Robert Englund

All posts tagged Robert Englund

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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Wes Craven: A Horror Legend Lost

Published September 1, 2015 by rmpixie
Wes Craven 1939-2015

Wes Craven 1939-2015

 

If you haven’t heard by now, the horror community is mourning the loss of another horror icon:  director/writer/producer extraordinaire, Mr.Wes Craven.  He mastered the tongue-in-cheek horror and produced some of my favourite “B” movies like Wishmaster (1997) and Feast (2007), but he is of course know for bringing to life some of the most memorable horror icons in recent history.

Starting with the rape-revenge horror The Last House on the Left (1972), a twisted and brutal cult favourite to The Hills Have Eyes (1977) showcasing a vicious cannibal family that would terrorize a desert roadway for 2 films plus their remakes, Craven’s vision would carry on to a not-so-well received version of Swamp Thing (1982) and then finally to the king of horror (in my eyes) Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Like Dracula’s fangs and black cape, nightmare-dwelling Freddy Krueger’s clawed glove, striped sweater and tatty fedora has become such an iconic image.  Ask anyone on the street who those items belong to, and you’ll most definitely get a resounding “Freddy Krueger!”.  I was 14 years old when the film came out, and my love for the franchise has grown from teenage horror fan-girl glee to a deep appreciation for his writing and direction.  Craven combined nightmares and teenage angst with intelligence and schtick to create a mythology that set a precedent for horror to come.

Our favourite villain Freddy Krueger

Our favourite villain Freddy Krueger

 

His brilliance would carry on to many other films, directing a then unknown Mitch Pileggi (of X-Files fame) in Shocker (1989), Eddie Murphy and Angela Bassett in  Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) as well as the underrated thriller The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), and writing and directing another of my favourites, The People Under the Stairs (1991); but his next set of films would cast a critical eye on horror tropes in such a clever way.  The top-grossing Scream (1996) and its franchise would become another blockbuster winner, and Craven’s vision took it to the next level of cult fandom.  It revived the horror movie yet again, and gave us another go-to Halloween costume with the creepy Scream killer, Ghostface.

Slasher of the 90's-Ghostface

Slasher of the 90’s-Ghostface

 

Craven gained a huge following and was greatly respected within the horror nerd and teen set because he had his finger on the pulse of what horror fans wanted; crushing the idea that horror had no charm or intelligence by mastering what others dismissed.  He was also a mentor to many of his peers and had a knack for casting actors such as Neve Campbell, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund that would make or revive their careers.

And speaking of charm, it seemed as if all his colleagues and friends could attest to his lovely nature.  Looking at his pictures, and following his Twitter feed, you didn’t have to know him personally to see he was a kind man who loved his craft and his fans.  It is incredible to see the heartbroken horror community and their outpouring of grief, admiration and love for his films and accomplishments, as well as support for those close to him.  I think I can speak for horror fans everywhere when I say that I am truly saddened by his passing and send out the deepest condolences to his family, friends and peers over this terrible loss.

Check out his official website for synopsis of his films and details on his career.

http://www.wescraven.com

I am also consoled a little by knowing that he collaborated on a 5 part comic series with my favourite comic writer Steve Niles called Coming of Rage.  Check out the details here.

 

*Wes Craven died of brain cancer at the age of 76.  I think cancer is the real monster here.  It’s insidious and preys upon unsuspecting victims; finally attacking with gusto.  It has taken many people close to me, including my father, and brain cancer recently took a wonderful, no-nonsense, teddy bear of a man named Dwayne who was one of the kindest souls I’ll ever meet, so I thought I would list a few organizations you might want to support:

Canadian Cancer Society:

www.cancer.ca

American Cancer Society:

http://www.cancer.org/

Stand Up 2 Cancer-celebrity driven charity that still gains a lot of press for cancer research

http://www.standup2cancer.ca/

 

The Red Cross-cancer patients use blood services more than we think.

http://www.redcross.ca/

 

Look Good Feel Better-an organization that helps women being treated for cancer take care of their beauty needs.

http://lgfb.ca/en/

Face Off Season 7: Life and Death!!

Published July 23, 2014 by rmpixie

So season 7 started out with a bang with host McKenzie Westmore announcing a “never been seen before, Life and Death” Season.  16 eager contestants were ushered into the Vibiana Event Space which was a Cathedral in the past where baptisms and funerals took place, illustrated by a lavish light and dark set.  What better place to stage a Sudden Death Challenge!  McKenzie (looking fabulous as always!) told the group that they were not actually on the show yet.  This challenge would be a final audition to determine who the final 14 contestants would be, meaning  2 people would go home.  They were all floored but jumped to the challenge as they scrambled to work stations representing Life and Death with boxes containing an item they had to use in the makeups.  The artists had to create characters that showed their personality as an artist and the subject matter of the challenge.  As they tried to overcome nerves and work with what was provided, they were stopped mid-way by McKenzie so she could introduce a second part to the challenge…and ROBERT ENGLUND, the actor behind legendary character Freddy Krueger!  Everyone was floored once again as he offered them advice, and I think he made even McKenzie blush as he kissed her hand!  What a charmer!  They had to incorporated a new item into their makeups as many times in the industry, directors and producers will often change things at a moment’s notice as the scripts change.  Mr. Englund told them to pay attention to and use their models’ features in order to create a successful makeup.  He said Freddy’s claw inspired him as an actor to bring the character to life, so the props were also important.

When the 4 hours were up, Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick came out to do a preliminary judging on their looks.  The standouts for me were Dina, a cake decorator who changed careers.  She created a forest nymph that was really beautiful, and Cig, who has been working in the industry for several years who created a great paint job on his “life warrior”.

The next day, they reconvened on the Reveal Stage, where they were joined by Neville, Glenn and Ve Neill, who had been absent the previous day due to her work on The Hunger Games set.  She would not be around too much on the show because she was to be working, so they had Lois Burwell, Oscar-winning artist for Braveheart, join the Face Off team.  The final contestants would be lucky to have such incredible judges!

They were split up into 2 groups:  Group 1 would be safe and Group 2 would be the best and the worst for this challenge.  Group 1 consisted of Cig, Rachelle, Stella, Damien, George, Drew, Barry and Doc.  The second group included Keaghlan, Scott, Sasha, Jason, Dina, Gabby, Gwen, and Vince.  In the middle of their critiques, the judges decided to call out the first person to go home.  It was a unanimous decision to ask Scott to leave.  He had used a neck prosthetic as a face piece which went against the challenge, and the judges thought his skill set wasn’t up to par for the competition.  Disappointed but not defeated, this late bloomer who started makeup classes with his son, left the show determined to continue his passion.

As the judges continued on, they chose Dina with her forest nymph, Vince who created a unique mutated zombie demon and made good use of rib bones on the face of his character, Sasha and her “Raven Maven” graveyard dweller which was a complete character even though she ignored a key prosthetic, and Keaghlan with her creative muse with had a great colour scheme as the top in Group 2.  The bottom consisted of Gwen who created a death character that looked good from afar but was muddy.  They felt she didn’t make bold decisions.  Jason’s well creature was “buried” in makeup and had a muddy paint job, and Gabby, who admitted that her makeup was sub par, didn’t design around the piece she was given.  In the end, Gabby, a self-taught makeup artist, was sent home.  She too would not give up her passion and was fueled to carry on.

The remaining artists breathed a sigh of relief as the realized they were the 14 contestants for season 7 of Face Off!  I am very interested to see how Vince performs.  He was an Emmy award winner and worked under Mr. Westmore on Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine.  This artist took a 15 year break to raise a family, so I can’t wait to see how he does this season.  Dina has also peaked my interest.  Her innovative use of a piping bag to create veins for her forest nymph shows she has untapped creativity that I think will blossom as the show progresses.  Cig has great painting skills, so I think he will deliver.  And finally, Gwen looks like she has promise, but must build her confidence if she wants to survive on the show.   This should be an exciting and more intense season as the challenges get crazier!

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