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Lost in thought on the Martyrs remake

The first time I ever hard about the original French version of the film Martyrs (2008) was at San Diego Comic Con 2013. I was at a horror panel that featured directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, friends of Biff Bam Pop, who cited Martyrs as an intense viewing experience. Though I never did follow up on watching the film, it did stick with me, mainly because the Soskas are purveyors of a specific brand of horror, so if a film gets to them, there’s likely no way I’ll be able to sit through it. It’s part of what is labelled the New French Extremity movement – I’ll let you look that up yourself. What I can tell is, upon discussing Martyrs with Rue Morgue Magazine Editor-In-Chief Dave Alexander a few days ago, he recalled someone actually throwing up in the theatre at the Toronto International Film Festival screening of Martyrs. So, no thank you.

Then came word that an Americanized remake of Martyrs was on the way from directors The Goetz Brothers, and that piqued my interest. In checking out some reviews, it appeared that the violence had been significantly tapered off (along with some significant story changes as well). On that note, I decided I was ready and willing to take on the film…even if it was a diluted version of it.

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Biff Bam Podcast Episode 2 – Interviews with Black Christmas stars Lynne Griffin, Nick Mancuso and Doug McGrath

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To celebrate the brand new Blu-ray edition of the 1974 horror classic Black Christmas, we had the chance to sit down with stars Lynne Griffin, Nick Mancuso and Doug McGrath to talk about the film’s legacy, its place in Canadian horror and why it still matters today. You can listen to it below, or download it from iTunes or Podbean.

Black Christmas is available now from Anchor Bay Canada here.

Less Lee Moore On… Black Christmas

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Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite 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.

As far as Black Christmas fans go, I’ll admit I’m something of a noob. After watching clips of the film on a Halloween horror TV special, I was too scared to watch the whole thing! But once I did, it quickly became one of my favorite slasher films. Although it was made in the early 1970s, it still feels as creepy now as it did the first time I saw it. A big part of this is due to the believable acting from the women in the film, including Canadian icon Lynne Griffin as Clare Harrison. Although she has few lines of dialogue, her appearance in Black Christmas is significant for other reasons, as anyone who’s a fan of the film will understand.

In honor of Anchor Bay’s new “Season’s Grievings” edition of Black Christmas, we chatted with Ms. Griffin about her role in the film. Be sure to look for the upcoming Biff Bam Popcast about the film that includes a roundtable discussion with Lynne Griffin, Nick Mancuso (the voice of “Billy”), and Doug McGrath (Sergeant Nash).

Despite being in lynne-griffin-in-black-Christmasa few iconic horror films, you’ve said you don’t care for the gore and violence of many current horror films. Are there any more recent psychological horror type films that you do enjoy?
I like films that spoof horror, like the films of April Mullen. I was in a film of hers called 88 and her vision is terrific. I do think David Cronenberg is a genius. My favourite horror viewing at the moment is every season of American Horror Story and Penny Dreadful. Read the rest of this entry

Fan Expo 2015: Gaming, The Vibe, SiriusXM and Mads Mikkelsen, oh my!

The end of summer just wouldn’t be complete without the return of Fan Expo. It’s Canada’s answer to San Diego Comic-Con, including big name celebs, lots to see and do, and lines. Lots of lines.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Over the past two years, under new ownership, Fan Expo has done an excellent job at getting people in and out of the North and South Buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. There were years where convention goers were stuck outside for hours at a time waiting to get in. It was horrible, and certainly not fun for the fans. But those issues became more prominent as the festival continued to get bigger and outgrew utilizing only one building. With two, yes, there’s still throngs of people to navigate through, but the experience is far, far better than it was a few years ago.  Read the rest of this entry

Exclusive: Andy Burns talks to Lost After Dark’s Kendra Timmins

Today (September 1st, 2015) sees the release of the new horror film, Lost After Dark. Co-written by Bo Ransdell and Ian Kessner and directed by Kessner, the film is set in Spring 1984, when are group of high school friends decide to take off for the weekend to spend a few nights at Adrienne’s (Kendra Timmins) family’s cottage. However, things take a turn for the worse when the school bus the friends have stolen breaks down, leaving them stranded on a deserted road, near an abandoned house that’s sole occupant is Junior Joad, a long-thought cannibal killer. Mayhem and murder ensues.

I had the chance to check out a screening of Lost After Dark at the end of August with cast and crew in attendance, and I enjoyed the film quite a bit. It’s a love letter to ’80s horror films and knows exactly what it is. While it’s a little long at times, there are some genuine shocks and surprises throughout, and you can’t say that about every horror film out there.

Lost After Dark’s lead actress Kendra Timmins was kind enough to answer some questions via email about the film, the shoot and much more.

LOST-AFTER-DARK-BD-cover-797x1024Andy Burns: Kendra, I was at the screening at the SoHo and the audience seemed to have a great time – what’s it like watching Lost After Dark with a crowd?

Kendra Timmins: It might sound strange, but it’s actually such a relief to see Lost After Dark with an audience. We knew as actors that we had something really fun to work with in terms of a script and a genre, but because it’s set in the 80s and an homage to a genre that is beloved by so many horror fans, that can easily be lost on an audience. So hearing people laugh and scream and have fun in all the right places, is so gratifying as an actor.

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Exclusive: Andy Burns talks to Julian Richings about Ejecta

JRJulian Richings is one of Canada’s leading character actors. While you may not know his name, you most certainly recognize his face from many of the films and tv series’ he’s appeared in, including Supernatural, Hannibal, X-Men: The Last Stand, Man of Steel, and many, many more. Richings latest starring role is the science fiction thriller, Ejecta, in which he portrays blogger/writer Bill Cassidy, who has been dealing with extraterrestrials for much of his life. It’s a thoughtful, paranoid performance, and demonstrates why Richings is a favourite of genre fans.

Along with our previous interview with directors Matt Wiele and Chad Archibald, we were able to talk to Julian about Ejecta, his thoughts on the cosmos, the allure of horror and much more.

Andy Burns: Congrats on a yet another solid performance, Julian. What drew you to the role of Bill?

Julian Richings: First, the boys at Foresight Features approached me and I’d been very impressed with their hands-on pragmatic approach to filmmaking. They’re a tight, no-nonsense group who dig into successive projects wearing slightly different hats each time, but they share an unflinching work ethic and creative ingenuity no matter what roles they take on. This was actually Matt Wiele’s first time wearing a director’s hat, but I was impressed his collaborative style coupled with his clarity of execution. (Chad effortlessly and sensitively expanded the sense of a family dynamic ).

When I read the script I realized I’d been offered the role of a troubled and complex character written by none other than Tony Burgess, someone whose writing I’ve admired forever, and who I feel an affinity with because of our mutual co-conspirators over the years.

So these things came together in a project that had a hands-on no-nonsense leanness , but had enough confidence and improvisational flair to adjust and grow as it went along.

It was a blueprint to go-to-it and create. Read the rest of this entry

Exclusive: Andy Burns talks with Ejecta directors Matt Wiele and Chad Archibald

Ejecta is a science-fiction thriller that combines found footage and real film to create a unique viewing experience. Filmed on location in Collingwood, Ontario, Ejecta stars genre favourite Julian Richings as a reclusive writer/blogger Bill Cassidy, whose experience with extraterrestrials has him in the sights of a clandestine group who are eager to learn what he witnessed the night of a solar storm.

Biff Bam Pop was lucky enough to chat with co-directors Matt Wiele and Chad Archibald over email about Ejecta, the creation of the story, filming on location, and much more.

Andy Burns: Matt and Chad, congrats on a very trippy and cool movie. Can you talk to us about how Ejecta came to be?

Matt Wiele: Trippy is good! Glad you got a high from watching it. Ejecta, in it’s original form, came about through wanting to make a tense “found footage” or “POV” style film that centered around a small scale alien crash and the claustrophobic aftermath of what that might look like. The evolution of the film and the story happened after shooting the initial material and wanting to expand on it. Make it bigger and better while still keeping it set amongst a small number of characters with opposing interests in the alien presence and witnessed/recorded crash.

Chad Archibald: Initially I had worked on the film on a different capacity and I loved the concept and the entire experience. I had worked with Matt in the past but it was exciting seeing him in the directors chair oppose to producing. I think everyone was excited to be making an alien flick with a bit of a twist, along with the fact that Julian was in it. After the film was cut together, the team decided to take the found footage element and push the movie even further. I was asked to come on board to help direct the additional segments of the film and Ejecta in it’s current state is what we came up with!
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Biff Bam Pop Interview: Ron McKenzie talks to SPRING’s Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Horror Cinema has been experiencing a rennaisance as of late, with indies such as THE BABADOOK and IT FOLLOWS being prime examples of this “new blood” transfusion. Now, we can add SPRING to the list of genre trailblazers.

The sophomore effort by writer/director duo, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (and the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2012 debut, RESOLUTION ), SPRING details the whirlwind romance between Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Louise (Nadia Hilker). Evan is an American ex-pat, dealing with grief and a personal emotional tailspin. Louise is a genetics student dealing with … well, secrets of her own. Deep, dark monstrous secrets. With brilliant practical special FX by Masters FX, bolstered by the solid performances and red-hot chemistry between Pucci and Hilker as well as the sumptuous and eerie beauty of Italy, SPRING is a rare beast  in every sense of the word. Weaving horror, sci-fi and romance into a cohesive and fascinating whole that’s been described as “Before Sunrise, as re-imagined by Clive Barker.” A good-enough description for a film that defies comparisons. There’s been a lot of hype for SPRING. I’m happy to report that it’s completely warranted.

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I had the chance to sit down with Benson and Moorhead in advance of last Friday’s premiere screening, to talk about SPRING’s genesis, the search for their film’s young lovers, mythology and monsters. Read the rest of this entry

Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Three’s Company The Complete Series

Come and knock on our door,
We’ve been waiting for you,
Where the kisses are hers and hers and his,
Three’s Company too

In the list of great tv sitcoms, I rank Three’s Company incredibly high, even if it did first air nearly 40 years ago. For its theme song alone, it would have been a classic. But the series, about three roommates and their chronic misunderstandings, well, it’s truly the perfect sum of all its parts.

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31 Days Of Horror 2014 – The Battery (2013)

Confession time. The last few second of The Walking Dead have just not been doing anything for me. I find the show slow and plodding, at least the first part of the fourth seasons, which I’ve slowly been making my way through thanks to the fine folks at Anchor Bay. Here’s the thing – long before the onslaught of zombie films, I loved the genre (like so many horror fans, of course). So while I’m glad that the mainstream has caught up with the rest of us, the show is not delivering what I want, it just seems very same Ole, same old.

Unlike The Battery, a great new film, also distributed by Anchor Bay, written and directed by Jeremy Gardner and staring the director and Adam Cronheim (also a producer on the film).


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