To celebrate the rapidly upcoming twentieth (20!) edition of the Fantasia Film Festival, the organizers decided to do another Tentsquare bumper competition. The only criteria was it had to be thirty seconds or less, have no dialogue and somehow feature the number 20. After hastily answering the call for submissions, I give you... 20 Bones!
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016
This weekend, I sucked it up and saw The Shallows.
While surfing on a secret Mexican beach, med school drop-out Nancy (Blake Lively) finds herself in a life and death struggle against a Great White shark.
First, let me be clear. When I said “sucked it up”, I didn’t mean in preparation of a bad film, I meant that this would be another endurance test against my intense fear of sharks. I love shark movies, but they very often put a sizable strain on my faculties.
The Shallows, or as it was previously known, In The Deep, was another film for which I had previously read the script. I naturally had a visceral response to it and was happy to see it get plucked off The Black List and produced by Columbia.
Overall, I think it works. At eighty-six minutes, it was a pretty tight affair, with journeyman director Jaume Collet-Serra using all the tools in his arsenal to milk the tension. Lively was solid in a very physical role (you can see some very real battle wounds on her face in the climax) and despite some boneheaded movie decisions, she was fairly likable.
Of course, the other important element was the shark itself. There was a running joke with me and my friends who read the script about how many times the phrase “THE SHARK EXPLODES OUT OF THE WATER” was used – literally half a dozen – and it did happen a lot. Those were unfortunately the points that strained the CGI the most. It was never Sharknado bad, but still made me say less of that please, as it was the underwater stuff that was more successful to varying degrees. However, that still didn’t stop me from jumping out of my seat at the prologue scare. It made me simultaneously relieved that I went by myself, yet also question why I sat so close to the screen.
|This pic is actually very difficult for me to look at.|
The aforementioned tweaks to the script made things a little more cinematic, only somewhat suspending reality in doing so. I mean, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? I feel there was some dialogue removed, but was glad that the bits with “Steven Seagull” still remained intact. He was a cool little guy. Perhaps most successful was how technology, namely Instagram and Face-Time, were integrated in the film. This kind of narrative has been evolving over the last fifteen years and when it’s done well, it really works.
|Actually a better actor than his namesake.|
So, for people who rank films like Open Water and The Reef among their most visceral film experiences, this will definitely (ahem) float your boat. It was a stressful experience for me – and I even knew what was going to happen! - but a cathartic one. For others, maybe you won't get as much out of it. As far as script to screen goes, this was a pretty accurate execution of writer Anthony Jawinski's vision.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Hey all. Summer is in full swing now, and I am pleased as punch. I was running around a park downtown doing some run-and-gun filming with some friends yesterday, so it's nice to be able to kick back and relax today. Here's what's up...
What's New in Bloomington.
Scott Schirmer (Found, Harvest Lake) and his band of malevolent men (and women) known as Bandit Motion Pictures are about to hatch their newest nightmare on the world. It is a little project called Plank Face starring Nathan Barrett, Ellie Church, Brigid Macauley.
The Indiegogo campaign starts tomorrow, but these guys do crowd-funding a little differently. The production itself has already been self-funded, so the campaign is basically to take pre-orders for the Blu-ray release. It is a model that has worked for them before, and considering they've already hit 159% of their goal a day before the official campaign start date, I'd say it will again.
|Plank Face welcomes you...|
The trailer drops tomorrow, but you can check out the official Thunderclap page here.
The trailer for The Girl With All The Gifts hit the Web this week.
I've never read the book this movie was based on, but post apocalypse, zombie children and Gemma Arterton has my attention. The Girl With All The Gifts releases September 23rd in the UK.
A cool new video game called Asemblance released this week. Developed by a new company out of Seattle called Nilo Studios, this episodic first-person mystery has definitely piqued by interest.
Their site says the game was inspired by The Twilight Zone, The X-Files and Black Mirror, so based on that pedigree I can't help but shell out the ten bucks just on blind curiosity. In fact, my PS4 is currently downloading it as I type this. Asemblance is also available on Steam.
Friday, June 24, 2016
Rooting around in the Archives, I found these little pretties.
I have to say I'm having trouble visualizing The Video Library, as I don't think it existed past the mid-eighties, but my family definitely frequented The Video Station fairly regularly, for this is the second relic I have unearthed from them.
This must have been back when you had to pay a yearly membership fee, or a flat fee up front. Strange days back then. Although, it kind of makes sense considering there wasn't really any way for vendors to chase you down, if you decided to run off with their merchandise. Remember, this was when VHS sometimes cost over a hundred bucks a pop. They had to rent quite a few times to see a profit, but fortunately, due to the booming market, they often did.
If you'd like to see more membership cards from back in the day, check out this old post here.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Here's a trailer for a film that I, perhaps surprisingly, just saw for the first time last weekend.
As you might expect, I enjoyed it immensely. Somehow, I've managed to avoid major spoilers all these years. I was aware cross-dressing was involved, so the big reveal wasn't hard to spot, but I was shocked by the elevator scene involving Angie Dickinson.
I guess I shouldn't have been, as this was Brian De Palma's version of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho - as subsequently Body Double was his Rear Window - but for some reason, I didn't see it coming.
You can say what you want about De Palma's emulation of Hitchcock, but he's made some fantastic thrillers over the years.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
It's been a great weekend, and if you're celebrating today with your Pops, have at it! Here's what's been going on this week.
So, another E3 has come and gone, leaving a bevy of upcoming horror titles in its wake. I touched on the Friday the 13th game last week, but there's lots of other things to get excited about.
Sony killed it at E3 with a concise and stripped down presser. Gone were the sales charts, portable pandering and celebrities, it was just as it should be with the games being front and centre. Well okay, there may have been one celebrity - as Hideo Kojima came on stage to announce his new game, Death Stranding.
It's good to see that the promise of P.T. eventually came to something.
We also got to see a lot of Resident Evil 7.
Since the game-changer that was Resident Evil 4, we seen diminishing returns from this franchise, but I think this maybe the shake-up that puts it back on top. It also has 100% PS VR compatibility, so that's a thing.
Lastly, there is Santa Monica Studios, the juggernaut developer responsible for some of the most unique experiences in gaming, announcing their new PS VR project, Here They Lie.
This may be the title that tips me over the edge in shelling out the five hundred bones for virtual reality. It's a brave new world out there.
Split Screen Scream Queens.
Toronto based artist Matthew Therrien has recently been unveiling his newest series of drawings online.
It's such a simple idea, yet so bloody brilliant. You can check out more of his work here.
Feast (On) Your Eyes.
Here's the trailer for the new remake of the infamous H.G Lewis 1963 classic, Blood Feast.
Though it looks a lot more slick than I would expect for anything associated with Lewis' canon, it certainly appears that they didn't skimp on the gore. I don't see a release date yet, but this Halloween would be a good bet.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Before the feature presentation unspooled on my VHS copy of Schzoid last week, there was a Cannon Video trailer reel that was far too colourful to not share with you all. Enjoy!
New Year's Evil should be coming up here later in the summer when the Loose Cannons Podcast gets around to it. That Gotham movie sure is an obscure relic of the past. You'd think the irony that Tommy Lee Jones would “return” to Gotham only seven years later - in arguably worse fashion - would be more widely pontificated. And Cyborg, well, who can knock JCVD???
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
With the Euro Cup now in full swing - sorry, poor choice of words - I feel some gamesmanship is in order.
I am sure I have never heard of this one, which is shocking considering it was a Media release and likely widely available. It certainly looks up my alley, so perhaps a future viewing is in order.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Last Friday, I went the other way down the highway to an art showing in Hamilton. Several prominent figures of Toronto's horror community have moved there in the last few years, and thus Steeltown has seen a rise in the dark arts as a result.
This show, curated by artists Gary Pullin and Sara Deck, focused on pop culture, and also included the likes of Paige Reynolds, Jason Edmiston and Justin Erickson.
Gary Pullin's Scream print above is super limited edition (only 38 were printed) and the few available at the show were snapped up instantly. Fortunately, he hooked me up with an extra he had nearby, as I was there specifically to snag one for a friend. Here were some of the other great pieces.
|Nosferatu by Paige Reynolds.|
|Batgirl by Jason Edmiston|
|Deadpool by Justin Erickson, Alice by Sara Deck & Ant-Man by Kevin Tong.|
My favourite of the show would have to be Matt Tobin's recent interpretation of the Steven Spielberg classic Jaws.
|Pardon the reflection...|
This is probably my favourite double visual piece since Lauren O'Neill's rendition of Under The Skin.
The event was also to promote the upcoming poster documentary Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six. A lot of the folks that appeared in the movie, including director Kevin Burke, were in attendance and the vibe was pretty enthusiastic. I contributed the Kickstarter campaign and am pretty stoked to see it.
|Mills Hardware in Hamilton, Ont.|
This will likely be the first of many shows in the Hammer, as Gary is already planning to do more events in the future, with more artists involved and possibly some premieres.
And I'll be there.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
It's a beautiful day out there, so I encourage you to get out into it. After seeing what I've got for you today, of course.
This year's E3 is upon us over the next few days, and though it appears to be somewhat scaled down this year, that hasn't stopped developers from metering out some reveals over the last few days. Here below is the teaser for Cyanide Studios' RPG game, Call of Cthulhu and Gun Media's Friday the 13th.
Big Red TV.
We got a teaser this week for the upcoming Netflix show, Stranger Things.
It looks like Netflix's goal of releasing a show a week is rapidly coming to fruition. I'm super on board for this. Its Amblin underpinnings are in my wheelhouse, as is the lovely Winona Ryder. Stranger Things premieres July 15th.
I'm Only Human.
This week, Scream Factory revealed an amazing release in a schedule already filled with impressive titles, a definitive release of John Carpenter's The Thing.
Just check out how loaded this thing is;
-NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive Supervised And Approved By Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
-NEW 4.1 Audio Mix Created From The Original 70MM Six Track Dolby Stereo Soundtrack (5.1 Audio Mix Also Included)
-NEW Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
Audio Commentary By Director John Carpenter And Actor Kurt Russell
-NEW The Men Of Outpost 31 – Interviews With Keith David, Thomas Waites, Peter Maloney And More…
-NEW Assembling And Assimilation – An Interview With Editor Todd Ramsay
-NEW Behind The Chameleon – Interviews With Visual Effects Artists Peter Kuran And Susan Turner, Special Make-up Effects Artist Rob Burman And Brian Wade And More…
-NEW Sounds From The Cold – Interviews With Supervising Sound Editor David Lewis Yewdall And Special Sound Effects Designer Alan Howarth
-NEW Between The Lines – An Interview With Novelization Author Alan Dean Foster
-John Carpenter's The Thing: Terror Takes Shape – A Documentary On The Making Of THE THING Featuring Interviews With John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, Special Effects Make-up Designer Rob Bottin, Matte Artist Albert Whitlock And More! (80 minutes – SD)
As well as everything on the previous releases!
The Deluxe Limited Edition has already sold out, but you can pre-order the Collector's Edition here. What a thing of beauty!
Friday, June 10, 2016
Keeping in sync with the Loose Cannons Podcast, I watched David Paulsen’s 1980 slasher Schzoid this week.
As if it’s not bad enough that advice columnist Julie (Marianna Hill) is receiving threatening letters, someone is also killing off the members of her therapy group. Will she be next?
I had seen this movie before, but my recollections were very few and far between, having watched the shaved-down Movie Macabre version some twenty-five years ago. As a thriller, it’s pretty mediocre with a bait & switch that fools pretty much no one. However, if you can get past the super gross father-daughter relationship between Klaus Kinski and Donna Wilkes – I wonder if this is why he took the part – the movie did have its charms.
The cast, which also included Craig Wasson, Richard Herd and Christopher Lloyd were great and all given entertaining, if not extraneous, bits to chew on. If seeing Wasson infatuate over wallpaper and Lloyd drone on about his one love – being a maintenance man – then boy, are you in for a treat!
The best are the exchanges between the two cops, Herd and Joe Regalbuto, though. Apart from the usual “man this job is really getting to me” repartee, there’s this hilarious bit where they decide to show Hill all their homicide files, just to prove how busy they are. But then, literally the next scene, they were all “we can’t divulge that info” when Kinski asked for a victim’s cause of death. That’s a real tight ship you’re running there, guys.
But really, I think the star of this movie is the score by Craig Huxley. Holy shit, it is bonkers! At times, it sounds like he just let a bunch of cats loose in a room full of instruments. My favourite was the sting that accompanied the first reveal of the murder weapon. It sounded like Michael Jackson’s Thriller!
What I found particularly strange was that the brutality of the murders often didn't match up with the tone of the rest of the picture. The movie also meanders a lot in the middle, which makes me think it may have been a perfect movie to get the Elvira treatment. Schzoid lies in that sizable list of B-movies that were populated by slumming established actors rubbing elbows with others who were on their way to bigger and better things – Lloyd would become Doc Brown only five years later.
Still, I did have a smile-slash-smirk on my face while watching a good deal of this, so that’s something. That’s Cannon to a T though, isn’t it?
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Hey everyone! Get ready for something new. Unboxing videos seem to be popular with the kids these days, so I went ahead and did one myself for my newly acquired giallo-themed deck of playing cards.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
I didn't know this until it came across my FB Feed, but today is National VCR Day!
This is a thing apparently, I feel so unprepared. But then again, I have been celebrating VHS for the last eight-plus years here, so I don't feel too bad.
Anyway, do your part and hug a VCR today!
In accordance with a little something I'm posting tomorrow, here's the trailer for Massimo Dallamano's 1972 giallo What Have You Done To Solange?
I propose a drinking game where you imbibe every time someone says Solange. Also, I think a dope alternate title for this movie would've been “Lesbian Games.” Arrow Video put out a pretty sweet release of this late last year, which you can snap up here.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Some stuff happened this weekend, and the world got a little more shitty. But, life goes on I guess.
Those Damn Yuppies.
I found a cool little A to Z list over at The Good In Movies this week, detailing a group that is often imperiled in horrors and thrillers - the yuppies. Click on the pic below to check out the list.
The past has seen some great ones like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Fatal Attraction and Dead Calm but it is good to see that this subgenre is still going strong with more recent entries like Orphan and The Invitation. If anything, these movies just drive the point home that danger can come from anywhere.
One of my favourite animators working today is UK-based Robert Morgan. This week, he properly posted his 2011 opus Bobby Yeah to his Vimeo account. Take some time to enter the distinctly nightmarish world of Robert Morgan below.
My 2012 Halloween costume of Bobby still remains one of my best, I think.
Harrison Smith's newest project Death House, often referred to as The Expendables of Horror, released a teaser this week.
The storyline, about two federal agents trapped in a prison housing the world's most dangerous criminals, is intriguing and they have certainly amassed an impressive list of horror greats including Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman, Sid Haig, Tony Todd, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace and Gunnar Hansen. Currently it looks like the movie is naturally aiming for Halloween release.
Friday, June 3, 2016
Last year, I raved about Ross Sutherland's part eulogy, part-VHS nostalgia, part-performance art piece Stand By For Back Up. Well, now it is now available to watch in full on Vimeo.
I strongly urge you all to take an hour out of your day to watch this. I still feel it is one of the most profound and brilliant things I've seen in years. I would be shocked if you don't relate to at least of one of the things Sutherland talks about here. Anyhoo, here it is below.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, Fangoria's perennial fan convention Weekend of Horrors made its one and only trip to Toronto (and as far as I know all of Canada). This milestone would have no doubt passed unnoticed if a reader hadn't happened to email me asking if I had any pictures of the event. After responding that I did, it clicked that the anniversary was imminent and thus perfect timing for another Archives post.
By this time in my life I was a full-on fanatic. I had been working at Major Video for almost a year and it was feeding my obsession nicely. I was watching more movies in a day than most did in a week. I don't think I had my driver's license by then, so thank goodness my older brother was gracious enough to shuttle us in. The guest list was impressive, even with the last-minute cancellation by Bruce Campbell.
|Right-click to enlarge.|
I remember the dealer's room being fairly large, and it was similar to Monsterpalooza in that there were several make-up demonstrations going on throughout the day. I've talked before about basically opening up my wallet to the poster guy, but there was lots of other great merch there, as well. I remember I picked up a T2 shirt that I practically lived in that summer. In retrospect, I wished I'd rifled through the bins of scripts they had at one of the booths.
Anyway, the photos. Given my limited photography skills, I'm surprised these turned out at all. Truth be told, it was probably my brother snapping all these pics. It's kind of amazing how much of this event I can remember considering it was a quarter century ago.
I think I spoke about my interaction with Kane Hodder in my Friday the 13th archives post. He was super cool then, and been just as cool the two times I've seen him since.
Tom Savini gave a memorable Q&A. I've seen a few people online tell the story of Savini getting down on his knees and apologizing to all in attendance for The Ripper, and it happened at this show.
|Savini looks out into a sea of mullets.|
Linnea Quigley was a sweetheart. If I recall correctly about the photo below, she had a bunch of people come up on stage and re-enact her cemetery dance scene from Return of the Living Dead, for which we judged the winner.
Below were the esteemed judges for the WOH's costume parade. Seated from left, Savini, Fangoria editor Tony Timpone, Quigley, FX artist Steve Johnson & Hodder.
And the winners were...
|3RD PLACE - GREG & STANLEY|
|2ND PLACE - THE DUKE & DUCHESS OF REALLY DIRTY THINGS|
|1ST PLACE - AQUARIUS|
Nowadays, the GTA has over a half-dozen fan conventions a year, but in the early nineties, this thing was a revelation. For me, it was really the first time the curtain between film and reality was lifted. It was surreal to say the least. I hope you enjoyed these little windows into the past. Until next time...
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Last weekend, I took the trip down the 401 to engage in London's annual scumbag soiree Shock Stock.
The show floor was noticeably less busy this year, most likely due to some unfortunate factors that included a huge street hockey tournament hijacking several blocks around the venue. It made access a little problematic to say the least. Shock Stock this year was also scheduled in close proximity to Niagara Comic Con, which may have diluted numbers a tad. No matter. Even though Zack from The Vault was not there, I still managed to come away with a shit-ton of VHS.
|I couldn't resist.|
And speaking of VHS, there was a fun panel on Friday afternoon about the home video era featuring four genre figures who were smack dab in the middle of it - Kevin Van Hentenryck (Basket Case), A. Michael Baldwin (Phantasm), Danny Hicks (Evil Dead 2) and B-movie titan Lloyd Kaufman. They happily reminisced about the VHS boom, the film business then and now, and the evil entity known as the MPAA. You can check out the panel below.
Later that night saw the Canadian premiere of James Bickert's Frankenstein Created Bikers at the lovely Hyland Theatre - the only theatre left in London with a 35mm projector if I heard correctly. Sadly, the only thing that theatre didn't have was proper stage lighting which is why I don't have any decent pictures of the event.
When Jake introduced the movie as an epic, I thought “yeah, right” but holy Geez did Bickert cram a lot into the two-hour running time. Zombie bikers, kitty-masked minions, a Sasquatch, a trans assassin and keystone cops are just a few things that show up between explosions and gunfights. That's not even counting the shenanigans that leading ladies Tristan Risk, Ellie Church and Madeline Brumby get up to. For those who dig this retro-Grindhouse movement, this may just be the pinnacle of sex, sleaze and sin.
|Ellie Church goes through hell & back in FCB.|
I did say that the event was uncharacteristically sedate, but this by no means carried over when the sun went down. The parties were as crazy as ever. As I may have said before, Shock Stock has morphed into more of a mass hangout over the last few years. This is not a Fan Expo, it's a community event where filmmakers rub elbows with fans and don't charge mass amounts of money for the privilege.
There were a ton of music acts this year, including bands featuring Van Hentenryck and Ari Lehman (Jason from F13), as well as Chris Alexander's giallo-centric outfit backed up on drums by Dave Bertrand. Here's some video I took. That little camera jerk eleven seconds into the vid is me getting sprayed in the face with fake blood.
Fortunately, I was at the one party where being covered in red did not seem out of place. Jake got thrown through a table again, before having a cinder block smashed on his crotch, so yeah, it was a great night. I caught up with a lot of people and left my high score on the Galaga machine. It's all about life goals.
There were a few things new to the show this year, like a vintage video game area (Nintendo NOES & F13) and a Vagrancy Brothers Escape Room, but the biggest addition was the first annual Crystal Shocker Awards.
The awards ceremony, hosted by the Monsters of Schlock and Jake, was as classy as you would expect with the following being among the one taking home the glass;
Best Screenplay (The Wizard of Words) - Killer Rack
Best Short Film (The Chimp Champ) - Into The Mud
Best Actor (The Eastman) - Bill Oberst Jr. for Heir
Best Actress (The Gemser) - Annette Wozniak for Secret Santa
Those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head, I'll add the rest as I remember them.
Getting away for the weekend and hanging with some like-minded individuals was just what I needed. James & Jake, you guys are the best scumbags around. Don't ever change!