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, June 27, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: The Lamp

Here's one that looks like a real doozy, Tom Daley's The Lamp aka The Outing.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Japan Gonna Pump... You up!

Last Saturday for its third year in a row, The Royal Cinema hosted the What The Film Festival.


A satellite event of the Laser Blast Film Society, the WTFF caters to the eclectic and experimental. Programmer Peter Kuplowsky scowers the globe for stuff outside the mainstream and this year gave us three such examples in Shinichi Fukazawa's Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell, Kentucker Audley's Sylvio and Michael Reich's She's Allergic To Cats.

Due to a family engagement, I was only able to catch the first show, but what a time it was.


You may have heard this movie referred to as the Japanese Evil Dead and that is pretty accurate. However, though there were many bits and pieces that were ripped right out of Raimi's beloved splat-stick trilogy, Fukazawa did make this his own thing by mixing in traditional Asian ghost story tropes and the aforementioned bodybuilding obsession. It did take a while to get going, but once the vengeful spirit was unleashed, the balls-to-the-wall inventiveness took over.

Here's blood in your eye! (sorry, couldn't resist)

As a huge Sam Raimi fan, it was impossible for me to not find this incredibly endearing. Body Builder was as fun as it was gory with a delightful everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to practical effects. Shot mostly in confined spaces, you could tell how difficult and time consuming - much like Evil Dead - some of these sequences must have been to shoot. It's the kind of DIY filmmaking that not only entertains, but also inspires.

Writer/Director & also lead actor Shinichi Fukazawa.

It is sad to think that this movie almost did not see the light of day. It was shot in 1995, but not fully put together for another fifteen years. It was then only available underground on DVD-R until UK company TerraCotta finally did an official release this year. I feel the world of splatter cinema is now a little redder for it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

DKTM 345


Hey all! I've been enjoying the Double XP weekend of the Friday the 13th game - in between their overworked server crashes that is. Playing until 4am has caused me the first non-alcoholic hangover I've had in a while. Are you sick of the NES Jason skin yet? I, for one, can't get enough of his chip-tune serenades. But enough about my extracurriculars...

Two Sentence Adaptations.

Stage 13 has had the fantastic inclination to start a web series adapting Two Sentence Horror Stories. Since the TSHS sensation started several years ago, there have been many visualizations posted online - I even made one myself - but this is the first time there has been an organized attempt to produce them. This clip below is from “Guilt Trip” and it premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this week.



Return to Tall Oaks.

A couple of years ago, a tiny company called Bright Light successfully Kickstarted their movie villain board game Mixtape Massacre. Now, they have a new campaign for their expansion entitled Black Masque.



I've played mixtape Massacre and it is super fun. I like the flipped mechanic of playing as a killer and it's also a bit more accessible than the similarly themed Camp Grizzly - though I adore that game too. To contribute to the campaign (which has already reached its goal in less than a week) click here.

A Precarious Position.

One of my favourite short films from last year has just made its way onto Vimeo. Tim Egan's Curve brings forth an immediate intensity with almost nothing more than sound and performance. Hold onto your seat...



Friday, June 23, 2017

Getting Reel!

I had intended this to be a VHS Fridays post, but the movie I randomly picked off my shelf - Lewis J. Force's Night After Night After Night - was such an unbearable bore I had to abort.

In its place, I decided to post that A-Pix trailer reel I mentioned a few weeks back. It's got some real doozies from the nineties including, coincidentally enough, Jeff Obrow's take on The Mummy starring Lou Gossett  Jr. Enjoy!



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

Arrow Films' new limited edition release of Dario Argento's 1970 debut The Bird with the Crystal Plumage comes out today. Here's the release trailer.



I adore this film. It was my introduction to the gialli and still remains one of my absolute favourites. I received this set in the mail last Friday and it is absolutely gorgeous. I entertained the thought of doing an un-boxing video, but it would never be as good as Industrial Blue's so just take a gander at his below.



I can't wait to dig into this set.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Désolé

Thanks to AMC's horror streaming service Shudder, I was able to check out Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury's 2014 effort Among The Living last week.


While screwing around in an abandoned film studio, three delinquents become the targets of a pair of psychos when they come across their latest victim.

This film had eluded me for sometime, as after it premiered at Fantasia in 2014, it seemed to disappear into the ether. Now I know why. Mon dieu, this is a frustrating movie! With a premise like this, it could have been a home run, but I found myself sighing my way through most of this thing.

Horror movies about kids in peril are my jam and that's what originally drew me to this. Imagine Tobe Hooper's Funhouse if the bratty kid didn't fuck off home halfway through the film. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the writers forgot that you also have to not make them complete jerks. I didn't give a shit about these brats. I'm all for truancy, but not so much the arson and golden showers. Maybe the latter is a French thing I don't know.

Les enfants Victor (Théo Fernandez), Dan (Damien Ferdel) & Tom (Zacharie Chasseriaud)

However, the frustrating part was just the parade of bad decisions made by the characters. Even by horror movie standards, there was a staggering amount. One of the kids, who up to this point has shown no positive qualities whatsoever, decides to charge in and save the girl instead of easily running away to find help. It's just lazy writing and it happens often. 2011's Livid, Bustillo & Maury's previous work, was nonsensical, but at least it took place in a house that limited the characters' options. Livid also had its moments, whereas even Among The Living's best bits didn't feel particularly fresh. The clown sequence wasn't even new when Amusement did it almost ten years ago.

Apart from all this, it's like Bustillo & Maury are going soft. Almost half of the violence happens offscreen and due to all the plot inconsistencies, it's really hard to care by the time you hit the third act. I mean, it's not all bad. The score by Raphaël Gesqua was rather unusual, some of the set designs were on par with that of Livid and it was nice to see – albeit briefly – Chloé Coulloud and Béatrice Dalle again. Although I now feel like when they use Dalle, it's less a fun cameo, as it is them saying 'hey guys, remember when we were good?'


When I saw Livid at TIFF, I remember thinking, good for them for not being like some of their other countrymen and diving into the first Hollywood picture they were offered. They eventually made that leap with the upcoming Leatherface movie and I can't help but feel like, at this point, it may be the best thing for them. I'll guess we'll see.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

DKTM 344


Hey all. I'm still digesting the tasty BBQ I ate yesterday, but for now here's some tasty horror morsels.

The Rats.

I missed this one when I did my E3 post, but holy crap do I need A Plague Tale: Innocence in my life.



As you may remember, killer rat movies are among my favourite subgenres in horror, so a gaming version of that makes my whiskers tingle. No release date yet, but 2018 is a good bet. What a stacked year for horror gaming that is going to be!

Fantasia 2017.


Fantasia announced its first block of titles for this year's festival this week. This Montreal-based event never disappoints with many awesome looking things on tap. Here's a peek.

First, Fantasia will be honouring the great Larry Cohen with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. This will be celebrated with 35mm presentations of Q: The Winged Serpent, It's Alive, God Told Me To. As for new films, I'll be hoping to check these out.


Stefan Ruzowitzky returns with an action-horror hybrid Cold Hell about a taxi driver (Violetta Schurawlow) targeted by a serial killer. I was a fan of Anatomy back in the day, so I'm stoked for this.


Game of Death is a project I've been tracking since it hit SXSW earlier this year. Originally conceived as a web-series, this premise of a kill-or-be-killed board game is so delicious, I cannot resist it.

After some good buzz at Sundance, I am looking forward to seeing Damien Power's Killing Ground. Outback horror has always been one of the most intense out there, so here's hoping this delivers.


Joe Lynch's Mayhem will be playing this year, so I'll finally be able to see how it stacks up against the similarly themed The Belko Experiment. It will likely not be as polished, but I do expect it will be more f*cked up.


Replace is one of the more provokative of the announced titles. Co-written by Richard Stanley and featuring Barbara Crampton, this movie tells of a woman who replace her skin with that of other women's. This has some serious gross-out body potential!

Genre darlings Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson are back with their newest venture The Endless. I'm not going to tell you what its about because like their previous works, it is best to just go in and let things happen.


Lastly, what would Fantasia be without Japanese splatter. Yoshihiro Nishimura returns with a sequel to the 2005 flick, Kodoku Meatball Machine. You can be sure the walls of the Hall Concordia will be stained when this one plays.

My Air bnb is booked, my train ticket is purchased, all I need now is for July to get here! Fantasia runs July 13th to August 2nd.

What You Can't Hear...

Lastly, I wanted to post a short film I saw last year at Fantasia. Here's director Rob Savage's take on a tried-and-true genre. Enjoy!



Friday, June 16, 2017

E3 2017

This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo just wrapped up in Los Angeles and with it came the promise of many wonderful delights over the next eighteen months. Among these were a long list of horror titles, most of which I can't wait to get my twitchy fingers on.

Survival horror is still alive and well with dark and moody trailers for Tango Gameworks' Evil Within 2, Strixlab's Ad Infinitum & Cyanide Studios' Call of Cthulhu.



I never played the first Evil Within, but I have to admit there are some really neat things going on in that trailer.



A horror game set in the trenches of WWI is very intriguing. Bring it!



There have been a handful of Lovecraft-tinged horror titles over the years, but this is the first time we're getting an honest-to-goodness one, at least in the survival horror arena.

Moving onto the evolving game mechanics of VR, I saw two titles that struck my fancy. The first was a prequel of sorts to Until Dawn called The Inpatient.



I'm assuming that this is the sanatorium Mike stumbled through in Supermassive's 2015 title and am totally on-board for this. Also knowing that writers Graham Reznick and Larry Fessenden contributed to the story makes me feel at ease, as well. The second VR is one called Transference, which is a collaboration between Ubisoft and Elijah Wood's production company Spectrevision.



It looks very Videodrome and I'm okay with that!

In the absense of any news about Naughty Dog's The Last of Us 2 - although we are getting another Uncharted game featuring fan favourite Chloe and Nadine - we got another extended look at Sony's other post-apocalyptic actioner, Days Gone.



Perhaps most alluring is Hidden AgendaSupermassive's other title that uses PS4's Playlink tech to insert up to five players into an Until Dawn-like interactive experience



I am very stoked for this. Now if I could find four other friends to play IRL, I'll be golden.

Oh, and motherf*ckin' Life Is Strange 2!!!!



I love my PS4.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Night Warning

Today's trailer is for the terrific 1982 horror Night Warning aka Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker.



Susan Tyrell's fantastic performance as Aunt Cheryl is worth the price of admission alone. I highly recommend anyone who hasn't seen this to track it down.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Does it Though?

I checked out Trey Edward Shults' thriller It Comes At Night earlier this week.


A family living in the woods after the end of the world are faced with a decision when a stranger arrives one night.

It Comes At Night is a little tricky for me to write about, as it was extremely well made and acted, but I never truly felt like it got out of second gear. I'm glad I knew nothing about this movie going in, as a look at the trailer infers a payoff that never really transpires. This movie was barely a horror film, leaning more into straight-up drama territory with some genre elements thrown in. I have no problem with that, but some critics have been holding this up to recent horror darlings Get Out, Under The Shadow and The Witch and I don't feel It Comes At Night is anywhere near as resonant as those titles.

I do think It Comes At Night has a lot in common with the latter title though, as it shares a similar forested colour pallete, pace and construct as The Witch. It just didn't payoff as well for me. I am interested to see if the same disconnect between critics and general audiences happens again.

Joel Edgerton (left) & Kelvin Harrison Jr. in It Comes At Night.

Even though this movie was fairly straightforward, Shults did some interesting things with the material. I appreciated that very little time was spent on exposition and why the world was in its current state. All the character interactions were spot on, as well. This truly is a tight ensemble piece. I also thought that Shutls' decision to change the aspect ratio in the film's final moments legitimately enhanced his intended feeling of claustrophobia.

I do have to admit it took me a while to get into the movie. It Comes At Night is a very quiet film and it sucks when the asshat behind you not only has the loudest fucking popcorn bag in the world, he also feels the need to crack a beer every thirty minutes. Man, the world is full of shitty people and I hope that when it finally goes tits up, people like him are the first to go.


Anyway, It Comes At Night is a solid movie, but I don't see myself ever revisiting it. Shults definitely has directing chops though, so (like The Witch's Robert Eggers) I'm keen to see where he goes from here.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

DKTM 343


Hello all. I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I popped my head out this morning after an epic Friday the 13th gaming session all yesterday for which my biggest achievement was surviving a one-on-one match with Savini Jason. It's really the little things in life. But anyway, here's what I got for you.

Shudderin'

AMC's streaming service Shudder premiered its new original show Primal Screen a few days ago. The first episode of the Rodney Ascher series was an exploration of automatonophobia - the fear of ventriloquist dummies, mannequins and other lifelike objects. The clip below relates a story of how the TV spot for the 1978 film Magic struck terror into the hearts of countless children.



I watched Primal Screen yesterday and really enjoyed it. Ascher's blend of documentary and dramatization is really engaging and I'm glad it's more like Room 237 than The Nightmare in that the focus is on the story rather than the storyteller. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.

The Evolution of the Art.

I found this cool piece of art on Etsy this week.


This Twin Peaks inspired candle holder is available in a few different colours and if you'd like to find out more, click here.

Killin' It.

Arrow Films just keeps pouring it on with their European releases. I recently pre-ordered their release of Argento's Bird With the Crystal Plumage, and now we have THIS.


I love this movie and its influence on American filmmakers - from Martin Scorsese to David Lynch - is immeasurable. The Blu-ray comes with two new docs and an interview with Lamberto Bava. I also saw that one of Sergio Martino's lesser known thrillers The Suspicious Death of a Minor is coming out, as well. For more details on the pre-order, check out Arrow's site here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Summer Of Blood

I have now had a full two weeks with the new Friday the 13th game, so I think it's finally time to weigh in on it.


Despite some stumbles out of the gate, this game is a success. I knew that I'd enjoy it as I'm pretty much exactly who this game was made for, but I'm shocked by how much fun this is for something so fundamentally simple. Up to seven counsellors try to escape from Jason on one of three maps. As counsellors, you search the map looking for parts to repair vehicles or fix the phone to call the cops. As Jason, you stalk and kill everyone in your path.


Both scenarios are fun, and they each have there own rewards. Narrowly escaping the map with Jason right on your tail is exhilarating and once you get the hang of Jason's abilities (each movie's is represented and each has their strengths and weaknesses) he can be liquid death. I am also impressed with the number of unlockable kills Jason has, some of which are location specific. I once killed someone like this!



Friday the 13th has improved dramatically over the second week of its release for two reasons. First, I believe the developers may have underestimated how popular this game would be and thus their servers were crushed at launch. It took up to twenty minutes to find a game sometimes and even when you did, glitches were common and the crash rate was about twenty-five per cent. However, the latest update this week has alleviated most of those issues.

Secondly, a week or two gave my friends enough time to pick it up, so we can now all play together instead of with random schmoes online. It makes all the difference. Just yesterday, I had this great game where I came upon the car which my friend had somehow parallel crashed in between two trees before she had to bail. While Jason was chasing her, I tried to pull of a nineteen-point turn to get back on the road. Soon I could see Jason coming in my rear view mirror, just like what happens to Chris and the van in Part 3. So great! Then there was that time I smoked my entire party as Part 7 Jason. Man, them trying to escape in the boat was a baaaaad idea.


I know fourty dollars is a good chunk of change for a game that doesn't have a mass amount of content, but I do know that I've already racked up more face-time with this than I did Resident Evil 7. And that cost twice as much. I'm not saying Friday the 13th is a better game, but there is endless replay value here. If you can get six-to-eight gamer friends together, there are some priceless experiences to be had here. Especially if you all share an unbridled love for this series like I do. It may not be the slickest game, or the prettiest, but damn this game is a win.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Friday the 13th Part VII

While still consumed by the new Friday the 13th game, it seems fitting to post one of my faves from the series.



I always keep coming back to this one. I love the Jason vs. Carrie conceit and this installment features my favourite Jason design. Then there's the obvious fact that this was Kane Hodder's first go round as Voorhees. It is just a shame that so much of the brutality got lost on the cutting room floor...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

DKTM 342


Hey all. I've torn myself away from the Friday the 13th Game long enough to bring you today's post. Actually, I could probably do this while I wait to get into a match lobby (I keeed) but more on that later. For now, here's what I've got.

Zombies From Oz.

A trailer recently surfaced for the upcoming Australian TV series Wyrmwood.



I liked the original 2014 movie well enough. I think my only real qualm was that they opened the film introducing this really bad-ass heroine (Bianca Bradey, the gal who shows up at the end of the above video) and then she was chained to a wall for most of the movie -- coincidentally like Nandalie Killick does here. I was definitely won over by the end though.

What Are You Afraid Of?

AMC's horror streaming service Shudder is launching its original programming slate with a documentary/horror narrative hybrid called Primal Screen. Directed by Rodney Ascher (Room 237), Primal Screen explores why we are both attracted and repelled by what scares us most.



I'm into this. Primal Screen feels like an extension of Ascher's last doc The Nightmare, but I'm also getting Channel Zero vibe from it, as well. Primal Screen premieres this Thursday on Shudder.

Who Need Art Classes?

My friend Trevor directed me to this cool little art generator this weekend. Just go to http://fotogenerator.npocloud.nl, make a little doodle and this handy doodad will turn it into nightmare fuel right before your very eyes. Case in point...


Go ahead and try it. Fun for the whole family!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Favorite Thing Is This.

Based on some buzz from the Interwebs, I picked up Emil Ferris’ graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters at TCAF a few weeks ago.


Ten-year-old Karen Reyes navigates the up-and-downs of growing up in late-sixties Chicago whilst sketching the turbulent world around her in a spiral notebook.

Holy creeps this work is extraordinary! I could tell from cursory inspection that this was something wildly original, but you don’t really get a sense of just how wonderful this novel is until you dig into it.

Starting with the visuals, I was constantly bowled over by the inked illustrations throughout this book. Whether it was the contrast of classic and B-movie iconography or just how they flowed in tandem with the narrative - Ferris talks about her delicate balance between text and picture in this great interview – I found myself awestruck with each page turn.


Thinking on it later, I realized that the experience of reading MFTIM felt so sincere and seamless, I actually believed I was reading the notebook of a ten-year-old “monster”. It’s like when you can’t separate an actor from a role because your brain cannot fathom they aren’t the entity they so perfectly inhabited onscreen.


Perhaps just as impressive is how many layers Ferris has packed into this four-hundred page tome. In addition to being a period piece set around the Chicago riots, she also delves into the ugliness of 1930’s Germany through the memories of Karen's recently deceased upstairs neighbour, Anka. Then on top of that, you have the coming-of-age tale that will continue in the second volume coming at the end of the year. Sadly, if you look even further, you can see how the things Ferris intended to be historical while she was writing this almost a decade ago have now unfortunately become topical.



Lastly, the story behind this book – a journey which Ferris illustrated in Chicago Magazine around the time of MFTIM’s release – is one of the most inspiring don’t-give-up-your-dreams stories I have ever heard.

We’ve been blessed with some truly transcendent pieces of media over the last few years and My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is right up there with them.