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, May 22, 2017

Return To The Wonderful & Strange

I absorbed four episodes of the new Twin Peaks on Showtime last night, along with mass amounts of donuts and cherry pie. And it was glorious.


After some decidedly fleeting reboots of beloved shows of the past, I was cautiously optimistic about this new chapter. I now realize I had forgotten that even Lynch on his worst day is still more fulfilling and resonant than ninety-five per cent of everything else out in the world.

I feel this new Twin Peaks season is an extension of where he is now as an artist. If the mid-range budgets of Hollywood had not dried up several years ago, Lynch would probably be making movies very much like what I just witnessed. Now completely untethered from compromise, this is everything in his creative arsenal. Last night, I saw visual effects he hadn't used since his university short film days, as well as the continued exploration of the elongated pace of this last two film projects, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire.

Lynch, Mark Frost and Kyle McLachlan were correct to warn people that this new incarnation of the show would not be an exercise in nostalgia. Though many characters have returned – and boy is it great to see them again – there are new stories to be told as well as the most important query – what happened to Special Agent Dale Cooper?


This new Twin Peaks is also way more like Fire Walk With Me than the original show. The regular Lynchian quirkiness still permeates, but the darkness is front and center, at least for the majority of the first four episodes I saw. Also, in true Lynchian fashion, he doesn't feel the need to give you all the information up front. I've been digesting it since and my brain is doing somersaults and I'm loving every second of it. It happens every time Lynch gives me a new gift and I don't know that there's another filmmaker who I can say that about. Maybe Tarantino, but that's more of a oh-I-need-to-watch-every-movie-and-show-he's-referenced-here kind of thing.


I'm thrilled with what I've seen so far. You really have no idea where the story is going to go at any moment, and man that is so rare in this day and age. I'm going to cherish this revival. I really am.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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Hey everyone. It's here! It's here! It's finally here! Twin Peaks day has finally arrived! It is Happening Tonight.




I've re-watched the show & film, read the accompanying written material and absorbed all the interstitials, so all that's left to do now is watch these newest chapters. Let's Rock!

The Turn of the Century.

Cary Fukunara (of True Detective fame) is bringing Caleb Carr's novel The Alienist to the small screen and here's the trailer.



I loved the novel and it sure looks like TNT has upped their game here. One of the books greatest strengths was how well described late-1890's era New York was and I get that same impression from this trailer. I don't know if it will be as gruesome as it was in the book, but considering what NBC got away with during Hannibal's time on the air, who knows?

His Name Was David.

Montreal-based artist David Arsenau has created the ultimate Friday the 13th exhibit.



This guy is my hero. Looking at these pictures, it totally reminds me of the stuff I used to draw when I was a horror obsessed kid. Digging around trying to find that above video without the annoying ad embedded into it, I also found Arsenau's video game walkthrough project. This guy is insane!



Friday, May 19, 2017

Back To The Nineties.

It occurred to me that I hadn't done a VHS intro in a while. Digging through my newer acquisitions, I discovered this identifier for A-Pix Entertainment.



The life of A-Pix was isolated almost entirely to the nineties. Much like PM Entertainment, A-Pix distributed mainly b-grade action films and soft core thrillers, though they did produce a few horrors like 1995's The Fear and Bill Lustig's Uncle Sam (which is where I pulled the above intro).

This particular VHS bestowed many gifts with five(!) trailers and this wonderful ad for the now-defunct The Horror Shop.



As far as I can tell, this company was tied to A-Pix and sold their merch in much the way Full Moon Pictures did. I found an earlier vid of theirs that included a toll free number before they'd made the jump to the World Wide Web!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Terror on Tour

I'll be re-watching Night Train To Terror at a party this weekend and it got me thinking about horror films where live music is prominently featured. I didn't have to look long before this one came up.



Directed by Don Edmonds (of Ilsa fame), Terror on Tour promises to crank the eighties cheese to eleven. Anyway, I'm hoping to post something later this week that's been a looooong time coming. Until then, be safe!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

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Hey all. I hope you are enjoying your Mother's Day weekend and metered out the correct amount of admiration for the one who brought you into this world. Here's what I've got for you today.

Oh God Mother!

In celebration of Mother's Day, artist Matthew Therrien recently released the newest of his Final Girls & Cinema Survivors Series, featuring Norma & Norman Bates from Psycho.


To check out the rest of this fantastic series, click here.

Wondrous & Strange.

We are now one week away from the new revival season of Twin Peaks and Showtime has been devilishly teasing us with peeks behind the curtain over the last month. Yesterday, began a series about the Twin Peaks phenomenon for which the first part is below.



I am so stoked for this. I've been cramming a re-watch of both the show and Fire Walk With Me, all that is left now is to get this new chapter into my eyeballs.

R.I.P. Michael Parks 1940-2017.

Sadly, Twin Peaks lost one of its alumni this week with the passing of brilliant character actor Michael Parks. He was 77. Parks had a career that spanned six decades, but many became of aware of him (incuding me) through his work with Quentin Tarantino


Since then, he had a trio of spirited performances over the last few years in Red State, the We Are What We Are remake and Kevin Smith's Tusk. Rest in peace, Mr. Parks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shock Stock 2017

Last weekend saw my yearly pilgrimage to London, Ontario for Shock Stock #7.


Three days of rain caused some minor flooding at my place, so I didn't get to the festivities as early as I would have liked, but I made it. There was no way a little water was going to keep from this year's scumbag soiree. I have to apologize for the lack of pictures, I think I just got caught up in everything this year to properly document it.

After the ball hockey tournament debacle last year, Grimbrothers James & Jake decided to pull up stakes and move to another venue. After six years at the Centennial Hall, Shock Stock invaded the Ramada Inn. A pair of conference rooms were used for the vendor village and two for screenings and Q&A's. By the end of the weekend, everybody was in agreement this place was superior and a much needed change of scenery.



We pretty much took over the entire place and I couldn't believe how accommodating the establishment was, considering how rowdy things got at times. The tiny in-house bar was overwhelmed the first night, but they did their best to accommodate Saturday's festivities when Miss Shock Stock took place in the hotel's restaurant. There was something beautifully makeshift about it that felt just right. Blood and boobies in a place where a few hours later there would be a breakfast buffet sounds like wonderful magic to me.

The layout was nice and compact and it was really convenient that it took place in the same building as most of the attendees were staying. I hear there are some shows in the States (like Cinema Wasteland) that operate like this and it's a great idea. I was down the street at the HoJo to save a few bucks, but I'll definitely be splurging and getting a room in-house next year.

I picked up a shit-ton of merch. I didn't have my wingman Schwartz with me this year, so I think I overdid it in his absence. He's the one who usually goes overboard, so I couldn't be the voice of reason this year. There also just seemed to be a lot of stuff that called to me this year.




Also, for some reason I bought a pile of buttons even though I never wear them.


Apart from the vendor village, I watched some shorts, the cream of the crop being The Butcher Shop's newest Human Cattle, Kyle Hytonen & Derek Lukosius' Infirmity and Chris Giroux's Scraps.



The one horror Q&A I did attend was actress Caroline Williams of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 among others. She was very lovely and had some great stories about working in the business. Here are some bloody bits;

On her first impressions of Tobe Hooper;
“He was short, and bossy and said 'fuck' all the time. He had a big cigar and Dr. Pepper going all the time. He wasn't into the esoteric of acting, he didn't want to hear my motivations. He was like, 'this is the shot, this is how we're doing it, this is what I want you to do' and that was it.”

On working with Dennis Hopper;
“The value of working with Dennis is that's how I learned the technique of film acting because the way you look on camera, the way you're lit, the size of the frame, those things are essential to an actor. That way you can make more of a creative contribution. I didn't any of those things until I met Dennis. When we were blocking our scenes together on the stairs, Dennis was saying 'I don't want to sit on this side, I want to sit on that side because the woman should look pretty in a movie even if she's bad (character-wise) so Caroline you come sit over here' because that was my good side. He had already gauged what that was. He knew everything and it was instinctive with him.”

Actress Caroline Williams

On seeing TCM2;
“I went with friends of mine and we sat in the back of the theater and there was a girl sitting in front of me going, 'she doesn't cry pretty'. So I had to listen to this bitch talk about me the whole time. But I had a great time. It was very well received by the fans for the first couple of weekends and then after that it kind of dropped off the map. But, you know, it gave me a place to go, as I've told Tobe before, without him and without this film, the rest of my life wouldn't have happened in quite the same way.”

On fan love for Stretch and TCM2;
“I think it's that crazy quilt of characters that Stretch encounters. It's like Dorothy in Oz. You know, you've got The Tin Man and The Scarecrow, but they happen to be Chop Top and Leatherface, and The Cook and all these crazy motherfuckers underground. Watching her go through her journey and ultimately save the day. I mean, I got to follow Marilyn Burns as a Final Girl under the direction of Tobe Hooper. That's kind of a big deal too, you know? Because I couldn't lift Marilyn's performance, that would've been impossible. This one was very balls out and comedy and just had so many crazy moments. I think the movie endures partly because it hasn't been remade and it doesn't dilute the impact of seeing it for the first time.”

On indie film financing;
“I think that's the future of indie horror. You do have to find, and I hate to say it, real estate investors. They will capitalize their investment thoroughly, they are willing to put the money into it that needs to put into it to make sure the project comes to complete fruition and they know they will not get an immediate return on their investment. It could take a year or two before they get their money back. These are the kind of guys that are willing to take some chances. And as an alternative revenue stream, if you're a young filmmaker, or writer or producer, start thinking about real estate investors. Wilson DaSilva is one of the biggest redevelopers in Toronto, he bought Anchor Bay Canada and renamed it United Front Entertainment.”

It was a terrific weekend that just felt like one big hangout. It was nice to get away from mopping up water from my kitchen floor and get greasy for a couple of days. As always, the Vagrancy Brothers know how to do it up. Here's to next year!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

For reasons that will become evident tomorrow, I'm posting the trailer for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.



This is such a whacked out film. I feel like this was the only direction this franchise could have gone to survive in the shadow of its predecessor. Hooper ramped up the black comedy (that was evident in the first film but not recognized until much later) and somehow made the villains (and heroes alike) even more maniacal. This is just another reason why the eighties was a beautiful time to be a horror movie fan.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sink or Swim.

It feels like it has been raining for a week here, but that's not gonna stop me from driving down the 401 to London for this year's edition of Shock Stock.


While it's a bummer Kane Hodder had to cancel due to a conflict, they'll be plenty of other things to keep me busy there, not the least of which is crowning a new Miss Shock Stock. If that event if even half as crazy as it was last time, it will be worth the trip. Anyway, check back next week to see what went down. Have a great weekend, kiddies!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

New England Gothic

Premiering exclusively on Shudder today is A.D. Calvo's atmospheric indie Sweet Sweet Lonely Girl.


While caring for her reclusive Aunt, Adele (Erin Wilhemi) strikes up a friendship with a townie named Beth (Quinn Shephard) and quickly falls under her influence.

Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl was a link that dropped in my inbox last month, so I had no idea what to expect, but I dug it quite a bit. It was the first time in a while that I'd seen that ever-popular retro-style done in a way that did not feel gimmicky. Calvo took great care to set the world in 1980 New England, but didn't feel the need to wave it in my face every scene.


Though I've heard it compared to Mario Bava's gothic oeuvre, I would offer that Lonely Girl shares more DNA with John Hancock's Let's Scare Jessica To Death. Not only were they both shot in Connecticut, but there were a few plot points – like the gravestone rubbing scene – that just have to be direct homages. With its setting and deliberate pace, it also reminded me of Oz Perkins' newest I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. Thankfully, due to its multiple characters there was more for me to latch onto here. Not lost on me either was the similarity between the posters for Lonely Girl and 1976's The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane.

Both leads were terrific in this. Wilhemi's virginal, straight edge was contrasted beautifully by Quinn Shephard sensual, dangerous energy. These two actresses have been in the business for a while, but this the perfect project to have them be front-and-center. Like I said before, I really felt the vintage style of the piece melted away as the film went on, making it really more about the relationship between Adele and Beth.

Erin Wilhemi (right) & Quinn Shephard in Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl.

Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl was a simple modern gothic tale that, within its less than eighty-minute run time, gets in and gets out. Its conclusion may leave you scratching your head for a moment, but I thought this was a solid indie. Needless to say, I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for Calvo, Wilhemi & Shephard in the future.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's Hard Out Here For A Finch.

I played through the video game What Remains of Edith Finch last weekend and though it's not a horror game per say, I still feel compelled to post about it.


This game was really wild. Having now played a few like Edith Finch (Gone Home, Virginia) I discovered that this subgenre actually has a name in“walking sims”. It's not a very exciting name, but these experiences are at the forefront of showcasing games as art. I was very fond of Giant Sparrow's previous game The Unfinished Swan and knew that I was in for a sizable dose of whimsy, but they really upped their game here.

While it is true that this game was about death and tragedy, it also had this really touching theme of family and the connection to our ancestors. The storytelling was top notch and I was taken aback by the range of gameplay from level to level, even within the restraints of the first person mechanic.


My favourite would obviously lean toward the Barbara level that takes place inside the panels of a Tales From the Crypt style comic book, but the batshit Molly sequence with its Im-a-cat-Im-an-owl-I'm-a-shark-I'm-a-worm-monster-thing was a fitting starting point for what was to come. Perhaps the story that hit home the most for me was Lewis', as I've often drifted off into other worlds during the monotonous hours between nine and five.

As with Swan, the score here was terrific and really accentuated the universe inhabited by the Finches. I didn't necessarily feel like it was a short experience for the twenty-seven dollars, but I would have liked more replay value. While Swan had balloons to collect, the remaining trophies in Edith Finch can be gobbled up within a half-hour.


I really enjoyed What Remains of Edith Finch. Despite its morbid amount of death and sadness, there was also a message of hope that no matter how bad things get, it only takes one good event to turn it all around. I like that.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Galaxy Blus

Hey. Just dropping in with a wee plug, as the Little Terrors anthology Galaxy of Horrors hits Blu-ray and DVD today. The Blu-ray is limited to 200 copies and has behind-the-scenes stuff, as well as an additional hour of shorts, including my 2014 short film The Monitor.



You can order it here, or if you're interested but no longer care for physical media, you can get it here.