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, January 31, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Eaten Alive

Ahead of my review of Capcom's newest iteration of Resident Evil, I decided to post the trailer for another ghastly tale set in the Louisiana Bayou, Eaten Alive.



It always amazes me that after all the pain and suffering Marilyn Burns went through filming The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, she went right back and did it all over again two years later in this film. A bigger trooper there never was.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

DKTM 324


Hey all. Another week, another Messenger post.

H(orror)DTV.

While I don't really have much interest in the new Ring movie that is coming out (last year's Sadako vs Kayako seemed like a nice exclamation point on both franchises) I did get a kick out the viral prank video they made for the release.



Samara also showed up on The Today Show by way of special delivery, as well. For those interested in the new flick, it releases this Friday.

My Favourite Thing.

I found about an upcoming project called My Favorite Thing Is Monsters this week. Created by single mother from Chicago named Emil Ferris, this part graphic novel, part fictional diary has captured high praise from those who have read it so far.


The story behind this piece is very intriguing, and I can't wait to check it out when the first part (of two) is released Feb 13th. For more info on My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, check out this Forbes article here.

R.I.P. John Hurt 1940-2017.

Sadly, we lost another legend this week. Sir John Hurt passed away this week after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 77. Hurt was a prolific actor with other two-hundred credits under him. He was a man who appeared in all manner of productions, but always added an air of legitimacy to any project when you saw his name in the credits.

Sir John Hurt 1940-2017

For me, he will always be Kane, the ill-fated crew member of the Nostromo in Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien. His death sequence still remains one of the most iconic scenes in movie (let alone horror) history. Almost as resonant with me was his voice work in the Richard Adams adaptations of Watership Down and The Plague Dogs.



Rest In Peace, Sir John.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Death From Above.


Shortly after posting about the passing of Miguel Ferrer it dawned on me that I had never seen The Night Flier, the 1997 Stephen King adaptation in which he starred. With it having been a few weeks since my last VHS Friday, I went about rectifying that.


Tabloid reporter Richard Dees (Ferrer) becomes obsessed with a serial killer dubbed The Night Flier, but how far will he go to get the scoop on this mysterious figure?

The nineties were a Stephen King free-for-all with film and television bigwigs all falling over themselves to bring his works to the screen. Some stories were less than twenty pages long, but that didn't stop studios from putting out stuff like Graveyard Shift (1990), The Lawnmower Man (1992) and The Mangler (1995). The Night Flier, however, I would say was above average. It stays pretty faithful to the subject matter (more than I can say for Lawnmower Man) and the additions made to pad out the length - the original story was thirty-some pages - served the story well. 

Miguel Ferrer as Richard Dees in The Night Flier.

King aside, I was there to watch Ferrer and he did not disappoint, even managing to level up his sardonic asshole game in the one. He actually made his characters in RoboCop and Twin Peaks seem like gregarious pussycats by comparison. Dees was definitely one of the most unsympathetic characters I've seen in a while. I had to wonder if Dan Gilroy ever saw this movie because there are definite parallels between Dees and Gilroy's character Louis Bloom from 2014's Nightcrawler right down to specific scenes. It's unlikely, but Night Flier? Night Crawler? Who knows?  


One of the things added to the script was a rival reporter played by Julie Entwistle. She had this doe-eyed look that reminded me of Phoebe Cates, but there was also a fierceness there, as well. I was actually shocked to find that The Night Flier was her only real credit because I thought she was really strong. I realize she was director Mark Pavia's wife, but I thought she was legitimately good in the role.

Julie Enwistle as Katherine “Jimmy” Blair

The make-up effects by KNB EFX were not only as solid as you would expect, but also quite plentiful with a climax features enough prosthetic work to rival that of a Walking Dead episode. I found the actual Night Flier design to be a little hokey, but it didn't help that all of Pavia's efforts to lead up to a big reveal were completely negated when the marketers decided to put him on the cover.

As far as Stephen King adaptations go, this is in the upper echelon, especially when factoring in how closely it keeps to the original material. It was just really good to see Ferrer front and center for once. He may have played some cantankerous characters, but God damn if he didn't command the screen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Psycho (1960)

Based on my review yesterday, I decided to post a classic trailer for the granddaddy of all split personality tales, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.



We all go a little mad sometimes...

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Return To Form.

M. Night Shayamalan is back this year with a new thriller, and because I find this guy's career choices endlessly fascinating, I knew I had to get out there and see Split opening weekend.


A man named Kevin (James McAvoy) with twenty-three multiple personalities abducts three young women (Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula & Haley Lu Richardson) for nefarious purposes.  

I actually liked M. Night's last flick The Visit, so I was hoping Split would continue his positive streak. I'm very glad to say that not only did he succeed, but I'd go so far as to say that Split is his best film since 2000's Unbreakable. I found myself engaged by this film for two reasons, the first of which being the performances. The highlight was obviously McAvoy who effortlessly portrayed a dozen or so characters over the course of the film, but I was once again smitten with Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey. She is well on her way to becoming Hollywood's (or at least horror's) new “It” girl.

James McAvoy in Split

Secondly, I was really taken in by the lore of the film, the crux of which being that multiple personality disorder is not an affliction, but rather an evolution. I admit that where the film ultimately goes does initially require a bit of a leap, but I thought it was really well put together. It makes me think that M. Night might actually have it all figured out now.

He is an idea man, but he is also very good with character, namely character interaction. His stuff works when his characters are the meat of the picture, not the so-called “twist” endings we have grown to expect from him. It's the relationships between Bruce Willis & Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis & Sam Jackson in Unbreakable and, before it shit the bed in the end, Mel Gibson & Joaquin Phoenix in Signs that really resonated with me as a viewer.

Anya Taylor-Joy in Split

Split is all character interaction. Casey has discussions with Kevin's different personalities, as does his therapist, Dr. Fletcher (played with sharp intelligence by Betty Buckley). As the story played out, I began to realize there wasn't going to be a big twist. Things played out as you might expect (or at least hope) and it didn't end up that Casey was really the twenty-fourth personality, or that the personalities transferred to another host just before it cut to black.

So, there may have not been a twist, but there was, however, a big reveal via a MCU-style credits stinger. I won't spoil it here - it'll probably be all over the Internet by the time I post this - but that ending was brilliant and completely unexpected. It not only washed away any problems with the legitimacy of the twenty-fourth personality, but it also sort of time warped M. Night's career back to where he was at his peak. Well played, sir. All is forgiven.

Split is a solid thriller with terrific performances top to bottom and really makes me excited for where M. Night plans to go from here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

DKTM 323


Hey all. I hope you're having a good weekend, I'm enjoying a quiet one after a hectic week. Here's some bits of news that I came across this week.

Channel 6.

Astron 6 and The Voice Of Cassandra recently released a mix onto MixCloud. It contains a lot of cool tracks, including stuff cribbed from horror soundtracks, metal albums and eighties artists. Enjoy it below.



Meal Time.

I found a trailer for a cool looking short by Timothy Vanderberg called Agatha this week.



I love the look of this piece, as well as the fact it shows you just enough to whet your appetite. Hopefully, I can get my hands on it soon.

R.I.P. Miguel Ferrer (1955-2017)

I was really hoping I wouldn't have to eulogize anyone so soon after last week. I was very sad to hear that Miguel Ferrer passed away last week due to throat cancer. He was 61.

R.I.P. Miguel Ferrer 1955-2017.

Ferrer was a prolific actor who had over one-hundred film and television credits under him. His most iconic role was likely that of Bob Morton, the ill-fated project head of the RoboCop program, but I will always most fondly remember him as Albert Rosenfeld on Twin Peaks. He also appeared in three Stephen King adaptations of The Stand, The Shining and The Night Flier. Rest in peace, Mr. Ferrer.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bloody Bits Trailer

I have posted before about the awesome Blood In The Snow shorts compilation Bloody Bits, but yesterday they released a snazzy new trailer.



I know you're probably tired of me saying how surreal it is to see my short Lively being promoted on this thing, but I'm really proud to be a part of this. If you'd like to get your paws on a copy of your very own, click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Memorial Day

So I was looking for a Friday the 13th rip-off to post today and I came across Chris Alender's 1999 flick Memorial Day.



Yep, this totally looks like the kind of garbage that haunted video store shelves around the turn of the century. However, if by some miracle you are not deterred by the trailer, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Double Dose of Friday!

It was Friday the 13th last weekend and there were two - count 'em - TWO separate screening events in T.O. The first was a Drunken Cinema event for Jason Takes Manhattan.

Art by Trevor Henderson

The event featured creator Serena Whitney's usual deck of drinking rules and appropriate props and the movie went over well with the packed house.


It had been a while since I watched Part 8 and it seemed even more absurd to me this time around. That sounds funny to say since logic has never really entered into this series, but there's stuff in this movie that makes Jason's fight with Tina “Carrie” Shephard in Part 7 and his jaunt to space in Part 10 seem almost plausible by comparison.

Part 8 is the movie where Jason's third jolt of electricity somehow also levels up his teleportation skills. I'm sure it was supposed to be a production in-joke, as it would explain why the filmmakers also seemed to thumb their noses at the timeline. Rennie was able to time-travel back to the sixties (to see kid Jason in the lake) and then come back for her high school grad party in the late-eighties? And don't even get me started on the toxic waste in the New York system and Jason's death-morph back into his child self.

Regardless of that, the little time that we do get in New York does give us some of the most colourful sequences of the series. And it's got Kelly Hu!

video
Video courtesy of Drunken Cinema

Following that, I made my way over to the Carlton for the sold-out screening of Jason Lives, the sixth part in the series. This was a really lively affair with many “Jasons” in attendance.


Judging from all the screams at the jump scares, there were a lot of people who had not either seen this installment or horror movies in general, so it was really fun. 

Photo courtesy of Imagine Carlton Cinemas.

Part 6 is one of the better in the series I think. The conclusion of the Tommy Jarvis arc gives the movie weight, and I think you care about the “fodder” characters a bit more than this one. Unlike some other installments, there aren't really any antagonistic characters in this one (no bikers from Part 3 and no bitchy characters like Melissa in Part 7 and Tamara from Part 8) so they are inherently more likable as a group. Director Tom McLaughlin was right to give this one a slightly wry bent after the overtly sleazy nature of the previous installment.


I had a blast. Even though there are better single installments in other slasher franchises (Halloween, NOES), as an entire series, the Fridays are what I have always considered home. Except Part 9. Part 9 can fuck off.

The next Friday the 13th is in October, so that's yet another reason to look forward to Halloween!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

DKTM 322


Good morning all. With UFC's Fight Pass being free this weekend, I've been spending the last few days watching people punch each other in the face, but I've torn myself away long enough to get you up to speed on this week's happenings - good and bad.

Trailer Treasure Trove.

I discovered an awesome release from Garagehouse Pictures this week in Trailer Trauma 3: 80's Horror-Thon.


The third in the series (the first two covered cult and drive-in fare respectively), this looks to be the definitive collection of home video era horrors with over two-hundred-and-fifty trailers on display. It's a little pricey to ship to Canada, but it does work out to a measly quarter a trailer, so how can I say no, really?

The run is limited to 1500, so if you want to snap one up go to the DiabolikDVD website here.

Female Trouble.

I've talked before about how excited I am about the upcoming lady-centric anthology, XX and now we have a trailer.



Man, this thing looks slick. XX premieres at Sundance next week, so let's hope the buzz is good and I can be watching it myself by year's end.

R.I.P. William Peter Blatty 1928-2017.

Ending on a sad note, we lost another horror icon last week. Writer and director William Peter Blatty passed away in a Maryland hospital last Thursday. He was 89.

William Peter Blatty 1928-2017.

Blatty had a storied career as a writer before publishing what would become his opus, The Exorcist in 1971. He would later write the screenplay for the film adaptation for which he received an Academy award in 1973. Eight years later, he would win a Golden Globe for the adaptation of another of his books, Twinkle, Twinkle “Killer” Kane (retitled The Ninth Configuration) for which he also directed.

He would then go on to direct an adaptation of his follow-up to the Exorcist, Legion. Retitled Exorcist III, this solid film is now starting to gain the recognition it did not receive upon its release. 


You will be missed, Mr. Blatty.

(Should we be thankful we made it twelve days into 2017 without a horror celebrity death?)

Friday, January 13, 2017

F13 2017

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Art by Cavitycolors (Devon Whithead).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: Devil Dog

Today's trailer was on the end of my VHS copy of Revenge of the Dead. It's so much better than the one that's already online, so I decided to post it.



Man, this dog really hates baked goods and yard work! I guess it's the creepy kids that get to do all the real deviling, amirite?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

DKTM 321


All right... First Messenger post of 2017! Forgive me if I seem a little groggy, I was up until four a.m. playing an incredibly engaging video game. Here's what I have for you today.

Look What Came In From The Cold.

One of my fave horrors from 2015, Oz Perkins' February (now re-titled The Blackcoat's Daughter) is finally getting a release in 2017.


I'm happy to see that, as I thought for sure this had been relegated to Netflix oblivion. The plan is to premiere on DirecTV in the midd le of (coincidentally) February with a theatrical release on March 31st. This flick features three great performances from its young leads Emma Roberts, Keirnan Shipka & Lucy Boynton and seethes with atmosphere. Be sure to check it out.

Blood Makes Everything Better.

Much has been said about the family Christmas caper Home Alone's cartoonishly violent undertones, but YouTuber BitMassive has done one better by digitally inserting realistic physical trauma on the two thieves, Harry & Marv. These are really great.






Guess Who's Back?

Here's something I wasn't expecting. A new Chucky movie! Here's the teaser below.



As long as Brad Dourif is still doing the voice, I'm in.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Disclaimer of the Dead


It's time to start the year off right with a dip into my VHS collection. This is one I acquired fairly recently and you'll no doubt recognize the cover if you spent anytime in video stores back in the day.


Perhaps surprisingly, I had never actually watched Revenge of the Dead before. I'd like to say that maybe I had associated it with the Jess Franco dud Oasis of the Zombies, but I didn't even know it was Italian until I popped it in. If I'd realized it was a Pupi Avati joint, I probably would've watched it a lot sooner. His 1976 film The House of Laughing Windows is an unsung gem, so I was optimistic.

Sadly, as with many titles from the home video boom, the coverbox is the best thing about the film. Maybe that's too harsh, but it is unrepresentative. While it does feature one or two shambling undead, they are more of the Herk Harvey variety, rather than that of the cover.


The best way to describe Revenge of the Dead is that it was Avati's The Beyond, except nowhere near as fantastical or gory. It does offer up an intriguing mystery, but then gets bogged down in its revolving door of walk-on characters. I may have nodded off a bit in the middle so I won't blame the narrative for being a bit confusing, but it certainly doesn't conclude in any way I found to be satisfying.

Is it just me or is this guy's head weirdly disproportionate to his body?

It wasn't without its amusements though. The main theme by the prolific Riz Ortolani was pretty boppin' and the filmmakers must have realized that as well considering the amount it was used in the film. Imagine if Manfredini & Simonetti had a musical love child and you can approximate the score. Plus, there was a foghorn sound cue that made me chuckle every time it happened.

I also wondered if this movie was either set in the seventies or Italy was just behind the times because “video tape machines” and electric typewriters were both considered cutting edge technology here. I must admit that the protagonist finding an ancient scripture translation on a used typewriter ribbon was a pretty cool device.


Revenge of the Dead was no winner, but not a bad curiosity for those into vintage Italian horrors. Just be aware it is nowhere near as sleazy as Franco or Martino, gory as Fulci or Lenzi or visually pleasing as Bava or Argento.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Preview.

We made it, guys! Here were are in 2017 with a new slate of horror films for which to look forward. Let's take a look.

Since it's January, we can first look to Park City and I see three possible winners in Damien Power's Killing Ground, Cary Murnion & Jonathan Milott's actioner Bushwick and the anthology XX.


The horror anthology has made a full-on comeback in recent years, so I'm hoping this female-centric affair keeps the momentum going. The pedigree is certainly there, as Karyn Kusama killed it with The Invitation last year and up-and-comers Roxanne Benjamin and Jovanka Vuckovic could really cement their reputations.

I am fully aware I may be the only one, but I'm super chuffed I get not only a new Resident Evil movie to start the year, but also an Underworld flick. I love these two ladies so much. I'll watch them dispatch monsters for as long they want to do it, God bless 'em.

#DontJudgeMe

It looks like last year's The Shallows performed well enough for this whole shark thing to keep going in 2017. Though the long-gestating Meg won't see the light of day until next year, there's a new found-footage shark tale called Cage Dive coming up. I'll be able to take the sensationalized affair of Meg, but the horrifying reality of this one, man? Honestly, I wimped out halfway through the trailer.


Some other A-list genre fare that looks decent are Gore Verbinski's Cure for Wellness and Colm Mcarthy's The Girl with All the Gifts. I saw a listing for Stefan Ruzowitzky's Patient Zero and was all like “yeah, this sure looks like a zer-- Natalie Dormer's in this??? Ok... I'll watch it (sigh)” More enticing I think, is Jordan Peele's take on horror with Get Out.


Then there's M. Night Shayamalan's Split. Fuck man, you never know what you're going to get with this guy. I enjoyed The Visit and thought it was a good bounce back from a series of misfires, but I don't know. This could be a solid thriller or a fucking trainwreck. I think it will depend on who M. Night thinks is the star here, him or James McAvoy.

Out of all the indies in this year's landscape, the most intriguing might be Monolith. The premise is delicious and of a new wave of horror that has sprung from our over-reliance on technology.


Looking through all the titles it was a veritable sea of remakes and sequels. I know this is par for the course these days, but holy... so many I don't give a shit about. I am reasonably receptive to It, or at least I have no desire to shut it out like Suspiria, F13, Flatliners et al.


These sequels though. I think the only one I'm actually upset about not being excited for is Alien: Covenant. I don't need more Prometheus. Every single Alien movie that gets made seems to get us further and further away from what made the first two remarkable. Anyway, I digress.

My parting words here would be to make sure you support Julia Ducournau's Raw and Greg McLean's The Belko Experiment when they hopefully hit theatres in 2017. These are the kinds of films that keep the genre fresh and exciting, not recycled tripe we've seen a million times before.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Trailer Tuesdays: The Running Man

Hey, today's trailer is for the 1987 Arnie picture The Running Man.



Not a horror flick I know, but I wanted to post something that took place in 2017. I love when sci-fi movies predict the future. Sometimes they actually aren't far off