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, June 28, 2024

You Are What You Watch.

Sorry for the absence, June has been a month racked with little annoyances that have kept me off my couch doing the “important” things. Anyhoo, with Canada Day happening soon, I pulled the nearest Canuck horror off the pile, a 1980 joint called Deadline, shot here in our fair Toronto. It actually took me a while to acquire this tape so I was chuffed to finally watch it.

A controversial horror novelist struggles to balance his failing marriage with his agent breathing down his neck for new content.

Within the first few scenes of this movie, I had to ask myself “why doesn't Deadline get talked about more?” I mean that blood shower sequence is way more gratuitous than the one from Death Ship - also 1980 and the only memorable part from that film - and then there's the snowplow scene where Black Philip looks on as a mechanic gets mangled to pieces.

As Deadline wears on, it becomes more and more apparent that the movies that author and now screenwriter Steven Lessey (played by Stephen Young) are way more interesting (or at least entertaining) than the one I was actually watching - much like Dave Parker's 2009 movie The Hills Run Red. At a certain point, I had to concede that Deadline is obscure because the last half is pretty meandering and its conclusion nowhere near as good as its setup. I wonder if there was a lot of meddling in post, because even though it was shot in 1979, it did not release until five(!) years later.

Stephen Young as Steven Lessey in Deadline.

One thing that stuck with me, was the scene where Lessey is at his alma mater to receive a commendation and is then berated by his audience for the violence in his work. It reminded me of the backlash against David Cronenberg after Shivers came out. Due to being partially funded by the Canadian government, detractors were incensed that taxpayer money was going to something so “depraved” and “repulsive.” Because Deadline was also a tax shelter movie, I can't help but think this scene (and movie) was a dig at these fools.

It was also good to see Cindy Hinds pop up in a few scenes. Man, what a great time for her, getting to “hang” around in this, after also being chased by monster kiddies in The Brood. I wonder which of these two movies was the most upsetting to shoot. I see her kicking around the Ontario convention circuit from time to time, I should ask her next time we cross paths.

Deadline is terrific Gif fodder, but it ultimately gets diluted by the long and drawn out scenes of Lessey's descent into madness, putting it below the fold for all but Canuxploitation completionists and fans of Carole Pope & Rough Trade who also appear performing their song, Revenge.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

June 26th Horror Trivia Screening Guide

To all those who came here from the event or Storm Crow's FB page, welcome! I am Jay, one half of the horror trivia quizmasters and this is my humble blog. Here's the selected list of titles mentioned at the last event. Click on the titles to be redirected to their Imdb listing. Horror Trivia Night happens at Storm Crow Manor in Toronto. If you're in the area, come on down! Register here.

Pontypool (2008)
The Gate (1987)
Humungous (1982)
Rabid (1977)
The Mask (1961)

The Fog (1980)
Crawl (2019)
Possession (1981)

Cruising (1980)
Chillerama (2011)
They/Them (2022)
The Hunger (1983)
Hellbent (2004)