Sunday, June 01, 2014

Nic Winding Refn intros TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE in Cannes

Just came back from Cannes where I was scouting films for TIFF and getting into various kinds of trouble (documented by my wife on her Cannes Diary blog). Had the pleasure of seeing the newly restored 4K digital restoration of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in The Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs), a showcase of new directors, independent and avant-guard films presented outside competition and parallel to the main festival. It was quite the homecoming because TCM made its European debut there in 1975 alongside more recognized works by established directors like Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Chantal Akerman.

The screening took place in the beautiful Theatré Croisette with possibly once of the sharpest dressed audiences to assembly for such a gory screening. Not tuxedos, but  the absence of XL stained Fulci t-shirts that seems to be the dress code for most horror events in North America. There was a jeune fille sitting behind us wearing a Jodorowsky a la Judas Priest t-shirt which was a prime example of chic cinephile geekery fashion. And this message to the fella sitting beside her - Marry that woman ASAP! 

 Note the bloody version of the logo on the right.

Lovingly restored by MPI Media by Todd Wieneke, the new version had premiered at SXSWwith much acclaim, but for this screening, we were in for a surprise, an introduction from hot Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Pusher trilogy) who was in Cannes as part of the jury for the main competition. The screening proved that TCM certainly has not lost its power to shock.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is Refn's introduction. Enjoy!

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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Brutal Man-Eater

Some more home entertainment gold from the Chinatown DVD shop up the street from Ultra 8 Pictures HQ

Friday, May 02, 2014

Wall of Snakes

From one of the VCD/DVD vendors in the Chinatown mall just up the street from Ultra 8 Pictures HQ.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Monday, March 03, 2014

Spidey Resnais

One of the great WHAT IFs of cinema history. RIP Alain Resnais.

Maybe it was going to be this?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The search for storage space for the 16mm film collection

I've added this to the previous post, but adding more details to the ongoing story...

Talking to a couple of parties who have offered space for us to store the films. Nothing locked, but most likely the collection will have to be split up between 2-3 locations to accomodate it all. If anyone has any other leads or connections to someone willing to help, please let us know. Email us at

It looks like the owner of the current space is letting us have a few weeks to do the move as it is obviously not something that can be done over night. Phew! That was keeping me up at night!

If the storage solutions work out, I'll be pretty happy with them as it could mark the beginning of some good partnerships with people who are committed to saving and preserving the collection.

I've been busy with work for most of the week and have been juggling the search for spaces with the day job, which is, those who know me, at the busiest point of the year. Well, guess things could be worse and this could have happened in September!

Finally had the opportunity to go into the space today and with the help of pal Sebastian Di Trolio (who came all the way from London, ON to help), Ben Ratcliffe, and Brendan Ross, we were able to clear and pack up over 14 of 38 shelves! That is around 37% of the job done. We've been working on the smallest diameter of cans (400 ft) and working up as the plan is to move the smallest to the biggest (2000 ft).

As we were working in the basement, we talked about the possibilities of what to do with the collection once it gets relocated. As soon as it is all moved and a break in my schedule happens, there will be an intensive listing and arching of the collection to figure next steps. Some of those steps may include some sort of crowdfunding campaign to help get a permanent space for the collection and to cover costs  involved (projectors, screens, repairs, etc), similar to what the 3Ton Preservation Society did. Sketching out ideas, but right now the focus is on getting the collection packed and moved then onwards and upwards!

Thanks to all the folks who have passed this around!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Help! Need To Find Storage Space For 16mm Film Collection (GTA)

>>> UPDATE: Talking to a couple of parties who have offered space for us to store the films. Nothing locked, but most likely the collection will have to be split up between 2-3 locations to accomodate it all. If anyone has any other leads or connections to someone willing to help, please let us know. Email us at

And it looks like the owner of the current space is letting us have a few weeks to do the move as it is obviously not something that can be done over night.

I'll be posting updates on the blog in days to come. Thanks to all the folks who have passed this around!

Looking for any help or leads on securing an unfurnished space of 350 - 400 square feet to store a collection of 16mm film cans. Do you know of a space, or know of a realtor who can help us find a budget-priced space in the Greater Toronto Area? We need to secure something by the end of this month - June 30th. 

Here is the back story. 

As some of you may know, in November of 2010, Eric Veillette and I arranged to "rescue" the 16mm collection from the Toronto Reference Library. This was a huge undertaking, but with the help of a group of our friends, we were able to pack and move over 5000 cans of 16mm film and the shelving racks to store them.

As the operation came about at the last minute, we did not have much of a choice on where we were going to store the collection and we ended up using the basement of a furniture store in the Junction, in an arrangement Eric made with the owner. 

Over the past year and a half, we have identified a number of the rare titles and discovered some valuable Toronto-centric footage. However, this has been a slow process, as Eric and I have been doing it in our spare time and funding it ourselves. This is "pro bono cultural archive work" that we do because we feel strongly that this film collection is worth saving. So far we have found silent home movies that include a lavish ball at the Royal York Hotel in the 1930s, the breaking of the ground for the Yonge Subway, Queen Elizabeth arriving at Toronto Harbour for a visit in the 1950s, as well as works by acclaimed directors like Arthur Lipset and Stan Brakhage.

Here is an example of some of the footage we have found of different areas and events in Toronto during the 1950s: The opening of the Keating St. extension, scenes of Chinatown at night, ticker-tape parade down Yonge St. featuring Marilyn Bell and more:

Unfortunately, and without notice, we have been asked to move the films out of our current space by the end of the month. Yes, June 30th. 

Any help, leads, or assistance would be greatly appreciated. Please forward this to anyone you think might be able to help.

We are also potentially looking for a patron to help us with the collection as so far this has been all funded from our own pockets. Our collection needs a Sugar Daddy!

For reference here is a link to a PDF of an article about the collection that appeared in the latest issue of Taddle Creek, as well as a link to a story from the Toronto Star about the acquisition. This should help explain the importance of the collection for anyone else you may forward this to.

If you can help, please contact me at

Colin + Eric 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

some miscellaneous 31 Days

Not including the Romero films, some of the other films that I didn't list that I saw as part of the 31 Days of Horror...

why I flopped the 31 Days of Horror

Yup. It was a valiant try alright. At the start I was worried I wasn't going to make it and I top loaded my viewing schedule with double bills for the upcoming October days when I knew I wasn't going to be able to see any horror films. However I did fall off the wagon, but in my defense, it is in part because so much of my job involves watching horror films in a professional capacity. And then of course, I spent the end of the month hosting a series of horror classics in 35mm on the big screen in the presence of a true master of horror, so I think in some respects, I served out the end of the 31 days in the spirit above and beyond.

Monday, October 08, 2012

31 Days of Horror - Day 7 & 8: Deadly Friend + Pumpkinhead

Confession time! So last night I didn't actually watch a horror film. I didn't watch any film at all truth be told. Today was Thanksgiving in Canada, so last I was hanging with family and was nearly comatose from the amazing turkey dinner we had. However, I feel I still am on the full 31 Days of Horror roll as a few nights in the past week, Kat and I have done some double billing that will make up for the absence of horror cinema last night in our lives.

On Friday we check out a title that is usually dropped from when folks talk about Wes Craven's legacy of horror, Deadly Friend (1986). While there are moments of Craven branded bloody nightmare sequences (originally cut to avoid an X rating from the MPAA but , but restored on DVD),  over all the film has too much of the Short Circuit-esque cute robot hijinks to be ranked on par with his other horror works. There is however, this outrageous death scene that makes the film worth watching just for sheer WTF awesomeness. Oh yeah, also starring a young Khristy Swanson.

Warning: Cute robot ahead!!!

Now that I have confessed my sin of a night of no horror, our viewing pleasure this evening is one that I've seen, but that Kat hasn't - Pumpkinhead (1988). I remember when this film was announced, all the folks into horror were super excited and eager to see it since the director was acclaimed special effects and make-up artist Stan Winston, whose most notable works are always cited, so I'll mention some of his lesser ones such as The Entity, Dead & Buried, The Hand, The Exterminator, the TV movie Gargoyles, Dracula's Dog, Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde, The Monster Squad, Invaders from Mars, The Vindicator, the Manimal TV series, White Dog, and Parasite. Unfortunately, United Artists really didn't know what to do with the film so there was a muddled marketing campaign (as displayed in the first poster below) and a spotty release of the film. Sadly it is the only big feature that Winston did (and he passed away in 2008), but its grim homourless tone, Lance Henrickson in such a great role and superbly designed creature, all done with real practical effects, has gained the film a loyal following (bet UA never anticipated Pumpkinhead action figures) and surprisingly enough, three sequels. Haven't seen those, but we have them on standby in case Kat wants a marathon!

Above: The Turkish poster


Saturday, October 06, 2012

31 Days of Horror - Day 6: Curse of the Demon

Tonight we go back to Britain for a film I consider a must see in the horror canon, Jacques Tourneur's Curse of the Demon (1957) aka Night of the Demon. Based on the story "Casting of the Runes" by M.R. James which had previously been adapted into a radio play for the program "Escape" (you can listen to it here at the Internet Archives). Tourneur had already proven himself as a master of "less is more" horror with I Walked with a Zombie and Cat People and had originally planned to shoot the movie without directly showing the monster, but the studio pressured him to add it for commercial reasons towards the end of filming. It was released in the U.S. as the lower half of a double bill with Hammer's The Revenge of Frankenstein.

Trivia tidbits from the IMDB:

• This is the movie that the line "It's in the trees! It's coming!" was sampled from for the opening of Kate Bush song "The Hounds of Love".

• This film was mentioned in the opening song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show ("Science Fiction Double Feature"): "Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes, but passing them used lots of skill".