I have a confession to make – I didn’t see the original Insidious in theaters when it came out. It was only when Terror Dave Fuentes asked me to review Insidious 2 that I rented it via Red Box. I watched it just two days before seeing Insidious 2 so it was very fresh in my memory – and I’m glad that it was!
Friday night at Days of the Dead didn’t have quite the after party Russ and I hoped for. That wasn’t shocking since Saturdays tend to be when convention festivities kick off and it certainly wasn’t everyone else’s fault that we were only staying over on Friday. After we ate dinner the convention rooms closed but Days offered activities in the hotel lounge which included a monster burlesque show.
The inimitable “Russ Wrangler” arrived at my place around 1pm; all smiles and full of energy. Clad in sunglasses and sandals, he looked more prepared for a day at the beach as opposed to a horror convention but clearly the overall message was “vacation” and a welcomed one at that. We loaded my things and immediately embarked for Indianapolis with no lulls in conversation, making the drive go by much quicker.
This was my third Days of the Dead in Indianapolis (fourth overall) and Russ’ second. I remember attending the very first one while being impressed with how fan-friendly it was; something I’d hoped hadn’t changed. It seems like fan conventions of any kind start off slow and friendly and, should they find success, later become out-of-control Goliath’s with the fans getting lost somewhere in the mix.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Chicago when I arrived at DePaul University to see a Q&A session with national horror host and broadcaster, Rich Koz/Svengoolie! While I’ve seen him at various appearances this would mark the first time I would catch him without his familiar make-up and, rather than greet fans, get to see him discuss his vast career.
One of the highlights of this year’s ROCK & SHOCK convention in Worcester, MA was meeting and getting to know the artist couple Asia and Anders Eriksen. Asia was covered not too long ago with her amazing creations known as WerePups (you can read all about it HERE). Anders, her husband and an amazing artist in his own right, is the creator of NIGHTMARE GLOVES, the VERY BEST Freddy Krueger gloves available on the market today! Being a collector of masks and props it takes a lot to impress me these days and I will say with all honesty that when it comes to these two, impressive is a perfect adjective! Not only are they amazing artists but they are also very friendly and personable and if you get the opportunity to meet them at a convention, please do not hesitate. You will not be disappointed!
One thing the Daves have always had fun doing is interviewing as many of the great horror hosts as we can. The interviews have all been very popular on Terror From Beyond The Daves and we always try to ask questions that you don’t normally see in interviews. This time out, we present the one and only Roxsy Tyler, from Roxsy Tyler’s Carnival Of Horrors!
I just returned from the FRIGHT NIGHT convention in Kentucky but wanted to wrap up this event before delving into that one. I attended the VIP party there as well but, it was so horrendous, I couldn’t make a blog out of it if I tried. Let’s just say that the one I describe below was 1,000 times better and showed that sometimes the “new kids on the block” could teach a thing or two to the older ones!
Saturday was a busy day at DAYS OF THE DEAD and, as the doors to the main convention halls closed, I tiredly dragged myself up to my room. I took a shower and, as I was organizing all the materials I’d acquired during the day, was jarred by the ringing of my cell phone. Upon answering, I soon heard the monotone voice of Illinois Public Access host, Count Gregula, asking what I was up to. After revealing that I had no plans for the evening (save zoning out in front of TV) Gregula asked the question that every horror conventioneer longs to hear, “Would you like to attend the VIP party with us?”
During the first official DAYS OF THE DEAD convention, guests were treated to a panel of “Scream Queens” which included PJ Soles (HALLOWEEN & CARRIE), Linnea Quigley (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, & NIGHT OF THE DEMONS), Mark Patton (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE), and Heather Langenkamp (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET parts 1, 3, and 7). The event was hosted by Nasty Neal from WITHOUT YOUR HEAD who encouraged guests to walk up to the stage and ask questions of this unique gathering of screamers. For those unable to attend, below is an overview….
Horror fans have mixed emotions regarding the first sequel to the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. While the film would see the return of the ever popular Freddy Krueger – one of top three names in the slasher franchise, the film’s lead character would prove controversial. Mark Patton had unsuccessfully tried out for the role of “Glen” (given to Johnny Depp) in the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET but was hand picked to play the role of “Jessie” in FREDDY’S REVENGE.”I was thrilled to be chosen to Star in NOES2,” said Patton. “Lately it has come to light that I was cast over Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Times change, I guess they are OK.”
The horror world experienced some excitement this past weekend with the anticipated release of SCREAM 4. You wouldn’t think the fourth entry of any horror franchise would generate much buzz but, then again, the SCREAM films aren’t your typical brand of horror. Not content to simply render their own slasher tale, these movies take things a step further by revealing the “formula” of the sub-genre itself. In pointing out horror’s less original concepts, SCREAM managed to become completely original!
Perhaps one of the most popular types of horror movie is the slasher film. Though there were examples of these types of movies in the early 70′s, it wasn’t until the release of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN in 1978 that the slasher really took off. The 80′s were filled literally with every type of slasher movie you could imagine, all capitalizing on the popularity of not only the HALLOWEEN films, but also the FRIDAY THE 13TH series and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise. Some of these movies were good…others were downright horrible. Thanks to movies being released direct to video in those days, pretty much anyone with a camcorder could make a slasher movie and try to take advantage of the public’s desire to see pretty teens get butchered. In many ways this is what burned me out on slasher films. I mean, how many times can you watch the same things over and over again? The only thing that would change from film to film was the look of the killer (even with HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH, Michael Myers and Jason changed his appearance from film to film).
As 2010 winds its way down, I can’t help but notice all the great new movie titles I’ve added to my collection this past year. The future remains bright as horror films never go out of style and movie makers, both foreign and domestic, continue to present new genre films with no signs of letting up. This is not to suggest, however, that “new” necessarily means “original.”
Remakes of older titles continue to flourish with little sign of stopping. 2011 promises newer versions of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, STRAW DOGS, MOTHER’S DAY, and FRIGHT NIGHT. For genre fans this tends to be a mixed blessing. Remakes do generate sufficient “buzz” and may also inspire a revisit to an oldie but goodie we’ve allowed to collect dust on our video shelves. On the other hand, this also invariably leads to an outcry for Hollywood to leave well enough alone!
For those keeping score, let’s take a look at this past years entries and judge 2010′s horror remakes, the hits and misses.
Why is it that every time I hear of a new horror movie coming out it’s a remake? Has Hollywood honestly run out of ideas to scare us with? I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s and some of the all-time best horror movies came from that time period (and hell, some of them were remakes). Films like THE EXORCIST (1973), HALLOWEEN (1978), FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980), THE EVIL DEAD (1983), DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979), HELLRAISER (1987), THE FOG (1980), JAWS (1975), PREDATOR (1987), PUMPKINHEAD (1988), and even remakes like THE THING (1982), THE FLY (1986), THE BLOB (1988), were what I was watching in the movie theaters and later on VHS videotape. Back then Hollywood was full of original ideas and even with the remakes, they would breathe new life into an existing classic. Remakes of INVADERS FROM MARS (1986) and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978) were fun and at times terrifying. To this day I will not swim at the beach because of JAWS and I am always fascinated by fogbanks thanks to John Carpenter.