Tag Archives: Paranormal

Making Polterheist, an Interview with Dave Gilbank

17 Feb

Director Dave Gilbank.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Extended cut and reprinted from
    Absolute Underground Magazine with permission.
  • Movie Available on Amazon UK

How can anyone go wrong with a crime heist type film with supernatural elements mixed in? When the budget is tight, and you are dealing with a possession scenario, it has all the makings of going either way. In what I found when watching this indie work is a huge respect and perfect use of the tropes commonly found in a ghost story.

Quite often, it is not about the scares that can take place. Instead, it’s with how unfinished business gets resolved, especially by those whose life gets cut short. In this hilarious mashup of drama and comedy, I was certainly hooked. This mini-review serves as my intro to Dave Gilbank, the writer-director of Polterheist. He’s been making independent works for about 15 years, and is now based in the UK–the place to experience many a classic haunt due to its millennia-old history–and I had to ask how this story came about.

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Great Canadian Ghost Stories, and Where to Find Them

21 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Book launch on Oct 23, 7pm at Bolen Books
1644 Hillside Ave #111, Victoria, BC

Fans of supernatural lore can easily find a wide selection of Barbara Smith’s books collecting ghost stories in many a public library. Each of them focuses on a specific region and as she wrote in her latest work, Great Canadian Ghost Stories from Coast to Coast, “Please know that all my books of ghost stories, including this one, have been written to entertain and inform, not to change anyone’s belief systems.”

From Labrador to Vancouver Island, this work does a great job at offering the best-known tales to read before bed. I found The Isle of Demons from way out East particularly sad — a newlywed family was left to fend for themselves there, but its reputation got the better of sailors when they needed help — and for Victoria, British Columbia, my home, to decide on which story is best to spotlight must have been tough. Two are offered: the shade at Beacon Hill Park (too common of an entry in many works for my taste). I had an experience at Hatley Castle, and that’s my number one choice. Understandably, the administration wants to play that down, but the stories and what I heard says it all.

Another I’m trying to encounter is the Time Slip on Shelbourne street. I drove through this path many an October night for the past several years. The thought of this path becoming country is theoretically an illusion because when tired, the autumn foliage can trick the mind. I have a slip of paper in a plastic mylar bag to drop to test the theory of, “If you find this note, please find me in the years of 1978 and onwards.” My interest in the paranormal started in that decade.

This superlative collection covers favourites like The Dungarvon Whooper, The Ghosts of Fort George and The Banff Springs Hotel. I’m still looking for mention of the Sooke Staircase and feel this piece of folklore is overlooked! Another entry to note about my home province is that no, the doll Mandy did not inspire the Nicolas Cage movie of the same name. The movie took place in the Shadow Mountains of California, and it has its own demons for visitors to deal with.

I particularly enjoyed how this work represents the Great White North as a whole. The folklore from Nunavut is most likely still being pieced together. When considering how widespread and isolated citizens are, I firmly believe we have a lot of cabins in the woods scenarios. To find one that’s not akin to Evil Dead will be difficult.

The content offered in this collection is reading time well spent. Smith’s prose is easy to follow. Although I know more than half the stories already, they are worth revisiting when the mood strikes. She’s been writing these books since 1993, and her experience shows. She tells these tales as though she’s passing knowledge from one generation to another so that certain aspects of Canada’s past are not forgotten. The loss of lives at sea will always be hard-hitting. Mariner tales, especially “Mysterious Rescue,” early in this book sets the tone. Sometimes, those “Ghostly Footsteps” are just that; the dead has no interaction with the living, but are fleeting memories so we can at least acknowledge their presence. The entry on “Historical Hamilton House” hits all the right notes not only about the rise of Spiritualism in Canada and why many took to it, but also explains the Ackroyd connection. This family’s interest spanned generations and the comedian took ideas to pen the comedy classic Ghostbusters.

Barbara Smith’s books are often found in bookstores when the Halloween season arises. This latest work updates a few details. There’s no denying we all love a good ghost story by the campfire, but when we want to go find answers, that’s a different kettle of fish. My advice: just do not try (not many books stand out) and simply enjoy discovering Canada’s past from a supernatural angle. I feel that’s this book’s purpose, as I would love to ride those haunted railways once again.

Recipes Highlight Dark Horse Comics’ Hungry Ghost Compilation

27 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dark Horse Comics has a collected compilation of Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts ready to release October 2nd. I find myself in a conundrum, do I want to buy this work again? All I can hear from this great chef’s spirit, “You’ll want to go back for seconds, you will not be disappointed.” This release offers new material to sink my teeth into, and thankfully the preview I looked at affirmed the new content is indeed very delicious.

The added content is perfect for those who do not know their Japanese folklore. Everything people wanted to know about these particular figures used in this work but were afraid to ask is summarized and given a lovely illustration like it was drawn from a Japanese artist. This also includes the game of Hyakumonagatari Kaidankai (100 Candles)! In brief, Samurai challenge one another to scaring one another with supernatural tales and at the end, one of the candles is blown out. In the end, a real terror is lurking in the darkness. Bourdain’s work gives the tales a culinary twist. My review of the first issue and subsequent issues can be found here. and by fllowing the trail of links after each article.

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A Nerd’s Guide to the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival

16 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

I generally do not limit myself to the oddities which catch my interest at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival. The following are my nerdy style picks of the season, and only represent a part of the wide spectrum of delights offered. There are a few other shows which I plan to see, and hopefully, I can catch them all. No Pokemon GO references are expected this year but I have my reasons to be at each show early. The game continues with thanks to the die-hards, and I found my first Dragonite and Lapras before a show. Even told a group of performers where I found the latter, and they went chasing after one too. Yes, I’m wondering if this streak will continue.

For those who are not coming to this city for this celebration, most of these companies are touring and may well hit a celebration located near you. The season started a few months ago and stretch into the Autumn.

Disclaimer: Some of these shows use coarse language and are 18+

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