Monday, 29 August 2011


When I was a kid in the 1970's, I couldn't wait to get my hands on our local paper every Saturday. I'd tear though the thin edition of The Guardian to find the movie ads, specifically the matinees we kids could take in without adult accompaniment. More often than not, I'd come across something lurid, something that I couldn't wait to see. It was a win-win situation; my parents, and the parents of some of my friends, were happy to get rid of us for a couple of hours (or more if it were a double bill) for only a buck, plus 35 cents for popcorn topped with real butter that actually tasted like butter.

One of the great things about these matinees was that the films the Capitol Theatre (then the Prince Edward Cinemas and The Charlottetown Cinemas) would screen seemed to be selected at random, and frequently they were "inappropriate" for kids. It was these inappropriate movies that I'd hope to find advertised in the Saturday movie listings, and usually I found them. The other kids could keep their family movies; I wanted Scream and Scream Again and Frankenstein's Bloody Terror! And that's what I got.

A few short years later I was in Junior High, and my friend Mike Prokopec and I started clipping all the ads from the movies we'd see. We'd glue them into scribblers that are now long gone. Feeling nostalgic for these collections, I started visiting Charlottetown's Public Archives where I could access microfische copies of The Guardian and have photocopies of the ads made.

What follows here are scans of these movie ads beginning back in 1974 when I was in Grade 4. I saw each of the screenings advertised below, save one. The Prince Edward Cinemas ad for The Exorcist advertised a screening I desperately wanted to attend, but was forbidden to by my father (a good call). My inability to see this movie fueled my obsession with it that wouldn't be consummated until a couple of years later, as documented here. The ad for that fateful drive-in screening of The Exorcist is included here as well.

As my friend Darrin Dunsford said after I sent him some of these scans: "They brought back all the same excited feeling that I used to get checking out the movie listings, but don't much any more. And that "ONE SHOW ONLY" (Towering Inferno)... That made the movie seem all the more special and eventful. Now, when there's only 1 showing per evening, I immediately think "Oh great, another over-long, indulgent windbag of a movie where the editor can't do his job". When did I become so jaded???"

Please note: The scans for Earthquake, Munsters Go Home and The Fury are hard to make out, but I've included them for posterity. Click on images to enlarge.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I'm a staff writer at the sublime website Retro Slashers. I've got to say that John Klyza, the man behind the site, has gathered together a terrific group of people (himself included, natch) who contribute witty, entertaining and informative pieces about the golden age of slasher flicks. Honestly, it's a joy to be a part of this diverse group. I just wish we could arrange to have a yearly Retro Slashers get together somewhere central for everyone, but that would be a significant logistical and financial challenge, damn it all to hell!

Lately, we've been presenting theme months at Retro Slashers, and it's been a good direction for us to take. Working towards a monthly theme encourages writers to focus, to work towards a deadline, and it even provides a sense of unity for us, at least in my experience. It's even been good for the site itself in the sense that it's now much more like a monthly online magazine with theme-related articles appearing throughout the month. When the month ends, a new issue (theme) begins, with all past articles still available on the site. And each month we continue to provide news, reviews and other content not directly related to the monthly theme.

Since we've started working with themes, Retro Slashers has done a month covering the 1981 slasher classic My Bloody Valentine, we've done a month about Slasher Hybrid movies like 10 to Midnight and Silent Rage, we've done Unmasked Month featuring Nightmare, Driller Killer and other movies with maskless killers. And this month is Giallo Month.

Giallo... One of my favourite genres (sub-generes?). My contribution this month is all about Umberto Lenzi's Eyeball - a movie that never fails to entertain me, despite what many other movie writers say. And it's this kind of personal (though professional, if I may say so) writing that contributes to Retro Slashers accessible and characteristic flavour. There's no other site quite like it.

I hope you'll check out each theme month at Retro Slashers and that you'll be on the lookout for articles as they appear throughout each month. I know that would make me happy, and I'm betting it would John, Thomas, Amanda, Ross and Christian too. After all, Retro Slashers is bloody good people.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Tee Shouts

By day, I'm an Ad Man. I write and do some project management at Graphic Communications Group, an advertising, web and design company.

A little over a year ago, Laura O'Brien (a former co-worker, and current graphic designer and friend) and I were discussing an idea for Tee Shouts, a website that the public could use as an outlet for their creativity; a forum where Joe and Josephine Anybody could post messages on online t-shirts, with the end result being funny, antagonizing, touching, whatever, virtual tees that they could share with the Internets.

We brought it to our boss and a co-worker (Craig) who both thought it was an interesting idea. We claimed the domain name, Laura did preliminary work on a website design, but it all went on the back burner.

Some time passed, Laura moved back to Newfoundland, and another co-worker and designer, Matt, did some redesign on the site. And it went on the back burner again.

Some more time passed, Craig did another site redesign, and our lead web person, Beth, put the code together. And today we launched the site.

Take a look around on Tee Shouts. You can create as many tees as you like, and you can add a comment that will tell us more about your message. We check submissions for content, and every Wednesday we'll post a new online selection of your Tee Shouts. As we say: You can't wear it, but you can share it!