All posts for the month November, 2014

Tense Horror Behind The Door

Published November 23, 2014 by vfdpixie

the door

The Door (2014)

I had first gotten wind of The Door from a tweet on the Fangoria feed.  It piqued my interest, and when I was at Horror-Rama 2014, I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy promoted by its distributor Black Fawn Films.  If you are looking for some interesting psychological horror fare, The Door is a good bet.

Owen is freshly unemployed (I can relate-erk!) and really strapped for cash.  After using his head and saving a Japanese business man from a brutal robbery and beating, he is rewarded by becoming an employee for the business man.  His job?  To watch a door in a large deserted warehouse, 5 nights a week for $500 a night, ensuring that it never opens.  Weird, but seemingly easy, Owen takes on the task with more than a little curiosity.  His night is disrupted by an unexpected delivery and a visit from his tipsy friends that leads to a chaos, psychological terror and destruction that they will never forget.

What this film does is build tension really well.  You begin to question everyone’s motives, and as the madness takes hold of each character, theories get quashed again and again.  There were inklings of romantic tension as well as some possible betrayal that made the storyline interesting, but those inklings were slippery at best.  A couple of really tidy story arcs, however, brought some cleverly thought out closure and made up for that.  The performances were solid, drawing you in enough to want to shake some sense into each member of this sinister Scooby gang until they ran for their lives.

The look of the film was really successful.  The art department and cinematographer managed to maintain a large amount of colour within the dark tone and look of the production.  The lighting, or lack thereof, was very strategic and forced the viewer’s focus to created suspense, and coupled with minimalistic sets, really conveyed a starkness and desperation that made any type of terror experienced all the more intense as the audience searched alongside the characters for an antagonist.  Add the great scoring and sound, and you have a compelling low-budget, indie horror film.

With a decent pace and some great, tense performances, writer and director Patrick McBrearty leaves the viewer wanting a sequel to The Door.  Check it out if you are a fan of psychological horror, because it’s a great addition to our Canadian indie horror roster.

Resident Evil’s Axeman, Pixie’s Best Bud: Q & A with Bola Ray Olubowale

Published November 19, 2014 by vfdpixie

axeman running                      RE Axeman


From the humble beginnings of a Japanese horror-based survival video game, to a movie franchise that is still going strong, the people have spoken.  Resident Evil is a phenomenon.  It is one of the biggest selling franchises in the gaming world and on the big screen, and one of my go-to movie guilty pleasures, because I sure do like them monsters!

Now, I’ve known Bola Ray Olubowale since kindergarten (stay with me).  We had orbited each other’s worlds throughout high school, reconnected through a mutual friend after university, and I can say he is truly a life-long friend to me.  Bola wears a few hats.  At 6’7, he is a professional heavyweight boxer with 3 titles (Canadian Boxing Federation Heavyweight 2007, Canadian/American/Mexican Heavyweight 2008 and Canadian Professional Boxing Council Heavyweight 2012), a trainer and an actor.  I had always sent him an excited text when I saw him in Canadian productions, but when I heard he was going to be in one of the Resident Evil movies, I literally squealed.  MY friend in a Resident Evil movie?!  Double squeal!!  I was of course, happy he had landed a great part but even happier that it was in a wildly popular franchise.  Oh, and the part?  Only the Axeman, one of the coolest characters I have seen in a long time. The movie mutant, based on the Executioner Majini of the Resident Evil 5 game, is big, bad-ass and wrecks havoc in Resident Evil:  Afterlife and Resident Evil:  Retribution.   Bola’s involvement in the film was revealed to me before I started this blog, and since its inception, I have wanted to interview him about his part.  I mean, he lives a block away from me, and well, we are friends.  Easy, right?  Unfortunately, both of our lives became a little crazy, but I have finally gotten him to do a quick Q & A for Rosemary’s Pixie, so here it is!

Pixie and Bola at some dive, just hanging out a few years back.

Pixie and Bola at some dive, just hanging out a few years back.


How did you get bit by the acting bug?

I got into acting some 26 years ago primarily because a girlfriend of mine in high school, who was an actor/model, said that I would be good at it.  Being whipped, I did what I was told and the rest was history.  I started enjoying acting many years later when I did Phantom Punch, the Sonny Liston story, just before Resident Evil.


How did you get the role of the Axeman?

I fell ass backwards and lucked out like no other.  The stunt coordinator for Phantom Punch was offered the part but when the director saw him, he said he was not the right build.  He (the stunt coordinator) said he knew just the guy for him and called me.  I met the director, and Paul (W. S. Anderson) said “you’re my guy” on sight. I had never played the video game and didn’t know of the movie series prior to my involvement.  I had no idea how my life/career was gonna change due to this gift.


What is it like being an iconic horror/gaming character?

This character has opened so many doors for me in the acting world.  I have since gotten a few roles without auditioning.  I’m totally humbled because it takes some actors a lifetime before they get to that level of success.  I’ve been to a few cons and to see fans is also a humbling experience.  I met a gentleman who had my character tattooed on his shoulder.  Wow, me, tattooed on a complete stranger’s shoulder!


How long did it take to put the makeup on?

It took an hour and a half to get me in and out of the suit originally [and] to change the suit up, and then I was in and out of the “death trap” in 30 minutes.

The Axeman snoozing between takes... (Photo courtesy of Bola Ray Olubowale)

The Axeman snoozing between takes…
(Photo courtesy of Bola Ray Olubowale)


 Did you know about the popularity of Resident Evil and its mythology?
I have no choice but to know of the popularity of Resident Evil now.  I’m know in the acting community as Ray Axeman to those who cannot pronounce my last name (in case you were wondering, it’s Olu-bo-wa-ly).  I’ve done Q & A’s for panels on Resident Evil and the turnouts are incredible.
Double the Axman pleasure! (Photo courtesy of Bola Ray Olubowale)

Double the Axman pleasure!
(Photo courtesy of Bola Ray Olubowale)


Are you surprised by the love for the Axeman?
I’m more than surprised as to the reception I’ve received since I did the movie.  The character is really cool and a lot of fun to do.  Smashing things and wielding an axe is every man-child’s fantasy.  The character is amazing in the video game and incredibly difficult to kill, so I can see why people gravitate to it.


What’s next for you?

Look for me in the Adam Sandler movie this summer (July 2015) called Pixels.


What is your favourite horror/sci-fi movie?

After Resident Evil, the Hellraiser series was by far my favourite.


Great guy, huh?  I don’t say this because I am biased (ok, I am but whatever), but I would definitely keep your eye out for this tenacious hard-working actor.  I am positive you will be seeing more of him in the future!
Thanks for taking the time my fine, axe-wielding friend!

Predestination TADFF 2014

Published November 12, 2014 by vfdpixie


Predestination (2014, 1 hr 37 mins)


TADFF Sci-fi Night’s stand out film brought us a truly different take on time travel, love and self-exploration with the must-see Predestination.

A time travelling agent on his last assignment (Ethan Hawke) must cross decades in order to foil the elusive “Fizzle Bomber”, a criminal that has decimated countless buildings and killed many.  Placing himself in the ’70’s as a bartender for his investigation, he meets a mysterious writer.  After hearing this weathered stranger’s bizarre life story, the agent decides to help him get revenge on a scorned love in exchange for his service as a temporal agent, taking them down a paradoxical rabbit hole of a journey.

This unique film, based on the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, and written and directed by Daybreakers creators the Spierig Brothers, doesn’t try too hard to make you understand the plot.  Rather, it takes you on a winding road that will connect and reconnect in very surprising ways.  It will certainly keep you riveted, and that winding road of a story is well paved and free of any extenuating obstacles to muddy the plot.

Ethan Hawke is slowly winning me over.  I have never really been a fan, especially since Gattica and those saccharine romance movies, but he was impressive in this role.  I saw an openness from him that really conveyed a refreshing artistic maturity.  I also like the loyalty that is evident with the Spierig Brothers in terms of casting him in another one of their films which surprisingly, doesn’t get tired.  And Sara Snook will surely be noticed for her excellent portrayal of the mysterious stranger and all the subtle and not so subtle changes in the character.

The production was sleek, the sets meticulous and inventive, and the costuming was amazing.  Having to cross many eras and staying true to each decade was executed with great accuracy.  And hats off to the makeup department.  From the flawless period beauty makeup to Snook’s convincing transformation, they did an amazing job.

When screened at the festival, there was no North American release date, but it will now be in theatres as of January 2015, so go see it.  I applaud the Spierig Brothers for taking on such a complex story and bringing moviegoers something different.  It may take you a moment to wrap your head around it, but this futuristic film noir of sorts addresses some interesting issues about gender and power, and there is an underlying thread that actually warmed my heart of stone.


Wyrmwood TADFF 2014

Published November 9, 2014 by vfdpixie


Wyrmwood (2014, 92 mins)

Australian films seemed to be a hit at this year’s TADFF with films like Housebound and the much-anticipated The Babadook, so when I heard about Wyrmwood, I was all in.  Described as Mad Max with zombies, I really couldn’t pass this one up, and I’m glad I didn’t.  It is definitely a different take on the post-apocalyptic zombie film, and one I think action movie fans will enjoy.

Similar to the aftermath of a falling star from the Book of Revelations, a weird stellar event creates zombies that run amok in the surrounding Australian countryside and cities.  Family man Barry (Jay Gallagher) has to scramble to save his wife and daughter, and after an urgent call, sets out on a quest to find his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey). He meets up with other survivors, including the kooky Benny (Leon Burchill), in very tense circumstances, and they band together to battle zombies that emit strange green fumes and become more active at night.  They realize these zombies can be of great use, and their larger purpose is also being discovered by a dancing mad scientist played by Berryn Schwerdt, who has captured Brooke and uses her as a guinea pig.  Little does he know that Brooke will exceed his expectations.  Both siblings have their trials to deal with before they can ever think of reuniting, and things stay consistently hairy until the bitter end.

The After Dark team let the audience know that this film took a long time-several years actually-to finish, and the end result is a pretty crazy ride.  Mixed in with some brutal action and zombie kills, there are also some decent laughs to be had along the way, the most memorable punctuated by the literal Benny.  His goofy observations are backed with a lot of heart and heroics that make him unforgettable, and it is always nice to see some much-needed diversity in horror films.  And the kick-ass Brooke is one of the most unique final girls ever.  Talk about girl power, and she sports possibly the best smokey eye for zombie killing I have ever, ever seen!


I’m still a makeup artist at heart so here is Bianca Bradey as Brooke and her kick-ass smokey eye.

I only had one issue with the film.  I would have loved a back story about the mad scientist, billed as “The Doctor”.  He was one of the more compelling characters and I can’t resist a great bad guy.  I wondered if his home base lab came equipped with a disco ball or whether he was wearing a ruffled disco shirt under his haz-mat suit.  I call for a prequel starring The Doctor and the gorgeous Captain played by Luke McKenzie, who battles Barry in the film’s final act.

For the die-hard, jaded zombie movie fan, I think Wyrmwood will be a pleasant surprise.  It breaks convention with tons of action and an inventive storyline.  Definitely worth a watch!

*If you have a keen interest in Australian film, check out Curnblog.  There is a 5 part series listing the top 100 Australian films of all time, and it is excellent!


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