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.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Night Light 2019

Check out this sweet poster for the newly formed Night Light Film Festival.

Taking place this October 3rd-5th at the Apollo Cinema in Kitchener, Ontario, Night Light will be showcasing both contemporary and retro genre cinema. For more info, go here.

Friday, August 30, 2019

More Like "On Bore" Amirite?

This week's VHS was Don Edmonds' 1980 rock n' roll slasher, Terror on Tour.

Several women are being murdered during concerts of controversial rock band The Clowns. Could the killer be a fan? Or even a member?

I'm not sure what I was expecting with this movie, but considering it was from the guy who brought us the first two Ilsa flicks I surely hoped for something less dull as dirt.

Technically it's a slasher in that nubile groupies were picked off one by one, but the movie meandered so much I often wondered if I was watching either a Drugs PSA or a biopic about a hot new rock band. Pacing was a huge problem, as the killer's most brazen rampage happened like thirty minutes into the movie. There's nowhere to really go from there, right? And they didn't even pay off the fact the band were using trick knives onstage to stab their go-go dancers. That's a no-brainer.

It didn't help that like, six people were all wearing the same black-and-white make-up, so there's no way to really differentiate anyone. Literally the only ones with anything to work with at all, are the two roadies – both red herrings, as one paints his face wishing he could be in the band and the other gets pissed because his alcoholism gets him fired. I mean, Imdb had to tell me “The Soup Nazi” was in this.

No idea which guy this is...

And then there were the female roles, such as they were. Meaty roles in slashers (if you're not the Final Girl of course) were anemic at best, but there was no hiding the fact that ladies were meant to be empty knife holders. The sound on my VHS was pretty tinny, but I could swear that one of these chicks comes up to a band member at one point and says. “I think you're better than The Beatles or the Kiss.” Shit, Dyanne Thorne could've helped this movie immensely.

Terror On Tour was made at the height of the slasher boom so there's really no excuse for to how stale it was. I mean, even assuming the music was supposed to be this movie's strength, it's not even as catchy as the ditties presented in stuff like New Year's Evil and Killer Party.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

Full Moon Fever 2019

In preparation for an upcoming article for Delirium Magazine and also that I'm working the booth at Fan Expo, I brushed up on nineties Full Moon movies this week. By brushing up, I mean I somehow viddied sixteen titles between Monday to Friday. 

Most of them I watched through, which is their official streaming site. You should check out their 7-day free trial, as it not only has FM titles, but also that of Blue Underground and Wizard. Okay, enough shilling, here's a quick rundown.

My introduction to Full Moon and still one of my faves.

Sherilyn Fenn & Charlie Spradling are so hot in this they almost melted my laptop. I didn't remember it being so rapey when I was sixteen.

This was a lot of fun. Jackie Earle Haley plays the villain. 

Stuart Gordon & Charles Band make a fine pair. This is a high point in Full Moon's catalogue. 

Some cool stop motion and Anders Hove bringing it as the villainous Radu.

The only thing more distracting than all the sci-fi exposition were all the close-up shots!

Hard to describe, definitely more incoherent than I remembered it. The flying hand was still cool, even if it is just ripping off Phantasm.

A Puppet Master redo to be sure, but these new creatures are certainly memorable.

This riff on Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of Full Moon's more pedestrian offerings.

Completely bonkers idea and good move to cross market the soundtrack featuring Blue Oyster Cult.

Can't get the rights to Dr. Strange? No problem, just make your own!

Man, I love nineties computer graphics. It's like Seth Green says; "VR is the wave of the future!" Over twenty-five years later, the future is here!

Overall, this is the best PM film of the series, even though I'm still partial to Part 2.

Even though barely an hour long (when you take out the flashbacks), this is still amusing and a pioneer of the now-ubiquitous cinematic crossover event.

High concept and larger production values than normal. Solid flick.

Gordon is back with another winner. And this time he's brought Jeffrey Combs AND Barbara Crampton. Top notch make-up effects in this one.

So yeah, now my brain is slightly fried. I think I've earned myself some sun, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Deadliest Film Ever Made.

This Friday, I’m forgoing the usual VHS to do a rare post about a new release. I went to a screening of David Amito & Michael Laicini’s film Antrum this week and just had to throw down some thoughts here.

A recently unearthed film believed to be cursed tells the story of a little boy and his older sister who dig a hole to hell.

I did consider further cultivating the myth surrounding this movie, but its Imdb page now lists the release date as 2018 so I guess the jig is up. I knew nothing about Antrum going in so as far as I knew it was made in 1979. And I can’t say for sure that, if not for co-director Laicini’s appearance at the screening (he’s not in his sixties) and the blatant homage to Mulholland Drive toward the end of the film, I wouldn't have been duped. While at The Royal, I got a kick out of all the precautions and disclaimers.

We even got an onscreen thirty-second countdown clock before the movie rolled, just in case anyone had zero-hour second thoughts. Antrum was also book-ended by documentary footage about all the dead viewers this movie has left in its wake.

Curiously, this marketing campaign works for and against the movie in some ways. Daring someone to watch a movie definitely gets you more eyeballs, but I feel like even without all the hoopla, the movie could stand on its own as a retro-experimental piece. Though, by Laicini’s own admission, “experimental” is not a word you should ever utter when speaking to possible distributors.

I generally dig movies that covet this vintage vibe and Antrum was one of the most authentic examples I’ve seen. It had a dream-like quality that lends itself to multiple viewings as well as a thinly veiled nihilism that further aligned it with the era in which it was spiritually conceived.

In addition to the haunting sound design and score, the movie featured a lot of spliced in stuff that you might expect from a “cursed” flick. Not all of it worked, but I did like the idea of the summoned demon watching us watch the movie.

Antrum is one of those movies that I like more and more as I think back on it. I'm getting a kick out of envisioning alternate realities where it actually released in the late seventies. Would Antrum have served as a prequel the 1981’s The Pit? Would it have enjoyed a cult following similar to that of The Evil Dead, a picture with whom it shares more than a few similarities? Who knows?

Regardless, I’m pretty proud of this little Canadian oddity that comes with its own embedded lore, the likes of which I haven’t seen since The Blair Witch Project. I read an angry review on Imdb (posted the day after this screening so I assume we were at the same one) about how the filmmakers ripped off a 2016 flick called Fury of the Demon. I guess he didn’t stick around for the Q&A to hear that Antrum was actually shot in 2015. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to track that one down, too.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

If You Go Out In The Sun Today...

This week's VHS is Harry Falk's 1989 TV movie High Desert Kill.

Three men on a hunting trip in the desert encounter an unseen force that preys upon their weaknesses.

This one's a bit of a strange beast, in that I wasn't sure what I was actually watching for a good chunk of the running time. More specifically, for the first hour the antagonist was completely ambiguous, only appearing as sudden silences and Predator vision. Keeping the viewer in a state of confusion only works for so long and this one tottered on the verge of annoyance. It's a bit tough to stay engaged when the scariest thing in the movie is this guy's dance moves.

Fortunately, the movie has Chuck mothafuckin' Connors! And while High Desert Kill might not be as wild as Tourist Trap, he certainly makes the most of his screen time. Another face I was happy to see was that of Marc Singer. I haven't seen him in ages (I don't watch Arrow) and I was transported back to a time when The Beastmaster and V were constantly spooling through my top-loading VCR.

Chuck Connors (channelling Tim Thomerson) in High Desert Kill.

High Desert Kill was a tad dry, but at least it was an interesting idea – once it finally gets around to letting us in on it – even if said nugget felt like an abandoned Twilight Zone script padded out to feature length. You could do a lot worse though.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Direct To Video.

I'll just leave this right here...

I've got one word for Dustin Ferguson's new project, Direct to Video... SOLD!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sleaze in the 6ix

This week's VHS is my recently acquired copy of 1983's American Nightmare.

Eric (Lawrence Day) travels into the city's underbelly to find his missing sister.

Hey, you know you've been doing this a long time when you start duplicating movie posts. I remembered I watched American Nightmare a few years back at Trash Palace, but didn't think I'd actually done a review. But I did. And now it's Thursday night and I'm already committed so now you can compare and contrast.

Lora Staley as Louise in American Nightmare.

So first off, I have to reiterate that American Nightmare is basically the closest thing that exists to a Canuck giallo. I was once again surprised by how grimy this movie was for a Canadian joint. Practically every female character gets naked and a good chunk of the movie is padded with strip tease performances – some by actual Toronto peelers. I feel like this would make a good double bill with Strange Shadows as they both exude – save for their less than stellar treatment of transvestites – the best traits of the grindhouse era.

Hey, even though my first review might have had an exceedingly witty jab at the NDP, this one has Gifs!

The biggest laugh about this movie still remains that though it is called American Nightmare, it couldn't possibly be more Canadian. You've pretty much got every familiar face of the time, including Michael “Mike” Ironside, Tom Harvey and Lenore Zann, actors drop a-boot's at will and there was a driving scene where shops like Color Your World and Bi-Way streamed by. I mean, the climax takes place on the roof of Channel 47/Cable 4 with the CN Tower in the background for Christ's sake!

So what have we learned here? Well first, Toronto can be pretty greasy when it wants to be and second... I should really double check my database before picking my posts. Anyhoo, happy Simcoe weekend everyone!