Category Archives: movies

31 Days of Horror 2014 – Ravenous (1999)

ravenousDo you ever get those hanger pangs that are so deep, so full of want, that you could eat a whole steak (yes), a whole beef roast (yes!), a whole cow (YES!)?

No matter how hungry you get, there is one food source that is strictly taboo, firmly off-limits, and definitely not for civilized consumption. So it’s no wonder that gorging on human flesh is too harrowing and far too repulsive an act to ever consider – no matter how dire the (pardon the pun) stakes.

The idea literally turns our stomachs.

And that’s what makes the 1999 dark humour horror film, Ravenous, so much fun!

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John Wick vs Ouija – Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Predictions

It’s the weekend before Halloween, which means another horror flick is looking for the top of the box office bragging rights. Will it score, or will the return of Keanu Reeves hold it off? Here’s our predictions:

Ouija_2014_posterOuija is a film about, get this, a ouija board. Pretty self explanatory, which should certainly help bring in horror hunger audiences looking for scares. There are no stars in this one, so the film is going to have to rely upon the kindness/desperation of strangers to perform. On that note, look for a $24 million debut to top the box office this weekend.

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31 Days of Horror 2014: The Ring (2002)

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.

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Trailer Time – Avengers: Age of Ultron

AvengersAgeofUltronAfter leaking yesterday evening, the hi-rez, official trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron is here, and it is spectacular. Take a look below and let us know if you’re excited to see the stringless Ultron take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes this spring.

31 Days of Horror: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

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).

Promotional poster for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Promotional poster for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

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.

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31 Days of Horror 2014: See No Evil 2 (2014)

soskas-webBack 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.

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Free Spirit: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Any film from Studio Ghibli is a treat. The Japanese anime house has put out some great movies over the years, including Hayao Miyazake’s films Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001), and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). Now officially retired, Miyazake’s worked slowly but steadily, putting out a film every five years or so. His Studio Ghibli cofounder Isao Takahata is even less prolific. The director of the masterful WWII story Grave of the Fireflies (1988) has only made three films since, his last My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) released over fourteen years ago. His return at age 78 with The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2014) shows that Takahata hasn’t missed a beat. Beautiful and moving, he delivers another anime masterpiece.

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31 Days of Horror 2014 – Phantasm (1979)

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.

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