The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

monsters

Monster Walk at the 5 O’ Clock and Alien tonight!

10359558_1582196322032139_6962641967273641040_nCome on out to the 3rd annual monster walkMONSTER WALK at the five o’clock bar in Lakewood Saturday April 18th THIS IS AN ALL AGES EVENT SO KIDS ARE WELCOME. I brought my girls last time and they’re coming again this year! They love that they can be different monsters every time and not just zombies!  Make up starts at 1pm and will go till about 3:30ish because the walk will start at 4pm. admission will be $5 plus 2 canned goods. To get makeup done it will be $10  and trust me, there’s always great makeup artists here! This event is to benefit the Cleveland food bank.

The Five O’Clock lounge is located at 11904 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, Ohio 44107

5oclockyszia9zg7nwnhwsjyqdpOnce you’ve walked and creeped everyone else out sufficiently, make a pit stop at home, clean up and then head over to the Capitol for the midnight screening of Alien!

Ridley Scott‘s 1979 masterpiece ‘Alien‘ is part of the Melt Bar and Grilled Cleveland Cinemas Late Shift Series. Admission is just $5! One lucky audience member will win some TUMS to help with their tummy ache!

The capital is located at 1390 W 65th St, Cleveland, Ohio 44102

And if you have trouble sleeping after all that, you can always go back and check out some old violent Blue….

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Cinema Wasteland spring 2015

cw_show_logoIt’s Wasteland Weekend! Come on out to the Strongsville Holiday inn and join the Days of the Dead celebration and the best party in town!

The biggest gathering of cast from Days of the Dead ever assembled will be talking about the movie, plus screenings, and vendors galore.

There’s plenty of Horror Host action at Wasteland – Gunga Jim’s show is always great fun and this weekend on Gunga’s drive-in he’s screening the classic “She-Beast”. Son of Ghoul will be hosting Stooges and Wasteland cartoons and Saturday night check out the gameswith A.Ghastlee Ghouls and Sally The Zombie Cheerleader at  Ghastlee’s night at the movies! You never know who else might show up….

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Fright Night 2 : New Blood

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I’ve always made a point to state that  I don’t hate remakes just for the sake of hating remakes. I was reasonably positive about Fright Night three years ago here : https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/fright-night-sneak-preview/. This time not so much.

First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way. Just because it has “2” in the title, that means nothing. This is not a follow up. It’s a remake. You don’t get to remake a film two years after the last remake! It’s not even a BETTER remake. I think I would have liked this a great deal more if it had been a sequel. It’s DTV horror. It didn’t NEED to have the same actors and it isn’t too much of a leap to make this a follow up. Evil Ed is better realized here, but that’s it. Amy is completely wasted here. She’s always been a damsel in distress, but she was practical in the original. She imageswas stronger in the remake. Here’s she’s just a walking prop. Vincent simply isn’t interesting here…in fact he far less likable than in the 2011 remake and again, he doesn’t actually appear until around the halfway point.

One of my real pet peeves is taking a remake in name only. They use the names and maybe some subject matter, but tell a story that not only has nothing to do with the original but doesn’t even feel like the original (A big reason I never liked the Battlestar Galactica reboot). Again, it wouldn’t have taken much script doctoring to make this a sequel. Simple replace Ed with images3someone else or find a way to humanize him again. State that Vincent has a new career doing reality TV and he pulled some strings to get Charlie and company in on this trip. The Bathory angle would have fit much better like that – especially if Geri Dandridge was somehow related to Jerry Dandridge.

It’s frustrating because this does have some good set pieces, and frankly some brilliant uses of the cross to ward off Vampires. My favorite is a tie between the picture on the cell phone or the full chest tattoo on Peter images2Vincent. The ocular damage scene is nicely squirm worthy as well and the sonic location is a surprisingly original touch. But all of it simply isn’t sufficient to make this a good film, and the “2” in the title just pisses me off.

If you see it on netflix and need something to watch as background at a party or while you are cleaning the house or something it’ll work, but don’t go out of your way to rent it and definatley don’t buy it.

 


HorrorHound Cinicy 2014

Conman

The thing is, this trip had a dark cloud hanging over it from the word go. Ted Raimi cancelled at the last minuet and I personally think the Walking Dead people are charging WAY  too much…especially for autographs without photo ops. HorrorHound is one of the biggest cons I’ve ever done and we’ve covered before how I don’t like big cons, but it was still an opportunity to complete my Evil Dead poster, and also a nice opportunity to do a ED2 poster….so off I go.

Except…I can’t find my keys.

First thing in the morning, I’m pulling stuff together, but my keys are missing. It takes forty five minuets of searching before my wife wakes up and sheepishly remembers she grabbed my keys last night by mistake and forgot to take them out of her coat pocket.

I’m now an hour late and instead of arriving early and getting a spot near the front of the line, I find myself waiting for over an hour to get in. Tickets for autographs with Bruce Campbell are sold out.

Crap.

New_IMG_0418Seriously, my mood is gone and that’s a shame, because there was still a lot here that can be fun, but it’s a lousy way to start convention season.

It was my first time at Horrorhound Cincinatti. Even though the Horrorhound Indy con was mediocre, I really wanted to hit this one because of the Horror Host Hall of Fame induction.  This was goign to be my one big trip this year.

Another great bit here was the heavy Ghostbuster influence. The Ohio Ghostbusters were there in full force and I got to do the unthinkable…I got to sit in the Ecto-1!!! One of the great costumes floating around as well was a guy dressed as Slimer. New_IMG_0405It’s a costume I now want to make myself….there was also a Stay Puft Marshmellow man and a bunch of Ghostbusters – men and women.  A great display was set up as well, showing off props and memorabilia. So much fun for a Ghostbuster fan like myself.

I was a littel shocked that the line to meet Clint Howard wasn’t longer. This guy is a legend, and easily one of the most recognizable character actors on the con circuit and it was a lot of fun to meet him. He had the head prop from Ice Cream Man there as well, and the detail on that thing was shocking. I was a little put off by his handler who good naturedly insisted on referring to me as a  New_IMG_0417“Geek” because I wanted a Star Trek photo signed, but otherwise really cool to meet Clint.

Another high point was finally getting to meet Charlse Band. I’ve been a Full Moon fan since college (and really before that – if  I were to really examine my UHF viewing as a child). I’ve meet Lloyd Kauffman before, and I appreciate how important Troma is to the genre, but Full Moon is really the other side of that coin, and the full moon astetic appeals to me far more than Troma’s gross out humor ever did. I got him to sign a Terrorvision poster (also signed by Richard Band – the composer for the film.) and was delighted to get a photo with him. That IMG_0422Terrorvision poster is goign to Cinema Wasteland with me in a couple of weeks  for Garret Grahame and Maybe I’ll find something else for Band to sign there!

There were a bunch of composers at this show – a really great idea, thoguh I’m not sure how well it worked out…their tables seemed to be perpetually empty. Still, I was able to get my Evil Dead poster signed as well as my Terrorvision – I wish I had remembered to bring my Conjuring and Wishmaster posters with me, and I could have gotten thier composers as well. One of the coolest however was Christopher Young. My Hellraiser poster has been a little bit of an issue. I originally bought it for a Gettysburg con  where New_IMG_0403Dough Bradley, Ashly Lawrence and Clive Barker were supposed to appear. Ashley and Clive both cancelled and it only got signed by Dough. His dedication was “See you in Hell!” Which always bothered my wife. I suppose I can see why.  At HorrorHound I got to meet Christopher Yong who created the music for Hellraiser.  His inscription was “See you in Heaven” instead and was one of the coolest encounters at the con.

Another appallingly short line was for the Crypt Keeper! He was inducted into the Horror Host Hall of Fame earlier and truely deserves it. I wasn’t aware that he had also done the voice for Buster Bunny on Tiny Toons – very cool. Another for my voice actor collection. he wasn’t just signing, he was doing answering machineNew_IMG_0439 messages…how cool is that?

All in all, not a BAD con, but poorly orginized and it’s gotten far too big. It’s also gotten a little greed with it’s VIP passes, higher than average prices on admission and autographs and the way they handle their “Professional Photo Ops”. More and more the big cons are leaving a bad taste in my mouth and I wonder if I’m done with the big ones…

We’ll see. Wasteland in Two weeks!

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Freddy Makeup

So I’ve been getting some questions about how I did my Freddy Makeup for Halloween this year.

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fredOne of the big reasons I didn’t just go out and buy the freddy makeup kit again is because it really dosen’t come with everything. You really need a bald cap to make this work at all, and then you also need some more texture on the chin and cheeks along with some fairly detailed paint skills. I man, look at this. This is all they give you in the package (also some rubber teeth, elmers glue and greaspaint). I figured I could create that myself…or at least give it a good try, so this year instead I bought a pint of Latex for less than I would have spent on the makeup kit.

While it was similarly involved, it wasn’t as complicated to figure out as the Pinhead makeup was…we should be able to cover this in one post.

I started off creating three appliances on my face, basically making ridges of cotton  and then layering latex over it until I could pull it off.  These are the appliances I came up with in my first session.

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First thing we do is shave. Trim the sideburns and make sure thee’s no hair Latex can get caught up in. That is nothing but painful.

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Time for the Bald cap.

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Now applying these one by one. The real point here is to actually leave a good chunck of my face uncovered, just painted, while the ridges surrounding it confuse the eye.

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I can see I need some real texture on my chin. We’ll add some cotton strips first.

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Next we will layer latex over it. Also need to add some ridges across the nose.

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Drying the latex with a hair dryer. Looks like this will ultimately fuse with the other pieces. I didn’t want one big mask, but it may turn out that way.

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Soemthing else I hadn’t counted on. The existing appliances won’t reach all the way to the edges of the bald cap. I’m going to have to extend them. Adding a layer of cotton that will go over the sideburns and protect them, then brushing latex over it. It should come out wrinkly enough on it’s own without making excessive ridges like I did with the other pieces.

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More hair dryer to solidify it. Everything is blending together, and it’s all going to be one piece I can see.

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The basic shape is done, but yeah, it still looks fake…after all it’s all that beige yellow latex color. We need some paint on this.

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I’m using more than greasepaint this year, I’m also adding blood gel. It’s making a big difference.

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I noticed I needed a little more texture on that upper lip (which has no latex or appliance on it) and added some more colors and stripes to it when I redid it for Halloween. Also added more colors to the neck and back of the head. It could be smoother, and I may make another pass at this come Wastland time but all in all I’m happy, and definitely better than that stupid makeup kit from the store! There you go! Freddy!

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Halloween Train set!

Marvel Clix

We’re still recovering form all the Halloween Hijinks around here, but I wanted to share some pictures of this before we take it down. We’ve always put up the train set for Christmas, but sometimes on Halloween we like ot put it up too. The sheer numbers of monsters in that Amazing Spiderman Heroclix set made me definitely want to put up the ghost train this year!

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Still some old school horrorclix here too. I so loved that Jason Freddy duo figure!

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Aliens around the chinese temple, hidden in the words

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Jason stalking someone.

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Vampire conference – I love putting Dracula and Nosferatu together like this.

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I’m playing a lot less these days. The game is getting too complicated. But I still like being ablt to put out a Clix Heros colum this way at least!

 

 


Satan’s Bed

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aka Batas Impian Ranjang Setan
Directed by H. Tjut Djalil

Also known as “Indonesian Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Normally I’d do a detailed review with my impressions of the film. However, I don’t think I can do any better justice to this movie than my posts to Facebook as I was watching this film.

  • Matthew Skelly there’s the little girls in white jumping rope (not singing theSatansBed19843 song but it’s definately them)…..OH MY GOD….they’re doing the bathtub scene almost shot for shot!!!
  • Matthew Skelly ” I had the same dream…a devil came out of my bed with razor sharp nails…” OH LOOK! It’s the Johnny Depp character and the tape player!…oh and here come the jerk boyfriend making noises outside…..
  • Matthew Skelly Okay…Indonesian Tina and Indonesian rod just went upstairs. I gotta say, Indonesian Nancy is a lot prettier than Heather Langenkamp…..If they actually do the rotating room I’m going to plotz.

  • Matthew Skelly Indonesian Freddy just cut off one of his fingers…..
  • Matthew Skelly No rotating room, but they did lift Indonesian Tina up on wires….they did the skull gag too….only it was Indonesian Freddy’s entire head that came off…..
  • Matthew Skelly COOL! It’s Indonesian John Saxon!
  • Matthew Skelly Indonesian Freddy walks like Frankenstein. Shame. SatansBed19842It’s probably because he’s cold. he needs a hat and sweater.

  • Matthew Skelly okay…bizarre….. Indonesian rod escapes from Indonesian john saxon and is lured away by Indonesian Freddy pretending to be the ghost of Indonesian tina…..SO Bizarre. Still get’s hung though.
  • Matthew Skelly Alcoholic mother..check. Shaman….huh? I think someone got their poltergeist mixed in their NOES……there’s that lady in lavender again to…a little Phantasm influence?
  • Matthew Skelly Why is Indonesian Freddy throwing his head at the shaman?Oh. So he can bite him. Okay.

  • Matthew Skelly There’s the staircase gag….only it’s tar….
    man, this movie really turned int Indonesian poltergeist for a minuet SatansBed19845there….
    This really is a high recommend for any Nightmare fan. It’s just a really strange remake….and a better one than the from 2011…..
    There are a couple odd bits. Freddy has a sidekick…a succubus in lavender which is what I’m referring to as the Phantasm connection. Also by the end, it really does turn into Poltregiest, complete with the skeletons bursting out of the ground and attacking. Indonesian Freddy is after these people not because he was torched alive but rather because the house was built on a graveyard.  But definately, check this out if you can find it.
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Join me this weekend for Cleveland Movie marathons!

Auto_RamaOkay….so let me explain what’s going on this weekend.

Friday starting at 7:00 the Aut-O-Rama drive-in theatre will be presenting a horror marathon : Night of the Living Dead, Nightmare On elm Street, Friday the Thirteenth and The Shining (Yay! I was so bummed that the shining screening was cancelled a few weeks ago). The Drive-In has two screens, so on the opposite screen there will also be family friendly films like Hotel Transylvania, Gremlins, Casper and BeetleJuice. The cost for the four film  marathon is thier standard admission of $9.00.

capitol-theatre-cleveland-ohioSaturday night going into Sunday morning is 12 Hours of Terror at the Capitol Theatre on west 65th street in Cleveland. The all night marathon includes the Original Evil Dead, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, From Beyond, Creature From the Black Lagoon (in 3d!), Christine, Street Trash and a surprise feature. Seven movies for $30 at the door (or $25.00 in advance).

After Breakfast at Church, I’ll be heading out to the Lorain Palace for thier double feature of the Friday the Thirteenth remake and Poltergeist.  Cost for the double feature on the biggest indoor screen in Lorain County is $5.00.

Palace_Theater_Lorain_OHA film weekend of Cinema Wasteland proportion (for about the same as a weekend pass). I know we’ve all seen most of these films on TV over the years, but there’s something special about seeing something like this on the big screen at a theater. There’s an experience to it….and these aren’t the sterile, neon lit, faceless multiplexes that are scattered through out the country. These are beautiful old theaters. Places with character. The Palace is one of my favorite places on earth, and I’m so grateful that we still have a drive in like the Aut-O-Rama around here- close to my home (twenty minuets) and already upgraded to digital.

Come join me for one or all this weekend!drive-inPalace-Theater-Lorain-OHCapitol_Theatre_BA


Lakewood Zombie Walk

clownI wanted to try something different this time. Last year at hauntville, I was doing makeup every night and that afforded me t he opprutunity to experiment a little. Instead of making the ridges on my forehead out of mortician’s wax, I’d try cotton and cover it with latex. Then I’d try making it so it could be removed and redone….it worked well with the false nose and ears I bought from the store and the cuts I was making out of cotton and greasepaint….

I made my First pass at zombie makeup from scratch. The idea was to create a full face appliance, with a skeletal look mixed with an infected look – open sores and infection (with an eye towards how I might accomplish this on a Freddy Kruger makeup). After two and a half hours I was a little disappointed. I very much wanted the eye sockets to be deeper. The ridges on the forehead could be more pronounced1233613_637793449598415_2016403214_n and the paint job turned out poorly, giving… too leathery a look to the skin. At least it all came off in one piece as planned. I gave this another pass though, another layer of latex and try to build up those eyes.  This really isn’t what I’m good at. I want to create more of a character, more shapes instead of just torn skin.
I’m GOOD at torn skin. But that’s just too easy.
This is a first attempt creating something out of nothing, and a first attempt at creating more than just cuts and scrapes. I usually buy prosthetics and have plenty of experience applying them, but creating them is another thing. Even the pinhead makeup last year was really just a bald cap and cuts with some foam nails added in. No sculpting, no form. I’m trying to push a little further with this.
So I pushed a bit, I deepened those sockets and extended the mask downward 1379235_638828842828209_463758505_n(i’d later have to extend it further still to reach my hairline).
The result isn’t terrible. My eyes look slightly Asian to me with the angle and different size. I’m covering up a lot more seams with fake blood than I would prefer to, and the skin is a little wrinkely. Like an appliance from an old Hammer film. It doesn’t look quite smooth enough. I realize I’m not working with silicone, but still, my forheads in the past have looked a little smoother.
Nevertheless, this isn’t a “woe is me” kind of post. For a first try, I’ve got nothing to complain about. It still has a great look to it and fits perfectly. The next time I applied it, I pulled it down a little to open the eyes up some more and once I extended that zygomatic bone back a bit to my sideburn it gave  the perfect impression of a skull, just barely covered with flesh.
Old school sinema 219My burst open chest is an old costume, but I finally got around to covering the old company logo (a company I no longer work for – and don’t really want to give free advertisement to) with an Umbrella ID and added these great “Zombie sleeves” that I found at Party Center to the costume (kind of like the false tattoo sleeves you see everywhere – they were featured on one episode of the Big Bang Theory even) I’m really happy with the costume. I wore it out to the Daughter of Ghoul show Friday night to test it out and it worked fine (it stayed dinneron better in the cool evening than the hot sun the next day actually. The edges around my mouth got a little lose during the walk).
And of course when I sat down to dinner with my family that night, still in makeup, my daughters didn’t pat an eye.

Check out some of the other zombies who came out to the food drive this weekend!

Old school sinema 208 524653_10200532133017129_1203776482_n 556744_10200532052255110_1668084421_n 562900_10200532052735122_400026124_n 1209378_10200532037654745_2085450280_n 1238363_10200531995013679_1390070285_n 1239865_10200532044534917_1825283112_n 1375062_10200532005133932_763009206_n 1377005_10200532036254710_932663865_n 1383977_10200532132657120_1026729760_n Old school sinema 174 Old school sinema 173 Old school sinema 162 Old school sinema 164 Old school sinema 170 Old school sinema 006 Old school sinema 005 Old school sinema 002 IMG_20130928_154308 IMG_20130928_154222 IMG_20130928_154144 IMG_20130928_154141 IMG_20130928_154046 IMG_20130928_152127 IMG_20130928_151534 IMG_20130928_151424 IMG_20130928_151404 IMG_20130928_151237 IMG_20130928_151225 IMG_20130928_151157 IMG_20130928_151139 IMG_20130928_151131 IMG_20130928_151125 IMG_20130928_151040 1382421_727708627245844_338065073_n 1381934_10153280666355313_805693106_n 1381825_10151697436388386_1191703108_n 1380490_10151858138903810_678734093_n 1380390_182878731899757_400018189_n 1378595_702538823107258_1313471414_n 1378312_10153280652900313_1385035717_n 1377997_4813006141354_984250332_n 1376356_10151794078160819_1655427167_n 1375750_10151858138943810_1351110056_n 1375072_10153280673680313_1825916662_n 1235177_613229302032841_803873314_n 1233365_10153280670995313_990404480_n 1209320_728093307207034_675541587_n 1209248_439449942843167_1602507581_n 996598_702538803107260_1919853387_n 994896_4813007541389_235453114_n 945836_10151858138273810_683035755_n 598616_10153280674265313_2070401381_n 598594_10151858138533810_1134037151_n 578539_10151697434008386_1282380359_n 552737_10151889219887254_2062027624_n 547056_10151623093721401_430432200_n

Lorain County Zombie Walk

557708_10201359663206671_976052728_nOut for a Zombie walk this weekend with my girls. I handed Maddie the camera and she took most of the photos you see  today. (I had to stop on the way there for batteries for the camera, no armor but still made up. The lady at Drug Mart almost had a heart attack – she had been talking to the customer in line before me and didn’t even look up at me as she rung up my AA’s. Then she lifted her head, saw me and SCREAMED. She told me she thought I had been in a car accident)

It was a decent day, we got rained on for a few minuets, but not long enough t o break up the heat – and really, none of that rain touched me in my armor!

Of course I was doing a Zombie Iron Man this time around. I had kind of planned on this for the Avon parade, but changed my mind at the last minuet, and saved it for the proper Lorain County Zombie Walk. One of the key things with me were my props. A Batman head and a Spider-Man skeleton chained and slung over my shoulder. Spidey was a lot heavier than I had anticipated. But it was important to me to have other characters with me like the spidey skeleton and the Batman head. The best costumes and makeup tell a story. You take one look at that and you understand what happened. Without the props, I’m just some yutz in an Iron Man costume and fake blood. I found it interesting that people reacted far more strongly to  the dead Batman than to the dead Spider-Man. It was also fun that a lot of people didn’t see Spidey until I had passed by. They’d take a picture of me and then I’d walk by and they would suddenly whip the New_1236481_629464183764675_176234175_ncamera out again to photograph the back with the dead Spider-Man!

Lydia also had a prop. She wanted to be a zombie Rapunzel from Tangled. Rapunzel always has her pet lizard Pasquel….and we weren’t going to ruin Lyd’s plushie so I made her a skeleton Pasqual.

I wasn’t the only super zombie though, we ran in to our friends Riley and her husband Derrick along with Stephanie and Marse (you may remember them from Herophoria) all dressed as Gotham villains. We also saw all of the guys from Hauntville (Where I worked last Halloween) and out friend Crystal with her sons.

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As we wandered the block, I got pounced on from behind by one zombie hunter who then ran around me blasting me with her pistol. Another hunter came up to me and went “Oh that’s just not fair!” then proceeded to bash me with batons, blocked by my gauntlets before a quick repulsor blast back. It’s a fun time, people stay in character and you get to play like you’re a kid again. We loved seeing the Ghostbusters and the Monster Dolls, and had fun walking around.  It’s all for a good cause as well, proceeds going to the second harvest food bank so no one has to go to bed hungry with their stomach growling like a zombie.
There’s one more in Lakewood at the end of the month. We’ll see if I can coax Maddie into going again (Lydia decided there was too much walking, and not enough brain eating). In  the meantime, we’re heading back to the club in today’s Violent Blue!

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Monster Bash

ConmanIMG_20130720_080654Turns out I did end up heading out to Bash this weekend after all.

I managed to scrape together enough money for admission and gas well most of the gas anyhow, I did end up borrowing a little from my gas allowance from work to get back home.  Bash offers a great deal of fun stuff to do and see that’s included with the admission, starting the day off with cartoons where they serve you cereal – then moving on to old serials on the same screen. I love that stuff.

I really wish Bash would add a second movie screen, and kind of hoped that the move to the new hotel would do that. It’s a big enough con to have a couple things going all the time, but sadly, no luck. Still it has things going for it that no other show does.

IMG_20130720_080215The stand-ups and wax figures are such a great touch. You don’t see much of this around other cons and it fits in perfectly with the old B-Movie theme. This year there was a small wax display in one room, a very cool attraction I could have spent all sorts of time staring in.

wax

One thing that Bash is also a little deficient on is cosplay. We all know I love my costumes and really, that’s never a big part of horror cons. But Bash is so low on cosplayers that they actually have to manufacture their own!

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IMG_2945I did manage to say hello to John Saxon during the day, and we discussed the passing of Jim Kelly who had been doing shows with him recently. John told me he had seen Jim no less than three weeks before his death, and you’d never have been able to tell he was sick.

I also got around to the Munster table to meet Butch Patrick and Pat Priest. These two are regulars on the con circuit, but it was still my first time seeing them. I’m very much more of an Addams Family guy, but their panel was still interesting – particularly how they addressed the so-called IMG_20130720_113626“rivalry” between the shows. I can’t say I really came away with a better understanding of the series, but it was fun to watch them talk.

Who I DID come away with a greater appreciation for, was Shemp Howard.

I’m not a stooges fan in the first place, but I know them and  watched them here and there and I subscribed to the general consensus that the Shemp ones weren’t nearly as good as the Curly ones. Everyone knows that right?

Shemp’s daughter in Law and his granddaughter were there along with some Bash mods who are also a bit of historians on the subject. I had no Idea that Shemp was so accomplished in Hollywood before doing the Stooges films.

I also had no idea that he was with the Stooges before Curly.

The original line up was Moe and Shemp, along with another actor who got top billing. As time went on, they added Larry Fine, and when Hollywood came calling, they came for Shemp first. He broke into films before the Stooges, and he and Moe decided to add Curly to the mix. After Curly’s stroke, Moe convinced Shemp to come back.

IMG_20130720_123643They showed some of his other work that I had either never seen or never know was him. I actually had to pull out my copy of Africa Screams when I got home to watch for his performance.

One thing about the new hotel, that dealer’s room is huge. It feels bigger than it has in past years and that’s a great thing

Well, that’s a great thing if you’re not broke.

When you’re at a convention, you kill time in the dealer’s room between screenings or panels and this was no exception. I was really bummed because I found some fascinating IMG_20130720_123838things I really wanted – someone had a DVD of the young Frankenstein musical that’s touring right now! A beautiful volume on the history of the Shadow and another on the history of the Green Hornet. The early student films of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell! The Zacherly scrapbook! ARRRGGGH!

To be fair, I didn’t walk away entirely empty handed, I had four dollars tucked away to bring home goodies for my girls and I stretched that like you wouldn’t believe, loading up candy, tiny monsters, bat rings (which I put in little coffin containers I already had at home) and Simpsons Halloween action figures

Some short Monster kid films by the resident filmmaker Brian Nichols. One of his movies was a retrospective of short spots his daughters had done with him, with the full knowledge that this would likely be the last movie they make with their daddy. Yeah, I know how this goes. There’s a reason I take my girls to cons and zombie walks. There’s a reason we do skits for church at least once a month. Don’t worry Brian, I’m not letting that time slip by either.

IMG_20130720_080158I ended the night by hitting the Abbott and Costello tribute show. It was fine. Not a big fan of the first routine, but the next couple were fun and they capture the spirit of the pair. I’m glad they ended it with a Who’s on First routine…then again they kind of have too.

There’s more going on after that, but it was after nine and I had a three hour drive ahead of me so I headed back to Cleveland. I saw in the program however that Judith O’Dae and Barbra Steel are coming next year so you know I’ll be back – and maybe I can arrange to have my daughters with me next year. 8 and 6 should be old enough…..

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My Found Footage marathon

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grave-encounters2-movie-poster-vicious-brothers-itunesA while back we talked about Grave Encounters 2 (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/grave-encounters-2/) and by extension the previous film Grave Encounters.

Found footage really isn’t new, The Blair Witch Project pretty much created the genre and Paranormal Activity has made it profitable, grabbing the attention of other studios, indie and big boys alike. Especially in the digital age, it’s much like the zombie movie. Anyone pawith a handheld camera and a little bit of creativity can create one .

I’m not really a fan of Paranormal Activity. Of the modern found footage films, I think Grave encounters is one of the best. It’s certianaly the one I judge against. That’s why I’m looking at the set of movies I’ve got today. These all are done in the same vein, some almost directly coping the film itself.

We’ll start off with “The Tapes”. This movie tries to exploit the whole reality tv genre, much like Grave Encoutners. Of course, these guys aren’t actually looking for ghosts, they are investigating an alleged sex cult. What they find is a Satanic coven and hilarity ensues.

The movie would be far better if I could actually get behind  some of these characters, but they are all just MV5BMTM0OTg5NzU3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjc4OTM0Nw@@._V1._SY317_CR4,0,214,317_completely unlikable and you really kind of root for them to get hacked up. The gore doesn’t disappoint, and if you are into occult movies, I suppose this is a fun way of getting your fix…if you can keep you popcorn down.

This is the first movie to ever give me motion sickness. I got hit really bad, surprising since shakeycam doesn’t usually do that to me. All in all, this one is really a pass.

Next up is “The Asylum Tapes”. Also goes by the name “Greystone Park” This movie is noteworthy because it’s the directorial debut of Oliver Stone’s son. After watching it however, I really hope he can just be content with being a trust fund baby and not unleash anymore of this on the unsuspecting public.

Okay, perhaps I’m being unnecessarily harsh. Really, this is not the genre for what he was trying to do. This film is pretentious, and more than a little artsy. It has SOME interesting concepts and some great lines…and all of them are more than this kind of movie deserves. The Asylum Tapes (2012)Real people don’t talk like this.

We have the main characters breaking into an abandoned insane asylum, pretty much just for kicks, but there seems to be a kind-of idea floating around that maybe they could make a movie out of this… The filmmaking aspect of the story however feels completly secondary. And afterthought, nothing more.

I think I would have forgiven more if this had been a straightforward cinematic style. When you go shakeycam, you live and die by it, in the plain realism of it. These guys wax philosophical, and jump in and out of first person POV to wide shots and quick cuts of scary images. The idea is to build atmosphere, but all it ends up doing is take me straight out of the movie. I can’t suspend my disbelief so easily when you jump styles like that. This just doesn’t work as a found footage movie. When we do have the shakycam going it was another one that made me sick to my stomach, but interestingly enough it would frequently be just….TOO good. Perfectly framed shots lit for the sheer soul of it……again, a found footage film just isn’t the place for this. It makes me wonder why they choose this form of storytelling in the fthe-asylum-tapes-01irst place.

The final nail in the coffin for this movie is the lack of monsters or any real threat. It’s all poorly constructed atmosphere, a few quick and simple scares but nothing significant. We get one evil shadow for about three seconds and a brief flash of the girl on the cover – that’s right : she’s not the main antagonist and is hardly in the film. Funny, marketing seemed to figure out what this movie needed far more than the filmmakers. Oh, and don’t read too much into the inspired by true events stuff. Essentially the “true events” there is Sean Stone and a buddy exploring an allegedly haunted place one night and feeling unnerved. Sure. Whatever. Did I use the word “pretentious” yet?

Seriously, this movie reeks of it. From the beginning scene (which we cut back to occasionally) of the family and guests  having a deeeeeep discussion around the family hooka (seriously) to the final shots of Oliver stone tipping his hat to the camera as his shadow walks away from him, this movie doesn’t earn any of it and it just kind of pisses me off.

amityvile hauntingI want to do a quick shout out to “The Amityville Haunting”. It’s a watered down Amityville Horror done in found footage style.  This one is a real shame. It’s not bad, It’s really not, but if it had been give just a little more time and a little more money, this really could have been a great film- it could have rivaled Paranormal Activity and built on the power of the name. As it is, this movie is really just a cash grab trying to capitalize on that name alone and the popularity of the genre. There are scenes copied right out of Paranormal Activity and that’s a real shame. The ghosts are uninspired and not scary looking enough. The writer obviously knew a bit about the original story and throws in a number of great references, it’s kind of like the later Hellraiser movies – you can see some people really trying to create something here, but they just don’t have the time or money or support of the studio who just wants to keep pushing out product, not matter how good or bad it is. A real shame and a real lost opportunity.

Finally, we have “The Speak”.  Like The Asylum Tapes, this is a groups of people exploring a haunted site, in this case an abandoned hotel in the middle of the city (not isolated or tucked away like the other movies we’ve been talking about). Of the bunch, this is probably the most like “Grave Encounters” in that these guys are trying to create a “Ghost Hunters” kind of show. Once inside, they preform a ritual called “The Speak” which is designed to open the door to the spirit world and let the ghosts in.

Really, this is the best of the bunch I watched 15292566514917060963here. It has an interesting style in that it is billed as one continuous shot through the entire hour and a half film. First and foremost let me just poke a couple of holes in this claim, because I was really excited to check this out. There is at least one sequence late in teh movie that is a cut, but possibly it’s just an insert….they cut to footage they are watching on a camera, then back to the characters in the movie.  There are at least two other moments that could he bidden cuts in the film. The last minuet or two of the movie are cut normally, but that may not count as it not necessarily supposed to be that first person POV anymore. So yeah, not a TRUE one take deal, but close enough that it’s still impressive what they did here.

You have to keep this in mind too. We get some pretty good performances from these actors considering it’s basically one long take. I spent twenty years on stage, and I get how hard that can be in of itself, but you got to understand this is WAY more complex than theater. You’re performance is constant, going up stairs different floors different rooms, up on the roof, the scope of the blocking and choreography in this film is staggering. It makes what might otherwise be considered average performances shine a lot brighter.

I liked this one. Good monsters and possession, incredibly creepy atmosphere (far creepier than Greystone Park and with fewer resources- imagine that) good ideas, and really a genuinely well done film. It’s definitely worth a rental, though it might not really be a buy. If I have this on my shelf next to Grave Encounters, I’m still going with Grave Encounters, but of the lot, this comes the closest and works the best by far.

Okay. I’m sufficiently creeped out for the night. I think I’ll read some Violent Blue to clear my head before hitting the sack. Happy nightmares everyone!


The Ward

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This review contains spoilers. Get over it.

MV5BMTY3NDE3NzQxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjYxMzI1NQ@@__V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_I was getting ready for Cinema Wasteland. I had taken Friday off from work, I usually do so I can sleep late in the morning and grab a nap in the afternoon, because once Cinema Wasteland starts – sleep is just not an option.

Amy and the girls had left for the morning and I was flipping through Netflix and came across The Ward. This was the latest John Carpenter film. I remember hearing about it a year or so ago…and nothing good. Most reviewers ripped it apart, with a lot of observations like “Carpenter is just in this one for the paycheck” and “uninspired” and “Unoriginal” Carpenter fans in particular wer incensed, acting like this was the worst Carpenter film ever, and wondering if he had lost his touch.

The bad review on Horror Ect. had pushed this to the bottom of my to-watch list, but it was a sleepy afternoon and it seemed like a good time to catch up.

It’s actually a nice ghost story that keeps you on your toes. The gore isn’t over the top and there are some torture elements there for the Saw fans. The monster isn’t particuarly groundbreaking, but sufficiantly creepy. I figured out the twist at the end – almost, I got a slight detail wrong. It’s Sucker Punch for horror fans but I was wrong about who’s dream it was. The jump scare at the end got me too.

The films biggest flaw I think, is that it’s perfectly average. John Carpenter’s name makes us expect a great deal more – and I’m not sure why. Not every Carpenter film can be a masterpiece like The Thing, or Escape for New York, or even the underrated ones like Prince of Darkness or the Fog. The Ward is certianly better than Ghosts of Mars or Escape from L.A.

The%20Ward-cropped-proto-filmcritic_reviews___entry_defaultI do have two small gripes with the film. I am completely at a loss when  trying to understand why this is a period piece. Period movies are hard. They require a great deal more attention to detail – it has to LOOK right.

This movie is set in the 60’s and I’ve got to tell you, this chick does NOT look like she stepped out of 1966. That hair is too curly and silky (I remember my friend’s mother telling uys about how she used to take so much time to straighten out her naturly curly hair in the 60’s because no one wore it curly at the time). The makeup isn’t shaped correctly. The colors are wrong. John Carpenter lived through this era, I’d expect him to get it a little better…..or perhaps just set it in modern times. The clothes are slightly better, but really they’re mostly nodescrpit. They could have come from any era. Other than a few shots of the TV and soem referances to Electroshock tharapy being revolutionarly, I just don’t get why this had to be a period film.

ghost behind youMy other issue is the monster. Like I said, the ghost is adaquate. That mask really shouldn’t be shown in full light like that though. They try to clean it up with some CG and create a “Crawling ” effect on her skin, but it ends up looking a little to cheap. Cheap isn’t necessarily bad, Carpenter does well with cheap. But he would have done better back lighting this thing, or really giving some harsh contrasting shadows. There are tons of ridges on her face for the light to play on, wrinkles you colud get glistening effects from KY Jelly and really create a creepier atmosphere. I wonder if there just wasn’t time to set up the lighting correctly (still, a couple of strategically placed clamp lamps could have helped immensely)?

All in all, a very average movie. By the way, before I got around to writing this review I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only one who had recently watched this nad had this kind of reaction, BloodyWren over at horrific healing got his review up a couple weeks ahead of me! You can check it out here :  http://bloodyrenn.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/the-ward/

and don’t forget, there’s new Violent Blue up today!


Alien : The Director’s Cut

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alienI left Cinema Wasteland a little early on Friday night. I hate to cut out on the party early like that, but there was something special going on . The Apollo Theatre was screening the director’s cut of Alien.

I really miss the days when ships were dirty. When they were cramped and rusty and full of weird parts. Today ships are too clean. Even Prometheus, which cribbed a bunch of the visual style from Alien, was far to clean with holographic displays and smooth panels. This was a far more visually interesting ship and seeing it on the big screen lends so much more to it- you can see the hand written notes stuck to screens, you can see the Waylan name on the beer cans and the photos of family and pets. This was so cool to see at the theatre. The director’s cut is interesting. I’m not really convinced it adds anything to the movie, but it doesn’t really drag it down. I’ve seen a virtual directors cut with every bit of available footage added back in….and that DOES drag, but it’s a lot of fun to spend three hours on the Nostromo. It wouldn’t have worked in the theatre though. Not like this.

11594110-largeThe interesting thing about going to see this in the theatre – Oberlin is a college town. The theatre was packed with college students, and it was obvious that most of them had never seen this before (I  personally find that unthinkable, but the evidence  overwhelms me). It was fascinating to see them react to the movie for the first time. It gave an added joy to seeing this on the big screen and made it that much more memorable. Determinately worth slipping out of Wasteland.

By the way, I ran into the Cleveland Cinema’s Late Shift guys at Wasteland and noticed there’s a screening of Kubrick’s The Shining coming up on the 20th! I may just have to hit that next!


Easter Eggs!

101_3754We colored Easter Eggs last night. This is what I ended up doing:

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I like them. Zombies, brains and Pinhead. I asked Lydia how she could tell which one’s were Daddy’s. She pointed to the monster eggs “Because we know you love monsters Daddy!”

Ah, the things I do when I’m not drawing Violent Blue……


Spiders

David-Wong-BooksSo I finally finished “This Book is Full of Spiders”. Took a little longer than usual because I haven’t had time to just plow right through it (or keep up on Violent Blue for that matter)

I really loved “John Dies at the End” and I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was really liking the new book  and it felt a lot like the first book. Funny how that all changes.

Perhaps it’s not so funny. If you poke around the authors website http://johndiesattheend.com/, specifically the updates section you will find a bit of background about the book:

“Some of you will remember that he had a version of that story featured right here on this site for free, entitled John and Dave and the Temple of X’al’naa”thuthuthu However, when he signed the contract for the sequel to be written, that had to come down. When asked if the second book would be that story, Dave gave this answer:

The parasitic insect-like creatures featured in that story (the ones that embedded themselves in people’s heads and took over their brains) are the “spiders” referenced in the title. This book will be an extension and expansion of that story. But for instance Detective Vance Falconer returns. But about 2/3 of the way through the story you know, this one veers off in a different direction.” (http://www.johndiesattheend.com/updates/?page_id=10) 

It shows. It really does. I suspect that it may have been around the time the movie was in preproduction as well because the tone gets dire and the humor is completely sucked out of the story, much like the John Dies movie. a shame really, because I think the humor is what really sets these books apart. it comes back a bit in the last fifty pages but it’s missing from a good half of the novel and I mean that, it’s REALLY missed.

Still, this thing is creepy as it’s predecessor and the monsters and just MESSED up. Someone  created a trailer to the book and it’s a perfect representation of the opening scene of the book. (Brilliant marketing)

This Book is Full of Spiders is definitely worth a read, but I’m not going to cherish it like I did John Dies. It’s not the kind of book you can’t put down. I’m still hoping for another sequel and a better one at that. There’s still some legs to this series and some life in there and I really want to see what comes next.


Days of the Dead


What a drive. I find myself wishing this con was closer to home because that drive was pretty brutal.
The length was comparable to the drive to Indianapolis, but the trip to  Days of the Dead Chicago  is harder and spends more time on toll roads and urban environments.

What first struck me was how many people were there. I had to wait in a surprisingly long line for tickets. I say surprisingly long, because I got there at noon, and the doors had opened an hour earlier. I could have bypassed the line and saved five dollars by pre-registering, but honestly, the only con I pre-register for is Cinema Wasteland because I save about 15-20 dollars and I usually spend the whole weekend there. This was a day trip.  Oh well.

I got in and immediately searched out Keith David. He was one of the main reasons I was at this con, I wanted to get my Thing poster signed.

His handler was AWFUL. The guy interrupted with prices for different things, and answered questions for Keith and was generally intrusive, like a self-important pimp. A good handler takes money and snaps photos and is generally invisible. They are there to make sure no one takes advantage of the celebrity and more importantly to take care of the mundane business  so the celeb can focus entirely on the fan (and vice versa). A pity, because I suspect that Mr. David is a far nicer person without the yo-yo hovering around his booth.  This and hitting my pet peeve of charging for photo ops set a decidedly negative tone for this con immediately.

I sipped out of the vendor hall to hit the Collection panel. I had misunderstood about this though and thought it was a screening of the film. It wasn’t, although they did show both the first seven(?) minuets of the film, then talked at length about bot hit and the film that preceded it.

Let me just have a quick aside on this by the way. The guys making this movie did a remarkably smart thing as far as promotion goes. It should be so blindingly obvious that I can’t believe more people don’t do this, but whatever.They came to the con, the director and writer, brought a couple of the actors with them, showed bits of the film, then set up a table and signed posters for free. At a con where every one charges to autograph stuff, and some people even charge for photo ops, these guys not only gave away posters of their new movie, but all signed them and took photos with people for free.  Let me tell you something, their strategy worked.  This movie wasn’t even on my radar. Now, not only do I know about it, I can’t wait to see it. They only had their table set up for about three hours, and that was enough.

I had brought a small poster with me, because space is becoming an issue at my house. Besides, I didn’t want to be greedy, they could save those beautiful 11x17s for someone else. They were signing posters in an assembly line style and my smaller one got moved right along into the assembly line. At the end of the table, the director handed me my smaller poster and told me “Take one of the big ones too!” I was about to protest, but he kept on “Go on! If you can’t think of anything else to do with it, tape it to the roof of your car!” You know what? I love these guys. If you wanted to pinpoint a moment when my day turned around, this was it.

I dove back into the guest hall and as I passed by his table I realized I had completely forgotten that William Katt was going to be there. How did I forget this? Seeing him added to the line up after Keith David was what tipped the scales on me deciding to go! Maybe it was ll the planning or the glut of cons in the last couple of months. I don’t know.

I’ve heard things about William Katt. None of it good. I’ve heard that he charges more than other people, he tacks on fees for photo ops, I heard that he’s unfriendly or distant. I’ve probably heard more negative comments about him than I have about Tom Savini. I’m going to tell you right here and now, NONE of that was true.

He charged about average. Less than what a lot of people were. No extra fee for a photo. He was friendly and engaging. He really seemed to WANT to be there and connect with fans. He leaned across the table and grabbed my jacket, spreading it out to get a better look at my Punisher shirt then told me how much he loved it. He was shocked to discover I made it myself. We discussed the Star Wars auditions, something he seemed surprised I was aware of. I’m not sure I agree with his statement that it would have changed his life…Mark Hamil’s career didn’t fare too much better than Katts, but I would have loved to have seen him in the role. He mentioned that the Star Wars auditions were what got him his role in Carrie. He also asked what  i did for a living and when I told him I was in IT he told me how much he wished I lived out near him, he’d be calling me every day! Meeting him was absolutely the high point of my day.

Off in a small room to the side of the check in counter was a darling display called “Evil Puppets”. It was tucked away so neatly I walked right past it twice before noticing it. I tentatively creeped in and wondered if they would be mad at me talking a photo. There were no signs saying I couldn’t so I snapped a few photos. I really love getting my picture taken with celebrities and this presented a unique opportunity of getting a photo op with some famous monsters without having to put up with a rude handler like the guy that was hovering over Keith David. So I grabbed a random passerby and asked if he would mind taking a couple of shots of me. I knelt down to get into a better lever in front of the Gremlins. The guy tried to focus, then stepped back a moment. I felt something brush across my shoulder. I figured, I just had leaned back too far. Probably brushed against a puppet. Then it happened again. Then something was in my hair. I turned around to find the girl who was hosting the exhibit laughing and holding the gremlin’s hand in hers. She had been poking me with it and messng with me She continued to do so as the picture was taken> You can see me trying very hard not to burst in to laughter myself.

I grabbed one more autograph on my already crowded Dawn of the Dead poster from Paul Musser who asked me “When are you guys going to get a real football team up there in Cleveland?” I explained to him that was why I followed horror and not sports.

Had to hit up the Fright Night line as well. I love reunions like this where you can get five signatures on a poster in one shot like this. Chris Sarandon’s table never had a line the entire time I was there. I totally don’t get that. He actually IS someone. He’s done tons of stuff, The Princess Bride alone makes him a real star. I was also really stoked to see William Ragsdale. I spent every Sunday for three or four years watching him on Herman’s Head. His hair is shorter now, and that’s kind of a shame, but I understand and I forgive him for it. Amanda Berse was there as well and ALWAYS had a long line. Not quite sure I get that.  I realize there are a loot of people who remember her from Married with Children and if you pay attention to her career you’ll know she’s actually a talented director as well, but none of that justifies her having a bigger line than people like Keith David and Chris Sarandon. Go figure. She was hyper. Super nice but very energetic. She saw the camer and exclaimed in an almost excited voice “Come on! Let’s take a picture!” and then grabbed me and pulled me back. I don’t think I’ve ever been held that tightly by a lesbian before.

There were a couple of big surprises at this con. I saw the tail end of the “They Live” panel because I needed a break from standing in lines. It’s not one of my favorite Carpenter films but I figured there would be some “Thing” talk as well. Roddy Piper was hilarious. I had no idea he was so funny and clever. Not at all what I expected. The screening of “The Collective” was a lot of fun as well, 10 short films by 10 different directors. I have to give Days of the Dead props for decent programming. Not as much as Cinema Wasteland, but good for them for doing any at all, and quality stuff as well. The other big surprise was all the cosplay. Not just the quantity (although that WAS impressive.  Tons of people in costume) but the quality. Really great costumes and fun ideas. My favorite was the dead Tinkerbelle, but there were a lot of monsters there whose makeups just took my breath away, the snake girl and the creeper especially.

This was a good con. It was really a good one. Again, I wish it were closer to home, because that’s it’s one big downfall. Chicago is an awfully long drive for one day, but horror cons for me tend to be one day events. IF this were in Ohio, PA or Indiana, somewhere in a three hour radius, I’d probably go every year. Chicago, I’m not sure it’s worth the drive to go back. Certainly not for a while, but maybe in a few years. I had a great time this year, and I hope it continues to grow even better. In the meantime, it’s back to Violent Blue for me.


Dracula at the Capitol Theatre in Cleveland this Sunday! 10:00 and $5.00! There’s nothing more I can really say about it….I’m just super pumped to see this on the big screen…especially after watching the Frakenstien movies on Wednesday! I’m so excited, I may just blow off workign on any Violent Blue this weekend….hope to see you there!


Frakenstien double feature!

Just in time for Halloween, NCM Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Universal will present a Halloween Double Feature in movie theaters nationwide on Wednesday, October 24th in celebration of Universal’s 100th Anniversary. Don’t miss seeing Boris Karloff on the big screen as the original “Frankenstein” (1931) followed by Karloff and Elsa Lanchester in “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935).

The event will begin with TCM Host Robert Osborne as he treats audiences to exclusive interviews conducted at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival.  Joining him will be Karloff’s daughter, Sara Karloff along with Bela Lugosi, Jr. the son of the classic Dracula star and  Academy Award® winning make-up artist, Rick Baker. All three will talk about classic horror movies, how legendary icons like Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi helped define the genre and how today’s horror films measure up to the classics.

The nearest theatre to me is Crocker Park in Westlake, tickets are 12.50. You KNOW I’m going. You can find a list of participating theatres here : http://www.fathomevents.com/upcoming/alllocations.aspx?eventid=1105

Seriously. Don’t miss this. It’s one thing for me to come up here and talk about the coolness of 12 hours of Terror and seeing Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the big screen, but Frankenstein? and Bride of Frankenstein? Are you kidding me? These aren’t just horror classics, they’re classic masterpieces. I’m going to finish up a Violent Blue strip and then I’m out the door!


HorrorHound Indy 2012

 

Spent a good deal of Saturday at HorrorHound in Indianapolis. You know, I’m not into big cons, even though I’m going to two this year. The thing is, they can bring in the guests.  HorrorHound was doing a Terminator/Aliens reunion. I’ve been wanting to meet Michael Biehn for ages and the chance to fill up a poster with autographs from the colonial marines was just too good to pass up. 

Man this joint was crowded. It felt like cattle being headed from one point to another. I really didn’t get to see much of the programing, but then again, it’s not Cinema Wasteland. Programing is secondary. They get points for having videos and movies, but lose a couple of points for not having much I was interested in.  I’m finally getting my Elm Street poster going now, and this was a perfect chance to get Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss. I’ve gotten Heather through the mail before but since she was there I wanted to take the opportunity to get a photo and start consolidating my Nightmare autographs in one place. She’s got such striking features….you see the wrinkles, but there’s not mistaking her. Amanda was EXTREMELY friendly. She wanted to talk and was absolutely effervescent. She looked over my NOES poster and was noting who had signed before then stopped short.

“Who is that?” she asked.

“Johnny Depp,” I replied.

She freaked out. Her eyes got wide and she exclaimed how excited she was, because she’d never signed something that he gotten first. She asked how I got it and I mentioned getting it through his agent (I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was likely an autopen – but better than nothing). The poster goes in the mail to Robert Englund next (I already met him a few years ago at Flashback in Chicago. I’ve got my photo with him, so I’ve got no regrets getting him again by mail) and hopefully we’ll be getting John Saxon in July at Monster Bash.

All in all, not a bad Con. I spent most of the day getting my autographs, which was really all I was there for. The staff weren’t rude per se, but detached and remote. (Come on, make me believe you having a good time! Again, I just think I’ve been spoiled by Cinema Wasteland). Was great to connect with the Aliens crew, and the Elm Street Girls, not to mention the Horror Hosts like Halloween Jack, Sammy Terry and the girls from Midnight Mausoleum Robyn and Marlena!

Pictures below. Browse through these, then head over to see whats going on over at Violent Blue this week!


Monster Bash!

Been a couple of first time cons this year. Lake Effect Conic Con and Monster Bash! Of course I’ve been wanting to go to Monster bash fro a few years now, but it always seemed to be the one that fell through the crack. It was especially sad the first year, because I missed the Creature from the Black Lagoon…but never fear…this year he was back!

I pulled up to the hotel and immediately knew I was in the right place. Great displays in the lobby as well as the cool banners outside.

One of the thi8ngs I noticed about this con is how many people in costume are around. I love cosplayers and the classic monster types are really cool.

They seem to have as many Horror hosts as Cinema Wasteland, but those guys also seemed to be taking more pictures.

Finally got my Creature from the Black Lagoon autograph and met the ingenue!

Got to meet Arch Hall Jr. as well and get a second autograph on my EEGah! poster!

The movie selection unfortunately wasn’t my thing – I’ve never been real in to Cavemen, but it’s absolutely worth the trip for the guests. (my only complaint with that was the panels were only thrity minuets long! You really NEED an hour!) It’s got a similar family atmosphere that I usually feel at Cinema Wasteland. People are easy to approach and talk too. I had one guy come up and straight out ask “How old is that Shadow backpack?”

It was that atmosphere that helped me find a couple of familiar faces that I didn’t know. I tracked down all the members of the B-Movie-Cast (a podcast I listen too frequently) and it was really fun to put the faces to the voices. The other person I wanted to find was Richard Scravani. He’s listed on the site as a guest, but what they don’t tell you is that he doesn’t have a table. HE hosted a couple of segments and spent the rest of the con attending events like the rest of us. I’m a big fan of his book on my favorite Horror Host, Zacherley and I wanted him to sing my copy….but couldn’t seem to find him most of the day! Late in the afternoon I caught him in the lobby and was able to sit and talk with him about Zach for a while. We both had similar experiences sending him letters and discussed how strange it was that certain areas he’s really well known and in others like Cleveland, he’s virtually unknown. IT was really nice to meet him and speak with him about everything. He left a lovely inscription in my book and seemed embarrassed I even asked him to sign it. Before we headed off to the Black Lagoon panel he told me I made his afternoon.

Of course one of the reasons I go to these things is so I can buy stuff you just can’t find in the real world. My real score was a bootleg copy of Spider-Man : Turn of the Dark. Yeah, that’s right. I have the Broadway musical. It’s AWFUL.

The girls loved the rubber dinosaurs I brought home for them and Lydia wore one of the bat rings I brought her to Church. I also got Maddie a Grim Reaper comic book (Same artist as Tiny Titans) and she had it open as soon as she got it and was trying to sound out words in story.

All in all a good con. I expect I’ll be back, but I’ll be mindful of the programming next time and pick a year with better movies.


Lake Effect Comic Con

First time out to Lake Effect Comic Con, and I really wasn’t expecting much. I’ve seen the pics from last year and while it didn’t look as lame as the Jeff Harper Cleveland Comic Con I went to a couple of months ago, it still looked very small and I wasn’t sure how much fun it would be. Still, they try harder, adding panels and guests and contests, and I DID advertise it last year in Violent Blue since my friend Jim was talking about it.  Finally I figured that if I was willing to drive three hours to PA for a horror con where I had to pay for a ticket to get in, that there was no reason I couldn’t drive the one hour to the east side of Cleveland for a free Comic Con.

I’m really glad I did. This was an incredibly fun convention. I’d still wish for better guests, but they did bring in Bob Ingersol and Frank Cho, so I really don’t have that much to complain about. Frank was nice enough to sign a piece of art he did for the He-Man box sets and I got to watch him draw for a while. That was very cool to see.

The movies were a surprise. I knew they were doing screenings all day – the con was IN a movie theatre and they had one of the screen all to themselves. I expected superhero movies. Instead they were doing “Despicable Me”, “Spirited Away” and “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” .I arrived too late for “Despicable Me”, but oh my GOD I got to see  “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” ON THE BIG SCREEN! Bela Lugosi, Glen Strange and Lon Chaney! I don’t care if this was one of the much maligned comedy monster gang movies…I’ve never gotten to see the real universal monsters on the big screen before. I’d have happily paid admission for that one!

I pulled out my Doc Ock costume for the costume contest. There were a lot of fun cosplayers there (not as many as I wanted to see, but the ones that were there were fun). I’m actually a little disappointed that I didn’t win. I mean, the Hugo Strange costume that did win was good, but really, it was almost the same as what I had on. White lab coat, shirt and tie, and dark sunglasses. Except my white lab coat also had FOUR METAL ARMS coming out of it!

As soon as Hugo was announced as the winner, he turned to me and said “Okay, I have GOT to get a picture with you!” Which was very cool. If I could have reached my phone I would have had them shoot a pic for me as well. Oh well, maybe it’ll turn up on facebook. His companion had the cutest Pinkie Pie (if she were Human) outfit on. Actually at first I was thinking it was Strawberry Shortcake. However when she announced it during the contest it made perfect sense. I actually thought my biggest competition was going to be the guy in the Mario costume with the turtle shells and box that made noise.

Of course the costume wasn’t without it’s problems. It was a windy day. I had just gotten the last arm on and suddenly I heard a *SNAP*! The wire that connects the arms together and allows the lower arms to move had broken off. This has happened before, but usually I had access to a glue gun or I could pop a hole through and tie it up. The wire has gotten a little to short for that this time, and the previous hole had been glued over.  It took some fiddling, but I eventually punched a new hole in the arm with my keys and clamped the line to a paperclip that I put inside the arm so it was too big to pull out. It held for the half hour or so I was in the suit, which was all I needed. I’m going to have to find a way to attach those more securely. Stupid wind. I blame Thor.

Throughout the day I did check in on the Heroclix tournament going on. I saw Sam who was surprised I wasn’t playing, but really, I’m not a competitive player and I honestly didn’t want to be stuck in t hat side room all day. I caught Sean on the way out who was in good spirits but mentioned he played terribly! I haven’t been out playing for about a month and it was nice to see everyone and to check out some of the new figures from Origins.

The dealers room worked surprisingly well in the small space. I’m pretty sure I saw a lot of these same vendors at the last con I went to, but I’m always on  the look out for interesting stuff and deals. I went a little nuts on the .25 bins….

I’m glad I made a couple of extra passes in that room though, because in one of the far corners, buried at the back of a table in a box where you couldn’t see what was in it, I found a bunch of the 2002 He-Man figures – $5 each. Right in the middle was a Teela.

Here’s the thing you have to understand. Mattel operates on the school of thought that girl figures don’t sell, so they get shorter production runs and are ALWAYS shortpacked. To make matters worse, the MOTU line was badly mishandled when it came to case ratios. instead of the promised “four commons, two girls and one rare”  packages , you might get “six commons and a girl” or “five commons and a rare”. (The numbers aren’t really accurate, but it’s a good example of what retailers went through on this line). This causes an artificial shortage. I never expected to own one of these (or an Evil Lynn for that matter) because the scalpers want $25 for them minimum. I think I see her at Jamies Flea Market for $30. I checked eBay last night and saw several for $60. I got mine for $5!

After finding more cosplayers to photograph, I finally wandered int to catch “Spirited Away” It was about 1/3 in, but the remainder was still amazing….and really messed up. It’s actually exactly what I remember loving about Anime. Probably not enough to get me back into it, but a really fascinating movie.

I plundered the freebie table for goodies to bring home to my girls.  It was funny, Lydia looked in the bag and said in a disdainful voice “You got me a button?” She and Maddie were both way more interested in the tattoos I brought home for them. Maddie wanted to put on the Supergirl and Wonder Woman ones  right away, but she still has four more days of school and it’s against the dress code. Soon. Very soon.

I pulled out the stack of comics and started to sort them – I want to get these entered in my database and shelved correctly so they don’t get lost. Maddie jumped up and asked “Can I help you sort them? I’m GOOD at sorting! I do it at school!” She was good at it. We had 60 new comics organized in no time, and they girls immediately took my new Teela figure to play with before I even got a chance to look at her!

All in all, this was a really nice show and I’m grateful to my friend Jim for letting me know about it. This will likely be a regular stop for me on the convention circuit from now on. I know last year wasn’t in the movie theatre, bu that was a great choice and I hope they do it like this in the future.


The Book of Monsters! (By Madeline) Part Two

Continuing our look at Maddies Book of Monsters!

This is the best  part of the book, we get into a little storyline now….

Of course if your looking for a story, after you finish the Book of monsters, check out what’s going on over at Violent Blue!


The Book of Monsters! (By Madeline)

So Maddie (age 5)  made this for me last month, and I really wanted to share it with everyone else.

We present, the Book of Monsters.

Why she’s almost ready to take over Violent Blue for me!

More pages on Thursday.