5 items from 2016
I’m guessing that you, just like most of us, have always had seasonal favorites when it comes to movies that attempt to address and evoke the spirit of Christmas. Like most from my generation, when I was a kid I learned the pleasures of perennial anticipation of Christmastime as interpreted by TV through a series of holiday specials, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and even musical variety hours where the likes of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams and Dean Martin et al would sit around sets elaborately designed to represent the ideal Christmas-decorated living room, drinking “wassail” (I’m sure that’s what was in those cups) and crooning classics of the season alongside a dazzling array of guests. (We knew we were moving into a new world of holiday cheer when David Bowie joined Bing Crosby for »
- Dennis Cozzalio
There is no definitive answer as to what the first slasher movie really is. Many point to Michael Powell's Peeping Tom or even Psycho as the film that launched the genre. Others suggest it's Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve) that invented the slasher tropes. Some still say it's John Carpenter's original Halloween, a movie that, even if it is not the first slasher movie ever made, can still be called the most influential. It (and Bava’s Bay of Blood) is the movie that producer Sean Cunningham was ripping off when he made the original Friday the 13th, the copycat that launched a thousand more copycats. There has been a push in the last 10–15 years, though, to recognize Bob Clark's 1974 film Black Christmas (aka Silent Night, Evil Night) as the first “real” slasher, as a clear line can be drawn »
- Patrick Bromley
Stars: Caroline Williams, Debbie Rochon, Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Randy Jones, Desiree Gould, Lesleh Donaldson, Alan Rowe Kelly, Brewster McCall, Michael Varrati, Andrew Glaszek, Susan Adriensen, Bette Cassatt | Written by Alan Rowe Kelly, Bart Mastronardi, Michael Varrati | Directed by Alan Rowe Kelly, Bart Mastronardi
It’s something of an understatement to say that the work of poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe has had a lasting effect on the horror genre. Especially when it comes to horror cinema in particular. It’s not so long ago that we had the likes of P.O.E.: Poetry of Eerie and it’s sequel Project of Evil, David DeCoteaus’s The Pit and the Pendulum, and the animated anthology Extraordinary Tales; and now comes Tales of Poe – which adapts Poe’s short stories The Tell Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado and Dreams.
The first story, The Tell Tale Heart, »
- Phil Wheat
The Dead Zone (1983) is where director David Cronenberg turned from the horrors of the body to the torture of the soul. But before that, he made tentative steps towards adding a layer of vulnerability to his work, in the very personal and frightening The Brood (1979). It’s still rooted in the tactile, but listen closely and you can hear whispers of humanity piercing the skin.
Which is to take nothing away from his earlier works; Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977) are both potent allegories (and gory allies) on class warfare and sexual promiscuity. But The Brood was written by Cronenberg while going through a divorce and nasty custody battle, and while it mostly maintains a safe distance from emotional investment for the viewer, the beginnings of a sympathetic point of view start to take shape.
- Scott Drebit
When one looks back at mid ‘70s to early ‘80s horror, it’s quite surprising to see how many Canadian made films are nestled among fan favorites. Titles such as Black Christmas, Shivers, Prom Night, Happy Birthday to Me, and My Bloody Valentine continue to delight and shock veteran horror lovers or those just starting their jagged journey down the terror path. There is one, however, that due to a troubled production and poor distribution, seems relegated to the discount bins of time. Today, we’re pulling back the curtain on, uh, Curtains (1983), an unsung slasher weirder than a sack full of rabid beavers.
Released by Jensen Farley Pictures in March of ’83 in the Us, and September of ’84 by Norstar Releasing in (my home and) native land, Curtains received a very limited release in both countries, but coming as it did at a time when the Canadian film industry had »
- Scott Drebit
5 items from 2016
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