Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The All-Night Grindhouse Festival RETURNS!
Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 11:30pm
The Fox Theatre
2236 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON
Tickets - $25 in advance, $30 at the door (see below for ticket retailers)

My favorite event to do in Toronto returns folks, and it's even BETTER than ever!

Relive the grindhouse experience with an all night (and Day) screening briging you back to the cinema experience of those "other theatres".For ONE NIGHT ONLY, the Fox Cinema brings you back to the days of exploitation, shock, shlock and fun!

Oddball Toronto film archivist Dion Conflict returns with one of his most ambitious projects to date with help from the FOX CINEMA and sponsors Rue Morgue Magazine and the After Dark Film Festival. "Shock and Awe" is an all night film festival running till almost the afternoon of the next day showcasing long lost drive-in shlock, and ending with the “unseen in ages on the big screen” Dan O’Bannon punk zombie epic "The Return of the Living Dead", long lost from Toronto Rep theatre repetoire.

With a dossier of 6 films, SHOCK AND AWE promises to provide the authentic grindhouse experience, touched upon by the Tarantino/Rodrigues film "Grindhouse"."SHOCK AND AWE" pays homage to the grindhouse experience unearthing some of the hardest and rarest 35mm and 16mm prints of these long lost films (which themselves more than likely ran in grindhouse theatres or low-rent drive-ins), with some prints being the only known elements left of the films themselves. The titles include Jack Nicholson’s onscreen partnership with one of North America’s most notorious biker gangs (Hell’s Angels On Wheels), The Louisiana student film which later inspired films such as “Evil Dead” and “Friday the 13th” (Screams of a Winter Night), West-German sexy coming-of-age trash (Swingin’ Pussycats), the first theatrically distributed adult film (Mona) and a mystery film. Between films will be vintage short subjects, cartoons, and grindhouse movie trailers, all shown from original film prints.

Not just a film screening, but even more of an event, SHOCK AND AWE will also have tables of merchandise offering obscure explotation collectables including Super 8 films, B-movie DVD's, and small press publication from other GTA area film publications. Intermissions will also feature themed snack bar offerings at the FOX including breakfast items, film tie-in themed treats, and local area business restauranteurs.

Curator and host Dion Conflict will also showcase some lost music videos, surprise celebrities, world premier short films by local directors, and trailers of other obscure grindhouse offerings from his archive (one of Canada's most eclectic private archives).SHOCK AND AWE tickets can be purchased at the Fox Cinema box office and also at Suspect Video (605 Markham St., near Bathurst and Bloor) and Eyesore Cinema (801 Queen St. West above Rotate This). Wristbands will also be given to patrons for "in out privleges" or "to get some air" for the marathon film screening, the first of it's kind in Toronto.So come out for a night and morning of marathon fun!

Here's the lineup!

MONA (1970):The first theatrical adult motion picture, complete with bad wigs and dungy allies! The trials and tribulations in the day of Mona, a Valleri Bertinelli knock-off and the weirdos she meets. Bukowski written actors seem like they've just popped out of the methadone clinic to do some summer stock. Complete with over the top, theatrical music sounded like it was ripped from "The Bible"

SWINGING PUSSYCATS (1969):Lost West-German Eurotrash showing the sexy hijinks at Filander Manor. Can Alexandra endure an entire summer at her family's castle after her return home from school? Filled with more loins than plates of schnitzel at Octoberfest!

HELL'S ANGELS ON WHEELS (1967): Jack Nicholson and REAL Hell's Angels terrorize the screen! A gas station attendant (Nicholson) finally gets into the Hells Angels & goes on a rampage of Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll and violence! It's a battle of bikers against hippies! Ripped from todays headlines of Quebecois newspapers!

SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT (1979): The under-rated horror gem from Louisiana which after seeing, you can see where "Friday the 13th", "The Evil Dead" and "Blair Witch Project" happily borrowed from. A group of teens camp out at an abandoned house and share ghost stories they have heard from the area. From it's opening credits, you know you're in for some VERY creepy thrills. Still unavailable on DVD.

MYSTERY FILM: An Ultra-Rare, seldom-seen film, guaranteed to delight!

and ending with the Dan O'bannon classic:

THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985): Thrills, chills and chuckles combine in the 80's zombie classic as a gas released in a medical supply company brings the dead to life! Brains! Brains!

- Suspect Video (605 Markham St., near Bathurst and Bloor)
- Eyesore Cinema (801 Queen St. West above Rotate This).
AND the FOX THEATRE box office.

Get em before they're gone! And be sure to join the facebook group offering lots of prizes and goodies before the show!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Iso kiitos Suomi! Tänan Teid Eesti!

(Photo: At a luncheon with the Mayor of Haapsalu, Estonia (Ingrid Danilov) and Sten, the organizer of the Haapsalu Õudus- ja Fantaasiafilmide Festival)

It's been several weeks since my return from my tour of the Baltics but wow, indeed it was a month I would never forget.

My month of April was busy beyond belief and as I approached my final week in Finland, I was exhausted after over 40 bus rides, 7 train rides (including 2 Pendolino), various trams, subways, cars, and fast boat cruise ships.

The world debut of the program kicked off at the Night Visions festival in Helsinki and I gotta say their fest is incredible. There, I had two screenings with the 2nd one which was at 4am on a Saturday, had sold out! From there it went on to Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Tampere. After that, it was off on a cruise ship to Estonia to the Haapsalu Õudus- ja Fantaasiafilmide Festival, after spending the night in Tallinn, I was on a minibus with my pals from Night Visions and director of the horror film "Splintered" Simeon Halligan to Haapsalu, Estonia.

While some of the tour had me feeling like a ping pong ball, bouncing from town to town, it ended on a great note. The final stop of my program had me enjoying a nice Baltic Breakfast, a tour of Haapsalu by a great tour guide and Silja (the Guest Manager) showing us Haapsalu's gorgeous castle. There was a ceremonial luncheon with the Mayor of the town who embraced the festival (and they presented us with gifts including mud from the town - Haapsalu is a spa town). Before my final screening, I swam in a heated pool from inside the spa we stayed at, outside to see the orange red glow of the sun setting into the Golf of Finland. After doing sauna with my Night Visions crew, it was off to do the final screening. Afterwards, sign a couple DVD's and hang out in a Haapsalu club where lots of very nice Estonians came up to talk with me. The day ended with some Eesti booze, and Simeon and myself fighting over some stolen pepperoni from a fridge at the spa. Good times!

On top of it, my booker in central Finland had me speaking at a Polytechnic giving my first lecture to Cultural Managment students. My discussion focused on being proactive in saving our visual history, the unpredictable nature of popular culture, and breaking down the success of the "Hunka Junk" series for Finland. Afterwards a student presented me with gifts from the school. I was elated by the whole event and look forward to doing more.

Again, there's some BIG THANKS for the many "terveet kadet" that made this last tour such a huge success. First off, NIGHT VISIONS in Helsinki (Mikko & Crew) for bringing me over to be part of their amazing film offerings. Also: Keski-Suomen elokuvakeskus, Kino Iiris ja poikka(z) Janne ja Markus, Pirkanmaan Elokuvakeskus (Juha ja Juha-Pekka), Humak, and all my friends there that helped out either feedin me, letting me stay with them, or helping me get somewhere!

In Estonia: Big thanks to Haapsalu Õudus- ja Fantaasiafilmide Festival including Sten, Silja, Ingrid, Hotel Spa Fra Mare, Dynamit energy drink (which I miss back here in Canada), Naistemaailm, Trash Can Dance, and just all the nice people I met.

Hope to see everyone soon!

(Photo: Night Visions (Helsinki, Finland)
page from film program)