Friday, 2 December 2016

PART FOUR: NETFLIX IS POO, SHUDDER IS GOLD - Shudder.com is the IDEAL Christmas Present. Here are reviews by Greg Klymkiw of perfect Christmas fare, including the cannibalism of Jim Mickle's remake of WE ARE WHAT WE ARE and the completely Bunyip Finnish Ode to Naked Psycho Santas in RARE EXPORTS.

SHUDDER:
THE ULTIMATE
CHRISTMAS GIFT
FOR SOMEONE YOU LOVE

Psycho Santas and Cannibals for XMAS on Shudder.com
I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched October 20, 2016 (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever. Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable. Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus. Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!

Why is Santa Claus in a cage?
Who are those men with guns?
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) ***1/2
dir. Jalmari Helander
Starring: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila

Review By Greg Klymkiw

While it is an indisputable fact that Jesus is the reason for the season, the eventual commercialization of Christmas inevitably yielded the fantasy figure of Santa Claus, the jolly, porcine dispenser of toys to children. Living with his equally corpulent wife, Mrs. Claus, a passel of dwarves and a herd of reindeer at the North Pole, Santa purportedly toils away in his workshop for the one day of the year when he can distribute the fruits of his labour into the greedy palms of children the world over. Is it any wonder we forget that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Our Lord Baby Jesus H. Christ?

Naked Santas must always be scrubbed and tubbed.
I wonder, however, what Baby Jesus might have made of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a creepy, terrifying, darkly hilarious and dazzlingly directed bauble of Yuletide perversity that takes us on a myth-infused journey to the northern border between Finland and Lapland where a crazed archeologist and an evil corporation have discovered and unearthed the resting place of the REAL Santa Claus. When Santa is finally freed from his purgatorial tomb, he runs amuck and indulges himself in a crazed killing spree - devouring all the local livestock before feeding upon both adults and children who do not subscribe to the basic tenet of Santa's philosophy: "You better be Good!" Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Can you pass me the napkins, please?
We Are What We Are (2013) ***
Dir. Jim Mickle
Starring: Bill Sage, Michael Parks, Julia Garner,
Ambyr Childers, Kassie DePaiva, Jack Gore, Kelly McGillis

Review By Greg Klymkiw

I'm not prone to knee-jerk negative reactions towards movie remakes, but sometimes, the originals are so damn good that the mere notion of a redo is enough to induce apoplexy (of the "nervosa" kind). Jim Mickle's well directed 2013 American version of the identically-titled 2010 Jorge Michel Grau shocker from Mexico is just such a film. That said, this creepy, slow-burning tale of cannibalism and madness is a taste-treat nonetheless. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.
SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Female Filmmakers Continue to Take Centre Stage in Canada: THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Whistler Film Festival 2016


The Sun at Midnight (2016)
Scr/Prd/Dir. Kirsten Carthew
Pre. Amos Scott
Eprd. Anne–Marie Gélinas

Starring: Devery Jacobs, Duane Howard

Review By Greg Klymkiw

When Lia (Devery Jacobs) is forced to live with her grandmother in the subarctic town of Fort McPherson, she's ill-prepared for the sun which never seems to set. It's a world she doesn't know and as such, she's as caught between two worlds, not unlike the glistening orb that seems to hang, so strangely to her eyes, so ever-present in the sky. She'd prefer to stay in the city with her Dad, but alas he must go off to work the mines and she needs to be with the only family she has.

There's a price to be paid for returning to roots she never felt in the first place. She carries herself with the air of a stranger and is bullied for her big-city ways. Without giving the town a chance, she makes the unwise choice to flee.

The Sun at Midnight is a sensitive, poignant, beautifully acted portrait of a young woman trying to find herself. She feels like a stranger in a strange land and yet, as the film progresses, we see her blossom into her own person in a world she comes to know as her own.

It's a survival story, after all.


Lia jumps into a boat and attempts to find civilization. What she finds is a whole lotta trouble in the middle of nowhere. The elements and nature are formidable forces. So too are the less-than-friendly country-cousin hunters with an eye only on her youth and beauty.

Happily, she makes the acquaintance of Alfred (Duane Jones), a wise, old caribou hunter who takes her under his wing. They develop a deep friendship and through the course of their journey, that sun that hangs so ever-presently, becomes as natural to her as the world she rejected.

Of course, no survival tale would be complete without an ultimate challenge and when it comes, it's a lollapalooza!!! As is the film, of course.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***1/2

The Sun at Midnight plays at the Whistler Film Festival 2016

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Spotlight on first-rate independent Canuck Cinema by female directors at the visionary Whistler Film Festival 2016 - THE DEATH (AND LIFE) OF CARL NAARDLINGER by Katherine Schlemmer - Review By Greg Klymkiw


The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger (2016)
Scr/Dir. Katherine Schlemmer
Prod/Ed. Carl Laudan

Starring: Matt Baram, Grace Lynn Kung, Mark Forward
Anand Rajaram, Beatriz Yuste, Ryan F. Hughes

Review By Greg Klymkiw

For a schlub who spends eight hours a day taking telephone complaints under the glare of fluorescent lights in a nondescript office-cum-hovel, the geeky, gawky Carl Naardlinger (Matt Baram) lives a very charmed life. With Pam (Grace Lynn Kung), a babe-o-licious, uber-real-estate-seller of a wife who loves him madly, this is a guy who seems to have it all. And so, he thinks he does, until his birthday celebrations are interrupted by a doorbell ring of fate. A detective (Anand Rajaram) has appeared at the front porch of the lovely suburban bliss of Chez Naardlinger to investigate a missing person's case. And just who's missing?

Carl Naardlinger, of course.

The only problem is that Carl is not missing. An even bigger problem, is that there appears to be someone bearing his unique appellate who is missing. Carl, should leave well enough alone, but he slowly becomes obsessed with investigating the disappearance of the other Carl Naardlinger (Mark Forward), a pudgy, schlubby baker who roomed with an almost insanely schlubby married couple (Beatriz Yuste, Ryan F. Hughes).

Oh, and to add to the morass, it appears as if the baker Naardlinger has a doppelgänger.

Katherine Schlemmer's sprightly directorial debut yields a queerly delightful comedy of coincidence which leads its characters and the audience on an odyssey into the very heart of what it means to be human in a seemingly apportioned world that, below its surface, roils with crises of identity. Much of the film is delivered by its superb cast in perfect deadpan, so much so, that at one point, when the film explodes into a volcano of mad, manic overlapping dialogue, the effect is as jolting as it is hilarious.


One of the fascinating elements of the film is that much of its running time is set within a ravine cutting its way through the cold, cement of the city and we get a real sense of two physical solitudes which mirror those of the emotional variety. This is both clever and oddly moving.

Given the importance of coincidence within the framework of the narrative, there is a point during the final third of the film where one wants the picture to soar into a kind of reverie that goes well beyond the simple coincidence of the story. It almost gets there when we follow one of the Naardlinger doppelgängers though a kind of natural fantasia amidst the greenery of the ravine. Reality, however, rears its head. This is hardly a flaw, though, as it forces us to soar on a completely new plane.

It defies expectations and if anything, this is what makes this delicious ugly duckling of a movie both loveable and irresistibly piquant.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***1/2

The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger plays at the 2016 edition of the Whistler Film Festival.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

PART THREE - NETFLIX IS POO, SHUDDER IS GOLD: More Reviews By Greg Klymkiw of OPEN WINDOWS, THE BATTERY, THE EDITOR, THE LAST DAYS ON MARS, THE LAST EXORCISM and THE MACHINE


More SHUDDER Mayhem Reviewed Below:
OPEN WINDOWS, THE BATTERY, THE EDITOR,
THE LAST EXORCISM, THE LAST DAYS ON MARS
and THE MACHINE
I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched October 20, 2016 (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever. Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable. Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus. Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!

Who can resist a babe in an open window?
Open Windows (2014) ***
Dir. Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Open Windows is the clever title of the equally clever and often nail-bitingly suspenseful thriller by the young Oscar-nominated Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial). It's his first English language film and a definite corker. Dazzlingly directed and acted with aplomb by all concerned, this drawer-filling cyber thriller achieves the near impossible by placing much of the onscreen action within a myriad of "open windows" on a computer screen. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Time to kill some zombies, mais non?
The Battery (2013) **1/2
Dir. Jeremy Gardner
Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O'Brien

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Before the New England zombie apocalypse, Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim) were pro baseball players, but these days they're moving surreptitiously through the woods and backroads, their only contact with anything resembling a human being is the occasional zombie which, of course, will need to be dispatched. Predictably, the guys are polar opposites. Ben's no-nonsense "gotta-keep-moving-like-a-shark" attitude is what keeps them alive and his insistence that they always make time for games of pitch-and-catch is what keeps them human. For Ben, baseball, or at least the vestiges of the once great unifying force of America is the only thing as important as staying alive. The sheer relaxing physicality of it offers a kind of Zen to their seemingly pointless lives. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Serial killers worship
the John Paizs cult classic CRIME WAVE.
The Editor (2014) *****
Dir. Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy (Astron-6)

Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Paz de le Huerta, Udo Kier, Laurence R. Harvey, Tristan Risk, Samantha Hill, Conor Sweeney, Brent Neale, Kevin Anderson, Mackenzie Murdock, John Paizs

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Okay, ladies and gents, strap-on your biggest vibrating butt-plugs and get ready to plop your ass cheeks upon your theatre seat and glue your eyeballs upon The Editor, the newest and most triumphant Astron-6 production to date and easily the greatest thrill ride since Italy spewed out the likes of Tenebre, Inferno, Opera, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Beyond, Strip Nude For Your Killer, Don't Torture a Duckling, Hitch-Hike, Shock, Blood and Black Lace, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Kill Baby Kill and, of course, Hatchet for the Honeymoon. You'll relive, beyond your wildest dreams, those films which scorched silver screens the world over during those lazy, hazy, summer days of Giallo. But, be prepared! The Editor is no mere copycat, homage and/or parody - well, it is all three, but more! Directors Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy have created a modern work that holds its own with the greatest gialli of all time. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Decent demon possession mock-doc 4 U.
The Last Exorcism (2010) ***
dir. Daniel Stamm
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr, Louis Herthum, Caleb Landry Jones and Tony Bentley

Review By Greg Klymkiw

I suppose we have to thank The Blair Witch Project for all the mock-doc shaky-cam thrillers of the past 15-or-so years. I don't even like it much. The movie had a vague visceral effectiveness upon a first viewing, but the real test for all these pictures is how pictures hold up on repeated viewings. The original Blair Witch Project doesn't hold up to that kind of scrutiny at all. And now we have, from producer Eli (The Bear Jew) Roth, a very effective horror picture directed by Daniel Stamm which, presents its nerve jangling tale of demonic possession with a reasonable degree of intelligence and style. It's also held up nicely to repeated viewings. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

THE LAST DAYS ON MARS gives new meaning to
the appellate, "the red planet" - blood red.
The Last Days On Mars (2013) ***
Dir: Ruairi Robinson
Starring Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams, Romola Garai

Review By Greg Klymkiw

An international crew exploring Mars for signs of life have sadly come up short. In their last days, however, a natural disaster on the planet loosens up a living entity that begins to wreak unexpected havoc. Well, we do expect havoc, but the manner in which it grips the crew is deliciously, scarily unexpected. Life, of course, does not have to mean tangible upright forms - it can also be bacteria, disease and/or mutation. Whilst some might find elements of the tale derivative of Alien and/or The Thing (among others), the writing is generally infused with intelligence and strong attention to character. Besides, familiarity does not always breed contempt. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

She's Hot. She's Deadly.
She's Artificial Intelligence.
She has a Moral Centre.
Watch the fuck out.
The Machine (2013) Dir. Caradog W. James ***1/2
Starring: Caity Lotz, Toby Stephens, Sam Hazeldine

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Two scientists. One's a babe (Caity Lotz). The other's a handsome single Dad (Toby Stephens). Once they're teamed up to develop artificial intelligence, they become a formidable force. They're working for a scumbag (Sam Hazeldine) who wants to use their research and development to create ultra-weapons to go to war with China. The Babe is getting too peace-nikky for the scum-wad's liking and is assassinated. Handsome Single Dad transforms her into a walking, talking, killing machine.

Hell will break loose. And it indeed, does.

And indeed, with The Machine, we get another intelligent, thrilling, well-written science fiction film on a shoestring from dear old Blighty that puts studio-generated product to shame and even provides a sort of unofficial prequel to Blade Runner, but without that film's pretension. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.
SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

THE SUBLET - Review By Greg Klymkiw - BLOOD IN THE SNOW (BITS) FILM FESTIVAL 2016


The Sublet (2015)
Dir. John Ainslie
Scr. Alyson Richards, John Ainslie

Starring: Tianna Nori, Mark Matechuk, Krista Madison,
Rachel Sellan, Liv Collins, Mary-Elizabeth Willcott

Review By Greg Klymkiw

There are many creepy things about The Sublet. One of the creepiest is the sublet itself and everything it represents. When a young couple (Tianna Nori, Mark Matechuk) and newborn baby move into a mysterious walk-up flat, they should in all likelihood, have figured out that something wasn't quite right.

Sometimes in life and almost always in the movies, such ciphering proves elusive.

Besides, the price and location are right and the place itself is so spacious and comfortable that eccentricities like communicating with a landlord by note might be weird, but what's a bit of eccentricity when everything else seems so perfect?

But that's not all. The place is graced with furniture and tchockes from the previous longtime tenant. Most of it seems just fine, but some of it clearly belongs to someone (or, God forbid, something) that's completely and utterly bunyip.

Queerly, it turns out the flat's address is not even registered as an address with any of the local cable, phone and internet companies. Yeah, that is weird, but it could also be seen as a blessing in disguise.


One of the ickier elements in the flat is the one locked door and no key to go with it. Our couple assume the room is storing private property. Curiosity will, however, eventually rear its ugly head. And curiosity, as we all know, is what killed the cat.

All of this aside, what might really worry me, is the disturbingly ghoulish homeless woman who always stands outside, looking up and drilling holes of both fury and despair into the flat's windows. One might always be wondering, fearing if the lady's acquaintance will be made. If so, will it be benign? Or something unimaginably horrifying?

The aforementioned comprise some of the more familiar, though delightfully oddball genre elements of the screenplay by Alison Richards and director Ainslie, but where they really come into play is in the areas the picture excels in. This is, in many ways a story of deep loneliness and how it manifests itself into sheer, unrelenting horror.

Our stay-at-home Mom grapples with her feelings of postpartum worthlessness and body image as her self-absorbed, pretentious actor husband provides plenty of reasons for wifey to be jealous, suspicious and downright angry. In retaliation she grasps out for any reality beyond the mundane, even if said reality is either a manifestation of mental illness or something altogether paranormal, or perhaps even both.


As a director, Ainslie is clearly playing in the Roman Polanski sandbox of horrific delights, bringing an atmospheric, measured pace, thick with dread and dappled with unexpected bursts of thick liquid crimson during moments of sickening violence which may or may not be real.

His mise-en-scene brings to mind Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant with dollops of Don't Look Now for good measure. None of this, however, is derivative, nor is it displayed in geek fanboy homage. It's designed to deliver jolts that are rooted specifically in the dramatic elements of the screenplay and if anything, to provide a springboard for what Ainslie learned from the Masters to offer-up chills and thrills that are all his own.


There are a few trifling problems with the film. One of the supporting performances is so godawful that you can't believe the performer wasn't fired after uttering one clunky line reading after another. Luckily there is a little pot of gold at the end of this otherwise wretched rainbow that no matter how mind-numbingly incompetent the performance is, you're distracted by the exotic sex-drenched look of the thespian in question.

There is one story element involving the discovery of a secret diary and the readings from it are annoyingly on-point, exemplifying audience hand-holding of the most egregious kind. Worse yet are elements in the tail end of the picture which you'll occasionally realize are distinct possibilities for how it'll all tie up, but you hope and pray the picture won't go there. When it does, the heart sinks.

It is possible, however, that most audiences these days are so stupid they won't see it coming, but even so, it's never a good idea to shoehorn such obvious elements into what is mostly a very unique experience. It gives short shrift even to the dribbling idiots of the Great Unwashed.

I've seen enough movies in my life to sense in cases like this where filmmakers have been forced to compromise their vision by one or more of the following: boneheaded producers, boneheaded financiers, boneheaded distributors and/or broadcasters, boneheaded government funding mavens and all the other boneheaded holders-of-purse-strings types.

All I dare add to this most learned assumption of mine is that the lack of artistic acumen amongst the aforementioned head honchos does indeed place them on the same level as The Great Unwashed.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***1/2 3-and-a-Half Stars

The Sublet is the Closing Night Gala at the 2016 Blood in the Snow Film Festival (BITS)

Friday, 25 November 2016

THE UNSEEN - Review By Greg Klymkiw - BLOOD IN THE SNOW FILM FESTIVAL (BITS) 2016

The Unseen (2016)
Dir. Geoff Redknapp
Starring: Aden Young, Julia Sarah Stone

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The first time I encountered the astonishing Australian-Canadian actor Aden Young was in the late, great Paul Cox's 1994 Tasmanian-set classic Exile. In that film, Young plays a man exiled for stealing a few sheep, which not only embodied his character, but did so in perfect tandem with the director’s trademark humanity. Young's performance in the film left me a shuddering mass of tears, as well as a kind of transcendent elation.

British Columbia-based Canadian writer-director Geoff Redknapp has chosen Young to star in his very odd blend of thriller and family drama (with dollops of Cronenberg-like body-decimation horror). Young's performance binds the picture's disparate mélange of genre elements together. When he's on-screen, which thankfully is a lot, the picture transcends some of its more TV-movie-esque family drama elements.


Young plays Bob Langmore, a northern British Columbia laborer estranged from his wife and teenage daughter, Eva (Julia Sarah Stone). When she goes missing, he must re-assess his responsibilities as a man and father, as well as his ties to a criminal underworld. Adding insult to injury, Bob’s cursed - as is Eva. To reveal the nature of this curse, or rather, affliction, would spoil the picture, but it's worth mentioning that first-time feature director Redknapp is a highly acclaimed and sought-after special effects veteran. Use your imagination here until you see the film.

The film, in spite of its thriller/horror elements, is not especially thrilling, nor is it even scary. It is, however, occasionally creepy, and that’s always a good thing.

The picture works its magic best when it focuses on the working class/crime elements of the story as they impact the father-daughter relationship. Again, Young proves why he's one of the world's greatest actors - we can't take our eyes off the guy and he continues his Paul-Cox-enflamed ability to move us deeply. That said, he's given a run for his money by the compelling performance of Julia Sarah Stone as his daughter. The camera loves her and she's got definite star potential.


Redknapp’s picture feels like his screenplay, especially with the domestic issues, was been worked over one too many times by a few story “experts,” but, as a filmmaker to watch, he’s got the potential to go the distance.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars


The Unseen makes its Toronto Premiere at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival 2016.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

KIDNAP CAPITAL - BLOOD IN THE SNOW (BITS) FILM FESTIVAL 2016 - Review By Greg Klymkiw



Kidnap Capital (2016)
Dir. Felipe Rodriguez
Starring: Paulino Nunes, Johnathan Sousa, Michael Reventar, Pedro Miguel Arce

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Canadian-born filmmaker Felipe Rodriguez and a top-tier ensemble cast deliver a riveting "horror" film rooted in the horrendous reality of an Arizona Drop House. Ruthless, organized criminals kidnap Latin American illegal immigrants who are tortured, raped and even murdered. The goal of the mobsters is to secure ransom money. Alas, many of those they kidnap are forced into begging for their lives to friends and family members who are hardly equipped to fork over cash and must, in turn, go into deep debt to rescue their loved ones.


The film focuses upon a basement full of victims, and Rodriguez directs his claustrophobic thriller with a blend of neo-realism and straight-up, nail-biting tension. That the stories are rooted in factual accounts is sickening enough, but the reality of the film's expertly-delivered mise-en-scene is what keeps our jaws agape.


What we experience in Kidnap Capital as mere viewers is happening to people each and everyday. Hats off to Rodriguez and team for making a movie that represents the exploited in a film, one that is not only exposing a terrible injustice, but does so with the highest levels of artistry.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-stars

Kidnap Capital enjoys its Toronto Premiere at the Blood in the Snow (BITS) Film Festival 2016.

Friday, 21 October 2016

PART TWO - NETFLIX is POO, SHUDDER is GOLD: Reviews By Greg Klymkiw of DEAD SNOW 2, FATHER'S DAY, JOHN DIES AT THE END, MANBORG, MIDNIGHT SON, MONSTER BRAWL - all available in Canada, UK and USA on the magnificent Shudder.com

PART TWO:
NETFLIX is POO,
SHUDDER is GOLD
(MORE reviews following preamble)

I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched October 20, 2016 (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever. Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable. Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus. Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!

A rotting, flesh-eating Obergruppenführer der
Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei Zombie
Waffen is no mere wurst einen Gehackte Leber!
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead aka"Død snø 2" (2014) ***
Dir. Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr,
Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas, Stig Frode Henriksen,
Jesper Sundnes, Tage Guddingsmo, Charlotte Frogner

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The plucky Nazi Zombies of Dead Snow have returned to invade contemporary Norway, but there's no need to see the precursor to this sequel, since the first instalment wasn't especially good. All one needs know is that the latest shenanigans of Der Führer's rotting, flesh-eating Waffen-SS is a truly jaw-agape treat of the highest order. Here we are reacquainted with Martin (Vegar Hoel), now hell-bent on avenging his girlfriend's death from Nazi Zombies. Alas, a major screw-up finds zombie Kommandant Herzog's (Orjan Gamst) hand sewn onto Martin's arm. Herzog, in turn, now sports Martin's hand. Complications ensue from the swap and lead to laughs-a-plenty and a running homage to Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead. Read the full Film Corner review HERE.

Do you love your father enough
to rape him in the ASS?
Father's Day (2011) ****
dir. Astron-6
(Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie,
Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Steven Kostanski)

Starring: Conor Sweeney, Adam Brooks, Matt Kennedy, Brent Neale,
Amy Groening, Meredith Sweeney, Kevin Anderson, Garret Hnatiuk,
Mackenzie Murdoch, Lloyd Kaufman

Review By Greg Klymkiw

This is the astounding feature film from the brilliant Winnipeg filmmaking collective Astron-6 (Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Steven Kostanski) who have joined forces with the legendary Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment to generate a film that is the ultimate evil bastard child sprung from the loins of a daisy chain twixt Guy Maddin, John Paizs, early David Cronenberg, Herschel Gordon Lewis and Abel Ferrara's The Driller Killer. Father's Day combines the effects of asbestos-tinged drinking water in Winnipeg with the Bukkake splatter of the coolest artistic influences imaginable and yields a work which steadfastly adheres to the fine Groucho Marx adage: "I refuse to join any club that would have someone like me for a member."

Chris Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdoch), is a serial killer that specializes in targeting fathers for anal rape followed by further degradations, including torture, butchery and/or murder. Our madman, Fuchman (substitute :k" for "h" to pronounce name properly), turns out to be a demon from the deepest pits of hell and a ragtag team is recruited by a blind infirm Archbishop of the Catholic Church (Kevin Anderson) to fight this disgusting agent of Satan. An eyepatch-wearing tough guy (Adam Brooks), a young priest (Matthew Kennedy), a twink male prostitute (Conor Sweeney), a hard-boiled dick (Brent Neale) and a jaw-droppingly gorgeous stripper (Amy Groening), all of whom follow the trail of this formidable foe whilst confronting all their own personal demons. Read the full Film Corner review HERE.

John Dies at the End,
but not before he uses
THE BIBLE BELTER!!!
John Dies at the End (2012) ****
dir. Don Coscarelli

Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Glynn Turman, Clancy Brown

Review By Greg Klymkiw

John Dies at the End gives new meaning to the oft-heard phrase in only the finest grease-laden, alley-cat-for-chicken-serving Oriental restaurants in the Occident - "Can you please pass the Soya Sauce?" The film's director Don Coscarelli is, without question, the real thing - a truly inspired Master of Horror. (He might also be certifiably insane, but what do I know? I'm no shrink.) As the director of cult classics like the Phantasm pictures (with Angus Scrimm as the diabolical wielder of blood suckin' and a spurtin' silver spheres) and the finest entry in that unbeatable genre of Elvis-duelling-with-dangerous-denizens-of-Ancient-Egypt Bubba-Ho-Tep, his latest offering is one mo-fo of an eye-popping mind-bender.

In a nutshell, two best buds, David (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes), are mega-slackers - not unlike Bill and Ted, only they're not stupid and they go on an adventure that is in no way, shape or form an EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (though we, the viewers, are afforded a most excellent adventure, indeed). Having ingested a completely mind-pummelling hallucinogen called - you guessed it (or not) - SOYA SAUCE, our boys make a harrowing journey up the river into a veritable heart of Coscarellian darkness. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

When evil delivers an unrequested butt blast,
only true heroes will rise to the challenge.

MANBORG (2011) ****
dir. Steven Kostanski (Astron-6)

Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Ludwig Lee,
Conor Sweeney, Meredith Sweeney, Jeremy Gillespie

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Straight from the jaws of Hell comes Draculon (Adam Brooks), a crazed totalitarian infused with a slavering desire to inflict pain. He makes the Dictator combo-platter of Adolph Hitler (former German Chancellor), Joe Stalin (former butcher of ten million Ukrainian garlic eaters), George W. Bush (annihilator of Islam) and Stephen Harper (former Il Duce of Canada) all look like your kindly Granny Apple Cheeks knitting her umpteenth doily and churning butter. As brilliantly rendered in the opening minutes of this 70-minute masterwork, you will cringe as the Earth's pitiful armies do their best in battle with the demons of Mephistopheles, but even the best of the best of the best of mankind will be no match for the foul, pus-oozing Satanic beasts. When a brave young fighting man hits the turf and pushes up the daisies, he is mysteriously and miraculously transformed by the mad genius Dr. Scorpius (Adam Brooks) into the next best thing to Jesus H. Christ Almighty (or Robocop - take your pick!). He is, and always will be:

MANBORG!!!

Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Living Dead Love, an inconvenient kind of love.
Midnight Son (2011) ****
dir. Scott Leberecht

Starring: Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish, Jo D. Jonz,
Arlen Escarpeta, Larry Cedar, Tracey Walter

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Jacob (Zak Kilberg) is sick. Very, very sick. He leads a solitary existence in a basement apartment with all the windows sealed shut. By day, he is a brilliant young artist - painting variations on a similar theme: exquisite renderings of the sun. He pays his rent working as a night-shift security guard. He is so sensitive to the rays of the sun that his arm bears the horrendous scars of burned flesh. Of late, he's been extremely hungry and in spite of wolfing down as much food as possible, he's becoming thinner and more pale. One night he collapses at work - blacking out completely. A doctor examines him and expresses concern that he is becoming anemic from malnutrition. This, of course, simply cannot be. He's eating more than a 500 lb. circus freak can ingest in a week.

Jacob is a character who feels like somebody we could know, or even be. He's trapped by circumstance and lonely out of necessity, until he finds love. That he should discover his potential soulmate at the worst possible time isn't just the stuff of great drama, it's rooted in realism - an experience so many have had when they find something or someone special, but, damn it all, the timing proves to be so damned inopportune.

Director Leberecht's mise-en-scene in Midnight Son is superb. He captures strange corners and pockets of Los Angeles with the same eye for detail Larry Fessenden brought to the Manhattan which Habit was rooted in. Leberecht's choice of locations, shots and interiors never feel stock. Most of all, he delivers a side of L.A. we seldom see on film. It's gritty, all right, but the picture plunges us into the sort of strange places David Lynch himself might be envious of. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Rachelle Wilde, one of the delectable MONSTER BRAWL babes, with yours truly during my cousin Adam Klymkiw's stag.
Monster Brawl (2011) ***
dir. Jesse T. Cook

Starring: Dave Foley, Art Hindle, Robert Maillet,
Jimmy Hart, Herb Dean, Kevin Nash, Lance Henriksen

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Who doesn't love Mexican wrestling movies? You don't? Well, go to hell, then. That said, Santo, Blue Demon and Rodrigo the Hippie are all pussies compared to monsters. How then, about a movie that has wrasslin' monsters? Yes, you read correctly. MONSTERS THAT WRESTLE. What's not to like? Monster Brawl is unquestionably one of the most insane, hilarious, original gore-fests I have seen in ages. It's Canadian - which is no surprise given the wealth of truly insane films that come from this country. The plot? Well, there really isn't one. (At least, not much of one.) Does this matter when the movie is full of monsters, babes and head-stomping carnage? My question is rhetorical. Don't bother answering. The movie is not dreary, depressing, dour, desperately arty nor a downer. In fact, the only downer is that it could use more babes, but the babes it's blessed with are delectably babe-o-licious! Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.
SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

NETFLIX is POO, SHUDDER is GOLD: Reviews By Greg Klymkiw of ABSENTIA, ANGUISH, ANTICHRIST, BASKIN, CITADEL, EXIT HUMANITY - Now all available on SHUDDER.COM

I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched today (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.
Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable.

Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus.

Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!



This terrific Val Lewtonesque modern horror film disturbs us with what we CAN'T see, and WHEN we see what we're SUPPOSED to see, we become NUMB with pure terror!

Absentia (2011) ***1/2
dir. Mike Flanagan
Starring: Katie Parker, Courtney Bell,
Dave Levine, Morgan Peter Bell

Review By Greg Klymkiw

There are horrors - everyday horrors we all hear about. If we've never experienced them ourselves, all we can do is try to imagine what they must feel like. But that's all we can do. Imagine. When movies delve into the horrors we hear about everyday, the best of those pictures probably come as close as any of us would want to get to experiencing the real thing. Perhaps the one thing that's worse than knowing a loved one has died - especially in a fashion of the most heinous variety - is the horror of a loved one disappearing without a trace. If we discover that the death has come about in a foul, painful, reprehensible and senseless way, it's ultimately knowing the truth that offers the most meagre shred of solace, or at least, acceptance. Not knowing is the real horror. Not knowing is what haunts us forever. Absentia is a micro-budgeted independent horror movie by Mike (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) Flanagan that plays on these fears. Read the full Film Corner review HERE.

Harrowing portrait of mental illness
against a chilling supernatural backdrop.
Anguish (2015) ***1/2
Dir. Sonny Mallhi
Starring: Ryan Simpkins, Amberley Gridley,
Annika Marks, Karina Logue, Cliff Chamberlain, Ryan O'Nan

Review By Greg Klymkiw

One mother, Sarah (Karina Logue), loses her daughter, Lucy (Amberley Gridley) in a horrific freak car accident. The other mother, Jessica (Annika Marks), feels like she is losing her daughter, Tess (Ryan Simpkins), to the child's lifelong mental illness which appears to be getting worse. Sarah's guilt is rooted in an argument which led to the accident. Jessica, hoping a change of environment might have alleviated the mental illness, now feels like their move to a new home is contributing to her child's increasing withdrawal. Sonny Mallhi's deeply moving feature directorial debut is a sensitive, telling exploration of teen ennui and the powerful bond of mothers and daughters. That the story plays out against the subtle, but clearly apparent backdrops of America's financial crisis, as well as that of so many fathers separated from their families to fight a spurious war against terror, are elements which deepen the experience of seeing the film. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

FEEL THE PAIN.
FEEL THE PASSION.
FEEL THE HORROR.
Antichrist (2009) Dir. Lars von Trier *****
Starring: Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Review By Greg Klymkiw

With Antichrist, Lars von Trier has made a horror film – pure, though not so simple. It's a movie that burns its reflection of pain into your memory like a branding iron – plunging itself through your cranium and searing your brain matter, creating that sickeningly sweet stench that only burning flesh gives off and remaining in your nostrils for (no doubt) a lifetime. The pain and by extension – the Passion – also stays with you. A first viewing renders you drained, immobile, and numb and yet, paradoxically there are feelings of profound excitement – that you have witnessed an expression of emotion in ways that only cinema, of all the art forms, is capable of delivering. You are also breathless, and in spite, or maybe even because of the horror you’ve witnessed, you’re almost giddy with the desire to recall every beat, every image and every soul sickening moment of the experience. It’s a movie that demands to be seen more than once – it is a movie to be cherished, savored and devoured as ravenously and gluttonously as possible. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

A Turkish Delight. A Wad of Depravity.

Baskin (2016) ****
Dir. Can Evrenol
Scr. Evrenol, Ercin Sadikoglu, Cem Ozuduru, Ogulcan Eren Akay

Starring: Gorkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Mehmet Cerrahoglu,
Sabahattin Yakut, Mehmet Fatih Dokgoz, Muharrem Bayrak

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Baskin is a dense, scary, hilarious, nastily yummy-slurp world of viscous-dribbling mega-perversion that comes to us courtesy of Turkish director Can Evrenol, who has expanded an earlier short film into a pulse-pounding feature-length horror-fest. Though most of the proceedings (insanely thrown into the pot by no less than four screenwriters) are a dream-like blur that sometimes makes little sense, it seems not to matter too much and is probably part of the grand design.

I think.

It matters not.

The film is a supremely entertaining freak-show extraordinaire from a director with talent, style and filmmaking savvy oozing from every conceivable orifice. Read my full Electric Sheep Magazine review HERE.

CITADEL: The face of fear
Electric Sheep Magazine review

Citadel (2012) *****
Dir. Ciarin Foy

Starring: Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wunmi Mosaku, Jake Wilson

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Numbing, gnawing and sheer unrelenting fear is the primary element driving this creepy, terrifying dystopian shocker. Ciaran Foy’s Citadel, which without question was one of the best films of 2012, trains its lens upon the fears of the disenfranchised – those eking out their existence amidst poverty, crime and societal indifference in blasted-out housing projects – Citadel plunges us into a reality that is as recognizable as it is fantastical. Indeed, given the constant state of bleakness brought about by financial crises and war, these could well be all our fears.

This is one mighty mo-fo of a scary-ass picture. The mise en scène is dazzling and the tale is rooted in both a humanity and reality that will wallop close to home for many. There’s nary a misstep in any of the performances and as the movie inches, like Col. Walter E. Kurtz’s ‘snail crawling along the edge of a straight razor’, Foy plunges us into an abyss at the top of the stairs. In Apocalypse Now (1979), Kurtz (with Marlon Brando’s expert nasal intonations) summed up the image of the snail on the straight razor thusly: ‘That’s my dream!’

Frankly, Citadel is MY dream of one great horror movie.

Fuck it! It’s no dream. Citadel is a bloody nightmare! Read my full Electric Sheep Magazine review HERE.

Klymkiw interviews Citadel Director Ciarin Foy
at Electric Sheep Magazine

Greg Klymkiw interviews

Citadel director

Ciarin Foy


Klymkiw: I was so lucky to see Citadel on a big screen at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. For me, it’s definitely a Big Screen experience and even though so many independent genre films get relatively modest big screen exposure at festivals and in limited theatrical runs for an eventually larger life on the small screen via DVD, VOD, etc., I can’t help but assume you crafted the picture with Big Screen at the forefront.

Foy: That’s very true. I think especially so in terms of the soundscape. Sound was an important big screen element when you’re going into a 5.1 sound mix.

Yes, the aural landscape, if you will, is alternately subtle and jarring, but it seems to me that your visual design always felt bigger than life and yet, in so doing, captured life and reality so much more powerfully than many similar genre films.

Yes, we had a fairly extended series of preparatory discussions about the aspect ratio and at first I was thinking in terms of the aesthetic and practical pros and cons between a 2:35 landscape or something closer to 1:85. Trying to capture Tommy’s agoraphobia was a big part of this and my initial feeling was to go wider. At the same time, I really wanted to build in much longer, more extended takes to capture Tommy’s condition. However, working within modest means you begin to realize that cinemascope-styled frames need more lights, more art direction, and that extended shots take longer to plan and shoot, especially with actors getting their marks and so on. We eventually settled on the 16:9 aspect ratio. Read my full Electric Sheep Magazine interview with Ciarin Foy HERE.

There is a light at the end of the CITADEL tunnel,
and it's a drawer-fillingly scary as it is positive.

CITADEL (2012) *****

Dir. Ciarán Foy

A New Appreciation

By Greg Klymkiw


Welcome to this special edition of the Greg Klymkiw Film Corner where I will be presenting an all-new in-depth review and analysis of Ciaran Foy's contemporary masterpiece of horror CITADEL. This article is a preview of a chapter I'm adding to my book about the visual techniques of cinematic storytelling. Entitled "Movies Are Action", my book has been a culmination of over 30 years in the movie business - producing and/or co-writing numerous independent features, seeing and studying over 30,000 motion pictures, covering cinema as a journalist in a wide variety of publications and teaching for 13 years at the Canadian Film Centre (founded by Norman Jewison) wherein I had the honour to serve as the producer-in-residence and senior creative consultant for over 200 screenwriters, directors, producers and editors.

It's become very clear to me that Mr. Foy's astounding first feature film CITADEL is not only one terrific movie that introduces the world of cinema to a genuine original with filmmaking hard-wired into his DNA, but that his film can and should also serve as a template to all young filmmakers on the precipice of diving into the breach. It's lonely out there, kids, and there's nothing better than using such a mature, accomplished and extraordinary work by someone who is, for all intents and purposes, your peer. Here on this site, you'll be reading a reasonably polished first draft of the chapter to appear in my book, but I'm confident you'll find, thanks to Mr. Foy's great film, a few nuggets to take with you onto the battlefield. -- Greg Klymkiw

Read my full in-depth Film Corner analysis of Citadel HERE.

Only Canucks from Collingwood
would think to unleash Civil War Zombies
Exit Humanity (2011) ***
dir. John Geddes

Starring: Mark Gibson, Dee Wallace,
Stephen McHattie, Bill Moseley, narrated by Brian Cox

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Exit Humanity, a zombie western from the visionary psychopaths at Foresight Features in Collingwood, is certainly one of the strangest and more compelling movies I've seen in some time. In fact, while it clearly belongs in the horror genre (there are zombies, after all), the picture feels a lot more like it's rooted in a tradition of magic realism and fairy tale. It doesn't quite gel, but in spite of this, it's a solid feature debut for a director who will have a long, fruitful career ahead of him. His film begins with an all-out, no-holds-barred brutal battle sequence twixt the opposing blue and gray forces of the American civil war. As the carnage heats up, a third fighting element creeps into the madness - zombies. Even though the war soon ends, a dark cloud appears over the land and during the reconstruction period, a plague spreads across the once-divided, but now tenuously-melded nation. The living dead, you see, rise to eat the living. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

UNDER THE SHADOW - TORONTO AFTER DARK 2016 - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Horror film against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s will knock you on your ass!


Under the Shadow (2016)
Dir. Babak Anvari
Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Living in Tehran during the eight long years of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s was terrifying enough with endless bombs dropping. Eventually, with the threat of missiles from Iraq, the city emptied to ghost town proportions. Against this backdrop is one of the most creepy, harrowing and heart-stoppingly scary movies of the year.

Shideh (played by the intense and babe-o-licious Narges Rashidi) lives the life of a housewife and Mom to hubby Iraj (Bobby Nederi) and daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) respectively.

After unceremoniously being booted from medical school for her "political" leanings, she's disappointed to learn that after years of repentance, she will still be barred from completing her studies. Iraj is sympathetic, but he is a practising doctor himself and tries to placate her with taking solace in the good life they have together.

She's having none of it. Even in the repressive world they live in, she yearns for independence and self-fulfilment - perhaps, even, to a fault. When Iraj is drafted into military service, she refuses to leave Tehran with Dorsa and into the relatively safe harbour of her in-laws. As bombs and missiles strike the city with more frequency, Shideh gets frantic telephone calls from Iraj, begging her to leave.


Infused with the similar kind of Dustin Hoffman from Straw Dogs ethic of "This is our home", Shideh digs her heels in.

However, other than a war waging, there's another problem which creepily, insidiously begins to plague the family's home. Is it a ghost? A demon? A Djinn?

If it's an evil Djinn, this is definitely not a good thing.

Shideh is, however, a woman of reason, of logic, of intellect. She refuses to believe in old Arabic superstitions. But soon, the horror visiting upon her is far too real to ignore.


Under the Shadow is a slow burn. What begins as a domestic drama during wartime starts to unravel itself into a full blown horror film. You'll never see the first jump-scare coming, but when it does, you will be gasping for breath and clutching your chest. And it's no cheap jump scare. It's earned and rooted deeply in the psychological, cultural and sociological fabric of both the narrative and world of the film.

Writer-Director Babak Anveri displays such control over the proceedings that the visceral moments have the kind of impact we seldom see in contemporary horror films. The film is dazzling and original and one of the few movies that flirts with being genuinely in the same league as The Exorcist.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***** 5-Stars

Under The Shadow is an official selection at the 2016 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.