Late Night Double Feature

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Horror on National Canadian Film Day

Published April 29, 2015 by vfdpixie

Today is National Canadian Film Day, where we celebrate Canadian film and the talented people who create them.  Known for our legendary politeness, the letter “u” in some of our words, and hockey (not true for me, although I’d rather go to a hockey game than a basketball game any day-gasp!!), we are also pretty handy with a moving picture camera.

Some of those moving pictures involve gallons of blood and gore.  Canadian horror has a strong foothold in Movieland, with a lot of them becoming classics, and I am proud to say that there are way too many to include here, so I will focus on a few of my favourites (see, there’s that pesky “u”).

 

One of my favourite directors is David Cronenberg.  He has the best recipe for weirdness and mood, and coupled with his talent and incredible style, creates horror that will make you cringe and marvel at the grotesque beauty he shows you.  It’s hard to choose, but the film that creeps me out every time is Dead Ringers.  This twisted story of twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle and their deception of a troubled woman makes me shiver.  The bizarre instruments twin Beverly creates are a nightmare for any woman that’s been laid out and vulnerable in a doctor’s stirrups.

 

 

 

 

Plain and simple, Martyrs will scar you forever.  This revenge film with a twist leaves you reeling as you watch Lucie and Anna struggle for the truth, and when they do, it leads to gruesome and deadly results.

 

 

 

 

Silent Retreat has been on the Canadian horror radar since it’s premiere at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2013.  One of the more unique films out there, it follows Janey as she is forced to stay at a retreat for wayward girls that becomes truly sinister.

 

 

Director Tricia Lee is hard at work on her next feature, One Drop, expected to be released in late 2016.  It is another female driven horror, where a single mother wakes up to find herself pregnant, surrounded by dead bodies and “something not-quite-human” in the basement of a medical facility.  Check out the indigogo campaign to contribute to what sounds like another unique and thrilling Canadian horror story.

 

 

 

Of Unknown Origin is straight up cheesy horror, but Peter Weller does a great job trying to kick a giant rat’s ass.  Definitely a late night treasure.

 

 

 

 

Of course, I have to mention the Soska Twins.  Jen and Sylvia have become horror darlings because they create gory films like Dead Hooker in a Trunk that become fan favourites, and mine is probably American Mary.  Stylish and dark, this revenge flick follows a medical student who provides back room body modification for extra money.  After a horrible violation, she creates her own unique way of punishing those that cross her.

 

 

 

 

For pure weirdness and the special effects, check out Thanatomorphose.  It is body horror at its best (or worst, you’ll have to decide), and it is truly a must see, but don’t eat dinner while watching.

 

 

 

Check out Ejecta for a cool alien/conspiracy/found footage movie.  Written by Canadian author Tony Burgess, who also wrote and (acted in) Hellmouth, Septic Man, and Pontypool, it is dark, jarring and has some really mean aliens.

 

 

 

 

Just recently I went to a screening of Late Night Double Feature.  For a low-budget film, it is full of fun and schlock and most importantly, homegrown!

 

 

 

Lastly, a new film in production called The Void looks pretty amazing.  The creators Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie are striving for great practical effects, and the trailer is really eerie with all kinds of gory goodness!  Check out their indiegogo campaign for more info and a chance to contribute.

 

 

 

Let me know what some of your favourite Canadian horror films are!

 

 

The 2015 Canadian Film Fest: Late Night Double Feature

Published March 27, 2015 by vfdpixie

lndf

Late Night Double Feature (2014, 89 mins.)

I like a good horror anthology.  Where else can you get more bang for your buck, more gore, and more monsters all in one horror package?  Films from my horror education like The Trilogy of Terror (1975) and the golden prize in my movie collection The Monster Club (1981) provided more campy scares than I could ever ask for, and while some were cheesier than others, they all gave me a sense of joy when I found them on T.V. in the wee hours.  The latest addition to this genre, embracing the iconic old-school cable show, is Late Night Double Feature, the brain child of The Blood in the Snow Festival founder Kelly Michael Stewart that had its Canadian premiere at the 2015 Canadian Film Fest last night.

Directed by Navin Ramaswaran, Dr. Nasty’s Cavalcade of Horror is just that.  Amidst shoddy sets and props, Dr. Nasty (Brian Scott Carleton) is a “mad scientist” late night host with a penchant for booze and pretty young interns.  His co-host, Nurse Nasty (Jamie Elizabeth Sampson), is an aspiring actress and tired of his antics that go un-punished by the show’s indifferent director and her boyfriend, Shawn (Mike Donis). As the studio drama goes on, Dr. Nasty shows two films, Dinner for Monsters and Slit, giving us 3 stories of horror in total, complete with some goofy laughs, a bit of shock, and schlocky fun.

It’s difficult to do tongue-in-cheek without it going the route of overly silly, and Late Night Double Feature actually delivers because of some great performances and good control of the mood and audience reaction.  With Dinner for Monsters, directed by Zachary Ramelan, a young chef (Nick Smyth) struggling to keep his dead father’s restaurant afloat gets a chance to cook for a private party that ends up having a gruesome main course.  The comedy was groan-inducing but made you laugh all the same, using lots of camp and a B-movie reveal that hit all the right notes.  Jeff Sinasac as the wealthy party host Vincent Dubuc has a stage actor’s presence, and brought a classic maniac vibe to the mix.

In Slit, Brad (Colin Price) is a cutter for hire.  He services clients who like to be strategically sliced up for pleasure.  He is void of feeling, creepy and likes to keep his client list private.  When he gets a new referral in Brii (Caleigh Le Grand), he reluctantly agrees to take her on, only to find she has lost her mind.  Escaping her attack, he rushes out, losing his little black client book that has his address in it; a perfect opportunity for Brii to find him and exact revenge.  I give Slit marks for intensity and a great villain in Brii.  I actually want to see more of her exploits and hope there is something in the works for the future.  Directed by Torin Langen, Slit reminds you that this is in fact a horror movie, and we shouldn’t get too comfortable with laughing, even though there is some comic relief with the kooky homeless guy played by Kirk Haviland.  It leaves you hanging, wondering where the rest of the film will go, which is exactly what creator Stewart wanted to do.  The flow eases the viewer out of the shock of Slit and back into the melodrama with Nurse Nasty, her predicament, and its bloody, climatic conclusion.

After the screening, the entire (read gigantic) cast and crew came up for a quick Q & A.  We learned that this production was realized by their determination and the good will of many friends and family.  Set in and around Toronto, and despite shooting delays and a flood, the film was shot in 15 days, and the idea that was spawned in 2013 came to fruition due to careful pre and post-production.

It looks like the cast and crew really enjoyed themselves making a true B-movie winner, and if you get a chance to see it, you’ll have a good laugh.  Honourable mention goes to the movie trailers of Night Klown and Encephatopithecus which were hilarious; and the moody, dark opening short, Burn the Tapes by Nick and Brit Kewin.  It was a fun night and I am glad I was able to check it out.  You can follow the film on Twitter for updates:  @LATENIGHTDOUBLE; and the Canadian Film Fest wraps up tonight, so check out the final films here.

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