I watched "Candyman" when I was twelve, I believe, and it was the first movie that I had ever seen that really scared me. I think people, even horror movie veterans can at least sympathize with that. It was many years before I was able to watch it again and at that point, I had become a horror movie veteran myself. While the effect had certainly lessened over time, I still found "Candyman" a disturbing, and wonderfully well-made horror movie; better than probably any I had seen in my education to that point. Actually, it probably still ranks in the top five to this day.
I have to say that what I experienced in watching this film is almost as important as the "magic" of how I saw the film. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, to protect the innocent, works as a projectionist at a theatre and he invited me to come and watch this film "after hours".
One of the things that he was able to do because of this, was turn ALL of the lights off in theatre and sound way up... So I had the pleasure of seeing this film on the big screen, in an empty theatre, in pitch black...
A mysterious prison murder sparks a young orphaned girl, Callie, towards a journey to uncovering her secret past, but what is hidden there puts her in great danger from a supernatural force determined to exact revenge for a past wrong.
Trashy 70's exploitation films (primarily from Italy) were one of the foundations for my love of film. Not in the traditional sense, as they certainly taught me nothing about the effect of elaborate camerawork, the emotional impact of mingling music with video, or even quality storytelling. What they did provide me with was a level of enjoyment which few films could equal, if taken in the proper context. "Pleasures of the Damned" recreated that sense of misguided wonder, as the deliberately amateurish production had me consistently laughing, and even cringing at its sequences of over the top violence and gore. It was nearly one and a half hours of pure entertainment, best experienced amongst a group, preferably inebriated to some degree.
I don't think that I do enough as a Canadian to comment on Canadian cinema. I feel bad about this, because I really am a proud Canadian guy, and while a lot of the stuff that's made here is intolerable to me, there are a few directors who consistently do great work. Guy Maddin (who is my favourite), David Cronenberg, and the director of the new horror flick "Pontypool" (as well as the beloved "Roadkill" and "Hard Core Logo") Bruce McDonald are a few of these directors. Carl Bessai opened last year's (2007) EIFF with his surprisingly good "Normal" and I didn't write about it. I regret that and shan't let it be the case for McDonald's new film, which opened the festival this year.
I have very fond memories of watching "Popcorn" when I was younger. I was maybe 12 or 13, and something about the movie just entertained me to no end. Now, here we are 15 years later, and I'm somewhat disappointed to report that "Popcorn" doesn't hold up very well; Not at all actually...
Troma pretty much sums up everything I both love and hate about film. The films they produce/distribute are, like them or not, constructed specifically to entertain. They make the most of every opportunity, filling every frame with visual gags, poop humor, vomit-inducing (yet tickle your funny bone) visual effects, and pretty much anything that could be considered incorrect in any spectrum, be it political, racial, etc. As a result the Troma catalogue consists of some great films ("Tromeo & Juliet"; "Terror Firmer"; "Cannibal: The Musical") and some less than fantastic efforts ("Bloodsucking Freaks"). Good or bad, you always get the impression that Lloyd Kaufman and co. are attempting to push the boundaries for one simple purpose, to increase enjoyment for the audience, and it works more often than not (in my opinion, anyway).
The main problem with "The Producers" is it's just too damn long. It's so leisurely paced that its 2 ¼ hour runtime becomes a trial to sit through. The film adaptation of the stage play, which is itself an adaptation of the original 1968 film, has a lot going for it, a great cast, some brilliant moments, but it's just too long.
Muay Thai is an incredibly violent looking style of fighting. I was floored by the intensity of Tony Jaa's attacks in "Ong-bak", and "Tom-yum-goong" is no different. Like "Ong Bak", the action is incredible. The main difference is that "Tom-yum-goong" has a (slightly) better story, as well as being even more action-packed. By ‘action-packed', I simply mean the sheer number of enemies who face the Muay Thai wrath of Tony Jaa.
Few horror movies to come out of the 1980s are as underrated as "Pumpkinhead". Pumpkinhead was as bad-ass a villain as any others that dominated 1980s video shelves; however, the villain never really had the following it deserved. Obviously the films have a certain cult fan base as a number of DTV sequels would suggest, but if you ask the average person who Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, and even Chucky are… they'll know. Chances are they've never heard of Pumpkinhead.