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Digging up the Marrow

directorsamv5bmjm3ndc3mjc1ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjm4mja5mze-_v1_sy999_cr00672999_al_Of all of his films, Digging up the Marrow maybe my favourite Adam Green feature. But there is a caveat, I’m a fan of the director….we’ll get that in the moment.

Digging Up The Marrow is a mocumentary done in a semi found footage style about a man chasing monsters. Real ones. Actually, more like deformed people with some spectacular deformities that have established an underground culture that is very rarely discovere. The man, Dekker, has enlisted the help of a filmmaker – Adam Green himself – to document and uncover these creatures. Along the way we discover Adam is not the first film maker he’s tried to enlist, and that there is more to this story then he’s telling.

It’s a wonderful tale, creepy and suspenseful. There are twists here and there and it keeps you engaged the whole way through – but here’s the thing, because Adam chose to use himself and his studio as characters in the film, it really appeals to his fanbase.  For those of us who have kind of gotten to know him through things like his podcast and Holliston and the shorts on his Ariescope website, we already have a connection to the character that he is playing. We walk into it with that affection and interest. This is not to say that the film is inaccessible to the casual viewer, however it is going to be more work for an outsider to develop that sympathy for the character than it is for the fans. Adam is a very sympathetic character indeed, and I think this is still going to work wether you know who he is or not. But it really does work so much better if you do already know him. For Adam Green fans, I think this is really is epitome – it is his masterpiece and is love letter to the fans. I’ve saved this for last for a reason – I want you to experience his other films, I want you to watch Holliston, and I want you to understand him as a filmmaker… And to some extent as a person. That’s what’s really going to make this film pop for you it’s what’s really going to make you care about it. It really is my favourite of all of his films, with the best monsters and creepiest creatures that you will see.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what he does next.

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Voyage of the rock aliens

Here’s the thing, it had already been a strange weekend for me.  I got into a lightsaber fight with a Jedi – all I had was a 3 ft candy cane… I got drafted into a zombie movie while I was making breakfast, I showed up for a photoshoot and  somehow ended up in a parade and escorting Santa Claus up to a stage. and yet, walking into the Capitol Theater semi-annual secret film – Ihad no inkling how 

much weirder it was about to get.

 the secret film is Cleveland Cinemas way of announcing they are late shift cult movies for the next 6 months – they package it with something strange Dash and unannounced and practically unwatchable film usually. this time around it was Voyage of the rock aliens. How do I adequately describe this? It’s as if somebody took Greece, Mork & Mindy, and glued it all together with a healthy dose of Devo.

 the film begins with a duet between Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson (did I mention this is a musical?),  complete with a West Side Story Style battle between rival factions. Jermaine vanishes from the story after that, but Pia Zadora is there

 in full force, hanging off the arm of Craig Sheffer.  I’m not sure where you might know Craig from, but I’m familiar with his work with Clive Barker – Nightbreed and Hellraiser : Inferno .  in this film he leads a gang called the pack – theyre also a band, and wears a lot of leather ( but not a whole lot of shirts).   all of that clearly marks him as the bad guy.

 The heroes in this film are a group of Misfits in ridiculous jumpsuits, led by a robot


 that reminds me a great deal of the one from Rocky 4 – except for the times when he turns into a rolling fire hydrant… Seriously, I told you this was going to be weird. the prologue of the movie explains to us that the aliens are searching for rock music, though the storyline seems to indicate they’re more interested in finding mates to bring back to their world dash and unseen Utopia rendered emotionless by the jewel stuck in their foreheads.

 there are spontaneously choreographed dance routines, New Wave sounds and sights,  and Michael Berryman running around with a chainsaw. if that doesn’t sell this film to you I don’t know what will. as bizarre as it was, I didn’t stop smiling through the entire thing – had the Good Fortune to see this with friends. We clapped along with the songs, and softly made fun of the rampant lunacy that pervades this cinematic atrocity. since Sunday they’ve all been searching for their very own copies of this – at ask me all the harder by the fact that this was never released on DVD in the US, Though if you VHS copies are still to be had. do what you have to, find this film – it’ll change your life.


Zombies vs Strippers

boxdwMan, I cannot believe that full moon pictures mockbustered me. When I looked at this package, I mistook this film for zombie strippers – the one with Robert England andmv5bmtk5nza5oduwml5bml5banbnxkftztcwnda1njg2oa-_v1_uy268_cr30182268_al_ Jenna Jamison. When the full moon pictures logo came up, I knew I was in the wrong place. Full moon is a staple of indie movies, and usually bring surprisingly good quality, but they never ever had a budget that could afford someone like Robert England (maybe Jenna Jamison car but I’m not even sure about that!). Still, with a Full moon film, you know exactly what you’re going to get. They play it straight, they take it seriously. However, they also know when exactly to add some humour and lightness. This is not the sort of zombie movie that is going to change the world, but that doesn’t keep it from being fun. The movie is entirely set at a strip club, though we occasionally get glimpses of the parking lot, for the most part it’s inside the club.the owner is depressed because businesses bad – indeed throughout the entire movie we never see more than a couple of patrons – and he is planning on selling it. In fact, the paperwork has already gone through and tonight is the last night. It probably wouldn’t have any customers at all, if not for the zombie outbreak… Its early stages and no one knows what’s going on yet. A couple of people show up here because the strip clubs they were at descended into chaos, but they are saying is just your normal Friday night. We get further description of what’s going on outside through news reports and our patrons tales of what happened at the previous clubs they attended. Beyond that, it’s very straightforward – zombies show up, somebody gets bitten, zombies beaten back or hidden from, zombies show up again, someone turns… It’s all extremely by the numbers. The zombies here are also very much what we’ve seen before – shambling mumbling “brains! “.

There is nothing new here, but don’t let that turn you off. While you don’t get the social commentary of George Romero, or the gritty post apocalypse of the walking dead, they still take themselves seriously enough to not tip over into the wackyness  of evil dead. While the movie doesn’t really add anything to either the catalogue or the zombie mythology, it also doesn’t take away from it. A box set like this is exactly where it belongs… part of an anthology perhaps. In a set like this it’s going to get more attention than it would on a streaming channel or doing a broadcast on SyFy – in those cases, I can just change the channel. On the other hand , Being a collection like this you won’t feel bad about possibly paying too much for this movie the way you might have if you had bought it for $5 in the dump bin at Wal-Mart.  If this were something that I had rented for a dollar at the local video store on a Saturday night, I’m confident to say I would have walked away satisfied that I enjoy this, and it’s definitely a good sign if this is what I have coming up in the rest of the set.


Revolt of the Zombies

boxdwrevolt-of-the-zombies-poster-1Revolt of the Zombies starts off strong with the idea of reanimating the undead to fight in war with Ghastly results. It’s footage I’ve seen before on collections like Zacherly’s Horrible Horror – zombie soldiers being shot and not stopping, even as bullet holes appear on their chests.

The problem is, once you get past the made-for-the-trailer scense in teh beginning the film actually slows down to a dragging pace as we explore the origins of the zombie and how to create them. There’s an interesting attempt to kind of connect it with the classic White Zombie, but even that feels forced and over the heads of the audience.

This one’s better if you just catch some clips of it. Watch it in the background once perhaps and just skip to the good stuff.


Days of the Dead Chicago 2017

Conman

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First, right off the bat, I need to say two things; I’ve never NOT had a good time at Days of the Dead. Second, God bless the Hellraiser crew for keeping their autograph rates reasonable.

There’s something about Days that just feels more fan based, less like a cash grab.  It’s always been well run and well put together. They consistently have great guests, good panels and a fun layout. I’ve been hitting Indy more often lately, its been a while since I hit Chicago. As I made the drive from Cleveland, I began to remember why. Still, in that time attendance here has grown significantly.

When I arrived, the hotel paring was full. I’ve never encountered that at Days before, but they were prepared. They waved me on, four driveways down, to a parking garage they had secured as free overflow parking. (This by the way, is an excellent example of how Days takes care of it’s attendees as opposed to say Horrorhound or Flashback. Those two shows both have the same issues with parking, and their reaction is pretty much “you’re on you own!” find some place, pay what you have to and then walk).

Inside, fans were shoulder to shoulder, the hallways jammed with people wall to wall. Moving about was difficult at best, but I managed to elbow my way into the guest room. Andrew Robinson was my first target, seated caddy corner from the rest of the Hellraiser crew. I’m a fan from not only Hellraiser, but also Star Trek and Pumpkinhead. He’s personable but definitely has a con personality.

The Hellraiser table was next, and my main target was Simon Bamford. Simon talks endlessly and goes out of his way to make you comfortable. He was enormously fun to chat with, talking about movies and the costumes that were passing by.  (a big thanks to Cameron from Cincinnati who hung out in the line with me and took my photo with Simon). I’ve met the rest before but it was still fun to renew acquaintances. They were all astonished that I’d actually gotten to see the film recently on the big screen. One of my favorite moments was to see Nick the Chatterer with the people in front of me. The fan had a daughter in tow as he was getting his poster signed. She was playing with a doll on a toy scooter. The scooter broke at the table and Nick reached over to help the little girl put it back together. It was a beautiful moment.

I managed to catch both the Hellraiser panel as well as Dee Snider’s talk. I just heard Dee at Motor City Nightmares, but with new questions there was still a lot of stuff I’d never heard before. The tent they held the panels in was full, but still less crowded than the halls of the hotel. They have most definitely outgrown this venue and that’s a bit of a drag because I always prefer hotel cons to convention center shows, but at this point it was too crowded for me to be able to properly explore the vendors. I quickly added a signature to my Aliens poster and decided it was time for me to head back.

On my way out I stopped by Felissa Rose’s table just to mention to her that I had seen her recent film “Victor Crowley”, directed by Adam Green. I let her know it was enormous fun and she had given a great performance in it. Felissa’s eyes went wide as she took my hand to thank me. “That means SO much.” She turned to explain to her confused handler about how the movie had been shot in secret and one day Adam just kind of dropped it out of nowhere “Here, look what we made!” I waved goodbye with the distinct feeling I had just made her day. It certainly made mine.

 


Akron Comicon 2017

Conman

John S. Knight Center exteriorAkron Comicon continues to be the best show in northeast Ohio. The caliber of guests never ceases to amaze me.

They were doing a Black Lightning reunion this year bring together Jack Harris, the original editor along with Trevor Von Eden, the original artist, and of course Tony Isabella who is a regular fixture at this comic con. I’m a big fan of Trevor Von Eden, particularly his Batman work – there is a painted cover he did for the first Ras Al Ghul story ever read and it’s always stuck with me. His line wound passed Tony’s table so I got a chat with him a little bit on the way there… He delighted in making puns about Spider – Ham outfit and signed a couple books for me as we chatted. Trevor was less personable but he also gives off a very humble vibe. He seems like he’s just glad to be here and still 23167790_1722114467832969_1377048954914714230_nsurprised about the number of fans he has.

I made my way over to Tom DeFalcos table and was shocked that there was no line. DeFalco is another example of the amazing calibre guests Akron Comicon brings.He was involved in the Spider-Man comics from the 70s through the 80s and the 90s either as editor or writer… If you pick up a spider book in that 20 year period, he had something to do with it. Iindeed, he was the entire reason I decided to come dressed as Spider – Ham, at least for part of the day. He laughed and shook his head and made sure to get a photo with me “so I can prove everybody my life’s work hasn’t been in vain! “.  I couldn’t help but notice that Akron abandoned the idea of celebrity guests this year, which is fine because no extra from the walking dead or old 70s TV superhero could have made me more excited than getting to meet this former editor in chief of Marvel comics. Talking with DeFalco was absolutely The high point of my convention this year!

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Once I had finished getting my autographs and meeting people, it was time to change into the more cumbersome suit. I have given Slimer a nice test run at Cleveland comic con, in preparation for this show. I always intended to have him running around Akron Comicon, and it turned out to be the perfect venue. Nice wide aisles, with a good temperature – I wasn’t roasting in the suit this time around.It’s also a good place to show him off because Akron’s a convention that just about everybody goes to and a lot of these people have been following my progress constructing him.

The flow of the place seemed a little bit better this year as well… There was a doorway connecting the dealers room to the panel room.  I don’t recall seeing it last year, and it did mean there was room for one less booth, but the ease that it made travelling back and forth was seriously worth it. I managed to catch the Black Lightning panel as well as The comic professional panel. I was a little bummed I missed out on Dirk Manning’s Wright or Wrong talk, but he recorded it so I can catch it later.
The panels room was also where the costume contest was held. Things flowed extremely well this year, which was a pleasant surprise… it may in fact, be The first time that the costume contest has actually run smoothly at Akron Comicon. Rubber City Cosplay has really got a handle on things, especially considering that they had taken over the judging as well – a new responsibility for them this year. They handled it better than ever.

All in all, I’m pleased to see that Akron Comicon continues to grow and thrive and be the best convention in the area, and I can’t wait to return next year!

 

 


The last man on Earth

boxdw220px-lastmanonearth1960sThis is hardly my first time watching the last man on Earth, but since it’s a part of this is that it seems like a good time to revisit it anyhow. What strikes me about this film is how ordinary Vincent Price works that he is just this… Guy. I mean, seriously he looks like just another 40-year-old man, and his house is immaculate . It looks more like a home my grandparents lived in, then a last safe house in the world in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Of course these aren’t exactly zombies… They’re vampires, although that’s made way more clear in the book then it is in the film. One of these days as I should really get around comparing and contrast in the books and films, but I digress.

As far as this one goes, they’ve stayed pretty close to the source material.it’s missing some of the sensuality, and a little bit of the science… But the basic structure of the book and the surprise ending, all of the details are all present here. I’m always surprised at how this film doesn’t really get old. I got a copy of this on the double feature with House on Haunted Hill, and Last man on Earth consistently feels more fresh, or entertaining. It’s a gem in this collection, and really deserves more recognition and respect then it gets.


Holliston

directorsamv5bmty3nzm4mze2mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmjc3mjgyoq-_v1_uy268_cr120182268_al_I’ve mentioned before that Adam got his start doing comedy, especially during romantic comedies but also stand up and sitcom kind of work. Holliston is a sitcom that is described sometimes as the big bang theory for horror fans.

It’s semi autobiographical in the way that my Violent Blue is – that is to say a lot of the events and situations happened in one form or another but have been so dramatised and fictionalised dad you can’t rightly refer to it as a non-fiction any longer. Things are tweeked for comedy and heightened for the best plot  – along with certain fictional elements and ideas thrown in out of nowhere.

It’s low budget – man is it low-budget.

It’s  cheesy and cheap and it shows. I stress this, I have to point this out because you have to know this going in. If you expect this thing to look like “Friends” then you are going to be seriously upset. Still, it’s strength isn’t so much in the production values as it is in the characters that you genuinely connect with the characters Adam and Joe and Corey and Laura, and that makes you forget the terrible looking robot cat, or some of the sillier gags, or the extremely clumsy attempts to break the fourth wall. That’s the thing about Holliston, it has so many technical imperfections that are just glaringly obvious, and yet for some reason it endears itself to the viewers despite all of these shortcomings (and it’s definitely DESPITE these shortcomings, not because of them…).

When I met Adam Green at Days of the Dead a few years ago he was on a publicity tour for Holliston. Seriously, I had not even heard of this show. It was nowhere near being on my radar. Even after meeting Adam I wasn’t quite sold – what did it for me was seeing the Holliston panel, and watching Adam along with Derek Mears and Dave Brockie laughing it up on stage and really selling the show. To the best of my knowledge, it was Dave Brockie’s last convention appearance – I am incredibly grateful that I got a chance to meet him. By the time I got on to him, he was out of the Odorous Urungus costume and in some ways that’s a bit of a drag, but in other ways….

See, if it had been Odureus, I would’ve approached him differently. We would have joked and gotten the picture and that would be it.  But I didn’t meet Odorous, I met Dave. We chatted about radio and how Danny Bonaduche  was constantly referring to GWAR as his favourite band – Dave seemed taken aback by that… “I love Danny Bonaduce… “He said in slight awe. Dave was friendly and charming outside of the costume and I’m very glad I got to meet him. He was the epitome of my own philosophy for sitcoms where what you need is a pretty girl some good friends and a smart mouth puppet. Dave was such a smart mouth and could not have been more of a cartoon… Not even in the animated episode – ha ha!

Houston is available on DVD and Blu-ray, and eventually it will be streaming somewhere… But the time you read this it may have already shown up on geek nations website. (remember I write these things months, if not years in advance) it’s definitely worth checking out.I remember I found it a little difficult to get through at first, but it didn’t take long for me to be hooked – waiting each week for new episode (which I would watch legally every week streamed off of fear net website) It’s addicting, and it’s amazing how easy it is to invest in these characters start it’s an even more amazing how the investment in these characters washes over to these people – these actors, and Adam Green himself. That’s important to remember, as we explore Digging up the Marrow next month.


I eat your Skin

boxdw3c9b0b2b91d8e5c53553610c77561073When it comes to old time voodoo zombies, I’m a fan. From White Zombie to films like this… Although I’ve got to wonder, of all the public domain ones out there why they chose this one? I think i’d actually have liked Mantan moorlands “king of the zombies” netter. I mean, if you’re going to kinda cheat on a box set like this and stick in some public domain stuff, I personally want to go at the best… Maybe it’s the name, the name is quite shocking although I’ve personally always wanted to see this done in a double feature with “I drink your blood ”

Still, this one is nice pick… It’s typical of 50’s B-movie schlock ( i know it was made in the 60’s but it really LOOKS 50’s) and the ping-pong ball eyes are a classic favourite of mine. The story is fairly simple. White man accidentally creates the formula for zombies from snake venom and a dash of voodoo and things go downhill from there.  In the end, this is not a film that I generally seek out, but at the same time I’m not likely to turn it off if it’s going to show up being hosted by my favourite horror hosts. Let’s face it, this one was included on the set for padding and not much else.


Cleveland Comic Con 2017

Conman22449872_880385612120621_6994002521921958494_nIt’s very strange, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a convention shrink in the way Cleveland Comic Con has. Still, it may have been just what it needed – a new tweak to the formula that finally makes this convention work.

Cleveland Comic con has had a bumpy road – with growing pains exacerbated by disorganisation and a grander scope then they can facilitate. I think they tried too much too soon and it has constantly dogged the quality of this convention and kept me away quite a bit. This year was different, everything moved smoothly. It feels like the convention dialed back some of that scope and is able to better accommodate the type of crowd it receives. That doesn’t preclude growing in the future, but they’re not ready yet – and the 22528514_10214340948988751_7564996712190481935_nsmaller two building-one stage set up they had running here suits them very nicely.

They gone out of their way to bring in some interesting guests as well – Sam Jones was there, overcharging for his Flash Gordon autograph. They brought in some minor characters from the Walking Dead as well. Vincent Ward and Santiago Cirillo are both actors I’ve already got on my walking dead poster… Santiago did Concoction a year ago and was just as much fun this time around – even with a lot of the same stories… I wandered into his panel, and he stopped dead pointed at me and yelled “yes! Slime me!”

That’s right, Cleveland comic con was finally the big reveal for my slimer costume.

Slimer was actually a big hit with everybody – freaking out some of the venders and drawing laughter and applause from Jones over at his Flash Gordon table.One young man 22520142_10214341972094328_8826545569207276470_ostopped by me and asked “is it worth it? . I admit, it was hotter than expected, but absolutely. He is a remarkably fun character and you can get really silly with the body language – the people at the ghostbusters booth lost their minds over me!

I actually really dig the way they handled this costume contest – with prejudging around one, and everybody lined up for that. It would’ve been nicer however, if they had made the instructions about this clearer – I honestly just stumbled into the correct line and had I arrived much later I would’ve been excluded.

But all in all, I like prejudging – they give you a chance to really connect with the judges and explain what you have done and how you’ve done it without being under the pressure or time crunch of a costume parade. A couple hours later we are all lined up and doing our thing on stage which once again, a great deal of fun… It didn’t occur to them to let me speak or take a microphone, so everything was non-verbal – everything was expression and body language in this suit. It’s an interesting challenge, and I think I like it.

I finally got around to replacing my copy of Diane Carey’s Final Frontier – the one that I gave to my best friends ex-girlfriend. I always figured I just grab another one off the shelf of the local used bookstore, and hadn’t come across one since! Next to it in the paperback bin was an interesting looking copy of the Exorcist. I topped off my bag with a copy of the Art of Atari. I’ve been jonesing for this book since they announced it, and gem city had its usual excellent prices!

I’m really happy about what Cleveland comic con  has become. It’s actually morphed into exactly the sort of show that I really enjoy – and I think now, it’ll have a better chance at growing organically… and that is something I deafinately want to see!