Barrett Hooper

The first movie I ever reviewed was The Fly for my high school newspaper. Reviews of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Raising Arizona, Robocop, The Princess Bride, Prince of Darkness, The Running Man, Bloodsport, Alien Nation, They Live, Child’s Play, Pet Sematary and Dirty Dancing soon followed. After a misguided foray into graduate school, I landed a job as a reporter for my hometown newspaper. Later, I moved to Toronto and became a film writer for the National Post. I’ve also contributed to the late great Eye Weekly, the equally late great Saturday Night Magazine, Rue Morgue, NOW Magazine and the Globe and Mail among others. My favourite interviews have always been with directors: Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, David Cronenberg, James Cameron, Brian DePalma, Ridley Scott, Sam Raimi, Terry Gilliam, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Peter Jackson, Don Coscarelli, Edgar Wright and Eli Roth. Sadly, I’ve never met John Carpenter. Oh, and my dog’s name is Clubber, in case you were wondering.

TAD review: Curse The Hexecutioners

If I were to suggest seeing a movie called The Hexecutioners, you’d probably expect some occult-themed horror-comedy about hitmen who kill with curses. Or something like that. At least that’s what I imagined. That, however, is not what I got. Written by Tony Burgess (Pontypool) and directed by Jesse Thomas Cook (Septic...

Jack Nicholson breaking through door in The Shining

"The supernatural cannot be taken apart and analyzed too closely. The ultimate test of its rationale is whether it is good enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck."

Stanley Kubrick

Review: Crimson Peak Hammers it Home

In Crimson Peak, Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing. Given director Guillermo del Toro‘s professed love of Hammer Films and Sherlock Holmes, it’s obvious she’s named for Peter Cushing, who starred in such Hammer classics as The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Hound of the Baskervilles, although Cushing is ...

TAD review: shorts in Space and Myrna the Monster

When it comes to short films, I tend to favour comedy over other genres. It’s the perfect medium to tell a joke and deliver a punchline—short of stand-up comedy—and it often doesn’t require complicated or expensive special effects. Take Movies In Space, for example, which is my favourite in this year’s Toronto After Da...

TAD review: Gridlocked gets stuck in traffic

Robbing a police evidence locker is not a new premise. It goes back at least as far as John Wayne’s McQ in 1974. Laying siege to a police station is also nothing new. John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, for example, which was itself inspired by the John Wayne western Rio Bravo. And pairing a

TAD Review: A Christmas Horror Story delivers early gift

I love a good Christmas holiday horror movie. I’m even drinking a cup of eggnog as I’m writing this (yes, it’s already in grocery stores). My favourite is A Christmas Carol, the superior 1951 version with Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s essential holiday viewing; I watch it every Christmas Eve without fail (alon...

TAD review: Synchronicity and Lazer Team come up short

Like the first two games of the ALCS, Friday night’s sci-fi double feature of Synchronicity and Lazer Team at Toronto After Dark was a bust. Synchronicity is a convoluted and plodding effort about a caffeine-and-coked-out physicist’s attempts to manufacture a wormhole that bends space-time. Heavily influenced by ...

TAD festival preview: Knights, zombies and A Christmas Horro...

El Bosque Negro. Black Forest. That’s reason one why I’ll be checking out this afternoon’s shorts program at Toronto After Dark. I have no idea what the story is about (the trailer, above, is in Spanish and doesn’t have subtitles), other than it has knights and wildling warriors (Harii perhaps) and th...

TAD review: The Hallow be thy name

The Hallow came into Toronto After Dark with a lot of hype following its Sundance premiere. “Best horror movie since The Babadook” and “scariest movie of the year” was the buzz in the queue to get in at last night’s TAD screening at the Scotiabank Theatre. By the time the end credits rolled I can

Michael Ironside and Rooster Teeth save the world at TAD Day...

I’m still recovering from opening night’s double feature of Tales of Halloween and The Hallow (especially latter), but that doesn’t mean I’ve got time to chill. We’ve only just begun. White lace and promises, and all that. Tonight we’ve got Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall, S...