The Evil Dr. Minz Unleashes a New Hybrid of Fear with HYPNOTICA: THE NIGHTMARIST

(Toronto, ON) – Acclaimed cartoonist, charismatic filmmaker and 2D animator, Toronto-local, The Evil Dr. Minz, has thrown his iconic top hat into the CineCoup ring this year to vie for the highly competitive $1 million prize in Banff in June. If pronounced the winner, the potential top-select will produce and direct his speculative horror feature, HYPNOTICA: THE NIGHTMARIST. Watch trailer here.

Hypnotica Vertical Poster

HYPNOTICA: THE NIGHTMARIST explores the intersection of life and death when a writer obsessed with enlightenment experiments with self-hypnosis. Introduce The Nightmarist, an ancient demonic spirit that invades the writer’s consciousness, a la Freddy Kruger, and shapeshifts its way through outrageous dreamscapes in a crusade to exact evil on humanity. Part DR. SUESS, part THE THING and part THE CELL, HYPNOTICA: THE NIGHTMARIST fuses live action with animated gore and delivers a sinister villain who violently preys on spiritual delinquents. HYPNOTICA: THE NIGHTMARIST is destined to be a solid B-Film classic and prominently features the deviant music of electronic trance duo SQUID LID, currently on the first leg of their European tour.


Chris Minz, a.k.a. The Evil Dr. Minz, is an institution in Toronto’s art and music scenes. Minz gained notoriety for his illustrated Keith Richards series satirizing the ROLLING STONES icon, as well as for his Facebook cartoons, which led him to publish his illustrated caffeine-driven book, THE SUBCONSCIOUS JUNGLE.

Formerly the lead singer/lead guitarist in DR. MINZ AND THE CHRONIC HARMONIC, a Tony Robbins/Frank Zappa-inspired ensemble, Minz and his band gained traction with their contribution to the soundtrack of Bruce McDonald’s cult-classic ROADKILL. Minz went on to direct music videos for legendary rock talent, KING CRIMSON alumni Trey Gunn and Adrian Belew, the BARENAKED LADIES and Kevin Hearn.

Influenced by the fantasy and fearlessness of directors/artists such as David Cronenberg, David Lynch and Hayao Miyazaki, Minz wrote/directed THE AMORPHOUS MIND POLICE FACTOR (feature), HI BUDGIE (short) and THE VERY IMAGINARY FRIEND (feature). His TV credits include BEETLEJUICE and THE NEVERENDING STORY.

Dr. Minz’s carnival of style makes this auteur an authentic original. His obsession with freedom of imagination motivates him to dream big and be bizarre.


Visit HYPNOTICA: THE NIGHTMARIST on CineCoup and submit your vote for this week’s mission. Voting is Monday-Friday each week until the end of May. *Each week there is a new mission that will need your vote, comment and/or rating.

Sign up in three easy steps:

  1. Enter your name and email on the CineCoup site
  2. Confirm your email
  3. Go to the Hypnotica page and vote!


CineCoup is a disruptive platform for indie filmmakers and their fans derived to develop, market and finance feature films. CineCoup challenges entrants to new tasks each week and each week voters login and choose their favourite outcome of that week’s challenge. There are 12 rounds over 12 weeks and at the end, the top five fan-favourites go on to pitch to a panel of financiers at the Banff World Media Festival in June 2015, competing in-person for the chance at $1 million to make their film and screen it in Cineplex theatres across Canada.

Toronto’s Blood in the Snow announces short film program

As seen on

The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival is proud to announce its lineup for its BITS Short Showcase program playing Friday November 28th at 9:30 p.m. The lineup includes premieres of seven short films of the best Canadian genre shorts to be made this year. Last year’s prime time program was a huge hit selling out and adding a second screening.

For descriptions and trailers click here.

The remaining four features and the eight short films that will open all the features will be announced November 1st at Toronto’s HORROR-RAMA convention, with presentations running November 1st and 2nd.

Early bird festival passes ($65) and select individual tickets ($11) are on sale now here. For more, visit Blood in the Snow on Facebook.

WYRMWOOD – Review By Greg Klymkiw – Canadian Premiere Toronto After Dark FF 2014

As seen on The Film Corner.

The new Australian living dead chiller-thrillerWyrmwood might, at first glance, look and feel like a derivative post-apocalyptic zombie picture, but there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about it. Constructed with solid craft, spewing globs of gallows humour, walloping your senses, well, uh, senseless with bowel-loosening jolts, inspiring cold-cocking scares that slide you to the edge of your seat and of course, offering up a kick-ass babe of the highest order, all adds up to a rollicking good time.

With plenty of loving homages to George Miller’s Mad Max pictures and George Romero, helmer Kiah Roache-Turner and his co-scribe Tristan Roache-Turner, serve up a white-knuckle roller coaster ride through the unyielding Australian bushland as a family man (who’s had to slaughter his family when they “turn” into zombies) and a ragtag group of tough guys, equip themselves with heavy-duty armour, armament and steely resolve to survive.

Blasting through hordes of flesh-eating slabs of viscous decay, they careen on a collision course with a group of Nazi-like government soldiers who are kidnapping both zombies and humans so a wing-nut scientist can perform brutal experiments upon them. The family man’s insanely well-built, athletic and gorgeous sister is nabbed by the fascist egghead which allows for a harrowing rescue attempt and a bevy of scenes involving our babe in lethal fighting mode.

The movie has two very cool variations on zombie lore – one, a way for humans to telepathically communicate with and subsequently control the zombies as well as the handy discovery that zombie blood can be used as petrol for their souped-up fighting truck.

Roache-Turner proves himself a formidable talent. He employs … read the full article here.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival: 2014 REVIEW: WYRMWOOD

As seen in Toronto Film Scene.

Wyrmwood isn’t your typical zombie film, and that’s putting it lightly. There are things here that you’ve never seen before, and probably never even thought of, and the end result is a teeth grinding masterpiece. Touches of Mad MaxDead Alive, and Evil Dead blend with a bloody road trip through this insane film.

Everything about this film, including the soundtrack, is madness. Things begin in a rather serious way, as we witness the outbreaks first victims, and it never slows down from there. The movie becomes increasingly crazy, with a pounding score and camera angles that leave you disoriented. There’s also a very dark sense of humour that begins to show up halfway through.

This is the kind of movie where you find yourself wanting to cheer every minute.

Read full review and watch trailer here.

Canadian Sorority Slasher Flick THE SCAREHOUSE Premieres Just In Time For Halloween

TSC Eyes 2


Coming off rave reviews of its Sneak Peek at Montreal HorrorFest last month, THE SCAREHOUSE hosts its theatrical World Premiere in Windsor, ON October 5, 2014. Tickets at Eventbrite.

Look for THE SCAREHOUSE on VOD and iTunes in CAN/US on October 21, 2014.

In THE SCAREHOUSE, “two friends open a Halloween fun house on Devil’s Night, an elaborate party for their former sorority sisters. As these six sisters arrive one by one, they are confronted by a troublesome past. When their hosts’ true intentions are revealed, everyone inside the Scarehouse will find out that, indeed, revenge is a bitch.”

Check out the official trailer:

[youtube id=”dl44rG-wGxA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Last summer I asked lead actress Sarah Booth about the importance of the all-girl cast, what’s new for audiences in this film and all about the awesome kill scenes! Read the interview at

For immediate updates on THE SCAREHOUSE follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Official website at


Demons and Murder and Scandal, Oh My: A girl’s guide to Hellions, a new film by Bruce McDonald

This Halloween, Whizbang Films and Storyteller Pictures bring audiences face-to-mask with director Bruce McDonald’s newest terror flick, HELLIONS. The film tells the story of Dora, a teen who must survive a hellish Halloween fighting pint-sized demons who stake claim on more than just delicious bags of candy. HELLIONS will haunt you for weeks, hammering home the old adage, “be careful what you wish for, it just might come true”.


The Kill Spot sat down with Chloe and Rachel to learn a little more about the movie through the eyes of the ladies who battle these malevolent masked creatures.

TKS: Great to meet you both. I know you’re in between takes, so I’ll get right to it! I describe HELLIONS as a mash up of THE WIZARD OF OZ meets TRICK ‘R TREAT meets ALIEN. These movies all feature strong, young, female protagonists. Who are some of your favourite heroines in film and did you draw on them for your characters?

Chloe: That’s a great question. I don’t think I’ve pulled on anyone specifically. I’d like to think Dora is a person of her own. I think that’s what makes her really interesting. She has no insecurities, she knows exactly who she is and she has no problem being exactly that. They’ve written an interesting teenager. Most teenagers are portrayed as subdued and quiet, or angsty, because they don’t know who they are yet, where Dora is angsty because she knows too much and is too intelligent for her own good. It’s kickass that the heroine has to kick butt and pull herself together.

TKS: What do you think the significance is of making the protagonist/heroine a teenage girl?

Chloe: The hellions are kind of reflections of Dora’s childhood. When Dora gets some life changing news, she really must face growing up even though she’s not ready to be an adult.  She experiences things as, you know, a girl, that guys just never will – physically, mentally, socially etc. It’s a poetic and intense coming of age story, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, with more blood and guts!

TKS: Rachel, my next question is for you. HELLIONS takes on the mother-daughter relationship. What resonates with you about motherhood and family as the subject of this film?

Rachel: When it comes to losing someone you love, a parent losing a child is the most devastating. There’s definitely the sense that if you add motherhood and family to any horror movie you’re raising the stakes. The things that happen to Dora are basically the worst things that you can imagine happening to your child, all coming true. That will really hit home for a lot of people.

TKS: This is a script written by a man and directed by a man but it features leading women. I am wondering how the collaboration with Bruce affected or shaped the female voice of the story.

Chloe: I mean, working with Bruce has been really interesting. He’s totally open to anyone else’s interpretation and ideas. I’ve said this a lot in interviews because it’s the only way I can describe it. He has this vision and then he takes everyone else’s ideas and he morphs them together. So I don’t think it tainted the idea of the woman protagonist.

Rachel: He’s very collaborative. He just did an amazing job. He strikes me as a person who has a lot of sensitivity so you’re not going into a film with a director who is super macho. I mean he’s a compassionate, warm, sensitive human being so he’s going to create a film that has all those elements.

Chloe: On top of being super cool at all times. Altogether, I don’t think they could have picked a better director for something like this.

TKS: Thanks so much guys, for sitting down with The Kill Spot.

Chloe and Rachel: Thanks Alison.

HELLIONS is written by Pascal Trottier (THE COLONY), directed by Bruce McDonald (PONTYPOOL, HARD CORE LOGO) and produced by Frank Siracusa (HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN) and Paul Lenart (HONOR CODE).

 You can stay up to date with the latest HELLIONS news on Twitter and Facebook.

And, be sure to check out the HELLIONS Video Contest! The contest is open to anyone with a scary video, up to two minutes long. The theme: Red. Submissions can take any form – a fake trailer, a scene from a horror script you’ve been writing, a short film – as long as they somehow connect to Red. Red like blood, red like hellfire, red like blind passion, red like Blood Moons on Halloween … use your wildest imagination. You have until February 28, 2014 to enter. For more details about the contest and/or to find out more about the film, visit

M is for Madame-Kali (2013) – Director: Jazz Virk

Title: M is for Madame-Kali
Year: 2013
Country: Canada/UK
Director: Jazz Virk
Writer: Jazz Virk
Producers: Dov Weiss, Jazz Virk, Swarit Jajal, Vandana Sidhu, James Antonio
Director of Photography: Nigel Akam

Plot Summary: A woman’s revenge is Kali Ma, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction.

Virk’s latest piece raises awareness about violence against women. The story is inspired by and is dedicated to Jyoti Singh Pandey, India’s ‘New Delhi gang rape victim’ who was brutally raped and murdered in 2012.

This short was submitted as part of the ABCs of Death 2 26th Director Search. Learn more here. A longer version of the film will be coming out in Winter/Spring 2014.

Tower of Terror: Toronto’s indie horror scene, by William Brownridge

As seen on Toronto Film Scene.

“Canadians have always created fantastic cinematic terrors, and Toronto is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the world of independent genre film. In fact, we probably already have.”

There isn’t a better genre of film for independent productions than horror, and you can’t beat the city of Toronto when it comes to film culture. From huge Hollywood hits, to films you may not have even discovered yet, Toronto has become one of the best cities in the world for film. The city plays host to the Toronto International Film Festival, with Midnight Madness bringing horror fans some annual goodies, and genre fans know that Toronto After Dark will be bringing the best that horror has to offer. The recent launch of the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival shines a bloody light directly on horror films created in Canada, proving that indie horror is on the rise.

Horror has always been a genre that existed more in the independent scene than anywhere else. When big companies get involved, the terror is frequently watered down, so horror fans have learned to seek out smaller productions. This is where boundaries are pushed, and while not every film is successful, the ones which get it right can create a huge hit. Fans of the genre also tend to be more accepting of the work. If you can provide a great atmosphere, some gory special effects, and a menacing killer, you’ll surely have a winning film. This is a sentiment echoed by local directors Justin McConnell and Tricia Lee.

McConnell, who directed The Collapsed and was recently added as a programmer for Toronto After Dark, explains why horror works so well. “Horror is always a wise choice due to it’s viability in an over-crowded marketplace, and the genre’s ability to present films to the public that can do well based on concept and elements alone. You don’t necessarily need a well-known cast, huge budget or any of the other bells and whistles to find an audience for horror. The concept is everything.” …

… “Many filmmakers are finding it difficult to navigate the traditional funding avenues found here in Canada, and are taking a much more DIY approach to getting their projects made.”

Read full article here.


Cameras roll on Bruce McDonald’s new horror-thriller ‘Hellions’, by Etan Vlessing

As seen on Playback.

Indie producers Whizbang 
have started the cameras rolling on Bruce McDonald’s Halloween 

The latest genre picture from the Pontypool director stars Chloe Rose as a pregnant teen who must survive a Halloween night from hell when three trick-or-treaters come knocking at her door.

No word on the budget for Hellions, which includes Telefilm Canada financing.

The ensemble cast includes Rookie Blue‘s Rachel Wilson as the teen’s mother, Luke Bilyk as her boyfriend and Rossif Sutherland in the role of a doctor.

Hellions was penned 
(The Colony) and is produced by
 and Paul 

“It is thrilling to be underway on this project and very auspicious that we are getting started Halloween week,” Siracusa said in a statement on Friday.

Norayr Kasper is the director of photography on Hellions, Andrew Berry is the production designer, Sarah Millman is the costume designer and Duff Smith (The HusbandYou Are Here) will edit the film.

Follow Hellions on Facebook and Twitter

Exclusive: Steve Hoban Talks Darknet and More!, by Drew Tinnin

As seen on Dread Central.

From Blood and Donuts and Ginger Snaps to Splice and, his latest, Haunter, producer Steve Hoban has been a staple in the Canadian horror scene since the mid Nineties.

He’s now working again with director Vincenzo Natali on a new experimental web series called Darknet that should be making its way onto television here in the States in the near future. For now, as of 12:01am this morning, fans can watch the first installment over at And, believe me, it’s worth checking out. Consisting of interweaving storylines and connected characters in different instances of urban horror, the first episode runs about 25 minutes and features some really solid, well-crafted moments. Just before the debut, Hoban was kind of enough to speak with us for a few minutes to talk about the series.

Dread Central: Since the idea of the Darknet files has been kept close to the chest and the teasers don’t really show too much, can you expand on the concept and talk about what horror fans can expect from the series?

Steve Hoban: Sure. We kind of flew under the radar because of the way we put it together. We ended up shooting six episodes but really we shot them as a prototype block of six. They are an adaptation of a very successful Japanese show called “Torihada” and they really key off on what that show originally was. Their show was very lo-fi and really just had creepy or scary or horrific things that felt very immediate and felt like they were things that could happen in the real world. Our show is a little more polished than that show is but we started with that. It’s short, visceral, fast, scary things that should feel like it could happen to anybody in the audience. You should watch this show and think as you’re stepping out your door that night or the next morning, ‘Hmm, maybe I should keep my eyes open.’

DC: With “Torihada”, it’s difficult for fans here to find a version with English subtitles but apparently it’s available everywhere in Japan. Are you taking any moments from that series or is it completely original?

SH: We’ve done both. We have a combination of episodes that are literally the same stories that were in “Torihada” episodes and then we have others that are originals. Then, we have some that mix them. The biggest difference is that we could have four segments within a half-hour episode. In Darknet they tend to be interrelated, so there are characters that go from one to another or there are elements that connect the stories. So, in a way, it’s a little bit more like a pulp fiction TV-series in that there are connected episodes. We even have characters that go from one episode to another even though each segment is its own unique story with a beginning, middle, and an end.

DC: Now, how do those connections work with different directors? When they sign on, do they have to use a certain character or a certain moment?

SH: Yeah, the way we did it is that Vincenzo [Natali] and I develop the scripts in-house with six different writers, so we were developing all of the scripts. Then, we put it to the writers initially to find the connections within the segments within their episode; then, we worked with them to further enhance those. Then, we took the six scripts and said, ‘Let’s take this character – she’s in the first episode – and let’s put her in episode three and in episode six.’ So, in some cases, it was to take a character that a writer was writing in one episode and make her a slightly different character or make him a her or vice-versa. Vincenzo and I were really just marshalling along the screenwriting. Vincenzo directed the first episode and I directed the second, so we had seen so many actors by the time we got to the third episode that we had a very good idea of what actors could fill a lot of the roles. It was done as a very collaborative thing.

DC: Well, I like the inner connections like that, especially with actors playing different characters. That’s been proven successful with something like “American Horror Story.”

SH: Absolutely. In a way, I think fans of “American Horror Story” would like this show and in another way it’s very very different. “American Horror Story,” of course, gets a whole season to explore these characters. In ours, you can have a whole story, beginning and end, and never see any of the characters again or hear anything about that story in four minutes. Or, then a character can reappear a number of times. I’m a huge fan of short story fiction and have been for years, so, to me, it’s what makes short stories so fun. They’re so visceral; they’re so fast and so satisfying as opposed to waiting so long to find out what’s happening. I would say, for any of our ongoing elements, nobody needs to see an episode where a character reappears because they get everything out of every discrete episode itself.

DC: How interactive will the Darknet site actually be? After the first six episodes, the series is opening up for fans and other filmmakers to direct or to contribute, right?

SH: That’s one of the things we’re most excited about. Once we get up and running in the new year, people will be able to submit their own scripts or even finished stories or finished segments that can be compiled into other episodes. Ultimately, we’d like to have those play on the website and some of the selected ones would ultimately become part of a TV show and end up on the DVDs that will follow the broadcast of the show. It’s a real opportunity for people out there to start becoming part of the show and make the show themselves. Even though we haven’t put a call out or anything, people have become aware of the show in, I guess, a grassroots kind of way. So, the core of people that are already interested in this type of thing already know about it. We’re not at all set up right now to handle submissions; we really don’t want them yet. We may put out our ten favorite scripts online and get people to vote on them.

DC: I’ll be sure to put a little disclaimer saying, ‘Screenwriters, do NOT send your scripts in yet!’

SH: (laughs) Yes, please. Not yet. We definitely want them; we just don’t want them quite yet!

Darknet is directed by Natali, Hoban, Brett Sullivan (“Orphan Black,” Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed), Rodrigo Gudiño (The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh) and newcomers Anthony Scott Burns and Jeremy Ball. The writers are Natali, Pascal Trottier, Doug Taylor (Splice), James Kee, Randall Cole (388 Arletta Ave) and Sarah Larsen. Darknet is executive produced by Vincenzo Natali and Steven Hoban, producers are Jensenne Roculan, Mark Smith (Haunter, 388 Arletta Ave), Paul Rapovski (Lost Girl) and supervising producer Kana Koido.

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