was actually set in the present.

Thelin is a local boy and the film doesn't currently have distribution, so who knows where Emelie will go from here. That said, I'm glad I saw it, as it's a decent character-driven piece with some genuinely uncomfortable moments. And it was nice to see the babysitter finally have a little fun for once.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Big Apple.

So I drove down to NYC with some friends this weekend. Hell of a town! The drive was fairly painless and we only took two wrong turns on the way there. We stopped for gas in Hallstead, PA and I was pretty chuffed to see a sign for a video store in the plaza.

Alas, the store was long gone, another relic of a fading age. Traffic was pretty light all the way to New York. It only slowed to a crawl through the Lincoln Tunnel, and I was reminded of Larry Underwood from The Stand.

It took a half-hour to drive through it, so I can't imagine what it would have been like to walk that distance in total darkness. Chills...

We got to our apartment in Hell's Kitchen (W 49th in between 9th and 10th) and marvelled at the view from the rooftop patio. It was awesome having context after just having watched Daredevil. Madame Gao's drug den and Hoffman's safe house were just a few blocks from us!

After brunch at Justin Timberlake's BBQ brunch place, we hit the MOMA and then fed the ducks in Central Park. I couldn't help but wonder if this wasn't the pond from Inferno where that dude drowned those cats, then got attacked by rats, and then stabbed by that hot dog vendor. New York is a magical place!

At night, we took the subway downtown to a catch a screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.


I have to say I was quite surprised how nonchalant (for lack of a better term) everyone was about it. No line-ups, as everyone just seemed to show up less than ten minutes before showtime. I guess I'm just used to the madness of TIFF, where if you're less than thirty-minutes early, you're getting a shitty seat. Anyway, the movie I saw was called Emelie from local director Michael Thelin

I dug it. My friends did not. I'll elaborate tomorrow.

Before we left New York on Sunday, we checked out the Hell's Kitchen flea market. I was disappointed by the lack of VHS, but there were plenty of other crazy curiosities, a few of which I picked up.

Of the boxes and boxes of used postcards at this market, there were a surprising amount that had the messages written on the front, like they had no idea they were supposed to use the back.

There were many magazines I could have bought, like old issues of Eerie and Heavy Metal, as well as the Playboy issue featuring Barbi “Hospital Massacre” Benton, but I remained strong. There was also THIS piece of whatthefuck!

We were really only in town for a short time, so there was only so much we could do and I have to admit I spent a good deal of it stressing about street parking. Fortunately, the main reason for the trip (the Bjork exhibit at the MOMA) was a pretty heavenly experience, so I can't complain really.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trailer Tuesdays: New York Ripper

Hey. I'm back from NYC! Saw the sights, walked the streets and rode the subway, though sadly did not see any giant rats. I also didn't run into Donald Duck, but then, I'm not really his type.

Stay tuned for more, I just gotta get my proverbial ducks in a row.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Off To NYC!

You won't hear from me for a few days, as I'm making tracks to New York City this weekend!

I'll be wandering around Hell's Kitchen, as well as looking in on the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to that, as if this weekend wasn't exciting enough, my short film The Monitor is screening at the Calgary Underground Film Festival!

If you happen to be in town that night, my short plays in front of I Am A Knife With Legs at midnight.

Anyway, kiddies. Have a good one and I'll see you on the other side of the weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It Came From The Archives 24!

As you know, I've been spending a lot more time of late in the archives for 2015's Crawlspace Dive, cataloging all the non-genre stuff in my possession. It's pretty safe to say that after twenty-some ICFTA episodes I have mined most of my horror stuff, but still some remains. I recently dug up a box of horror novelizations, which I'll share with you now.

I always dug the Halloween books, and found Jack Martin's interpretation of Michael's psychosis pretty unsettling.

 I don't recall if the book version of Part 2 is as homoerotic as the film...

Regular readers of this blog know that my connection to The Legacy runs deep, so it should be no surprise that the book on which the film was based made its way into my house.

The original novel on which the 1982 film was based. 

Those last two were continuing stories of two popular eighties series.

Anyone else remember this TV movie phenomenon from 1985?

This one has no connection to a movie, but it is significant. This book, along with Killer and Amok (which I spoke about before), always sat just inside the entrance to the crawlspace, as if to say, “abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” I still have no idea what Gilded Needles is about, but those blood tipped fingers sure made an impression on my young mind. So, that's it. Until next time, stay safe kids!