Category Archives: General

Blue on Black: CineCoup & My Very Biased Opinion

Ok, here’s the thing. I watched Wolf Cop the other day with the intention of telling all y’all all about it, but I got distracted. It happens. A name check turned into a director check, which turned into a producer check, which turned into a “What the hell is CineCoup?!” check. Turns out CineCoup is all kinds of awesome that I’ve somehow been missing out on, and maybe you have been too. I’ll still have to share my Wolf Cop thoughts at some point, but right now I am too damn excited about too many things, and those things are getting the spotlight this week.

“What the hell is CineCoup?!”

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The Void: A call to arms…and maybe a leg

The following is an open letter to horror fans everywhere:

Hi there. How ya doin’? Surviving? Got your taxes done? Good.

Boy, sure are an awful lot of projects asking for your support via crowdfuding, aren’t there?

Kickstarter. Indiegogo. Crowdfunder. It can be a challenge finding the ones to donate your money to.
Well, I’m about to point you in the direction of one that is more than worthy of your attention.

Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, two-fifths of the Astron-6 collective, are collaborating on the upcoming horror flick, THE VOID. It’s not a sequel, remake or reboot, but an original horror flick. And they’re reaching out for help in funding the extensive practical FX budget.

You heard me. Practical.
Rubber. Latex. Slime.
Just like Dad used to make (and if that’s true, congrats on having a way-cool dad).

We’ve heard it (and probably said it ourselves) in our little circle.
” I wish they still made monster movies with practical FX. I’m so sick of CGI. Etc, etc.”

To save time (and valuable wordspace) , I’m just going to leave this here for your perusal.

I know, right? Kinda takes the wrinkle outta your shorts, donnit?

You want a return to the glory days of THE THING, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE FLY?
You want more “body” in your “body horror”?
Well, here it is. And you can help make it happen.

As I type this, THE VOID has 10 days left in the campaign. And they’re close. So close, you can practically smell the latex from here. Take a look at a handful of the perks available for the taking.

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Can’t afford the bigger donations? Got a penchant for doodles and prose?

May I present The Book Of The Void.

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THE BOOK OF THE VOID is a project to more tangibly involve all of our patrons with the world of the film. Pledge at any perk level (including a new bare-bones $10 entry-level donation) and you’ll receive a blank template upon which you’ll be encouraged to fill up with creepy sketches and disturbing prose. Send the page back to us and we’ll include the page in an on-screen film-prop diary belonging to a member of the mysterious cult that figures in THE VOID”.

You’re probably asking yourself right now, ” Ron, why the hard-sell?”

Because I am a firm believer in the art of cheerleading. I believe (when it comes to art) that it’s more important to support the things you like than to rant about the things you hate. I also believe it’s even more important to support the things you want.

Original horror. Practical FX.
You KNOW you want this. I know I do.

Scrounge up your pocket change, forego that “half-latte, non-caff frappucino” for a couple of days (but don’t skip out on the bills – that’s not doing anybody any good).

Have I stoked the flames of philanthropy yet? If so, head on over HERE and give what you can.

Thanks for your time and consideration, Horror Nation. Together, we can make a better (and slimier) world for future generations.

Sincerely,
Ron McKenzie
Writer and monster junkie

Will you Get Hard or go Home this weekend?

A powerhouse couple and a new animated flick are taking over theaters this weekend and looking for your money. Will either of them hit the top spot at the box office? Here are our predictions:

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Get Hard is a comedy starring the reigning king of movie laughs, Kevin Hart and the one and only Will Ferrell. In theory, that should be enough to have this movie top all others this weekend, and it likely will do reasonably well, even as it battles middling reviews. Hart’s recent release, The Wedding Ringer, didn’t light up theaters, so it will certainly be interesting to see how Get Hard performs. Look for a first place debut with $33 million.

That is, if it can hold off the new animated feature, Home, starring the voices of Jim Parsons and Rhianna. Now, truth be told, I hadn’t heard too much about this new Dreamworks film until a few nights ago when my daughter and I came across the trailer, which she found absolutely hillarious (and I admit, I thought it was pretty funny as well). Families with younger children haven’t had anything to look forward to for a little while now, so Home could be the answer to parents’ prayers. Look for a second place showing right behing Get Hard with $31 million, with a good chance it could wind up in first place.

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Livin’ In The 80s: TREMORS

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First of all: yes, I’ve been a slackass.

I promised a weekly appreciation of 80s genre cinema, and it’s been…. well, let’s just say longer than a week. Maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe not. Either way, I won’t judge. So let’s get this train back on the tracks, shall we?

When I last posted, I promised a look at a film whose influence is still being felt today. I have since changed my mind. I can do that – it’s my column. Instead, I’ve decided to talk about a film that’s one of my “old reliables”, coincidentally celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. We all have them, the ones we revisit when there’s nothing else on TV and nothing in the library is jumping out at you. We could call it “cinematic junk food”, but I prefer “comfort flicks “. And for me, that film is Ron Underwood’s love letter to 50’s creature features, 1990’s TREMORS.
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Little divergence year to year for Insurgent

Hi gang – the box office wrap is going to be brief. Main reason is, I’m just wiped out. Here at Biff Bam Pop central, it’s been a busy few days. Our own Amanda Blue is in town with her fella, and we’ve been keeping busy eating, visiting and hittin the Toronto ComicCon, along with a wonderful BBP Pub Night with our other Toronto writers on Saturday night. So, I’m pooped, and not feleing too analytical.

Insurgent_posterI will say that our predictions about Insurgent was pretty much on the money, as the film opened in number one with $54 million, just $600,000 less than Divergent did last year. That’s not horrible, but as mentioned on Friday, you want to see franchises increase their opening weekend takes, and that just wasn’t accomplished here.

As for the rest of the top five, Cinderella fell to second place with $34.9 million. Run All Night was in third place with $5.1 million. The Gunman debut in fourth place with a lacklustre $5 million, while Kingsman: The Secret Service closed things out in fifth with $4.6 million.

So, to recap, here were our predictions:

1) Insurgent – $54 million
2) Cinderella – $35 million
3) Run All Night – $9.5 million
4) The Gunman – $9 million
5) Do You Believe? – $7 million

And here’s how the weekend turned out:

1) Insurgent – $54 million
2) Cinderella – $34.9 million
3) Run All Night – $5.1 million
4) The Gunman – $5 million
5) Kingsman – $4.6 million

Next weekend sees the release of Get Strong, Me sure to check on Friday to see our predictions.

Blue on Black: The Lazarus Effect (2015)

I did it again – I broke my “No new horror movies!” rule. I thought a Frankenstein-esque mad scientist film about bringing the dead back to life in a secret lab, a film that has Ray Wise (aka Leland Palmer) and Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) in the credits, could do no wrong. For about 40 out of its 83 minutes I was right. It was fantastic. But then my fear set in. Not the good kind of fear that you want from a horror film, but the fear of a bad ending. I leaned over to my boyfriend halfway through and whispered, “This is awesome! The ending’s going to suck, isn’t it? Because it’s 2015?” And he whispered back, “Definitely. Sorry.”

I hate when he’s right.

Frank and Zoe (Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde) are medical researchers who have spent years developing a serum intended to assist in the recovery of coma patients, but the progression of their experiments has led them to a startling discovery: their serum not only revives comatose subjects – it also revives dead subjects. Well, only one so far.

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When a lab experiment goes tragically awry, one of the team members suddenly and unexpectedly ends up the latest test subject of the group’s miracle serum. It’s an emotional and tense scene, the suspense amplified by the fact that the group only had a few minutes to complete their originally intended experiment before disaster struck. Now they have to try it (and hope it works) on a human being, with their time in the lab still running out.

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Typically in horror film, when something (or someone) returns from the the land of the dead to the land of the living, they never come back quite the same as they were before. As expected this is exactly the case in The Lazarus Effect, only the changes are subtle and unable to pinpoint immediately, but this subtlety adds to the overall suspense. If someone comes back as a zombie, you know right away it isn’t them. But when someone comes back essentially the same, with changes small enough to almost be able to shrug off, it can be too late when the realization hits that they are no longer the same person you lost.

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Sadly, also in typical horror film fashion of late, the final act felt rushed and the plot and characters seemed to stray in too many directions to come full circle at the end. I wasn’t completely satisfied plot-wise, but the experience of watching it, especially in a theatre, was fun. With a cast that can actually act, a story that didn’t revolve around teenage sex in the woods and jump scares that actually scared, I found it refreshing. That being said, I suggest that instead of spending your cash on a movie ticket for this one, rent the digital copy and watch it at home and spend the extra on a Childish Gambino album.

Blue on Black: Ghost World (2001)

I had insomnia as a teenager. Not as bad as some, but bad enough. During most of high school I slept a couple times a week at best and for a couple hours at most. Besides the fact that I didn’t know what I was saying or doing most of the time (I like to think it made me more entertaining than awkward), it wasn’t an entirely bad thing. With 8-10 extra hours per night to yourself, undisturbed while the rest of the world is sleeping, it’s amazing what you are free to enjoy and accomplish. I read so many books. I taught myself to play the guitar. I wrote music and poetry and stories. I drew. I owned the night. But during all of these activities, I always had a movie on in the background to keep me company because sometimes that quiet was just a little too quiet. But I had a habit of watching the same movies over and over again for weeks (sometimes months) during those years. When I finally was able to sleep regularly, for a long time I still put a movie on before bed, one of my ‘old friends’ that I’d spent so many sleepless nights with. The one that was chosen most, the one that always knew how to make me feel a little less alone and a little less lonely, was Ghost World.

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Blue on Black: Zombeavers (2014)

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for the campy horror flick, and I’ll be the first to admit that I like “bad” movies. The cheesier the better. The worse it is, the better it is. My boyfriend surprised me with this gem knowing by the title alone that it would be right up my alley, and he was right. The thing is, and I can’t believe I’m saying this… It was actually pretty good.

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Amanda Blue On… Preacher

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favourite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

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I was never into comics, or “graphic novels” as I now know them, but I’ve always been a bookworm. When I was a kid, I would hide under my covers with a flashlight to sneak in at least one more chapter after lights out. I read while I walked to and from school. I read on car rides. I read every chance I could, and still do, but I was always into novels, never comics. I didn’t have the patience for them. I wanted to absorb as many words as possible and create the story in my head in my own way, I didn’t want to take time looking at pictures and seeing everything the way someone else already had. At least I think that’s why I never got into them. It could be that they were never offered to me or presented as a worthwhile investment of my time. My parents didn’t read them, my friends didn’t read them, and I grew up an only child so I didn’t even have any siblings to steal them from. But when I was 20, a self-proclaimed comic nerd (my then-husband) assured me there were some really incredible stories told in that format and if I ever wanted to give them a shot, I should start with Preacher. I think it was partly my wanting to take part in something he enjoyed as much as it was my willingness to give almost anything in this world a fair chance, so one day, for whatever reason, I picked up the first trade of Preacher (“Gone to Texas”) and decided to give it a go. Did I like it? Well, I now have a half-sleeve tattoo based on this series and a cat whose registered name is Tulip O’Hare. What the hell, right? I’m still not sure how I went into Preacher with zero expectations and yet the series somehow managed to go beyond every single one of them.

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Will Smith loses Focus, audiences still dig Kingsman

It was a seriously lacklustre weekend at the box office, as none of the new releases managed to bring home any significant dollars. Here’s what went down:

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As predicted, Will Smith and Margot Robie’s Focus managed to debut in the top spot this weekend, but it was with a fairly unimpressive number, grossing just $19 million. This is certainly not what Will is looking for; me thinks he best serves his audience in larger, tentpole style films such as Men In Black. Maybe he’s going to be rethinking returning to Independance Day as well. Unless Focus manages to find some unexpected legs, this one should come and go from theaters vert quickly.
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