Tag Archives: horror movie review

Baskin Film Review

"Baskin" Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

“Baskin” Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

I saw the Turkish horror film “Baskin” a few months ago at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, but after traveling to Turkey I feel as though I understand the political context behind the film a bit better.

Baskin is a horror film by first time filmmaker Can Evrenol and is based on his 2013 short film by the same name.  The film is a surreal nightmare of hellish images in a gritty, bloody landscape and is a real treat for any one who is a fan of Hellraiser, HP Lovecraft and Nightmare on Elm Street – so, that would definitely be me!

The plot centers around a group of police officers at a restaurant who receive a distress call from a small town with a strange reputation.  Their van gets into an accident when an officer has a vision of a bloody figure and drives the van into a ditch.  Stranded, the officers continue on to the town where they come across an abandoned warehouse.  What they discover is a labyrinth of unthinkable horrors, and each of them is subjected to various nightmarish scenarios.  They soon realize they are trapped in Hell, and this version of Hell is run by a cannibalistic cult led by a super creepy, bald leader named The Father.

The film cuts back and forth between the police officers at the restaurant to the terror they now face, blurring the lines between reality as we are never quite sure which bizarre world is real.  While the story line isn’t the strongest, one can fully appreciate the film as an art house horror, with Dario Argento being an obvious influence.  The art direction and FX are pretty impressive for an independent film, with extensive torture set pieces and bloody gore dripping from every corner of the warehouse.  The cinematography is also reminiscent of Italian horror, highly stylized with sharp contrasts and rich blacks and reds.

The star of the show though is Mehmet Cerrahoglu who plays The Father.  During the Q&A at TIFF, we learned that this was the first time Mehmet had acted, and needless to say he’s found his calling.  His unique look and way of speaking makes him so engaging as the leader of the cult, and despite his short height, his presence is commanding and he steals every scene.

The political connotations behind the main characters make this film unique as well.  Subjecting the cops to such torture can for sure be seen as a commentary on the long history of police brutality in Turkey.  The police forces in Turkey have often been criticized for their excessive use of physical force, tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons on peaceful protestors.  The public response culminated to a police brutality protest in 2013, which was when the short was released.

“Baskin” isn’t out to scare you, the film just wants to give you a little taste of hell.  The visuals are so grotesquely beautiful though that you won’t want to look away, until it’s too late.

Did you see Baskin?  Let me know what you think!

Directed by Can Evrenol
Released: 2015
Starring: Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Gorkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu

West Coast Screams & Healthy Apple Dreams

Freddy Krueger's glove, Edward Scissorhands, Jason's mask and machete, Jack Torrance's axe from The Shining and Mr. Pointy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Experience Music Project museum

Freddy Krueger’s glove, Edward Scissorhands, Jason’s mask and machete, Jack Torrance’s axe from The Shining and Mr. Pointy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Experience Music Project museum

When I visited Seattle, I fell in love with the Experience Music Project Museum.  Not only did the museum have some excellent permanent collections featuring Nirvana & Jimi Hendrix, but there was also an impressive horror exhibit: “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film”.  One of the items displayed was Freddy Krueger’s glove from one of my favourite horror films, the classic slasher Nightmare on Elm Street directed by Wes Craven.  This movie made a significant impact on the horror genre, and inspired a slew of slashers produced throughout the 80’s.  A little over a decade later, Wes Craven’s Scream revitalized horror films, breathing new life into the genre he helped to create.  Scream spawned three sequels, the fourth one released many years later in 2011.  Despite the forgettable Scream 3, I was actually pretty excited for Scream 4 and my review can be read here.

Scream 4

Property of Dimension Films

In honour of the Scream series that was set in California, I’m featuring a recipe that highlights some of California’s most popular food trends: detox, wheat free and sugar free.  My spiced apple crisp puts a healthy spin on this classic dessert, making it the perfect dish to snack on during a detox.

Wheat Free, Sugar Free Spiced Apple Crisp

Wheat Free, Sugar Free Spiced Apple Crisp

Review: Dead & Breakfast


Property of Anchor Bay Entertainment

Released: 2004

Directed by: Matthew Leutwyler (Unearthed, Road Kill)

CastJeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Bianca Lawson, Oz Perkins

Dead and Breakfast is a self aware b-movie, country-style zombie romp.  If line dancing zombies aren’t reason enough to entice you to watch this bloody mess, then you clearly need more evil spirits to possess your poor soul.

The cast stars a few familiar faces from some of my favourite chick flicks.  Jeremy Sisto (Clueless), Bianca Lawson (Kendra from Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Oz Perkins (Legally Blonde).  Together with three other friends, they set out in an RV on a road trip to Galveston  for the wedding of their friend (a hilarious cameo by Portia de Rossi) and promptly get lost.  They end up in the small town of Lovelock and decide to stay the night at a bed and breakfast run by a creepy owner named Mr. Wise (David Carradine) and a really intense French chef.  Tensions start to run high before the first piece of deli meat falls to the ground, and by morning the group finds themselves the suspects of a murder investigation.  Their situation is made worse when one of the friends accidentally unleashes the evil spirit of the monstrous “Kuman Thong”. Soon they become trapped in the bed and breakfast and need to find creative ways to fight off the townsfolk who have all been transformed into zombies.

The movie is a clear reference to The Evil Dead right down to the over-the-top chainsaw scene, and though this film may not be breaking any new ground, the blood splatters are generous, the b-movie dialogue is on point, and did I mention the line dancing zombies?  The slapstick fun is just enough to keep you hanging around, but the characters fall flat and any suspense is lost somewhere between the line dancing zombies and buckets of blood.  This is one hotel that you only need to visit once.

Recommended snack:
One of the best lines in this movie is when in the midst of battle one character states: “I can’t kill anyone. I’m a vegan”.  So in honour of her strong vegan stance, try baking up a batch of these Vegan Gluten Free Quinoa Date Squares.

FUN FACT: Oz Perkins is Anthony Perkins son, looks like he’s following down the same horror path as his father!  Keep up the creepy work!