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, January 31, 2016

DKTM 292

All I can say is thank God I fell better this weekend than I did last! In the meantime, let's see that nightmares I can pull out of my hat.

Small Town Isolation.

About ten years ago, there was a solid Irish horror film about the perils of genetic modification that played TIFF called Isolation. It didn't end up getting seen as much as it should have, but the good news is that director Billy O'Brien's new feature I Am Not A Serial Killer is near completion. Here is the first image courtesy of Bloody Disgusting.

The film follows John Cleaver, (Max Records) a troubled teen who is obsessed with serial killers, but doesn't want to become one. He keeps to himself, until a killer sets up shop in his small town.

This premise is delicious and may scratch the same itch that Scott Schirmer's Found did a few years ago. When I was a teen, I was fascinated with serial killers, as well. When people would ask, I would say I was studying them, so that if I ever came across one I'd know to run in the other direction. My interest faded quickly subsequent to a viewing of The Fearless Vampire Killers and I saw Sharon Tate for the first time. Evil stole one of the most beautiful creatures that ever lived that night in Los Angeles.

Painted Horrors.

Artist Trevor Henderson's been doing a lot of one-off nightmares recently. Check out a bunch below.

For the rest of the series, check out his Tumblr here.

A Trash Farewell.

You've seen me talk a lot about Trash Palace here at THS. Recently, the founding cinephile Stacey Case announced that he is moving west to Hamilton, where he'll be setting up shop there. Never fear, as his two longtime compatriots Dan “Mouth” Lovranski & Jonathan Culp (both huge 16mm collectors in their own right - it is JC's Deadly Eyes print I've seen thrice there) are continuing the Toronto chapter. Last Friday was Stacey's going-away bash, but Mouth & JC also announced the coming lineup for this year. Some real doozies!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Music For Murder Live.

Last Thursday night was a pretty good time to be a fan of “electro-industrial-ambient-experimental” music as man about town Chris Alexander celebrated the release of his new album Music For Murder with a live show downtown.

Also, on the bill was Castle If, who I've seen perform several times now and her “music from space” gets better with each subsequent show. You can check out what she's all about here.

As for Alexander's show, it was full of the kind of theatrics you would expect from a guy who bleeds yellow, but best of all, he was backed on drums by Toronto-based writer and DJ David Bertrand. Carpenter-esque synths mated with Goblin-tinged prog rock to create a maniacal hybrid that went down well with the crowd. Here's some video from the show;

For more info on Music for Murder, click here.

If you missed the show, don't worry. I think they've got a taste for it now, I sense more dark ceremonies in the future. In the meantime, here's the bad-ass mixtape Bertrand put together a few days before the show.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Scanners

Three days in, and my head still feels like...

Pray for me.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

DKTM 291

Hello all. It looks like the sickness that has been felling everyone around here has finally caught up with me. I'll attempt to give you this week's goodies in between nose honks.

Oculus Overlook.

I discovered a really cool application for the Oculus Rift this week. British game developer Franbo (who I believe may just be one person) has created a virtual tour of The Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's classic novel, The Shining. Here's a teaser, followed by a walkthrough care of JamusYO below.

There's some obvious copyright dodging with the use of names such as The Overview and The Silver Room, but it looks like a pretty authentic experience that I hope gets elaborated on in the future. If you have a Rift, you can download it here for free. Happy hunting!

The Mark of Kane.

The upcoming Friday the 13th game from Gun Media took another stride toward legitimacy when it was announced that Kane Hodder, the best Jason there ever was, had come on board to do motion capturing for the game. Now we know that we're gonna be getting the real deal, as these images clearly illustrate.

And best of all, since this is a video game we don't have to worry about most of his handiwork being left on the cutting room floor. Hell, if Jason wants to smash somebody in a sleeping bag against a tree twenty times, then dammit that's what we're gonna see!

There is no release date yet, but you can pre-order the game by going here.

A Video Possessed.

Here's a cool video I came across this week. YouTube user Kris made a montage of clips from Andrzej Zulawski's 1981 film Possession and set it to the aptly titled Trevor Something track, The Possession. For anyone who hasn't seen the film, I urge to go and watch it first because it is super intense, unpredictable and frankly, exceptional. For everyone else, enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

She Don't Wanna Dance.

Catching up with the Loose Cannons podcast, I finally got around to watching the subject of their Halloween episode, The Lady In Red Kills Seven Times.

When people around a young fashion photographer named Kitty (Barbara Bouchet) start dropping like flies, she wonders if it really is her family curse (where an ancestor referred to as The Red Queen comes back from the dead every hundred years to take seven lives) or just someone trying to angle in on her family inheritance.

This was a great giallo that easily makes into the upper echelon of the dozens that are out there. It has pretty much everything you could ask for, an interesting looking killer (a figure in a white mask and red cloak) a score from one of the greats, Ennio Morricone and a wonderfully stylish look. The latter you would expect, of course, but I love how space is used in this film. Everything is wide open, whether it be something dramatic like this;

or just the layout of someone's apartment. It's all so beautifully cinematic.

It also wouldn't be a giallo without a convoluted plot, of which The Lady has in spades. I think there are more characters in this than Blood & Black Lace and Bay of Blood combined. I'm exaggerating, but it is extremely difficult to keep this bevvy of beauties straight without a score card. Apart from the striking Barbara Bouchet (who also appeared in Lucio Fulci's awesome Don't Torture A Duckling and Silvio Amadio's Amuck that features one of my fave lines ever in “that woman is a mystery I'd rather not solve!”) and a young Sybil Danning, the rest run together in a haze of seventies hairstyles.

Barbara Bouchet as Kitty Wildenbrück in The Lady In Red Kills 7 Times

Regardless of whether you may always be following what the hell's going on, you will never be bored. There are several great murder scenes in this, one including a fence spire and another of someone getting curbed – although not quite as well executed as when Dario Argento did it three years later in Profondo Rosso. I'd say the only thing I didn't like was a super unnecessary rape that got thrown in, almost as an afterthought. It's gross and also makes the next scene fairly comical when the assailant approaches Kitty saying, “I know who the killer is! Hey, why are you running away??”

So, if you like gialli, this is definitely a must watch because, well, it has all of the things that make them great. It also has a colour in the title which is kind of a prerequisite.

Handy giallo title generator.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: One Dark Night

Being trapped inside January up here in the Great White North can be pretty draining. Cold days, long nights, which makes this kind of appropriate...

When will movie people ever learn, initiations in creepy places are never a good idea, especially a mausoleum. I kept on expecting The Tall Man to pop out somewhere.

This movie has some pretty good pedigree, starring Meg Tilly and directed by Tom McLoughlin who later gave us one of the funner Fridays (Part 6) and the decent King teleplay Sometimes They Come Back.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

DKTM 290

Hi all. I'm up early today to check out a nearby toy convention. Here's what I've got for you this week.

Coming Soon!

I found a collection of vintage home video trailer reels on Camera Viscera this week. There were tapes that were sent to video retailers back in the day in order to drum up business for distributors. Most were just trailers, but some got creative.

To see more, check out the original post here. You can also see one of my Archives posts on the subject here.

Jason & David.

We are all still getting over the loss of David Bowie, but looking over a lot of the various tributes online, I had completely forgot about the connection between the Thin White Duke and the Friday the 13th films. For those who don't know, filmmakers often give productions secret names to avoid unwanted visitors to the set and keep costs lowered. The most famous instance of this was Return of the Jedi being called Blue Harvest, because the owners of the spaces where Empire was filmed raised their prices when they found out what was filming there.

In that spirit, the Friday the 13th producers being huge Bowie fans started using his song titles for their fake movie names beginning with Part 3. Frank Mancuso Jr explains;

“We started creating fake titles for the Friday movies around Part 3. Most of the time they were old David Bowie song titles—just innocuous enough that the unions would leave you alone. Because a union was far less likely to go out and try to bust a movie called “Crystal Japan” than they were Friday the 13th Part 3. They knew that the train went back to Paramount and they knew the Friday the 13th films were successful, so they would come at you much harder. As for “Repetition,” I just thought it was a funny joke.”

For more on the story, click here.


J.J. Abrams announced this week that a spinoff sequel to Cloverfield was not only coming, but had already been filmed and is releasing in two weeks! Man, this guy knows how to keep a secret.

As you know, I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead, so this is a no-brainer for me. I just hope that the bunker stuff is the first act of the movie, and that scene with Winstead looking outside isn't from the last five minutes. 10 Cloverfield Lane releases March 11th.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: The Hunger

For the purposes of symmetry, I had planned to post the trailer for 1982's The Forest, but with the sad passing of David Bowie, this one seems more appropriate.

I first saw this film on First Choice circa 1984, and it featured waaaay more sexuality than my nine-year-old brain could process. I just know I liked it, and it's one of many great works on the late Tony Scott's resume. R.I.P. David Bowie aka John Blaylock aka Philip Jeffries aka The Goblin King.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Suicide Watch.

This weekend, I took in The Revenant and The Forest back-to-back. I had to laugh after when even though I'd spent most of my Saturday in a theatre, it actually felt like I'd been outdoors the whole day. But, onto business...

Sara (Natalie Dormer) travels to Japan to find her twin sister after she goes missing inside Aokigahara Forest, a place known for its high suicide rate.

The Forest was largely a mediocre affair. I guess that's what I was expecting, but this one really brought home just how reliant modern horrors (Hollywood and indie) are on the standard jump scare format. I mean, I guess it still works, as the two teens down the row jumped at almost every single one, but for me, it makes me appreciate those who go beyond that. The Forest has many of the same beats that populate mainstream horror, but I do have to admit seeing a J-horror hybrid that wasn't a remake was somewhat interesting.

The film was shot competently, and there were a few little flourishes that I dug, but they didn't ultimately add up to much. I feel like Mike Flanagan's 2013 flick Oculus covered a lot of the same ground more successfully.

Apart from its shortcomings though, I do have to admit it did deliver the two things that got me in the theatre in the first place, those being Natalie Dormer and the lore of the Aokigahara Suicide Forest. After her distressing lack of screen time on last season's Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games Mockingjay, I was very glad to see The Forest doubled down on Dormer, and had her playing twins!

Natalie Dormer as Sara Price in The Forest

As for the forest, director Jason Zada certainly shot the shit out of it. Government restrictions caused the production to shoot in Serbia, but you'd never know without looking it up. The idea of this place is pretty grim, and I don't know which is more unsettling; that more than fifty people a year walk in there to off themselves, or that the authorities just basically allow it. Yokiyushi Ozawa's character of Michi, a guide who treks in to find and report bodies, is an actual occupation. Except, that the “cleanout” happens annually, not regularly. Can you imagine walking around that forest in December knowing there are potentially dozens of bodies lying around? It's a thought that is so horrific that it's actually surprising to me there have only been four films on this phenomenon.

So yeah, I could harp on Zada's film for being by the numbers in the face of such potential, but I essentially got what I needed out of it. Besides, seeing this right after The Revenant, it probably would've had to have been at least a four-star horror to even make an impression.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

DKTM 289

Good afternoon everyone. Here's the first DKTM of 2016.

Videogram Express.

On the heels of Videogram's (Swedish composer Magnus Sellergren's retro-synth outfit) Pre-Cert release is a new video for the track Horror Express, using footage from the 1972 film starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

For more info on Videogram, check out their site here.


The trailer for James Wan's return to The Conjuring series dropped a few days ago.

This looks decent. I was a fan of the first movie, but never bothered with Annabelle. I do really like both Farmiga and Wilson, and Wan is one of the best jump scare engineers in the business, so we'll see. The Conjuring 2 comes out June 6th.

R.I.P. Angus Scrimm 1926-2016.

Unfortunately, I have to end on some bad news today. Veteran actor Angus Scrimm passed away yesterday. He was 89. Though having over fifty acting credits to his name in a career that spanned five decades, he was best known as playing the inimitable Tall Man is Don Coscarelli's horror series Phantasm, of which the fifth installment should be releasing this year. I was fortunate to have met Scrimm in 2008 when he was here promoting Glenn McQuaid's I Sell The Dead. Here below is a brief interview by Robert Mitchell from that day.

As you can see, Angus Scrimm was a delightful and humble man and it's a shame he is no longer with us. Rest in peace.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Chuck Norris vs Communism

I saw a fantastic documentary a few days ago called Chuck Norris vs Communism. The brainchild of filmmaker Ilinca Calugareanu, CNvC tells the story of how one man provided an escape to the oppressed people of Communist Romania during the 1980's through film - more specifically bootleg VHS tapes of movies from the West. Check out the trailer below.

The whole film can currently be viewed on the PBS website until Jan 18th by clicking here and I wholeheartedly urge you to do so. This film is wonderful, and even though it might sound silly to say, I actually got choked up a few times during it.

Those of us old enough to remember all have fond memories of watching eighties movies on VHS, but imagine if they told of people, places and things that were completely foreign to us. Imagine how many eyes must have been opened to possibilities beyond their ruler's iron-fisted regime. Imagine the exhilaration from not only what was onscreen, but also the fact that just watching it was considered illegal.

There's something really special about this doc. There really is.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Mermaid Milestone

Mermaid Heather, a blog of which I've been a reader for many years has just reached her tenth anniversary. In celebration, she reached out to her fellow bloggers for guest post contributions and I chose to wax sentimental about my love of Bernard Rose's 1988 film Paperhouse. Click the poster below to read on. Congrats Heather on this very impressive milestone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Psychic Killer

I've been recently been catching up on Loose Cannons podcast episodes and just finished one for 1973's Psychic Killer.

This one sounds like tons of fun and as if I needed anymore nudging, it was written by Greydon Clark, director of such masterworks as Uninvited (aka Cat on a Cruise Ship!) and Without Warning.

To listen to the Loose Cannons podcast about this movie, click here. And in case you were wondering (I'm sure you weren't) yes, Psychic Killer isn't a Cannon film, but the guys mistakenly watched it thinking it was the John Saxon starring crime film Family Killer. How'd they fuck that up? Well, it's a long story...  

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Preview.

Hey all. It's the beginning of a new year, and with it comes another slate of upcoming titles. Unlike last year, I won't spend a lot of the playing catch-up, as apart from Krampus and Dark Places, I've seen pretty much what I want from 2015's offerings. So, let's dive in.

The coming of January means the first festival screenings a la the Sundance midnight programme. Obviously, the most anticipated one would be Rob Zombie's 31. After Lords of Salem, I feel he is on the upswing and news of his recent battles with the MPAA is certainly a good sign. Also on the Park City schedule is Rich Fox's The Blackout Experiments and Mickey Keating's Carnage Park. While the former is a complete wildcard, the latter should be a decent seventies-style survivalist horror romp.

Aside from Sundance, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of horror flicks being released in the first quarter of 2016. I'm not sure whether that's a good sign or not, but here are three that I am eyeing, if only just that they all star actresses I like very much.

January 8th
January 22nd

Actually, the third one doesn't even have a poster yet, which makes the March 11th release date rather dubious. Valencia stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and is directed by Dan Trachtenberg, a guy who once upon a time ran a web show I used to watch religiously.

Moving on, I can't deny the fun energy present in the trailer for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. If it is half as fun as Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, it will be worth a watch. I know Russian producer Bekmambetov isn't involved in P&P&Z, but hey, it could still be a hoot.

Feb 5th

The home invasion genre is still a hot trend in horror as we have a new trio of titles coming this year. In addition the sequel to 2008's The Strangers, the man behind the Evil Dead remake, Fede Alvarez returns with A Man in the Dark about a blind man sets upon by some thieving teenagers. The third one, Adam Schindler's Intruders aka Shut In, I can actually vouch for having seen it at last year's TAD.

Feb 19th

I am glad that the rest of the horror world is going to be able to feast their eyes on Robert Eggers' The Witch this year. While I don't know if its pace and non-flashy demeanor will appear to everyone, I feel there just aren't enough of these straight-up, character driven genre pieces being made these days.

Feb 26th

Moving onto the “nope” category, I have to mention the Martyrs remake, and the Leatherface remake/reimagining/rewhatevs prequel thingy. I have no interest in the former because the films of the French Extremity were unique to a particular time and place. Recreating that to make a few bucks is even more unpleasant to me than watching the stuff depicted in Laugier's film.

As for Leatherface, I read the script and I'm good. There's a cool sequence in the middle that reminded me of the diner sequence in Natural Born Killers, but the rest is pretty uninteresting. The only reason I would be curious is to see how they manage to get around a glaring plot hole I foresaw them having a big problem representing visually. Okay, strike that, put this down as a soft maybe.

Lastly, I think the most unlikely production coming this year maybe the feature length version of Lights Out. How do you flesh out two minutes to ninety? I suppose Andrés Muschietti's Mamá was semi-successful, but this one seems like a stretch.

So, there we go. Hopefully at least one or two of these end up on my top list at the end of the year. Until then, have a great 2016.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Are You A Good Boy?

VHS Fridays fell by the wayside while all the year-end shit was going on, but it is now a New Year, so let's get back on track. The random title I picked off the shelf this time was one I acquired recently called The Killing Kind from 1973.

After two years in prison for rape, Terry (John Savage) returns to his overbearing mother's (Ann Sothern) boarding house, but it is not long for his uncontrollable impulses start to resurface.

The Killing Kind certainly doesn't waste any time as it goes from zero to gang rape in fifteen seconds flat. That's got to be a record, as not even the sleaziest of rape revenge films – which this isn't – don't get to it that quickly. I mean geez, even in Arthur Jeffrey's Demented, Sally Eylse at least got to visit her horse first. It's by no means a pretty opening, but it certainly sets the tone for the kind of characters I'd be hanging with for the next ninety minutes.

Despite where things inevitably go, there was an escalation to the piece. In the opening scene, Terry is physically forced into having sex with the girl by the other boys, and the first animal that he kills is arguably by accident. Before he actually murders anyone, there is the hope that he might be able to resist his dark urges. It was this exploration that made me think there was some actual behavioural research done by the filmmakers. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho was an obvious influence as well, most plainly revealed in the bathtub murder scene where a similar musical motif can be heard.

John Savage as Terry in The Killing Kind

I guess what surprised me was the overt absence of morality in this movie. I mean, I expected that from Savage who I've always associated with unhinged hard cases, but most of the other characters in the film are just as unsavoury. Sothern's turn as Terry's mother, Thelma certainly recalls the nature vs. nurture argument as Terry goes so far as to flee the house screaming to get away from her smothering. Sothern reminded me of Susan Tyrell in 1982's Night Warning, except in this case, the son was even more dangerous. I'm not sure which scenes made more uncomfortable, when these two were fighting, or when they were “canoodling.”

To be honest though, I think the most horrifying character was Terry's voyeuristic neighbour Louise, played by Roger Corman regular Luana Anders. Her repressed and stuffy exterior – which made her look way older than the thirty-five she actually was – hides some pretty scary stuff as evidenced in her poolside confessions to Terry like “it must be wonderful being raped” and “I want to put ground glass in my father's food.” Louise is sadly one of several rather unflattering female characters. Tina, (Sue Bernard) the girl assaulted in the first scene becomes the town bicycle and the new border Lori, (Cindy Williams) the only seemingly well-adjusted person in the whole movie, meets a brutal end by being so naïve, it bordered on retardation.

Cindy Williams as Lori in The Killing Kind.

All of this adds up to a rather nasty film. It's not particularly violent – certainly not by today's standards – but there's an element of chaos that permeates the whole movie. Thelma lives for her son and everyone else be damned, Louise is trapped in her joyless existence and lashes out uncontrollably, and Terry's just runs on instinct having, for some reason, left his conscience back in his jail cell. The Killing Kind is a pretty dour affair, but I appreciated the fact that it was much more of a character piece than I was expecting.