The recent Daves Zoo Tour 2014 had so many great experiences that when one came along that didn’t live up to expectations, it was huge. This was the case with The National Aquarium, which was not only grossly overpriced but was the biggest disappointment of the two-week journey. Thankfully though, the day in Baltimore was not a complete loss. First off, we got to hang with one of our friends Brian Maze, who provides much of the artwork on our monthly Horror Host Report. Second, we discovered quite by accident, a really fun place that ended up being a huge highlight of the trip. I am talking about the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium.
Growing up in the 70′s and 80′s we didn’t have a local horror host here in Rhode Island, until our Creature Double Feature decided to syndicate the Son Of Svengoolie out of Chicago. I had always been a fan of the Creature Double Feature but to be honest, the show had started to run its course as it started to show less of a variety of films, and those that they were showing had been shown dozens of time before. When they introduced the Son Of Svengoolie for me it was a breath of fresh air and a fan for life was created, despite the fact that the Creature Double Feature was soon to be cancelled for something called Kung Fu Theater.
Since I was a kid I have always been fascinated with the bizarre and unknown. I was always reading books on UFO’s and bigfoot and to this day I still read everything I can get my hands on in the fields of ufology and cryptozoology. Another interest of mine was the travelling sideshow. These were usually small additions to the travelling carnivals and were often tucked off in a corner of the fairground. You never knew what to expect once you entered the tent, usually paying a small sum for access to all of the oddities inside. What would you see? A 6-legged cow? A two-headed chicken? An alien embryo? Regardless of the contents of the tent, it was almost always guaranteed to delight and disgust and yes, I loved it all.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I received the screener of DAYPLANNER OF THE DEAD, a 17 minute mini-zombie film. These independent creations really can go either way; thankfully more often than not lately it seems that they are going in a positive direction with great writing and creative film-making.
We’re pleased to announce the Terror from Beyond the Daves“Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks” Contest!
The 2013 film BIG ASS SPIDER! has everything going against it. When I first saw that this film was available for sale on DVD and Blu-ray all I could think was, “Great, another SyFy Channel crapfest movie of the week!” Sure there are favorable reviews on the back of the box but anyone can write anything they want on these boxes and to be honest, I haven’t heard of one of the listed reviewers. Granted, it was also an “official selection” at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival but what exactly does “official selection” mean and what the hell is the SXSW Film Festival? When I found a Blu-ray copy for $10 I thought to myself, “OK, I will give it a try” and boy am I glad I did. This movie is hilarious and a lot of fun to watch.
The 50′s saw such a variety of great science fiction films and the creation of so many memorable monsters. My favorite of all of them are the aliens from the 1957 film INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN, created by none other than low-budget special effects genius Paul Blaisdell. The fact that this is a low-budget film doesn’t affect the final product in any way and though it comes off as cheesy at times, this will always remain a classic.
Adapted by Tony Burgess
Directed by Anderson Lawfer
Zombies have been undergoing a renaissance lately, much like vampires and werewolves have over the past 20 years or so. This past year there were two films that show the huge range of storylines now being told – the romantic comedy “Warm Bodies”, and the fast-zombie invasion “World War Z”. To continue keeping the genre fresh, new ways of telling the same basic story need to be found.
Strawdog Theatre is presenting a different take on the zombie with “Pontypool”, a play adapted by Tony Burgess from his book Pontypool Changes Everything. Burgess originally adapted his book as a screenplay for the 2008 film “Pontypool”, directed by Bruce McDonald. I attended the January 11, 2014 performance with Terror Dave Fuentes.
As a follow-up to my review of the movie SON OF GHOSTMAN (seen HERE), I present to you a short interview with the writer and director of this film, Kurt Edward Larson. If you haven’t seen this fun movie yet, I highly recommend it!
I am not a big fan of many of the independent films that are sent to me for review. Either I’m on the wrong mailing list or most low-budget fair means films made on a camcorder with little to no budget and even less when it comes to originality, imagination and heart. Thankfully, once in a great while a gem comes along. This is the case with Kurt Edward Larson’s SON OF GHOSTMAN. This film has all of the ingredients that make a great film.
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Once again John Landis has proven why he is the master of mixing horror with comedy. He did it first in 1981 with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and he was back at it eleven years later with INNOCENT BLOOD. Things that worked in his werewolf film…things like a recognizable cast, amazing effects, fun cameos and just the right mixture of horror and comedy…work just as well when he takes on vampires. Why he isn’t making more films I will never know.
The 50′s will go down in history as the greatest decade of all time for science fiction films. During this 10 year period we were introduced to Godzilla, Rodan, giant insects and arachnids and of course every type of alien being bent on invading Earth imaginable. It truly was a great time to be a fan of not only movies, but of science fiction. Some of these films were great; some not so great. The one thing they all had in common though was great imaginations at a time where Hollywood was chock full of original ideas.
This is part four of my ongoing series covering the alien invasion films of the nineteen fifties. In the past I have reviewed THE MAN FROM PLANET X (see HERE), THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (see HERE) and one of my all time favorites, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (see HERE). Now I am here to review another great addition, INVADERS FROM MARS.
For anyone that has read any of my posts in the past you will know that I am very nostalgic when it comes to my youth. I cherished being a kid for so many reasons. We had the weekly ritual of Saturday morning cartoons as opposed to today, where there are 24 hour a day cartoon channels. We also had a block of cartoons on each morning before school and another one waiting for us when we got home from school. The Saturday morning showings were on the major networks and the weekday showings were on UHF stations.
Saturday mornings were great because not only did you have the great Hanna Barbera and Warner Brother offerings but Sid & Marty Krofft were creating a regular variety of live action shows such as Land Of The Lost and Dr. Shrinker. It is the weekday showings though that I am here currently to talk about. These showings introduced me to a whole new type of animation; an animation from Japan. At the time we called it Japanimation and now it goes by the name of anime. The best of these, in my opinion, was a show called Star Blazers from 1974.
This is the final post of photos from the 2013 C2E2…I promise! The horror world has been running a bit slow of late but, come July, I’ll have the opposite problem. There’s some more conventions on the summer horizon and, judging from the big response I got from my last Horrorhound diary, I’ll do my best to continue that sort of moment to moment coverage. In the mean time, enjoy the creative costumes of C2E2…
Many more costumes to show from C2E2…and we’re only half through!
It was just after 3pm last Saturday when my friend, Steve Gill, and I began plowing through a juggernaut of fans (and even fans dressed like Marvel’s Juggernaut) in an effort to get to “Table 12.” C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) is a popular annual/weekend event here in the city and this was clearly their “prime time.” It was little wonder that it took us over ten minutes to navigate a single aisle.
Of course it also didn’t help that I was stopping every few yards to take pictures of costumed fans either but I’ll cover that portion of the event in an upcoming post. Today I’m going to cut right to the chase and focus on my main objective for being there…the return of Svengoolie! And, while conventional wisdom states one should always save the best for last, I have no desire in prolonging what we fans have waited long enough for as it is.
I was attending a Brookfield Chapter AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers) meeting at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo late last year when the subject of our annual Vital Grounds spaghetti dinner/fundraiser came up. As they’ve been doing this event for several years now, they’ve pretty much got it all down to a science (food, auction items, ticket info, etc).
There was one aspect of the occasion, however, that wasn’t quite so clear…namely the entertainment. For the past several years, Chicago-gone-national horror host, Svengoolie, had been their featured guest which guaranteed a strong turn-out & much-needed funds for the cause. However, with Sven’s health scare in November that was no longer a certainty. Everyone at the table turned and looked at me…
After a long and busy Saturday at Horrorhound Weekend, Brian and I relaxed and ordered dinner in our room. While it’s rarely a positive experience for any Chicagoan to order pizza outside of city limits, this was the perfect food choice when one planned on following it up with copious amounts of alcohol. Saturday nights at Horrorhound were notorious for their raucous all night gatherings…and this year I was determined to join their party! Afterwards, I headed outside for some air and met a guy in the lobby who pulled out a mason jar that looked as if it were half full of motor oil. “Want some moonshine?” he asked.
I smiled but hesitated. It had only been the week before on St. Patrick’s Day when I’d indulged in another home-made concoction with my fellow pod-caster, Jason, resulting in a drunken argument between us. I’m batting a 1,000 with friends these days, folks! Please check out the “Podcast” link at the top of this page to hear our first (and possibly final) eight episodes of Terror on Tequila!
I met Tom Savini for the first time twice during my first Horrorhound Weekend back in 2010. Although it would be my last pre-Terror Dave event, I walked in harboring lots of goals concerning the horror hosts and the celebrities that were attending. Of course the main plan was to have a great time and I was joined by my friend, Jason. I remember us being particularly excited about having the opportunity to meet some of the folks behind one of our favorite zombie films; Dawn of the Dead. Tom Savini, Ken Foree, and the godfather of zombies himself, George Romero, would all be there and we couldn’t wait.
I no sooner left Michael Madsen (scroll back or click HERE) before an announcement boomed over the loud-speaker that the line to see Robert Patrick was relatively short. Having been hit with the autograph bug, I decided to take their not-so-subtle hint and meet him. Though Patrick was on the main convention floor, he had his own room located down a hall. That may have explained why his line was down as it took me a while to track him.
2013 Horrorhound Weekend Pt. 6: Why you should never try and sell Michael Madsen a pair of Sunglasses!
The big celebrity draw at this year’s Horrorhound Weekend were cast members of AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead. As this program is currently a hot topic for both traditional and non-traditional horror fans alike, it was no wonder the convention had such a gigantic turn-out. It also explained why a lot of guests wore vests with angel wings (showing their support for Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon) as well as a few less rebellious fans opting for the sheriff’s deputy uniform of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
It was after 8pm when I walked out of Horrorhound Weekend’s main convention hall during its opening Friday night. While maneuvering past the immense line of patrons (still looking to gain access) I walked across the street to The Crown Plaza hoping to catch a screening of The Profane Exhibit. It’s a new Italian film written and directed by Ruggero Deodato whom I’d met a couple of years back in Massachusetts. As the previous film was still playing, I took a seat in a comfy, lounge chair located outside the room. I was in the process of checking my phone messages when I heard a familiar voice call, “Hey Dave!”