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, May 29, 2020

Rise of The Synths.

I just watched this cool synthwave doc on Vimeo.
It's now available for rent here. If you're a fan, it's pretty comprehensive and will probably give you at least a half dozen new artists to follow up on.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Gifrific: Ire Walk With Me.

I just re-watched John Carpenter's Vampires. And realized why I hadn't done so since it came out. All I kept thinking was, “man, Sheryl Lee is too good for this movie.”


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me!

It took over a month, but I finally finished my latest puzzle.


This was a Mondo issue with art by the always excellent Justin Erickson. A shame about the missing pieces. The friend who lent it to me neglected to mention that the last peeps to play with it were three children. If I'd known I'd have been all...


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Short of the Week: Bill

About this time last year, I posted about a short film from the UK filmmaking duo of Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair. Now, here is their latest short entitled Bill. Enjoy!



Some top notch economy in that film. Bill just premiered on the short film platform Film Shortage so be sure to check that out, as well.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Wonky Willy.

One of my favourite YT channels is Corridor Crew. It's basically a bunch of guys who run a visual FX house and they make cool vids utilizing their talents as well as reacting to good and bad effects in film & television. Here below is one of their most recent projects, an R-rated re-envisioning of the 1971 flick Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.



For a longer video about how they made it, click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Short of the Week: The Missionary

Here's a local short from a few years ago called The Missionary directed by Fil Santos. Enjoy!


Friday, April 24, 2020

Wild is Right!

I decided to take a break from streaming services and crack open something from my stacks of physical media. Within reach of the couch was Franco Prosperi's 1984 animal attack opus Wild Beasts.


A tainted water supply causes animals in the area to go crazy and attack humans.

I was obviously familiar with the coverbox, but holy balls was I not prepared for this movie. Wild Beasts is fucking bonkers. My jaw spent most of this movie on the floor because I couldn't wrap my head around how a) they got the animals to do some of this stuff and b) how the filmmakers were ALLOWED to do it. I swear, that cheetah chase scene is almost as impressive to me as Fulci's infamous zombie vs. shark sequence. This movie is just one crazy (and often ill-advised) set piece after another.


I watched the making of interviews afterwards and I had to scoff at some of their explanations. They got the animals from a circus and breeding farms and Prosperi made it seem like they just gave them all back after they finished shooting. Okay, but what about the rats YOU SET ON FIRE?!


I wonder which production committed more raticide, this one or Bruno Mattei's Rats: Night of Terror. I know that these rats were probably going to be offed in labs or eaten by pet snakes, but still. Not cool. They also maintained that when the animals were attacking each other (the hyena in the pig pen for instance) they just went their separate ways when they yelled “cut”. I remain unconvinced.

Perhaps the most disturbing part though was the introduction to Suzy (Louisa Lloyd) as she leapt half-naked out of bed. I literally threw my hand over the eyes, yelling “Jesus, how old is she?”. She was like, twelve if she was a day. This movie is the fucking Wild West. I guess I should have expected this from the dude who made Mondo Cane.

Common sense and decency aside, Wild Beasts is pretty bitchin'. The gore is pretty good and because there is something batshit happening every ten minutes, it really moves. I'm surprised this movie isn't talked about more, especially considering how cinephiles lost their shit when the Alamo released Roar! a few years back.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Say My Name, Say My Name...

Hey all, just wanted to post that Rue Morgue #194 is out now.


As you can see, it's all about Candyman. With things being what they are right now, distribution lines for RM are a tad thin so why consider grabbing some back issues from the online store. Just think what a pick-me-up it would be to have this mag show up in your mailbox, instead of just the usual burger joint coupons and real estate listings.

Anyway, stay safe kids.

Friday, April 17, 2020

HTC Hits The 'Net.

I've spoken a bunch about the exploits of B-movie taste maker and Hamilton Trash Cinema curator Ben Ruffett here over the past couple of years. His collection of zero-budget oddities knows no bounds to the point I even rode to Ottawa last year to bask in its glory. 


I'm posting now because Ben, over the last year and with quickening frequency during the quarantine, has been uploading some of his analog treasures. We're talking super rare schlock with titles like Nightmare on Neptune, Satan's Menagerie and Bloodbath in Psycho Town. He's even put up Paul Rindhart's 1993 effort Ashes To Ashes, a title he screened in Hamilton and I posted about last summer. Click on the link below to explore his expanding catalogue.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

In Quarantine, No One Hear Can You Scream 2.

Well, we had so much fun doing the script read for I Still Know What You Did Last Summer that Ali got us all together again on Zoom to read Scream 2 just a few days later. This script was only seventy-five pages so the whole affair was much brisker this time around. I played the Mickey character, originally portrayed by Timothy Olyphantastic. Anyhoo, enjoy!



Monday, April 6, 2020

I Still Know What You Did Last Quarantine

While shuttered away, I've been watching movies with friends through Zoom. It's been working really well and so far my various crews have watched J Lo's Anaconda, Don Dohler's Nightbeast and Danzig's indefinable Verotika. Last weekend, my friend Ali Chappell took things up a notch and did a live script reading of 1998's I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. If you are at all interested on what that would look like, you can watch the shenanigans below. I played the Jeffrey Combs character. It was a blast!



There will likely be more of these to come, so stay tuned if you are so inclined.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

Bark At The Moon

I've been keeping myself busy during quarantine in all sorts of ways, including doing this puzzle that's been in my parent's crawlspace for decades.





I guess I should be thankful that after fourty years of meddling Clarke children there are only three missing pieces. Stay safe, kiddies.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

R.I.P. Stuart Gordon 1947-2020

Man, as if there wasn't enough bad news going around. I was really sad to hear about the passing of iconic filmmaker Stuart Gordon yesterday. He was 72.

Director Stuart Gordon 1947-2020

Gordon was a horror staple. He was one of those mavericks that really flourished during the video store boom of the eighties. Even if you are not a horror fan, you must recall the cover boxes of such seminal films as Re-Animator, From Beyond and Dolls. That is one hell of a trio and where I was first introduced to both Jeff Combs and Barbara Crampton.


His career went far beyond that era though. His work with Full Moon provided two of its best efforts in Pit & The Pendulum and Castle Freak.


Gordon also impressed with his post-millenium efforts, such as Dagon (still one of the best Lovecraft adaptations imo), Edmond and my personal fave, King of the Ants. If these titles are unfamiliar to you, now is the perfect time to discover them.


Rest in peace, Mr. Gordon. You will be missed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Analog Rainbows

I found this 2018 YouTube video by 4096 and it is so beautiful and hypnotic. Enjoy it below.

Monday, March 9, 2020

R.I.P. Max von Sydow 1929-2020

I was gutted to hear about the passing of actor Max von Sydow yesterday. He was 90. Von Sydow was a ubiquitous figure of my childhood. Whether it was as Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon, Brewmeister Smith in Strange Brew, Doctor Novotny in Dreamscape or his turn as Ernst Blofeld in Never Say Never Again, he was a mainstay on my television.

Max von Sydow 1929-2020

Von Sydow seemed ageless to me, as a teen, mainly because Dick Smith's make-up on him in The Exorcist was so convincing that I thought him was older than he actually was. This man was a giant, not only in stature, but also in character. His career in film and television spanned eight decades, more recently appearing as the Three-eyed Raven in Game of Thrones and Lor San Tekka in The Force Awakens.

Rest in peace, good sir.

Friday, March 6, 2020

VHYes!


Last Sunday, I checked out a little movie called VHYes.


This movie had been rolling around the festival circuit and I was overjoyed that my pal Landry was able to set up a screening locally at the Revue Cinema. If you're not familiar, the premise of VHYes is that we're watching an old home video tape. Originally a wedding video, it has subsequently been recorded over with all manner of late night TV shows, adverts and the childhood shenanigans of Ralph (Mason McNulty) and his best friend, Josh (Rahm Braslaw).



VHYes is the brainchild of Jack Henry Robbins (son of Tim & Susan Sarandon who also cameo in the movie) and he's created a hypnotic vortex of nostalgia here that I was, of course, on board with. Over the course of its seventy minutes, it crosses back and forth through about half-a-dozen narratives, even incorporating one of Robbins earlier works - Painting With Joan from 2016 - into the mix.


Though this idea is not new - mavericks like Ross Sutherland, Chris LaMartina and even Adult Swim have been experimenting with VHS iconography for years - Robbins has definitely harnessed its power with wonderfully entertaining results.

In addition to the screening, there was also a VHS swap where I was able to snag these babies, in exchange for my big box of The Big Brawl and Centennial Collection copy of The Great Dictator.


And then if that wasn't enough, there was ninety minutes of vintage eighties stuff after the movie, including choice cuts like the Spider & His Amazing Friends episode featuring the X-Men (you know, the one where Wolverine has an Aussie accent for some reason) and Mr. T's PSA special Be Somebody!


A fantastic night! If you dig VHS culture - and I assume you do or else why would you be here? - be sure to check out VHYes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

PG!

Ahead of its premiere at SXSW later this month, here's the brand new trailer for Steve Kostanski's Psycho Goreman.



It looks like everything I expected it to be! Look for it to hit a screen near you later this year.

Monday, March 2, 2020

HXFF Awards.

Today, we announced the awards for this Hexploitation Film Festival. Justin Harding & Rob Brunner's Making Monsters and Jason Axinn's To Your Last Death lead the way with four awards each. For the full list, click the pic above or right here

Friday, February 28, 2020

Sign Next To The X.


This week's VHS was Stephen M. Kienzle's 1990 anthology flick Terrorgram.


Three tales about ne'er do wells whose lives are thrust into chaos after receiving a mysterious package.

This was another title offered up by Ben Ruffett at his latest Hamilton Trash Cinema screening and again, his curation skills were on point. Terrorgram was wildly over-the-top and cheesy, but also kind of charming in its excesses. Don't take my word for it though, just listen to the dolcet tones of James Earl Jones!



It's like Rod Serling's opening to The Twliight Zone, but super dense and filled with mail puns. As Ben said, you kind of just zone out half way through and then it's just the sound of Jones' voice washing over you.

Terrorgram consisted of a trio of stories, the first being the most excessive. Heroine Overdose was basically about a misogynistic director that gets pulled into a parallel universe where gender stereotypes are reversed. He gets harassed and assaulted by women at every turn and can't seem to do anything about it. I have to wonder if this scenario had happened to Harvey Weinstein thirty years ago, a ton of people may have been spared a lot of trauma. Rest assured, they both got what they deserved in the end.


Pandora revolved around a newscaster that runs down a child, but does nothing so she can save her career. When the kid's jack-in-the-box shows up at her door, all manner of creeps invade. This may be the weakest of the three, perhaps just because everyone on the news team made Louis Bloom look like a saint. I will say that this segment does have some good gore and make up effects though.


Last was Veteran's Day and its more serious tone was quite a departure from the camp of the first two. Kienzle was himself a war vet and I wager this was the story he actually wanted to tell after buttering us up with some comedy. A deadbeat dad gets visited by the ghost of a soldier whom he got drafted into Vietnam by ratting him out to the army. It does not go well for either of them, as he is forced to relive the man's 'Nam experience. It's kind of like House, but if William Katt had been a garbage person.


Terrorgram was a lot better and more entertaining than it should have been, largely by way of its fresh scenarios and both the quality and quantity of its special effects collectively supplied by John Blake, Kevin Hudson, John Eggett and Richard Burk.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Clapboard Jungle

Here's the new trailer for Justin McConnell's documentary The Clapboard Jungle.



When it says “five year journey”, that is no hyperbole. I've known Justin for many years now and I've been in the periphery of some of the projects and events that take place in the film so I'm eager to see it all put together. 

There were times when I thought it may never be finished. Not for lack of effort or funds, it's just tough to find an end point in a project like this. Life is life, right? It ebbs and flows and chapters are not as easily discernible as they are on the printed page.


The Clapboard Jungle will premiere on March 26th at the Canadian Film Fest.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Ham, Anyone?


This week, I cracked open my VHS of Carl Monson's Blood Legacy aka Will To Die from 1971.


Four heirs to their dead father's fortune must stay the night in his country mansion in order to collect. But will they live that long?

I saw a lot of other films in this movie. Obviously, the surviving the night gimmick recalls Bill Castle's House on Haunted Hill, but without all of his pageantry. I love John Carradine to death, but he's not Vincent Price. With it being a body count picture by nature – something that was still rare in the early seventies – I also thought of Dementia 13. Blood Legacy's use of colour may or may not have been influenced by Bava's seminal film Blood and Black Lace, but it's amusing to note that Bay of Blood was also released in 1971 – especially since both it and Legacy share similar endings. Oh, and I'm happy to report that the scene on the coverbox actually happened.

As for the movie, it's not too bad. I didn't mind watching a bunch of rich assholes get knocked off for eighty-plus minutes. It had a lot of weird asides that kept things interesting, like the character's love of leftover ham. They just kept going back to it even after they found the Sheriff's head in the fridge. Actually, they seemed to get over that pretty quickly.


The film's preoccupation with Johnny (Richard Davalos) and Leslie's (Brooke Mills) incestuous relationship was a bit gross though. I was sad when she got offed. Her doctor boyfriend (John Smith) let her out of his sight for a moment, and BAM. Dude! You had one job! The best was the estate's driver, Frank (John Russell). Now here's a guy who just didn't give a fuck. His many life lessons included such adages as, “cars are like women, Dan. You have to treat them with care if you expect them to function properly.” Then of course, there was the “lamp story.”


Spoiler! He still had it. It was in his bedroom. Meanwhile, the killer remained unseen. I have to say that they were pretty resourceful, switching from axe, to electricity, to gun to flesh eating(!) bees. Yes, you read that right. Despite its more disturbing predilections, Blood Legacy gives you a literal wink at the end to make sure you were aware it was supposed to be camp.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Come One, Come All!

This year's Hexploitation Film Festival kicks off tomorrow!


The festivities begin tomorrow night with prolific actor Art Hindle being presented with a Career Achievement Award. Hex weekend is jam packed with genre content, but don't take my word for it, behold this sizzle reel!



For more info, including festival director Aaron Allen's recent appearance on CHCH-TV, click here. I'll be there most of the weekend, including Saturday afternoon to introduce our bangin' shorts block. Hope to see ya there!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Movies I've Rented From Eyesore #2


Filing through Eyesore Cinema's rental bins, I came across a Shot-On-Video title I had been meaning to check out in John Wintergate's 1982 slasher Boardinghouse.


Holeee. I feel like I could fill up a page worth just on the opening credits alone, but even then I'm getting ahead of myself. The filmmakers were first gracious enough to tell me that this movie was filmed in HorrorVision, complete with visual and audio queues that prepared me for the terrors within.


Then, after the faux Carpenter score kicked in – along with a screams of a woman who I couldn't tell was having sex or being murdered – I was regaled with several minutes of state-of-the-art computer graphics recalling the history of the titular abode. This section really put the “crawl” in opening crawl, as the narrator had to slow his pace just to not get ahead of the text. Wintergate was quick to point out in subsequent interviews that he was the first to use computer typing in a movie. He loved this thing, like five-minutes-worth-of-screen-time love.


So, once the movie started proper I was introduced to the antagonist, a shadowy figure that could get people to kill themselves by heavily breathing at them from off screen. A neat trick. After that, our hero and new haunted house owner (also Wintergate) appeared and concisely reminded anyone watching that it's the eighties.


Clothes notwithstanding, I did like Wintergate's style. He's makin' a movie, casts himself as the lead, buys a big house and then fills it with, like ten ladies who just parade around the place half naked – granted one of them was his partner Kalassu. I mean, talk about the American Dream!


As a movie, it is a fucking mess. Narratively, it's all over the place and scenes often seem to cut before they've played themselves out. I found out after it was because it was edited by the distributors who wanted a straight up horror film, while Wintergate was going for full-on camp. They had a point though, as the movie was over ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FOURTY MINUTES when it was handed in. An hour was clipped out of it and that resulted in a movie that made little sense, but somehow still bonkers enough to stand the test of time. Seriously, there's so much confounding stuff in here that I've barely scratched the surface.


Boardinghouse all culminated in a huge house party with lots of blood and guts and smoke and screaming and a live band made up of members of the crew. Wintergate had ambition, I'll give him that and will forever have the distinction of filming the first SOV horror film. For better or worse, he paved the way for every “auteur” with a Sonycam for decades to come.