Last month, G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) celebrated its 25th show. The kids and I packed into Rosemont’s Crowne Plaza like sardines; amazed at how popular this event’s gotten since our first visit 15 years ago. Thanks to the unexpected success of Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla, the world’s most famous atomic monster has been enjoying something of a renaissance these days. Consequently, these last few years have seen G-FEST become something of a giant monster itself. Of course, this isn’t the first time an American version of the “Big G” made some waves. Two decades ago there was another. One so controversial that die-hard fans will only refer to it only as “Zilla” or GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). That being said, I was pretty surprised to see “Zilla’s 20th Birthday Party” listed in this year’s itinerary. Almost as shocked by how badly I wanted to be there for it.
Did you hear the big news? Halloween is coming early this year! Although summer’s usually winding its way down when I start my annual Countdown to Mask-Fest, 2018 is a whole nother story. The premiere Halloween mask-making event is taking place alongside Horrorhound Weekend in August this year rather than September. It’s 10th Anniversary Show promises to be bigger than ever and is taking place at a new venue. In an effort to fire up the regulars while whetting the appetite of possible newbies, I’ll be counting down the four Fridays leading to the event with photos from last year’s show. Please note, there will be all new masks at the upcoming show! In the meantime, please enjoy some of the gruesome creations from the 2017 show…
Having just seen The Lodgers, I’m convinced of two things: (1) I should spend more time out in the sun and (2) need to quit complaining about my dysfunctional family. The film is Directed by Brian O’Malley, and features twin sister and brother, Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) who are virtual prisoners of their family estate. The isolated, Irish countryside alone inspires chills while the film’s dark, psychological components slowly bring things to a boil. Together, they help make The Lodgers much more than your average gothic thriller.
This past month has been something of a rollercoaster ride as my three teens and I moved into a new apartment across town. Almost immediately after signing the lease, we’d spend our evenings after work/school packing and lugging our belongings across town to our new place. It’s been twenty years since I’ve last lived in an apartment and I’d forgotten all that entailed; a hodgepodge collection of neighbors, frightening basement laundry room, and fuzzy “call box” that makes visitors sound like they’re taking orders at a drive-thru. About two weeks into the move, the kids were visiting their mother as I continued the arduous process of moving by myself. After my tenth trip up the stairs, I decided to take a breather and sit in my empty, new living room before making another trip. A few moments later, my silence was broken by the sound of another tenant entering the building and heading to their unit across the hall. At this point, I’d never seen any of my new neighbors with the only evidence of their existence a few scattered cars in the lot. For some reason, the sound of one of them moving about on the other side of the wall put me on edge. Who is this person? What are they like? Are they the friendly kind of neighbor you can borrow a cup of sugar from or the ones that call the cops every time your TV gets too loud? Of course, the obvious solution was to simply open my door and introduce myself but I had a different plan. After digging through a couple boxes I pulled out my copy of the 2007 Spanish horror film, REC – a film that’s not only stood the test of time but supports the idea that tenants are better off keeping to themselves! With only a TV and bookcase in the room, I decided to extend my break and watch it again while lying on the floor.
After leaving Braxton County West Virginia and checking out their tributes to the Flatwoods Monster, we headed further south to the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. I’ve been wanting to see this place ever since Brian Maze from Maze Studio shared his experience with this site back in 2011. It’s dedicated to a large, winged creature many claimed to have witnessed back in 1966-67. Though these sightings have never been sufficiently explained, they preceded the collapse of the Silver Bridge – a giant suspension bridge that joined West Virginia with Ohio. It would be years later when a connection would be suggested of the two; most notably illustrated in the 2002 thriller starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney – The Mothman Prophecies. This museum offers props and memorabilia from this film along with just about everything else associated with the creature. Though my experience will be documented in greater detail in my WEIRD USA column for Scary Monsters Magazine #111, here are some visual highlights to tide you over…
I enjoy a fun horror novel and am a lifelong fan of comic books. So when I received a copy of Pizza Man: Or, the Pizza That Crawled Out of My A-Hole by Bryan Higby and Rick Snyder I was pleasantly surprised. The narrative was so vibrant, it’s about the closest you’ll get to a comic book without any visuals. If you’re looking for a story that never takes itself too seriously and maintains a consistent level of adult humor than this is page turner is for you.
Last April, I discussed a trip I’d taken to Pittsburg – leaving off at the Kecksburg UFO. That same night we saw Weird Al perform at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA before checking out of our hotel the following morning. Rather than drive straight shot back to Chicago, we (my kids and I) took a different route through West Virginia. The original destination was Point Pleasant to see the Mothman Museum until I discovered yet another monster along the way. With just a week before we left on our road trip, I happily added Braxton County, “Home of the Flatwoods Monster,” to the itinerary. This story will be featured in an upcoming WEIRD USA story in Scary Monsters Magazine. So here you’ll get a less detailed version of events. On the flipside, you can see full-color photos from the experience – and this is one vibrant looking creature! Continue reading