FanExpo Canada 2013: 100,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong

Published on August 29th, 2013 in: Art, Canadian Content, Cartoons, Comics, Concert Reviews, Conventions/Expos, Gaming, Horror, Movies, Music, Science Fiction, Toys and Collectibles, TV, Underground/Cult |

By Less Lee Moore

Another year of FanExpo Canada has come and gone. As usual, the four-day event was jam-packed with people and panels, photo ops and paraphernalia. With so many things happening and so many attendees, there are bound to be a multiplicity of experiences. Here are mine.

Day One: Thursday, August 22

The doors opened at 2:00 p.m. and as usual, there was already a line-up. I don’t like to brag, but I enjoy being able to go through the Media entrance and not wait in the lines outside. Although, never fear, non-media folks: I still have to wait in a line to get onto the exhibition floor like the rest of you. (I do think it would be nice if media got to go in about an hour before the show opens, just to prepare for photos and video shoots.)

This year, due to the addition of the Sports segment and the expected increase in attendance, FanExpo took up multiple floors in both the South and North buildings. This meant a bit more walking across the bridge between buildings, but it also made for less cramped conditions (at least on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday; I didn’t attend Saturday).



Fifteen Minutes With: Jen and Sylvia Soska, The Twisted Twins

Published on June 5th, 2013 in: Canadian Content, Feminism, Horror, Interviews, Movies |

Interviewed by Less Lee Moore

The Soska sisters in a scene from American Mary

When Jen and Sylvia Soska’s feature debut, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, was released it caused quite a stir, among horror fans and those less enamored with the genre. Their latest film, American Mary, has a less controversial title, but still treads into controversial territory: rape, revenge, and body modification. It’s an emotionally affecting, nuanced, and powerful film that is way better than the most of the big-budget, CGI-laden, Hollywood productions that fill the multiplexes (read my review from last year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival)

Cineplex Theaters have scheduled American Mary for a special week-long run across Canada as part of their Sinister Cinema series, which is an amazing achievement for an indie horror film. I recently spoke with the Soska sisters and asked them about modern horror and the role of women in the genre, the method behind their madness, and what their future holds.


Best Of 2012: Less Lee Moore

Published on December 31st, 2012 in: Best Of Lists, Feminism, Movies, Music, TV |

Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

2012 was the year of the woman. Women dominated the best of music, film, and TV.

The most significant figure for me in 2012 was Lisbeth Salander, the Steig Larsson-created character of the Millennium trilogy of novels, who also appears in the original Swedish film series and David Fincher’s newest film incarnation. Critics and fans may fight over who was better, Noomi Rapace or Rooney Mara, but both were outstanding at portraying my personal favorite female character of the last couple of decades. (Ms. Rapace had the added distinction of playing the more than worthy successor to Ellen Ripley when she inhabited the role of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Ridley Scott’s misunderstood but brilliant Prometheus.)


Toronto After Dark 2012: Wrap-Up & Award Winners

Published on November 5th, 2012 in: Canadian Content, Film Festivals, Horror, Movies |

By Less Lee Moore

Toronto After Dark 2012 is over and the award winners have been announced. You can read the full list of winners on the Toronto After Dark website, but I’d like to call special attention to the films I saw and reviewed.


Toronto After Dark 2012: American Mary Review

Published on October 20th, 2012 in: Canadian Content, Feminism, Film Festivals, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

american mary still

If you remember Jen and Sylvia Soska from their feature debut, Dead Hooker In A Trunk, their new film American Mary will provide plenty of pleasant surprises. It’s a remarkably solid effort for this pair of up and coming young horror filmmakers and one that bodes well for their future.

Mary Mason is a cash-strapped medical student who gets sucked into the world of strip clubs and underground body modification surgeries after a traumatic experience. Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) portrays Mary with an immense amount of subtlety and charm. She’s studying to be a surgeon and right away, her deadpan voice, sarcastic sense of humor, and fashion sense (including interior decorating skills) prove that she is serious and mature. Wisely, the Soska sisters (who also penned the script) have chosen to make Mary a convincing character, not a bimbo with a tacked-on med school plot device.


Toronto After Dark 2012: Full Schedule

Published on October 17th, 2012 in: Canadian Content, Film Festivals, Horror, Movies, Science Fiction, Upcoming Events |

By Less Lee Moore

TAD white on black

Only one day left until the 2012 Toronto After Dark Film Fest!

This year’s nine-day event includes twenty feature films, many of which are premiering in Canada for the first time.

All the films will be screening at the glorious, newly remodeled Bloor Cinema in Toronto, at 506 Bloor Street West. Here’s the schedule:

Thursday October 18

Grabbers, 6:45PM
American Mary, 9:45PM

Friday October 19

Crave, 6:45PM
Inbred, 9:45PM

Saturday October 20

Shorts After Dark, 3:45PM
[REC] 3: Genesis, 6:45PM
Cockneys vs. Zombies, 9:45PM

Sunday October 21

Doomsday Book, 1:00PM
Lloyd The Conqueror, 3:44PM
Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning, 6:45PM
After, 9:45PM

Monday October 22

Grave Encounters 2, 6:45PM
Citadel, 9:45PM

Tuesday October 23

My Amityville Horror, 6:45PM
Resolution, 9:45PM

Wednesday October 24

Sushi Girl, 6:45PM
Dead Sushi, 9:45PM

Thursday October 25

In Their Skin, 6:45PM
Wrong, 9:45PM

Friday October 26

A Fantastic Fear of Everything, 6:45PM
Game of Werewolves, 9:45PM

For more info on the films, trailers, and tickets, please check the Toronto After Dark Film Festival website.

I’ll be profiling my Top Five Picks of the festival over the next few days, so stay tuned!

Toronto After Dark 2012: Full Lineup Released

Published on October 1st, 2012 in: Film Festivals, Gaming, Horror, Science Fiction, Underground/Cult, Upcoming Events |

By Less Lee Moore

TAD black on white

Like I said in the interview with Paul Corupe and Andrea Subissati from The Black Museum, Toronto is a wonderful city for genre fans, especially horror fans like me.

The 7th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival is quickly approaching. This year’s TAD Film Fest starts on October 18 and runs through October 26. TAD Film Fest has expanded from four to nine nights since its inception in 2006.

There are 210 features screening this year, along with 29 short films, many of which are making their North American or Canadian premieres and the list of features this year is spectacular.

The full lineup includes: A Fantastic Fear of Everything, After, American Mary, My Amityville Horror, Citadel, Cockneys vs. Zombies, Crave, Dead Sushi, Doomsday Book, Game Of Werewolves, Grabbers, Grave Encounters 2, In Their Skin (formerly known as Replicas), Inbred, Lloyd the Conqueror, REC 3: Genesis, Resolution, Sushi Girl, Wrong, and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. If you’ve been reading my Assemblogs for the last few months, you’ll recognize quite a few of these titles.

You can watch all the feature trailers on the TAD Film Fest YouTube page here.

This year will also be the first for the Toronto After Darkcade, which will feature independent horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, and cult video games.

The complete festival schedule, which includes all feature and short screening times will be announced on Tuesday, October 2, so check the Toronto After Dark site for details. You can also by all-access passes from the site to get the most out of the festival.

Fantastic Fest 2012: The Reviews and Awards Are In

Published on October 1st, 2012 in: Film Festivals, Horror, Movies |

By Less Lee Moore

fantastic fest 2012 poster

Another Fantastic Fest has come and gone. Congratulations to the people behind all the films that won awards, especially Here Comes The Devil which won Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress in the Horror Feature category. A well deserved round of applause! (You can read my Here Comes The Devil review on the TIFF Vanguard blog here.)

For a complete list of all the award winners, check the Fantastic Fest website.

I’ve also picked my favorite reviews of each film that I’ve previously mentioned on Popshifter, along with a couple of movies that weren’t on my radar but which I now want to see, based on the reviews coming out of the Fest.

No doubt you’ll be hearing more about these movies on Popshifter in the coming months. Enjoy!

American Mary (
Horror Feature Best Actress Special Mention: Katherine Isabel

The American Scream (Indiewire and Theater Thoughts, because I couldn’t choose a fave.)
Best Documentary: Director Michael Stephenson

Antiviral (Complex)

Combat Girls (Twitch’s review was so wonderful it made me add this to my “must see” list.)
AMD “Next Wave” Spotlight Competition Winner for Best Actress: Alina Levshin

The Conspiracy (Very Aware)

Frankenweenie (Bloody Disgusting)

Holy Motors (Screen Crush)

Looper (Geek Nation)

Sinister (Bloody Disgusting)

Taped (Film School Rejects)

Tower Block (

Vanishing Waves (I am not posting any reviews here because the few I started to read were spoiler-heavy. Here’s the trailer again to refresh your memory, though.)
Fantastic Features Best Picture, Best Director: Director Kristina Buozyte
Fantastic Features Best Screenplay: Bruno Samper, Kristina Buozyte
Fantastic Features Best Actress: Jurga Jutaite

Wake In Fright (Another outstanding review from Twitch on this rarely seen Australian film from 1971 put this on my radar. Drafthouse Films picked up the film and it will play in New York on October 5 at The Film Forum and again in L.A. on October 19 at The Nuart. A national release will follow with VOD and home video releases in early 2013.)