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, April 28, 2023

A Fond Farewell.

Skinny Puppy played their last show in Toronto on Wednesday. And it was awesome.

First time at History, it's pretty swanky.

Ogre live.

“I hope you make sure we're properly dead before you start oh Rip Beak!”

Thursday, April 27, 2023

April 2023 Horror Trivia Screening List

To all those who came here from the Storm Crow FB page, welcome! I am Jay, one half of the horror trivia quizmasters and this is my humble blog.

If you heard a title while at Thursday's event and thought “oh that movie sounds cool, I should check that out”, here's a comprehensive list of all the films that were mentioned. Click on the titles to be redirected to their Imdb listing.

For everyone else, maybe there's one or two here you have yet to catch. Horror Trivia Night happens at Storm Crow Manor in Toronto. If you're in the area, come on down! Register here. If you're not local, we do often stream the event on @ruemorguemag Instagram.

Suspiria (1977)
Inferno (1980)
The Beyond (1981)

The Witch (2015)
Omen III (1981)

Jennifer (1978)
X (2022)
W (1974)
Orphan (2009)
Alligator (1980)
Cujo (1983)
Cat's Eye (1985)
Motel Hell (1980)

Malignant (2021)
Annabelle (2014)
Insidious (2010)
Saw X (2023)

Friday, April 21, 2023

Come Get Some!

Yes, this is a rare post about a new release. It doesn't happen very often these days, but once every few years (Halloween 2018, The Sadness) I feel compelled to type out some thoughts on the film of the hour. That film today is Lee Cronin's new Evil Dead flick.

I had a lot of fun with this one, much more than I did with Fede Alvarez's 2013 remake. Looking back on my review from ten years ago, I was perhaps a little harsh. For what it was, it was fine, but Cronin's offering is a much stronger piece and I think a legitimately good horror movie. 

Predominantly, I wager this is due to the likeable cast of characters. Apart from Jane Levy and Jessica Lucas (bless her) I didn't give a rat's ass about anyone in the remake, but here, this crew was just a nice family that unfortunately DJ'd their way into tragedy. All the performances are solid, especially Aussie Alyssa Sutherland as the matriarch-turned Deadite - do we still call them that? She brings a tremendous physicality to the role, adding pinches of The Joker and Pennywise into her portrayal to really make it sing. Some of her line deliveries really got the crowd going.  

I think the fresh location (a soon to be knocked down apartment complex) really helps this movie, as well. While it is mainly confined to one floor, thus not going full Demons 2 as I had hoped, they still utilize the environment to the fullest. And not unlike the new Hellraiser, the filmmakers found interesting ways to expand the lore, in addition to keeping the effects as practical as possible.
Speaking of which, Evil Dead Rise is very bloody. VERY bloody. An estimated count of 1,700 gallons of blood seems low in comparison to the remake's apparent count of 70,000. Although, Cronin did say that due to the pandemic, blood shortages caused them to have re-use it as much as possible. Can you imagine? I kept thinking about that during the final act, man the actors really earned their pay on that stretch of the shoot. Great stuff.  

Lily Sullivan as Beth in Evil Dead Rise

Evil Dead Rise is just well put together, with good pacing, particularly once the blood hits the fan. All of the callbacks to the original trilogy - of which there are many - felt earned and not simply fan service. Additionally, there are many other classics to which Cronin pays homage, including The Shining and Aliens - the latter heavily in the climax, even down to the Horner infused score.

I think my only knock on this movie is that the bookend sequences seemed unnecessary. I imagine it served as a doorway to make more Evil Dead films, but those scenes seemed a tad clunky in contrast to the main story. A minor gripe.

Lastly, I've been thinking about why Rise works so much better than its 2013 counterpart, even rhough they share almost exactly the same tone. Perhaps it was just expectation. A decade ago, the marketers decided to plaster “THE MOST TERRIFYING THING EVER” on their posters (it wasn't), while Cronin's crew instead focused on the family element that just happens to be one of the main strengths of the piece. Oh, and they gave us cheese graters after the movie...

So, yes. I approve of this latest Evil Dead film. It was a lot of fun to see with a crowd, and if you feel so inclined I recommend you do the same. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Horror Movie Guide: The Black Room

Well, that was a nice week off to refresh. Getting back to the Horror Movie Guide, the next entry was yet another Boris Karloff picture from 1935 called The Black Room where he got to play two roles.

Twin brothers Gregor and Anton (both played by Karloff) become entwined in a family prophecy that states the younger brother will inevitably kill his sibling in an area inside their estate called The Black Room.

I liked this one well enough. I don't think I found it quite as engaging as the recently watched Bedlam, but I did relish Karloff performing the dual role. It was definitely one of his best performances. I wonder if he had a flash of déjà vu when he was being chased by the angry mob at the end.

Clocking in at less than seventy minutes, it moves along at a good clip, especially at the hop where there are some break-neck House of the Dragon-sized time jumps. The direction by the esteemed Roy William Neill was solid, as were the sets. They got some good mileage out of the Black Room and that pit that swallows more than a few bodies.

Boris Karloff as brothers Gregor & Anton.

Though Karloff commits several murders over the course of the movie, the film is decidedly reserved with what it shows onscreen, presumably to placate the Hays Code. I found the ending satisfying, even if it became abundantly clear that Gregor was going to fuck himself over and I was just waiting to see the how and when. Thank Heavens for good doggos!

The Guide certainly liked it, I think this may the highest rated one yet!

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Horror Movie Guide: Blackenstein

The next movie in the Guide was one I know I definitely wouldn't have watched if it wasn't listed in these pages; William A Levey's 1973 flick Blackenstein.

A young doctor named Winnifred (Ivory Stone) asks her scientist mentor Dr. Stein (John Hart) to help her boyfriend Eddie (Joe de Sue) who lost all his limbs in Vietnam. Stein uses his experimental DNA serum on him and well, I'm sure you can guess the rest.

Blackenstein's setup was actually better than I was expecting. Rather than just lifting the entire storyline from the 1931 version, they use experimental gene therapy as the catalyst. And electricity too, for some reason. I mean shit, if you had access to the same lab equipment from the original movie, wouldn't you work it in? It definitely makes those scenes look like a bigger budget production than the rest of it. 

I love they felt they needed to clarify the title to the audience. Eddie sure has it rough in this movie. Not only is he berated by an orderly with the worst bedside manner I've seen since Annie Wilkes, when he's finally going to be cured, everything gets fucked up by Stein's creepo assistant Malcolm (Roosevelt Jackson). Fucking Malcolm, man. I was like, are you seriously telling me this entire movie happens because of a fucking cock block. Damn, that's harsh. 

Joe de Sue as Eddie in Blackenstein

I thought the theme song by Cardella Di Milo slapped, which is good because they certainly get their money's worth out of it. She literally performs it at a night club while peeps are being murdered outside in the alley. The last half is pretty much Blackenstein ripping up people in the city, going back to his cell and then rinse, repeat. I was a little shocked/surprised/disappointed it only took a couple of Dobermans to take him down at the end. Oh well, maybe they ran out of money.

Blackenstein isn't the worst way to kill 78 minutes. It's certainly better than Levey's 1989 movie Hellgate. The Guide however, did not concur.