ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 85

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, anthology, murderer, alien, monster, zombie, devil, vampire,  horror comedy, holiday, gore porn

Another film of shorts! This one, brought to you by the letter ‘M’. Because I guess they had a lot of ‘M’ entries. I love anthologies because there is always something for everyone but I really could have done without the scratchy title music. For this review, I’ve decided to give each segment a grade and just a quickie synopsis of a few words.

Magnetic Tape – Silly, gory, nerd fun. (B)

Maieusiophobia – Terrifying waxmation birth. (A)

Mailbox – Skippable vampire trick-or-treat. (C)

Make Believe – Mediocre murder and kid fairies. (c)

Malnutrition – A well-done zombie segment. (A)

Manure – A memorable, May-like poop monster. (A)

Marauder – A hipstertastic black and white tricycle race. (B)

Mariachi – Murders in a death metal music video. (C)

Marriage – A creative and captivating therapy session with a surprise ending. (A)

Martyr – A cult ritual that I could have sacrificed. (C)

Matador – A sick and twisted gorefest of intensity. (A)

Meat – A dark meatmation segment that is unique and thought-provoking. (A)

Mermaid – A stupid mermaid meal. (C)

Merry Christmas – Krampus feels bad for himself with a prisoner who has a face for acting. (C)

Mess – Oh God, why. You deserve to know now that ‘the mess’ is water poop coming from a belly button. (C for can’t. I can’t.)

Messiah – A woman is captured by masked forest-people. (A)

Mind Meld – A clever, gory experiment. (A)

Miracle – Well, it’s about box… it was too short and quick for me to comprehend anything else. (B)

Mobile – A man gets torture text instructions with a twist. (A)

Mom – A light zombie-kid romance. (B)

Moonstruck – An unexpected paper cartoon about romance, betrayal, revenge, and death. (A)

Mormon Missionaries – An encounter with two missionaries takes a turn for the worst. And then it gets worse. (A)

Mother – A giant CGI spider. (C)

Muff – A hilarious hotel sex encounter goes fatally wrong. (B)

Munging – Gross and awful topic, but the corpse’s make-up was great. (B)

Mutant – Eager losers shoot at flying mutants that break out of people’s faces. It was good until the the first bat was revealed, and then it got really bad. (C)

 

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XX (2017)

Score: 4/10*

Length: 80

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monster, murderer, toys, anthology, holiday

This anthology is all female directors and lead actors (but not writers), so the disappointment with the film hit harder than usual. One of the stories is even written by the musician, St. Vincent who is a gifted visionary.  The film has four stories that aren’t related to each other at all, and none of them are original, memorable, creative, or provide any indication that this movie is focused on women. The only thing I can picture myself remembering when thinking of this film later is the strange, doll-head stop motion in between the segments. Also, I get why the film is called “XX“, but considering there’s a band already with the same name, they really could have tried a little harder. This whole film feels like a real lack of effort on everyone’s part.

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The Box

In one line: Cannibals at Christmas.

Good: I liked the mystery around what was in the box and this was probably the best story out of the four. It had clear direction to it.

Bad: The script was pretty cheesy, and there were parts that didn’t exactly make a lot of sense to me.

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The Birthday Party

In one line: Dead dad ruins birthday party.

Good: The struggles of a mom trying to make everything okay for her child’s birthday is relatable. The costumes are also hilarious, and I appreciated the quirky vibe.

Bad: It’s really just an episode of a woman dragging around a man’s dead body and that can get pretty dull.

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Don’t Fall

In one line: Monsters in the desert.

Good: The monster was fairly well done. Good makeup as opposed to CGI.

Bad: It was a pretty overdone story idea with nothing special added to it.

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Her Only Living Son

In one line: Teenager turns into violent werewolf-monster of sorts.

Good: Again, the mom’s struggles were relatable.

Bad: There wasn’t really an ending, and the son making the mom crawl towards him on her knees was pretty cringe-worthy.

 

* I’m giving this an overall score, as none of the shorts were anything special, and none were better or worse than any other, which is pretty rare. All in all, the meh movie is getting a meh overall score.

Top Ten Canadian Horror Films

Happy Canada 150, my fellow proud Canadians and adoring non-Canadians! Here are my favorite scary Canuck movies to watch after the fireworks, or hungover the next morning, accompanied by Canada’s top snacks.

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10. The Brood  (1979)

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One of four Cronenburg and sons films on the list, it’s about a woman driven by her psychologist to do some pretty strange things, among them, lead a brood of lumpy lawn gnome look-alikes. The skin sack is a hard image to forget, so you may want to have a couple 2-4s and mickeys on hand.

Canadian Snack: Watch a woman lick her bloody baby while you nosh on some flavour-packed Lays ketchup chips and guzzle down a spicy Caesar with a green bean.

Review here

Trailer here

 

 

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9. Terror Train (1980)

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A satisfying New Year’s Eve slasher movie about med students at a costume party held on a train who are killed off by a masked murderer. What a kerfuffle with everyone stuck on that train. Better grab your toques and runners and get a move on.

Canadian Snack: In order to stay up past midnight you’re going to need some caffeine. But since we’re on a moving train, better reach for a Coffee Crisp instead.

Review here

Trailer here

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8. The Fly (1986)

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Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis are surrounded by a hefty helping of that goopy, slimy, eighties blood and gore. It’s pretty much every superhero story, without the superhero part, leaving just- man turns into fly, and it doesn’t go too well.

Canadian Snack: If there’s one thing that flies like, it’s sugar. So give them what they want in a sweet, buttery treat: the butter tart.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

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7. Black Christmas (1974)

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This is a film about a woman calling for her cat, Claude… I mean… it’s about sorority girls trapped in a house with a mystery killer. And also Christmas! So it’s snowing and no one is really around to help. Better than the 2006 version by a million kilometres, but not necessarily thrilling.

Canadian Snack: Our country doesn’t really have much to do with Christmas dinner, so instead, grab a Tims double double with a maple-glazed donut for breakfast.

Review here

Trailer here

 

 

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6. Dead Ringers (1988)

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Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie about twin gynecologists addicted to drugs, both played by Jeremy Irons? I generally dislike it when a movie is two or more hours long, but I didn’t mind it in this case. Felt like I was just watching a few episodes in a row of Twin Peaks. It’s labeled as a drama / horror / thriller, but it doesn’t have the typical tension of a horror or thriller; I found it heavy on the drama end.

Canadian Snack: Nothing goes better together than a Montreal-style bagel and Montreal smoked meat.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

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5. Antiviral (2012)

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A film about a business that offers diseases (carried by celebrities) to the public, in order to allow the fans to feel closer to the famous person they’re obsessed with. So strange, and so creative with such a fantastically interesting lead character played by Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out). Lots of drug hazes, needles galore, and so many blood-soaked white things that even Tide couldn’t clean.

Canadian Snack: Some good ole fashioned brand-name KD with a dollop of ketchup. The Canadian way.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

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4. Cube (1997)

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Out of the three Cube movies, the first has the best ending- with a twist. A group of people are trapped in a room-filled structure, where each room has a different violent booby-trap waiting for them.

Canadian Snack: We’re too hip to be square, but a homemade nanaimo bar is to die for, and angular enough to accompany this franchise.

Review here

Trailer here

3. American Mary (2012)

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A revenge flick about a med student turned underground body modifier is American only by title.

Canadian Snack: To go with the American theme, believe it or not, the popular sushi order, California roll, was invented by a Japanese sushi chef who moved to Vancouver in the seventies.

Review here

Trailer here

2. Ginger Snaps (2000) 

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Good things come in threes, but the original of the well-known Canadian trilogy is the best. Nothing beats some simplistic teen werewolf angst, eh?

Canadian Snack: Unfortunately, ginger snaps aren’t really Canadian, so instead how bout some Chinese food? Surprisingly, ginger beef was invented right here in Calgary, AB. I think a werewolf would prefer meat over cookies anyway.

Review here

Trailer here

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1. Silent Hill (2006)

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This dreamlike fantasy horror about a mother searching for her daughter in an eerie, ash-covered town gets the top spot. This fantastic goth film is an adaptation of a survival video game and couldn’t have been done better. Around every turn is a mysterious creature, its details creatively imagined. I’d pay a lot of loonies and twoonies to see this at the theatre in 3D.

Canadian Snack: The number one spot deserves nothing but the number one Canadian food. So versatile and comforting, you can’t do better than a proper poutine.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

 

BONUS! The legendary tv show, Are You Afraid of the Dark, is of course, also Canadian.

Looking for more? Try Pontypool, Hobo With a Shotgun, Pin, The Changeling, Videodrome, The Shrine, Prom Night. 

Film Face-off: New Year’s Evil (1980) vs Terror Train (1980)

There are a few New Year’s Eve- themed horrors out there, but none of them look astounding. Here are the best two in a face-off against each other! Both have creepy masks, both are from the eighties, and both available to watch for free on YouTube!

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New Year’s Evil (1980)

Score: 3.5/10

Length: 90

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, holiday, murderer

You know I love a good theme, so bring on 2016, the champagne, and this movie (which I shockingly have never seen before).  This one starts off strong with some intense eighties blush. It’s about a dance and music show host who gets a call while working New Year’s Eve from a stranger with a comically stupid voice. (Yes he’s talking into a voice-changing device, but it’s ridiculous nonetheless). He does’t have a vote for best song, but he does have New Year’s resolution to commit murder- and it’s going to be someone the host knows. What ends up happening, is that the stranger kills someone she knows each hour, with the intent on killing the host on New Year’s Day. There isn’t much of a story behind the killer (as in most slashers, unfortunately) and the ending, though realistic, is not memorable. The only thing I’m really left thinking about is all of the bad eighties rock music I just had to sit through.

 

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Terror Train (1980)

Score: 5/10

Length: 97

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, holiday, murderer

The title doesn’t elude to any holiday high jinks, but this film is about a bunch of aspiring doctors and their college friends who are trapped on a train with a killer during a New Year’s Eve costume party. I quite enjoyed the idea of being stuck in a small space with no where to go and the story was creative while still being feasible. The “awkward sexual encounter that turns you into a serial killer” thing is really old, but this was also made in the eighties while I was busy not existing for six years after this film was released. The Groucho mask was creepy, the acting is fairly well-done, and you can’t go wrong with Jaime Lee Curtis as the heroine (in yet another JLC slasher), and David Copperfield playing the magician. I appreciated that the killer changed into the costumes of the victims (kept things interesting) and there were a few twists throughout to throw you off. Overall, it’s not too bad! A lot more entertaining and original than I thought it was going to be. Definitely the winner of this battle!

 

photo credits: http://basementrejects.com, http://dorkshelf.com, http://crypticrock.com

Christmas Collection: A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Score: 4/10

Length: 99

Rating: Unrated (but I’d guess 18A)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, holiday, murderer, forest

My last holiday-themed movie of the year is another Krampus edition, but this Canadian film is comprised of four different stories, interlaced at the end. It very much feels like a Christmas version of Trick R’ Treat. The film begins with William Shatner, a lonely radio host, playing songs in the studio. The main story is about a group of teenagers investigating old crimes at a school. There are some terrific jump-scares, but it’s very teentastic (not in a fun way like Scream Queens) and the ending is just plain bad. The story about the changeling I liked best- it seemed very real, and was only ruined by the costumey look of the monster up-close. It’s about a family who loses their son in the woods and takes home the wrong version of him instead. The last two stories bring Krampus and scruffy Santa together, but are by far, the worst entries. Santa kills all of his elves-turned zombies, and the spirit of Krampus attacks a family. This wasn’t all that different a theme from that of the movie, Krampus also released this year. Although Krampus‘ version of the Christmas devil is more mystical and, I felt the snowy white monster looked more like what I would have hoped. Except maybe it was a little cheesy, and he didn’t even have claws. No one’s perfect. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist ending where the stories were intertwined- I wasn’t looking to guess it, and the idea made sense.

 

photo credit: http://hellhorror.com

Christmas Collection: Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Score: 3/10

Length: 79

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, murderer, holiday

If you like boobs, boy is this the movie for you. Aside from all the retro boob, it’s a fairly forgettable movie about a killer Santa. When he was a little boy, a man dressed as Santa killed his parents, and he ends up in an orphanage getting picked on by Mother Superior who doesn’t understand his Santaphobia. He grows up to be an attractive, seemingly level-headed young man, but then he loses it and ends up killing everyone who is being naughty (mostly people having sex). There’s nothing overly original in the film, but the idea is executed well, and it could almost be a Christmas version of It Follows. It’s just lacking creativity and something to really make it memorable. To be honest, I only watched it two days ago, and I already forget the ending. It’s watchable, but totally skippable.

photo credit: http://www.gruemonkey.com

Christmas Collection: Krampus (2015)

Score: 4.5/10*

Length: 98

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, devil, murderer, monster, Painful Movie Mondays, holiday

It’s really a shame when movies are a mess of ideas. It’s like a bunch of ideas were put into a hat and they just decided to go with all of them. See: my review of Insidious. This is a highly anticipated movie, and though I wasn’t disappointed, that doesn’t mean it was a good movie either. It’s about a little boy who wishes for a better Christmas, and instead gets Krampus and his crew of hooligans. The problem is, it felt like a scary folktale got mixed in with the campy and fun Demonic Toys. As soon as you see the first evil cookie the movie goes downhill from there. The pluses are that the acting is fantastic, the snowy, icy atmosphere created was body-temperature affecting, the ending wasn’t super happy, and it was very entertaining, I’ll give it that. On the other hand, there were tones of plot holes (the majority of the movie didn’t make much sense), weak characters, a random cartoon in the middle, and the greatness of all the details were lost in the sheer messy madness of the movie. And Krampus. He was barely in the film, and then it turns out he’s got this open-mouthed human face that reminded me of Jim Carey’s Scrooge cartoon character in The Christmas Carol. I was hoping for more of a demon goat face. If this film went the path of true horror, using only Krampus and the (actually creepy) elves, it could have had serious potential. Or even if they went the other way where it was funny and silly, and focussed around the creatures and possessed playthings. Either way, it wasn’t a winner, and I’m very curious to see how the lesser-know A Chrstimas Horror Story does.

*My friend gave it this score before knowing my opinion. My score was previously 4 as well, but I bumped it up after comparing it to the other Christmas horrors. I appreciate that they made it fun, like Gremlins.

photo credit: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com

Christmas Collection: Elves (1989)

Score: 3/10

Length: 89

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 80’s, monster, murderer, holiday, Painful Movie Mondays, horror comedy

At the beginning of this so-called gem, within seconds of it starting,  a group of teenage girls say, “Get real, Kirsten”, and “Get over it, Amy”, and I knew at this point that this movie was going to be a stunner. Every line in this campy classic is quotable and mindlessly hilarious. It’s a shame in a way, because in some scenes, the elf/dwarf actually looks believable. On the other hand, I love a good campy movie, and they could have added the elf into the story a lot more. The acting is regrettable, and the plot is thin, but I think you  should have already guessed this. There’s a lot of misses (especially gun shot misses), but some of the scenes are actually quite surprisingly decent. It’s annoying that the characters say the elves are “two feet tall” oh, about a hundred times, but they never make the elf look like it’s anything short of tall, aside from the stubby little hairy muscular legs. Furthermore, it’s called Elves, though you only really seem to see one elf. The movie is quite ruined by its whole Nazi government nonsense, and by the middle of the movie you’ve lost all hope for the cheesy creature spin-off of Gremlins you were hoping for.

*Spoiler* An amazing quote that’s too good to be true: “The man in the study is your grandfather. And your father!”

photo credit: https://moviocrity.files.wordpress.com

Christmas Collection: The Children

Score: 4.5/10

Year: 2008

Length: 84

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, murderer, recent, forest, Painful Movie Mondays

See, the thing about the evil children theme is that they’re half cheesy, bad actors and half horrific little demon spawn. I tend to enjoy kids less than the average human, so maybe it was just me cringing at their fake crying and struggling faces. The movie is about a family who goes on a winter vacation in a log cabin. Christmas and New Years are briefly touched on, but I wouldn’t say this is an all-around holiday themed movie. After the family laughs and runs around for awhile, the kids get sick and attack the adults. It’s strange to watch as the underlying question is illustrated nicely- could you kill your own children if they turned on you? It’s a very interesting idea, and it’s executed in an unenthusiastic way and I feel like it could have easily been more scary. If the ending was bled into more scenes, I think the desperate creep-factor would have been upped.  On the other hand, if the movie was made to be more humorous, I also would have enjoyed a Chucky-come-to life style film.

 

photo credit: image.toutlecine.com

 

 

 

Christmas Collection: Christmas Evil

Score: 3.5/10

Year: 1980

Length: 100

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 1980s, murderer, holiday, Stephen Kingy

Also known as You Better Watch Out and Terror in Toyland this holiday ho ho horror is about a guy who saw his mother’s leg get touched a lot by Santa on Christmas. He grows up to be a toy-making murderer who doesn’t like his seasonal joy rejected. In a Santa suit he goes on a killing rampage, slaughtering his… coworkers and such. The story isn’t overwhelmingly intriguing, and to be honest, the toymaker’s acting would have better-suited a pedophile. The movie drags quite a bit in the middle and is fluffed with constant grunting and mood swings of Christmas song humming. The ending washes away any hopes of decency as ***SPOILER*** villagers chase the serial killer around the town with torches. The one thing the movie can really depend on is the pure bliss of the Santa mustache-beard situation.

photo credit: anothernightinfilm.files.wordpress.com