This blog was originally titled “Physical Media’s Last Stand” but I thought it too pessimistic. And when it comes to this topic, there’s plenty of cause to feel that way. The MPAA recently revealed a staggering 50% drop in sales as the rise of Streaming services takes hold. I’m sure I speak for my many of my fellow lazy fans that it’s a lot easier pushing a button than getting of our butts to pop on a disc. However, anyone who’s spent 20 minutes scrolling Netflix only to finally give up in frustration knows that what we like isn’t as accessible as the modern world would have us believe. For horror fans like us, there are plenty of cause for us to continue coveting physical media. In fact, despite the current Blu-ray apocalypse, some of the most amazing upgrades and rare titles are being released – though you may need to look beyond Amazon.com to find them. There are several companies out there fighting the good fight and today, I’ll be highlighting a few of the ones I think are worthy of our support!
Do you remember what you were doing on the night of Saturday, June 16, 1979? I sure do. Here in Chicagoland there was a bit of fanfare regarding a new horror host hitting the airwaves via our favorite UHF station, WFLD Channel 32. For a young monster movie fan like myself, the idea of watching them on prime time was a gift in and of itself. Having them presented along with hilarious parody songs, skits, and sound effects took it to an even higher level. Even before the big night, I recall my parents discussing the new talent at the dinner table. “Oh, you’ll probably love this Son of Svengoolie,” my mom said, looking up from the Chicago Tribune’s entertainment section. “Your father used to watch his dad back when he was on TV.”
It was a bustling Saturday at the 2018 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend and one could easily lose track of time in the immense ballroom I mentioned last time. Regardless, I was determined to attend at least a couple of the celebrity panels – especially the one featuring some of the child actors from Stephen King’s IT. Horror conventions are in no short supply of players from older projects, so I give Horrorhound props for boasting actors from 2017’s biggest horror blockbuster. The film debuted the same weekend as last year’s Indianapolis Horrorhound and none of us could have predicted how it would have smashed Box Office nor change the world of fandom. Somehow it destroyed all conventional wisdom and endeared us to a new Pennywise the killer clown despite the thankless job of filling in the footsteps of Tim Curry. In fact, I’ve yet to attend any genre event since that hasn’t had at least three cosplayers dressed as Bill Skarsgard’s new version. Unfortunately, Skarsgard was not in attendance here which was a pity since I’ve no doubt he’d of had conventioneers falling at his feet if he had. Fortunately, most of the film’s “Loser’s Club” was here and willing to come together for a panel. I’m glad that Jason and I arrived early because that room was packed by the time Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak), Wyatt Olef (Stanley Uris), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon), and Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie Denbrough) walked in.
The following was transcribed from audio recordings taken at the Evil Dead II panel. It took place at the 2018 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend and consisted of Bruce Campbell (Ash), Kassie Wesley DePaiva (Bobby Jo), and Dan Hicks (Jake). Campbell, himself, acted as the moderator which made the occasion seem less a standard Q&A and more of a conversation between friends. The result was a hilarious 45 minutes that proved that after three decades the chemistry was still there.
Last Christmas I talked about Grady Hendrix’s wonderful Paperbacks from Hell and how it reignited my passion for those horror “trash novels” I read faithfully back in the ‘80s. Since then, I’ve been avidly searching for them online and on foot and can now boast a solid collection of 150 books; a number I hope to double by 2020. I’m also reading them again at a steady rate of two books a week which has not only proven a great way to unwind after a busy day at work but improved my attention span for more serious reading as well. Now, I’m not here to make scientific claims on the importance of mindless reading, but rather share updates on my collection and what I’ve learned since that Christmas 2017 post.
That Saturday at Horrorhound Weekend, Jason and I had breakfast at the hotel restaurant (ka-ching) before planning the long day ahead. It started with another walk-through of the main hall and getting a closer look at the masks of MASK-Fest, celebrating its 20th year. The larger venue promised more masks which must have been true since I recently sorted through them for next years “Countdown” and what normally amounts to 25 photos spread over four blogs ended up 30 shots in five.
With the recent remake of Suspiria, I’ve been rewatching many of my Italian Giallo films. Although this distinct film style originates in Germany, it was the Italians who really took it away, and in no short thanks to Maria Bava and his film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) – a not so subtle nod to Hitchcock. The word “Giallo” translates as “yellow” and was inspired by popular paperbacks that were Italy’s version of American pulp. These murder/mystery novels often featured lurid covers with women being terrorized by a masked killer. Though the stylish influence of Giallo films can still be glimpsed today. e.g. The Neon Demon (2016), their finest examples were in Italy from the mid ’60s to mid-’80s. Rather than just go back and watch my favorites such as Deep Red (1975), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Tenebrae (1982), and New York Ripper (1982) I decided to track down ones I’d never seen before. Thanks to Arrow Video and their recently restored issue of Mario Bava’s colorful follow up to The Girl Who Knew Too Much, 1964’s Blood and Black Lace.