Alfresco film viewing: who needs movie theatres anyway?

Alfresco film viewing: who needs movie theatres anyway?

Drake Conrad adjusts the focus of the film being projected onto a giant silver screen as the popcorn munching audience looks on. The film, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, flickers away. This could be taking place in any Toronto cinema, but the scene is Conrad’s rooftop, near Liberty Village. Before the feature, cartoons and classic film trailers are shown, featuring advertisements with the ubiquitous “let’s all go to the lobby” jingle. The relaxing vibe is mixed…

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Verne Langdon’s monster masks

Verne Langdon’s monster masks

A veritable Hollywood renaissance man, Verne Langdon’s contributions to horror culture are plentiful. He wrote for Famous Monsters of Filmland; produced horror records such as An Evening With Boris Karloff & His Friends (scripted by Forrest J Ackerman, containing dialogue and scores from the original Universal films), and as an accomplished musician himself, he has recorded monster-themed albums, including The Phantom of the Organ and Music for Zombies. However, it is in the world of…

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Castle Films’ 8mm Creature Features

Castle Films’ 8mm Creature Features

  Before home video, the most popular way to invite your favourite monsters into your living room was through brightly packaged film reels available at the local drugstore. Rue Morgue looks back at this decades-long tradition. — Every generation of horror film fans has a coming-of-age story. Depending on how old you are, you might remember the day your dad brought a VCR into the living room, and how soon after you would spend your…

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David Cronenberg talks Evolution

David Cronenberg talks Evolution

David Cronenberg — a true master of cinema — sits down with Eric to discuss Evolution, a new exhibition of his work, career and films at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. In the interview, the creator of the “body horror” genre” discusses his early film inspirations; why he remained in Toronto while so many of his contemporaries like Ivan Reitman fled to Hollywood; contextualizing the 1970s; working with Rob Pattison on Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars,…

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King of the Cardboard Castle

King of the Cardboard Castle

Horror hosts were nothing new to the television airwaves of the 1970s. Since the early 1950s, with the likes of Vampira and Zacherley, and into the 1960s, with Sir Graves Ghastly and Ghoulardi, they provided late-night creature comforts for horror fans both young and old. But while most of their shows have come and gone, one show, Creature Feature, which debuted on WDCA out of Washington, DC in 1973, continues today. Its host, Count Gore…

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Making monsters for the man

Making monsters for the man

Although Reynold Brown created some of the genre’s most iconic movie posters, as a new book on the artist reveals, for him it was just like any other job. Before viral ad campaigns and other gimmicks, a movie poster was the studio’s essential marketing tool. Littered throughout a newspaper’s entertainment section, the ones for genre films called out with hyperbolic taglines, always claiming to be the most shocking, awe-inspiring epics ever brought to the local…

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Toronto Jewish Film Festival puts horror movies in the spotlight

Toronto Jewish Film Festival puts horror movies in the spotlight

This article originally appeared in the Toronto Star on May 1, 2014. In Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, a 1967 parody of the popular Hammer horror genre, a young woman attempts to fend off a Jewish vampire by brandishing a cross — a bloodsucker’s kryptonite. It doesn’t go so well. “Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire,” responds the unafflicted creature of the night. In its 22nd year, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival…

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When Charlie Chaplin comes to town

When Charlie Chaplin comes to town

The silent Keystone comedy, Kid Auto Races at Venice, should have been exactly that — a newsreel documenting a soapbox derby race. But as children race along an audience-lined pathway, a curious fellow wearing a bowler hat and baggy pants emerges into the frame, constantly interrupting the shot. The man is Charlie Chaplin. In cinematic terms, he was the original photobomber. Released in February, 1914, the film marks Chaplin’s first publicly screened appearance as the…

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Frankenstein Created Woman and the modern horror film

Frankenstein Created Woman and the modern horror film

This article originally appeared in the Toronto Star on January 23, 2014. ‘Subversive’ film from 1960s originally snipped to pieces by Ontario censors. Eat your heart out, Aaron Eckhart. I, Frankenstein, a film inspired by Mary Shelley’s oft-adapted novel, isn’t the only Frankenstein tale opening in Toronto this week. On Thursday, Frankenstein Created Woman screens at TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of Rue Morgue Magazine’s monthly Cinemacabre series. But when the film — in which…

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Tintin’s sins: Belgium reckons with its comic hero’s racist past

Tintin’s sins: Belgium reckons with its comic hero’s racist past

On May 31, a Belgian court will decide whether to ban or at least enforce a disclaimer on the sale of children’s book Tintin in the Congo. Call it Tintin in the Land of the Censors. On May 31, a Belgian court will decide whether to ban or at least enforce a disclaimer on the sale of children’s book Tintin in the Congo, due to its racially insensitive depictions of the Congolese. Published since 1931,…

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