Thursday, 20 October 2016


I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched today (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.

Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable.

Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus.

Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!

This terrific Val Lewtonesque modern horror film disturbs us with what we CAN'T see, and WHEN we see what we're SUPPOSED to see, we become NUMB with pure terror!

Absentia (2011) ***1/2
dir. Mike Flanagan
Starring: Katie Parker, Courtney Bell,
Dave Levine, Morgan Peter Bell

Review By Greg Klymkiw

There are horrors - everyday horrors we all hear about. If we've never experienced them ourselves, all we can do is try to imagine what they must feel like. But that's all we can do. Imagine. When movies delve into the horrors we hear about everyday, the best of those pictures probably come as close as any of us would want to get to experiencing the real thing. Perhaps the one thing that's worse than knowing a loved one has died - especially in a fashion of the most heinous variety - is the horror of a loved one disappearing without a trace. If we discover that the death has come about in a foul, painful, reprehensible and senseless way, it's ultimately knowing the truth that offers the most meagre shred of solace, or at least, acceptance. Not knowing is the real horror. Not knowing is what haunts us forever. Absentia is a micro-budgeted independent horror movie by Mike (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) Flanagan that plays on these fears. Read the full Film Corner review HERE.

Harrowing portrait of mental illness
against a chilling supernatural backdrop.
Anguish (2015) ***1/2
Dir. Sonny Mallhi
Starring: Ryan Simpkins, Amberley Gridley,
Annika Marks, Karina Logue, Cliff Chamberlain, Ryan O'Nan

Review By Greg Klymkiw

One mother, Sarah (Karina Logue), loses her daughter, Lucy (Amberley Gridley) in a horrific freak car accident. The other mother, Jessica (Annika Marks), feels like she is losing her daughter, Tess (Ryan Simpkins), to the child's lifelong mental illness which appears to be getting worse. Sarah's guilt is rooted in an argument which led to the accident. Jessica, hoping a change of environment might have alleviated the mental illness, now feels like their move to a new home is contributing to her child's increasing withdrawal. Sonny Mallhi's deeply moving feature directorial debut is a sensitive, telling exploration of teen ennui and the powerful bond of mothers and daughters. That the story plays out against the subtle, but clearly apparent backdrops of America's financial crisis, as well as that of so many fathers separated from their families to fight a spurious war against terror, are elements which deepen the experience of seeing the film. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Antichrist (2009) Dir. Lars von Trier *****
Starring: Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Review By Greg Klymkiw

With Antichrist, Lars von Trier has made a horror film – pure, though not so simple. It's a movie that burns its reflection of pain into your memory like a branding iron – plunging itself through your cranium and searing your brain matter, creating that sickeningly sweet stench that only burning flesh gives off and remaining in your nostrils for (no doubt) a lifetime. The pain and by extension – the Passion – also stays with you. A first viewing renders you drained, immobile, and numb and yet, paradoxically there are feelings of profound excitement – that you have witnessed an expression of emotion in ways that only cinema, of all the art forms, is capable of delivering. You are also breathless, and in spite, or maybe even because of the horror you’ve witnessed, you’re almost giddy with the desire to recall every beat, every image and every soul sickening moment of the experience. It’s a movie that demands to be seen more than once – it is a movie to be cherished, savored and devoured as ravenously and gluttonously as possible. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

A Turkish Delight. A Wad of Depravity.

Baskin (2016) ****
Dir. Can Evrenol
Scr. Evrenol, Ercin Sadikoglu, Cem Ozuduru, Ogulcan Eren Akay

Starring: Gorkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Mehmet Cerrahoglu,
Sabahattin Yakut, Mehmet Fatih Dokgoz, Muharrem Bayrak

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Baskin is a dense, scary, hilarious, nastily yummy-slurp world of viscous-dribbling mega-perversion that comes to us courtesy of Turkish director Can Evrenol, who has expanded an earlier short film into a pulse-pounding feature-length horror-fest. Though most of the proceedings (insanely thrown into the pot by no less than four screenwriters) are a dream-like blur that sometimes makes little sense, it seems not to matter too much and is probably part of the grand design.

I think.

It matters not.

The film is a supremely entertaining freak-show extraordinaire from a director with talent, style and filmmaking savvy oozing from every conceivable orifice. Read my full Electric Sheep Magazine review HERE.

CITADEL: The face of fear
Electric Sheep Magazine review

Citadel (2012) *****
Dir. Ciarin Foy

Starring: Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wunmi Mosaku, Jake Wilson

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Numbing, gnawing and sheer unrelenting fear is the primary element driving this creepy, terrifying dystopian shocker. Ciaran Foy’s Citadel, which without question was one of the best films of 2012, trains its lens upon the fears of the disenfranchised – those eking out their existence amidst poverty, crime and societal indifference in blasted-out housing projects – Citadel plunges us into a reality that is as recognizable as it is fantastical. Indeed, given the constant state of bleakness brought about by financial crises and war, these could well be all our fears.

This is one mighty mo-fo of a scary-ass picture. The mise en scène is dazzling and the tale is rooted in both a humanity and reality that will wallop close to home for many. There’s nary a misstep in any of the performances and as the movie inches, like Col. Walter E. Kurtz’s ‘snail crawling along the edge of a straight razor’, Foy plunges us into an abyss at the top of the stairs. In Apocalypse Now (1979), Kurtz (with Marlon Brando’s expert nasal intonations) summed up the image of the snail on the straight razor thusly: ‘That’s my dream!’

Frankly, Citadel is MY dream of one great horror movie.

Fuck it! It’s no dream. Citadel is a bloody nightmare! Read my full Electric Sheep Magazine review HERE.

Klymkiw interviews Citadel Director Ciarin Foy
at Electric Sheep Magazine

Greg Klymkiw interviews

Citadel director

Ciarin Foy

Klymkiw: I was so lucky to see Citadel on a big screen at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. For me, it’s definitely a Big Screen experience and even though so many independent genre films get relatively modest big screen exposure at festivals and in limited theatrical runs for an eventually larger life on the small screen via DVD, VOD, etc., I can’t help but assume you crafted the picture with Big Screen at the forefront.

Foy: That’s very true. I think especially so in terms of the soundscape. Sound was an important big screen element when you’re going into a 5.1 sound mix.

Yes, the aural landscape, if you will, is alternately subtle and jarring, but it seems to me that your visual design always felt bigger than life and yet, in so doing, captured life and reality so much more powerfully than many similar genre films.

Yes, we had a fairly extended series of preparatory discussions about the aspect ratio and at first I was thinking in terms of the aesthetic and practical pros and cons between a 2:35 landscape or something closer to 1:85. Trying to capture Tommy’s agoraphobia was a big part of this and my initial feeling was to go wider. At the same time, I really wanted to build in much longer, more extended takes to capture Tommy’s condition. However, working within modest means you begin to realize that cinemascope-styled frames need more lights, more art direction, and that extended shots take longer to plan and shoot, especially with actors getting their marks and so on. We eventually settled on the 16:9 aspect ratio. Read my full Electric Sheep Magazine interview with Ciarin Foy HERE.

There is a light at the end of the CITADEL tunnel,
and it's a drawer-fillingly scary as it is positive.

CITADEL (2012) *****

Dir. Ciarán Foy

A New Appreciation

By Greg Klymkiw

Welcome to this special edition of the Greg Klymkiw Film Corner where I will be presenting an all-new in-depth review and analysis of Ciaran Foy's contemporary masterpiece of horror CITADEL. This article is a preview of a chapter I'm adding to my book about the visual techniques of cinematic storytelling. Entitled "Movies Are Action", my book has been a culmination of over 30 years in the movie business - producing and/or co-writing numerous independent features, seeing and studying over 30,000 motion pictures, covering cinema as a journalist in a wide variety of publications and teaching for 13 years at the Canadian Film Centre (founded by Norman Jewison) wherein I had the honour to serve as the producer-in-residence and senior creative consultant for over 200 screenwriters, directors, producers and editors.

It's become very clear to me that Mr. Foy's astounding first feature film CITADEL is not only one terrific movie that introduces the world of cinema to a genuine original with filmmaking hard-wired into his DNA, but that his film can and should also serve as a template to all young filmmakers on the precipice of diving into the breach. It's lonely out there, kids, and there's nothing better than using such a mature, accomplished and extraordinary work by someone who is, for all intents and purposes, your peer. Here on this site, you'll be reading a reasonably polished first draft of the chapter to appear in my book, but I'm confident you'll find, thanks to Mr. Foy's great film, a few nuggets to take with you onto the battlefield. -- Greg Klymkiw

Read my full in-depth Film Corner analysis of Citadel HERE.

Only Canucks from Collingwood
would think to unleash Civil War Zombies
Exit Humanity (2011) ***
dir. John Geddes

Starring: Mark Gibson, Dee Wallace,
Stephen McHattie, Bill Moseley, narrated by Brian Cox

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Exit Humanity, a zombie western from the visionary psychopaths at Foresight Features in Collingwood, is certainly one of the strangest and more compelling movies I've seen in some time. In fact, while it clearly belongs in the horror genre (there are zombies, after all), the picture feels a lot more like it's rooted in a tradition of magic realism and fairy tale. It doesn't quite gel, but in spite of this, it's a solid feature debut for a director who will have a long, fruitful career ahead of him. His film begins with an all-out, no-holds-barred brutal battle sequence twixt the opposing blue and gray forces of the American civil war. As the carnage heats up, a third fighting element creeps into the madness - zombies. Even though the war soon ends, a dark cloud appears over the land and during the reconstruction period, a plague spreads across the once-divided, but now tenuously-melded nation. The living dead, you see, rise to eat the living. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!