Archive for August, 2011

POV Film with a New Twist: Trollhunter!

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I’ve noticed lately that some of the best genre releases have been coming from outside of the United States. Hollywood, it seems, has run out of ideas and would rather concentrate on remakes and sequels than actually paying someone with an original idea. I will say though that some of the more recent remakes have actually been pretty good.

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“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark!” No, seriously…don’t be.

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LORD OF THE RINGS meets PAN’S LABYRINTH in the latest Guillermo Del Torror film I just returned from seeing – DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. This is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name and was released last Friday. Let me say for the record that I am not as against the idea of remakes as my co-blogger is. I am absolutely offended by “shot for shot” remakes such as the 1998 PSYCHO abomination, but feel that, as long as a movie is original in its execution ( if not its concept), that’s not such a bad thing. Movies like John Carpenter’s THE THING, Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, and the latest PLANET OF THE APES are all examples of  movies that can stand alone without marring the good name of its originals.

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Forgetting Sarah Michelle Gellar: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Remembered…

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The genre crowd is abuzz regarding the news that our beloved “Slayer,” Sarah Michelle Gellar, will be returning to commercial television - both acting as well as serving as executive producer for a new Fall series titled “Ringer.” Gellar plays a woman on the run who conceals herself via the identity of her wealthy twin sister. I am a fan of Gellar and absolutely wish her all the best and will definitely check out the new show despite having mixed feelings.

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SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: THE FINAL BATTLE – So Worth The Wait!

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One of my fondest memories as a child of the 70′s was coming home every day after school to watch my favorite cartoon series, STAR BLAZERS. At the time it was being shown on a UHF station so it varied from day-to-day as far as how well I could draw the station in. Regardless, I was there every afternoon at 3 PM to enjoy the exploits of Derek Wildstar, Mark Venture, Nova, IQ-9 and so many other memorable characters. For the time, the animation was a definite step up from what we were seeing on Saturday morning and unlike most cartoons of the day, this series had a well-written, ongoing story. Plus it had a catchy theme song!

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Does the 2011 “Fright Night” Have the Same Bite as the Original?

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Let me start by saying that I absolutely hate remakes. Anyone that has followed me on here knows that and my reasoning is simple…nine out of ten times they suck! The fact that so many of the movies coming out today are sequels or remakes really shows the state of Hollywood! They have literally run out of ideas (and I am sure it is a lot cheaper to hire someone to re-write something that worked in the 80′s then to hire someone with an original thought in their head).

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Who, Me? Part 8: Sweet Screams With Ms. Monster And The Monster Melons, Tit And Tat!

By: Jamie Lee Cortese

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After I met Count Gore De Vol, Mr. Lobo, and Count and Countess Gregula, and spoke to Wolfman Mac on the phone, there was just one more horror host on my list of people to meet that I had yet to introduce myself to:  Ms. Monster.

I had met her costars, the Monster Melons, Tit and Tat, a few times during the day, as I had stopped at their table multiple times throughout the day (probably more times than I really should have).

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SVENGOOLIE at JJ BLINKERS: Horror Host fans arrive in droves!

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The Internet had been buzzing for weeks at the news of National horror host, Svengoolie, making a public appearance at JJ Blinkers – a costume/trick shop located in Antioch, Illinois. The “Rubber Chicken, Whoopee cushion kinda store” was an obvious perfect fit for Sven, while its location (north of Chicago) made it an ideal spot for his Wisconsin fans to see him as well.

I had heard of this event almost from the moment it was booked courtesy of my friend, Dr. Destruction. Dr. Destruction is an avid fan of both Svengoolies and was honored by the Chicago icon when he participated in his Kenosha based “Big Top Radio Show” (for which I was also honored to be a part of) a few weeks back. Unable to contain his excitement of seeing Svengoolie again, and at one of his favorite stores, Destruction began his own one-man media campaign.

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Who, Me? Part 7: Emerging From Their Chicagoland Crypt, It’s Count And Countess Gregula!

By: Jamie Lee Cortese

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Later on that first day at the convention, my family had to practically tear me away from Horror Host Alley in order to bring me into the massive MaskFest room.  Now, I have to admit, I did see some amazing masks there, and I really did enjoy exploring that room!  I met two of the Killer Klowns from Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and also saw, but didn’t get a chance to speak to, the male and female leads from the film.  The Klowns were both very kind, and were more than willing to take a picture with me when I bought their autographs!  They also both confirmed something I had read on the Internet and had been wondering about for a while:  Apparently, the Chiodo brothers have been attempting for a few years… to make a sequel to Killer Klowns From Outer Space!  I’ll be on the lookout!

Another highlight of the MaskFest room was The Late Dr. Lady’s table.  Recognizing his name from The Daves’ blog, I went over and had a very nice talk with him as I perused the surprisingly varied merchandise he was selling.  My family ended up buying a couple of funny-yet-fully-functional weekly pill cases, each of which bore the warning, “DANGER: MAY CONTAIN EXPERIMENTAL MONSTER TRANSFORMATION PILLS.”  We also bought a Horror Hotel CD.

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Can this PLEASE Be the Final, Final Destination?

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It was a mostly teenaged/young adult crowd that joined me for a viewing of FINAL DESTINATION 5 on its opening day. I popped on my 3D glasses and prepared myself for the “ride” that is guaranteed whenever one sees a FINAL DESTINATION film. Before I begin on my take of the movie, lets address the “3D” aspect. Its a common feature these days and with varied results; In most cases its unnecessary, in some cases disastrous (CLASH OF THE TITANS), while effective in a clever few (PIRANHA & MY BLOODY VALENTINE remakes). Horror films, by their very nature, should be ideal for this medium. The whole idea of something coming at you and causing you to jump is all part of their standard operating procedure anyway and 3D simply gives it extra punch. I did not feel, however, that it made a huge difference in this one.

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“Dark Night of the Scarecrow” – The Soundtrack!

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Shortly after the 4th of July, I stopped over at our local TARGET store and was annoyed to see that they’d already begun their “Back to School” sales. Although I understand the motivation of businesses for engaging in this long-standing practice of “pushing the holidays,” it still doesn’t prevent me from routinely rolling my eyes and getting irked by it. “Back to School” in July? Sheesh, let the poor kids enjoy their summer!

Behind the large bins of notebooks, pens, and Elmer’s Glue (all supplies that will be as scarce as water in a desert a few short weeks from now) was a few items indicating yet another holiday was in the department store wings. Unlike the advent of a new school year or even Christmas, however, I greeted this occasion more as a welcomed friend along with the knowledge that a monster & horror fan’s favorite season is just around the corner.If you are reading this blog, its a good bet that you will agree that Halloween is one of the BEST holidays along with all the wonderful Fall festivities associated with it!

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Midnight Syndicate’s 13th Hour Arrives Not a Moment Too Soon!

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Halloween. When most people hear that word they think of trick-or-treating, jack’o lanterns and candy. For someone like me, a home haunter, I think of scaring the crap out of kids and making them earn their treat! I have been doing a yard haunt since 1985 and one thing I have found is that it is getting increasingly difficult to scare the kids, in part because of what kids now experience daily in movies and video games! The reactions I used to get in the late 80′s are certainly more of a challenge these days!

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Mr. Lobo and Dixie’s Excellent Adventure!

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I was happily surprised to run into Mr. Lobo and Dixie at the annual FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST in Kentucky! As mentioned in our recent Atomic Age Cinema piece, horror hosts were slated to appear at this event but Mr. Lobo wasn’t one of them. Needless to say, the sight of the spectacled host wearing his signature suit & green/black striped tie was a welcomed one at that! I found the mastermind of Cinema Insomnia chatting with Blake Powell, the guru behind Midnite Mausoleum, and wasted no time interrupting the two late night TV mavericks.

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RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: Definitely worth going “ape” over!

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Yesterday I attended an afternoon showing of the new film RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.  Before the lights dimmed and viewers were reminded to silence their cell phones, I was immediately struck by the diverse audience this film attracted. There appeared to be equal numbers of black, white, young, old, teen couples, and even middle-aged genre fans (wink). Perhaps the finest example of the generational appeal the APES brand carries was illustrated by a man in his sixties assisting an elderly gentlemen to his seat beside me. He apologized as the older man’s cane fell on my feet and I smiled and asked if he was a big fan of the original PLANET OF THE APES. “Oh yes,” he said. “I’ll never forget the day my father took me to see it and now I’m taking him!”

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THE RETURN OF FANGORIA!

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Last year I posted a blog expressing my disappointment with what had once been my favorite horror/gore magazine (a post you can check out HERE). Over the last few years, the iconic FANGORIA  seemed to go from subversive pleasure to mainstream “sell out.” Disillusioned readers (such as myself) began flocking to newer alternatives such as Horrorhound and Rue Morgue (Horrorhound becoming my new favorite). My devotion to FANGORIA was such that this did not come without a certain level of “guilt.” In fact, I held on to the magazine long after most of my fellow horror friends had given up.

As stated in the aforementioned article, I allowed my subscription to expire and assumed (as I walked away cold turkey) that it would be a long time before I’d ever open another issue.

Never say never!

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KILLER SHARK Fans Beware! THE REEF will make your JAWS drop!

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Not long ago I wrote of meeting Susan Backlinie a.k.a “Chrissy” from JAWS. Although she couldn’t hear a darn thing I was saying (see the full story HERE) I told her how her famous scene during the film’s powerful opener was truly one of the most terrifying moments on film. Never had man’s age old fear of sharks been so successfully tapped into as was the case in the world’s first “blockbuster.”

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HORROR HOSTS & POLITICS: Dr David Lady on the Big Top Radio!

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There’s an old adage that says one should never talk about politics or religion while in a social venue. Kenosha Public Access host, Dr Destruction, on the other hand, can’t seem to get away from the former! Often espousing his own views via his weekly Crimson Theatre, Dr Destruction was even prompted to make his own run for Mayor some years back. While he would not win, he did make friends with many of his local politicians including the current Mayor of Kenosha – Keith Bosman.

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Dark Night of the Scarecrow: Bubba Returns!

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I was standing in the lobby of the main hotel at FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST when a young man came up to me and asked if I was Dave from TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES. Although I didn’t recognize him, it turned out that he and I had met before during a brief, but memorable, moment at Horrorhound Weekend last March.

I remember at the time, the other Dave (David Albaugh) and I were standing in line to see Barbara Steele. Nobody likes being idle when there is so much to do around you, so we passed the time doing what we do best under these circumstances- staring at folks! Yes, both David and I consider ourselves to be avid “people watchers,” a skill that, no doubt, is something one the develops during an introverted, shy youth and gradually hones over time. While most people think the best subjects can be found at Walmart (as illustrated by the numerous viral emails that go around depicting the less refined members of their clientelle) it really doesn’t matter where you are nor the socio-ecominic satus of your subjects. The fact remains that we people, on the whole, are pretty darn funny!

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“Dark Night of the Scarecrow’s” J.D. Feigelson at Horrorhound Weekend!

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Shortly after the last Horrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis, I had a nice email exchange with J.D. Feigelson – writer of one of my all-time favorite films, DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. Feigelson had treated both David and I like royalty after already honoring us by posting his positive feedback on a blog I had written last year. That piece was regarding the long-awaited DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW DVD release (see both original post & comment HERE).

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Tribute to Jerry G. Bishop’s SVENGOOLIE!

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In 1970, the original Svengoolie hit the Chicago airwaves and the Windy city hasn’t been the same since! The vampire hippy, with his quick wit, rubber chickens, and hilarious commercial/song parodies made for a night of side-splitting entertainment in a region that had been starved of a horror host since Shock Theatre (Marvin’s) departure a decade before.

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ATOMIC AGE CINEMA: Kentucky Fried Riff Trax is a Rocky Horror!

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It was hot down in Kentucky for the recent FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST which saw the appearance of John Carpenter, Linda Blair, and Henry Winkler – along with a cache’ of independent films to be unveiled to an overheated (it was humid and like 100 degrees, I kid you not) horror audience. Among all these events and “A-list” horror celebrities was a small conclave of horror hosts who were invited by Horrorhound’s Jason Hignite to put on a LIVE show. While nowhere near the number of hosts seen at the Indy Horrorhound, FRIGHT NIGHT was visited by Midnite Mausoleum, Captain Crypt & Fenriz Fatal from Horror Dungeon, and The Count & Countess Gregula. Mr. Lobo & Dixie from Cinema Insomnia also made a stop through (to be covered in a future post)  and I am pretty sure I saw Mel Praxis walking around too, but was on my way to the John Carpenter Q&A and never able to formerly meet him.

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Michael Biehn’s directorial debut left me anything but THE VICTIM!

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Let me share with you one of the more surreal moments I had at the 2011 FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST. It was Friday evening and I was just leaving the dealer’s room when I found myself standing face to face with actor Michael Biehn. Biehn will forever be loved by genre fans, like myself, for his roles in such hallowed films as TERMINATOR, ALIENS, and PLANET TERROR!

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JOHN CARPENTER Q&A Panel at FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST 2011

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The following is an overview from the John Carpenter Q&A panel that took place on Saturday July 23, 2011 at the FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST in Kentucky…

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