Monday, September 29, 2014

Fan Expo 2014

Now that I've had some time to recover after an exhausting four days of running the booth for the Horror Writers Association, I thought I'd post some comments (and photos!) from this year's Fan Expo in Toronto. In short, for horror fans, the event was a vast improvement over last year--thanks to a conscious effort to consolidate most of the horror goodness in one area.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger (2011)

Horror movies that have a great poster and a fantastic title often sell themselves, and this was never more apparent than in the 1980s. I recall many hours combing through the horror section at the local video store, and would pick a countless number of unknown films based on the title and box art alone.

Of course, selections from this VHS wasteland usually proved to be disappointing, thanks to the invariably stilted dialogue, wooden acting, and clichéd storytelling. Such is the same for The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger. However, in this case, all of the elements that marred '80s horror films are intentionally part of this movie, which makes it one of the more successful throwbacks that I've seen to this golden age of cheap video horrors--and easily could have been produced thirty years ago. With that in mind, you should know what to expect--and will likely enjoy the result.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Philatelic Phantoms: The Haunted Canada Collection

Canada has its own share of urban legends and spooky folklore, and sometimes even our own government entities like to celebrate this fact. On June 13th, 2014 (a Friday, of course!), Canada Post unveiled its latest set of spooky stamps, and being the collector that I am, I had to purchase at least part of the wide range of offerings. It's called the "Haunted Canada Collection," and although it's not quite as quirky as their "Haunted Stamp House" from 1997, it's still a worthwhile investment for those who are interested in such homegrown horrors.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Discopathe (2013)

As a child, Duane Lewis witnessed the accidental death of his musician father, and he's had an adverse reaction to music ever since. It's now the mid-1970s, and the increasing popularity of disco music ends up pushing Duane over the edge; he spirals out of control, and murders a woman at a discothèque. The story then picks up a few years later in Montreal, where Lewis--under an assumed identity--works as a caretaker at an all-girls Catholic school. In an effort to keep his murderous instincts at bay, he pretends to be deaf so he can wear hearing aids, which he uses to block out the surrounding din. But everything falls apart after he inadvertently hears some dance music, which triggers a killing spree.

Discopathe has been touted as "an electrifying and blood-soaked nod to the golden age of Italian giallo and the films of John Carpenter and Brian De Palma." I'm sorry to report that it's not quite worthy of such lofty acclaim.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Beyond Götterdämmerung: A Tale of Nazi Vampires

Over the years, on film, it's been popular to mash-up Hitler's Nazi regime with creatures of the night--including zombies (Shock Waves, Dead Snow, Outpost), vampires (Frostbiten, Bloodrayne: The Third Reich), and even werewolves (An American Werewolf in London). Yet there's also perhaps a lesser-known example from comicdom, published in Weird War Tales from August, 1980 (V10N90).

"Beyond Götterdämmerung" takes place immediately after World War II, and tells the tale of a group of Hitler's followers who arrange for his transport to South America. But in order to ensure that he survives the journey, they take the drastic measure of turning the Führer into one of the un-dead!