Are you a discerning celebrator of Samhain, looking for some different music to terrify and delight your friends with at your next public ritual? Or perhaps, you’re just a happy Halloweener, looking for some bombtracks for the next party. No worries, Fellow Traveler… we’ve got you sussed.
Let’s face it: with few exceptions, everyone is sick of zombies. That’s not to say that zombie movies and TV shows are dead in the water (with zombie sharks), but it does mean that artists are going to have to do better than the standard ripoffs of “I’m coming to get you, Barbara.”
Enter Tony Burgess and Bruce McDonald. Based on Tony Burgess’s book, Pontypool Changes Everything, the McDonald-directed film Pontypool—which screened at TIFF in 2008—is a breath of fresh air in a cemetery full of empty, stinking graves.
If the name Gerard Johnson doesn’t ring any bells, it should. Perhaps you will recall a grubby, claustrophobic film from a few years back called Tony. (I can see you nodding at your computer as you read this blog post. But I swear I’m not creepy.)
When I stated on Facebook that I was watching the 1980 Italian horror-fi movie, Contamination, I got heat from a couple of people.
“How come you’re watching that?”
And I thought, I’ve built a career out of watching horrible films and writing about them. There’s no reason why this should be a surprise.
Then it struck me: maybe there are people out there who don’t intentionally seek out and watch films they know aren’t great. Wow. That floors me. It leaves me wondering how to recommend Contamination, which is a gigantic piece of shit that I adored.
Filmmaker Joe Begos brought his updated (and superior) version of 1982’s Xtro to the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness programme in 2013 with Almost Human. Now he’s back, along with Almost Human actor Graham Skipper and horror legend Larry Fessenden with The Mind’s Eye. You can read my review on Modern Horrors, but here’s a synopsis:
On a snowy back road in New England, police harass a drifter, only to be thrown through the air by an unseen force. Clearly, they’ve picked the wrong man to hassle. Taken into custody, the loner is identified as Zack, a man with a curse/blessing that makes him of particular interest to the seemingly sympathetic Dr. Slovak. Zack finds himself in Slovak’s institute alongside others with similar telekinetic abilities, but the doctor’s intentions are quickly found to be less helpful and more diabolical.
If you live in the Toronto area and you love movies, you might already know about The Royal Theatre on College Street. But did you know that every month, programmer Brendan Ross takes over The Royal for one night devoted to the best of neo-noir cinema from the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond? Featuring such classics as Body Double, Risky Business, To Live and Die in L.A., and Streets Of Fire, Ross’s Neon Dreams Cinema Club is one of the city’s best kept cinematic secrets.
The Final Girls (review) is a film about… what else? The hallowed halls of heroines in horror movies (how’s that for alliteration?) have many portraits hung on their walls. Here are a few fave Final Girls that you might not have yet considered, but who are still worthy women.
In Men & Chicken, Elias (Mads Mikkelsen) and Gabriel (David Dencik) are brothers whose father has just passed away. He’s left them a videocassette revealing that not only is he not their biological father, but the woman they knew as their mother wasn’t their biological mother. He also reveals that the name of their father is Evelio Thanatos.
Anyone with a decent camera phone and at least two acquaintances can make a zombie film. It’s that simple. Because of the simplicity of the basic set-up (don’t get eaten), we’ve gotten a lot of zombie flicks that are the same thing over and over. Eat that leg. Yank out those entrails. Cut off those zombie heads and for the love of all that’s profitable, don’t stray from the formula!
Somewhere around the halfway point of this rockumentary, I came to an odd realization. Here I am, a man who lived through the Eighties, watched the rise and fall of Hair Metal, and yet I have taken the band, Scorpions, completely for granted. After all, has there ever been a world where “Rock You Like a Hurricane” hasn’t existed?