Friday the 13th

All posts tagged Friday the 13th

Pixie’s 2017 Halloween Watch List

Published October 8, 2017 by rmpixie

 

Halloween is a couple weeks away, and of course horror aficionados are slavering for the one day where the rest of the world acknowledges our love for the genre. Although there are some of us who choose to make Halloween an everyday occurence, I can always find an excuse to curate a Halloween watch list for the countdown to what I think is a better holiday than Christmas (just sayin…)

 

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989):  I watch this much hated chapter of Jason’s illustrious career for the fight scene. Jason’s head severing punch is worth sitting through the film for me.

 

 

 

Mad Monster Party (1967):  One of my top 5 horror films. Dr. Baron von Frankenstein is retiring and throws a big party to find his replacement. There’s also a secret that everyone wants to get their hands on, and of course mayhem ensues. This Rankin/Bass production was a departure from their usual cute and fuzzy fare, but there is so much charm! Starring Boris Karloff as the Baron and Phyllis Diller as “The Monster’s Mate”, you can’t beat it for a good time. It’s clever and there are a few musical numbers that the kid in everyone will enjoy. I even have my own Yetch and Baron Boris von Frankenstein sitting on my shelf and I LOVE THEM.

 

 

Hellraiser (1987): Ah, the real king of pain coming from the mind of horror master Clive Barker. Doug Bradley as Pinhead is iconic, relentless and badass. Who else can rock a grid of pins in his skull, a midriff baring leather coat and a legion of nasty looking cronies? And if you’re dumb enough to mess with the puzzle box, well I can’t help you.

 

 

A Nightmare on Elm St. (1984):  A classic Halloween flick. Even though I own the box set, I still love finding any of the Elm St. sequels on TV. Wes Craven’s nasty child murderer immortalized by Robert Englund has haunted many a dream and is possibly the best horror villain ever created.

 

 

The Evil Dead (1981):   Directed by the beloved Sam Raimi and starring the one and only Bruce Campbell, this low-budget creeper of a doomed spring break getaway is perfect for Halloween after the streets have emptied itself of costumed kiddies, and the possessed Cheryl popping out of the cellar freaks me out every time.

 

 

Dr. Giggles (1992):  The great Larry Drake passed away last year, and strangely enough, horror boyfriend and I had just watched Dr. Giggles, directed by acclaimed TV veteran Manny Coto, a few days before his death. This classic teen horror about a crazed madman obsessed with ripping out hearts is elevated by his insane performance. That giggle is really something, and the inventive deaths will get your Halloween howls going.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981):  Another film, this time made for TV, that featured this Emmy award-winning actor. It tells the story of a mentally challenged man named Bubba mistakenly accused of killing a young girl who befriends him. He is hunted down by three townsmen and killed. When there is a report that the little girl is fine and Bubba actually saved her life, the guilty men are cleared of any charges in Bubba’s murder, leaving them as perfect candidates for a vengeful spirit. Drake’s performance is brief but brilliant, and the comeuppance for the guilty parties is satisfying.

 

 

Tales of Halloween (2015):  A great new addition to the horror anthology genre. Screening at Toronto After Dark last year, this collection brings you directors like Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers and The Descent) and Lucky McKee (The Woman and May) who give us some inventive horror connected by the festivities of our special night. You’re sure to find at least one story here to get you in the Halloween mood.

 

 

For some Canadiana, I recommend Berkshire County, Bite, and Bed of the Dead.

Berkshire County or Tormented (2014):   Audrey Cummings, a well-known director here in Toronto, brought us this tense Halloween romp where a disgraced teen is forced to protect the kids she is babysitting from some brutal home invaders. It premiered at the 2014 Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival and was a definite crowd-pleaser.  Take note of the fantastic masks made by the fine folk at The Butcher Shop FX studio.

 

 

Bite (2015):  Another Blood in the Snow favourite that screened in 2015, known for its true gross out gore.  You’ll think twice about taking a dip in a secluded lagoon and perhaps wonder what exactly that smell is coming from your reclusive neighbour’s apartment.

 

 

Bed of the Dead (2016):  Watch it if you want a cozy Halloween night in. Snuggle down into the covers and watch this Toronto After Dark 2016 selection where a haunted bed becomes judge and jury for those who have the bad luck of taking a nap, or whatever, on it.  It’s blood-drenched with a deeper message, and just one of the standout horrors (along with Bite) that the Black Fawn crew are so well-known for.

 

 

And there you have it. A collection of fun horror films that will whet the appetite of all you hungry horror fans out there!

Best wishes for a safe and ghoulish Halloween!

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Friday the 13th and the Darkside Tour II: Highway of Horror!

Published March 15, 2015 by rmpixie

For my Friday the 13th festivities, I went to The Darkside Tour II: Highway of Horror V.I.P. Elle Canada Man Event to celebrated the latest works of two Canadian horror authors.  It was an intimate affair where a small audience got to listen to a couple of guys talk about writing.  You might pass them on the street, perhaps pushing strollers or carrying a six-pack of beer; two regular guys who happen to write the most disturbing things.  Those regular guys are best-selling, award-winning authors Nick Cutter (a pseudonym for Craig Davidson) and Andrew Pyper, and they spent the evening talking about their latest books, inspirations, and horror.  Hosted by Elle Canada’s Features Editor Aliyah Shamser, it proved to be a fun, insightful night.

wpid-20150315_134841.jpg

My autographed copies!

 

Nick Cutter’s first book, The Troop, made me physically cringe as I read it.  The story about a boy scout camping trip that goes horribly wrong after a man dies at their cabin was equally heart-wrenching and gruesome, in fact, I don’t think I’ve read such graphically described scenes in a long time.  Cutter was modest but spoke with a heart-felt eloquence about horror to open the event, telling us that to him, “fears are like fingerprints”; unique to each person and that it is “profoundly un-grippable”, living invisibly behind the written word.  He lauded the likes of Stephen King and Shirley Jackson as sources of inspiration, particularly King’s Salem’s Lot for creating an incredible sense of dread.  Cutter described himself as a sort of mechanic, taking apart fears and building his own engine, but at the same time, not re-inventing the wheel because there are some things, like isolation, that will always scare us.  Another key element for him is to make sure the reader ultimately cares about the characters in order to fully realize the horror in the story.  His new novel, The Deep, broached the subject of loss-loss of memory and of loved ones- as characters battle a strange plague, and is essentially about the main character dealing with the loss of his son amidst the horror.

For Pyper, horror is deeply personal, and like an attraction, inexplicable and organic.  He got my attention after I read and reviewed the Demonologist where a man races to save his daughter from a demon.  I couldn’t put it down, because as Cutter mentioned before, I cared about those characters.  I followed by reading The Killing Circle, a creeping, slow-build of a story about a would-be writer who ends up in a writing workshop leading to obsession, mystery and murder, so I was thrilled to hear of his next book, The Damned.  In this latest horror read, a twin whose near-death experience resulted in hauntings by his dead sister for years, has to face her vengeful spirit when he finally finds love.  Pyper’s inspiration came from books about the afterlife and near death experiences, but his interests lay in the “boiler room” instead of the “penthouse”, namely, Hell.  He thought about what his underworld would look like, and wanted it to be based in realism, so he placed his characters in Detroit which to him, had many similarities to Dante’s Inferno.  He also created a unique, character-driven way to illustrate Heaven and Hell.  Add his fascination for the relationship between twins, and he found he had pieced together a patchwork of sorts that became the novel.

Nick Cutter (left) and Andrew Pyper discussing horror.

Nick Cutter (left) and Andrew Pyper discussing horror.

During the question and answer segment, they shared their thoughts about being called a horror writer, and whether they have had a lifelong love of horror.  For Cutter, his parents were just happy he was reading, so he started reading mostly “inappropriate” things for kids, like Stephen King, but horror was his first love.  He embraced being called a horror writer because he felt the genre has always been marginalized, and he would never run from that title because horror is a fundamental part of his life (Hear, hear! I resisted a “Whoot!” and a fist-pump when he said this).  Pyper read a variety of fiction, but he was surprised by the amount of emotion involved with horror and how investing in the stories brought thrills.  Pyper never really thought of the title “horror writer”, he just wrote.  He too would embrace the title but really didn’t care about what category he fit into.  I love this because Pyper, who earned an M.A. in English Literature and a Law degree, defied the status quo by ending up doing what he loved, and obviously what he was meant to do.

They also talked about how fear changes with age.  Fear for one’s own well-being changes with the addition of children, and for both writers it became a fear of their kids and loved ones coming to any harm. When asked why horror seemed to become more shameful as we age, Pyper aptly described how he felt culture generated a social hierarchy in regards to what people read, and ultimately a fear of enjoying yourself; and Cutter added that there should be no shame for what you enjoy, that they as writers, and their audience, should never apologize for what they do.

I got a chance to ask Cutter about a particular scene in The Troop, where characters kill a turtle because they are starving.  It is probably one of the most disturbing passages I have ever read, so much so that I had to hug my cat after reading it.  My impression of Cutter after I read that scene was of pure admiration, so I asked him how he mustered up the courage to write it.  He told me that he had actually gotten a lot of flack for it and was accused online of hating animals.  As a horror writer, he wanted to explore what would break him, and as an animal lover and owner of 2 cats, this was it.  He had to imagine what it would be like for two hungry kids on the brink.  I applaud him for going to the darkest places and writing such memorable, gut-wrenching scenes.

Pyper was grateful for the support of his readers and meeting him was super exciting for me and a check off of my bucket list.  For him this book launch seemed bittersweet as he mentioned in a tweet earlier that day and at the event, The Damned was the first book his parents weren’t there to see as they had passed before it was published.  For those of us who have had to bury our parents, some before their time, it is a thought that will strike you during moments of accomplishment, and makes the things you do and strive for so much more important.

Both writers were engaging, down-to-earth, and so funny they had the audience in stitches with descriptions of the tour, their unique fans, the writing process and their surprise at success.  They were lovely to meet and grateful for all their fans, colleagues, family and friends who came out, and I highly suggest you add them to your reading list.  Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for my reviews on their latest books.

If you missed this event don’t fret!  Check out the links below to see their next appearances and events, as well their bios!

http://darksidetour.ca/

The next event at the Toronto Public Library will be on April 2, 2015 and it’s free!!

http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEVT184403&R=EVT184403

 

http://www.craigdavidson.net/

http://www.andrewpyper.com/

http://www.simonandschuster.ca/

 

Friday The 13th: Let’s Celebrate Jason!

Published June 13, 2014 by rmpixie

So it’s Friday the 13th!!  What better way to celebrate than to pay homage to the king of the day:  Jason Voorhees.  That poor lad who drowned at the worst summer camp in the world-Camp Crystal Lake-has become a horror icon for the ages.  Donning his hockey mask and wielding his slashing implement of the day (my fave is the classic machete), Jason chi-chi, ha-ha’ed into our hearts and nightmares, leaving an unhealed scab that horror fans will pick at forever.  For your viewing pleasure, here are some clips (in no specific order, I just dug them) from his creepy slasher career (my favourites were Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan and Freddy VS. Jason):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be it at Camp Crystal Lake, in space or in a thriving metropolis like Manhattan, Jason defies time and logic with his tenacious blood lust fueled by revenge.  Let’s raise a glass to the one and only king of #13 because he will live on forever!  Please let me know what your faves were in Mr. Voorhees illustrious career!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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