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.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Shake Him Down, Shake Him Down

This week I watched the Dean Crow's Indianian import Backwoods (aka Geek) from 1987.

A couple biking across America run afoul of a family living deep in the woods.

I feel like this film has been slightly misrepresented by both its coverbox and Imdb. The cover above says “direct from theatrical release”, but I wager that is inaccurate. Sure, it may have played a few fests, but the number of slow zooms in this movie screamed direct-to-video. Also, Imdb makes it sound like a carbon copy of American Gothic (the movie I watched last week) but that isn't the case either.

Imdb states that the family patriarch was in on it, but that's not the case. He's not homicidal, he's just cantankerous. And when he gets into the moonshine, he warms right up imparting such pearls of wisdom like “the woman warms the bed in these parts!”

Brad Armacost (left) Dick Kruesser & Christine Noonan in Backwoods.

Backwoods took a while to get going, like people biking across the Mid West? Who does that? If I got roped into that bullshit activity, I would bitch about it as much as Jamie (Brad Armacost) does in this movie. So when old man Eben (Dick Kruesser) showed up and invited the couple to dinner, I actually started to find his performance endearing. Like Jamie, Eben & Karen (Christine Noonan) might all end up being pals. Then Willie the Geek (Jack O'Hara) showed up and ruined everything.

Like American Gothic, the dangerous offspring didn't show up until over a half-hour in. I do have to commend O'Hara because he's all in on this role. Considering the lack of a “no animals were harmed” banner in the end credits, I wouldn't be surprised if he was pulling the heads off real chickens.

Jack O' Hara geekin' it up.

It was right about here that the protagonists' motivations became idiotic. Like, who would leave their significant other alone with someone who is clearly unstable. Get the fuck out of there, guys! Oh, things went awry! Who would've thought? This whole section was real clumsy to the point that I had to guess what happened to one of the characters.

Backwoods brought me back in when the heroine had to bust out some Just Before Dawn-esque resourcefulness that resulted in some glorious overkill. Then it kind of killed that buzz with an ending that made no sense whatsoever. This movie just wasn't that well shot and the set pieces are haphazardly edited together. I also think that a better score could have done wonders, as this one, supplied by Skeet Bushor, was as cheesy and repetitive as they come.

Apart from some flavour added by Kruesser & O'Hara and a decent climax, there really isn't much to write home about here. This alternate UK poster is pretty bad-ass though.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Go West!

I have some great news. My latest short The Good Samaritan will be playing the 15th edition of the Calgary Underground Film Festival next month.

I was lucky enough to have The Monitor play there in 2015, but this time I'm going to fly out there to be part of the festivities. I'll get to partake in another one of Kier-La Janisse's Saturday Morning Cartoon Cereal parties, as well as some other great programming, including a probable re-watch of one of my 2017 faves Tigers Are Not Afraid.

I'll also get to sample Alberta beef right from the source! Excited!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Short of the Week #11: The Itching

This week is Dianne Bellino's terrific 2016 stop-motion animated short film The Itching. While not horror persay, I think it is one of the best visual representations of social anxiety I've ever seen put to screen. Have a watch and see.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Gacha Gacha

Here's another Kickstarter worth taking a gander at if you're into either black humour and/or weird indie cinema. Last year you may recall an Australian film called Cat Sick Blues getting under my skin. Well, director Dave Jackson (who is now calling Japan his home) is campaigning funds for his new short, Gacha Gacha. Check out the pitch video below.

As troubling as Cat Sick Blues was I can't help but support fresh new voices in genre cinema, now matter how perverse they may be. Click here for more info.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Ma & Pa Death

This week’s VHS is the instantly recognizable 1987 John Hough joint, American Gothic.

A group of vacationers end up stranded on an island inhabited by a family of psychos.

I have no real excuse as to why I hadn’t watched American Gothic until now. I guess I just got distracted by flashier stuff I suppose. The movie isn’t anything special, but the fact it was directed by John Hough is significant. His earlier works for Disney, The Watcher in the Woods and both Witch Mountain flicks, were some of my first encounters with the fantastical as a kid. I owe him a debt for his contribution to my love of genre film for sure.

This one, however was a bit problematic mainly due to all the protagonists, save the lead played by Sarah Torgov (she’s got her own problems) were complete fucking assholes. I think that only one character was supposed to be the stereotypical jerk, but they were all fairly unlikable. I mean who walks into someone’s house and starts messing with their shit, even putting on clothes! Considering how homicidal Ma & Pa were, I think they handled that first interaction quite well.

Hicks vs Dicks.

Even the husband (Mark Erickson) – who dragged his wife out into the wilderness right after she was discharged from the loony bin – made some deplorable comment to the effect of, oh yeah my wife, the wet blanket. You brought her here, dude!

The movie was a fairly pedestrian affair until the three “children” showed up (one of whom was consummate character actor Michael J. Pollard) and the killing started. While even that wasn’t particularly bloody, at least it was fulfilling to see all these idiots being punished for their sins. If you’ll indulge me in a completely random observation, two deaths in this movie are almost exactly the same as those in the 2017 video game What Remains of Edith Finch. Totally unrelated of course, it’s just one of those completely inexplicable parallels.

Janet Wright as Fanny in American Gothic.

American Gothic was fairly standard in execution, but did score points for straying into the bizarre. It might not be as entertainingly bonkers as Freddie Francis’ similarly themed 1970 film Girly, but – what is? – its last fifteen minutes did veer in an unexpected direction that elevated it somewhat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Bad Man Cometh

The Kickstarter campaign for Scott Schirmer's latest opus, The Bad Man launched today. As you can see from the trailer below, it has just the level of depravity you would expect from the director of Found and Harvest Lake. Maybe more!

The Bad Man was a project that had long been in the pipe so it's great to see it finally coming to fruition. As with previous campaigns, The Bad Man is already almost finished and these pre-orders will facilitate the rest of the production.

For more info on the campaign, click here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Short of the Week #10

A short I caught at Fantasia last year has recently found its way online. Without further ado, here is Jessica Curtright & Santiago C. Tapia's short film It Began Without Warning.

There's some definite Who Can Kill A Child? vibes here, but I love the weird turn it takes about halfway through. When you watch as many shorts I as do, you find that more often than not they overstay their welcome. It Began however, is one of those rare instances where I was left wanting more. It was subtitled Phase 1 so who knows? Maybe there is more to come.

Friday, March 9, 2018

It's A Dead Man's Party!

The next VHS off the pile was William Fruet's 1986 effort Killer Party.

A sorority pledge party in an condemned frat house turns bloody when an uninvited guest arrives.

This was another title that I knew nothing of past its familiar coverbox so I had no idea what to expect. I naturally imagined it would be some sort of slasher, but was immediately thrown off by the first few scenes. As those who have watched this movie will know, Killer Party begins rather unconventionally. Then once you think it started, it becomes a music video with a level of eighties I haven't seen since the opening of Night Train To Terror.

Okay so when that is done, we finally get into the real movie. I didn't even know this was Canadian movie until Soldier's Tower appeared in the background just before “Directed by William Fruet” flashed on the screen. While all this was happening, a song called “Best Times” played and it was all good. This thing is as cheesy as it is catchy.

Man, I'd love to hear Freezepop cover that song. It was shortly after this that the movie became the sorority slasher that the back of the box promised. Or did it?

I have to say that Killer Party was fairly schizophrenic in that it's a slasher, haunted house flick and possession joint all at once. I can understand that traditional slashers would've been old hat by eighty-six, but this film's all over the place. Having said that, I thought that the only glaringly dated aspect were the fraternity pranks inflicted on the neighbouring sorority. That stuff isn't as amusing now in light of the whole “no means yes, yes means anal” movement.

Aside from that though, the heart of the movie was the relationship between the three pledges (or “goats”) Phoebe, Vivia & Jennifer (Elaine Wilkes, Sherry Willis-Burch & Joanna Johnson respectively) and that felt pretty sincere. I was especially impressed with Johnson because her performance in the last fifteen minutes was miles from anything that came before it. Who knew she had it in her?

Joanna Johnson, Elaine Wilkes & Sherry Willis-Burch in Killer Party

Perhaps the biggest detriment to the movie was how badly it was hacked to pieces by the MPAA. While watching it, I was quick to notice that pretty much every death blow cut right at the point of impact. A section of the movie even had four of said scenes all lined up in a row. I found out later that it was deliberately edited like that because of how much had to be trimmed. That's a real Goddamn shame. Given all the cuts, I wonder if those first two unrelated scenes were filmed later just to make up the running time.

As gory as it gets, folks!

I marvel at why the killer's costume in this movie – like the bear suit in Girls Nite Out – does not get talked about more by fans. It's a fucking old-timey diver's suit, for Christ's sake! Like if that's not the most cumbersome kill outfit I've ever seen, I don't know what is. It's preposterous, especially considering how random its appearance seemed.

Even at a masquerade party, this seems out of place.

Killer Party was kind of a mish-mash, but even though it lacked cohesion, it was rarely boring and that's mainly due to its eclectic cast – which also included cult hero Paul Bartel. I'd have likely have preferred something more traditional like The Initiation, but I've got to admire Fruet's intent.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


I discovered a cute little game/joke/demo the other day called “David Lynch Teaches Typing”.

It's good for more than a few laughs and, as you would expect, goes to places both wonderful and strange. The “trial” version is available for download here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Short of the Week #9: Apaches

After falling down a YouTube rabbit hole some weeks ago, I discovered this farm safety short film from the UK called Apaches. As was the case with most European public service scare films of the era, this one is as dark, dry and grim as it gets.

After attending Kier-La Janisse's School of Shock lecture some years ago, I thought I'd seen everything, but this one is up there for sure. It kind of makes me wonder how I survived my childhood to be honest.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Girl & Her Doll

This week I checked out my VHS of Eddy Matalon's 1977 killer kid vehicle Cathy's Curse.

A young girl (Randi Allen) becomes possessed by the ghost of her aunt after her family moves into their ancestral home.

Shot in Quebec, this Canadian-French co-production definitely has a European feel to it that I chalk up to the French-born director Matalon. His influences were apparent, as I could pick out sequences from other movies (The Omen & Don't Look Now being two examples) in amongst his own muddled vision.

I could blame my VHS cut, but it seemed like there were a lot of problems with continuity and editing in this film with scenes often ending just a few shots too soon. Cathy's Curse could also be accused of being a bit lax in the logic department where very obvious supernatural happenings seem to be forgotten by characters from scene to scene. 

Randi Allen in Cathy's Curse.

My daughter just miraculously teleported around the room! Huh. Maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep. Or that doll just ripped up my hand, man I gotta lay off the booze... Speaking of booze, that drinking scene with the “butler” - if you thought the spider attack scene in The Beyond was random, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Cathy's Curse has some serious whiteboard syndrome going on here – meaning creepy scenes were spit-balled and inserted in without any thought given to context or continuity. It worked for Lucio Fulci, but not so much here mainly due to it not being accompanied by buckets of gore. I suppose there was the scene where the kid was wearing the butler's face... I mean, I think she was. It was hard to tell. She looked more like a reject from Lenzi's Nightmare City.

Who wore it better?

All this aside, the cast was pretty decent. Beverly Murray as the mother was supposed to be losing it, so I can forgive her overacting and Alan Scarfe's resemblance to nineties David Hewlett was super distracting to me. Again, it may have been by faded VHS playing tricks on me. Randi Allen was actually very good as the title character. She's got the evil glower down as well as the delivery of some off-colour language. Seeing her call an old woman a “fat dried up whore” was delightful. I admit it's not Regan level nastiness, but we are in Canada after all, gosh darn it.

Overall, Cathy's Curse was a little on the dull side, but it was still mildly amusing CanCon.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Then He's Still There...

This is so freaking badass. A few years ago, someone put a Friday the 13th Part VI era Jason Voorhees statue at the bottom of a lake in Minnesota. That's some fan dedication and next level prankage, man. Respect!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Short of the Week #8: Slut

This week is Chloe Okuno's wildly stylish short film from 2014, Slut.

I was instantly smitten with this short when I saw it during its festival run. We actually tried to get it for Minutes Past Midnight, but couldn't make it happen. It's extremely rare to make a twenty-one short this engaging, but Okuno manages it with ease. I'm not sure what she's up to currently, but I hope to hear from her again soon. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Wave of the Future.

It was twenty-five years ago that I sat in a theatre and watched Rachel Talalay's Ghost in the Machine so I figured now was as good a time as any for a revisit to see how much I actually remembered.

After a serial killer's consciousness is digitized after a power surge, he uses to the city's computer network to continue stalking his victims.

I was surprised at how much of this I had forgotten. While I admit a chunk of my enjoyment was down to how dated this movie was, Ghost in the Machine was still highly entertaining. It is comical how nineties this thing is. Let's go down the checklist, shall we?

Include a “hip” soundtrack from the era. Uh-huh.

Dress your “cool” characters as garishly as possible. Yessir.

The Fresh Prince of Encino.

Put as much “new” tech in it as possible. Oh, that's a bingo!

This movie falls into that time period where hackers were still mythical-like creatures that could do anything and computer networks were a fantasy land with no boundaries. If you thought Lawnmower Man played it fast and loose with computers, you ain't seen nothing yet. Actually, films like Brainscan and Arcade pair up better with this one... except this has a digital serial killer!

Straight Outta Motherfuckin' Toontown!

I think the most amusing thing about this movie – and there are many – is that they really do throw out any notion of how electronic devices actually work. However, I'm more than willing to forget an open microwave can't irradiate an entire room if it means I get to see a dude fry like a TV dinner care of some pretty neat f/x from Alterian Studios. If you need to see the dichotomy between practical and digital effects, you need to look no further than this movie.

That VR game played by Josh (Wil Horneff) & Frazer (Brandon Adams from People Under The Stairs who I totally spaced was in this). Wow. I remember I played this thing at the CNE one year, except of course, without my face superimposed on my avatar. It is still amazing to me that VR was a working concept in 1993 and yet only became commercially viable just last year. It's crazy how some advances are blisteringly fast and some putter along.

Watching Ghost in the Machine, I was struck by how much it felt like a precursor to Final Destination. The crash lab sequence in particular played out like it could've been pulled from one of those movies.

I also want to bring up that I've always really liked star Karen Allen. I was thinking about it and because of the age I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark and Starman (the latter would've been one of my first theatre experiences), Allen may have played two of the first independent female characters I saw represented onscreen. She made an impression.

Who wore it better? Terry Munroe (Karen Allen), or Dana Scully?

And speaking of Allen, I gotta mention a cinematic parallel I always found funny that just recently became a trifecta. Karen Allen starred in Starman and Ghost in the Machine and both feature her in driving scenes involving the perils of a changing traffic light. Then, last month when I watched 1988's Pulse about a sentient intelligence killing people in their homes with electricity; what appears on the television within the movie? Starman!

Though incredibly dated, Ghost in the Machine was a totally functional thriller and though I'm sure filmmakers didn't want me to be grinning through most of it, I had fun. Sadly, this was the second of three critical and commercial failures for Talalay (Freddy's Dead & Tank Girl), but she soldiered on and has since enjoyed a highly successful career in television that continues to this day.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hexes & Lasers.

Two things I wanted to share with you. First, the full line-up of this year's Hexploitation Film Festival was announced yesterday.

There are several titles I'm intrigued by including Eduardo M. Clorio's I Wish I WishPreston DeFrancis's Ruin MeToor Mian & Andy Collier's Charismata, as well as the Hamilton Premiere of Chad Archibald's The Heretics.

We're also serving up some terrific shorts, running the gamut between festival favourites like Justin Harding's Latched and Mike Marrero & Jon Rhoads' Buzzcut and world premieres Niall Shukla's A Doll Distorted and Mike Pereira's Zandavi Lives. I'm also fond of Isreali import My First Time from Asaf Livni.

HexFest goes down at The Staircase Theatre from March 23 to 25. For more info, click here.

Secondly, I wanted to make you aware the Laser Blast Film Society (of which I am a card carrying member) has a spiffy new website. Check it out by clicking the image below.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Short of the Week #7: Ellie

This week I want to showcase an exciting young filmmaker by the name of Morgana McKenzie. She's been writing/directing/shooting/you name it since her early teens and has already racked up several short film credits including her 2015 festival darling Kuriyama No Wa.

McKenzie has a natural knack for storytelling and a terrific cinematic eye, as evidenced in her music videos We All Go The Same and Atlas World. Here below is her 2016 short, Ellie.

Currently, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, McKenzie is hard at work on her latest project, Wild. Check out her website here for more info.

Monday, February 19, 2018

White Halloween

Another weekend, another horror marathon it seems. This time it was all eight Halloween films. Fortunately, some atrocious weather that day made it very conducive to sitting on my friend Serena's couch for fifteen hours.

Halloween is a series very near and dear to my heart and though it has followed a trajectory similar to Nightmare on Elm Street (start strong, lose itself in sequels then bounce back at Part 7 before being killed by a shitty remake) I was always most intrigued by the lore of The Shape. Michael Myers was seemingly invincible, but I never really saw him as supernatural like Freddy or a zombie monster like Jason. Those two are both powered by vengeance whereas Myers is just evil incarnate.

Anyway, things got rolling about eleven in the morning. We watched all eight films (the pair of Zombie reboots can ess a dee) with some of Halloween related videos curated by Serena in between, such as the Haddonfield-set segment of Body Bags, the Angry Video Game Nerd's review of the Atari 2600 game and the trailer for the XXX version of Halloween (which I certainly did not watch the next day...)

I'm not going to switch up the order this time, so here we go.

So here it is, the mother* of all slashers, John Carpenter's Halloween. I've seen it so many times, watching it is like donning a favourite piece of clothing. This viewing I realized however, was the first time I'd watched it since I visited the actual locations. It was a little surreal.

If I was asked to make a list of my favourite scenes from horror movies the iconic bit where Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is locked out of her house while Myers (then played by Nick Castle) strides across toward her would be among the top. I even remember re-enacting that scene with a childhood friend of mine using my backyard gate. I first saw this movie when I was about six, so it was likely the film that introduced me the art of suspense.

What else can I say that already hasn't been said? It's a masterpiece.

For me, Halloween I & II are like one long movie. I understand their tones are completely different, Carpenter's was about suspense & atmosphere and the sequel's full-on slasher, but to me they're intrinsically linked. The sequel was still a fairly new concept in 1981, so a horror movie - or any movie for that matter - picking up right where the last movie left off was extremely exciting to me as a kid. After my family got our first VCR, I would often watch the first two movies back-to-back.

As a child, I didn't notice part II wasn't as well made as its predecessor, or that Curtis was wearing a wig - something Serena never stops giving me shit for - I just obviously responded to the higher body count. Oh and the therapy tub scene. I'm thinking Pamela Susan Shoop may have been the first time I got a good look at onscreen boobies.

Ahem, where was I? Part II brought up several topics of contention. Aside from said wig, there was also talk of whether Jimmy still lived in the theatrical version (as we know he does in the TV version) and whether or not Shoop's character could be killed that quickly by boiling water. I say absolutely, as holding my breath is the last thing I'm going to be thinking about while my face is peeling away.

Halloween III is the black sheep of the family. In theory, the idea to turn Halloween into a one-off anthology series was intriguing, but in the eighties fans wanted to see their favourite slashers stalk the screen. Part III was much maligned when it first came out, but has since gained favour with the horror community. This is good because it's a pretty bad-ass movie with some mean gore and frankly nihilistic attitude. And the Silver Shamrock jingle is almost as iconic as the Halloween theme itself. 

After this misstep, the producers regrouped for six years before bringing The Shape back to the screen.

I have a special place in my heart for Part 4 because it was the first one I ever got to see in the theatre. I was fourteen and my brother & I went to the local multiplex to see it. I still remember bobbing in my seat when the theme kicked in as Myers was being wheeled out to the ambulance in the pouring rain. 

I was crushing on both Rachel (Ellie Cornell) and Kelly (Kathleen Kinmont) and I think Danielle Harris gave one of the best child performances I've ever seen. It's pretty ridiculous what they put that kid through over the course of two movies and it's a miracle that she wasn't scarred for life. Like the Friday films, it was very fortunate that even though they switched out the dude playing Myers every film, they always seemed to hit pay dirt.

I really like that ending too. It has a cyclical element to it that really would have been a good image to finish on. But you know how things go in this business.

Part 5 was where things went south for this franchise. I mean, you could blame the fact that they rushed the movie out, but it goes deeper than that. Fundamentally, there are some huge problems here. I believe the most perturbing for me is how unceremoniously Rachel was dispatched from the series. It was shocking, but it throws off the rest of the movie. We're left to hang out with the most annoying characters. Tina (Wendy Kaplan) should've been dead by the second act yet she sticks around foooorever. I mean, that barn sequence seemed to go on for half the movie.


I think the other problem was Myers. While this was also where the production started having problems with the mask (tuck it in for fuck's sake!!!) it also showed a change in Myers' behaviour. That prolonged sequence where he's pretending to be Tina's boyfriend was just so out of place. It's one thing to put a sheet over your head, but another thing entirely to drive her around for ten fucking minutes.

This is also where they set up the Man in Black which leads us into Halloween's second biggest misstep.

The conclusion of the Thorn trilogy was a mess for many reasons, but mainly it was due to the competing visions of the director and producer. We watched the theatrical because it's gorier and (somewhat) less convoluted. It's not a good movie, but I think the bigger faux pas was trying to explain what Myers actually was. It's never a good thing to throw light on the monster.

Funny, never noticed that before Part 5...

I liked that they brought back George P. Wilbur as Myers and it's funny to see Paul Rudd in a horror flick, so there were some pluses. However, there are far more offensive things about Curse. How Jamie (now played by J.C. Brandy) was dispatched was really offside (I can only imagine how upsetting it would've been if it was actually Harris splayed out on that farm equipment) and the allusion that her baby was born of incest with Myers was just fucking gross, guys. 

Then, there's the sad passing of Donald Pleasance shortly after shooting which means the last memory of the iconic Dr. Loomis is, depending on which version you watch, him either standing outside the hospital looking lost or screaming in anguish. It's really unfortunate.

So hey guys, remember those last three movies. They never happened! H20 is twenty years after Part II and Laurie (aka Karen Tate) is now living in California.

Being post-Scream, it does have that air to it - I mean, look at the poster ffs - but this movie was a return to form. Curtis is fantastic, as is the supporting cast which included Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett and Adam Arkin. I still can't believe all the bumbling around with the Myers mask - like how is this shit not sorted before you go to camera? - but the last act of H20 really makes up for the last two movies.

I love the moment where Laurie has a chance to leave, but she's like, no we're ending this now. Curtis fights the boogeyman and wins once and for all. Right? No? Shit.

I have to admit I had never watched this one. I had heard what happens in the first & last scenes and quickly pressed the boycott button. The explanation about how Myers was still alive after H20 is laughable. Watching this movie now was painful. I'd rather re-watch Hellraiser: Hellworld than this.

I hear that is was actually the Halloween Internet fan-sites that helped get this made. Fuck, fanboys (and girls) are our own worst enemy. This was a steaming pile. After three movies, THIS is how you kill off Laurie? And why are there catacombs under the Myers house now?

The biggest surprise for me was that the “trick or treat muthafucka” bit was not the dumbest scene involving Busta Rhymes. That comes when he & Myers are both standing masked and face-to-face. After Rhymes lays down some smack talk, Myers just wanders away. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?! There is no universe where Rhymes doesn't take a knife to the face during this exchange. So fucking stupid. And this is how the series sputtered out. What a waste.

I was doing great the entire marathon, but after the brain-numbing shitshow that was Resurrection, I just curled up into a fetal position on the couch and went to sleep.

This Halloween, we have another iteration coming out. This one apparently ret-cons everything after the 1978 film, which I guess means that Laurie & Michael are no longer even related. I'm still iffy on the writer/director, but Curtis is in and to some capacity, so is Carpenter so I'm giving it a chance.

It has to be better than Resurrection. IT HAS TO.

*Let's call Black Christmas (1974) the “grandmother” of all slashers.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Don't Go Home!

For this week’s entry I watched Lurkers, the second-to-last film of prolific filmmaker Roberta Findlay.

Shortly before her wedding, Cathy (Christina Moore) starts seeing apparitions of tormented souls that may have a connection to her childhood tenement in the Bronx.

It did not take me long to realize that this was not Findlay’s best work. Yeah folks, Lurkers was not so hot, so buckle up.

I think the real problem with the film was the pacing, as Lurkers featured several drawn out montages that really just amounted to unnecessary filler. Even the sequences that should’ve been intense, like the little girl being choked with jump rope and the woman chased by a dude with a sledgehammer seemed to go on a tad too long. Several bits would have had a lot more impact if they had just been cut down by five or six shots.

Christina Moore as Cathy in Lurkers.

I had the same thing happen while watching Lurkers that I did with Findlay's Blood Sisters (released a year earlier) where I found it difficult not to doze off during the middle chunk of the movie. But hey, at least Blood Sisters had a smashing coverbox.

Something I found a bit distracting was that nobody, save for the protagonist, seemed to properly react to the situation. Granted, this was explained during the climax, but it did little to elevate the proceedings. Even though the “reveal” when it finally came was intriguing in concept, it was not particularly well executed. Lurkers felt like a Dean Koontz novel that he probably would’ve given up on halfway through writing it.

See how they lurk.

Points for featuring one of the laziest parking jobs in cinematic history though. And Gil Newsom as the least priestly priest ever. I also had a chuckle during the scene where two undressing models talk at length about high finance.

A travesty!

Roberta Findlay’s storied career ranged from everything to exploitation flicks to hardcore porn, but it was the tail end of her filmography that seemed to decidedly descend into mediocrity. And I say tail end because her 1985 effort Tenement is actually every bit as effective as John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 and though I haven’t seen The Oracle yet, it looks pretty fucking bonkers – I probably should’ve watched that instead.

As far as bodies of work go, Findlay had one of the most colourful out there, male or female. I guess there comes a time when you just have to hang it up. No shame in that.