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.
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.
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.
Rue Morgue TV's latest episode of The Rewind Zone reminded me I still had a copy of James Bryan's 1981 slasher
Don't Go In The Woods sitting un-watched in my stacks. Frankly,
a summertime slasher sounds like a wonderful contrast to the subzero
bullshit that has descended upon Ontario in the last week or so.
A maniac kills people who venture into
the wood-- Do I even need to synopsize this?
Not even ten minutes in, I could tell
Don't Go In The Woods was a real turkey. However, there's something intriguing in that it's not immediately apparent whether it's meant to be a horror movie or a parody of a horror
movie. It is decidedly the latter – especially when you factor in
all the comical sound cues – which I guess makes it ahead of its
time. It would have just been a (more) terrible Friday the 13th
ripoff if it was played completely straight.
Don't Go In The Woods was a movie of
thirds. Opening the movie was a series of vignettes that saw random hikers
and campers being murdered, mostly offscreen, by an unknown force
mixed in with the travels of our four comically dubbed leads. My
favourite part was when the group leader told his crew to “watch
out for rabies”, as if it's like poison ivy or something. I also
have to mention that this may be the only movie where someone tells a campfire tale and the camera never goes to the storyteller. Imdb
reports that they lost that footage so they had to use the reaction
shot. Ohhh, that's so Don't Go In The Woods!
Tom Drury as The Maniac
The best chunk of this movie was
the middle, where it got much gorier and the killer was actually
revealed. Known only as The Maniac, this wild bear dude looked like a
crazed Grizzly Adams and sounded like a feral Yoda. Most of the best
set pieces were in this section, including the couple – they literally had three seconds of screen time before they were attacked – that were killed inside their sleeping bags. Bryan may have ripped off
Friday 1, but he beat Part 7 to the whole sleeping bag bludgeoning
thing at least. I also have to mention that the scariest
thing in Don't Go In The Woods to me was this woman's nose...
Then sadly, the third act slammed on
the brakes. I imagine it was in the interest of padding things out,
but it largely consisted of people, namely the sheriff, just searching
the forest. Although, I have to admit that this movie was brutally committed
to its body count (16!). Even an hour in, they were still introducing fodder, like that poor wheelchair guy. Damn, 1981 was not a good
cinematic year for the disabled.
I'm willing to give Don't Go In The
Woods its good-bad street cred, but when it comes to legit backwoods slashers I'm gonna lean more toward Rituals or Just Before Dawn. That end song was pretty ace though.
Bone (Peter Nelson) & Helen
(Sherilyn Fenn), two inhabitants of a dystopian society aim to escape
with the help of a mysterious man named Jason (David Carradine).
From the coverbox I inferred that Crime
Zone might be some sort of Road Warrior rip-off, but sadly that was
not the case. Instead, this movie was more of a Bonnie & Clyde set
against the backdrop of a bargain basement Blade Runner. You know what I
mean, there were a ton of these in the late eighties/early nineties
that all had a similar look, but couldn't spring for the flying cars
or any other expensive visual effects. I do give them some points for
world building though, as that wonky version of pool was amusing and they beat
Lawnmower Man to the VR punch by four years.
Then again, those kids could just be high.
Seeing Fenn as a blonde was rather
striking. Man, compared to The Wraith this must have felt like a
blockbuster. This was during her “naughty” period so Crime Wave does feature an obligatory nude scene. I have to admit though, if
they'd found a better lead, or at least someone Fenn had even a bit
of chemistry with, it might have made all the difference. Because I
gotta tell you, the last half hour of this movie felt like a thousand
years long. Once the novelty of Carradine's couple-of-days-on-set
performance lost its luster, I was wishing for the end credits.
I will say that the middle of Crime Zone did keep me entertained, either from the exchanges between Helen and Bone that
were frankly hard to keep a straight face through, or other bits like
the lady cop who uttered that aforementioned line above and that the
government's preferred method of execution was to shoot a death ray
at your genitals.
Come to think of it, there's a lot of
weird crotch stuff in this movie. Probably best not to dwell on it.
At the end of the day, I can forgive Llosa for this less than stellar
effort because he is the gentle soul that would eventually give us
Here's more nightmare fuel from UK stop-motion animator Robert Morgan.
These were fragments used in Shawn Snyder's film debut To Dust starring Matthew Broderick. I love that in addition to his own short films, Morgan's gooey fingerprints are now being left throughout the cinema world.
This week it's Jag Mundhra's Halloween horror Hack-O-Lantern from 1988.
Three siblings discover their grandfather is the leader of a satanic cult, or close enough... the particulars are already fading from my memory.
I haven't been having much luck with the holiday-themed horrors this year, as this was pretty much an archaic, meandering mess. You see, there's this really lame Satanic cult that likes to sacrifice people on Halloween. How do I know they're lame? Well, Exhibit A.
The grandfather (played by Hy Pyke) is the ring leader of this cult and he's pretty grating to watch. It's like he's channelling a really shitty version of Emperor Palpatine at times. Grandpa has three grandchildren - one of which he's trying indoctrinate and the other two he doesn't really seem to give two shits about - and the movie can't seem to figure out which one is the protagonist.
Things really get crazy when the Halloween party gets started. It's your average small town event that for some reason has a strip show - featuring a lady who I'm pretty sure, based on her distinct tan lines, was the same one who got a pentagram branded onto her ass a few scenes earlier - and a snake dancer for entertainment. I'd let that pass, but the dude who breaks out into a stand-up routine outside... not so much. I think the only thing more painful were the extras fake laughing in his vicinity.
Where is Candyman when you need him?
Eventually in this really long eighty-seven minute movie, we get a few kills and then finally an anti-climactic pitchfork/sword fight that lasts an awkward twenty seconds. You know, I remember seeing this cover box back in the day and passing it over. Now, I wish that demon woman was the protagonist and not just a weird chick who shows in a random music video dream sequence.