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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: The Psychic (1977)

I picked up several VHS last weekend, with this old Lucio Fulci title among them.

I haven't seen this movie, but now that it is in my possession, I expect to rectify that quite quickly. That trailer sure builds it up, but when you've got yourself artwork like that, I can see why it's front and center. Trust me, I know.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Le Messager

Being that I am at Shock Stock all weekend, I won't be able to do a full-out Messenger post, but I did want to go over some of the titles recently announced for the 2016 edition of the Fantasia Film Festival.

Steven Shainberg returns with a sci-fi thriller called Rupture. It stars Noomi Rapace, and was shot by Karim Hussain, so you know it's gonna look bad ass.

Japanase horror icon Kiyoshi Kurosawa's is back with another horror effort, aptly titled Creepy. I've always been lukewarm on Kurosawa's catalogue, but I'm willing to give this a go.

I think many are intrigued to see whether or not, David Sandberg's two-minute Web sensation can be successfully elongated to feature length. I guess we'll find out this July.

Red Christmas, an Aussie yuletide horror comedy starring Dee Wallace? Uh, yes please!

Prolific Vancouver-based special effects guru Geoff Redknap is making his directorial debut this year with The Unseen about a man with the power of invisibility risking everything to save his missing daughter.

As in previous years, animation is duly represented at Fantasia with Alberto Vázquez & Pedro Rivero's Psychonauts and Mehmet Kurtuluş & Ayşe Ünal's Bad Cat.

Local boy Matt Johnson's newest venture, the faux documentary Operation Avalanche makes it way to Montreal this year. I wasn't able to catch this when it played here last month, so here's hoping...

From the Middle East comes Babak Anvari's very intense looking Under The Shadow, about a mother and daughter having to contend with an evil spirit in their tenement in between bomb strikes.

Lastly, Ti West switches genres to bring us the western In The Valley of Violence, starring Ethan Hawke.

Fantasia runs from July 14th to August 2nd this year. For the full list of announced titles, click here

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cut The Jazz, Charlie!

This week's VHS was my big box copy of William Rose's The Girl In Room 2A.

After being recently released from prison (sorry “women's jail”) Margaret (Daniela Giordano) begins to suspect some strange is happening in her boarding house.

Much like my experience with Watch Me When I Kill, I quickly discovered that this movie was a giallo, and not the cheap American B-title I was expecting. I then adjusted my expectations accordingly, as I knew I was going to get a least three things. And I was right.

The first thing was a lovely leading lady in Giordano. The movie leaned on her a lot, and with good reason, as anytime she wasn't onscreen, the movie really started to drag. Once she gets settled in, she strikes up a romance with Jack (John Scanlon), whose sister was staying in 2A before Margaret. I suppose it's not unique, as many of the classic gialli featured a budding relationship between kills, but this one was playful enough as to not be cumbersome. Speaking of the death toll, it was remarkably light and usually involved people falling, or being thrown, off cliffs, sometimes even in cars that spontaneously exploded before they even hit bottom.

Daniela Giordano as Margaret in The Girl In Room 2A

William Rose was more known for directing soft-core porno films, and you can see flashes of it here. Based on the underlying lasciviousness, I get the sense he was restraining himself from going full-on S&M. Which brings me to the second thing - our masked killer. Although, I did feel the killer's outfit a was tad too flamboyant. It was like Rose saw Sergio Martino's Torso (released one year previous) and thought “yeah, I want that, but with more Satan!” Maybe losing the cape would have made it less comical.

The last thing was, of course, the score. I felt the music in the first half was stronger, as it did get a little bombastic during the climax. On the whole, there were bits and pieces that kept me interested throughout, but The Girl In Room 2A doesn't have the style or story to put it up there with the greats.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Twice Dead

This week's trailer is for Bert L. Dragin's 1988 flick Twice Dead.

There's a shitload of stuff going on in this trailer. Monsters, maniacs, motorcycles... and Todd Bridges! This is another of my many remember-the-cover-but-never-saw-it movies, but considering it features Jill Whitlow and Charlie Spradling, I should give it a look at some point.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

DKTM 302

Hello all. I've been enjoying my Victoria Day Weekend with some vintage cartoons, video games and Nice Guys. Here's what I've got for you on tap today.

Slasher PTSD.

I came across a trailer for a horror indie that making the festival rounds currently called Last Girl Standing.

The Final Girl is a tried and true horror trope, but the concept of aftermath is not often explored. Save for a few titles like H20 and the Scream sequels, we usually just see our victorious heroine carted off in an ambulance to safety, so I'm intrigued.

Dark Visions.

This week, I discovered a cool artist by the name of Aaron Nakahara through Bloody Disgusting.

You can check out his Deviantart gallery here. Nakahara's sensibilities lie in that sweet spot between horror and fantasy, so it's not a surprise they caught my eye.

Camera Obscura.

Recently, I came across a cool fiction site called Basically, the idea is that someone will write a short story based on a selected photograph of someone holding a random object. Click on the images below to see what I mean.

“No Matter Which Way We Turned” by Brian Evenson.

“The Best Solution” by Shya Scanlon.

“Pentagram” by Bud Smith.

I love this idea, and some of the stories are super creepy. The site, edited by Morgan Beatty & Corey Kuebler, looks to be about a year old and also includes a podcast.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Great White North Part Deux

Victoria Day Weekend - or as it is affectionately referred to, May two-four - is upon us once again and with that I bring you the VHS intro for Canadian distributor, Cinépix Film Properties.

As my post title would suggest, this is the second time I have featured C/FP. This logo above was the logo they used from 1997-1999, after which they were bought out and became Lions Gate Entertainment.

I talked about the many, many titles they put out in my first C/FP post from 2010, but I have since acquired this beauty below. Check it out in all its evil snowman goodness.

Happy long weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: The Bad Seed

Today's trailer is for a film that I saw for the first time just last week (courtesy of Richelle Charkot's killer screening series Retropath at the Royal) Mervyn's LeRoy's The Bad Seed from 1956.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. Its origins as a play made for a very contained story that relied on dialogue and character, two things I appreciate very much. I always assumed declarations like “when you see it we will appreciate your not divulging its startling climax” were things that films of this era just said arbitrarily. But no, this film means it.

After the movie seemed like it ended twice, I thought little Rhoda was gonna go all Halloween II, but nope! Instead, the movie hits you with one of the biggest WTF endings I've seen in quite a while.

Monday, May 16, 2016

TCAF 2016

This weekend I checked out the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. It happens at the Reference Library downtown every year and showcases hundreds of comic artists from around the globe. So much art at once can be a little overwhelming, but I always come away with some really awesome finds.

In addition to picking the above new works from my friends Trevor Henderson & Jenn Woodall, I was also glad to see that Ero-Guro artist Shintaro Kago was in town for the weekend debuting his newest anthology comic, Tract.

Artist Shintaro Kago

After using my limited Japanese while getting my book signed, I discovered Kago does personalized portraits. Using this handy guide, Kago will draw you being dispatched in a number of different ways.

I've since seen one done of a friend of mine, and the likeness was pretty uncanny. How awesome is that?! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

DKTM 301

Hello all! I'm shaking off a video game hangover this morning, but here's what I've got for you today.

What's Your Pleasure, Sir?

While surfing this week, I came across a pre-order for this gorgeous little trinket from MezcoToyz.

Modelled on the Lament Configuration from Hellraiser III, this beauty boasts an apparent 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 combinations. While delivery on pre-orders won't be until the fall, a twenty-five dollar price tag (with shipping) is virtually irresistible. Click here to order your own doorway into hell.

Your Move, Creep!

I found two interesting crowd fund projects this week. The first is for Cult Screenings UK and Dead Mouse Productions' Kickstarter for the RoboCop documentary, RoboDoc.

This doc looks really great and just the pitch video makes me want to watch it again. To contribute, click here. The second is 88 Films newest Italian Collection restoration through Indiegogo, which includes the following films;

For more info on how you can make these happen, click here.

Don't Go In...

Recently, the trailer for Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett's newest collaboration, The Woods dropped online.

Judging from how much I dug You're Next and The Guest, I'm sure I can expect another wild ride. The Woods is set for release on September 16th.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The South Shall Rise Again!

Hey all. I admit I should've done some sort of Friday the 13th tie-in today, but the week got away from me. Instead, I want to talk about a VHS cover I recently discovered on the Horror VHS Collectors Unite Facebook page.

I first saw this Force Video release of H.G. Lewis' 2000 Maniacs when I was a little kid. 

Cover courtesy of Jimmy Fancher

It stuck with me, as a lot of those lurid sleeves did back in the day. However, it seemed after a certain point I never saw that particular cover again. When I started up this blog, I did an exhaustive search for it and turned up nothing. I began to believe I had imagined it.

Then, one fateful day last week, it appeared. My sanity was restored once again. For now.

Have a great weekend, guys. I'll be busy digging into Uncharted 4.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: Heavenly Creatures

On the subject of young girls tragically separated from reality, I give you the trailer for Peter Jackson's 1994 opus Heavenly Creatures.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Beware The Slenderman

The other film I saw at this year’s Hot Docs was Irene Taylor Brodsky's Beware the Slenderman.

In 2014, in an attempt to appease a fictional character named The Slenderman, twelve-year-olds Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier lured their friend Payton Leutner into the Wisconsin woods and stabbed her repeatedly.

First surfacing on the humour website Something Awful in 2009, Slenderman has become the Internet’s biggest urban legend, inspiring short films, art and online fiction. Though the doc's title may suggest that this documentary is an exploration of the Slenderman myth, it's really more of a true crime investigation. Brodsky had already begun work on a documentary that investigated how the Internet affects how we view the world when the story broke, so that explains how she managed to be there filming those involved in the case almost immediately after the incident.

The most chilling parts of the documentary are the videotaped confessions of Geyser and Weier. I say confessions even though at some points they were speaking to detectives as nonchalantly as if they were ordering coffee at Starbucks. It was legitimately shocking to see how divorced from reality they were. Somehow, they had worked it into their heads that to become the Slenderman's “proxies”, they had to kill their friend. If they didn’t, he would come after them and their families.

There's another frustrating angle to this case, in how law enforcement initially handled things. During their first few hours in police custody, the parents still thought their children were missing and interviews were conducted in complete secrecy. I mean, how is it possible that a twelve-year-old can be interrogated without some sort of counsel present?

I've been ingesting a lot of stories about people trying to prove their innocence recently (Making A Murderer, Serial) so it was a eye-opener to see the other side of the scale. Though, regardless of the obvious guilt in this case, you still have to ask yourself how something like this happens. I know Geyser and Weier parents are. Brodsky talks to them a lot (the victim and her family declined to be interviewed for the doc) and I feel for them. They were not neglectful parents. In fact, all signs point to them providing perfectly stable environments.

Brodsky describes the circumstances as a “perfect storm.” They were two impressionable kids that together created a kind of psychological dead zone. Judging from their testimonies of the hours leading up to the incident, it almost seems like neither wanted to actually go through with, but neither would back down. It’s all very tragic. Ultimately, the real victim here is Payton Leutner. She was stabbed nineteen times, but still managed to survive. She’ll have to live with the trauma her entire life, one that by some miracle she still has.

Beware the Slenderman illicited several responses, but chief among them is sadness. Lives have been forever changed. The detrimental effects of our increasingly connected society is a discussion for another day, but it was an undeniable factor here. Beware indeed.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

DKTM 300!

Three hundred! Wow, that crept up. I don't have anything particularly special planned, but I did want to call attention to some film lists I have found in recent weeks.

On Her Majesty's Bloody Horror.

The first list is BFI's 10 Great Overlooked British Horror Films of the 1970s. There are some real deep cuts on this list that I hadn't even heard of like Demons of the Mind (1972) and Prey (1977).

The two above are highly recommended, as Full Circle (1977) is deeply haunting, and Donald Pleasance (the Pleasance family are featured in three titles on this list) puts in a playfully eccentric performance in Raw Meat (1972).

For the full list, click here.

Traces of Yellow.

I came across an old post from Taste of Cinema titled 15 Essential Films For An Introduction to Italian Giallo Movies the other day. And it's pretty ace.

I must admit there's a part of me that clicks on these lists waiting to disagree. In this case though, it was almost as if I'd picked them myself. Not only were the right films of the Holy Trinity chosen - The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970) & Deep Red (1975) for Dario Argento, Blood & Black Lace (1964) & Bay of Blood (1971) for Mario Bava and Lizard In A Woman's Skin (1971) & Don't Torture A Duckling (1972) for Lucio Fulci - but also some lesser known titles like Sergio Martino's My Vice Is A Locked Room and Only I Have The Key (1972, featuring the impossibly beautiful Edwige Fenech) and Pupi Avati's The House With Laughing Windows (1976).

This list is a glorious place to start if you're interested in Euro-horror and/or tracing the roots of the American slasher. I think the only title I'd have tacked on there would've been Martino's Torso (1973). Granted, it's decidedly closer to a slasher than a giallo, but you could say the same thing about Bay of Blood, as well.

Regardless, props to Hossein Eidi Zadeh for a great list that you can check out in full here.

As Time Goes By.

About a month ago, ScreamingVegetable over at Imgur put up an exhaustive Best Horror Film By Year list. The most interesting thing I realized while going through it was how much things got muddied after 2001.


Aside from obvious picks like Let The Right One In in 2008 (nothing even came close that year), there were some really contentious choices. I really hope that SV just forgot about The Descent, because there is no rationalization that The Devil's Rejects wins 2005. I would argue that The Descent would top a list by DECADE, let alone by year.

To close things out, I also wanted to let you all know that Perturbator released their new album The Uncanny Valley. Check it out!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ahh, The Classics.

I decided to go big, and post the mother of all intros today. Here's the awesome ident for Cannon Films (complete with authentic tracking static).

Cannon Films was synonymous with home video. If you were renting B-movies back in the eighties, it would've been impossible for you to not come across that logo above. As you may know (especially if you've been following along with the Loose Cannons podcast), Cannon was established in the late sixties, but didn't really hit its stride until Israeli businessmen Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus took over in the late seventies.

They produced and distributed dozen of films that ranged from action pictures like Sho Kosugi's ninja trilogy (Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination) and Chuck Norris' action vehicles (Delta Force, Invasion USA) to crazy off-the-wall fare like The Apple.

As for horror fare, they released plenty, including X-Ray, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Lifeforce. I actually saw a bunch of Cannon's horror titles through Elvira's Movie Macabre in the early nineties, as they must have had a deal with them or something. Specifically in the show's fourth season, I remember staying up to watch (it came on after Saturday Night Live) the likes of Alien Contamination, Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Hype, New Year's Evil & Schzoid to name a few.

The above intro was taken from my badly beat up VHS copy of Tobe Hooper's 1986 remake of Invaders From Mars.

Anyway, have a great weekend, guys!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nothing To Fear, But...

The first of my two screenings at HotDocs this year was Charlie Lyne's meditation on terror, Fear Itself.

Constructed solely from clips of horror films, a female narrator speaks of the crippling fear and paranoia that permeates her waking life.

This project was familiar ground for Lyne as he directed a similar exploration of teen movies in 2014 called Beyond Clueless and produced Ross Sutherland's 2015 dizzyingly profound spoken word piece Stand By For Tape Back-up. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from Fear Itself, but at the very least I knew I'd be staring at bits and pieces of my most beloved genre for ninety minutes.

Fear Itself was a pretty neat experiment that will hit everyone a different way. The voice-over, supplied by Amy E Watson, spun a story that, though nowhere near as provocative or engaging as Stand By (but really, what is?), did touch on many things that keep us up at night as a society. I have to admit that it did take a few sequences for me to settle in, as I was concentrating more on the movies playing out onscreen than the narrative of the orator.

As for the movies used to illustrate the doc's thesis, I noticed two things. First, I was very impressed by the scope of the films used, as not only did they vastly range in era but also in geography. Lyne peppered in his contemporaries with Italian gialli (Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Seven Notes In Black), Bollywood horror (Raat) and even the Japanese Ero-Guro (Blind Beast, Horrors of Malformed Men). I've seen compilations that stick to the stuff that everyone's seen, so this was actually a welcome treat.

The other thing that struck me was that Lyne often cut away to a new clip before the big moment or “money shot” of a scene happened. This was initially frustrating until I figured out that by isolating the build-up of a sequence, he was actually throwing a light on the anxiety that all horror filmmakers strive to achieve in their viewers.

Mainly though, as is what usually happens after I've viewed something like this, I came away with a list of new titles to track down, including Kerry Bellessa's Amber Alert and Carlos Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux (both 2012). And what am I without my lists?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Trailer Tuesdays: The Clonus Horror

In keeping with the spirit of conspiracy, here's a trailer for the 1979 thriller The Clonus Horror.

Man, those taglines are great.

“At Clonus, the only thing they don't use... is the scream!”

“The motion picture that will steal your heart, and your liver and your kidneys and your eyes and your lips and (fade out)”

Monday, May 2, 2016

I Have Heard The Future.

Recently, my friend Trevor turned me onto a podcast called Limetown. Considering that it was one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes during its run last year, I'm surprised it's not being talked about more. This seven-part series from Two-Up Productions, actually better described as an audio drama, has been on my mind since I listened to it during my flight to Los Angeles.

The less said the better, but in 2004, the over three-hundred inhabitants of Limetown, Tennessee suddenly disappeared. The story unfolds through interviews with a varied and eclectic bunch of subjects conducted by a plucky investigative reporter named Lia Haddock.

Simply put, I think Limetown is an exceptional piece of work, in concept and execution. The comparisons to the podcast Serial and The X-Files are valid, but Limetown truly has an energy all its own. I've listened to it twice through now and I continue to admire not only the sharp writing, but also its naturalistic performances.

Art by Elizabeth Beier.

So obsessed am I that I haven't looked into the origins of the piece, just so the universe created her remains intact. Sure, Limetown is fiction, but it's laid out in such a way that reality never felt too far away. It is an audio play, but it's so well done that you can visualize it as easily as if you were watching it on TV. That's no easy task.

Limetown was filled with moments of tragedy and horror, but there were also moments that were deeply moving. This was clearly a project made by people who value the art of storytelling above all else. I can't recommend this enough.

To learn more, check out the website here.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Belated Alien Day!

Hello all! I was away for 4/26 aka Alien Day, so I just wanted to post about some of the great art that was floating around the Web.

Art by Mike Saputo

Art by Chris Skinner

Art by Mike Englert.

I have Englert's print from The Thing hanging on my wall. No one does landscapes better than that guy. 

Art by Laurent Durleux

Art by Thomas Walker

Art by Chris Shy

I thought I'd add in my two cents with the poster I brought back from the UK when I was a teen.

However, I've saved the best for last. My host in LA just happened to be a movie memorabilia collector and had several original pieces from 1979's Alien.

Lambert's (Veronica Cartwright) original space suit.

Original Alien head & model.

Original space jockey miniature.