Friday, October 31, 2014

HORROR-RAMA: George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine) Loves Canadian Horror Fans

The legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on......

Today is Halloween but all I can think about is Valentine's Day. My Bloody Valentine, to be precise. One of the greatest horror slashers ever made, and one of the best Canadian horror films ever put on film in the 1980s, the original My Bloody Valentine is a true cult classic that endures to this day. And this weekend at Horror-Rama, Toronto's only all-horror fan convention, you can come geek out over My Bloody Valentine with its director and esteemed convention guest GEORGE MIHALKA.

Mihalka will be appearing November 1st and 2nd at Horror-Rama, and the director of cult classics like My Bloody Valentine, Blue Man, and The Psychic has some exciting news about brand new horror projects in the works.

Mihalka tells Horror in the Hammer, "I am currently developing a few horror projects: "Revelations" and "Death Rattle" to name a couple. I have decided to come back to my roots and explore new stories to scare the bejeezus out of my fans. I will keep everyone posted as things move along. I will have some cool international and classic North American posters, cool postcards, and some never seen before 8x10 pictures from My Bloody Valentine to offer the fans who come and visit me at Horror-Rama."

Mihalka is no stranger to the horror fan community and has nothing but praise for the fans he meets at events like Horror-Rama.

"Horror fans are the most loyal and dedicated fans of any genre," Mihalka says. "I love their eclectic tastes, their informed questions and opinions. Frankly, sometimes I think they know more about my film than I do."

"Canadian horror fans are the most knowledgeable fans I have met," he continues. "Not only are they aware of what's going on in North America, they also have an astute knowledge of international films such as European, Asian and South American. I am always moved by the love and pride they display towards Canadian horror films, and of course their love of My Bloody Valentine never ceases to touch me... It makes me proud to have made a film that resonates so strongly with Canadian fans."

Come share your love of horror and My Bloody Valentine with Mihalka and other exciting HORROR-RAMA guests such as Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead), Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria), Nivek Ogre (Repo! The Genetic Opera), Barbie Wilde (Hellraiser II), Lisa Marie (Ed Wood), and so many more this weekend in Toronto: November 1 & 2.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jovanka Vuckovic to Make HORROR-RAMA a Scream (Interview)

Want to know why I love horror conventions? 

You get to meet people that are not only horror fans but people who have been able to translate their horror fandom into a creative force. A lot of the celebrity guests at horror-cons are not just actors putting in their time on the behest of a PR firm; they are dyed-in-the-wool horror maniacs just like you. And we can't talk about Canadian horror maniacs without talking about author and filmmaker Jovanka Vuckovic.

Jovanka Vuckovic will be appearing this weekend at Horror-Rama: Toronto's only all-horror fan convention. Jovanka was kind enough to talk a bit with Horror in Hammer about her upcoming appearence, her new projects, and her unabiding love for all things horror and the fans who love it. 

HITH: What do you love about meeting and hanging out with horror fans?

Jovanka Vuckovic: I've been going to conventions for many years both as a fan and a guest and I'll tell you the absolute best shows are the ones where you get to actually spend real time with the other horror fans there. They come from all walks of life so it's interesting to connect, geek out over common interests and have a few laughs. I met a forensic anthropologist at a zombie convention once and I could have talked to him all day, he was so fascinating. Here's a man whose job is to identify human remains in criminal cases and he uses zombie films for escapism. Another was an ER doctor who said she loves vampires because the idea of everlasting life is so unappealing it helps her conquer her fear of death! People like them are the reason why I love meeting horror fans. They remind me that reading horror stories and watching horror films is actually a completely normal and natural thing to do.

HITH: What do you love about Canadian horror fans?

JV: There are no dedicated horror conventions here [in Toronto], so I'm grateful that Luis [Ceriz of Supect Video] and Chris [Alexander of Fangoria] have decided to finally fill that void with Horror-Rama. They promise a fun, relaxed atmosphere that reminds me of conventions past, where you could chat with people at your booth all day and then mingle with the same folks over a beer after the show as well. Everyone is just hanging out, celebrating the genre they love.

HITH: What can fans expect if they come to see you at Horror-Rama?

JV: I'll be promoting my next two film projects: XX, the first-ever all female horror anthology and the feature film adaptation of Clive Barker's Jacqueline Ess, starring Lena Headey of Game of Thrones. I'll also have copies of both of my books [Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead & Vuckovic's Horror Miscellany], DVDs, 8x10s, posters and t-shirts and plenty of free hugs

Meet Jovanka and other exciting horror guests such as Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria), Nivek Ogre (Repo! The Genetic Opera), Lisa Marie (Ed Wood), George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine) and so many more this weekend in Toronto at HORROR-RAMA: November 1 & 2.

Horror Legend Tom Savini Wants to See You at HORROR-RAMA (Nov 1 & 2)

Among all the amazing guests scheduled to appear at HORROR-RAMA this weekend for Toronto's only fan convention dedicated exclusively to horror, a bonafide horror legend will be walking the halls of 99 Sudbury. Tom Savini, the legendary special effects master behind Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th, Creepshow and so many more classic and influential films, wants to see you at Horror-Rama! We reached out to Savini to ask him what he loves about meeting and hanging out with horror fans.

"It's like being in an aquarium and so many varieties of fish swim by for you to look at," Savini says. "Or a fancy artsy parade is constantly going by with fans from little kids to professional adults, doctors, lawyers, policemen, soldiers, and sometimes I learn an awful lot about what's going on in their lives, and the movies they like, and the effects or directing work of mine they love. We did some of these movies thirty years ago but as long as the companies still put out different editions and keep our name in the public eye there will be the many fans who come to these things."

Fans of Savini's work can look forward to meeting and great the horror great as well as learning more about his exciting upcoming projects. "I am also working on a documentary on my work called SMOKE AND MIRRORS, Savini tells Horror in the Hammer, "and I will be showing a ten minute teaser of that. Also working on a large coffee table book of my life with lots and lots of behind the scene photos and interviews."

Meet Tom Savini and other exciting horror guests such as Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria), Nivek Ogre (Repo! The Genetic Opera), Lisa Marie (Ed Wood), George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine) and so many more this weekend in Toronto at HORROR-RAMA: November 1 & 2. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

HELLMOUTH (Review) - Toronto After Dark 2014


review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by John Geddes
Written by Tony Burgess

Starring Stephen McHattie, Siobhan Murphy, Boyd Banks, Julian Richings, Bruce McDonald, Adam Seybold

On Friday, October 17th, HELLMOUTH had its World Premiere to a sold-out crowd at the 2014 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Although Toronto After Dark had one of its best lineups in years, HELLMOUTH, sadly, was one of the worst films of the most disappointing films of the festival.

Produced by the Collingwood-based production company Foresight Pictures, which brought us Monster Brawl, Exit Humanity, and Sceptic Man, Hellmouth stars Stephen McHattie as a gravedigger with a degenerative brain condition on the verge of retirement. He's strong-armed into postponing his retirement for six more months to take a job at another cemetery where the keeper has gone AWOL. Charlie takes the job, but somewhere along the way crosses into a hellish dimension where he witnesses a number of demons, must save a beautiful blonde damsel, and faces off against a Mephistophelian mirror version of himself

The audience`s face
Sounds kind of cool, right? Well, whatever the intentions of the filmmakers, Hellmouth flops. It`s a metaphysical mess of crude horror-fantasy-noir that represents a considerable backstep in quality for everyone involved. I love the writing of Tony Burgess, but the script for Hellmouth that made it to screen was disoriented, scattered, and rambling without stakes or story. In his Civil War-era zombie film Exit Humanity, Geddes showed a really strong ability to deliver action and great character work, but in Exit Humanity there's just nothing especially good or interesting going on. For the story of a man who descends into his own personal hell, it was really boring. I dozed off once or twice in no small part because the audible snoring of the guy next to me and the sleepy breathing of the audience member a rows up were infectious. Not even the film's visual style was enough to keep my eyelids from drooping. Hellmouth is shot first in black and white and then with hints of colour against a digitally-produced green screen background (ala Sin City), to evoke some kind of rough approximation of 1950s horror movies. Sadly, these effects are painfully cheap-looking and underwhelming. Why was Hellmouth shot like a 50s horror movie when no part of the film felt or sounded like a 50s horror movie? Maybe I've missed something here.

Overstuffed and undercooked, Hellmouth is an infernal dud. A really great performance by Stephen McHattie cannot even pull Hellmouth out of the hell of its own making. 

THE BABADOOK (Review) - TADFF 2014


review by AARON ALLEN

Directed and written by Jennifer Kent

Starring Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Noah Wiseman

Not since Stanley Kubrick's The Shining has a film so terrifyingly merged childhood nightmares with a parent's darkest fears and most disturbing desires. 

I had the honour and the privilege to attend one of two sold-out screenings of the Australian supernatural horror film The Babadook at last week's Toronto After Dark Film Festival. I'd heard great things about this Aussie indie, and audiences were obviously clamoring to see it. The first showing sold out so quickly that Toronto After Dark scheduled a second screening just to satiate fan demand. But nothing, not even all the advance praise, could prepare me for how beautifully spooky, richly metaphorical, and supremely eerie I found The Babadook. This is an astounding debut feature film from director/writer Jennifer Kent that will be terrifying horror fans for generations to come.

Amelia, a single mother (Essie Davis), struggles to raise her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) as he grows increasingly strange and isolated from his peers, even to the point of being removed from school for bringing dangerous home-made weapons to class. Prone to wild and sometimes violent fits of imagination, Samuel has recently been plagued by fears of monsters lurking in their house. Amelia, meanwhile, struggles with her own fears. The anniversary of her husband's violent death on the night of Samuel's birth is creeping closer approaching. Things then take a turn for the eerie when Amelia discovers a strange pop-up book on Samuel's shelf titled Mister Babadook. It's sinister sing-song story of a strange cloaked figure in a tophat that appears to terrorize a young boy sends Samuel into tears. Amelia throws away the book, but it returns....along with a powerful and malevolent entity that beings to terrorize Amelia and Samuel. But is "Mister Babadook" an external supernatural threat, or truly something dark and evil that whispers from within?

The Babadook is intense. Supremely well-acted and relying on a slow-burn of real horror and deep psychological dread, The Babadook is truly an unforgettable achievement in cinematic terror. It's been almost a week since I saw it, and I still see and hear The Babadook in the dark corners of my house (not to mention the dark corners of the mind where such fictional creatures as Mister Babadook take hold and achieve a vivid and surreal life of their own as part of our pop-culture mental landscapes). With its well-crafted structure, spooky German expressionistic visual influence, and its inspired concept, The Babadook exposes all other popular pretenders to supernatural horror as the real heaps of shit that they are (I'm looking at you, Paranormal Activity franchise!). 

Noah Wiseman as Samuel, ready to face his fears
If you get the chance to see The Babadook, don't miss it. You can thank me later once you wipe the anxious sweat from your quivering palms. There hasn't been a horror film this impacting or artfully eerie in a good long time. Jennifer Kent has not only put herself on the horror map with this feature, she's redrawn some of the borders in terms of what can be achieved with a great cast and real, undeniable talent. 

See it for yourself, and then you'll understand why you can't get rid of the Babadook.

Time to Play: Barbie Wilde (HELLRAISER II) Talks HORROR-RAMA!

Barbie Wilde is an author of erotic horror and former music and radio personality, but horror fans will know her best for her role as the Female Cenobite that bound our hearts for hell in HELLRAISER II

Barbie Wilde will be making her first-ever Canadian horrorcon appearance his weekend at HORROR-RAMA, Toronto's only all-horror fan convention. And much like her leather-clad pinheaded co-star, she has such sights to show you..... 

After making her first American convention appearance about 10 years ago, Wilde was amazed and delighted to discover the horror fandom's enthusiasm for Hellbound: Hellraiser II and the pierced and piercing female cenobite she played as part of Pinhead's tortured crew of fashionable super-butchers. But now she's coming home!

"Well, the reason I’m thrilled to attend my first Canadian Con is that I’m Canadian! (Although a long-time expat.)," she tells Horror in the Hammer. "I’m excited about coming to Toronto because I feel that some wonderful work is coming from Canada as far as the horror genre is concerned. Not just from the likes of the genius of David Cronenberg (whose horror films kept me awake at night), but a new breed of talented filmmakers like Jen & Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker in a Trunk, American Mary, See No Evil 2 and more), Jovanka Vuckovic (The Captured Bird, The Guest, Clive Barker’s Jacqueline Ess) and Chris Alexander (Blood for Irina, Queen of Blood)."

Wilde herself has joined the ranks of acclaimed horror creators for her lauded crime novel THE VENUS COMPLEX, published by Comet Press. Wilde explains: "The book is a fictional journal of a serial killer, told from the male POV and I’ve received some wonderful reviews so far. (Fangoria has even called me “one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror around”, which I’m really pleased about.)" HorrorTalk has called The Venus Complex a "poignant, funny, sexually-charged, hardcore critique of popular culture and a deconstruction of relationships, academia, and art."

Barbie Wilde wants to see all you die-hard horror and Hellraiser fans in the flesh this weekend at Horror-Rama in Toronto. Not only will she have a large selection of Hellraiser II: Hellbound photos for autograph, she'll have a limited number of copies of THE VENUS COMPLEX for sale. Stop by her table to find out more and chat about Hellraiser II or her upcoming projects such as Zulu Zombies, for which she's writing a screenplay, as well as some of her other upcoming horror and crime stories to appear in anthologies such as Phobophobias, Grimorium Verum, Noir Nation, and Noir Nation 6. Wilde is also working on a new project to delight fans of Clive Barker's cenobite mythology.

"I’m also working with artist and designer Eric Gross of the Followers of the Pandorics on a project called The Cilicium Pandoric," Wilde tells us. "This project has the full support of Clive Barker, because Sister Cilice, the character in the story that I wrote to accompany the project, is based on the mythology that Clive created in his novella, The Hellbound Heart, the basis of the Hellraiser franchise."

Come meet, greet, and literally hang out with Hellraiser II star Barbie Wilde this weekend at Horror-Rama: November 1 & 2 in Toronto. Should she offer you a puzzle box while you're there, well, what happens next is up to you....

For more guest details, full event listings, and tickets, visit

Monday, October 27, 2014

Have a scream at HORROR-RAMA (Nov 1-2, 2014)

Why does Halloween have to end on October 31st? 

This year, Halloween's going into overtime with HORROR-RAMA, Toronto's only all-horror fan convention. Presented by our awesome friends at Fangoria & Suspect Video, HORROR-RAMA is a celebration of genre and cult films by fans, for fans.


Special Guests Attending include :
  • Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, Friday the 13th)
  • Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria)
  • Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks)
  • Barbie Wilde (Hellraiser II)
  • Michael Slade (horror author)
  • Nivek Ogre (Queen of Blood, Repo! The Genetic Opera)
  • Jovanka Vuckovic (The Captured Bird)

99 SUDBURY - (99 Sudbury Street, Toronto)

The FIRST annual HORROR-RAMA fan event is a two-day horror film culture convention taking place in Toronto.

This intimate celebration of all things that go bump in the night also includes a massive vendors market, 2 incredible, star-studded parties and a special screening of Dario Argento's classic Suspiria (considered one of the top horror films of all time), hosted by Magnolfi.

Convention - 99 Sudbury (99 Sudbury St.)

Screening - Revue Cinema (400 Roncesvalles Ave.)

Official Party – 3030 Dundas West (3030 Dundas Street W.)


$200 - VIP Pack - Includes admission to 2 Days convention + entry to official party + 1 autograph celebrity of your choice + entry to screening of Suspiria + 2 DVDs + 1 year subscription to Fangoria magazine + full year of rentals at Suspect Video and more!

$40 – Admission to 2 Days of convention

$25 – Daily admission

$10 – Ticket to Official HORROR-RAMA party

$10 – Ticket to screening of SUSPIRIA

Tickets are available at and at Suspect Video (605 Markham Street, Toronto)

Sponsored in part by Anchor Bay Canada.