Sunday, 29 July 2012

5 Happy Birthday Horror Films!

Getting older isn't the same for everyone. For some it is one step closer to access society's taboos, for others it's a reflection on what they have accomplished over the years and for most of us it's a time to forget and to tell your friends you've turned 29 again.  With that in mind I thought I'd dig up some other peoples birthday horrors, so when it's time for your birthday, you won't feel so bad because at least your not being chased by a faceless maniac or an evil leprechaun.

Here are 5 Happy Birthday Horror Films!

5. Happy Birthday to Me (1981) - Virginia has returned to school after she was hospitalized from a car accident that killed her mother.  She goes to a private prep school and hangs out with a popular clique of kids, who are rich and enjoy drinking at the pub and doing dangerous things.  Her birthday is coming up but unfortunately her friends seem to be disappearing and there is talk of a killer on the loose at the school! Can Virginia make to her birthday or will she chopped up for party pate? This is a Canadian film and was written by John C.W Saxton, who penned some of my favourites like Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S and Class of 1984. The director  J. Lee Thompson also directed some films I've enjoyed like Cape Fear, with Robert Mitchum and a couple of the Planet of the Ape films, so I was looking forward to seeing this.  There are some good gory scenes, a pretty decent body count and the ending is pretty disturbing, visually & plot wise buuuut, the script is pretty thin and can be really confusing at times.  There are times during the film that just don't make sense and the ending has some many twists, I had to map it out on a piece of paper afterwards.  The acting isn't very good, but there are some people in it, like Glenn Ford, Matt Craven and Lisa Langlois.  Like any good B-Movie, it's fun to watch, find the errors and the shots were you can see crew members.  Enjoyable and worth checking out.

4. Maskerade (aka Mask Maker)(2010) - So it's Jennifer's birthday and after complaining to her friend, Hillary about how nobody has gone out of their way to do anything or even acknowledged her birthday, her boyfriend Evan packs her up in a car and drives her out of town.  Unfortunately, she arrives there alive and they've come to an abandon house in the middle of nowhere.  Evan announces that he has bought this house for them to live as a birthday present.  She freaks out but she has been appeased by the house being her birthday present. Unfortunately, nobody has told them that a witch used to live there with her maniac son, Leonard, who liked to kill people and wear their faces, or that he's buried in the backyard with a magic stick in him that keeps him buried in the ground, or that if you take out that magic stick he comes back to life and starts killing everyone. So, while looking for the electrical box, Evan finds a cemetery in the backyard and pulls a stick out of the ground because it looks cool and magical.  Good Work Evan!  Jennifer & Evan spend the night and invite friends over the next morning for a party.  Most of towns people (which there seems to be 2) are afraid to tell them the history because they're afraid of Leonard, or something, but Mr. Peck (the other town person) gets freaked out delivering some paint and eventually tells Jennifer the story after most of her friends are dead.  Can Jennifer, Mr. Peck and the rest of her friends put Leonard back in the ground, you'll have to watch and see! This movie seemed better the 2nd time I watched it.  It's pretty by the numbers and nothing really pops out.  It's a little frustrating because they don't explain a lot about Leonard or what his deal is but the pacing is alright, there are some gruesome scenes and the ending may not be original, it still adds a nice twist.  Oh, also Michael Berryman, from Hills Have Eyes and Weird Science is in it too and I like when that dude shows up in things. An independent horror film that worth watching.
3. Frogs (1972) - Pickett Smith is canoeing and taking some photographs of nature when serious douche bag Clint Crockett almost crashes into Smith and overturns his canoe with his speedboat. Clint apologizes and Clint's sister Karen invites Picket to come back to their mansion to get cleaned up.  Pickett goes with them back to the island mansion where he meets the head of the family, Jason Crockett, who is enjoying his birthday 4th of July weekend and would not like to be interrupted.  Jason also does not care for the creatures (frogs, snakes, etc..) around his mansion and sends a man called Grover to spread more pesticides to kill them.  Grover doesn't come back and Pickett ends up finding his corpse in the swamp.  He tells Mr. Crockett and is asked to keep it hush,hush, but as more people die from "accidents", Pickett and Karen realize that the animals are fighting back and trying to destroy them.  This is like Hitchcock's The Birds but not good. Although, it is called Frogs most of the attacking is done by snakes, spiders and creepy looking lizards. It's funny because there are some big names in this like Ray Milland, Sam Elliot and Joan Van Ark and unfortunately they're not given the right material to work with. The scenes drag and the script is confusing.  Worth watching if you want to see a really young Sam Elliot with his shirt off, otherwise no dice.
2. Leprechaun 2 (1994) - The leprechaun is back, it's his birthday and he is looking to get married.  Except when the minion finds out the girl he wants to marry is the minion's daughter, the leprechaun  gets shafted by his minion.  The leprechaun then vows to come back in a 1000 years and marry one of his ancestors of the minion.  So after a 1000, yes a 1000 years he comes back to find the one and only ancestor from 1000 years ago.  Anyway, she dating some lame scam artist, Cody, who works for an alcoholic, Morty, who runs a tourist sight seeing trap.  The Leprechaun catches the girl, Bridget but during the battle of wits with Cody, loses a gold coin.  When the Leprechaun gets back, he realizes that the coin is missing and now he must get the coin back from Cody.  From reading a book, Cody knows that he can get Bridget back if he has the coin and with the help of drunken Morty, he thinks he can save her. This movie is pretty stupid, but Clint Howard shows up briefly and so does Tony Cox.  The script is ridiculous, there is very little in body counts or gore and Warwick Davis will drive you batty, with his, "I want me gold, I want me gold".  If you are forced to buy a present for someone you don't care for, get them this.
1. Bloody Birthday (1981) - It's 1970, there is an eclipse and three baby are born at the same time.  Ten years, later they're birthday is coming up and they have a taste for murder.  Yep, these kids are almost ten and killing teenagers and adults.  The only people catching on are Timmy Russel and his older sister Joyce, who's parents are on the longest vacation ever, live down the street from those murdering kids and are now on the hit list for America's youngest felons. Can they stop these murdering tweens and save their neighbourhood or maybe the world?  The reason I like this film is these kids don't mess around.  They're a little hit squad and it's amusing to watch.  Ropes, guns, arrows, they have it down.  There are some pretty violent scenes and some good gore scenes.  It's not a thinker but it's fun and worth a watch.

So, blow out your candles, make a wish and remember that birthdays come and go but bad horror movies last forever.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

5 Films on Hotels of Horror

Summer vacations, packing the family up and taking them out on the highway to discover the great country we live in.  Unfortunately, we need to sleep sometimes and hotels are a lot more comfortable than the car but how do you know if the hotel/motel is good?  You don't and you have to trust that the creepy inn keepers won't video tape you or chop you up for jerky.  It can be terrifying to think that the roadside inn may be your last stop, literally.

 With that in mind, here are 5 Films on Hotels of Horror

5. Horror Hotel (Aka City of the Dead) (1960) - Christopher Lee sends a young college student, Nan Barlow,  to research her paper on witchcraft in his spooky fictional hometown in Whitewood.  When she arrives, she is checked into the Raven's Inn by a mysterious lady Mrs. Newless and learns about the towns terrible past of burning witches at the stake. She is in Massachusetts though, go figure. After exploring the strange town and being turned away from the church by a crotchety parish priest, she meets a friend at a local bookshop, Patricia, who lends her a book on witchcraft. Nan returns to the hotel and is sacrificed at midnight. When Nan doesn't show up at a party, her brother, Richard and her boyfriend Bill go and investigate her disappearance.  With the help of Patricia, they discover the shocking truth about not only the Raven's Inn but the towns people of Whitewood! This film is a classic! Spooky locale with lots of dry ice, witches stealing people in the night and Christopher Lee masterminding the whole thing, what more could you ask for? There aren't any terribly gruesome scenes but some skeletons show up here and there. Audio excerpts have been used in Rob Zombie's Dragula, also Iron Maiden and the Misfits have written songs about the film. Great classic!

4. Motel Hell (1980) - After a motorcycle accident in the country side, Terry, a young woman is rescued by Vincent Smith, a local celebrity meat smoker and owner of Motel Hello. Vincent takes Terry back to the hotel and with his sister Ida and nurse Terry back to health. He tells his sheriff brother, Bruce not to worry about it and he's already buried Terry's boyfriend. Sheriff Bruce is amazingly o.k with this course of events and leaves, but what he doesn't know is that Vincent has actually planted Terry's boyfriend Bo in his secret garden and plans to smoke his meat! Dun, Dun Dun! Yes, apparently Farmer Vincent's Smoked Meat contains people who Vincent has captured from his motel and grinded into jerky. He captures them, cuts out their larynx and buries them alive in his secret garden until their ready.  While Terry goes on a date and almost gets raped by the sheriff, Vincent and Ida continue capturing people and sticking them into the ground, including John Ratzenberger as a punk rock drummer,   Terry then decides she likes her men older, way older and wants Vincent to marry her.  The story gets really jumbled but the fact is someone has to stop them, who will it be? Rory Calhoun stars as Vincent and is passable.  The story is really thin and I think it's suppose to be a comedy, it has to be. Wolfman Jack, even though credited as star only shows up once or twice and Nancy Parson's (Porkies) character is the only one that is consistent. It's funny at times and the end of the film is pretty gory. Worth a watch but you may want to steer clear from Motel Hell, unless you want your meat smoked.
3. Calvaire (The Ordeal) (2004) - Marc Stevens is a traveling singer and after his big gig at the nursing home, he heads out to for his Christmas extravaganza at probably another nursing home.  On his way, his van breaks down on a deserted road on a dark and stormy night but with the help from a local mental deficient, Boris, Marc is brought to Bartel's Inn.  Mr. Bartel is pleased to see Marc and offers him a room for the night.  The next day, Mr. Bartel calls the local garage and tells Marc that they are very busy but will try and come up today.  He tells Marc that he should take a walk but not to near the village because they could hurt him.  Marc goes for his walk and Mr. Bartel continues to tinker with Marc's car.  On his walk, he watches a group of hillbillies pleasuring themselves with a goat. Disgusted Marc runs away before he can be seen and returns to his van still not working.  Mr. Bartel tells him that it should be fixed tomorrow and invites him for supper and to stay another night. Over supper, Mr. Bartel's tells Marc about his wife, Gloria who left him, how she was a singer and he was a comedian. He tells Marc a joke and demands that Marc sing for him.  Uncomfortably, Marc sings and asks Mr. Bartel to wake him up in the morning then goes to bed.  Marc wakes up late the next morning and while looking for Mr. Bartel, notices the phone line has been cut and his things from his van are in a shed.  He goes to his van, looks under the hood and his battery is also missing.  He confronts Mr. Bartel and their conversation ends with Marc being hit in the head with the battery.  Marc wakes up tied to a chair, wearing in sundress and Mr. Bartel is calling Gloria.  Marc realizes now that he must try to escape from not only Mr. Bartel but the hillbillies as well.  This is a movie from Belguim and is really creepy in a number of ways.  It definitely has a Deliverance feel to it but the Bartel character is so crazy, that you can't tell what he is going to do next.  Not a lot gore per say but it is very disturbing picture. Not for the faint of heart.
2. The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) -After a strange claymation opening, we find the Katakuris ready to open their rustic mountain inn on the outskirts of town. The family includes a grumpy grandfather, a failing father, a supportive mother, delinquent son, a floozy daughter with a granddaughter in tow.  They have come here to make their fortune as innkeepers and the only thing holding them back is the lack of customers.  Days go by and finally someone checks into the hotel, unfortunately they have come to kill themselves.  The Katakuris discover the body the next day and bury it in the woods, so their Inn will receive no bad press. However, it seems anyone who checks in mysteriously dies and after burying so many bodies Mr. Katakuris doesn't know if he should throw in the towel.  Interesting film, director Takashi Miike takes a very different approach to this one.  Instead of a gory bloodbath or twisted monsters, he works with claymation, dance numbers and creates a horror musical.  It's a funny and enjoyable film but it's weird as fuck.  I was not expecting the singing and the dancing zombies at all but they had me laughing.  If you like strange horror films, this is definitely for you.
1. The Shining (1980) - The Overlook Hotel needs a caretaker and Jack Torrance is the man for the job.  Young retired school teacher, writer, former alcoholic, abusive dad, what could go wrong with this man and his family after months of isolation?  Jack, his wife Wendy, their son Danny and the Tony, the little boy who lives in Danny's mouth, all move up to the Overlook, to keep it maintained for the winter. There they meet Mr. Hallorann, who takes a shining  to Danny.  As the manager leads Mr. & Mrs. Torrance around the hotel, Mr. Hallorann and Danny talk about their psychic abilities and the creepy images Tony is showing Danny about the hotel.  With everything in order, they take over the hotel and after the first month, Wendy is taking care of the upkeep of the hotel (?), Jack is trying to write and Danny is still seeing creepy girl ghosts and blood gushing from the elevator.  Jack is finding out writing is harder than it looks and with the increased isolation is becoming more grumpy and more prone to violent verbal outbursts.  One evening after one of these outbursts, Jack finds myself at the bar and offers to sell his soul for one drink.  He is happily obliged and whether it be his imagination, the ghosts of the hotel or the devil himself, this is where the story turns weird.  Fed up with his family and with a little push from Delebert Grady, the former caretaker who chopped his family up and then blew his owns brains out, Jack decides he needs to off his family.  Can Wendy and Danny escape, watch and find out! When KillPandaKill were doing the 5 favourite films with bands, the Shining was the film that came up the most.  Stanley Kuberick took Stephen King's novel and transformed it into a piece of film history.  Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance is brilliant and was during a time when Nicholson was truly at his best.  He captures the terrifying essence of Torrance in not just in the dialogue but in the look of his eyes and his mannerisms.  Shelly Duvall and Scatman Crothers are excellent as well in their supporting roles.  The film isn't blood hungry but the way Kuberick sets the tone and tension is brilliant. A must see for anyone!

So, the next time you want to skint out on a hotel, remember these films and maybe you won't wake up in a sundress or in a packet of sausages.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

5 Summer Camps Of Terror

Summer is here and what better way to celebrate, then packing the kids up, sending them to god knows where and having hormonal teens watch over them for a couple weeks. Where is my martini?  I have never been to summer camp but I always wanted to when I was a kid.  Watching movies like Meatballs or Meatballs 2, I thought summer there would be comical romp strewn with adventure and meeting girls (I was 8 or 9).  However, when I got older I realized it would probably be more dangerous like the following films.  I mean, if I almost drowned on a day trip to a beach with some parks & rec teens supervising me , I'm sure I would have been the Voorhees kid within days of going to one of those camps.

I did have the summer camp horror films though, the terror of maniacs slicing and slashing there way through sexual active counselors and mean campers were good enough for me.  And a lot less bug bites too.

Here are 5 Summer Camps of Terror:

5. Sleepaway Camp (1983) - Years after her family died in a tragic boating accident, Angela's weird aunt sends her and her cousin, Ricky to Camp Arawak for the summer. Ricky reunites with old friends and Angela creates enemies with her lackluster attitude and an strange inability to speak with people. While this is going on, people are dying from bizarre accidents and Mel, the camp owner is trying to figure out who the killer is, without letting anyone know there is a killer. This movie has the most haunting image at the end of the film and it is still ingrained into my memory. The story isn't new but Robert Hiltzik does a terrific job telling it.  Some good kill scenes, some silly camp humour and an ending you'll never,  eeeeeever forget!

4. The Burning (1981) - While at camp, some young lads decide to play a prank on Cropsy, the camp caretaker,  to get revenge for his shitty attitude. The prank goes horribly wrong and burns Cropsy alive, leaving him with scars and burns that deform him and take 5 years of hospital care to heal. You got Punk'd Cropsy! Once released, Cropsy kills a hooker and decides to go back and exact his revenge on Camp Stonewater! This movie was the first movie for Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Academy award winner Holly Hunter.  Not to mention the music was done by Rick Wakeman from Yes, (This was a big deal in the 80's) but the real star of this movie is the amazing special effects by Tom Savini.  The plot is thin, but there is an abundance of killing with some great gore!
3. Cheerleader Camp (1988) The Lindo Valley cheer squad has arrived at camp and ready to win first prize!(?) Unfortunately, their head cheerleader Alison has been having nightmares and is worried her boyfriend Brent doesn't love her anymore.  Shortly after they  arrive, a hot cheerleader, Brent was talking to, kills herself and then people on her team start disappearing. Alison thinks she might be the murderer, because of the dreams and only has Cory the mascot to talk to about her problems. the camp numbers are dwindling and they have to find the truth! The movies O.k, more cheap laughs and silliness than blood though. It has a young Betsy Russell (Jill Tuck from SAW), Leif Garrett (was a big deal) and direct from Breakin & Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo, Lucinda Dickey! (This was her last film role, for obvious reasons)  The story is really, really thin but it is worth a watch and a laugh.
2. Summer Camp Nightmare (1987) - Camp North Pine is a real drag this year, now that Mr. Warren is the new head counselor. No TV, a meditation room and a case of butterflies in front of his cabin, so you can learn about butterflies. Fuck you and your Butterflies, Mr. Warren! Luckily, Franklin Riley has just read some books about terrorism and psychology which he uses to form a band of revolutionaries and they take over the camp from Mr. Warren and his butterfly loving goons.  How do you bastards like being in the meditation room, Mr. Warren? However, things start to go awry, when they liberate the girls camp as well. The place is a mess, there is violence and even one camper is brought up on raping a female camper.  Has things gone to far at summer camp and is there any generic nerdy kids that can stop this teenage gestapo? The movie is kind of dull and forgettable, half way through I realized I'd seen it a long, long time a go. There is only two killings and one's accidental.  Most of the movie is the kids going to a dance and sleeping in late.  I was surprised when they brought in the rape aspect, because it's a dumbed down Lord of the Flies, that you could watch with kids up until that part. You don't see anything, but here screams, then they talk about it and hold kiddie court on it. Watch it, if you can't find anything else.
1. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th, Part VI  (1986) - Tommy Jarvis fresh out of the mental institution with his buddy Horshack drive down to the cemetery to burn Jason Vorhees dead. When they get there, they dig up Jason and Tommy flips out.  He starts stabbing the dead Jason with the fence iron rod, now exhausted from his tantrum, he leaves the iron rod in Jason's chest. Luckily, it is a dark a stormy evening so when lightening strikes the rod, it lights Jason up like a Christmas tree and gives our favourite serial killer new life! Jason immediately dispenses of Horshack and Tommy runs off to get help from the sheriff.  When Tommy get to the sheriff's office and lets them know what he did, good work Tommy, they lock him up and call him a nut. Coincidentally, the sheriff smoking hot daughter, Megan is a counselor at the new Camp Forest Pines (formerly Camp Crystal Lake) summer camp for kids which opens the next day. She and her counselor friends, can't find 2 of their friends and were wondering if the sheriff could look for them. Tommy decides to give them the heads up on Jason, which freaks most of them out and causes Megan to fall in love with Tommy? The sheriff ushers the counselors out, drops Tommy out of town and tells him to never come back. Meanwhile, Jason is killing people. The next day the kids arrive at camp and it happens to be Friday the 13th. Can Tommy stop Jason? Can he save the kids from Jason? Do Tommy and Megan ever get together?  You'll have to watch and see! There are so many interesting things about this Jason movie. It is the first one where they have campers, it is the first one without nudity and it is the first one to break the 4th wall with self-referential humour.  It even gives a nod to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.  Writer and Director Tom McLoughlin does an incredible job bringing humour into a very rigid series. The body count is huge and is a terrific story.  This one, along with The Final Chapter and the original have  really held their ground over the years and still stand up as fantastic horror films. A must see for any horror junkie.

These films really bring out the best parts of summer when you were a kid, like being outside in the fresh air, swimming in a cool crisp lake and knowing that you could be cut up at any time by a machete wielding maniac in the woods. To be a kid again.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

5 Films about Inanimate Killing Machines

Huge fan of the weird and bizarre, so when I was scouring the web looking for interesting films, I realized I have missed a whole type of killer, the inanimate object.  I mean, sure there have been tons of films, with dolls, toys or cars killing people but what about ordinary things that you wouldn't expect like, your bed, your fridge or even a tire! These films go way beyond the normal haunting or possession and pushes away the idea that things need a reason to kill. They just do!

Here are 5 Films about Inanimate Killing Machines!

5. Killdozer! (1974) - A meteorite crashes on earth on an island far away, luckily a group of American construction workers are there building something, so we have a story. Kelly, the forman and Mack, the bulldozer operator discover the meteorite and even though it is glowing, try and remove it with... the bulldozer! The bulldozer begins to glow and goes crazy kills Mack, who is standing near it. Kelly cuts the gas line and the stops the killdozer.  The mechanic Chub, looks into the dozer to see if there is a problem and finds no logical explanation. They fix the gas line but Kelly says not to use this dozer for the time being.  Beltran ignores Kelly's request and starts the dozier.  The dozier rampages through their camp and begins killing the men one by one! Who can stop the KILLDOZER!  This is a really fun film and a young Robert Urich (RIP) is in it! Killdozer was a made for TV movie and has some of the most ridiculous kills ever.  The fact that a bulldozer, sorry Killdozer could sneak up on you is awesome.  There are 6 construction guys and one guy, even while the thing is attacking them, wants to go swimming or a least have everyone take there shirts off(?). Anyway, this film is funny and is totally worth checking out!


4. The Mangler (1995) - In what looks like a turn of the century, laundry service, Sherry Gartley cuts her hand on a machine referred to as the Mangler and gets blood in its thread while trying to avoid getting knocked over by some clumsy delivery people.  Only a few hours later, an older laundress gets sucked into the machine and is spit out the other end.  Detective John Hunton arrives, in his 90's looking car, to talk to the owner, Bill Gartley and investigate the accident.  Detective Hunton leaves and hangs out with brother in law.  They discuss the case and determine the Mangler is possessed by a demon.  So now, Hunton, his brother and let's through Sherry in, must stop the Mangler. You would think this movie would be so awesome. Story by Stephen King, directed by Tobe Hooper, starring Robert England as a creepy old Bill Gartley but it's not. The movie is so mixed up and jarring that a lot of the story it doesn't make sense. First, what part of the century are we in? You have machinery and workers who look like they're from the early 1900's but you have computers.  There is a character named J.J.J Pictureman, who takes pictures and says nonsenese. And there are a ton of things that don't make sense, like why is Sherry, who is 16 working at the laundry, instead of going to school? There is some good gruesome scenes but the real reason to watch this is to see a train wreck of a film and have some laughs. There were 2 sequels, which I haven't seen.

3. Rubber (2010) - Basically, A tire comes to life and realizes it has powers to kill.  It uses those powers and kills people through it's telekinetic power.  I love the idea of a tire that kills. Be it from running people over or using telekinetic powers to make their heads explode. That would be awesome. However, the film is broken up with people watching the film within the film and becomes really annoying.  The sub plot ruins the whole idea for me. The head explosions are great and there is a huge body count, unfortunately it's not from the tire but the other nonsense going on in the film. Don't go into this movie as a horror film, look at it as a experimental art house film and you may not be as disappointed as I was.

2. De Lift (1983) - After some guests are trapped and almost killed in elevator, due to heat.  Service tech, Felix Adelaar investigates the lift and finds nothing wrong.  After a couple of days, a security officer is decapitated and when they go to collect the head discover a blind man has fallen down the shaft. Felix is brought back in to investigate the lift and meets up with a sassy reporter, Miki, who believes something evil is going on.  They trace the microprocessing unit for the lift to a company called Sun Rising and get a talking to about microchips by their head engineer.  Felix and Miki know there is more going on and have to stop the evil elevator, but how, really how? It's an interesting film, but it has some serious lulls. There are some secondary stories that don't make sense or are even necessary for the movie.  Director Dick Maas remade the film in the 2001, with Naomi Watts, Ron Pearlman and Michael Ironside. There are some good killing scenes and the idea is neat.  It's tricky to find but may not be worth it.

1. The Refrigerator (1991) - Steve and Eileen Bateman are quitting there suck ass jobs in Idaho or Iowa and moving to New York to live out there dreams on Avenue D.  They move into their shitty little apartment, without knowing that their Fridge ate the last tenant. Somehow, Steve gets a really good job at a company and Eileen has her first Broadway audition after only a couple of days of being in New York, when things start going funny.  First, it's little things like keys going missing then bigger things, like a maintenance person and Eileen's mother! Eileen just doesn't know what it is but she thinks it could be the refrigerator because it moves and is always full even though no one goes shopping.  This is a great silly movie.  The characters are dumb and by the end of the film, still no boxes have been unpacked.  The fridge is best actor out of the bunch and there are some amusing kill scenes.  If you can find it, your laughing! Couldn't find a trailer and this was the only thing on the youtube.

Most of the films here are just fun with thin scripts that allows imagination to run free.  It's nice to push the boundaries of horror, even if it completely misses the target, like Rubber does.  After watching these films, keep an eye on your toaster and worry a little more about your coffee pot because you never know when they'll turn.

P.S. I can't find Death Bed, the Bed that eats People, but I will continue to look. If you find it, grab it!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

5 Great Canadian Horror Films

Oh Canada, with your beautiful forests, colourful money and a sense of politeness that is mocked the world over, what a surprise that you could have some truly great horror films.  So not too much talk eh, and let's get down to business.

Here are 5 Great Canadian Horror Films:

5. The Gate (1987) - While a construction team is removing a tree from his backyard, young Glen wanders on the site and discovers a geode. (a science nerdy thing from the ground).  He shows the geode to his buddy Terry and Terry convinces him to dig up the back yard to see if there are more, so they can make some money. As they dig, they discover a huge hole in the earth and an extraordinary sized geode. Glen pulls it from the earth, gives himself a sliver and bleeds into the hole.  When Glen's parents come home, they're pissed about the hole, ground Glen for the weekend and puts Glen's sister Al (Alexandra) in charge of the house because they are going to gone for 3 days. Like any good Canadian kid, she has a party, Glen and Terry try to crack open the geode in Glen's room.  When they do manage to crack it open, it releases some terrible gas and it sparkles inside.  The boys also notice it left some strange writing on the dollar store etch a sketch pad, which of course they read opening up a gate way for demons to invade our earth.  Now, Glen and Terry have to close the gate and stop the demons using their pre-teen wits and the power of European heavy metal! I loved this movie when I was a kid, probably because it was about kids fighting demons! A lot of great nods to nostalgic canadiana like mentions of Romper Room and Terry having a Killer Dwarves patch on the back of his demin jacket.  This was Stephen Dorff's first film and probably one of his most memorable, in my opinion.  The claymation demons are pretty good for the time and are reminiscent of the Full Moon stuff.  Not a lot of blood or body count, but a fun film that people should get a kick out of.

4. The Cube (1997) - 7 strangers awake up to find themselves in a multi-level cube and try to escape.  Each room in the cube is different, some are safe and some have horrible booby traps.  As the group tries to decipher the numbers and avoid the traps, the most dangerous part of the game is revealed, themselves.  Terrific little film shot on a sound stage in Toronto, with a low budget and a lot of heart.  The idea is great and the film is a taut 90 minutes.  It's got some gore but it has a sense of claustrophobia that is undaunting and as the characters start not unravel you can see the real horrors of the film.  Pre-dated the Saw films and may have inadvertently restarted the game horror concept.  Good stuff.

3. Hobo with a Shot gun (2011) - Rutger Hauer plays a Hobo, who just arrives in Hope Town. Just after he arrives he sees a public execution in broad daylight and realizes that this town is run by an evil creep named the Drake and his 2 viscous homicidal sons, Ivan and Slick.  The Hobo tries to ignore the corruption and lawlessness of the town and tries to focus on his dream of owning a used lawn mower that is only 49.99.  However, one night after a day of begging, he follows Slick and Ivan into an arcade, where they try to collect drug money from a kid.  The kid doesn't have their money and Slick is about to hurt the kid when a prostitute named Abby intervenes.  Slick lets the kid go and focuses his killing intention on Abby.  This is where the Hobo saves the day, knocks Slick out and brings him to the police for justice, right.  Nope, the police are under the corrupt thumb of the Drake as well, so they beat the living shit out of the Hobo and throw him in a dumpster.  The Hobo decides that this is enough, buys a shotgun and begins his vigilante justice against the corrupt city!  Director Jason Eisener does a fantastic job in bringing up the saturation levels and creating a true grindhouse classic.  The story is relatively simple and Hauer does a nice job portraying the Hobo.  The violence in this film is phenomenal and so over the top, you end up laughing your ass off.  There are tons of Canadiana moments and people in this film, so keep your eyes and ears open.  Great film, totally worth checking out!

2. The Changeling (1980) - After a terrible accident that killed his wife and daughter, Dr. John Russell moves to Seattle for a teaching position.  He gets a fantastic deal on a historical house that hasn't been lived in for over 12 years.  Once he settles in, he notices some strange occurrences like doors opening by themselves, banging in the night and a ghost of a boy in his bathtub! John with the aid of an extremely helpful historical helper, Claire Norman investigate the house and bring in some professionals who can really bring the facts in about the house, psychics!  The psychics put together a couple of seances, find out a boy named Joseph was murdered in the house and now, John Russell, professional composer and widower, must right the wrong to clear the ghost out of the house!  Great haunted house picture and from reading notes on the author, Russell Hunter based on some real events.  The pacing is good and director Peter Medak does a nice job with setting a sullen atmosphere right off the bat and continuing it throughout the film.  George C. Scott (RIP) is excellent and plays well off real life wife, Trish Van Devere.  Like, most classic haunted house films, it's more of a mystery based with characters searching for the truth and what lies beneath the floor boards of the house.  Not a lot of blood, but some good scary scenes.

1. Rabid (1975) - A young women, Rose, is almost killed during a motorcycle accident and is rushed to a remote plastic surgery clinic/spa.  There she is worked on by Dr. Keloid, who does some sort of skin graft that is morphologically neutral and.... Anyway she wakes and she now has a hole in her armpit that conceals a stinger.  With this stinger she starts to feed on other patients, turning them into raging, blood thirsty monsters, who die within 24 hours of being stung.  However, as the monsters attack people the virus is passed on and becomes an epidemic in Montreal.  Way to go, Dr. Keloid!  Rose has booked out of the clinic and the police must find her, to stop this spread of human rabies.  This was Cronenbreg's 2nd feature and truly one of his best.  Like, Shivers he uses something that can be easily transmitted and can turn people into a monsters.  Originally, wanting Sissy Spacek for the role but she was committed to a lesser known film called Carrie, Cronenberg used porno star/Ivory Snow model Marilyn Chambers (RIP) as Rose, on the recommendation of Ivan Reitman.   Good gore scenes, huge body count and there are some scene that are similar to Dawn of the Dead that came out a year later.  Great film and a definite must see!

So, take off your toque and get ready to have that Molson scared out of you when you sit down to watch these films.  You never know, America,  it's always the quiet, polite neighbour with the most bodies in their basement.