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.
I first heard about TROLLHUNTER thanks to my favorite horror magazine, HorrorHound. This Norwegian film follows the concept of recent films such as THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, CLOVERFIELD and QUARANTINE, where a group of people are videotaping the action as it unfolds. In this case a group of college students are making a documentary for their film class on strange bear killings going on in Norway.
In Norway, bear hunting is regulated and a poacher is suspected to be behind the mysterious deaths. The students find who they suspect is the poacher and attempt to interview him, beginning a horrifying ride they never expected. It turns out the “poacher” is a government-sanctioned troll hunter! Apparently the Norwegian government has been aware of their troll problem, using the excuses of bears attacks to explain attacks on humans and livestock and tornadoes to explain land destruction. Bodies of dead bears are brought in to further the charade.
One of many species of trolls living in Norway!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this film and highly recommend it! I only watched the subtitled version so I am not aware if the English dubbed works as well or not. The overall special effects are good though to be honest, the appearance of of the trolls themselves range from goofy to downright frightening. The story is fast paced and never gets boring and though some of the trolls may look goofy, you certainly wouldn’t want to meet one in person! Andre Overdal, the writer and director, should be commended for a job well done!
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.
I went to a matinee with an audience of nine (three couples and three singles including myself) who were all about middle-aged. This wasn’t too surprising as most of the theater-going high school and college aged kids are now back in school. Katie Holmes stars as the proverbial step-mom to an unhappy little girl sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce who plays Katie’s boyfriend) in their Rhode Island mansion. The couple are amidst renovating the historical building before the arrival of the little girl, played by Bailee Madison.
The girl is clearly miserable and believes that she is unwanted. In this the child is completely justified and Holmes ends up being more of a real parent than her biological ones. Rather than get roped into the drama, I found it oddly amusing. With the sight of a self-absorbed husband, mysterious dark-haired, little girl, and Katie Holmes running around acting like the only “normal” one, this could have easily been packaged as a “Tom Cruise family reality show” and I’d have bought it (monsters, included).
Ah, yes, the monsters…
The mansion proves an ideal locale for the child to try and escape her real world, leading her to release a horde of CGI gnome-like creatures that soon run amok. These creatures are not scary and, despite the innovative special effects techniques of today, lack the creepiness factor found in the original. As the title implies, the monsters thrive on darkness and this film provides them with plenty of it, even when there’s lots of opportunities for the characters to illuminate.
In fact, much of the film will leave you scratching your head, not the least of which is why they feel the need to stay at that house even after the adults get wind that there is a problem. Horror hounds will be disappointed by the relatively low body count and the monsters would have been better off staying somewhere with the lights off – if not for their own protection than certainly so we viewers didn’t have to see so much of them!
As I left the theater, one of the couples from the audience walked out behind me. “Oh, I am so sorry about that,” said the woman. “Oh, don’t worry about it, ” her partner replied. “You didn’t know it was going to suck.”
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.
The problem is simple; I, along with a large majority of my geek brothers and sisters, will forever see her as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and have little desire to do otherwise. Even as a horror fan, I’ve had some difficulty watching her in the various film roles she’s taken on since the hit series ended. The sight of her running in terror messes with my sensibilities and I keep waiting for her to stop, face her opponent, and deliver a well-placed drop-kick that sends her adversary soaring across the room! Sarah Michelle Gellar is an amazing actress and I am not trying to imply that she’s been typecast so much as suggesting the void left from her Buffy character has yet to be filled.
In my lifetime, I have loved very few series and was never much good at “appointment TV” (though it has gotten a lot better since the advent of DVR’s). Needless to say, “Buffy” wasn’t an easy sell. I remember it was the late 90′s and I was just getting used to the idea that “The X-Files” was over (even though it was still airing, if you catch my meaning). I had heard about “Buffy,” thought it sounded silly and destined for mid season cancellation. I had sat through the Kristy Swanson film and considered it 86 minutes of my life I’d never get back and had no interest in wasting any more of my time.
I started watching somewhere in the middle of its third season and, by its rip-roaring finale, was completely hooked. Later I began working at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo and a strong majority of my co-workers were Buffy fanatics like me.Every Wednesday the Nyani (Baboon) lounge was dominated by conversations regarding the previous night’s episode. Tuesday nights couldn’t come fast enough and my X-Files posters were slowly replaced with images of the Slayer instead.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is simply one of the most brilliant series ever to grace the small screen. You may think that this is a bold statement or simply the mad ramblings of a super dork. You’d probably be right on both counts, however, that doesn’t make what I’ve said any less true. “Buffy” boasted some of the wittiest dialogue, clever stories, and endearing characters I’ve seen to date. Creator, Joss Whedon, brought together a group of teens who talked like thirty year olds while battling the forces of darkness amidst figuring out who their dates will be for Prom. This group was anything but the shallow eye candy seen in most teen shows, such as their 90210 neighbors to the south.
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!
There were two seasons that were shown on our local station (though a 3rd season was produced). The first season, known as The Quest For Iscandar, featured the gang of Earth’s best fighting the evil Gamilons trying to save their planet from deadly radiation caused by planet bombs. The crew takes their space battleship Argo (the sunken Japanese battleship Yamato) to the planet Iscandar to retrieve Cosmo DNA, which will rid the Earth of the radiation, saving everyone.
The second season, called The Comet Empire, featured the return of the original crew (minus Captain Avatar who perished in the first season) and takes place a year after season one. The Star Force must now battle a giant comet that is hurtling towards Earth, destroying everything in its path! It turns out that this comet is not just a comet, but a giant Comet Empire! Each 26 episode season was extremely popular here in the United States and it really opened our eyes to the animation boom going on in Japan, known as anime.
In 2000 and 2001 all three seasons were released on DVD by Voyager Entertainment and I was thrilled, as I could finally re-watch my favorite cartoon series as a kid, without the worry of a “snowy” UHF afternoon. The animation is definitely dated but the stories still hold up just as well and I try to watch the first two seasons annually.
When it was announced that STAR BLAZERS (known as SPACE CRUISER YAMATO in Japan) was being made into a live-action movies, scheduled for a December, 2010 release in Japan, I was thrilled. I was constantly checking online for updates and was so excited when I finally saw the official trailer!
The trailer looked great to me but I also noticed that they were relying heavily on CGI effects. My big concern was that for some reason, when the Japanese use CGI it is usually inconsistent in quality…some looking great and the rest looking horrible. All I knew is that I could not wait to see this film! My wait came to an end recently when I found a subtitled copy of this movie for sale on Amazon.
The movie, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: THE FINAL BATTLE. did not disappoint. The Gamilon storyline (called Gamilas in Japan) is used to great effect. The story, though not new to STAR BLAZERS’ fans is nicely paced and the special effects are stunning (considering the reported budget was $12,000,000 USD). The characters are well cast, with Takuya Kimura playing Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar) and Meisa Kuroki playing Yuki Mori (Nova). Not surprisingly this movie did very well in Japan as SPACE CRUISER YAMATO is as iconic to animation as GODZILLA is to live action movies! You do not need to be a fan of the original animated series to enjoy this awesome live action film. Hopefully one day it will receive an official release here in the United States as it definitely deserves it. Though the quality of the copy available on Amazon is lacking, it is still worth seeing and highly recommended, especially if you are a fan of science fiction!
Kodai prepares to fire the Wave-Motion Gun.
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).
Just so you know, I am writing the first part of this blog BEFORE I go to see the FRIGHT NIGHT remake. I am a HUGE fan of the original 1985 film, starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys and of course, the incomparable Roddy McDowall. The 80′s were a great time for original horror films (and some amazing remakes like with THE BLOB, JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING and THE FLY) and I think most people agree that FRIGHT NIGHT was one of the best. All of the characters were likeable, even Sarandon’s Jerry Dandridge, the vampire next door. What Tom Holland did was create a film that people could relate too, especially if you were a teenager. How many times have teens tried to convince their parents of something only to be ignored or told that they were being silly? The teen characters are people you could see yourself hanging out with in highschool and I know I would be up late every night Peter Vincent’s Fright Night program was on! This is a film that will always be a classic, regardless of what people think of the 2011 remake.
Going into the remake I had very low expectations. The local reviews have been horrible and I had no idea what to expect. So how was it? It was without a doubt one of the best vampire films I have seen in a while! Even though some scenes were directly from the original, there was enough variety in this film to give it a fresh, new feel! It is also nice to see Tom Holland back writing the story with Marti Noxon (of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame) writing the screenplay…two people very familiar with vampires!
One concern of mine was Colin Farrel in the role of Jerry Dandridge, especially since Chris Sarandon had done such an amazing job in the original. Farrel’s version is more of a sadistic killer than Sarandon’s, playing with his food over a few days before deciding whether to kill them or turn them. I also found Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Evil Ed much more likeable and fun to watch than Stephen Geoffreys’ version. I found Geoffreys version to be a bit over the top to the point of being annoying…I never felt bad for him! Plasse’s Ed is much more sympathetic.
The parts of Amy and Charley are played by Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin (better known as Chekov in the 2009 STAR TREK movie). They both are wonderful in these parts and you definitely find yourself rooting for them throughout. Peter Vincent, played by David Tennant, was the hardest character for me to accept. Initially he comes off like an ass but he does grow on you and ends up having the same charm that Roddy McDowall’s Peter Vincent did. All in all this film is highly recommended, with some great visual effects and fun 3-D (one of my favorite 3-D scenes features a vampire turning to burning ash with the ash floating right in front of your face). This film is also a lot bloodier than the original so be warned! If you are sick of everything TWILIGHT and are getting bored with TRUE BLOOD, then definitely give this film a shot!
By: Jamie Lee Cortese
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).
The reason I was so anxious to meet her was because earlier in the week, when I had sent out an e-mail to five of the horror hosts who were scheduled to appear at HorrorHound, she was one of the hosts who replied within just a few hours (the other was Mr. Lobo)!
I originally found out about Ms. Monster, ironically enough, because of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. During my research on the latter, I eventually discovered her reality show, The Search for the Next Elvira. I found the episodes online and began to watch, and, there she was! Intrigued, I researched Ms. Monster further, and found her and her Monster Melons to be hilarious! As soon as I saw that she would be attending HorrorHound, I immediately put her on my list of people to meet!
At any rate, I was very excited to meet her, which is why I kept stopping by her table to see if she had arrived yet.
Finally, a few hours after my family had arrived at the convention center Saturday morning, I looked across Horror Host Alley and saw that a sizeable crowd had gathered near her table. I quickly scanned the group and, sure enough, Ms. Monster emerged at the head of it.
I wasted no time in rushing over there to join the other fans hoping for a picture with her. The crowd actually shifted around relatively quickly, so before I knew it, I was right next to her! As more people snapped pictures with her and my turn was coming ever closer, I realized that, unfortunately, this was one of those moments during the convention when my camera was buried deep inside my quickly-filling backpack. Not wanting to lose my place in “line” (which actually consisted of a much more amiable group of people than about ninety-five percent of the real lines I’ve been in), I knelt down and began to fish through it.
As I dug through the already-loaded bag, a man with what appeared to be pantyhose over his head and a jack-o-lantern face painted on it suddenly crouched down next to me and asked, “Do you want me to take the picture for you?”
Oops. I realized that, indeed, since neither of my parents was with me at the time, I didn’t have anyone to take the picture for me. However, I was, of course, very happy for (and, actually, a bit surprised at) his kind gesture, and quickly jumped on the opportunity, thanked him, and handed him my camera, which I had since found.
Since there were still a few more patient people in front of us still waiting to pose for a picture with Ms. Monster, we chatted a little more as our turn approached. I told him a bit about my school project on horror hosts, how I had e-mailed a few of the horror hosts scheduled to appear at HorrorHound earlier in the week, and how, to my surprise, Ms. Monster had actually sent me a response! He seemed pretty interested in the topic, and I really enjoyed talking to him as we waited.
At last, our turn arrived! The man I had just met took the picture, and then immediately told Ms. Monster, “You know, she’s doing a project on horror hosts!”
Ms. Monster and I quickly and simultaneously turned to each other, but before I could even begin to elaborate and officially introduce myself, she responded (with a huge smile on her face):
“Oh, are you Jamie?”
Well, what could I say?
“Yes!” We shook hands and expressed our mutual pleasure at finally meeting each other. We chatted very quickly, as there were still more people patiently waiting their turn.
At last… Ms. Monster! Thank you to the man who took this picture! She certainly didn’t make any of her fans “blue”! (You see? Now that’s why I was holding the rubber chicken: So that nobody would throw it at me!)
Ms. Monster had expressed in her e-mail to me that she was very willing to be interviewed on camera by me that weekend, and, as we arranged for hers to be later on in the afternoon on Saturday, she holds the distinction of being the very first horror host I interviewed at HorrorHound!
To my surprise, as we were setting up for the interview, I found out that the Monster Melons wanted in on it, too! I hadn’t expected this, but was very excited at this new development!
Ms. Monster, Tit, and Tat were clearly having a ton of fun during the interview, and not only proved that they are all masters of improvisation, but also that they can create an inside joke within the span of about five minutes!
Ms. Monster described her show as “Elvira meets Pee-wee’s Playhouse”––– Yes, I can see that. It’s sort of a “mish-mosh” of the two… You know, sort of a “hodge-podge”… (Ms. Monster and the Monster Melons will get it.)
Ms. Monster and her Melons (Uh… I meant Tit and Tat… What were you thinking of?) were extremely entertaining, kind, and accommodating, as well as just all-around amazing people (Do the Monster Melons count as people?) to meet and converse with!
Coming up in Part 9: Where am I now? Answer: In front of my computer screen. Seriously, though, this is the part that you’ve all been waiting for: The grand finale! Find out how my project went, and how, amazingly enough, it’s as if it never even ended!
By: Jamie Lee Cortese
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.
Having made our rounds around the MaskFest room, I begged to be allowed to return to Horror Host Alley. After receiving permission, I bolted back to the room, marveling once more at how the room just kept becoming more and more elaborate as the day went on and more and more horror hosts arrived.
As far as I could tell at the time, Ms. Monster had still not yet made her entrance. But even before she arrived, I still had one horror host left on my list to meet: Count Gregula. Though I had been actively looking around for him all day, I had seen absolutely no sign of him or the Countess.
Well, that was about to change. My mother was with me this time as I re-entered the room, and, looking to my left, I suddenly saw him, conversing with Professor M. Balmer! I wasted no time in rushing over there, as if I were afraid he would just as suddenly disappear!
Not wanting to interrupt their conversation, I lingered near them for a brief moment before Count Gregula saw me and said hello. I eagerly responded, “Hi! I’ve been looking for you all day!” (Note: I am not usually this upfront and frank about, well, anything. In hindsight, I guess it was because, well, I had been looking for him all day!)
To my complete surprise, he gave me the sort of reaction that I myself had been giving all day:
“For me?” Being on the receiving end of this kind of comment really threw me for a loop. Later on that day, he said that his first thought when I said that was, “Do I owe you money or something?” For some reason, he was really genuinely surprised that someone was actually looking for him at the convention!
Count Gregula and Professor M. Balmer! One of the most fascinating parts of the convention for me was witnessing horror hosts from across the country, all of whom were so different, actually interacting with each other. They really are like one big, happy family!
At any rate, Count Gregula apologized for not seeing my e-mail that I had sent him a few days before (As if he really had to!), and he was very kind (and patient) as I explained my project to him. He agreed very readily to be interviewed on camera by me that very night, so that I could get him on film while he was still in costume!
I met the Countess a short while after meeting Count Gregula, and she was just as kind and fun to talk to!
We conducted his interview right after the deeply moving Zacherley tribute had concluded Saturday night, and he was very informative and entertaining!
Both Count and Countess Gregula were great people to meet and talk to, and were certainly worth the search to actually find them!
Coming up in Part 8: Ms. Monster! I must apologize to her now, because, with the way I’ve written these articles so far, it may seem like it took her forever to make her grand entrance on Saturday, when in reality, it was only about a few hours after I arrived that morning. I was just being insane checking her table about, oh, every five minutes or so. At any rate, Ms. Monster and her Monster Melons (uh… the puppets, Tit and Tat) are up next, and they certainly didn’t leave me “blue”! (Ha ha! Get it? Ouch! Hey, who threw that rubber chicken?!)
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.
I wasn’t surprised to see such a youthful audience. In many ways, the FINAL DESTINATION movies are the “slasher” films for this generation. The characters are rarely likeable, the plot is paper thin (group of people cheat death so now “death” wants to claim them), and the main reason for watching is to see the clever ways people are going to get killed. In this regard, FINAL DESTINATION films are at an advantage. While knives, machetes, and axes are certainly not off-limits – these films can turn even the most mundane items into instruments of death. This is done through an elaborate “chain of events” that occur in tandem and are often far more brutal. They sort of remind me of that old game “mousetrap” I played as kid and offer the viewer a chance to watch with one-eye open as they know something is about to go terribly wrong.
The beginning of this film, as is the case of all others, shows a large scale disaster that is “foreseen” by a random, would-be victim. This prompts him/her to immediately leave the situation before it begins – grabbing a handful of folks to join them who, in doing so, end up surviving the catastrophe. Of course the word “survivor” isn’t really appropriate here as they have merely exchanged one gruesome death in favor of another. Fans of the previous films probably won’t be disappointed – especially with the return of Tony Todd’s character who had been physically absent from the last two entries.
I will also say that I did enjoy the “twist” ending this film offered as well as one of its lead characters finally touching on a question I’ve had since the very first film; if “death” is an intelligent power then what unseen force gave them the premonition of doom in the first place? Does “Life” also have its crusader and, if so, why does it not offer any further assistance? Unfortunately, it was only given a brief mention in this film and touched on no further. I found this unfortunate as, after five movies, viewers can no longer allow themselves to become attached nor root for characters that they are now fully aware don’t have a chance in hell of surviving! At least slasher films occasionally allowed for a happy ending making it a possibility to viewers if not always a reality.
All in all, I’d say you can safely wait and rent this one – especially if its a weekend and you’re with a fun group of friends. Otherwise there isn’t much this film has to offer unless you’re a teenaged boy looking for a way to get your date to bury her head in your shoulder!
Regardless, I have no doubt that this film will bring in some money and that a part 6 is on the horizon. That’s another thing you can always count on with a FINAL DESTINATION film – it is NEVER final!
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!
Although this has ALWAYS been my favorite season, it has become even more enhanced after I became friends with the other Dave – David Albaugh. I was thrilled to discover that David not only has the same eclectic and bizarre taste in music as I do (we both love parodies, no doubt the result of growing up with the Son of Svengoolie), he also had a much more extensive collection of Halloween and novelty songs. Now, thanks to him, I have new Halloween hits to add to my playlist such as “Werecow,” Dr Demento’s Halloween specials, and a whole lot more!
We also love collecting horror movie soundtracks…
This past FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FESTIVAL saw a reunion of one of my favorite movies – DARK NIGHT OF SCARECROW. The DNOTS celebrities were not located with the main group of guests and could be found in back of the main convention hall. They were the main purpose of my making the trek down to Kentucky and, after I arrived, sought them out first and foremost!
The writer of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, J.D. Feigelson gave me a warm greeting along with a nice surprise! On the table in front of him were some copies of the recently released DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW motion picture soundtrack! As mentioned in a recent piece, although this was a made-for-TV movie, it was written and filmed as if it was a big screen production. The same approach can be said of its music! Although his first venture into scary films, composer Glenn Paxton manages to create one of the creepiest scores of all time. At the FRIGHT NIGHT Q&A panel, Feigelson even went as far as to say it is the second scariest soundtrack he’s ever heard! After listening to it back home during our own “dark nights,” both Daves would agree – its AWESOME!
Take a listen yourself….
It is definitely creepy and will, no doubt, get lots of play in my household this Halloween season! I was listening to it while working at my desk at home and was afraid to look out my window for fear of seeing an ominous scarecrow sitting in my yard. Any fan of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW knows that this is a sure sign of impending DOOM!
I happily shipped a copy off to David, for once being able to add something to his collection as he has generously done so many times for mine. He couldn’t have been happier! “This is one of those soundtracks that stays with you, much like the soundtracks from PSYCHO or JAWS.” said David. “Though I’ve only seen this incredible movie three times in my life, as soon as I listened to the soundtrack images of the film filled my head prompting me to want to see it again. Since I also do an annual yard haunt at Halloween, I will be incorporating this awesome CD to my haunts soundtrack as well!”
Fans of the film should also note that this soundtrack not only covers the movie as it was seen as TV but also has extra music that never made it into the final print. This insures that any horror “completest” is guaranteed to walk away happy!
This soundtrack can be downloaded via itunes or purchased via AMAZON. Hurry up and add the DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW soundtrack to your horror music collection today! Its a great Fall score and perfect for Halloween!
Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is one season that’s never too early to prepare for!
Dave F. & David A.
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!
In addition to having the typical “jump out at you” scares, I have always tried to create atmosphere with sound effects, fog machines and of course, music. Unfortunately, most cd collections that you find at your local Halloween shop or cd store are horrible (which explains why most of them retail for less than $5). A few years ago I did discover a series of cd’s by a company called Midnight Syndicate and they are now the only music soundtracks I use for my annual haunt.
This year they came out with a new cd called “Carnival Arcane”. I have always been a fan of circus sideshows and Killer Klowns have been featured in many of my haunts. The problem in the past though is that creepy circus music has pretty much non-existent, except for some random tracks on those $5 compilations that I spoke of earlier (yes kiddies, you get what you pay for with those cd’s).
When I received this cd I was very curious as to how good it could be to be honest…I have always enjoyed Midnight Syndicate’s releases in the past but was wondering if they could actually put together a circus-themed cd that works, considering no one else to date has been able to (at least not that I have found). The answer is a resounding YES!!!
The problem with previous circus-themed releases from other companies has been that even though they are supposed to be scary, the tracks would always come off as silly and not useable at all for a haunt. What Midnight Syndicate has done here is not only create a themed-release that is perfect to use for any circus or sideshow setup, but my favorite part is that many tracks can also be used in other set-ups as well! The music at times is genuinely creepy and yet manages to hold on to the charm that only circus music can provide!
If you are a fan of Midnight Syndicate and the awesome cd’s they have released, then this is a must-have for your collection! If you haven’t heard them yet, then this would be a great way to start your collection (and believe me, once you hear one of their releases you will be buying more)!
To order this (or any other Midnight Syndicate cd’s) visit their website HERE! You can also order through Amazon or iTunes (or if you are the patient type, these discs will be available at a favorite Halloween retailer near you!).
Come back tomorrow for part 2 of our seasonal cd review double header as Dave Fuentes discusses another new release, the soundtrack to the cult classic made-for-tv movie DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW!
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.
Despite my intrusion, Lobo was as warm and friendly as he had been when the other Dave and I first met him this past March. Ironically, I had another opportunity to chat with him just the previous week via “Dr Destruction’s Big Top Radio Show.” I joined the Kenosha host and his co-host, Charlotte, in the WLIP studio during its debut broadcast – an event that featured phone interviews with Lobo, Stella Desire, and A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Despite my best efforts, however, I was unable to get a word in edge-wise! One thing about Mr. Lobo, he does not fumble for words and busily recited “on-air” all the work that he and Dixie had been up to this past summer. I made a couple of awkward attempts to chime in (particularly regarding his newest “Elvira” issue of HORROR HOSTS magazine) but, as it turns out, Lobo didn’t even know I was in the station. Fate, however, was prepared to give me a second chance.
Mr. Lobo was embarking on a cross-country journey back to his native California when he and his fiance’/business partner, Dixie Dellamorte, decided to make a pit stop at FRIGHT NIGHT. We stood in an entryway that connected the main dealer room to a hallway that featured the hosts – Midnite Mausoleum, Horror Dungeon, and the host friendly Thomas Berdinsky from THE ITALIAN ZOMBIE MOVIE and had a nice conversation.
Lobo reiterated what he’d stated on Destruction’s radio show; he had just wrapped up work in Virginia on a film spin-off of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, worked with film-maker, Sean Kotz, on a documentary featuring classic Virginia host – The Bowman Body (see story HERE), and spent some time hanging out with fellow host pal - the incomparable Karlos Borloff from MONSTER MADHOUSE!
Both David and I are great admirers of Cinema Insomnia and I mentioned to Lobo some of my favorite CI moments. Moments such as the racially ambiguous jokes from his presentation of MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET, his disgust of Peter Graves participating in BIGFOOT: MYSTERIOUS MONSTER, and the awkward yet hilarious exchanges between himself and his idol, the late Bob Wilkins, during a past Halloween Special to name but a few.
I also made a point to tell him how much I enjoyed his music. Cinema Insomnia’s anthem – “I’m Watching TV” successfully captures the 1970′s “Banana Splits/Creature Feature” era I grew up in and receives year-round play in my household.
Another favorite Lobo song, “Halloween Candy,” is performed by the man himself and, despite being packed with lots of tricks, is a definite musical treat! This irreverent, seasonal favorite of mine has been featured on The Dr. Demento Halloween Show and highlights the signature, dry sense of humor that makes Lobo so “laugh out loud” funny. I was happy to have an opportunity to convey this to him personally – while encouraging him to create his own novelty CD. Lobo stated he is currently working on a seasonal music collection featuring scary sounds ala’ vintage Walt Disney.
Even more exciting is the highly anticipated next issue of the aforementioned HORROR HOSTS Magazine featuring The Mistress of the Dark! Glimpses of its cover show a skillfully crafted Elvira/mummy whose bandages in NO way detract from the physical attributes that helped make her famous. This cover, like last issue’s amazing Al Lewis portrait, was created by both Lobo and Dixie – a clear indication that this is one artistic couple who knows how to harmonize their skills. The actual painting will be given to Elvira (who participated in this issue) after the magazine’s printing. For those of us who can’t get enough of the “gal in black, who works on her back,” this will definitely be a must read!
HORROR HOSTS Magazine is prepared to go deeper than a mere expose’ by seeking the origins of Elvira’s famous look. While many will be quick to site Vampira as her direct influence (which of course she was) and Vampira’s to Morticia Addams – HORROR HOSTS Magazine will take us even further back! I was shocked to discover that our culture’s image of the archetype sinister female (svelte, macabre woman wearing a black dress) actually pre-dates The Adams Family and am eager to get my hands on the next issue to learn more!
This is the very essence as to why Mr. Lobo’s Cinema Insomnia works so well for me as an adult fan. Lobo manages to keep a respectful eye on classic horror hosts & their history, while forging ahead as a unique, modern one. This was illustrated last March at the Horror Host Hall of Fame Ceremony (conducted at Horrorhound) where Lobo gave an emotional explanation for why fans who grew up with a commercial host (such as myself) have such a deep/admiration for them as adults. “He was your guy.” said Lobo. (MORE QUOTES FROM INDUCTION). At the same time, he shows no obvious influences from previous hosts; portraying himself as both snarky and self-depreciating – a contradiction Lobo balances well. Whether the joke is on him, the viewer, the movie, or one of his guests it is almost always funny and has me quickly seeking out another episode. And, in that regard, the future is bright…
As mandated by his recent successful telethon, Mr. Lobo will soon be filming his next full season of Cinema Insomnia in which he promises to continue his quest in presenting films less common in the hosting realm. This is a challenge to most horror hosts operating today but Mr. Lobo has already established himself as one who has no trouble overcoming odds. This was never more evident than his recent triumphant fund-raising campaign which saw him reach his goal of $10,000 despite being conducted during an economic crises and amid the holidays! It was a risky gamble but, in the end, his devoted Cinsomniacs would not let him down and we can now all look forward to new episodes.
The next day we met up again in the dealer’s room and said our goodbyes. Just like I did when we parted at Horrorhound, I always give Dixie a big hug while singing a slow, acapella version of “Watching TV.” Sort of like having an end “theme song” like the old Carol Burnett Show or Donnie and Marie Osmond. It’s humorous and more than a bit odd I must admit.
What can I say? Being around Mr. Lobo and Dixie somehow makes me feel nostalgic….and that’s a feeling we horror host fans live for!
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!”
For me, the decision to see this film wasn’t quite so clear. I was a fan of the original, enjoyed its sequels, and found the Tim Burton version ten years ago amusing. The news of this one seemed unnecessary and I wasn’t impressed with the CGI FX based on the trailer and early photos. I decided to base my choice on “social networking” and requested my Facebook friends to chime in. The response was unanimously positive so I gave it a shot.
I am so glad that I did! While the CGI did bother me at first (the baby chimp in the beginning reminded me of Yoda in the last two STAR WARS films) it wasn’t long before I got caught up in the story and stopped noticing.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into the plot because I hope that you’ll go and see it for yourself. As the title implies, this film is more of a “prequel” to the APE franchise and by no means a “remake.” The entire film takes place in our modern world and centers on human characters before the simians gradually steal the show (foreshadowing their position in the world to come).
James Franco stars as a well-meaning scientist who inadvertently brings about the “Rise” of one species and fall of another. Despite the PLANET OF THE APES films being located in the “science fiction” section of the video store, this film is eerily credible and, in many ways, frightening. The filmmakers also did an amazing job at showing things from an ape’s perspective and I actually found myself rooting for them by the film’s climax. Like the original films, chimpanzees are the apes of choice with an orangutan and gorilla along for the rise..er..ride. The only one of the four great apes not represented was the bonobo – an animal that shares over 98% of the same DNA we do. The only reasons I can think of for their conspicuous absence is that they look a lot like chimpanzees with the exception of their females who have “external” sex organs. Perhaps this would have proven too embarrassing for their hairless cousins sitting alongside me in the theater!
Fans of the original films will appreciate some clever nods to the classics including Charlton Heston’s immortal “damned dirty ape” line that not only gets turned on its ears in this entry but proves just as powerful. I would have to mark this film as a MUST SEE as well as a promise of good things to come!
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a brilliant apocalyptic tale of one group of primates who gain their smarts while another manages to outsmart themselves!
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.
Never say never!
Earlier this year, while visiting my local comic/magazine shop, my eyes were immediately drawn to their newest issue featuring Gene Simmons on the cover. I soon found myself holding it in my hands while sending out cell phone pictures to all of my KISS/horror friends. Soon my phone was “abuzz” with return texts saying “wow!” “cool!” and “Can you get me one?” I grabbed the last three copies and headed towards the check-out.
It’s ironic that this cover would come across as “fresh” to me at all since, for the last couple of years, almost every cover of FANGORIA could be described as ”close-up of a face – usually with blood on the mouth.”
This Gene Simmons visage, while technically not an exception, was different in that it was a painted cover more reminiscent of the old Famous Monsters of Filmland covers than the previous year of FANGORIA. Aside from that, a Gene Simmons painting without blood on his mouth would be a poor depiction indeed! Better still, this issue would also boast a “fold out poster” of the cover - a bonus feature that had been missing from FANGORIA for some time.
While Simmons is still going strong (touring with KISS and appearing in his reality show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”) the very sight of his younger face clad in full make-up does carry with it a great deal of nostalgia. And those warm fuzzy feelings of a bygone era was one thing that had been missing from the pages of Fango for some time. Lets not forget that when the magazine premiered in 1979, it was the original Godzilla (1954 GOJIRA) that graced its cover.
Of course fans also want to know what’s new in the horror realm and what movies are “coming soon.” I never had a problem with FANGORIA keeping me updated on the newest horror films slated for release (in fact, I relied on it) and certainly understand that part of being “Number 1″ requires that you appeal to a wider/younger audience. But this should not be done at the cost of your core fans who want ALL that horror has to offer – past and present! FANGORIA does best when it incorporates the best of both worlds.
To my delight, the inside of FANGORIA #298 was as appealing as the outside and the issues that would follow (yes, I was officially “off” the wagon buying all subsequent issues) seemed to get better and better. I am happy to report that I am, once again, a Fango subscriber!
But this begs the question; what happened to cause such a dramatic shift? The answer is a good, old-fashioned “changing of the guard.” The previous editors had been ousted and a whole new team was brought in, demonstrative of how many other fans must have joined the recent exodus. In recent issue of FANGORIA (#305), I got the distinct impression that this wasn’t without some degree of hard feelings. Former Fango editorial assistant, Shane Tea French, writes in the letters section….
Let the professionals duke it out, as a fan I am VERY pleased with the magazine’s direction and hope the imaginative covers will continue. I urge all former readers who may have left in the last few years to give “America’s Horror Magazine” another try. There are some relationships in this world that are worth patching up despite experience seeing some rocky times.
And with that, I’d like to ask Fango’s new Editor, Chris Alexander, to kindly pass the KY Jelly, so I too can join their “circle.”
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.”
I consider myself an “animal person” as illustrated by my volunteering at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo – which does a tremendous job as a leader in animal conservation initiatives, as well as educating the public on their importance to the ecosystems they belong. This, however, does NOT make me immune to the fear of sharks. I remember years ago visiting Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach, California. There is a beach on this island that has the distinction of being the only one in the country where a waitress walks around asking if sunbathers would like to order cocktails. I was wading close to shore when one of the lifeguards said, “Don’t worry. The closest Great White shark was seen three miles out!” If that had been meant to encourage me, it didn’t work! At that moment, the realization that I was entering the territory of the ocean’s top predator hit me like an anchor and there wasn’t enough booze in that cabana to make me feel comfortable enough to venture any further!
JAWS was a meg-hit back in 1976, prompting numerous sequels and scores of European rip-offs. Shortly after the dawn of CGI technology, a new crop of killer shark films would emerge – showing now signs of letting up in the near future. JAWS would also have an effect on the natural world as fear of the animal reached fever pitch and, along with that, a damaging worldwide hunt of the animal began. The book’s author, Peter Benchley, would later devote the rest of his life towards shark conservation in the hopes of dispelling some of the negative effects his story had unintentionally evoked.
The entertainment industry would no doubt agree with Benchley that the world is certainly better with sharks in it. Whether you love or hate them, they are BIG business as illustrated by The Discovery Channel who recently aired their annual (and extremely popular) “Shark Week” programs. I always enjoy watching those shows while also being slightly amused at how deftly they try and balance the divisive views of sharks. Usually you spend an hour watching a show that talks about how shark attacks are on the rise, eyewitness tales from folks who found themselves at the wrong end of the food chain, and dramatic re-enactments of the ensuing panic they create. Then, at the end of show, they throw in the message – “shark attacks are extremely rare and we are more of a danger to them than they are to us.” I guess you can’t really blame them for their mixed messages. After all, how can you inspire conservation and educate people about misunderstood fish without first reeling in (no pun intended) some viewers?
In this regard, television has been more successful than Hollywood. The simple fact remains that despite the numerous films found in the ever-growing “killer shark movie library,” none have ever managed to capture man’s primal and innate fear of the animal as JAWS did. I am happy to report, however, that one may have actually just done so. Last week I brought home the 2010 Australian thriller, THE REEF, from my local video store and was not disappointed!
The story is “based on true events” and deals with a group of friends who decide to vacation together at a remote island. Good times are had by all despite the lead couple dealing with a “she’s just not that into you” scenario. Shortly after embarking on their journey home, their small boat mysteriously capsizes and they find themselves making a decision that I’d NEVER want to face! Do they stay on the sinking boat, hoping to be rescued before it eventually goes under? Or do they grab some life vests and attempt to swim back to the island, now too far to be seen?
The majority decide to take their chances and make a swim for it in the open ocean – hoping they’re even going in the right direction. While no shark had been spotted, the idea that one is out there is ever present and the viewer finds themselves holding their breath whenever one of the swimmers dons a visor to look below for any signs of one. Eventually all fears are realized (the characters and the viewer’s) as the group does, indeed, attract the attention of a hungry Great White!
At first the movie was, in many ways, reminiscent of the film OPEN WATER (also based on true events). In that film however, once the initial terrifying moment of being abandoned in the ocean sinks in (again, no pun intended), the film quickly reverts to more of a “waiting game” as opposed to a taught thriller. This is where THE REEF finds itself far more successful. This shark isn’t just waiting, he’s stalking, and his terrified prey soon find themselves slowly diminishing in number while wishing they could recant their choice not to have stayed on the boat!
One of the selling points of this film was the fact that they don’t resort to CGI technology nor a robotic shark but actually use a REAL one. At first I wondered how big a difference this would make in lieu of all the amazing underwater footage seen of Great Whites via the aforementioned documentaries. I was shocked to discover that it would make ALL the difference in the world! Seeing people swimming openly with a real shark nearby made the peril of the characters really hit home! It totally raised my fear level to all new heights and steadily kept it there.
In fact, I soon found myself feeling the same visceral reaction to this film as when I first saw JAWS – completely relating to the panicked swimmers while gritting my teeth throughout. One part caused me to actually leap from my chair, causing my kids to start cheering as they FINALLY got to see their old man get scared while watching a movie. My wounded, paternal pride not withstanding, this movie is a must see! In fact, the tension and suspense will take you straight on till the end credits. We all remember the scene in JAWS where Quint tells his captivating story of being aboard the ill-fated U.S.S. Indianapolis. Quint talks of his days adrift at sea as his comrades are picked off, one by one, by hungry sharks and states that he was never more scared than when the rescue copters finally arrived – and he was waiting for his turn at salvation. This film’s climax shows that Quint sure knew what he was talking about as the prospect that the swimmer’s may actually survive makes the possibility of their death become even more powerful!
Of course I am not suggesting that this film, nor any other, is equal to JAWS in terms of its value as a film. JAWS was a success not just for the theme but the rich characters and snappy dialogue found throughout. I do, however, believe that the fear its illusive star was able to generate is. After 35 years since the release of JAWS, someone finally discovered that you don’t need computer graphics and SPFX to make a good killer shark film. The recipe, it would turn out, is really quite simple…
All you do is take a single/normal-sized shark, along with a credible group of humans….and just add water!
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.
Bosman joined Dr Destruction on his “Big Top Radio Show” yesterday which can be heard each Sunday at 6pm Central on WLIP AM radio. (stream-lined HERE). Bosman discussed local events and his vision for turning Kenosha into a cultural mecca.
He was not, however, the only mayor in attendance on the show, just as Destruction was not its only horror host. Chatfield, Ohio Mayor – David Lady, has the distinction of being BOTH. The Late Dr Lady Show has been entertaining folks longer than his tenure as Mayor (at this date 5 years). When asked what the population of Chatfield was, Dr Lady responded with, “strange.”
The laughs continued throughout the show with Dr Lady discussing the earlier days of his program when he originally planned to do a single month of shows one fateful October before being “disastrously encouraged” to continue. And continue he would; not even allowing his Mayoral duties to interfere with his macabre hobbies which, along with hosting, include mask making and running a famous Horror Hotel for the past sixteen years. Dr Lady’s sense of humor was present throughout the broadcast causing this faithful host reporter to laugh out loud on more than one occasion! Especially when he asked Destruction’s less radio savvy co-host (who has a tendency to clear her throat during broadcasts) if she had a cold?
Dr Lady also discussed the dilemma of Public Domain films along with sharing picks for Dr Destruction’s own show. He stated that he prefers seeking out films less used by other hosts and often chooses ones filmed in the 1970′s & 80′s. Both hosts agreed that DRACULA VS FRANKENSTEIN was a guilty pleasure which Lady professed to be one of his favorite “bad” movies as illustrative of him owning a mask of that films interpretation of the Frankenstein monster!
Destruction admitted that Dr Lady was a stellar guest; easily capable of utilizing the entire show but, sadly, this was not to be the case. We Daves sure hope he’ll be back at The Big Top Radio Show for an encore performance!
And what advice did Dr David Lady have for his host friends? “If you think something is funny, put it in your show!” says Lady. “Maybe you’ll be lucky and at least one other person will find it funny too.” As avid fans of The Late Dr Lady Show, we can safely say that David Lady is a lucky man, indeed!
For a more in-depth report on Dr. David Lady, read David Albaugh’s spotlight on him HERE.
If you’d like more information on The Big Top Radio Show, go HERE.
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!
This irreverent art form can reach whole new levels of entertainment when performed at a horror convention. Where else can you see crowds of people intermingled with werewolves, zombies, your favorite 80′s slasher, or people casually walking around with an axe in their head while dragging their entrails behind? As we stood gazing in different directions, I suddenly spotted the ultimate fan costume – none other than “Bubba” Ritter from DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW!
Anybody that loves a good killer scarecrow movie should know two things; 1) DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW was the very FIRST movie to feature one and 2) of the many killer scarecrow films and appearances to follow; there have been few as creepy as “Bubba.” Now, before my eyes, was a near perfect rendering of him casually walking past me at Horrorhound. I tossed David the camera and headed straight over to get a shot with him.
Four months later, here he was again but, this time, without the costume and as his alter ego, Chuck Schauland. Chuck is younger than I am and first encountered DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW during one of its cable airings - an avid fan ever since! Like myself, Chuck first met the film’s writer, J.D. Feigelson, at the previous March Horrorhound in 2010. This would also be the year that the official “Bubba” DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW mask created by Jeremy Bohr of “Featured Creatures would debut and Mr. Schauland has the distinction of owning mask #2 (the first belonging to Feigelson himself).
As David Albaugh is the resident mask expert here at TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES, Chuck was also helpful in assisting me in his absence - opening up a dialogue with a company we’ll hopefully have an opportunity to feature here soon; White Mask Productions (WMP).I really can’t say enough good things about him. He selflessly gave up a chunk of his own convention time to walk around (in a hot costume) and show other fans a good time. I’m so happy to have formally been able to meet him and hope he’ll stay in touch.
And speaking of masks, you should REALLY check out Chuck’s own blog; The Scarecrow’s Post! There you can find some incredible pictures of Chuck not only wearing his updated Bubba costume but also hanging out with the film’s stars at FRIGHT NIGHT. After you look at those, scroll back and check out his other mask photos which also include some pretty neat yard displays he created on his own property. I’ve learned a lot about masks and the mask industry via David Albaugh but Chuck’s more specialized taste in collecting (scarecrow and pumpkin-headed creatures) is something I can TOTALLY get in to. No wonder we’re both super fans of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW!
NOTE: Please click on the picture below if you dare visit The Scarecrow’s Post!!!
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).
We sent J.D. messages of our sincere appreciation and he, in turn, shared some incredible news! He informed me that this year’s FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST would see a DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW reunion which would include first time convention appearances by Larry Drake (Bubba) and Tonya Crowe (Marylee)! While this convention was a bit out of my range and definitely not in my budget, I couldn’t afford to miss it. Not only because I am a HUGE fan of this movie and desperately wanted to meet the actors, but because it was suggested by Feigelson himself who had indirectly been so inspirational to us last Fall. I’ll bet you didn’t know that there was a great deal of wisdom that one can draw from J.D. Feigelson and the success of DARK KNIGHT NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, did you? Well let me explain…
Let’s be honest; there are a LOT of horror websites and bloggers out there. Many days after you’ve spent time writing a post and pressing the “Publish” button you wonder who will actually take the time to read it. You always hold on to the unlikely hope that you managed to write something completely unique and that it will stand out amidst the masses. If you allow yourself to fantasize even further, you envision yourself becoming the next Perez Hilton – seeing your humble site become a viral cash cow. Before the alarm clock drags you from this wonderful dream, you’ve already had the vision of clearing out your desk at work with your head held high – FINALLY achieving financial success doing what you love to do.
Of course David and I would absolutely love those things too. Early on, however, we made a point to view this site first as an extension of our wonderful friendship as well as a positive way to spotlight all things horror related from a “fans-eye view.” We never expected the site to take off the way it had nor could have imagined the positive relationships, feedback, and experiences that would stem from it. Since David and I met in late 2009 we saw TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES go from an old pipe dream of mine to a reality. Then, over the course of a single year, watched in awe as number of hits each months increased; reaching digits neither of us believed possible.
While the site had begun gaining momentum last September (when I wrote the DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW piece) I wasn’t sure how many people would read it or even know what I was talking about. After all, this was not a big budget theatrically released picture; this was a TV movie that came out back in 1981. Other than an old VHS release and occasional airings on commercial cable channels, I assumed I was one of the few who even remembered the film, let alone revered it so much.
This would all change (in a moment of shear elation, I’ll have you know) after I saw an article in Horrorhound Magazine heralding a re-mastered DVD release! This was a movie I had previously only been able to enjoy while squinting my eyeballs during a crappy VHS to DVD transfer. Even the night it debuted and I first viewed DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, it was via a 13″ Black & White television set I had sitting on the floor of my bedroom. Now I would be able to see it with a clear, color picture and, in many ways, for the first time!
So on September, 2010, I pressed “Publish” on the DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW post without worrying if anyone else would read it. I loved the movie and wrote something that I - as a tremendous fan of the film, was proud of. That was satisfaction enough and, aside from that, my 40th birthday was looming that week. This was a time to dwell on my own misspent rather than how many hits my blog post was getting. So I posted the blog, bought and loved the DVD, and moved right along.
Nearly a month later, I was at work when I received notice that someone had commented on my DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW blog. I became light-headed when I saw that it was a message from J.D. Feigelson himself! Somehow the blog post that I had blindly thrown out into cyber-space had managed to find its way to the man who was the very subject of it and without, I might add, the assistance of Facebook. While the piece did end up doing well so far as “hits” go, at that moment it wouldn’t have mattered if he had been the ONLY person to have read it. A professional writer who created one of the most effective “revenge from the grave” thrillers of all time turned his attention to me and complimented something that I had written. To me it was like winning American Idol and there are few instances I can recall where I felt so honored or elated.
I am happy to report that the DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW DVD was a huge success. I was FAR from the only one who grew up loving that film and, all at once, we isolated fans of Bubba rose up and eagerly bought ourselves a copy. It was such a hit that this fall will now see the debut of THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW Blu-Ray – loaded with extras! This year has already seen the release of its amazing soundtrack that is so spectacular; BOTH Daves will be discussing it VERY soon.
If you haven’t seen this film then I beg you to get a copy NOW! It’s not only an example of film-making at its finest, but something we can all take a lesson from. When writing DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, J.D. Feigelson did not allow his storytelling to be driven by making a big budget hit nor CBS TV ratings bonanza. Instead he focused on writing the best story he could while staying true to himself and his vision. After the movie debuted it was received without fan fare and he moved on. Years later he would discover that he had accomplished something that neither celebrity writer nor big studio can consciously do; he had created a film with a “cult” following and legion of loyal fans that would extend generations beyond its release. A film that STILL stands today – more popular than ever!
There’s a lesson for all of us here. When it comes to plying your craft, do the best work you can and focus on being true to your own vision. Don’t worry about what the person next to you is doing or whether you are getting the recognition and praise you feel you deserve. I can’t say that one day you’ll turn around and get a surprise message from your idol or discover that your work has achieved cult status. I can say, however, that if this does happen it will be so much more rewarding than any instant gratification you might have initially craved.
J.D. Feigelson proves that nice guys can sometimes have the last word…as opposed to finishing last!
NEXT POST: Bubba the Scarecrow appears at FRIGHT NIGHT!..and I’m not talking about Larry Drake.
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.
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.
The plan was that there would be a showing of John Carpenter’s earliest film, DARK STAR and that each host would get up for 10-15 minutes and do a RIFF TRAX like performance, ripping on the lackluster film. The Gregulas carpooled down with me and both they and Dr Destruction (who had to cancel last minute) seemed uneasy regarding what to expect. Despite being familiar with performing, the prospect of getting up unscripted in front of an audience was a nerve wracking one at that. But there was one group of performers who had NO problem performing LIVE – with or without a script…
Atomic Age Cinema – featuring Dr Calamari, Basement Boy, Baron Mardi and Woody the Clown are no strangers to working a crowd and have been doing so for over six years. “It began in 2004 as a fundraiser for the Cinephile Film Arts Organization,” says Calamari. “It was dedicated to helping local filmmakers get their films made and shown. Cinephile eventually transformed into the Dark Carnival Film Festival and the profits from AAC!” I’d met them before at Horrorhound Weekend and always enjoyed talking with Doc Calamari who is not only a great guy but has one of the coolest & original looks. His tentacled face is matched only by his lone silvery eyeball that will have you quickly forgetting there’s a man underneath!
Despite the nature of this site, my original goals for attending FRIGHT NIGHT was less about covering hosts as it was about gathering info from THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW reunion. However, no respectable “Dave” would ever shy away from a horror hosted event and it should come as great comfort to my host friends that I skipped the “nude body painting show” in favor of attending this one. I knew it was slated to begin at 10:30 pm and tracked down a FRIGHT NIGHT attendant to assist me in finding its location. “Uh….I don’t know. Maybe look at the wall and see if there’s a sign?” Gee, thanks Einstein! Listen,when you’re done NOT helping anyone here, maybe you can check out the next room. I think I saw something shiny!
As I looked around for the Gregulas (passing a long line of conventioneers who suddenly had an interest in art) I ran into Jason Hignite. Let me state for the record that, when I die, I am hoping to come back as him. Not only does he get to work with horror hosts and write for Horrorhound Magazine, but he can always be seen at conventions with a cocktail in one arm and an attractive woman (in this case TWO) in the other. I mean no sarcasm when I say this; don’t bother reading a Martha Stewart magazine if you want to know the definition of “Living,” just hang around with Jason!
Hignite saw me and gave a warm greeting (despite neither offering me a sip of his drink nor one of his companions) and pointed in the direction of the show. I followed a winding hallway and, if there had been any question that I was headed to the right place, it was soon squelched at the sight of Woody the Clown pacing by the entrance. “We don’t have a f*cking movie!” he yelled. “No one has a copy of DARK STAR!” Well, at that point, I had no more reservations about missing the nude art show and knew that this was the place to be!
Before the main event we were treated to a screening of Dark Carnival’s DVD featuring The Vampira Tribute from 2010 – HOSTING HORROR: THE LEGACY OF VAMPIRA. Many people don’t realize that it was Dark Carnival who came up with the idea of a Vampira Tribute – eventually finding its way to Horrorhound. In this we should all be eternally grateful. The video features clips from that amazing afternoon as well as interviews from many of the participating hosts; Penny Dreadful, The Bone Jangler, and Karlos Borloff to name but a few. David and I each bought a copy of this video at the last Horrorhound and it has always been sad to me that the “other Dave” wasn’t there to see it LIVE with me. He, like myself, loves horror hosts and I know he’d have really enjoyed it. I appreciate Dark Carnival for creating this DVD – if only so he , and others unable to attend, could get a glimpse of it. Tonight’s venue was a small room but most seats were taken. As I settled in, I looked around and noticed Midnite Mausoleum’s Robyn Graves kicking back in more seasonal attire.
Horror Host “summer fashion” continued with the arrival of The Count and Countess Gregula – Gregula sporting a rather unique vampire look with a T-shirt, overcoat, and shorts. Here’s an interesting tidbit; not long after FRIGHT NIGHT, Gregula was cast for a role in a new NBC Fall series called “The Playboy Club.” I can’t help but think that the casting director may have seen one of these shots from the DARK STAR event before making their decision!
Soon the big moment arrived with a copy of the film arriving just in the nick of time. Showing their mettle as LIVE performers, it should be noted that the gang from Atomic Age Cinema were willing to perform to a DVD copy of ANY movie so long as it was readily available. As the lights went down, the show became less like RIFF TRAX and more like THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. The Atomic Age Cinema guys remained standing while everyone in the audience was encouraged to belt out comments and participate. In this I was at a distinct disadvantage having no alcohol in me, though this in no way stopped The Countess from stealing the show.
I’m here to tell you that she was absolutely hilarious utilizing her dry sense of humor like an artist delves in oil. Many folks believe that vampires have no blood but I can safely say that isn’t true as some of the “adults only” comments flying out of The Countess’ mouth left her counterpart turning a decisive shade of RED. Further adding to Gregula’s chagrin was my suggesting to him that perhaps his wife was the actual horror host and he should start thinking of himself as the sidekick. Gregula looked like I just “staked” him but, rest assured, I meant it only in good fun and they BOTH added a lot to this event.
In between bouts of laughter, and inappropriate comments, were special “games” organized by Atomic Age Cinema complete with prizes. The first of which was a drinking challenge in which Jason Hignite further secured his status as a party god and one we should all revere. As I write this I am making definite plans to start stalking him!
As for the movie it self, what can I say? If ever there was a film in need of the “horror host treatment,” this was it. I’d like to say that it was a rip-off of STAR WARS had it not been for the fact that this film was made a few years before. DARK STAR is definitely not something you’d want to watch again and again but, for these purposes, it was a welcomed attraction. A few members of the audience got so caught up, one eager participant ended up wearing a popcorn bucket on his head before winning a prize for his belly dancing.
The highlight of this event, however, was turning the lights on and seeing the film’s lead cast member, Brian Narelle, sitting amongst the audience! Sadly, the director of the film, John Carpenter was no where to be seen (no doubt sitting up in his hotel room issuing “Order 66″ and the extermination of the Jedi Knights). Narelle seemed to enjoy the show and was given a special Atomic Age Cinema T-shirt for being such a good sport!
As the event ended, everyone left with big smiles on their faces (probably equaling the hang-overs they’d have the next day) and it was clear that, despite recently losing their regular performing venue, Atomic Age Cinema is far from beaten. In the spirit of their new-found solidarity, they would not be confined to a booth at FRIGHT NIGHT and moved freely about the entire weekend. Everywhere they went they brought laughs and smiles at a convention that desperately needed it. This was further illustrated on the last day of the convention when, eager to take advantage of the familiar looking walkway that joined the two buildings of the hotel together, they decided to re-enact the cover of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.”
I look forward to seeing them again, hopefully at the next March Horrorhound Weekend which, I am told, will take place in Columbus, Ohio this time instead of Indianapolis. We Daves will definitely be there and hope you will be as well!
Now…. if you’ll excuse me, I must hurry on my way! Jason Hignite just “tweeted” that he’s leaving his apartment.
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!
Assisting Biehn in his efforts to drum up viewers, was an attractive blonde who looked very familiar to me. I studied her face for a few moments before finally remembering where I’d see her before. Back in the 1990′s, I remember watching a TV movie that featured her alongside BEVERLY HILLS 90210 alumnus, Shannon Doherty. Although it had been a while since I’d seen the film, I remembered it being a modern version of the 1950 Academy Award winning masterpiece – ALL ABOUT EVE (one of my all-time favorite non-horror films). Jennifer Blanc (the woman I now observed corralling horror fans into the screening hall) played a co-ed named Zanne who cozies up to Doherty’s character while, all the while, plotting to steal her boyfriend, turning her friends against her, as well as trying to snag her position as lead singer in their college band. There have been many incarnations of this plot line throughout the years (the worst being SHOWGIRLS) but this one (titled FRIENDS ‘TIL THE END – 1997) was highly entertaining and the fact that I remembered Blanc from that single viewing speaks volumes of her screen presence.
Ms Blanc and Michael Biehn are now real-life husband and wife and have further enhanced their union by teaming up to make THE VICTIM. Although Biehn directs, while Blanc produces, they both have starring roles and are joined on screen by Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN hottie, Danielle Harris!
Biehn took to the stage prior to show-time and informed us that what we were about to see is a film that took twelve days to shoot (not counting the months of fund raising and work needed to make those possible). While he wouldn’t divulge its exact budget, it was suggested that it was fairly low. Biehn stated, however, that this should in no way imply that it was lacking in punch. “It’s kinda like a big bowl of ice-cream,” explained Biehn. “You’re eating it all up and you say, ‘Ooh this is damn good’ but then, after you’re all done, you grab your stomach and say ‘Oh man, I shouldn’t have f*ckin’ ate that!” As the movie began, Biehn took his seat next to Blanc – both about 6 feet from me and within constant view.
I have to confess that, at that moment, if I could have pressed a button and made myself disappear, I would have. Independent films can be a mixed blessing – especially the horror variety. I had a lot of ground to cover at FRIGHT NIGHT and, worse, without the assistance of the other Dave. My goals regarding this event were much less about film screenings and more about meeting the cast of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW for a magazine article I’m working on. Being stuck for an hour and half watching what I feared would be a horror film dud, was not even close to being on my agenda.
While any other idiot with my dilemma would have just gotten up and left, it’s a good bet that they probably don’t “over-think” themselves to death like I do. I suddenly imagined myself getting up and casually heading to the EXIT; Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc feeling slighted – a lonely tear drop dripping down their cheeks like that old Indian in those famous 1970′s TV commercials about pollution. From there on out, every time I’d pop on ALIENS or PLANET TERROR (movies that are routinely played in my household) I’d have to think about the day when Biehn (who had brought me so much entertainment over the years via his films) personally asked me to watch one his own creations only to have me diss him in front of a room full of conventioneers.
Like it or not, I was there to stay!
I am happy to report that the movie ended up being VERY entertaining and time well spent! I really hope my fellow horror fans will keep a steady eye on its release as, despite its budget, it surpasses most recently released big studio horror films in terms of its entertainment value . The movie opens with party gals Annie and Mary (played by Jennifer Blanc and Danielle Harris) getting down and dirty with a couple of good ole boys in a forest preserve. Things suddenly take a lethal turn and Blanc soon finds herself running for dear life – eventually discovering a cabin owned by its reclusive occupant, Kyle (Michael Biehn). Similar to the Hitchcockian theme of an innocent man (that’s assuming Biehn’s character is innocent of course) finding himself caught up in extraordinary circumstances, Biehn must decide whether Blanc is to be trusted and, if so, whether he should threaten his efforts in getting his life back together by becoming involved with hers.
Far from your typical low-budget fair, THE VICTIM has good acting, suspense, and plenty of twists and turns along the way. Biehn shows that he is more than capable sitting in the director’s chair and, through clever use of flashback, manages to convey a compelling story amid nonstop action. The lead characters are likeable, the villains detestable, and Blanc and Harris are absolutely stunning. Horror fans will enjoy the “grindhouse” like atmosphere along with violence, old fashioned gore, and nudity. This would actually lead to the only uncomfortable moment of the evening - watching an on-screen, love scene between the lead couple as they were literally sitting right across from me. I started feeling a bit voyeuristic but reminded myself that this falls under the line of “artistic expression.”
After the film ended, Biehn and Blanc returned to the stage to answer a few questions. Apparently I had just been a member of the fourth audience to preview the film. They encouraged viewers to visit IMDB and give the film the highest rating possible which, after I returned home, did so without reservation. Biehn was right; watching THE VICTIM was indeed like enjoying a “big bowl of ice cream.” However, instead of a belly-ache, I found myself hungry for more!
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…
Moderator (from FANGORIA Magazine): How are you today?
CARPENTER: Except for the weather (it was VERY hot) great!
Moderator: Despite what your birth certificate says, aren’t you’ really from Kentucky and not New York?
CARPENTER: That’s right, moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky when I was five. This was during The Jim Crow Laws so everything I learned about evil was from that location.
Moderator: What is your opinion on 3D?
CARPENTER: I was around during the first 3D craze and loved it. Not so much now.
Moderator: Torture films?
CARPENTER: Not a fan!
Moderator: Asian ghost movies?
CARPENTER: Some are good I guess. I notice now that everyone can make a horror film so there’s nothing special.
Moderator: P.O.V. films?
Moderator: Illegal downloading of movies?
CARPENTER: I don’t like that. That takes away money from me and I need money.
Moderator: Why did so few people know about the recent release of your film THE WARD?
CARPENTER: (Sarcastically) Because it was all part of a secret release that nobody was supposed to know about. Why advertise?
Moderator (to audience): We are now inviting people to come up to the microphone and ask questions. Don’t try getting him to bad mouth remakes because, I tried, and he won’t do it.
QUESTION: What inspired you to make genre films and what advice do you have for other directors?
CARPENTER: I wanted to make a Western and got typecast into making horror! What advice do I have? Fall in love with storytelling, be original, and love cinema.
QUESTION: Of the films you have made, what’s your favorite?
CARPENTER: I have no favorites and I don’t ever watch them. All I see are the mistakes. I’d look at it and say, ‘what is this sh*t?”
QUESTION: Did you draw anything from Bowling Green into your movies?
CARPENTER: The names of streets and some characters.
QUESTION: What is your favorite Western film director and have you considered making one now?
CARPENTER: Howard Hawks is my favorite. Working on a Western today is hard because you have to raise the money and it’s not something studios are quick to embrace.
QUESTIONS: It seems that European releases of your DVD’s contain more extras and commentary from you than the ones released in the US. Why is that?
CARPENTER: Don’t know. Write the studio and demand it.
QUESTION: Do you have any technical preferences as a filmmaker?
CARPENTER: I like to film in Widescreen/Panorama but, despite the new tools, movie making has been basically the same since the 1930′s – just storytelling.
QUESTION: How did you get involved with the MASTERS OF HORROR films?
CARPENTER: A group of us would get together every once in awhile and make fun of each other and tell dirty jokes. Somehow the idea to do these came around and they managed to get me to do it without paying me. It was fun but it was basically free.
QUESTION: Who are your favorite actors to work with?
CARPENTER: I like Kurt Russell, Sam Neil, and Jeff Bridges. Any actor that makes my job easier.
QUESTION: Is there any sub-genre you’d like to revisit? What are your influences?
CARPENTER: (Answers second question first) All of my influences were from my youth in the 1950′s. I think we are all very influenced by the things we experience in our youth. As for sub-genres, they’re just stories and nothing new…..well maybe I’d revisit the “Women in Prison” films. (audience laughs)
QUESTION: You always seem to have a problem with authority. What makes you such a bad-ass?
CARPENTER: Sir…do I appear to be a bad-ass to you? I am always suspicious of authority. Don’t tell me what to think, where to stand…leave me alone! That’s why I had such a hard time being a parent because then “I” was the authority.
QUESTION: Did you know HALLOWEEN would be such a success?
CARPENTER: Had no clue!
QUESTION: THE THING was your first big studio film. How different was that experience than making an Indie film?
CARPENTER: Universal Studios was a different company back then. They were very accommodating and gave us extra time for SPFX. Today its all about “product.” All they care about is profit and loss?
QUESTION: I saw THE WARD and noticed a lot of similarities between it and SHUTTER ISLAND. Why is that?
CARPENTER: Don’t even bother seeing THE WARD! It’s the same movie as SHUTTER ISLAND except it doesn’t have the big actors. I didn’t know about it at the time but it’s the same film.
Man comes up to the mike and, like several fans before, thanks Carpenter for coming and asks how he is.
CARPENTER: Okay…don’t anybody else thank me for me coming or ask how I am! I am fine…I’m totally fine.
QUESTION: Have you ever thought about making a horror/Western?
CARPENTER: Nah….won’t work! You ever see JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER? A Western should be a Western and a horror film should be a horror film.
QUESTION: What genres today would you say are good and which are bad?
CARPENTER: Genre films are the same quality as all films; most are bad, a few are good, and very few are very good.
QUESTION: What inspired you to do music for your films?
CARPENTER: My father was a musician and it was cheap and fast.
QUESTION: I loved the music for HALLOWEEN. Did you know it would be so good and become so famous?
CARPENTER: Well thank you. It took three days to make that music and, no, absolutely not. I was just trying to finish a movie and was at the right place at the right time.
QUESTION: What is your favorite John Carpenter score?
CARPENTER: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.
QUESTION: Do you have any fun stories from THEY LIVE?
CARPENTER: Fun stories? I just remember having Roddy Piper, an experienced fighter, practicing against an actor who wasn’t in my wife’s back yard.
QUESTION: Are there any new directors that you like?
CARPENTER: Del Torro, Chris Miller….I don’t care if a movie is a remake as long as you make it yours. Make it good and say something.
QUESTION: What do you think of sequels and remakes?
CARPENTER: What do I think about them? I’ll tell you what I think about them. I stick my hand out like this (demonstrates) and someone walks up and puts money in it. I’ve wanted to know how to do that my whole life…make money without having to do anything. So I think they’re great.
QUESTION: Did you ever see the SOUTH PARK parody of THEY LIVE?
CARPENTER: No, but I have heard about it.
QUESTION: What do you think about HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH getting better recognition today?
CARPENTER: A good friend of mine (Tommy Lee Wallace) made that movie and it was unduly trashed. It definitely deserved better treatment.
QUESTION: The whole concept in PRINCE OF DARKNESS of the devil coming out of a jar seems so random. How did you come up with that?
CARPENTER: Random?..I dunno I guess I was in a random mood.
QUESTION: What was it like working with Christopher Reeve?
CARPENTER: That was right before his accident. He was complicated and not always easy to work with but I have fond memories.
QUESTION: With regard to BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, were you a fan of Asian films?
CARPENTER: I thought 5 FINGERS OF DEATH was fabulous.
Female fan steps up to the microphone
CARPENTER: Finally a gal! (laughter)
QUESTION: What actress would you like t0 work with?
CARPENTER: Amy Adams
QUESTION: What movie do you regret passing on?
CARPENTER: Not a one! (pause) Isn’t that a terrible answer? (audience laughs)
QUESTION: Did you specifically have Kurt Russell in mind to be your lead in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE THING?
CARPENTER: I did offer him ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK but had another actor in mind for THE THING…and I’m not saying who.
QUESTION: (another female) I was a babysitter when HALLOWEEN came out and was so scared! Why did you do that to me???
CARPENTER: I thought about you specifically when I made that movie, knew the effect it would have on you, and am so glad it worked. (audience laughs)
QUESTION: Do you have any plans to film with Kurt Russell again?
CARPENTER: No plans now, but we’ll see.
QUESTION: IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, and THE THING are referred to as your “Apocalypse Trilogy.” They seem, in some ways, very Lovecraftian. Was H.P. Lovecraft an influence?
CARPENTER: No, I do see some Lovecraft in IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS but not the others and that was never an influence. Those films are apocalyptic in that each of the them show the beginning of the end of the world. You could also say that CIGARETTE BURNS was a prequel to that.
QUESTION: Do you allow actors to make suggestions to you during filming?
CARPENTER: Every day. All suggestions should be heard and considered but you just can’t allow them to change the narrative of the story. I loved Charlton Heston but he actually tried to do that. He started by making suggestions and before I knew it, he was trying to make his character the hero of the film. But, regarding suggestions, yes you want to hear it all!