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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Chills & Drills.

This past weekend, The Big Smoke's embarrassment of genre riches continued with two fantastic events. Last Friday saw the beginning of a new film series at The Royal called Retropath. Curated by film journalist Richelle Charkot, the programme seeks to showcase the wild and quirky horror films from the fifties and sixties. For the inaugural screening, Charkot decided upon Bill Castle's 1959 picture The Tingler.

I obviously know Castle's films by reputation, but have seen very few of them, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity for which to get better acquainted. I really enjoyed this movie. It was built around a gimmick to be sure, (sadly there were no seat shockers at our screening) but I thought the story was legitimately interesting. The idea of a creature that lives in us all that feeds and grows on our fear and can only be killed by the release of tension through screaming is delightfully unique. It's so well visualized that I didn't even care I could see the wires when The Tingler finally shimmied its way onscreen. Castle even managed to throw in a plot twist most likely derived from his love of Hitchcock.

Martha (Judith Evelyn) gets scared to death - literally!

As a filmmaker and showman, Castle was way ahead of his time. He knew how to manipulate his audience. I love the whole conversation Vincent Price – fully invested as always as his character Dr. Chapin – has with the rep theatre owner (Philip Coolidge) about how silent films might not be as flashy as the sound and colour of the present day, but people still come out. Castle's era was the first that had to deal with television and his way of thinking is still adopted by studios today, as they continue to trot out gimmicks like Real 3D and D-Box to keep people in the seats.

Saturday brought about a special screening put on by Drunken Cinema. Teaming with The MUFF Society, they showed Amy Holden Jones' feminist slasher The Slumber Party Massacre.

I've talked before about DC founder Serena Whitney's drinking game nights, and the rules were out in full force this night. The slasher flicks are always the most dangerous drinking games because the same stuff always happens. I've said this before, but you really don't realize how many fake scares there are in these things until you have to drink every time one happens.

Choose your fate.

The crowd (a packed house!) was really into it this time, I'd say even more so than last November's screening of Friday the 13th Part 3D. I had to laugh when the audience spontaneously broke out into applause when Jackie (Andree Honore) started eating pizza off the dead delivery guy. The movie itself is still as solid and entertaining as it ever was, but I've talked about it before. I still always hope Brinke Stevens will somehow escape this time...


As you can see, it was a great two-fer. And the hits keep on coming, as I'll be checking out the new restoration of Philip Ridley's The Reflecting Skin this coming Tuesday. Not bad at all.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

DKTM 296

Hi everyone! I'm recovering from a pretty bangin' weekend (which I'll talk about tomorrow), but here's what I've got for you today.

Horror Voodoo.

An awesome video for the Massive Attack track Voodoo In My Blood featuring the lovely Rosamund Pike hit the Web this week.

This reminds me of that old Reese's Pieces commercial, “hey you got Possession in my Phantasm! Well, you got Phantasm in my Possession!” Love it!

Soskas Gone Wild.

The announcement came down a few days ago that The Soska Twins would be directing a remake of David Cronenberg's 1977's Rabid.

Jen & Sylvia Soska.

The horror community immediately responded with cries of both joy and despair, of course. Myself, I am generally against remakes, but I feel Rabid could be updated to reflect today's social issues. Whether the Soskas capitalize on that, or just go for the gross-out, remains to be seen, but the potential is there. To be honest, I'm more interested in who is cast in the Marilyn Chambers role. Since the Soskas are involved, the logical choice would be either Katherine Isabelle or Tristan Risk. Now THAT would be a movie I would watch.

Welcome To Fright Night.

A new horror film festival is coming up in a few weeks - Fright Night Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario. Founder Aaron Allen has been doing one-off screening at a cool little venue called The Staircase Theatre for years now, but this is the first time he has put together a full-fledged festival.

The films playing include the world premiere of Scott Schirmer's Harvest Lake, Matthew John Lawrence's The Barn, and Blood In The Snow 2015 favourite She Who Must Burn by Larry Kent. The festival runs March 11-12th, and the full lineup and tickets can be found here.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

I Give You, The World!

Good news, gang! I've decided to resurrect my VHS Company Intro feature. This will hopefully keep Fridays awesome in between episodes of VHS Fridays. To kick things off, I've got a great one for Trans World Entertainment.

Trans World Entertainment, or TWE, flourished during the home video boom and released over a hundred titles. Most were low-lent action movies involving ninjas, but they did distribute some notable horror titles including Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Maniac Cop and Troll 2. The intro above as cropped from my copy of Deep Space.

In their heyday, TWE also got into the production business, bringing forth such titles as Creature, I, Madman and The Curse. Perhaps most importantly though, they helped give us the kick-ass 1990 Dolph Lundgren vehicle I Come In Peace.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: A Night To Dismember

Wrapping up my WIHM reel is this delightfully cheesy trailer for Doris Wishman's 1983 flick A Night To Dismember.

Wishman was known for directing many sexploitation films in the sixties and seventies, but it was this attempt to cash in on the American slasher craze that caught my attention. This trailer (minus the ghoulish narrator) makes it look more like Mario Bava's Bay of Blood than anything this side of the pond though.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

DKTM 295

Hey everyone! I'll have to make this quick, as I'm off to an afternoon poker game in a few hours. Check out what I've got for you today.

Frank of Anarchy.

The trailer for James Bickert's newest flick Frankenstein Created Bikers dropped this weekend.

Well, there's certainly a lot going on this trailer. I don't see how I can possibly resist giving this one a go. Get ready for Frank to be unleashed this summer.

Buy Samerican.

Chevrolet recently procured the services of Sam Raimi for one of their new ad campaigns.

I hate to state the obvious, but wouldn't have Oldsmobile been the more appropriate choice? Though, as a Chevy guy for over twenty years, I can certainly get behind this.

R.I.P. Andrzej Zulawski 1940-2016.

As is becoming all too frequent, I have to end this DKTM on a sad note. Director Andrzej Zulawski passed away this past Wednesday. He was 75. The Ukrainian born filmmaker's spanned over five decades. I became aware of his work just recently when I saw 1981's Possession starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani. It is a striking piece of work, a cinematic nightmare in fact, with one of the most toxic relationships I've ever seen put to film. His last film was last year's Cosmos, which he wrote and directed after a fifteen-year absence from the business. Rest in peace.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Monkey Business

As promised, I watched my recently acquired VHS copy of Kenneth J. Barton's 1984 flick The Devil's Gift.

After Michael (Struan Robertson) receives a toy monkey for his birthday, his father David (Bob Mendlesohn) begins to notice that bad things happen whenever it turns on.

If this synopsis sounds familiar, it's because it is. It is the exact premise of Stephen King's short story The Monkey that was collected in his 1985 anthology Skeleton Crew, but first published in a men's magazine in 1980. I mean, there's not much dispute, right? What are the chances of two stories about a toy monkey that kills people when it clangs its cymbals together existing independently? 

Monkey says it's unlikely.

In a time before the Internet, I guess you could get away with shit like that. I can't imagine The Devil's Gift was a real moneymaker, as I'd never even heard of it before I picked it up. Anyhow, plagiarism aside, it is a fairly watchable affair even if it does start out pretty rough. There's a really cheesy scene with an old lady in an attic performing a seance that was so hammy I actually expected the camera to pull back to reveal it was a bad movie the real characters were watching on television. Not so. Seriously, you could have excised that whole opening and not lost a step.

Eventually, the cursed monkey in question makes into the household by way of the father's girlfriend (Vicki Saputo) who picks it up at an antique store. Soon after, the clanging begins. Victims escalate from household plants to pets to more human quarry and this was where the movie had a definite problem with consistency. When the monkey set its sights on the kid, it suddenly needed to possess the girlfriend in order to rub him out. When that fails, we later see that it didn't even need to be so elaborate.


There's a lot of filler here. Even during the “monkey attack” sequences, things are often drawn out just a little longer than they should be. There's a silly sequence (though still entertaining) where the father is pretending to dust so he can accidentally-on-purpose knock the monkey into the garbage because a medium told him that “if it knows you know, all hell will break loose.” The thing is, he misses with the duster, so he has to go back with the vacuum cleaner to try and bump the table. I shit you not. This padded length shows how The Devil's Gift was easily gutted when used as one of three stories in the 1996 children's anthology Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders

Anyway, about seventy-five minutes in, I was on the fence when David's neighbour Pete (Bruce Parry) pulled it out of the bag.

God's Gift, Moosehead Lager.

Ok, you win. Now I'm left with the mystery of how a low budget production in California got their hands on a lager from the Maritimes during the early eighties. With My Bloody Valentine, it makes sense, but Santa Rosa?

The Devil's Gift is flawed, but oft in the best kind of ways I think. The dialogue between the neighbours is actually fairly amusing and the monkey sequences, though deliberate in their execution, were fun at times. So, what have we learned here? Don't buy your kid a cursed object for his birthday and Ken J. Barton has great taste in beer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ooooo Heaven Is A Place On Earth.

While celebrating a friend's birthday, I checked out this new bar called See Scape last weekend. Although calling it just a bar is a disservice, as it is also a gaming lounge, art gallery and generally cool place to hang out.

I apologize for the poor focus on these, it was -30 degrees out the night I was here and my hands were still shaking when I took these. Well, it was that, and the sensory overload.

See Scape is the brainchild of Sara Nguyen, and ostensibly a gamer's dream. They have stacks of board games as well as almost every gaming console known to man.

You would think that a place so novel would cost an arm and a leg to frequent, but you'd be wrong. Playing video games cost five bones per hour (ten for the whole day!) and to play board games is the same amount flat.

Perhaps the centerpieces of See Scape though, is the four themed booths that line one wall.

My buddy Dave hams it up in hell.

And if that wasn't enough, they also make a mean grilled cheese sandwich. However, the icing on the cake - although to be honest, this place is pretty much ALL icing - is their drink selection. When I go to these cool specialty bars in Toronto I usually have to play Russian Roulette with whatever local craft beers they serve, but both my favourites flow freely here.

Seriously, how did I exist without a place like this before? They have a wall of Heavy Metal magazines for Christs' sakes!

Talking about this place is a double-edged sword because I want everyone to know about it, but I also don't. This isn't a large establishment, so it would be a bummer if it became one big waiting list like some of the similar (but not as cool) places like this in town. I feel I can't help it though. This place rules!

This photo courtesy of Martha Stortz

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Blood Diner

Continuing on the WIHM festivities, here's the trailer for 1987's Blood Diner.

Originally intended to be a sequel to H.G. Lewis' Blood Feast, this was the third feature from Jackie Kong, who had previously done the off-colour comedy Night Patrol and monster movie The Being. You can see that Blood Diner is a kitchen sink-type of horror comedy, but it does have its charms. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

DKTM 294

Hello. How art thou on this day that shall not be named? Here's some non-Hallmark approved supplements from around the Net. Enjoy.

Oculus Rosso.

Being completely entranced by the tech, I've been watching a lot of Oculus Rift gameplay videos on YouTube recently. While watching Kent Oster's playthrough for the VR horror game Doors Of Silence, I came across a delightful little Easter egg. Watch.

You catch it? I love that this game developer (Guiseppe Belfis) threw in an Argento reference here, knowing that only a small percentage of gamers would actually recognize it. I tip my hat to you, sir.

For more info on Doors of Silence, click here.

Indie Darling.

The trailer for indie filmmaker Mickey Keating's newest film, Darling has hit the Web.

This film was a hit at last year's Fantastic Fest, and I definitely dig the vibe. Glass Eye Pix has a pretty good track record with me, so I certainly hope it makes its way up here soon.

The Century Club.

The latest edition of the 100 Hour Film Race wrapped up recently. This is a worldwide short film competition where teams are tasked with writing, shooting and editing a short within 100 hours. The winner was this film from the UK called Remnants.

I also really dug the 4th place finisher from Quebec called Idées noires (Dark Thoughts)

So, that's it for now, but come back on Wednesday because I have such sights to show you!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I was in Cambridge, Ontario last weekend and no trip to my buddy Schwartz's homestead would be complete without a detour to The Vault where I came away with the following goodies.

The Godsend I've wanted to watch for a while, and I've meant to re-watch Cat People for even longer. Night After Night After Night is a Jack the Ripper movie, so SOLD. I'd never heard of The Devil's Gift, but I took Zack's word that it is surprisingly solid. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I spent most of this evening re-arranging my VHS shelves, so I think an analog reward is in order. What shall it be???

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Last year, I worked on a music video directed by my friends Chris Nash and Shannon Hanmer. It was a long road, but the video below, for The Birthday Massacre track Destroyer, was finally unveiled this week. Enjoy!

Waking up this morning, I saw this video has already started gaining some online traction with a featured post on Bloody Disgusting. I'm glad to see that, as everyone involved worked really hard on this, so it's good to know it is now guaranteed to get into at least several thousand pairs of eyeballs.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Messiah of Evil

In keeping with Women In Horror Month, here's a trailer for 1973's Messiah of Evil, co-directed, co-written and co-produced by Gloria Katz.

Well, that trailer went from zero to sixty and back again right quick. Eveeeeeeeeeeeeeel!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

DKTM 293

Hey guys, just throwing up a few goodies before heading off to the only football game I watch every year. However you choose to celebrate the day, have fun!

From A to Zombie.

Here's a cool promotional video for the upcoming enhanced version of the 2015 video game Dying Light entitled The Following featuring the evolution of the zombie.

I feel like they skimmed over the seventies and eighties, but I get that they wanted to focus on all areas of zombie media. There's no denying the make up effects are pretty stellar, though. For more info on The Following, click here.

That's My Kind Of Cartoon.

Lunchmeat unearthed this hilarious news article from 1990 about a family in Kansas who got more than they bargained for when they rented a children's tape for Christmas.

Courtesy of Julian DiLorenzo. Right click to enlarge.

I wonder what horror title that “detective film about decapitation, rape, and sadomasochism” was. 555 perhaps? I guess we'll never know.

This article reminded me of the time at my video store when some teens taped over some of a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Hockey with their own little home video. This would have been amusing if not for all the homophobic and racial slurs throughout. More amusing though was that these brainiacs thought to wear masks in the vid, but not think that all we'd have to do find them was look up the last person to rent the tape. 

For more Lunchmeat, including a telling article about the humble beginnings of Vestron Video, click here.

This is Why I Drive Everywhere.

Lastly, I just wanted to post this short I happened upon during a YouTube crawl. This piece by NY based filmmaker Sion Griffiths is my favourite kind of short film - short and with a great finish. Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2016


With the bust that was Girls School Screamers, I further perused my shelves of unwatched VHS and came across 1985's shot-on-video title Blood Cult. I'm aware of the format's dubious track record, but I figured, “hey it can't be worse than The Ripper, right?”. I WAS SO WRONG.

A sheriff (Charles Ellis) investigates a series of ritualistic murders on a nearby college campus.

This movie. Jesus. It actually makes titles like 555 and The Ripper (which technically was Oklahoma-based director Christopher Lewis' follow-up to Blood Cult) seem Oscar-worthy by comparison, as those titles not only delivered on the gore, but character interactions were at least mildly amusing. Blood Cult is literally like staring at a wall, or this...

We deal in excitement.

This static shot hangs there for what seems like forever while action takes place off screen. This might have been acceptable, if not for the fact that a little while later, the scene is fully recounted to the fucking sheriff. Like what the hell was the point of that whole scene before? And stuff like this happens every five minutes. The sheriff reads aloud at length from a book about ritualistic murder in between letting anyone within earshot know that he better solve these crimes because an election is coming up. He literally say this more times than there are actual murders in the movie. Apart from that, we get to see the unsexiest couple you've ever seen paw at each other. And don't even get me started on the cafeteria scene...

Today's special... Finger foods!

Suffering through Blood Cult was actually worth it though because at the end of the tape there was a United Home Video trailer reel hosted by Elvira-knock-off Lady Cadaver. I was going to upload it, but then I discovered that YT user Deadpit Radio already did the job for me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Girls School Screamers

I plucked this Troma special off my unwatched VHS shelf and gave it a watch last night.

I was intending to cover this on a future VHS Friday, but it's kind of a bore. It takes over half the movie to get to the first kill, and none of them are as bloody as they should be. A bit of a waste if you ask me. Oh well, onto the next...