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    “WHY HORROR?” (Toronto After Dark Review)

    Full disclosure: this writer is actually in — albeit briefly —Toronto journo and ardent horror fan Tal Zimerman’s new globe-trotting doc WHY HORROR? which might muddy my critical perception. Or not. The film, which is having its Canadian premiere at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival tonight (reportedly a sold out show, but you can try your last minute luck by storming the Scotiabank Theatre gates), sports a who’s who of terror’s most celebrated talking heads, from John Carpenter to George A. Romero to Alexandre Aja to Steve Niles, all collected in an on-camera investigation into why people watch horror films. 

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    30 for 31: “MESSIAH OF EVIL”

    A lot of strange films came out of those old hippie days. Though film was once considered the medium of old white dudes, the 1960s opening of countless film schools made it accessible to the younger generation. Young filmmakers of the late ’60s and early ’70s were treading into a new field, and ss an artistic expression this new generation created films based on experimentation, surrealism, and sometimes hippie-cult panic. These sentiments were echoed in the horror realm in flicks like LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, and, my favorite of the lot, MESSIAH OF EVIL.

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    “WYRMWOOD” (Toronto After Dark Review)

    Despite a bleak, bleak, bleak opening sequence—the line “This morning I shot my wife and child with a nail gun” is spoken less than five minutes into the film and we are not spared the gory flashback details—in fairly short order the Australian zombie adventure WYRMWOOD takes a sharp left into deliciously wild, ridiculously hepped-up pastures, exuding a sinister buoyancy and spirit that resembles less a sui generis stand alone film than, say, the second or third entry in a franchise wherein filmmakers striving for freshness are willing (forced?) to indulge the more absurdist, outlandish elements of the horror palette—think BEYOND THUNDERDOME meets DREAM WARRIORS meets DEAD BY DAWN not MAD MAX meets NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET meets EVIL DEAD. 

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    Festival Report: One Night “AFTER DARK”

    As you may or may not be aware, every year the city of Toronto hosts an annual International film festival. It’s a gargantuan undertaking that envelops the city’s downtown each September; the streets teem like anthills with filmgoers, volunteers, scenesters, advertisers, paparazzi, autograph hunters, and the average citizenry standing and gawping at whatever celestial deities have descended from the firmament that week. 

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    Toys of Terror #27

    Welcome to TOYS OF TERROR, Fango’s weekly feature exhibiting the coolest horror accessories across the web. Whether you’re a collector, connoisseur or simply making your love of horror a family affair, these petrifying playthings are likely to impress even the most heartless horror fan. So if you’re searching for a ghoulish gift, look no further…

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    30 for 31: “POPCORN” (1991)

    I’m thrilled to see 1991’s POPCORN finding a new pulse with a whole new generation of viewers. The film just recently screened as part of Los Angeles’s Beyond Fest, and Synapse has a snazzy Blu-ray of the movie coming in early 2015, which is awesome considering this film previously never made it past the original VHS release. This loving tribute to gimmick films of the 1950s and 60s, predating Joe Dante’s MATINEE, is as gruesome as it is fun. 

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    Doug & Ralph Brekan Team For Surreal Horror Film, “LIGHTHOUSE LANE”

    Ralph Brekan is a prolific artist who has had an extensive career in the art world, exploring themes of popular culture and mass consumerism. Drawing heavily from the pop art movement and commercial artists of the ’60s and ’70s, Brekan’s designs blends those aesthetics with color theories applied by the abstract expressionists. His fine art has been exhibited in three continents, seven countries and eleven cities, making Brekan a recognizable figure throughout the international art scene. Brekan has managed to fuse his extensive background in fine art to working professionally in props and art departments for motion pictures and theatre. Now, through his company, Brekan Arts International, this work has culminated into producing and editing his debut feature, LIGHTHOUSE LANE. 

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