Category Archives: 31 Days Of Horror
Need something to watch this Halloween??? Look no further than 2014 Biff Bam Popcast Halloween edition, featuring Andy Burns, Glenn Walker, JP Fallavollita, Amanda Blue and Marie Gilbert. We’re talking 31 Days of Horror 2014, the horror movies we love and why, along with some discussion about the recently announced slate of Marvel movies.
This popcast is brought to you by our own Marie Gilbert’s first novel, Roof Oasis, which you can purchase over at Amazon.
I love being scared. I love watching a movie and catching myself holding my breath, covering my eyes, or squeezing my date’s hand so hard he’s lost circulation. These are the effects I’m after when I watch a horror film. I want to be terrified, disgusted, shocked. I want to be flat out traumatized when those credits roll, too petrified to even move. But the thing is, sometimes I want all of this and I want to laugh my ass off. Asking too much? Maybe. It’s a bad habit. Regardless, Dr. Giggles gives me what I want.
About a week or so I reviewed the latest film from the Twisted Twins, the sensational Jen and Sylvia Soska. These Vancouver natives have been on an artistic role within the horror genre with their two most recent film, the immediate classic American Mary and their latest effort, See No Evil 2, a throwback slasher film that employs the Soska’s visual sensibilities with their love of all things gruesome and violent. I’m a huge fan of their work, so it was a thrill once again to be able to talk to the twins via email about See No Evil 2, their ongoing relationship with actor Katharine Isabelle and much more (including some pro wrestling chatter too).
Andy Burns: Ok, ladies, this movie was seriously fun from the moment it started. Great jump scares, a killer…killer and super solid performances from everyone involved. So first off, you delivered! As for my first question, how did See No Evil 2 become your follow up to American Mary?
Sylvia Soska: Thank you so much! After the success of Mary, every meeting we took, despite what we were pitching for became a request for us to make a watered down version of what we just made – sexy surgeon Katie doing something or other. It became depressing. Our goal has always been to make something different with each film, even though we really do put our sensibilities pretty thickly into whatever we make. The slasher sub genre was one we really wanted to tackle and we are huge Glenn “Kane” Jacobs fans – this was a great opportunity to make a love letter to slashers.
Jen Soska: We are the fan directors. We love movies, horror, video games, comic books, and WWE (from way back when it was WWF). It was really exciting to be able to take one of our favorite WWE Superstars, Glenn “Kane” Jacobs and be able to recreate his Jacob Goodnight character. We actually started watching wrestling just as Kane was being introduced so being able to work with Glenn was so special to us. We started out as Kane fans and now we are the biggest Glenn Jacobs fans.
Some people also forget that not only did we make American Mary, but also Dead Hooker In A Trunk. We love exploring all the delicious sub genres of horror. One of the things we like to do more than anything is keep our audiences guessing. You see that in our films themselves and we try to do that with the films we select to take on. We never want to repeat ourselves.
OK, so maybe I am a little biased towards blood, violence, and anyone who was on Twin Peaks, but I was a huge fan of this film long before I was into those things. I must have rented this movie on VHS a hundred times as a kid (what were you thinking, Mom?) and watched it over and over. Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t remember anything. I mean, I still get lost in the city I’ve been living in my entire life. But for some reason, this movie made itself right at home in my longterm memory bank, and when I rewatched it a few weeks ago I could easily still recite every line, recall the innocence of Fool, the relentlessness of Roach, and all the ways that “Mommy and Daddy” (who are actually -ew- brother and sister) scared the absolute crap out of me. What was it that left such an impression?
I delight in the various short-lived but regular film-viewing arrangements I’ve had in my life. Whether with a partner, a colleague, a group of friends, or family, I have stumbled into brief periods of time when film watching is a regular, dependable, often weekly occurrence. With one such group, the activity was a Sunday film rental. After weeks of dramas and comedies, I was finally outnumbered on the popular, but terrifying The Ring. Although I had managed to avoid it during its theatrical run, I had heard how it made people jump and scream and the anticipation during the trip home from the video store was very nearly worse than the actual viewing. The trailer of the film that replayed in my head did nothing to quell my concerns. We can all picture the girl peeking out accusingly from behind her long black scraggly hair with the mere mention of the title.
Biff Bam Pop’s 31 Days of Horror continues to stalk its prey (that’s you, gentle victims readers) from the shadows of the interwebs! Today, I’m going to take a look at a truly classic horror film from the early days of the art form itself: Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).
The end of the First World War saw an explosion of artistic innovation in Germany. Harrowed by the war and defeat, artists began to revolt against not only the traditional strictures of German society, but against representational traditions as well. Expressionism was a movement and a style designed to oppose Impressionism’s ideal of portraying things as they appear to the eye with revelations of inner realities. Not things as they seem then, but things as they are (or at least as the artist views them). It was a perfect form for challenging the rigid traditions of German culture, and of criticizing the governments of both the Kaiser and the nascent Weimar Republic. There was something of shock art about Expressionism, showing people the world in an unaccustomed and often uncomfortable manner.
Back in the 1980’s, Stephen King famously said that he had seen the new face of horror and that it belonged to Clvie Barker. Now, while I know I’m not anywhere the Master’s league, whenever I think about the work of Jen and Sylvia Soska, I feel as though they’re the new “new” face of horror. If that’s the case, the genre is in good hands.
Like many, I first discovered the Soska Sisters with their groundbreaking, body modification horror film, American Mary. A low budget movie that doesn’t look it, American Mary features a stellar performance by the luminous Katharine Isabelle as a med student who enters the lucrative world of body modification surgery. The film is often gruesome, but it doesn’t rely on the gore; this is a character driven horror flick at its finest (it’s on Netflix and TMN in Canada and is absolutely worth your time; even my mom thought it was “interesting”, which, believe me, is high praise).
This week, the Soska Sisters return with their latest directorial effort, See No Evil 2, a sequel to a film I never saw in the first place. The original stars WWE superstar Glenn “Kane” Jacobs as serial killer Jacob Goodnight, who was apparently killed at the end of the first film, but you know how these things go. Instead, Goodnight returns to terrorize a bunch of students at a morgue where birthday girl Amy (Danielle Harris) has to work late.
Oh Phantasm, Don Coscarelli’s cult classic masterpiece. What is it about this movie and this franchise? Why can’t I quit you?
These are not good movies. Come on, you know it too. Phantasm makes no sense, the plot strays, no loose ends are tied, the dialogue, special effects, and sound effects are way out of the normal acceptable cheese range. But it works. I think that’s what it is, the magic of Phantasm. It doesn’t need you to understand. It doesn’t care if you get it or not. The first instalment is 88 minutes of unapologetic spooky, sexy entertainment and that’s that. Phantasm keeps it simple while still managing to be anything but ordinary. It lets you simply sit back, turn your brain off, and immerse yourself in the nightmare of the Tall Man, killer dwarves from another dimension, and as the main character learns is the scariest thing of all: fear itself.
In March of 1990, I had just recently turned 13 years old. I was on a family trip to Houston to visit some friends of my father, but for me, the most important thing to accomplish this trip, aside from studying for my imminent Bar Mitzvah, was finding a movie theatre that was showing Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. The film had been rated R in Canada, which meant nobody under 18 was allowed to see it (screw you, Big Brother!). On one of our final nights, Dad (ill at the time), his friend and me schlepped to some out of the way movie theatre, where the film was still playing. Walt, my Dad’s friend, hates horror movies, so he opted to see Look Who’s Talking, while we went and sat through Clive’s monster movie equivalent of Star Wars. Having read both the original novel, Cabal, and the Epic Comics adaptation, I was psyched to see the creatures of Midian come to life. And when they did, I thoroughly enjoyed. Admittedly, I was also thrilled to be seeing a film some watchdogs seemed to think I wasn’t ready for (up yours, Big Brother!). However, my enjoyment was slightly curtailed as the film’s conclusion, when I asked Dad if he liked it.
“No,” he scoffed. “It wasn’t even scary.”
Not scary! Not scary! What do you mean, not scary. It was…it was….
Look, Dad had a point, ok. Even if I loved it.