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typicalbook – Wild Fell

December 3, 2016
By lydia in books, booktube, typicalbooks, writing

Wild Fell, by Michael Rowe

Worthy of the Shirley Jackson award and then some, I’m very glad I’d taken Sean Moreland’s advice (and of the ChiZine crew) and picked this up. I love a good ghost story and now I’ve been able to read one of the contemporary best. Based in Alvina, Ontario, it has a special resonance since I’m from the north and did have an ancestor named Alvina. Always thought that was a pretty name and wondered if it were a pretty place…

According to Wild Fell it may be but it’s also terribly haunted. Haunted in that way all small towns can be. The mansion itself, Wild Fell proper, is right up at the top of the list of fine literary haunted houses now. Rowe is also now at the top of my list of fine Canadian authors too. 

Recently I’ve been participating in a workshop group of writers. It’s been really helpful already. Just having others work to dissect, new stories to dig into, and some feedback on my own work. Precious. I’d spent most of my learning to write by reading wonderful stuff like Wild Fell. Maybe a little too much reading and not enough writing, but that feels like splitting hairs. Between having some really great new authors writing this new dark weird and some of them to toss ideas around with, I feel much better equipped in my own work lately. It’s a nice feeling to have. 

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By lydia in films, movies

redpillThe Red Pill (2016)

How do you review a film you haven’t seen? Well, you can’t so this is not a review at all. It looks like I will be waiting for the VOD version of this to hit since this documentary has been deemed so dangerous that many groups are protesting screenings. The Mayfair cancelled this film under pressure (online or in person, bullying or suggestion, I have no idea but there was a protest planned) and now the screening is going forward at a new location presented by another group. It’s unfair that in order to see this a person may find themselves aligning with one group or another. That by stating they want to see it, people assume too much about the future viewers morals, political makeup or lifestyle goals. I found it unfair that to go see a documentary in my favourite theatre I might have had to don headphones and a hoodie in  line while people yelled at those buying tickets. Some people may think that’s exciting, but I find it highly disturbing. So, I’ll be waiting to see this in the comfort of my own home. Making up my own mind, like I normally do. Accepting that there are opinions I may or may not agree with, in whole or in part, and that everyone has a right to express those views without threat of violence. Hell, even without being shouted down, which I find just as violent. I’m just as disappointed that this screening was cancelled, as I am with feminist groups accusing the theatre of aligning with anti-femininsts as well as anti-feminists accusing the theatre of bowing under pressure. It’s all very disappointing considering only very few people involved – if any at all – have even seen this. They are reacting to propaganda. They are letting people tell them what to think and in turn telling people what to do. I’d have much rather seen reactionary programming of more human-rights, equal-rights, feminist and mens-rights documentaries. Then maybe we could all watch ‘Chicken Hawk’ together and have a real reason to question the humans we live alongside.

typicalfilm – Sun Choke

November 17, 2016
By lydia in films, horror, movies

suncSun Choke (2015)

This one caught my eye over the summer and I was surprised to see it on Netflix already. Had I known how great it was, I’d have rented it. Perhaps many other people have the same thought and that is why it is on a subscription site already? To say Barbara Crampton elevates this out of mumble-core territory belies the strength of Sarah Hagan and her gently creeping performance. I’m loathe to place it there to begin with but it does have a very quiet and insular feel with minimalist script and setting. Add skulking emo hoodied teens, and it seems to beg to be placed in that category, if only to claw its way out. Sun Choke is so much more than a summary, however, and no description or trailer really captures what I was in for. Hypnotic from the outset and vague enough to pose a puzzle, it’s full of this quiet terror you just can’t quite put your finger on. By the time you’ve forgotten that you are watching a horror film, it hits you right over the head with genre nastiness. Three days later, it is still on my mind, and each day I want to just watch it again.

Bonus – A Sunchoke is a jerusalem artichoke. Sort of a cross between a daisy and sunflower on sight. The roots are edible and not unlike a potato.

By lydia in films, horror, movies

elgoreEl Gore’s Snuff Tape Anthology (released, Black Lava, 2016)

For months I’d been crazy curious about segment 7, Gore Abortion, for the title alone. Segment 3 and the final ‘Lost Snuff Tape’ were really the stand out reels here while most fell flat for me. I did enjoy my time with this in that hypnotic gore way. Not everyone enjoys that, however, and I’ll maintain there are only a few minutes overall that stuck with me days after. Fun if you enjoy faux-snuff and wish to see all examples, but really only satisfies that. One cadaver was meticulously crafted and enjoyed the bulk of screen time, though I longed for Remi Couture levels of craftsmanship! Using the sounds of tapes being loaded into a VHS player in between segments proved a far more immersive tool than I’d have ever thought. Shows how ingrained those sounds are to one who watched one Hell of a lot of video nastiness as a kid! This is on vimeo for some crazy reason right now, for a decent rental price but the purchase price would make more sense to order as the physical release has additional content.

By lydia in 31 Days of Horror, Dead Air, films, horror, movies

wibThe Woman In Black (2012)

What a lovely return to this film. Wes and I had just been talking about it, how we likely ended up at the same screening, and how we have not watched it since. Howard wrote a fine review for Ottawa Horror and Wes, likewise, on Splatterpictures. I just pulled my blanket closer ’round and reveled in a classic haunted house story. Eel Marsh is my home, and I myself am some sort of woman in black. I’ve dressed as her last year for Halloween and trussed up a friend in the same guise this year. This may be coming soon to a Dead Air episode near you so be warned! There is just so much done right in this very simple story and for once I am a fan of popular modern horror – probably because it is Hammer’s return to us with such an old tale.

It was the happiest of Halloweens here and I do hope everyone else had a horror filled one too! My posts were delayed due to the app on my phone adding a superfluous span tag and doubling letters as I typed. So, while I’d had an uncommonly lovely Halloween vacation where I barely touched my laptop that meant this was on the back burner. But, the films were watched! Even a few more but unlike last year where I listed every little thing that crossed my eyes, I figured the cream of the crop was due. Two mentions must be made – Adam Green’s Halloween short “Don’t Do It” was silly fun, with voice acting by Sid Haig that made my day – and Ian Bracken’s short “Closet Case” that made me want to check in with all my indie film pals to see how they were getting on and nudge them to reach for these kind of heights in sound, monster, and light design. So, as ever, I will still be basically watching a film per day though neglecting my blog somewhat until next year. We posted his viewing on Instagram and perhaps that is the better way… ah well, only 363 days to Halloween!

By lydia in 31 Days of Horror, BindTortureKast, films, horror, movies

Art of the Devil 2 (2005)

One thousand thank you’s to Chris for gifting me his near-lost copy of this Thai horror. Last year I had started watching this on FlixFling only to have the stream stop around the 42 minute mark. They refunded me, but I never did get to see the end. And what an end it is! Turns out it had pooped out just as the cat was let out of the bag, so to speak, and the gore and insanity just ramped up from there. I’d been into the story as it was, so it was a pleasure to start over and will be one I’ll watch again. Far more interesting than the first film and a really great entry to my Asian horror library.

By lydia in 31 Days of Horror, films, horror, movies, Netflix

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016)

Filmed in Ottawa, this US-Canada production has been getting quite a bit of buzz. A Netflix original, it is in line with the work of Shirley Jackson and films like Darling and even more popular ghost stories to date. Created by the son of Anthony Perkins, it has horror hommage moments tempered with a very quiet and truly sweet story. Many have noted the slow-burn nature and while true it also lacks a little something so to say ‘slow-burn’ feels vague. Now the butt of many asinine twitter hashtags, it’s really one that must be seen to mull over its vague and quiet peculiarities.

By lydia in 31 Days of Horror, horror, television

Multiple Personality Detective: Psycho (2000)

Mister Miike sure knows how to make a good story. I’d likened this to Lynch by way of Cronenburg, and the more I think on it the closer that is. Or vise versa. Which came first, the seed or the flower ~ this short series helps confuse that question. The first episode is very strong, and while the story gets more convoluted and more like a music video with each scene, it grows on you. The police have a model builder that recreates each crime scene that is particularly enchanting to me, and wouldn’t you know it, they have a Halloween moment. Perfect. I’d deferred to Chris when I spotted this at The Turning Point, as apparently the censored version is all that exists. A shame in a way, but nothing is lost with a few scenes blurred out, all told.

By lydia in 31 Days of Horror, anime, horror, ReAnimeTion

Ajin Demi Human (2016)

While many people are still flipping out over Stranger Things, I’ve been all about Ajin. From the first episode I was hooked, and though we didn’t finish the entire season, Chris let me strap him down to watch most of it for my second time and his first. So, I’m not crazy and it is a very good if not shockingly dark show. Why other people aren’t flipping out over it, I’ve no idea. Maybe it’s Netflix. Maybe it’s the CGI animation. Maybe everyone likes Bob’s Burgers a little too much? I’ve no idea. Perhaps billed as an action anime, this is firmly in horror territory with monsters, relentless killing, darkness of man and society and a wild twist on death, mortality and resurrection. Lovely stuff!

By lydia in 31 Days of Horror, films, horror, movies

P2 (2007)

The trifecta of Khalfoun, Aja and Levasseur sure make a compelling thriller. So, it’s not horror but certainly horrific and if you want a little meat for the gorehound in you there is a little vehicular manslaughter thrown in. For a film that takes place nearly entirely in a parking garage, there better be, right? There is that same sort of claustrophobic tension I love in Death and the Maiden at play here, and sort of an inverted home invasion. It’s also a neat trifecta of French, American and Canadian storytelling so it’s no wonder such a simple premise works.