Blu-ray of the Week: Blacula & Scream Blacula Scream

by Jon 3. March 2015 14:00

Silly titles aside, several of the blaxploitation reimaginings of classic horror films endure as highlights of ’70s genre cinema. Blackenstein hasn’t aged well and The Blaxorcist (aka Abby) has remained somewhat elusive (it was essentially banned for too closely mirroring The Exorcist), but the Blacula films have survived as essential entries in the vampire canon.

The series’ greatest virtue is actor William Marshall, a seasoned Shakespearean actor who has a dignity and gravitas that gives the title character’s fish-out-of-water context—he plays an 18th century Transylvanian vampire in ’70s Los Angeles—an ironic kick. His dignified demeanour also adds to the impact of the films’s more eccentric flourishes. Examples include his ludicrous bat transformations and the surreal facial hair (best described as brow-burns and a cheek-stache) that materializes whenever he vamps out. His old-fashioned sensibilities make for an amusing counterpoint to the afros and soul soundtrack, but he still manages to bring genuine weight to the first film’s tragic finale. It’s a long way from his role as the King of Cartoons on Pee-wee’s Playhouse—and Marshall sells every moment.

In addition to respectable HD transfers of both films—neither was especially polished to begin with—this disc includes image galleries, theatrical trailers (which describe the title character as “Dracula’s soul brother”), a commentary on Blacula by film historian David F. Walker, and an interview with Scream Blacula Scream co-star Richard Lawson. According to Lawson, his involvement in the franchise stemmed from the fact that Blacula director William Crain was his landlord. While he has gone on to have a successful career as a TV actor, he’s still disappointed that Scream Blacula Scream didn’t propel him to “made man” status.

As Lawson sees it, his impeccably dressed character is “the Superfly of the vampire world.” Still, he felt somewhat restricted by director Bob Kelljan, who forced him to tone down his sexual impulses onscreen. The actor claims he was trying to push the genre in the same direction as True Blood—35 years before that series hit the air. In spite of the limitations imposed by Kelljan, Lawson believes the sequel is superior to the original, a debatable assertion that this disc will help you disprove.

Tags: ,

Teddy’s Favourite Spock Episode

by Teddy 3. March 2015 10:00

Given my producer slash comrade Mark “King Of Canadian Sci-Fi” Askwith (he makes me call him that—it’s so demeaning) picked “Amok Time” as his favourite Spock-heavy episode of Star Trek, I’m going with “The Tholian Web.”

It’s a great episode all around, but it makes the cut here because it’s also one of the instances in the original series when our half-human, half-Vulcan (ALL AWESOME) hero takes command of the Enterprise. After going missing in a dimensional breach, Captain Kirk is declared dead, and Spock is tasked with getting the ship away from the madness-inducing rift. Tough gig, but I love it when Spock gets to step-up and take the bridge.

Another standout element of “The Tholian Web” lies in the oft-discussed dynamic between Spock and Dr. McCoy. As it is for many fans, their relationship is one of my favourite elements from the original series, and this episode–in particular, the somber posthumous message from Kirk— does a wonderful job of highlighting Spock-Bones push and pull.


Comin’ up on InnerSpace

by Jesse 2. March 2015 18:00

This week on InnerSpace: we take a look at the upcoming horror flick The Lazarus Effect, send Ajay and Morgan on a voyage to mars (kind of), and go behind the scenes of Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie.

On Monday, we start off the week by looking at the new horror movie The Lazarus Effects, starring a not-so-dead (hence the title) Olivia Wilde in a film with a pretty unique take on death and resurrection.

Tuesday, Ajay and Morgan take a trip to Mars, and by Mars we mean the Ontario Science Centre, where they take part in a simulated mission to the red planet.

Excited for the new Neill Blomkamp movie, Chappie? We are and on Wednesday we’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.

Come Thursday, Morgan gets a lesson in self-defense by Kristina Kjem, creator of Girls Just Wanna Box. Kristina demonstrates three boxing moves inspired by some of our favorite Femme Fatales.

Finally, on Friday we’ll take a look at the superhero inspired prints of A. Shay Hahn, a local artist whose work now covers the walls of one of the city’s coolest tattoo shops.


Top 12 Spock Episodes as Chosen by InnerSpace’s Mark Askwith

by Mark 2. March 2015 17:30

12. The Menagerie: This is a two-parter, and we get to see the original pilot in flashbacks.

11. See above.

10. The Tholian Web: Spock takes command of the enterprise when Captain Kirk goes missing.

9. The Naked Time: When a strange virus causes the crew to lose control of their emotions Spock has a break down. Brilliantly acted by Nimoy.

8. All our Yesterdays: A time travel story. Spock exhibits what Vulcans were like before they learned to control their emotions.

7. The Immunity Syndrome: When a starship crewed by Vulcans is destroyed Spock has to learn what caused them to die.

6. Is There in Truth No Beauty: The Enterprise crew meets an alien ambassador named Kollos who is so ugly that his face causes humans to go mad.

5. Balance of Terror: The first appearance of the Romulans. Spock is calm and dignified in the face of racism and paranoia.

4. City on the Edge of Forever: Arguably the best Star Trek episode, Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet a woman whose life and death could change history. ‘He knows Doctor. He knows…’

3. Mirror, Mirror: An alternate universe story with Spock sporting a goatee. A classic episode.

2. Journey to Babel: En route to crucial peace talks, The Enterprise plays host to Spock’s parents.

1. Amok Time: See my essay below!

Hugo Award-winning author Theodore Sturgeon wrote this second season episode, and it introduced viewers to Spock’s homeworld, Vulcan. I love the episode because it is so inventive, and it shed light on my favourite Star Trek character. “Amok Time” featured the Vulcan mating ritual ‘pon farr’, the first use of the Vulcan salute, and the enduring phrase “Live long and prosper.”

The show treated Vulcan culture and traditions with respect, and after Spock and Captain Kirk fight to the death (and how awesome is that!), the famed Vulcan logic is represented by Spock’s bride, T’Pring, who explains in cold and calculating tones why she did not want to be his bride, and her plan to break her relationship with him.

Before beaming up, Spock delivers a great line: "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."


Orphan Black Named Canada’s Best Dramatic Series

by 2. March 2015 10:00

Going into last night’s Canadian Screen Awards gala, Orphan Black already had eight awards under its belt. On the final night of this elaborate awards show(s), the series came away with two more major awards: Best Dramatic Series and Best Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role (Tatiana Maslany).

This was the show’s second consecutive win in both categories, but that familiarity did nothing to diminish Maslany’s enthusiasm. “It’s such an honour to be here tonight,” she said. “I’m so lucky to have this job, I feel so so lucky.” The actress also paid tribute to the show’s writers, cast, and crew, people “who fight for integrity and artistry at every level. Thank you, thank you, I could not do this without you.”

Roughly the same age as Orphan Black, the Canadian Screen Awards have now been in existence for three years. This series had yet to premiere when the awards were first handed out in 2013, but in both subsequent years, Orphan Black has landed more nominations and wins than any other show. Yesterday’s trophies brought its 2015 CSA total to ten awards, confirming its place as Canada’s most celebrated series.

Orphan Black returns to Space April 18, 9e 6p for its highly anticipated third season. Catch up with the first two season’s on CraveTV right now!

Annnd while you're here, check out BBC America's first trailer trailer for season three:


5 Sweet Things on Space This Week

by 2. March 2015 10:00

Face Off: “Dressed to Kill” (Tuesday 9e 6p)

The work of multi-talented master of horror Clive Barker serves as the inspiration for this week’s makeup challenge. The artists will choose a cutting edge costume and use it as the basis for designing a sophisticated horror villain worthy of one the Hellraiser writer/director’s scary movies.

Wizard Wars: “Magic Carpet Ride” (Tuesday 10e 7p)

It’s that ‘70s episode! Come along on the Wizard’s own brand of magic carpet ride as comedy magicians conjure up tricks and poke fun at the decade of disco. Using props that include fuzzy dice, a tutu, and a guitar, the competitors will attempt to daze and confuse the judges and audience with their dazzling slights of hand.

Johnny Mnemonic (Thursday 9e 6p)

Toronto and Montreal stand in for Newark and Beijing in this 1995 sci-fi flick starring Canadian treasure Keanu Reeves. Set in 2021, the film centres on a mnemonic courier charged with transporting sensitive data from one side of the ocean to the other. The catch? The information is implanted in his already overloaded brain—and both the Yakuza and Big Pharma are hot on his trail.

Bitten: “Rabbit Hole” (Saturday 9e 6p)

Oh, what have you done, Dr. Bauer? Did you know what you were in for when you injected yourself with that syringe full of Elena’s wolf blood? The results of the disturbed doctor’s actions come to light during this new episode in which Aleister kindly gives Elena the job of babysitting Sondra while she attempts to survive the first Change. Um, best of luck with that. Watch our extended sneak peek here!

Star Trek Marathon (Sunday Morning 6e 3p)

Starting very early Sunday morning, we'll be airing 12 back-to-back classic episodes of Star Trek as a tribute to the late, great Leonard Nimoy. If you somehow manage to sleep in (who does that on a Sunday?), we'll be re-airing the whole thing at 6pm until midnight. What specifically will be airing is still TBD, but if you tweet us what classic episode featuring Spock you want to see with #InnerSpaceRemembers, there's a chance you'll see that very episode on Sunday!

Tags: , ,

RIP, Leonard Nimoy

by 27. February 2015 14:00

Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known as the original Spock on Star Trek, died at his Los Angeles home today, his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy confirmed to The New York Times. He was 83 years old.

His wife said that his death was caused by the end stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The actor, whose Star Trek character’s “live long and prosper” catchphrase became iconic to generations of fans, also appeared as an older version of Spock, Spock Prime, in the recently rebooted Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. But he will always be most cherished as William Shatner’s Vulcan costar in the 1966-69 original Star Trek series and the first six Star Trek films.

Of course, Nimoy also had an eclectic acting, writing, and directing career that stretched beyond the far reaches of the Trek galaxy, which you can plainly see in his lengthy IMDb page.

Though this sudden loss is indeed heartbreaking, we’re happy to report that Nimoy certainly lived long and prospered.

Rip, Spock. Thanks for going we're not many men have gone before.


A First-Timer Watches Doctor Who: “Vincent and The Doctor”

by Corrina 27. February 2015 10:00

How do you fight a monster you can’t see?

How do you win if all you can do is lash out blindly and aimlessly at a problem you don’t know how to solve?

In this episode of Doctor Who a Krafayis—a huge alien with the head of a parrot and the body of a giant reptile—serves as an allegory for depression in a story that see the Doctor and Amy travel back in time to visit with Vincent van Gogh.

After promising Rio and delivering Wales (and a completely-erased-from-history fiancé), the Doctor decides to treat Amy to a Paris vacation where the pair spend the day wandering the galleries of the Musée d'Orsay (and comparing bow ties with Bill Nighy). But peace and tranquility don’t make for a good Who episode so, of course, something interrupts their trip. That something is a little face-shaped smudge glimpsed by the Doctor in van Gogh’s painting The Church at Auvers. The seemingly innocuous detail sets off alarm bells for him and before you can say “Dutch post-impressionism” Amy and the Doctor are back in the TARDIS and on course for late 19th-century Provence.

There they meet an angry and harried van Gogh, hated by locals who blame his madness for the mysterious murders occurring in their town. Thanks to Amy’s charm (and red hair), the travellers manage to cozy up to the then-unsuccessful artist, giving them an in to find out about that face painted in the church window. It’s this guy:

And only van Gogh can see him. (Although the Doctor has a pretty neat rear view mirror device, given to him by a smelly—not fairy—godmother, that allows him a glimpse).

Vicious as the creature may look (and here, their reputation precedes them as brutal wandering hunters who abandon the weaker members of the herd), like van Gogh and his depression, this one is also misunderstood. Its arbitrary attacks stem from fear, because the Krafayis is blind.

Just before he kills it in self-defense, Vincent sees it. He sees a lot of things no one else does. Like Amy’s sadness.

And the night sky’s beauty.

He can’t see his own talent though, and has no idea the kind of success the future holds for him—until the Doctor decides to to show him via a quick jaunt aboard the TARDIS.

Deeply moved by the experience, van Gogh returns home seemingly a changed man. Amy rejoices that when she and the Doctor return to the Musée d'Orsay, they will find hundreds of new paintings because the artist will have decided not to kill himself so early in his career at the relatively young age of 37. But it isn’t to be. Some works have been altered (the Krafayis is gone and Vase with 12 Sunflowers has been dedicated to Amy) but the time travellers’ visit didn’t change the outcome of history. Like the other doctors that had tried to treat van Gogh’s mental illness, this Doctor also failed to cure him. Amy’s belief that he could is evidence that in the 21st century, we still struggle to understand and treat mental illness.


Orphan Black Wins Big at the Canadian Screen Awards

by 26. February 2015 10:00

If you sometimes get the feeling that Orphan Black isn’t getting the recognition it deserves, you can rest a little easier in the wake of yesterday’s Canadian Screen Awards announcements. The sci-fi sensation came away with eight honours, including trophies for Writing, Direction, Casting, and Actor in a Featured Supporting Role (Jordan Gavaris).

While Orphan Black emerged as the top winner at yesterday’s ceremony, you may have noticed some glaring omissions—and there’s a good reason for that. The Canadian Screen Awards are distributed in three waves. Yesterday’s eight awards were part of the second wave of announcements, with the most high profile honours being saved for Sunday night’s televised ceremony.

In other words, the show may still add some major awards to its 2015 windfall. Additional categories with Orphan Black representation include Best Actress (Tatiana Maslany) and Best Dramatic Series. Neither win is guaranteed, but the show won both awards last year, so we’re feeling pretty confident.

Here is a complete list of the Orphan Black wins announced yesterday:

Best Achievement in Casting
Sharon Forrest, Susan Forrest

Best Direction in a Dramatic Series
TJ Scott

Best Original Music Score for a Series
Trevor Yuile

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Series
Jordan Gavaris

Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series
Aaron Morton

Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series
D. Gillian Truster

Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Dramatic Program or Series
Liz Calderhead, John Dondertman

Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Series
Graeme Manson

For a full list of winners, click away. And remember, Orphan Black’s third season premieres Saturday, April 18 at 9e 6p. That’s less than two months away!

Tags: ,

Iron Man Gets New Poster, Maps Out His Marvel Future

by Jon 25. February 2015 15:00

Going into Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was widely seen as a star on the decline, but several Marvel blockbusters later, he’s never been bigger. It’s no surprise, then, that he’d want to keep this partnership alive for the foreseeable future.

In a recent interview with Empire, Downey was asked why he chose to expand his Marvel commitment beyond the two additional Avengers movies in his contract. As it turns out, a big part of the reason is Chris Evans (“I’m crazy about Evans,” he says), and the new creative life he breathed into the Marvel universe with last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Downey breaks it down in baseball terms: “Honestly, in order for this whole thing to have worked, I did my part, Hemsworth knocked it out of the stadium and then it fell on Cap. That was the riskiest. It was the one that had the highest degree of difficulty in making it translate to a modern audience. It was the Russos and Chris who, I think, really hit the line drive and won the series.”

Impressed by the film, Downey was more than happy to sign on for the third Captain America movie. With his 50th birthday just around the corner, the actor is keenly aware of his dwindling superhero potential, giving him added incentive to strike while Iron Man is hot—or as he puts it: “keep things bumping along here a little longer than they might have.”

In other words, it’s a good time to be an Iron Man fan. You can see his new Avengers: Age of Ultron poster below, or check in with the whole gang in the group poster we dissected yesterday.