Source: Dollman (1991)
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Monday, December 30, 2019
Despite my lack of drive to make any sort of official end of year/decade lists, I felt compelled to at least post about my favourite short films from 2019. I now spend about ten hours a week watching short film submissions for various festivals so this format has become a sizable part of my life.
Even though short film visibility has increased (thanks to avenues provided by institutions like Little Terrors and Shudder), I still like to promote short filmmakers I feel strongly about. I don't need to be the millionth person to say how awesome The Mandalorian is, but I can perhaps steer someone to the latest project by Justin Harding or Faye Jackson. That's a bit more meaningful.
I'm happy to say that I was able to program all but one of these short films below at Saskatoon Fantastic.
|(Fears) Directed by Germán Sancho.|
|Directed by Guillermo de la Rosa.|
|Directed by Jason Gudasz|
|Directed by Oskar Lehemaa.|
|Directed by Lance Edmands.|
|Directed by Erica Scoggins.|
Thanks to Shannon Hanmer for introducing me to Place and A Noise That Carries and Fantasia for allowing me to discover the rest. Here's to a short-tastic 2020!
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Hey all. So, here we are at the end of the decade. I thought about doing some sort of Best of list, but frankly I just couldn't be bothered. I suppose if you're interested, you can go back through my end of year posts, but tbh my heart just isn't in it.
I'm not sure where this overall malaise is coming from because it has been a decent year for me. My programming gigs have started generating some income and I'm still immersed in the film scene, but I think my creation muse has left me, at least for the time being.
I'm not sure how frequently I'll be posting in 2020, but you can still expect some more surprises from the archives, as well as occasional VHS and short film musings.
Anyhoo, mainly for record keeping's sake, here's a visual representation of this year's adorations.
Come back tomorrow and I will muster up a rundown on my fave short films of 2019.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Friday, December 20, 2019
The event poster for next year's Hexploitation Film Festival dropped a few days ago.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Friday, December 13, 2019
Thursday, December 12, 2019
In one of last year's VHS Fridays, I gushed over Will Fruet's giant snake vs. Ollie Reed flick Spasms so I was happy to see Paul Corupe of Canuxpliotation.com recently talking about it on Rue Morgue TV. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Been a while since I've linked to a short here, but my friend Ashlea Wessel's 2018 short film Tick premiered on Alter today so here it is below.
While Wessel has been trying to get a feature version of Tick off the ground, she also found time to make another short called Daughter of Babel. For more info, click here.
Friday, December 6, 2019
As I mentioned yesterday, there was a special reason I sped to Horror-Rama last weekend. Those crazy cats put together a retrospective on one of my favourite Canadian horrors, Ed Hunt's 1988 flick The Brain.
If you've spent any time on here, you already know that I'm kind of obsessed with this movie, somewhat because (like Robert Clouse's Deadly Eyes) it was shot here so the locations are readily accessible. Anyhoo, the day began with a panel featuring actor George Buza, composer Paul Zaza and assistant art director Michael Borthwick.
I was happy that they were able to steer me in the right direction of the last few filming locations I've been searching for. Once I have a bunch lined up, you can expect another post.
Ahead of the fest, Horror-Rama announced that Michael was putting up his Brain prop for silent auction at the convention.
I, of course, was ALL OVER THAT. And after jockeying with a few other takers, I won! It is now proudly mounted on my wall.
I was even able to get him to part with his original concept art sketch, as well.
This was truly the bestest Brain fan experience ever. Thanks to Horror-Rama and Michael for making it happen.
Thursday, December 5, 2019
The sixth annual Horror-Rama took place last weekend in Toronto.
The usual fun was had by all, but this year was particularly significant because the HR gang was able to bring out living legend Lamberto Bava. I mean, this guy was at ground zero during one of horror's most significant eras. At his panel - interpreted by actress Geretta Geretta - he recalled tales of working in Italian cinema, how his seminal film Demons came into being and what he's been doing since. It was pretty surreal having him there to be honest.
|Director Lamberto Bava & actress/interpreter Geretta Geretta|
I caught up with the usual familiar faces behind the vendor booths and of course picked out some choice cuts.
I was also glad to catch up with Schwartzy, as well as effects artists Steve Kostanski and Jeff Derushie, the latter pair of which were esteemed guests at the convention.
|Director/FX artist Steve Kostanski (left) & Jeff Derushie.|
Now, the main reason I was there was a retrospective on one of my favourite cult Canadian horror films and IT DID NOT disappoint. But more on that tomorrow...
Sunday, December 1, 2019
My recent trip to Saskatoon Fantastic ran parallel with the eighth edition of Blood In The Snow so I was sadly unable to attend this year. However, they were kind enough to send me screeners so I did get a look at this year's crop of shorts. BITS had a staggering number of films playing this year - three separate short blocks and a web series showcase - but here below were my faves.
Robert Cuffley's Romi was a dark bit of Black Mirror-esque sci-fi. Spearheaded by a strong performance from Camille Sullivan, it's not surprising to me that this took home Best Short honours.
It was cool to see Jeff Sinasac (a former collaborator of mine) show up in Tyler Williams' Sky So Blue. This was an engaging two-man show (Daniel Park being the other) built upon a cool concept involving an ethereal piece of music.
Though it was more of a faux trailer than a short, I got a kick out of Frédéric Chalté's Le otto dita della morte or The Eight Fingers of Death. It nailed the giallo aesthetic perfectly and I kind of wish it had been around last year so I could have paired it with Crystal Eyes at HexFest.
Short films that I really respond to are creepers that feature a really cool prop (The Armoire and Kookie are past examples) and this year that short was Daniel Pike's The Acrylic. It oozed with the energy of the creature features from my childhood.
Similarly, Navin Ramaswaran's newest The Remnant has everything we would expect from this journeyman of Canadian genre cinema. It's not BITS without a Navin joint!
I think my fave overall was Jeremy Lutter's Giltrude's Dwelling. I saw this short earlier this year and was glad to see it show up at BITS. This short possesses a tremendous amount of high quality world building, production design and just old-fashioned heart.
A good showing this year and a proper way to close the curtain on the two-thousand's teens.
Friday, November 29, 2019
Way back in 2008, when The Horror Section was in its infancy, I worked on a micro-budget feature called Android Re-Enactment made by my buddy Darryl Shaw. A lot of work went into this project - I myself even made a promotional blog for it - but aside from a few festival screenings, it has laid dormant for almost a decade... Until now!
Thanks to Amazon Prime, Shaw's bonkers dark sci-fi romance will now be unleashed on Dec 9th. Sadly, my bit part was cut from this version, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice for the greater good.
Be sure to check it out. For the full announcement over at Rue-Morgue.com, click here.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
I have returned from my trip to the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival and it was an absolute blast. Toontown is a wonderful place that was surprisingly sunny and had way more stuff to do than I was expecting. The downtown area had so many bars and eateries, it was almost overwhelming. Imagine your town. Now imagine that every convenience store near you is now instead a bar. That is my experience with Saskatoon.
The festival itself was super fun and by all accounts, attendance was up this year. My shorts programme went over well, as did most of the other shorts that played in front of the features.
|Me introducing the Shorts Programme.|
I was happy to catch Jocelyn DeBoer's Greener Grass and the horror anthology Scare Package with an audience and they both killed.
There were no shortage of special events, as my friend Serena's Drunken Cinema screening and the Saturday Morning Cartoon Party both went over like gangbusters.
However, the biggest event of the fest was the Joe Dante triple bill with himself and actress Belinda Balaski in attendance.
|Belinda Balaski (Gremlins, The Howling) & Joe Dante|
|Event poster art by Sebas Theriault|
It was a terrific experience and many thanks to the crew in Saskatoon for having me out.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Last week, the 10th edition of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival unveiled their shorts line-up. You can check out the full slate here, but I thought I'd let you in on some of the good gets I'm especially stoked to see on the big screen.
A short I brought over from Fantasia is Joshua Giuliano's In Sound, We Live Forever. I love the unique narrative of this one and am looking forward to see how this plays with an audience.
Speaking of reactions, I'm sure there will be some audible squirming during Oskar Lehemaa's Bad Hair, which is easiest to byline by asking “what if Cronenberg had made The Peanut Butter Solution.”
Next, if there was ever a perfect short/feature pairing it is Jason Gudasz' Place with our presentation of Greener Grass. We will all be in absurdist overload by the end of this night I assure you.
I'm very proud of our shorts program (screening Thursday Nov 21st, 6pm) this year, as well. Entitled SHE, it features eight tales with a strong female presence either behind and/or in front of the camera. Some inclusions are current festival darlings Erica Scoggins' The Boogeywoman, Izzy Lee's Re-Home and Adele Vuko's The Hitchhiker.
SFFF runs from Nov 19th to 24th at Saskatoon's Broadway Theatre. Click here for festival info.