Friday, November 14, 2008


My eyelids were getting heavy before going to SHOCK AND AWE, and my night was pretty much starting. During the day I was running around picking up this and that (including prizes and dropping off film prints) and of course, ATTEMPTING to look good for my audience (Insert plug here for my barber Justin @ CUT AND RUN, the best barbershop in the city).

I wasn’t too concerned about the sleep thing however. The week before, I went from being in Frankfurt, Germany’s red light district (where I fell asleep to the techo music of a nearby strip club) to finishing off my day in Toronto doing a screening of “Night of the Living Dead” at the Fox. Jetlag and me were hand in hand.

SHOCK AND AWE 2 (as some people are calling it) was another huge hit. It seemed like more people this time and they all seemed to be wound up like 25 hour clocks. They knew what they were in for, and seemed ready for the long haul. For the first time ever, I forgot merchandise and things I needed for the evening, and had to make my way BACK to the hood, then back to the theatre, missing the first film. For the second, famished from eating a chuck of Carolyn’s pizza slice and a handful of popcorn, I devoured the BURRITO BOYS that was given to me.

This time around, we also featured a “mystery movie” which about 5 of us knew what it was going to be, and nobody else did. The suspense seemed to build beforehand when people at the snackbar were thinking it might be an Evil Dead or Texas Chainsaw franchise flick. It wasn’t and hopefully the fun nature of the film (which is a secret between the folks that went to S&A and myself) still entertained. Before it started, the audience was given party horns to blow during long shot car scenes and a certain word to warn others that a car was on the road. Anyone wishing for sleep was surely out of luck. I told them as well that it was a film that I told them in film school was one of the reasons I came, which I’m sure they prolly scratched their heads. But for me, it was what a film comedy should be, entertaining, fluffy, and maybe not reinventing the wheel, but putting nice rims on it.

What was shocking, was how people gushed about the Jimmy McNichol vehicle “Night Warning”, easily the surprise hit of the evening. When many came out in the early morning doors of the Fox for air, they gushed about the flick being “unbelievable” and “something special”. It would be doubtful many would have given the time of day, if not FORCED to watch it (ahahaha), but it’s great when you see a flick, expecting nothing, and being pleasantly surprised. I love that feeling.

A grindhouse fest wouldn’t be complete without a sex film. This one seemed to kind of shock people for well, delivering the goods, and then even more. Perhaps my views on sexuality are just too Scandinavian, cuz I never really bat an eyelash or get shocked by this type of thing. The one thing they didn’t say, that it was a poorly made film. It’s an interesting artifact to see something so painstakingly made and to give all of the characters such dimension in a decade where we see people on the internet f**k and s**k with no real context to them or the act itself. Who are these people? Anyhow, at least Canadians aren’t as shy about sexuality as Americans (or I can rephrase that, their government!)

It all ended with THE TOXIC AVENGER, and the most uncut print of it ever seen. It looked great on the big screen, but maybe needed a bit of tightening as it was almost TOO uncut. It so wouldn’t be a film Hollywood would make, but that’s such, such a good thing.

By the end, I was wishing people “have a good morning” and after spending 12 hours in a theatre with everyone and meeting such nice people with such warm wishes towards SHOCK AND AWE, I felt like a Dad sending his kids out to battle the world. As we left the theatre, for myself, you look at the world and people outside so much differently. You notice every person walking a dog, cheery parents pushing kids in strollers, and every car on the road when you drive home.

I can’t wait to do it again!

But heck, first off we should thank our sponsors for this one who really showed a TRUE sense of community buckling together to get the word out: RUE MORGUE, BLOGTO.COM, SUSPECT VIDEO, EYESORE CINEMA, AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL, AND WATCHER COMICS. But biggest hats off is to all those who come out to support it. Your enjoyment has totally been my payback!

Look for SHOCK AND AWE again for June 2009. Would we stop Toronto’s best all-night grindhouse fest? Hellllllllnooooo!

Andy’s right. Sleep is for suckers.

(Photo: During intermission, SHOCK AND
AWE 2 patrons enjoy a short film on
horse racing from the 50's)

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Back by POPULAR DEMAND! We've brought back the all-night/day Grindhouse a-thon, "SHOCK AND AWE" and while I was in Finland, we secured the rights to bring up one of the most fun cult films of the 80's..... THE TOXIC AVENGER!!!!
Saturday November 8th @ 11:30 PM till November 9th at 10:30 AM
FOX THEATRE 2236 Queen Street East - Toronto, ON Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door
Toronto's all-night homage to the Grindhouse experience is BACK after much demand! No need to dream about the days of 42nd street! SHOCK AND AWE returns with the all night party with more food, fun, and lots of films pulled from the CONFLICT ARCHIVES. Why see one, when you can see FIVE different films, all presented from the original 35mm prints. Grabs some friends, chug back lots of coffee, pizza, donuts, Jolt Cola (!!!), and between films scour through the CONFLICT ARCHIVES merch table to do some Christmas shopping! Here's the lineup, in no particular order! -
NIGHT WARNING (1983) Starring: Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell, Bo Svenson, and Bill Paxton (!!) Director: William Asher Jimmy Mc Nichol (yes, Kristy's brother) stars in this creepy, sleazy, and under-rated thriller gem about an orphaned teenager, his over-protective Aunt (Tyrrell) who just won't let him out of her grasp... at all costs. Incest and Homosexual undercurrents play in this creepy little film, all directed by William Asher (who directed slews of I LOVE LUCY episodes!).
SENSATIONS (1975) Starring: Brigitte Maier, Veronique Monet, Miss Tuppy Owens Director: Alberto De Ferraro (Lasse Braun) Screened back in the days of FESTIVAL with their newspaper headline screaming "Dion Conflict says 'It's the hottest film I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them!'" it still holds back for a command performance. Margaret from Minnesota (Maier) goes on a strange journey after meeting some liberated people on a cruise ship including a horny cello player from Hungary, and a rich British woman living in Amsterdam. With a hook arm, excellent music and cinematography, SENSATIONS was suppose to play in places such as Hull, Quebec for 2 weeks, and ended up playing 6 months! The absolute best of the adult genre, directly from the distributor in Sweden.
THE BUS IS COMING (1971) Starring: Mike Sims, Stephanie Faulkener Director: Wendell Franklin When a soul bro returns to the hood n finds out his brother has been killed by racist pigs, it's out for revenge! An excellent early Blaxploitation pic, it paved the way in subsequent years for films such as SUPERFLY. Enjoy some delicious donuts before and after the film at the snack bar, in honour of the pigs (we're trying to get some pork product!). A VERY VERY rare find!
MYSTERY FILM (???) Starring: ????? Director: ?????? Anyone that knows me knows I love surprizes and I hope you do too, with this favorite of mine to add some fun to the evening? You're not really going to know WHAT it is till it hits the screen. But we guarantee, 100% entertainment!
DARK STAR (1974) Starring: Brian Narelle, Dan O'Bannon Director: John Carpenter John Carpenter's student film got picked up by a distributor, who gave him a bit more $$$ to beef up the time and shoot some more footage. What resulted is this ambitious cult classic with hippies on a 20 year mission in outer space to blow up unstable planets. Featuring talking bombs (ala 2001), a beach ball alien, and a solar energy pack which is a muffin tray. ... and to close the event.....
THE TOXIC AVENGER (1984) Starring: Andree Miranda, Mitch Cohen Director: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman THE BEST TROMA FILM EVER! We pulled teeth to bring you this print into Canada, and we're sure it won't disappoint. Poor Melvin the Mopboy lives in Tromaville and works at a local health club. After some locals have him kiss a lamb, he falls out a window in a bucket of toxic waste, turning from man into THE TOXIC AVENGER! Featuring tasteless laughs, gruesome gore, tacky stock music, and lots of boob, it's what put TROMA in the bigger league of indy companies. It played in Toronto for a weekend during it's original release, cut to shreads. THIS PRINT IS UNCUT, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN CANADA!
.... So folks. Remember, sleep is for suckers! Get your tickets for SHOCK AND AWE at the Fox Theatre box office, Suspect Video (605 Markham Street, beside Honest Eds), or Eyesore Cinema (801 Queen Street West, above Rotate this). DON'T MISS THE FUN! GRAB YOUR TICKETS TODAY!!!!! Special thanks to our sponsors as well.... Eyesore, Toronto After Dark Film Festival, Rue Morgue Magazine, Suspect Video and Watcher Comics... You guys rock!!!!