Blood In The Snow Film Festival 2012: Devil’s Night Review (Kirk Haviland)

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Blood in the Snow 2012

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Devil’s Night (2012)

Starring Danielle Harris, Steve Byers, Shawn Roberts, Robbie Amell and Boyd Banks

Written and Directed by Christopher Harrison

Back in 2007 Director Harrison along with his cast and crew set out to make an indie film that played as a horror homage to the films he grew up watching in the 1980’s. After filming was completed the film’s rough cut was turned into a feature that was edited, marketed and released under the name Left for Dead. After a five year wait while other projects took precedence and the film was shelved for a bit, Harrison has finally delivered his final version of the film, Devil’s Night. Devil’s night made its Toronto theatrical premiere at the Blood In the Snow Canadian Film Festival this past weekend.

The College students of a nondescript Canadian town throw wild parties full of drugs, sex, and lost inhibitions every year on Devil’s Night. But this time, an uninvited guest comes for a visit. A year prior five Frat boys were involved in a terrible accident and made a horrific decision. Now a year later the boys are being stalked by a machete-wielding maniac, and their friends are slowly disappearing one by one. It’s up to Tommy (Byers), his girlfriend Nancy (Harris) and best friend Clark (Roberts) to stop the killer before he exacts revenge on all of them.

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Devil’s Night is a loving homage to the films of the 80’s like Friday the 13th and Night of the Creeps to name a few. Harrison has written a fun script that is content to stay in this little pocket, with its limitations and inherent plausibility issues intact. But it’s because he does stay in this pocket that director Harrison manages to deliver a fun and satisfying film. Byers is passable as the accident prone and paranoid Tommy, he manages to pull you in enough that you can remain invested in his outcome.  Danielle Harris is quite good here and her level of experience shines through in her acting choices. Roberts is sadly not given a lot to do in the obviously doomed best friend role, but he manages to elevate past it enough to deliver a likeable performance. The rest of the cast are mere background players, Boyd playing the way too obvious red herring character of a local serial killer on the loose from the law, but Amell manages some decent time.

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The death sequences are hit and miss here, some of the direct homages work fantastically, a particular sequence based on an iconic Friday the 13th moment involving Roberts and the stunning JaNae Armogan works extremely well. But the opening sequence involving the incident that sets of the actions of the film is less impressive. The ending sequence actually is completely flawed logic as the passage of time is supposed to be a full year, which does not explain a certain character’s appearance. Stylistically the deaths look great and the effects work is sharp. The mask used for our killer, while obviously referencing Halloween’s Michael Myers, is actually really effective as it always appears to have a smirk or grin implying that he is really enjoying his work. And the stringy long hair attached to the mask lends to the aesthetic.

While far from a perfect film, Devil’s Night results in a fun little romp that can be easily digested and retains an inherit re-watchability. Harrison wears his influences all over the screen and we can be very happy for him and ourselves as the audience alike that he has been able to finally bring his vision of Devil’s Night to the screen. Devil’s Night is a recommend.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films, festivals and film related events in Toronto.

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Fright Nights: The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival Preview (Nadia Sandhu)

There will be Blood in the Snow and on the big screen at Projection Booth (1035 Gerrard Street East) as the First Annual Fright Nights:  Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival scares up thrills this November 30 to December 2, 2012 in a weekend long celebration of the best in contemporary Canadian horror filmmaking.

Festival Director Kelly Michael Stewart has been a strong supporter of the national horror filmmaking scene, writing about it for Fangoria and Planet Fury, and regularly showcasing these talented filmmakers at the hugely successful Fright Nights at Projection Booth screening series.  “I have noticed an incredible renaissance of horror directors coming out of Canada in the past few years. Southern Ontario in particular has become a hotbed of horror talent. Now the scene has grown large enough and vibrant enough that it warrants a dedicated yearly festival and we’ve been able to pull together an impressive lineup including the world premieres of SICK featuring Canada’s own scream queen Debbie Rochon and In the House of Flies starring Henry Rollins.”

Blood in the Snow kicks off on Friday, November 30 with a zombie infection in SICK at 7pm and critical darling Beyond the Black Rainbow at 9:30pm, and closes on Sunday, December 2 with art house vampire film Blood for Irina at 7pm, a film that also marks the feature directorial debut of Fangoria Editor in Chief Chris Alexander.  

In true rep house style, Saturday will be a late night with psychological thriller In the House of Flies at 6:30pm, classic 80’s style slasher film Devil’s Night starring Danielle Harris at 9pm and old school grind house throwback Famine at 11:45pm.

A retrospective shorts program, Fright Nights: Class of 2012, on Saturday, December 1 at 3pm showcases some of the best genre shorts from the last year of Fright Nights programming, including a personal favorite when it played here as part of the Viscera Film Festival last winter- Doll Parts from Karen Lam.  The retrospective also features a bonus screening- fan fave Cinemall, which documents the yearly pilgrimage of zombie fans to the mall where Romero filmed Dawn of the Dead!

“With films like Hobo With a ShotgunThe CorridorPontypool, and really anything from the guys at Astron 6, the Canadian horror film scene is bursting with creative talent and we are proud to support Kelly and what we truly feel is a killer line up of the next wave of genre directors. These are the ones to watch,” enthuses Jonathan Hlibka, partner at Projection Booth Cinemas.

And I for one am relieved that in this case at least, blood in the snow does not refer to baby seals.

Festival passes and tickets are on sale now and while there won’t be any chick flicks, I won’t completely rule out finding a touchy feely angle to report back on.

You can show your support for Canadian Horror by downloading the Blood in the Snow banner and using it as your Facebook Cover this Black Friday!

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Henry Rollins Wants You! – Grindhouse Edition of Fright Nights at the Projection Booth

Just check out this video message if you don’t believe me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVPToTIIfsE

Henry Rollins wants you to support the ‘Drop in the Bucket’ charity on Saturday, July 7, 2012 at Projection Booth with a special Grindhouse Edition of Fright Nights featuring “Kill” and “If a Tree Falls” from Black Fawn Distribution.  Tickets: http://guestlistapp.com/events/109065.

Info from the press release:

FANGORIA PRESENTS FRIGHT NIGHTS is giving genre fans two films for the price of one this Saturday, July 7, 2012 with home grown grindhouse flicks IF A TREE FALLS  and KILL from directors Gabriel Carrer (IN THE HOUSE OF FLIES starring Henry Rollins, Ryan Barrett) and Chad Archibald (NEVERLOST).  Half the proceeds collected from the evening will go to the Henry Rollins fronted international charity “Drop in the Bucket.”

This one night only event will mark the Toronto theatrical debuts of both films.  “This is the ONLY time the public will get to see this pair of films on the big screen, and they will be shown in the way they are meant to be seen: as a double bill at Projection Booth – a real grindhouse cinema!” says Archibald.

Both Gabriel Carrer and Chad Archibald will be in attendance alongside cast and crew. Hosted as always by Fangoria and Planet Fury scribe Kelly Michael Stewart and generously supported by Fangoria and Suspect Video, the evening promises prizes, beverages and lots and lots of blood.

Proceeds from the event will go directly to charity in support of efforts to bring safe drinking water to war ravaged countries. “Drop in the Bucket is a Los Angeles based water and sanitation charity with field offices in Uganda and South Sudan. I had the pleasure of directing their spokesperson Henry Rollins on my next feature “House of Flies” and I was really impressed by what they are accomplishing under very difficult circumstances,” explains Carrer.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at Projection Booth or online at:

http://guestlistapp.com/events/109065

CONTEST: Win Tickets for Father’s Day, Fright Nights at the Projection Booth in Toronto

It’s barely been 24 hours since the launch of our first contest at Entertainment Maven, free tickets to End of the Night (part of the Shinsedai Cinema Festival in Toronto), but we have some more exciting news – another contest! This time, the kind people at the Projection Booth in Toronto have given us three, count ’em, THREE double-passes to give away to the June 9th (9:00pm) Fright Nights screening of the disgusting, exploitative, and downright hilarious Toronto After Dark hit, Father’s Day. Astron-6 has put together one of the most exciting experiences you can have at the cinema these days, and you would have to be clinically insane not to try out for this contest. Did we mention that some of the filmmakers will be in attendance and that there will be prizes? Commit yourself to the nearest mental institution or follow these three easy steps to win:

Please note that the contest is only open to individuals who are at least 18 years of age and who are able to be in Toronto for June 9th. Only 1 entry per person. Winners will be chosen at random from a pool of entrants who have completed the three steps. The contest will close at 12pm on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

1. ‘Like’ our Facebook page by clicking this link and then ‘like’, or by going directly to www.entertainmentmaven.com and clicking ‘Like’

2. Follow us on Twitter @entertainmaven

3. E-mail us at entertainmentmaven@gmail.com, putting Father’s Day as the subject, and tell us YOUR name and the name of the holiday that could use an Astron-6 revision!

Winners will be contacted at the e-mail address used to enter the contest.

 

Fright Nights (Toronto) – Viscera Short Film Festival Coverage (Kirk Haviland)

Fright Nights at the Projection Booth

Viscera Short Film Festival, May 15th 2012

For Kelly Stewart’s May presentation of Fright Nights at the Projection Booth in Toronto he decided to do something different. Hooking up with Curio Media and Director/Producer Karen Lam, Kelly was able to bring the Viscera Film Festival to Canada for the first time ever! Viscera is a traveling festival of short genre based films directed by women that was created to inspire and forward the amount of women involved in genre filmmaking. To top it off, Kelly managed to pull together a three-woman panel of directors for a Q&A/panel discussion after the film as well. This panel included Lam herself, whose short Doll Parts was showing, Dara Jade Moats whose short Adventure Girls 3 was also showing, and Jovanka Vuckovic, a local filmmaker who is in the midst of directing her first feature. A truly lively and knowledgeable panel indeed.

The standouts of the programme included Moat’s Adventure Girls 3, at only a minute it really leaves you thirsting for more, and stealing dialogue directly from Sailor Moon was ingenious (see it here). Lam’s Doll Parts is a great little twist on the serial killer genre in which the protagonist gets his comeuppance, a short I had already seen and enjoyed at last year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD). Nursery Crimes is a brilliant little stop-motion re-imagining of the story of Little Bo Peep and many other Nursery Rhymes that was an award winner at TAD last year, where I saw it as well. Blood Bunny was a hilarious take on a stylized grindhouse era movie trailer that works extremely well and is quite ingenious (see it here). 12/15/1996 features a road trip between 2 characters, Adam and Quentin, where one is covered in blood and they keep referring to the “business” in the trunk. A fun homage to filmmakers like Tarantino. And The Party’s Over, a cautionary tale of a drunken one-night stand with serious repercussions.

After the screening we were treated to a lively Q&A that ran a full half-hour in which I personally gained a whole lot of respect for the women filmmakers on the panel and the jobs they are doing. Lam, Moats and Vuckovic were all very open and unguarded with their answers and even provided many helpful tips to some budding filmmakers in attendance. They also stuck around for another half an hour after the panel to talk directly with the attendees in the theater and lobby. A great night out was had by many in attendance.

Next Month Kelly returns with the TAD crowd pleasing hit Father’s Day (review here) from filmmaking conglomerate Astron 6. The film will be preceded by some of the Astron 6 group’s most infamous shorts and features a Q&A with lead actress Amy Groening. This film is disturbing, graphically violent, repulsive and downright hilarious. If you missed it at TAD, DO NOT MISS it at Fright Nights. Father’s Day plays on June 9th.

Till Next Time.

Movie Junkie TO

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films and festivals in Toronto.

Follow me on twitter @moviejunkieto

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