This week's trailer, for Francis Ford Coppola's debut Dementia 13, I chose for reasons that will become apparent in my next post coming this Thursday. Enjoy!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
There's lots of interesting news coming out of the Cannes film market this week, so here's the skinny.
Goin' Back To Class.
There was interesting news out of the Cannes market this week. It looks like the Drafthouse guys are putting together another installment of ABC's of Death. Scheduled for release in 2014, this one will feature twenty-six new directors, including the likes of Sion Sono (Cold Fish), Canadian Vincenzo Natali (Splice), indie darling Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter) and animators Bill Plympton (I Married A Strange Person) & Robert Morgan (Bobby Yeah). As with the first one, the creators will also be looking for submissions for the twenty-sixth director. I wonder what letter it will be this year?
Even though the reception to ABC's of Death was mixed, I considered it a wonderful experiment that will no doubt be refined and improved on this time around. For those who haven't seen it, I believe it is being released on Blu-ray this Tuesday. For more info on ABC's of Death 2, click here for the news release.
Speaking of anthologies, this week also saw the unveiling of the red band trailer for V/H/S 2. This project features installments from Adam Wingard (You're Next), Edúardo Sanchez (Lovely Molly), Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), Gareth Evans (The Raid) & Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun), with writer Simon Barrett contributing the wraparound story. Now, I chose not to watch this trailer, as I found the one for V/H/S showed too much, but if you'd like to sample the goods, here it is below.
Thy Will Be Done.
Here's a trailer for the Canadian horror flick Kingdom Come. Though the byline is very familiar - strangers wake up in a remote place blah blah blah - there are some solid creature effects in this trailer that peaked my interest. Here it is below.
I'm pulling for this one, as not only was it shot in my neck of the woods, but it also stars Ryan Barrett, whom I just worked with on my upcoming short film Lively.
Friday, May 17, 2013
The third last title on my Time Out Best 100 List countdown was Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1934 film The Black Cat. It took some doing, as it was surprisingly difficult to find, but I finally managed to track it down.
Newlyweds Peter (David Manners) & Joan (Julie Bishop) and a mysterious doctor named Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) end up at the manor of Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff) after their bus crashes. Soon, the couple realize they are caught in the middle of a deadly vendetta between the two men.
The Black Cat is an odd little film. I can certainly see the significance, since this was the first time that genre juggernauts Bela Lugosi & Boris Karloff appeared in the same film together. I can only imagine what a big deal that would’ve been in the thirties – Universal obviously did as they continued pairing them for many years afterwards. I mean, the only thing that even approaches this from our era is perhaps Freddy vs. Jason, and that took over a decade to produce just a single outing.
I was certainly glad to see Karloff in a more dialogue heavy role this time around. Up to this point, I'd only seen him in roles that were either incidental or cursory, like The Old Dark House and 1968's Targets – which, granted, he's super badass in – or sympathetic, like his legendary role as Frankenstein's monster. In The Black Cat, he gets to play a straight up villain. Lugosi is, of course, in top form as well, continuing his hypnotic cadence that made his turn as Dracula so iconic.
|Lugosi (left) & Karloff square off in The Black Cat.|
I have to say though that I found how little this film resembles the Edgar Allan Poe story it is supposed to be based on rather distracting. I realize the film says it only “suggests” the Poe story, but I was definitely expecting more than just that a black cat happens to walk into frame every once and a while. It was quite baffling. I guess the use of a recognized work to sell an unrelated project is not a new tactic, but silly me, I thought those were more innocent times. But then again, I am talking about a film that involved war criminals, Satan worshippers, torture and implied necrophilia, so maybe it's not so innocent, after all.
Getting back to the cat, I think it gets a raw deal in this picture. The feline in question not only gets called the living embodiment of evil in one scene, but is also skewered with a letter opener in another. Perhaps most peculiar is when Peter later says,
“Strange about the cat. Joan seemed so curiously affected when you killed it.”
Really? I don’t how things were in the thirties, but nowadays chicks tend to frown upon animals being impaled in their presence.
|The title character in one of its rare appearances.|
At a scant sixty-five minutes, The Black Cat actually manages to feel longer due to a narrative which seems to be pulling in different directions at once. As I said before, I understand the significance but its inclusion on Time Out List seems a little dubious.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
With the whirlwind of activity going on the last six weeks, I never had the chance to report on the VHS documentary I saw at Shock Stock. Let’s fix that now.
Adjust your Tracking is a labour of love conceived by the curators of VHShitfest, Dan Kinem & Levi Peretic. Most people consider VHS a dead format, but there are still a precious few that consider it the best way to view their favourite movies. This documentary showcases these individuals.
This is a fun doc rife with colourful characters. I found their unbridled enthusiasm for the format infectious and made me want to drive around looking for yard sales and swap meets. I’ve never been much good at tracking down these sorts of places, but these guys have it down to a fine art. Some of the titles they pulled out of their archives were just crazy, and the stories of where and how they found them were sometimes even crazier.
In addition to the collectors, Adjust Your Tracking interviews some icons in the industry like Fangoria founder Tony Timpone and Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman. It also features input from indie filmmakers like Gary Cohen (Video Violence) and Keith Crocker (The Bloody Ape) who both likely owe their careers to the direct-to-video market spawned by the rise of VHS. Kinem & Peretic go full on nostalgic with the presentation, with tracking lines and analogue titling abound. There are also a lot of old VHS and video stores commercials peppered throughout that are good for more than a few laughs.
|Director Dan Kinem in his natural habitat.|
As much as I found it this engaging, I’m not sure how wide an appeal Adjust Your Tracking possesses, as there was no real arc to the proceedings. When you look at the really great genre-based documentaries of the past few years, they always lead up to something. Last year’s The American Scream had three families preparing their haunted houses for Halloween and Best Worst Movie (coincidentally also by Michael Paul Stephenson) had the eventual cast and crew reunion of Troll 2. Adjust Your Tracking is, ultimately, just talking heads gushing over VHS. While I found that interesting for ninety minutes, maybe not everyone will.
But then again, I guess that describes the very nature of VHS in this day and age, doesn’t it?
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
With all the rain and cold here, this trailer seems appropriate.
This shit is gold! Having seen this more than twenty years ago, all I remember is the melting faces, but with all the stuff going on in this trailer, me thinks it deserves a rewatch!
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Hey everyone! My crew & I finished off the last few shots of Lively last night, so I can really, truly get things back on track here. However, first things first!
In my absence, there have obviously been countless things that have hit the Web, so I'm just going to throw up as much as I can.
First, there's this awesome trailer for The Shining documentary Room 237. It's just perfect.
Second, here's a trailer for a film called Found that just hit my radar this week. It is one of those films where I slapped myself for not thinking of the idea first. This has shot way up on my list of most anticipated genre films.
Lastly, we all remember the glory days of exploitative Italian film, right? Well, it looks like director Raffaele Picchio is taking a stab of bringing it back with Morituris. Thanks to Fangoria for the heads up.
Here is just some fantastic horror art that has appeared on my Facebook stream over the last few weeks.
|Fright Fest Originals poster for The Descent by Gary Pullin.|
|Hausu poster by Trevor Henderson|
|Scream Factory Blu-ray release of Day of the Dead by Nathan Thomas Milliner.|
|Mondo poster of Evil Dead 2 by Jason Edmiston.|
|Mondo poster of Army of Darkness by Randy Ortiz.|
R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen 1920-2013
Unfortunately, I have to end on a sad note today. Stop motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92. His contributions to genre film are immeasurable. His creature creations were a fixture in my home growing up, as there was not a weekend that went by that something he worked on wasn't showing on TV. My favourite will always be Clash of the Titans. The reason this movie works is the efforts of Harryhausen, from the smallest things like Perseus' clockwork owl Bubo, to the gargantuan Kraken. However, for me, the most striking was the villainous Medusa.
Rest in peace, Mr. Harryhausen. You will be missed, but your legacy will live on forever. To check out a wonderful database of all of hia creations, click here.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Last fall, I submitted a short story to Fangoria's Weird Words competition for shits and giggles. Long story short (heh heh), it didn't make the cut. I guess they figured it rubbish. Hell, it probably is. Regardless, I saw no harm in throwing it online. Click on the image below to check it out over at my Tumblr.