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Archive for September, 2014

The Iron Man project part seven

Iron Man

We have a special edition of the Iron Man project today.

Sometimes people will see me in the armor and ask if it’s hard to get into.

Yes. It is.

The real issue is you have to get into the outfit in a specific order, otherwise you can’t move, or you can’t reach the next part. If I have my gloves on, I can get my arm bands on (besides, the foreams wouldn’t fit over them anyhow). If I have my breastplate on, I can’t bend enough to get my shoes or lower legs on…ect.

So here’s the process. It starts with yellow sweatpants and a red Tshirt. It’s a T because the costume gets hot. I want light cloths under it. The fact that it’s a flash T is just ironic.



The yellow top is just so I have sleeves. It’s made from a pair of yoga pants so I have loops around my hands. This helps kept the sleeves from creeping up under the armor. I want yellow arms to go with the yellow gloves. Now we need to pull up  the torso and attach the sides.



Legs are next, while I can still bend to take care of things. Upper leg, lower leg, then shoes. It HAS to be done in that order.




Breastplate next. It’s hard enough to squeeze my normal arms through those arm holes, with the armored limbs it would be impossible nad the paint would all scrape off.



100_4058Arms are slid on before the gloves. Upper then lower. Then the gloves. I usually end up having to pull at least one of those gloves on by my teeth.





And that’s the process. It takes about ten minuets on a good day (when I have help). I can manage to get a helmet on while wearing the gloves, but that’s about it. Next month we’ll go back to the process of making the suit.



Cinema 2880 Video Festival


Our friend Douglas Waltz submitted his entry this year for the 9th Annual Cinema 2880 video challenge – You get just 2880 minutes (48 hours) to script, cast, rehearse, shoot and edit a 5-8 minute video short.

He asked me if I could do an explosion for the end and I whipped one up in a couple hours. It’s the last shot of the film. Here’s the short in it’s entirety:

And if you want to see the previous Michigan Smith adventure, it’s available here:

And don’t forget, new Violent Blue this morning!

Angel Lite commission


An Angel Lite commission. From “The Ballad”

Luciano a.k.a. Bandito  witness his farther get shot cold blooded by a Marshall. His uncle The Meddler took him and raised him and he became part of the  West Texas Outlaws. Now he is outlaw himself seeking revenge against the people who killed his farther. A great shot with a six shooter.

b1 b2

And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!

In Defense of Joel Schumacher


Schumacher’s name is synonymous with failure. After all, he pretty much destroyed the Batman movie franchise and it took visionary director Christopher Nolan to redeem and reinvent it.

And I don’t believe a word of the above statement.

Truthfully, I think the film Batman and Robin poison everything around them and that’s not fair. Batman Forever was actually a decent film. You have to remember, at the time, the only cinematic version of Batman we had was Burtons, and he had no interest in the source material. Catwoman was interesting, but there’s noting about her that ever remotely resembles Selina Kyle…and the creepy Penguin? I don’t even know what that was.

What Batman Forever gave us were villains much close to their comic book counterparts, and a Bruce Wayne that I actually could believe was the Bruce from the comic series rather than the pointy eye browed, curly haired weirdo that slept hanging upside down (Oh! I get it! LIKE A BAT! um, yeah.)

Sure there was a little more humor…Jim Carey (Who I don’t like that much at the best of times) was being Jim Carey. There was some speculation that Robin Williams should have played the Riddler (and the Joker before that). Can you imagine how hammy THAT would have been? The humor isn’t down to the camp levels of the TV show though. There’s plenty of action, with Schumacher’s flair for zooming shots actually giving it a more comic book feel, and that’s what I loved about it back in 1994. It felt much more like the comics to me and that was a welcome change. I even laughed at the single reference to the old TV show (which I still hate to this day) about Holey rusted metal….

I think however, that some studio exec with warm and fuzzy feelings for that show head that line and a lightbulb went off over his head…

You see, I don’t place most of the blame on Batman and Robin on Schumacher. This was another film (much like Star Trek Five again) rife with studio interference. Not even that. The word “interference” suggests some level creative vision on the directors part. Schumacher walked into a meting, before the script was even written and was handed toys. Cars, costumes and props and was told that these all had to be worked into the film somehow. The original script didn’t even have Bane in it. Ever wonder why the toy looks SO different from the on screen character? It’s because the toy was designed before the role was cast.

Schumacher could have said no. I’ll grant that. He could have breached contract. In retrospect it might have even been good for his career. But back in 1993, I can easily see how quitting this film (Batman films were a license to print money after all) might have looked like career suicide.

This isn’t cockeyed optimism that fuels my devotion to Schumacher. rather it’s he track record. On one hand we have Batman and Robin – a heavily studio controlled film that was an utter disaster on every level. On the other hand we have my favorite vampire film EVER, the Lost Boys. And we have Saint Elmo’s Fire before that. We have Phone Booth and 8MM (both done after B&R, just incase you were about to make the argument that he had talent but then lost it). Phantom of the Opera is another fairly closely controlled property that he was able to make good with.

It drives me mad when I hear him trashed on the basis of (mostly) one film that he had little or not control of, and I’ll stand by my defense of him any day you like.




Stitches and Grabbers

Movie banner

MV5BMTgyNzE0MzYwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzgxOTA2OA@@__V1_SY317_CR103,0,214,317_AL_I spent the weekend watching foreign films – which sounds so much better than I watched a bunch of irish horror movies…..

Stitches is one of those films I’ve seen listed a million times on Netflix. I’ve passed it by again and again simply because I don’t find clowns scary. That combined with a distrust of Netflix (which has consistently proven it knows NOTHING about horror) has kept me from this film for quite a while, but after hearing a friend recommend it I decided to finally give it a chance.

It’s not an asylum film (so many of the horror movies on Netflix are. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of agreement or sponsorship, much like SyFy has with the Asylum), and I was surprised that it was an irish film. It has a very 80’s feel to it. a ton of practical effects and a standard plot – undead killer returns to murder the group of teenagers who caused his death. In this case it was a clown who died accidentally at a child’s birthday party.

They never explain why he waits a decade or so to return, but the how is touched upon in an interesting way. The film introduces the idea that all images2clowns are part of a secret cult (ironically, I was a clown and in fact WAS inducted into a secret order…no, I’m not joking.) and each has a connection to a weird painted egg – an avatar or something, it doesn’t get more specific than that. We don’t really learn what the magic is, but we do get the impression that the only way to destroy the clown is to destroy the egg. This is a great plot point and the sort of thing we don’t get enough of these days. There’s still a quest like element here , not just a bunch of set pieces.

The set pieces are great by the way. There’s a surprising amount of gore, combined with the tropes and whimsy that you would expect from a clown movie. It stops just short of being a horror comedy, but we certainly reach Hatchet or Evil Dead levels of absurdity in the violence.

It’s a fun movie and they very much leave room for sequels.  I honestly hope to see more of these at some point, but Ireland note images3being Hollywood, I’m not so sure I will.

My second feature was Grabbers. I’d heard this mentioned a year or so ago on the Horror Ect. podcast and it was one of those titles I just kept meaning to get to but never did. Stitches brought it back to mind and I’m glad I finally got around to it.

Curiously enough, this film plays it straight. It’s a stark contrast to Stitches in that, and really surprised me. The concept is that sea monsters are attacking a small Irish coastal town, and they attack people to untitleddrink their blood, but alcohol is poison to them. If ever there was a concept you’d expect to be played for laughs, this is it!

The first act is a bit slow. They take their time introducing the characters and actually try to create some back story here. When we finally see the creatures, they’re striking, but sadly also very CG heavy. The second act is heavily involved in detective work, trying to figure out what these things are and more importantly, where they come from.

The movie really does kick into high gear at the third act and it’s worth seeing. It’s a good film, but watching it I very much get the impression that it really would be better watched with a group.

I’m really enjoying what I’m seeing coming out of Ireland actually. These are both WELL made films despite the absurd premise. It’s refreshing and they really seem to remember what it’s like to make FUN horror. I’m curious to see more from the IFC and think I’ll be keeping an eye on these film makers as time goes by.


The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe part nine


Part nine of The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe! And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!


forgotten bannerMV5BMzA4NzI3NjA1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjAyMTYyMQ@@__V1_SY288_CR1,0,214,288_This is a movie that I have very fond memories of. It is not the Gladiator movie you normally think of, but rather a low budget DTV boxing movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Brian Dennehy and I adore it.

My friend Mike got this on VHS back in the day, it was a strange copy – a screened for the video store to watch and decide if they wanted to carry it. every now and then you’ll see a warning about this not being for distribution come up on the screen.

From IMDB :

Gladiator 1992

Tommy Riley has moved with his dad to Chicago from a ‘nice place’. He keeps to himself, goes to school. However, after a street fight he is noticed and quickly falls into the world of illegal underground boxing – where punches can kill.

This really doesn’t do the movie justice.

There’s really a great deal of drama happening here, with Gooding boxing to support his family, and a friendship developing between the two main character – something Dennehy will not allow to happen.

Just as important to this film is the soundtrack. In an era where every film had a meaningless soundtrack of songs “inspired from the film” this had a great 90’s soundtrack album with every song in the movie.  I can not emphasize how great this record is…Mike went out and immediately got a copy (which I promptly copied. Man, I wish I had a copy of this on CD or mp3 instead of cassette…)

Mike doesn’t have a VCR anymore so the tape is now in my possession and I suspect I’ll always love it. I’m not sure if this ever got a DVD release, but I know you can watch it on the pay Youtube channel for just two dollars and it’s well worth it!


Movie bannerMV5BMTM0NDc3MDExMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDEwOTU4NQ@@__V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_Doing a strange marathon this weekend. I started with 11-11-11. mostly because I’d just heard an interview with the director Darren Lynn Bousman  and I really wanted to see exactly what the film he described looked like. He talks about it being far better before the studio cut it, and I suppose that’s possible, but I’m not sure. You can see where some of the creatures effects had issues, and quite frankly, the demonic figures at the end are too well lit and poorly conceived. It’s irrelevant. That’s not actually the movie(s) I want to talk about.

The Asylum is a film company that has built their business around the “mockbuster”. Cheap knockoffs of high profile films and 11-11-11 was one of their targets. Around the same time it was in the theatres they came out with 11/11/11. Seriously, that was the difference in the titles. a “/” instead of a “-“.  was curious as to whether or not they even tried to emulate the film so I puled it up on Netflix. They had the entire series…though curiously enough they didn’t have 11-11-11.

11/11/11 is a straight off Omen clone. It actually could stand on it’s own, it’s compentantly enough made, though the acting is a little MV5BMTkxNTcxMzgyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTQyNTA5Ng@@__V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_wooden. The up side is if they are going to plagerize, it’s going to be from the best. We have a new family moving into a new house, just as their son is about to turn 11 on 11/11/11. If he sees that birthday he’ll become the antichrist. We have impalement on a fence and a nanny controlled by a cult that wants the Devil to come into the boy. No representitives of the Church is really the main thing that seperates this from the Omen. Still it’s a pleasantly average film, a step up for the Asylum. A pity that it’s a rip off in every way, as that kind of taints it.

Next up is 12/12/12. This one is a very different film and that’s a strange choice. There is obviously a DTV franchise being created here with a definite design language to the artwork on the packaging but no cohesive identity in the movies themselves. It’s a very different movie with Tarantino levels of F-Bombing and as much nudity as they can cram in (I’m fairly certain the lead actresses were chosen primarily for their more exhibitionist qualities) both things that 11/11/11 largely avoided in favor of trying to tell a better story.  We start off with a bang though,  with a cult overseeing a woman to impregnate her and later her demonic baby being born. I found myself wondering if this one would be a knock off of “It’s Alive” like 11 was an Omen remake, but other than the monster being a baby, there’s not much similarity. It’s power seems mostly hypnotic, making people do horrible things to themselves. That’s not clear right away either, it takes far too long for me to get that.

MV5BMzM0MDE0MjQxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzAzMTQ4OA@@__V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_The first kill is a great one, taking place at the birth with the doctors being strangled by the umbilical cord…though it looks more like an intestine. It’s kind of ruined by the flashes of the failed vaginal birth though….quite frankly even I don’t want to see that. When both of my daughters were born I was there, holding my wife’s hand and looking into her eyes, and making quite sure I didn’t glance anywhere near down south. ugh. The birth is eventually accomplished caesarian and that IS a great image “it’s almost like it’s trying to get out….”.

There’s a lot to like about this film. The cultists here evoke the feel of old Hammer films and the gore is nicely done. But again the acting is wooden and the film feels rushed. It’s another one of those 14 day shoots, or at least it feels like that. One more week would help this movie immensely.  You can see there’s not time to light properly, no time to rehearse or really build chemistry and I really wish there was, because there’s a good horror film in here somewhere. I think Full Moon would have gotten this right, with better colors, tones and heart.

The biggest problem here if  course is the baby itself. It’s mostly the third act. Until then it’s seems in glimpses, ashen gray features, evil eyes. Occasionally though it’s just a baby doll lying there and the actors don’t know how to handle it to make it look like it’s alive. A lot of POV shots and all of it makes you really want to see what that baby looks like.

Well, in the third act we do. In spades. It’s in full light and moving around, but it looks like hard plastic, not soft rubber. There’s not belief in it’s movements. They just don’t seem to know how to puppet this thing and the static face only makes that a worse problem.  I’ve seen better demonic baby dolls at Cinema Wasteland and I’m honestly tempted to grab one and redo those scenes MV5BMjM2MTY1ODc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTg3ODc0MDE@__V1_SY317_CR28,0,214,317_AL_myself, just to show them how it’s done. A moveable face draped in shadow with evil fx eyes, it could be done in a day or two ( and that includes the opticals).  It’s almost as if they are determined to make bad films the way they hamstring themselves like this.

Finally there is 13/13/13. The idea is that because of leap year, we eventually accumulate an extra month and by some arcane calculation the day this film takes place in is actually 13/13/13. On this day everyone goes crazy and anarchy ensues(much like “The Purge”). The only ones not affected are people born on Leap year.  Again, we start off with a bang, a great scare and aseriously disturbing bit of gore, but a mere five or ten minuets into the film, it’s just unwatchable.

The cover is a lie. Yes, there is an adolescent girl in it, slightly older than the one on the cover, and the film ISN’T about her. she appears on one scene only and it’s just another set piece to display the crazy. There’s no story here. It’s all just about filming violent crazy scenes. We spend a bout a third of it at a hospital which is wonderfully creepy and atmospheric. The violence occasionally gets to squirm inducing levels of transgressive cinema, but there really is NO story. It’s just the camera  drifting from one set piece to the next, a great disappointment from a series that the producers just don’t care about. Best to skip this one and read todays new Violent Blue instead.



No posts today, just a reminder, don’t forget what happened today. Even such a short time as a decade seems to have blunted a lot of our memories.

Thank you William Peter Blattey

AutographsI love this pic of Blattey – it’s kind of creepy in of itself. Big thanks, he turned this around in a WEEK!


Entropy Tales

bestET 86This is one of those little indie black and white titles you’d run into from time to time in the 80’s. They kept showing up in bargain bins and I decided to start picking  them up when I would see them.

I was hoping for a dystopian anthology, but it’s really just a jumble of stories with different characters, most notably their Batman knock-off Nightwolf. He’s got a nice costume and it makes for a nice enough read though and I always enjoyed them.

This is a title to grab if you just happen to see it in a dump bin and are in the mood for something different. It makes me wish there were more of it so I could see an expanded universe, but it is what it is. If you see it cheap grab it, but no need to go out of your way to hunt these down.


Lorain County Zombie Walk 2014


10613009_10202281315905071_4466094895265830125_nIt was raining a lot on Friday and Saturday started off gray. It was enough I think, to scare off a lot of potential zombies, but not us.

The Amherst walk has been my favorite since it’s inception, and while I did a superhero zombie costume last year, this time around I wanted something more traditional.


Unfortunately, when you don’t give yourself enough time, things don’t always turn out well. I’m not happy with this look. I used an old appliance I had lying round (and new we see WHY I don’t use this prosthetic) and tried to do the blisters again I’m convinced this is a good idea with the blisters, but I just haven’t figured out how to pull it off.

10600457_10201971028351111_8070563976990845259_nMy daughter Lydia bailed on me at the last minuet, but even better, my wife Amy agreed to go with me – those chains you see me in? she’s got the other end of them in her hands.

It’s not Amy’s thing, and she was having a bad MS day COMBINED with cramps, but after people started talking to her, complementing her on her pet and she started to get into it. I think she was surprised by how funny it can be seeing the other peoples costumes, seeing the reactions and hearing the zombie hunters like Sgt. Cunnngham warn the passers by about the hordes of undead roaming the streets. I’d lunge at people and she’d yank the chain (and me) back. She’d whip out her gun and blast the zombies that really freaked her out. On several occasions we ran into her friend Crystal and her son who were acting as survivors this time around. It was GREAT having her around.

We weren’t chosen for the costume contest but did stick around to watch and see who won. There was a prize for both the best looking Zombie and the best looking survivor. I loved the little girl in the surgeon suit.

I was a little surprised, in addition to the zombie turnout being a little light (but still a VERY respectable turnout) the vendor area seemed like it was about half as full as last year. Again, I suppose the rainy weather forecast may be to blame. It showered on us a tad last year and that may have kept people away.  In addition to the vendors they also were running a 50/50 raffle, with half the proceeds going to the food bank. Obviously a lot of people participated because the pot was up to $160. The greatest part of this however was when the lady (in gray with the brown pattern down her top) in the picture below won, she gave the money back to be donated into the food bank.


The zombie walks have always been a fun way of raising money an canned goods for the Second Harvest Food bank in Lorain County and I’m glad to be a part of it. There’s one more this year, coming towards the end of the month. Hopefully I’ll be there wit the girls in tow! (and just in case you were wondering, there is new Violent Blue up today!)10460537_347577045406434_4769036006561409390_n 10494564_347534085410730_6330595903110081150_n 10540819_347576632073142_6741218663347948407_n 10610816_347474768749995_5041406499771246643_n 10635820_347576885406450_1714516167398862014_n 10635855_347577015406437_1554779469698388126_n 10636103_347576908739781_80150226934526664_n 10690000_347533858744086_8403133543230486054_n

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Maddie’s Scarecrow

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I just like this..although sometimes  that stick seems to pop up…..


The Iron Man project part nine

Iron ManThe task of creating shoulderpads isn’t an easy one. I have to create something round out of flat surfaces.
100_3959It’s all going to be in the layering. I start by cutting a notch in the pieces so they can fit together better and bend after they are glued.100_3962 100_3961I spent a little more time than intended on these, adding that strip across the pad and cutting more of a pattern in the inner part of the shoulder pad. These are embellishments I hadn’t really intended to do, but I’m glad I executed them as they occurred to me. The pieces look much better for them.100_3964 100_3963I also added a little elastic to the bottom to keep them together. I plan on sliding these on and tucking them into my breastplate.100_3965A little paint and we’re done. I considered doing the whole thing red, but I’m glad I changed my mind and kept the white patches on the sunken parts. It’s one of those extra details like the yellow gloves that give the suite more character.100_3967I think it’s high time we did the chest piece, don’t you? Joins us back here next month as we create the largest part of the costume!

Superheroes vs the Cleveland Pops



Summer is almost over and this weekend here in my hometown of Elyria there was a free concert by Cleveland Pops.

And a bunch of Superheroes.

The city coordinated the Orchestra’s visit with a local volunteer group called Superheroes to Kids in Ohio who work with kids in hospitals and terminally ill patients. They introduced sets and worked the crowd as the orchestra played selections from superhero films such as Avengers, The Dark Knight and Spider-Man. There was even a Frozen set.

This was a good time, in the middle of the city, surrounded by superheros, with the orchestral score playing in the background and fireworks in the sky. It’s also EXACTLY the sort of thing Elyria needs more of.

Happy Labor Day.

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By the way, even though it’s Labor Day there IS still a new Violent Blue up today!