Horror-Rama Toronto

All posts tagged Horror-Rama Toronto

Pixie’s Year 5!

Published October 17, 2017 by rmpixie

See what I did there? Five skulls for five years? Eh?… Eh? No?….

 

It’s year 5 for Rosemary’s Pixie! This year has been really different with fewer posts since I’ve been re-assessing my career choices, one of which involves seriously considering making outfits for my cats and taking them on the road in a crazy cat lady revue.

Programmer-wise, I had a great first year with BITS, and gotten to know my fellow BITS crew really well. We promoted the festival at Shock Stock  and Niagara Falls Comic Con, and had a great time hanging out with vendors, guests like Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp who is a gem of a person, The Monsters of Schlock who are seriously the coolest guys, and Goblin’s Maurizio Guarini who is very sweet and apparently needs no sleep.

The Toronto horror community suffered a big blow when Suspect Video closed down early this year. This rental store was not only a place where you could find current films but the rarest of the rare cult movies and superb conversation with the knowledgeable staff.  Founder Luis Ceriz and his staff were always ready to suggest or help with titles, books and other obscure info needed for general fun facts or important research. I owe a lot my blog content to them and the amazing films they had available. We were all heartbroken, and made our pilgrimage on the final day the shop was open. I’m happy to say that Luis is still operating Suspect as an online shop and if you’re in the Toronto or GTA area, follow the shop on Facebook as there are weekly posts of new films for purchase. He is also at the helm of Horror-Rama, Toronto’s only horror convention with his co-founder director/writer/musician Chris Alexander. Tickets are on sale now for the November 4-5th event and I can’t wait.

Some of you have noticed that I stopped doing recaps for Face Off this year. I was quite frankly bored of the show. I loved judges Neville Page, Ve Neill and Glenn Hetrick and host McKenzie Westmore, but I felt the show was mining people who have already been contestants and there is a serious lack of diversity. There have only been a handful of POC on the show, one POC winner, and after 11 seasons it seems like they’re perhaps running out of ideas. I’ll try tuning in at a later point, but I know there are a large number of POC’s out there creating wonderful makeups that would definitely hold up on the show.

The Rue Morgue library recently added a new volume to the collection, Women with Guts, a fantastic set of essays about famed women in horror written by women horror and genre writers. I attended the book launch and met the book’s author Alison Lang, as well as contributors Liisa Ladouceur, Monika S. Kuebler, executive editor to Rue Morgue Andrea Subissati, and Alexandra West. I was so thrilled that my friend and founder of Graveyard Shift Sisters Ashlee Blackwell was also a contributor. These women are stellar writers and wonderful people. You can get your own copy here. I also celebrated a personal milestone by contributing to Rue Morgue Magazine’s 20th anniversary edition. I was honoured to write a synopsis of Shock Values: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood and Invented Modern Horror  for the 25 Non-Fiction Genre Film Books That Every Horror Fan Should Own feature. Andrea Subissati really pulled out all the stops for this gorgeous issue and the articles are fantastic. Pick up a copy here.

More fantastic people I met this year were:  Monika Estrella Negra, founder of Audre’s Revenge Film Collective where her tireless efforts to create content and promote QTIPOC filmmakers should be noted and shared; Jamie Broadnax, founder of Black Girl Nerds and Lauren Warren, one of the hosts of Nerds of Prey and tweeter extraordinaire at the Black Girl Nerd TIFF brunch. It was wonderful to meet so many fellow writers and content creators just as passionate about film as I am.

I’ve recently ventured into the podcast world and was a guest on The Matinee a couple of times. Ryan McNeil, a blogger, reviewer and podcast host had me on to discuss a couple of films with him. You can check them out (episodes 172and 176) here. I had a great time, and I’ll be popping up on podcasts here and there, so stay tuned.

I’m also gearing up for festival season on the horror calendar. Toronto After Dark Film Festival is up with some great films and then Blood in the Snow from November 23-26th (of course). And I’ll be at those with the best horror boyfriend in the world (and my biggest cheerleader) on my arm.

As always, I want to give a shout out to my friends Laina Dawes, Ashlee Blackwell, and Courtney Small (www.cinemaaxis.com) who support my writing, and all of you readers who visit my blog. Thank you from the bottom of my horror heart!

 

Carolyn

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Pixie’s Year in Review: Turning 4 with Ghouls, Growth and Good Times!

Published October 13, 2016 by rmpixie

Looks like it’s that time of year again! With Halloween just around the corner, and since I’ll be a busy bee the next week and a half, I’m posting an early shout-out for a couple of anniversaries I’ll be celebrating this year.

Rosemary’s Pixie turns 4 this October 17th. I’ve toughed it out for another year, growing as both a writer and film reviewer.  There were fewer reviews on the blog this time around due to some other writing projects I’ve been up to, as well as my contributions to Cinema Axis, that you can check out here.  Browse the site for a ton of other reviews on almost every film genre out there by the always prolific founder, Courtney Small.

There have been some really big highlights of the past year as well:

Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival a.k.a. BITS…and me!

One of the biggest changes for me is that I can now call myself a Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival programmer. Who knew?!!! I had to take a moment when Kelly Michael Stewart, the festival director offered me the position. I was surprised but SO stoked and honoured because I really love the BITS fest. It’s a great way to showcase fantastic talent and Canadian genre film, meet filmmakers, cast and crew, and it’s one of the few festivals out there that focuses on the business side of things as well. I feel so lucky to be a part of the BITS team.  They’re a group of great people who are just as passionate about film as I am.  All the screenings will be at Cineplex Yonge/Dundas Cinemas, which is a bigger venue this year.   This Saturday October 15th  at noon, we’ll be announcing the BITS lineup and schedule at Horror-Rama in Toronto. Come on out and say hi, enjoy all the fun at Horror-Rama, and get your passes for what’s going to be a great festival this year.

I also got a chance to interview Michael Dickson, a great Canadian actor who starred in one of the fan favourites at BITS 2014, Black Mountain Side.  He was a great interview, and the last time he was in Toronto, we caught up and talked about the film business, The West Coast and his brain-freeze cute dog.

Meeting Lizzie

I wrote an article on Adelaide Norris, a character in the 80’s indie feminist sci-fi classic, Born In Flames, for the website http://www.graveyardshiftsisters.com (run by my girl Ashlee Blackwell) last year. Little did I know that the director herself, Lizzie Borden, would find that article, and that she would be coming to Toronto for a free screening of the restored film at TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre this past July. She contacted me out of the blue and it took me a minute to realize it was THE director of a film that moved me so much. Several emails and a few weeks later, I was sitting at an intimate dinner with Lizzie, myself and 3 other women who have supported or screened her film in the past, courtesy of TIFF and Chris Kennedy, programmer for The Free Screen. Lizzie talked about her experiences in the film industry, and wanted to know more about about us, the people who felt so strongly about her film. It was a night that I will always remember because Lizzie Borden is one of the warmest, loveliest people in the industry that I have ever met. (My apologies for no photos.  We were so engrossed in conversation that not one person pulled out their phone for a picture.  How old school is that?)

 

I’m a Published Author!

 

Women in Horror Annual (WHA, 2016)

The first Women in Horror Annual came out in February, including fiction and non-fiction works from women horror writers. I was lucky to be a part of this group of great writers and I had a book signing in July with one of the editors, Rachel Katz. It was a great night, with friends, family and fellow horror lovers coming out to support the book. There will be another signing coming soon at the end of the month to celebrate Halloween, so stay tuned for details. Can’t make the signing? Then pick up a copy here! I also contributed to The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films. That came out a few months ago, and I’m proud to say that I’m a part of an academic tome on horror.

japanese-horror-ency

The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016)

 

Last but definitely not least, is the Toronto After Dark Film Festival that starts today! My top picks are :  Under the Shadow, Train to Busan, As The Gods Will, Creepy, Antibirth, The Stakelander and The Void. You can read about all of the films here.  I’m as excited as ever, but more so because I’m celebrating the second anniversary I mentioned earlier.  It will be about 2 years since I met the love of my life at After Dark. I admit I had my eye on him for a few years (yes, years. I’m a chicken when it comes to approaching men), so it took a lot of courage to talk to him. Luckily, he was as sweet as pie (and still is!).  We’re both diehard fans of Toronto After Dark, so after some time as acquaintances, then friends, we finally realized it was a match made in horror. Even though we’re both older, slow and steady does win the race!

Well, that’s my year in review.  As always, I thank you, dear reader, for checking in with me as I write about films, books, and TV that I love. It’s been a great journey filled with many surprises, and one that I plan to continue with you because it’s truly been a good time!

Horror-Rama 2014-Toronto’s First Annual Horror Convention

Published November 7, 2014 by rmpixie

horror-rama

Horror-Rama, Toronto Ontario, Canada, November 1-2, 2014

 

I wasn’t sure I would even get to Horror-Rama due to my work schedule, but a week before the event, I learned that I would be free for an afternoon, so I bought my one-day $25 ticket not sure what to expect.  After checking out the website, I was prepared to part with some of my hard-earned money to get some stuff.  Horror stuff.  Little did I know that stuff was just the gory icing on the horror cake!

Let me back track a little.  You might be wondering what Horror-Rama is.  Put on by Suspect Video owner Luis Ceriz (one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in Toronto who runs one of the coolest movie rental and rare finds stores around) and Fangoria Magazine’s editor-in-chief Chris Alexander, it is Toronto’s first ever horror only convention, and it was a blast!  Catering to the horror fan who loves rare finds and weird stuff, there were many vendors selling DVDs and rare VHS horror films, as well as gifts, t-shirts, and original poster art and illustrations, but I suspect the biggest draw was the celebrity line-up.  Boasting such stars as Barbie Wilde mostly know as the female Cenobite from Hellraiser, Michael Slade author of Headhunter and Ghoul, Nivek Ogre of Industrial band Skinny Puppy (who I listened to endlessly in high school), and Lisa Marie of Mars Attacks, it was a veritable wonderland for fans of all things dark and diabolical.  Tom Savini was also there.  From special effects, to directing and acting, this horror dynamo was a revered name in the line-up.

I at first wasn’t going to attempt meeting him, for one because I thought it would be rammed and kind of like FanExpo, and secondly because I am an introvert by nature with awkward bursts of nuttiness.  I don’t know what to say to celebrities because after all, they are people just like me, and I don’t want to sound like a dork.  What was pleasantly surprising was the celebrity meet and greet area.  It was quite intimate, and it wasn’t crowded when I arrived, so I gave it a shot.  I mean, he was right there. Like, right there!  So I took the plunge, got an autographed photo of Savini and Danny Trejo in Machete Kills, a handshake and a picture taken with him for $30.  Unfortunately, I had nothing witty to say; the nuttiness crawled away and hid, and I didn’t bother to hand him my Rosemary’s Pixie card, even though he does follow me on the twitter (just sayin’).  I just smiled and said thank you.  In my defense, some dude would not stop talking to Savini while I was there, so I think that chatty dude owes me at least $15 for my troubles.  And I will find him…anyway, here is my photo-op with Tom Savini, who was really nice and called me sweetheart, and my weird hair (I swear it looked better in person):

2014-11-01 15.13.20-1

Pixie and Savini, just hanging out…

As for any other pictures, I didn’t take any at the event because I was there to buy stuff, and kind of forgot in my shopping frenzy.  I can however show you all the loot I got, including a rare find of Henry:  A Portrait of a Serial Killer for $12, and some top-secret but awesome gifts for my salt-of-the-earth-and-weird-like-me friend T-Bone:

2014-11-07 10.47.34

My loot. For obvious reasons, the top-secret gifts are absent because my friend is one of the 3 people that reads my blog…bah ha ha ha! I kid, folks, I kid…

I also wanted to pick up my pass for The Blood In The Snow Film Festival, happening from November 28th-30th at the Carlton Cinemas here in Toronto.  It’s a 3 day festival of 100 % Canadian horror, and it is always a good time. There was an Anchor Bay Screaming Lounge where a preview of the festival was screened, as well as indie horror movies Avenged (2014) and The Devil Incarnate (2014).  Check out the films and tickets for this year’s BITS fest here.  The convention also had a Horror-Rama Hangout, where you could attend Q & A sessions with some of the headliner guests.

I also hit the Black Fawn Distribution booth where there was a bunch of great Canadian independent film for sale.  Better known for films like festival hits Silent Retreat and Discopath, they were promoting a new horror called The Door.  I picked it up and was treated to an autographed copy by one of the film’s stars, Alys Crocker.  I also got a photo-op with her and had a quick chat with the film’s director, Patrick McBrearty.  They were both lovely and I can’t wait to watch this creepy film which caught my eye a few weeks ago on my twitter feed.

I wrapped my visit up somewhat early because plain and simple, I ran out of ducats.  I didn’t want to sell the farm for more memorabilia and movies, so after tracking Luis down to thank him for a great event, I took myself and my horror horde home.  I will definitely go back next year.  Horror-Rama fills a void for those of us that want a more specialized type of convention with all things horror for the die-hard fan and collector.  Go Horror!

 

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