5 questions with the trio behind WHY Horror?

by Neil 21. October 2014 11:22

Any horror movie buff worth their salt knows the basic history of the divisive film genre. But horror isn’t just a part of the movies—it’s a part of our culture. Filmmakers Rob Lindsay and Nicolas Kleiman wanted to explore not just what horror as a whole means to us, but also why we need it. They couldn’t have found a more knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and endearing fan than Tal Zimerman, who serves are our host and gateway into this sprawling, blood-spattered subject. Their feature-length documentary WHY Horror? screens Thursday, October 23 at 9:30pm as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and we got to talk to all three dudes about growing up as horror lovers, interviewing some of their most beloved directors, and the impact they hope their doc will leave on horror fans and non-fans alike.

Space: WHY Horror? isn’t your typical genre exploration. What would you say is unique about it?

Tal Zimerman: Other docs deal with the who, what, where, and when of horror, but as far as I know, the why hasn’t been attempted before. Also, WHY Horror? attacks the genre from a variety of disciplines: filmmakers, comic writers, novelists, video game developers, actors, and academics. It brings the idea of horror past genre trappings and into the philosophical side.

Rob Lindsay: Horror is something we all have in our lives on some level. It's ingrained in our DNA. There have been a lot of documentaries that discuss how horror is made or that explore filmmakers’ careers, but we wanted to discover WHY we like horror. And who better to guide us than a die-hard fan like Tal?

Nicolas Kleiman: What makes WHY Horror? unique is Tal. Most horror documentaries are about the skill needed to make horror films. WHY Horror? looks beyond movies, through the eyes of a horror fan that wants to learn more about himself.

Did any of you receive flak growing up as horror fans?

RL: I was more of a casual horror fan growing up. The older I got, the more I got into it. But I do remember when I went to the video store and my friends were checking out sports-comedy films, I loved to go to the horror section and check out all the cool horror VHS covers. Then I'd rent them when no one was looking.

TZ: It’s not like I was persecuted. I was accused to sabotaging my friends' attempts to get laid by wearing zombie t-shirts. Once, a high school art teacher drew a comparison between me and serial killers based on my art. So the flak wasn't too serious, but the stigma was very apparent and in truth I kind of enjoyed it.

What are some of your fondest horror movie memories?

TZ: Watching George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead for the first time was a sublime experience. I changed as a person from that moment on. I believe it's why I currently do what I do, with regards to being a horror fan. Discovering Rue Morgue Magazine and their Cinemacabre movie nights in the early 2000's was also a great experience. Discovering a scene that was starting to emerge was very exciting because my horror fandom was spent in relative isolation.

RL: My parents said I couldn't watch Jaws and I was sent to my room while they watched it. I snuck out and hid behind my mom's chair. When the head popped out of the boat, I screamed so loud my mom jumped right out of her chair. I think I got grounded, but it was worth it.

NK: For me, horror is something that's enjoyed more in the present than in the past. The tension that you feel while watching a horror movie, with your heart racing and that constant feeling that something will go wrong, is stronger than any memory I have.

What do you hope WHY Horror? will get across to horror fans, and perhaps even detractors?

RL: We hope people come away with a different perspective of the genre. So many people are black and white when it comes to horror. They always say to us, "I love it" or "I hate it." But we hope the more people look into the history, evolution, and psychology of horror, the more they come away with a better understanding of why it's in our society in the first place.

NK: One of the most memorable experiences with the film was in Mexico. After the screening, a fan mentioned that he saw his life projected on the screen. This is what I expect horror fans to feel. But more important, in the same screening, a non-horror fan approached and mentioned that the film made him reevaluate his views on the genre.

TZ: To horror fans, I want the film to show that we are part of something bigger than a segment of modern geek culture. Humans have always desired a way to explain or view the dark side of life and the modern horror film, novel, or video game is an extension of that. And I suppose to the detractors, I'd have the same idea. Though, half the fun of being a horror fan is knowing it grosses other people out. So keep on detractin'!

You landed some diverse interview subjects. Was it hard getting them all on board?

TZ: Amazingly, we got most of the people we wanted. We had an initial wish list that included filmmakers from countries like Spain and France, and we didn’t get to visit those countries. However, directors like Alex de la Iglesia and Alexandre Aja ended up in Toronto. And our Japanese coordinators suggested some interview subjects we hadn't considered, like storyteller Junji Inagawa and manga creator Kazuo Umezu.

NK: We just had the right people working with us. Our producer, TIFF Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes, is extremely well connected and helped us a lot. But we also trusted people's ideas. Our fixer in Japan, Jason Grey, not only got the people we requested but also some that were unknown to us but extremely popular in Japan, and they became central pieces of the film.

RL: We had a whiteboard with our wish list. It had such diverse names like George Romero, John Carpenter, Alice Cooper, and Rob Zombie. Then we said, "Okay, who can we really get?" But suddenly, we landed an interview with Carpenter at Fan Expo in Toronto. Then Colin Geddes set us up with Romero right after that. It was amazing how quickly others came on board when we said we already spoke with these two legends of horror. Sadly, Cooper and Zombie never happened, but we hope to get them for the sequel…

Ticket info can be found here. Check out the trailer for WHY Horror? below:

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Sharknado 3 to hit the “Feast Coast”

by Neil 20. October 2014 16:52

The good folks at Syfy have just reported that the third Sharknado flick will strike the “entire Eastern seaboard” in the summer of 2015. Details are scant, other than that the sharknado will start in Washington, D.C. and whirl its way down to Orlando, Florida, and “no seaboard city below our [their] nation’s capital is safe.”

Star power has yet to be revealed, but we do know Sharknado 3 will once again be produced by The Asylum.

Until then, here’s a keeee-lassic Sharknado 2 gif of Ian Ziering whacking a tiny shark into a pizza oven:

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5 sweet things to watch on space this week

by Space.ca 20. October 2014 15:09

1. Utopia (Monday 10e 7p)

The final instalment of this violent and vibrant—seriously: it's colourful—BBC conspiracy series airs tonight. The group must stop Terrence before he gets the chance to release the virus—without getting themselves killed in the process. David Fincher is currently in the works on an American version of this series for HBO, meaning it will probably be huge. But it all started here: with a bunch of soggy no-ones from London trying to save the world. If you haven't yet checked this show out, here's a trailer.

2. Face Off (Tuesday 9e 6p)

The contestants have one last, probably-really-stressful chance to prove themselves to the judges before the finale. Dina and Cig seem like a lock—it's been a while since either of them choked—but George and Drew have been less than consistent. After last week's pretty fairy challenge, things are getting gross again on Tuesday: the artists must create nasty creatures who caused terrible disasters. We're talking big crabs and bugs.

3. Town of the Living Dead (Tuesday 10e 7p)

Scary things we've seen so far on Town of the Living Dead: a zombie penis, a not-so-masterful martial arts master named Master Farrell, John (the director) losing his temper, and John's mother Pearl just being herself—which, trust us, is freaky. This week, there's apparently a zombie birth scene (possibly inspired by the zombie baby in the Z Nation series premiere?), and Tina begins a chicken-wing-only diet. Curious to hear the rationale behind that one.

4. Z Nation (Friday 10e 7p)

After last week's shocker episode, the surviving members of the Z Nation crew have no choice but to continue traipsing across the country. The next attraction on their road trip: a gun show. A drunken gun show. Where zombies are used as targets. This sounds like a very safe, relaxed and fun event where nothing could possibly go wrong.

5. Doctor Who (Saturday 9e 6p)

What's that we see in the trailer for this week's episode of Doctor Who? Danny? Stepping out of the TARDIS? After Clara's truly terrible attempt to cover up the fact that she's still hanging with the Doctor, there will likely be some heart-to-hearts this week. That is, if she and Danny can escape the tigers. This adventure looks like it popped out of a Henri Rousseau painting—just with aliens.

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Space wants to send you on an Interstellar voyage

by Neil 20. October 2014 13:00

It’s no exaggeration to say Interstellar is one of the most anticipated films of 2014. It’s been over two years since Christopher Nolan concluded his massively acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy, and we’re beyond pumped to see what he’ll do with this cerebral space travel follow-up.

Plot specifics are still a bit foggy, and that’s just how we like it. This is the kind of movie experience you want to go in fresh for. What we do know is the film is set in the future, where the Earth’s atmosphere is pretty much devastated. Matthew McConaughey plays a widowed engineer forced to leave his kids behind so that he can embark on a space odyssey in search of a place for humankind to relocate. We also know McConaughey isn’t the only A-list actor involved—he’s joined by Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, and several other heavy-hitters.

For the record, we’re not just writing this because we’re shameless sci-fi fanboys, but also because we’ve got a totally relevant contest for you to enter. To celebrate the November 7 release of Interstellar, Space is giving you a chance to win a trip for two to Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center. More specifically, the grand prize includes two roundtrip flights to Florida, four nights’ hotel accommodation, $1,000 spending cash, plus two tickets to the Kennedy Space Center. Pretty out-of-this-world stuff, right?

Check out full rules and regulations here, then get your butt over to our Interstellar Contest Page and fill out the form!

And finally, if for some reason you haven't been on Earth these past few months, have a look at the most recent Interstellar trailer below:

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Doctor Who: "Flatline"

by Eleni 20. October 2014 11:51

Earlier this season, Clara and the Doctor got shrunk down to nano-size and explored the inside of a Dalek. Now it's time for the TARDIS to get the Rick Moranis treatment: in "Flatline," a mysterious energy source shrinks it to dollhouse dimensions. Call it wibbly wobbly timey wimey teenie weenie stuff.

It all starts when the Doctor misfires while trying to return Clara to school in time for lunch with Danny. They end up in Bristol, but that's not the only surprise: the exterior of the TARDIS has been compressed, so it only comes up to about the Doctor's chest. He sticks around to investigate this mystery—which is apparently very exciting—while Clara scopes out the neighbourhood to see if she can find any clues. Turns out there have recently been a series of disappearances, and an anonymous person has been painting a mural in tribute to the victims. Clara rushes back to tell the Doctor her findings, but he's a little… cooped up. While investigated the inside of the TARDIS, the blue box shrunk again, trapping him inside its adorable, Playmobil-sized walls.

Meaning Clara must take ownership of this episode. She shoves the TARDIS in her purse, shoves a microphone in her ear, and leads the way in uncovering a species of two-dimensional creatures who are trying to understand three-dimensional space—by killing those who occupy it. She saves the world, but when she seeks congratulations from the Doctor, he's not so keen to dole out praise.

As a viewer, we do want to give her a pat on the back. Several times this season, Clara has had to take charge when the Doctor was incapacitated in some way. In "Deep Breath," he was literally asleep—and then somewhat muddled—following his regeneration. In "Listen," she comforted a child Doctor while he cried in bed. And now, she is the one leading the mission against the 2Ds. (Or sorry, "The Boneless"—as the Doctor christens them at the end of the episode.)

Peter Capaldi's Doctor seems more at ease with being the Doctor than previous incarnations, but Clara has been having a very complicated time. Despite the novelty of a new Doctor, it could be said that this season is more about Clara: her discovery of her own capabilities, her scramble to juggle a romantic relationship with time travel, her increasingly slippery system of values, her addiction to the buzz of TARDIS-travel. Usually, it's the Doctor who is somewhat imbalanced. But this time, it's his companion.

Which leads us to her conversation with the Doctor at the end of the episode. "Why can't you say it?" she asks the Doctor, "I was the Doctor and I was good." The Doctor tells her she was an exceptional Doctor—but that goodness had nothing to do with it. She feels proud of herself for becoming more like him. He recognizes that this is not a thing to commend. Clara's increased sense of recklessness and danger-seeking can't be leading anywhere positive.

And we get another quick glimpse of Missy, this time playing around with an iPad that appears to be offering a direct feed of Clara in real time. So first question: how is she getting that feed? Second question: if she's using an iPad, does that mean she is from contemporary times? She dresses from the past but seems futuristic. With only three episodes left this season, our questions will soon be answered.

Watch the episode here!

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Win 2 tickets to Toronto After Dark’s sold out closing night film

by Neil 17. October 2014 18:00

Do you like scary movies? Even if you don’t, how could you say no to a pair of free tickets to a sold out closing night Gala film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival? You and a date/pal/fiancée/family member/anyone you damn well please can be among the first Canadians to see the Australian chiller The Babadook, which screens at 9:30pm on October 24.

All you gotta do is get your butt on Twitter, follow @SpaceChannel, and retweet the following phrase when you see it: Follow @SpaceChannel and retweet this to be entered to win a pair of ticket to The Babadook sold out closing gala screening at @TADFilmFest

The Babadook tells the story of a single mother and her young son, who are terrorized by a sinister presence that they’ve unleashed by reading a rather creepy childrens’ pop-up book. Colour us spooked!

Click here for full rules and regulations, and scroll down to check out the trailer and poster:

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Space-iest stories of the week

by Eleni 17. October 2014 14:14

1. If you've watched the trailer for the upcoming episode of Doctor Who, you know that Saturday's story involves street art. (Or more specifically: street art that comes to life, and is probably being controlled by a malevolent alien influence.) So over at Doctor Who TV, they posted a detailed rundown of the series' fine-art influences—which include Edvard Munch and Van Gogh.

2. The Cybermen will be clomping back to Doctor Who for this season's two-part finale. And now that we're about a month away, Steven Moffat has started dropping vague-yet-infuriating-yet-exciting teasers. For example, he revealed this week—in Doctor Who Magazine via Den of Geek—that the season closer would be "proper scary."

3. Doctor Who is inherently a bit silly. That's part of the fun! But sometimes—especially in the classic series—silly dips into hilariously bad and/or weird. Again: part of the fun! So over at What Culture, they've rounded up the 10 most cringe-worthy moments from 1970s Doctor Who. Think bad clown outfits, laughable effects, and hugging mummies.

4. Could you explain Doctor Who in 10 seconds? Mashable asked Doctor Who cosplayers at New York Comicon to do just that. Some of them could—and many of them couldn’t.

5. TV Equals put together a list of five reasons you should be watching Z Nation. These include: the fast pace, the tongue-in-cheek vibe, the anything-goes vibe, and the snark. So basically, you should watch Z Nation because it's fun!

6. Before Laura Vandervoort was a werewolf, she was a Kryptonian: on Smallville, the Toronto-born actor played the role of Supergirl. So when it was recently announced that Supergirl would be getting her own series, IGN wanted Vandervoort's two cents. Her reaction? That it would be fun to make a guest appearance as a villain.

7. In support of Spirit Day—which was yesterday—the cast and crew of Orphan Black assembled in Felix's loft and made this nice video for GLAAD.

8. And Toronto After Dark kicked off last night! We'll be blogging about it throughout the fest, or you check out The Toronto Star's top five picks, Dork Shelf's After Dark guide, or Twitch's list of nine must-see movies.

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Zombeavers attack Toronto After Dark

by Eleni 17. October 2014 11:39

Don't text and drive. That is the public service message at the core of Zombeavers, an unabashedly absurd horror-comedy that's chewing its way to the Toronto After Dark Film Festival Saturday night. Because if you text and drive, you'll drive distracted. And if you drive distracted, then you might not see the deer standing in the middle of the road. Which means you might hit it. And then the tank of radioactive goo you're carrying in the back of your truck might fall into a pool of water containing beavers. And then those beavers might transform into murderous, bucktoothed mutants.

So save your texting for later.

Zombeavers' title is self-explanatory: this is a movie about zombie beavers. Their victims are a group of borderline brainless sorority sisters who've escaped to a remote cabin for a weekend of topless swimming, complaining about the lack of Wi-Fi, and NO BOYS. That's because Jenn, the tortured blond, just got cheated on by her doofus boyfriend Sam. Her friend Mary, the nice one, is enforcing some serious girl time—but Zoe, the obnoxious one, invites the boys to crash their getaway. As if spending a weekend at a cottage with your cheater boyfriend weren't awkward enough, it only gets worse when the crew starts getting viciously chased, bitten, and killed by undead beavers.

Director Jordan Rubin keeps things goofy, aiming for applause-inspiring kills and laughter-inspiring beaver close-ups rather than true scares. Zombeavers takes cues from classic creature features, using animatronic beavers rather than CGI effects. The beavers themselves are very funny to watch: they've got big mean teeth, crazy white eyes, and a cute little waddle. Not so cute are the humans-turned-beavers. These beavers are zombies, after all—and you know what happens after a zombie bite.Zombeavers pays fun homage to low-budget horror of the 1970s and 1980s, and doesn't shy away from over-the-top gags and kills. Feet get chewed off by beavers, humans grow huge front teeth, and the numskull characters prove that even in the middle of a zombie-beaver onslaught, they can (sort of) find love. Plus, there are enough beaver/vagina jokes that even the characters start getting annoyed.

Click here to purchase tickets or to view the full Toronto After Dark Film Festival lineup!

Check out the trailer and poster for Zombeavers below:

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Review: The Guest

by Neil 16. October 2014 16:07

Good news for those of you who dug 2011’s sly slasher send-up, You’re Next: not only is director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Berrett’s latest creation, The Guest, as much of a late-night delight as that was, it’s easily the most gleefully entertaining genre flick of the year. And also essential Halloween viewing.

Like his role on Dowton Abbey, Dan Stevens plays a dashing, well-mannered man. Completely unlike his British TV role, in The Guest Stevens is also a psychotic war vet who goes on a killing spree. He also has an American accent, but that’s somewhat less alarming.

The unrelenting tension—and gallows humour—begins when David Collins (Stevens) shows up at the door of the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their late soldier son. David’s mysterious presence seems too good to be true after he beats up a bunch of bullies for the family’s teenaged son Luke (Brendan Meyer) and parties hard with daughter Anna’s (Maika Monroe, who also stars in the soon-to-be-released It Follows) pals. Of course, David isn’t just sticking around to make new friends—he’s on the lam from some seriously dangerous military dudes.

The Guest’s final lap is tonally bonkers and balls-out thrilling, so the less you know, the better. Like You’re Next, The Guest is loaded with genre tropes (in this case, R-rated ’80/’90s-era horror and action). Both films include a heaping amount of bloody fatalities, but in both cases Wingard rarely lingers on the gruesome stuff, which is nice. His kills are quick and dirty, and always more exhilarating than harrowing. It should also be noted that both flicks also boast bitchin' soundtracks.

And if you're not buying that it's actually humourous, The Guest recently played to wide acclaim as the closing night film at TIFF’s genre-centric Midnight Madness programme, where Stevens told the audience that this was "the funniest script I read in ages." Then again, his precious Downton Abbey fans would probably disagree.

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Toronto After Dark starts tonight

by Eleni 16. October 2014 13:38

We bet you're sitting at home right now thinking, "Gee, my week could sure use a zombie beaver. There just aren't enough zombie beavers in my life right now!" Well, your furry dreams have been answered: the Toronto After Dark Film Festival premieres tonight at the Scotiabank Theatre and runs until October 24. And it's got beavers—zombie beavers. As well as haunted houses, Nazi zombies, serial killers, werewolves, and plenty more weird stuff.

Tonight's opening slate night features a haunted house double-hitter. First up is New Zealand director Gerard Johnstone's acclaimed horror-comedy Housebound at 7:00pm. Kylie (Morgana O'Reilly) is a delinquent teen sentenced to eight months of home detention for bad behaviour. Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) is her busybody mother—who is convinced there's a ghost living in the attic. Spoiler: there probably is. A favourite out of South by Southwest earlier this year, Housebound makes its Toronto premiere tonight.

Then stick around for Richard Bates Jr.'s sleepy-town creeper Suburban Gothic at 9:45pm. The film stars Matthew Gray Gubler as Raymond, a cravat-knotting MBA graduate who has no choice but to move back in with his parents when he can't find a job. Relocating to the suburbs would be terrifying enough on its own, but Raymond's small-town horror is compounded by horrors of the more supernatural type: his house is haunted. With the help of local black-eyelinered bartender Becca (Kat Dennings), Raymond plots to free his home of its angry spirit. And, hopefully, his angry father—who's a real dick.

Bates' horror-comedy puts its emphasis on the comedy: Raymond's interactions with his neighbours are often more volatile than his interactions with the afterlife. Still, there are enough visions of little dead girls and vomited eyeballs to satisfy a genre fan's bloodlust. Although the freakiest thing might be the romper Gubler wears to do yard work.

Other highlights from the Toronto After Dark lineup include the aforementioned Zombeavers, your classic tale of coeds dying at a cabin (by the teeth of mutated beavers); Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, about a young girl from Tokyo who becomes obsessed with the movie Fargo; The ABCs of Death 2, the follow-up to the super-fun 2012 hit The ABCs of Death; and the acclaimed Australian creeper The Babadook, about a mother and son who are terrorized by a character from a children's book.

Click here to purchase tickets or to view the full Toronto After Dark schedule. General admission to individual screenings is $13—about the same as a regular movie ticket. So get your butt over there!

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