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

Posts tagged “Horror

Pop Meeting 113 Show and Tell

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These really tend to be some of the most interesting meetings where you can see some amazing things you might never ever have known existed. (like this Aquaman collection from one of the club’s founders, Jason Fitch)

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Pop Meeting 112 Comic Book creators

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Think of it as Mt. Rushmore. If there were a monument of the great comic book creators, whose faces would be on it? Gerry Conway? Denny O’Neil? Allen Bellman? (Mike Barr, definately)

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Pop Meeting 111 Star Wars

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With the new movie right around the corner, it seems like a perfect time to discuss Star Wars!

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!

Hey, does anyone else remember the time Mazinger Z fought off those two Jedi or did I just imagine that?

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Pop Meeting 110 How a comic is made

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 From concept to page and, if we’re lucky,some exciting insider tricks, tips and tantalizing tales from our own Marc Sumerak and Mike Barr! Indeed, the very first time I saw Marc was at Akron Comicon and he was giving a panal much like this on how a comic book is created, and it was simply fascinating. Trust me when I tell you, this is something you will not want to miss.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!

309456_255196794524751_1414576572_n(Because let’s face it…just because I do Violent Blue and Kreepy Kastle Comics, doesn’t man I have a clue as to what I’m doing…..)

 


Pop Meeting 109 Street Level Heros

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Working from the shadows and alleys of the city streets, these are the blue collar crime fighters who save the day from evil’s embrace. I happen to be a big Daredevil fan from way back and of course everyone knows the Punisher.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Pop Meeting 108

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Let’s face it- you guys already know I really like villians. This weeks it’s all about the bad guys.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30! (Death ray optional)

 

 


Pop Meeting 107

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Beyond the pages of comics books there is a whole world of cool collectibles and toys to entice our wallets and fill our houses.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Pop Meeting 106

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This week, it’s all about Animation!

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Pop Meeting 105

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We take a break from the tights and capes as we explore the science fiction elements and not quite human characters of our favorite books.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Alien Isolation

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I’ve always been a big fan of Aliens games. I remember seeing that Aliens upright game show up  at the bowling alley and I could always beat the first boss with one quarter, but would always get killed on the next leave, (driving and elevator). I had the first Alien game for the Atari 2600. I didn’t spend  as much time on the Aliens vs. Predator arcade game, but my Friend Johnny Em did. I had Alien 3 on my gameboy, nd while I had kind of outgrown the arcade scen by the time that Alien : the Gun arrived, I did take notice and look upon it longingly.

About fourteen years ago  I was very into the Aliens Vs. Predator Gold game. It came at just the right time for me, as I was getting into FPS and multiplayer. I really liked the look they managed to create for it, more than a passing resembalace to the terraforming station in  Aliens (flat as it may be)  and it was the first time I really got a feel for how fast and dangerous these creatures were. It was one of the first time a game startled me, and I really loved it, possibly my favorite Alien game of all time.

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2416302-ai_360+rgb+frontIt’s been  a while since I found  a new Alien game and very recently we finally got it. I finished alien : isolation this weekend. The design of this game is brilliant, immersive.

An awful lot of the game play however, involves hiding from the alien. Basically jumping into a locker closing it, and watching the thing walk by. This was cool at first, and scary, peering at the thing through the slanted slits was really effective. But it began to happen so much that it got annoying. However, this game isn’t really about the Alien. You won’t see too much  of them here, perhaps jut a little less than you might wish.

There’s no killing it, though you are equipped with a flame thrower to drive it away. But not being really able to blast these things away (It’s far more Alien than Aliens) means you have to work around them. The scenes were you have to toss some sonic noisemaker out to distract the Alien and then run behind it to get away – you’re in the same room. You’re in the same space as the alien and you’re just hoping that it doesn’t turn around and see you. This is where the game gets a little nerve-racking. This is where it gets a litt2552234-preview_alieniso_20140606v2gsle scary.

By the way, Considering how much we complain about them being computer-animated in the films the aliens look really good here. Perhaps it’s the context, they’re surrounded by computer animation here. Where as it in a real-life film a suit or a puppet work better. In real life, real objects have weight…something CG just never quite seems to achieve. It could also be how sparingly they are used, and all the shadow that they are draped in when we do see them. And that weight I mentioned earlier, they definitely have weight in this game, as they walk by you can hear the clomp clomp clomp of their feet. It’s effective and heavy, and it’s inclusion is definitely a welcome addition to the mythos .

1390105674-7Still, like I said, this game isn’t about the Alien. It’s about the environment. I genuinely feel like I’m inside the alien universe. So many of these designs from the hatches to the padding on the walls to the grating on the floors in the shape of the hallways, it’s all straight at the movies and beautifully replicated.

There’s an interesting element of the walking dead in here as well. The idea that civilization on the space station has broken down and people are divided into factions, murderous groups that prey on each other. It’s an interesting aspect we never really explored in any of the movies. The synthetics in this game are different from the robots and the rest of the alien series as well. Not sure why that decision was made, perhaps to make them easy to identify within the game. They alien-isolation-111most definatley are wonderfully effective with glowing red eyes deathly pallor to their skin. A great deal of the game is spent avoiding a group of these turn murderous and it adds an unexpected element of depth. A word of advice, the most effective weapon here is the handgun. Three shots should bring any of these guys down.

One of the things that I’m not thrilled about was the main character. The inclusion of Ripley’s daughter in this game seems forced, although the way the storytelling goes, it IS an organic progression it does make sense. Still, I would’ve thought by now we would’ve learned that you don’t need somebody with the name Ripley just make it an Alien movie. Far more interesting al1and effectively tying to the alien film, (the original that is) is a flashback sequence showing the discovery of the Nostromo’s flight recorder. No sign of the ship or lifeboat, but they did find a flight recorder, and obviously this is where the alien comes into play. It’s an adequate explanation of why alien running around in this ship in a story that takes place somewhere between alien, and aliens. Then again yet another trip to LV – 426 just feels repetitive, and I do wish there is another way of doing this. To be fair though, the point of the game is to be able to actually participate in the movie, to be able to visit the sites that we saw in the films, and that’s really why we find ourselves back on Acheron.

I’m also not a fan of the ending. I’m not sure if they were going for bleak or ambiguous, but the alien films have never really alien-isolation-2been either of those. even 3, the most downer of them all, Ripley’s sacrifice feels heroic. Triumphant. this game ending, I’m just not sure what to make of it.

if you’re a fan of survival horror games, you’ll dig this. If you’re one of those people like me who is just fascinated with the Alien universe – so much so that you’ve not only seen all the movies in the theater, but you’ve also seen the three hour assembly cut of Alien, and watched Prometheus more than once, you’ll really love it.


Exists

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Exists_posterThis weekend I caught a sneak preview of Exists, a new found footage Bigfoot movie, as part of the Capitol Theater’s 12 hours of Terror marathon.

“New found footage Bigfoot movie” kind of says it all doesn’t it?

The movie is directed by Eduardo Sánchez, and if that name seems familiar it should. This is the guy who did The Blair Witch Project – the film which really made found footage a thing. He understands tension and atmosphere. I’m an apologist for Blair Witch, a film that kept me squirming throughout the running time until hitting me with a disturbing image that stayed with me for months at the end.

It seems however, that he may be a one trick pony. Exists is cut very much from the same cloth as Blair Witch, with one harrowing rescue scene in particular that feels like it was cut straight out of  that film and dropped into this movie with only  the names changed to protect the innocent….

exists-castThere are some significant differences here from Sanchez’s previous attempts though. The conceit of the go pro cameras and advancements in consumer electronics really make  things a bit more plausible. It also caters to a specific type of personality, the kind of guy who HAS to film everything going on…and we get that kind of personality in droves.

Really,  the personalities are a big part of  the problem. I don’t like any of these people. I find it hard to be sympathetic to them and their plight, and I’m not alone. I could hear rumblings in the audience about “I hope she get’s it first!”. This is normal in a slasher. You pretty much get presented archetypes and then proceed to knock them down like dominoes. A found footage movie is different. It’s supposed to be a slower burn, driven by character development. I don’t really feel that here. Almost all the characters are unlikeable, and when we get the reveal of the bigfoot’s motivation for attacking them, you don’t get the mixed feelings of sympathy and anger the story needs.

Another big difference is the reveal of the monster, and this I really like. The bigfoot is really well realized, trailer-for-the-bigfoot-found-footage-film-exists-from-blair-witch-directorand surprisingly scary. To this day I still hear people say their biggest complaint about Blair Witch is that we never get a reveal of the monster, never any clue as to what is really going on. Never fear, Exists gives us plenty of the monster and uses the shaky came to it’s best effect in concealing it and distorting it to make it scarier. The deaths are violent and frequently at least partially on screen. It works in a way that mysterious off screen deaths would not have played here.

All in all, it’s not a bad film. It’s actually a good take on the bigfoot film – if you like those kind of movies (alas, I don’t). It’s far better than most SyFy originals or any of the dreck the Asylum keeps pumping out – though that’s a ridiculously low bar to clear.

exists2Exists will be getting a limited theatrical run in a couple of weeks (One of those fifty screen one weekend kind of things so they can say it was theatrical in the marketing). It probably won’t be hitting Cleveland, but it will be available on VOD and streaming at the same time, and really, that’s where it belongs. I’d be a little disappointing if I plunked down my $9.00 for this at the multiplex, but if it shows up on netflix and you’re into this genre, it’s defiantly worth checking out. In the meantime, while you’re waiting, don’t forget to check out new Violent Blue strips up today!


Cinema Wasteland fall 2014

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Wasteland is the convention I wait for every six months.

We started off the weekend with a bit of sad news, a cancellation, but Graydon Clark (Director of Dracula vs. Frakenstien) was being replaced by Dean Gates who had done makeup on films like Phantasm 3 and Day of the Dead, not to mention my favorite Star Trek sequal, DS9. He was a great pleasure to talk to, hearing about his time working on Star Trek in particular. It was also nice to find someone else who shared my opinion that Ds9 was largely ignored by the networks and really, what a shame.

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In the hallway was one of the bigges surprises of the weekend. Annabelle was there. The studio brought one of the screen used dolls to Wasteland and it was incredible to just look at it. It’s a hard plastic, not a ceramic, but incredibly creepy. Those overhead lights don’t really add to the spook factor, but she was great looking just the same.

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I saw Pink Flamingos this time around, and really I will say, it was better with a group. Hanging with Angelique and Shrew, Sally and Brandy, you get a group of people who appreciate this kind of transcgressive cinema. There were still parts I just couldn’t watch, but it did get better wit hthe group, and the talk with Mink Stoles afterwards was just fascinating.

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One of the things Wasteland  does that other cons just don’t seem to do is bring in forign guests. This time around it was the ladies of hammer films,Caroline Munro , Veronica Carlson, and Martine Beswick. A long talk about the golden age of hammer, working with Cushing and Lee and just a wonderful chance to hear stories from these ladies about a time and films we all grew up loving.

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Also a really pleasant surprise was Geretta Geretta ‘s talk. I hadn’t realized how much she’s done over the years and how much sci-fi in particular. She talked about how in the 80’s EVERYONE in sci fi had to wear headbands….I came away with a list of films to look up.

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Of course the big event of the weekend was Brandy and Mark’s wedding. It was a humorous ceremony, very much in Wasteland tradition – I say tradition because it’s at least the third wedding that’s taken place there. But it makes sense, with some many familiar people around, this is where they wanted to be. Brandy was beautiful in her crimson dress, and the wedding was complete with first dance, boquet throwing, garter throwing and father daughter dance…which devolved into the Batutsi, I kid you not.

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Did I mention that later on in the evening A. Ghastlee Ghoul auctioned his pants off during the Miss Wasteland ? Yeah. That happened.

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I can’t even start on the dozen films I watched over the weekend. I think I’ll save some of those for future columns. Another great weekend at my favorite convention. But wait, convention stories aren’t over yet – tune in tomorrow. (in  the meantime, there’s new Violent Blue up today!)


Stitches and Grabbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


11-12-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


Flashback Weekend 2014

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I attended Flashback Weekend this weekend.

I have to admit, I don’t like this convention. I knew it coming in, but went anyhow for some of the guests. Everything here is just a little more expensive. Unlike every other show i do, you have to pay to park in the hotel lot. The admission is higher than most horror cons. It’s not as well organized and even more than Horrorhound, it just feels like a cash grab. The thing is, they are able to pull in guests that no one else does, at least not regularly. Robert Englund is a regular, though he was sequestered in a side room downstairs. you won’t get access to him without the Englund package  starting at $110.  If you wanted to see him in makeup, you’d have to get he full experience, nearly $400. They did manage to get Angus Scrimm, but didn’t plan for his fanbase. his line stretched down the hall and around the corner. He didn’t show up untill 12, and signed until 3, then had to bail for a panel and a break. Understandable, but it should have been planed for, perhaps specifically posted hours for him signing. Much like they did for Svengoolie.

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The signing hours for Sven seemed a little strange to me. His line was certianlly steady the whole time, 2-4. Sven has been Chicago’s Horror Host for about forty years, with the same kind of staying power that Cleveland’s Big Chuck or Son of Ghoul have. Still, no really complaints about this. I managed to get in and meet him. I’m a big Horror Host fan and Sven is one of the most iconic ones of my generation.

 

New_100_6028 Of course the big reason I was heading her this year was the appearance of Barbie Wild and Nicholas Vince. I’m a huge Hellraiser fan fro mway back and I’ve been wanting to meet the cenobites for ages. I was shocked that they have hardly any line, and it was so exciting to finally shak hands with the Female and the Chatterer.

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One of the real fun events I made it to was the costume contest hosted by Svengoolie. Sven is such a quick wit and it the contestants really showed personality, not just costuming skills (like I tend to)

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Also the best photo of Richard Band EVER.

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I managed to have a nice time here, talking with a lot of interesting people in line and seeing some familiar faces like Reggie Bannister and Robert Kurtzman. Still, I don’t think I’ll be back to Flashback. In fact, I’m really considering dropping the larger conventions next year altogether. We’ll see. Cinema Wasteland and Akron Comicon are still to come!

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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.

 


Race With the Devil

forgotten bannerraceYou ever watch a horror movie and find yourself screaming at the screen because  the people are so stupid?

Yeah, that’s  this movie.

From IMDB :

Race the Devil 1975 Two couples vacationing together in an R.V. from Texas to Colorado are terrorized after they witness a murder during a Satanic ritual.

Now I get that you can’t help but stumble upon a satanic cult preforming a rite from time to time…but it sure does seem like they flaunt it. They keep mentioning it to the wrong people and as we see, this cult reaches far and wide. You get a real sense that they’ve traveled hundreds of miles and are still running into cult members who are all on the lookout for them, not to mention the ones who are pursuing them.

The movie is tense and keeps up the dread. There’s a constant sinking feeling when town after town, cop after cop, they’re all involved with the cult. it’s well acted – this is Peter Fonda after all. It’s also got Loretta Swit in a pre- M.A.S.H. role. It’s really a good film, but suffers from writing these people as dopes – you’ve been chased across the southwest U.S. by crazy cultists and yet you’re still concerned about how dry the martinis you’re going to drink tonight are…. (maybe you ought to stay sober just in case a group of Satanists suddenly surround your camper with torches burning? But hey,  that’s just my opinion)

The film ends abruptly, but I think we can guess what happened after the credits role. Definitely a good movie and available on DVD, but might be hard to find outside Amazon.

 


OSS Zombie Walk

eventsMy friend Laverne noticed I was hitting the OSS zombie walk and asked “I thought you already did this?”

New_100_5745It’s easy to see why she was confused….in the last few weeks we’ve had zombie walk at the 5 O’Clock and Night of the Living Dead at the Apollo.

OSS is one of the oldest zombies walks in the Cleveland area, and these days it’s held at Mahalls on Madison in Lakewood. It always draws a big crowd and this year they added some extras such as the screening of night of the living Dead in the basement and the Zombie prom a little later on.

Maddie asked if she could be someone from the Walking Dead, but didn’t really want to wear much makeup…so we made her Lizzie. My wife asked Maddie “Please promise me to not grow up and become a serial killer.”

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I wanted to try something different too. I’ve been wanting to do a skinless Frank from Hellraiser for a couple of years, but the one time I tried it the makeup didn’t turn out very well. I decided to try again…and do it better, with good bones and a new bald cap.

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I’m very pleased with how it came out…except EVERYONE recognized me! I ran into Ryan and Halle spotted me before I even got into the Bowling Alley.

“Got here just in time!” Ryan told me “I’m just about to start this walk!”

Inside Jason and Tina caught me as well and knew me immediately.

New_100_5717How is everyone recognizing me in this makeup?”

“Three years at Wasteland, of course I’m going to recognize you!” Jason replied.

I had to grab a photo of Zombie cap, and he told me “Put this on my facebook!”

“Okay, what’s your name?”

“It’s me, Mark!” I felt like such a putz not recognizing him…but apparently most people were fooled.

Before the walk, WB reps came out and handed out posters then took photos of zombies holding them up to promote the movie. Maddie even got a frisbee! (And was amazingly excited about that….)

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It was a good walk, a lot of the zombies were getting into character, rushing the people watching on porches, chasing pedestrians and occasionally New_100_5746getting into skirmishes with the zombie hunters. Maddie loved watching the zombies run and fight.  It may have been the most fun she’s had at one of these.

Afterwards, it was downstairs at the bowling alley for Night of the Living Dead on 16mm film. Maddie made it thorough about half of it, then needed a break. We went upstairs and since we WERE in a bowling alley, we got a lane. There’s something surreal about watching a skinless man bowl….

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A good night for a good cause, with the canned goods and money going to the Cleveland food bank. I think I may need a break for zombies for a short while though. That’s okay, we’ve got Lake Effect Comicon this weekend, and new Violent Blue all week!

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Cinema Wasteland April 2014

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I think I must have a cloud of bad karma hovering over me as far as conventions are concerned. I just found out the girls have a mandatory dress rehersal for dance on the same day as Lake Effect Comiccon (which was going to be Lydia’s first one) and barely an hour into Wasteland I lost my video camera (which was fortunately found but not until this morning. I’ll be picking it up later).

Still not everything is terrible, I ran into a bunch of friends that I only see at Wasteland like Jason and Angelique, not to mention Shrew and Baron Morbid. A nice change was running into Mark Mackaye  and Marc Gettel from POP. Some how I missed Sean, but he may have been there on Sunday (which I skipped this year).

It was fun to run into a couple of newbies in line. I assured them this was the best show in the area – and I do shows from Chicago to Pittsburg.  An interesting thing about wasteland is unlike other shows, you see the same people here every six months. It’s not like Horrorhound or Days of the Dead where you get a fresh flock of folks every year and there’s too many people to make a connection with. But this con also makes newcomers feel welcome, and rightly so.

I actually started off the weekend hitting Tom Sullivan’s room New_IMG_0455and chatted a bit about Horrorhound. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the line into his room at Horrorhound was huge and constant…he mentioned that yes, it was a steady line of people all day and had been a great con for him. It was a good location for him too, the line for Bruce Campbell went right past him and drove a lot of foot traffic to him. He told me he missed me there and signed my Evil Dead 2 poster before I headed out for the first film.

I was in a bad mood and had a hard time focusing on most of the films, and sadly enough Robert Z’dar didn’t make it. He got a bad case of Pneumonia and was stuck in the hospital, however Wasteland set up a get well card for him which I was able to sign. The rest of the maniac Cop cast however was great. I’d really been looking forward to meeting Tom Atkins -I’m a fan of a lot of his work, not just Maniac Cop but also stuff like Halloween 3, Night of the Creeps, and even the most recent Drive Angry.

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Saturday was a better day. I’ve gotten into the habit of cosplaying on at least one day of Wasteland. I’ve gotten to know so many people there that I’m not longer as anonymous as I used to be, but a fully immersive makeup makes me instantly unknown, and still gives me a reason to talk with strangers! I pulled out my Freddy makeup from Halloween. I couldn’t get it quite together for last year, but I was working it this weekend. I had to extend the chin a bit to cover my beard and actually used spirit gum to anchor it (a technique that had been suggested to me over at Hauntville) and was pleased at the result. The best picture of the day I think was the photo with the Ghostbusters.

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1517515_742097245834701_3797214310526212418_nI think I came away with more movie recommendations than actual films this year, though I did finally get around to grabbing a couple of films I haven’t seen. I’d been waiting to grab a copy of Dawn of Dracula – I’m a fan of Midnight Mausoleum and Marlanea Midnight was nice enough to sign it for me. I also got a copy of Peter Rottentail as a prize during Ghastlee’s show, not to mention this other one that was a givaway on the flyer table. Will have to look into these later.

Speaking of Ghastlees show, the best part I think, was the RC car chase. Sally the Zombie Cheerleader taped a picture of Justin Bieber to an RC car and the goal was to manuver it through an obstical course of beer cans with the faces of Wasteland regulars on them while being chased by two RC police cars. The Biber car kept making it back on stage after that game, distracting Ghastlee in the middle of hosting other games in progress…

One group of people came up to me to tell me how much they liked the makeup. I mentioned that I had done Pinhead a year or so ago and their eyes lit up. “We saw you in the parking lot from the hotel man! that was the freakiest costume ever!”. Looks like I made an impression….they waved goodbye assuring me they wouldn’t sleep tonight.

I didn’t have as much fun this year, but it’s not Wastelands fault. Still I’m getting a little nervous about the conventions I’m doing. Shinboku Con ins next weekend….maybe.

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Wasteland this weekend!

april_2014_smallJust a quick reminder, I’ll be heading out to Cinema Wasteland this weekend. I expect to only be there Friday and Saturday, possibly in costume on Sat.  There’s a great line up of films this time around with some really interesting guests. I’m going to get my Day of the dead poster started and both my Evil Dead 2 poster along with my Maniac Cop DVD finished. It’s the best convention I go to with some of the friendliest freaks around. Come join the best party in Cleveland and if you see me wandering around tap me on the shoulder and say hi!! Never fear though, there will still be new Violent Blue on Friday at the main site and Essential Violent Blue right here! Have a great weekend!

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HorrorHound Cinicy 2014

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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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RPG films

Movie bannerI miss my gamer days. I actually do, but the problem is I was never a true gamer, but more of a casual player. I just wanted to run a game once a month or so, and it’s hard to find a group like that (even the guys I would play Heroclix with were always way more into it hat me, playing a couple times a week as opposed to me playing a couple times a month). I never did D&D (I know it’s fantasy, but I don’t dig having to deal with other deities. I have one God and he’s sufficient.) but would regularly play Earthdawn, Night Life ( Like Vampire the gdr-posterMasquerade, but less pretentious) and Star Trek (Which turned into the most popular one amongst my group). We even did a game night for one of my three bachelor parties.

I’m sure I mentioned the Gamers 2 on this blog a year or two ago, but I can’t seem to find the post to link to it. In any event, it’s a fun movie that captures the spirit of gaming, moving back and forth between the players sitting at the table playing, and shifting into the scenario itself, showing up the adventure they are having. It’s funny, and has a lot of heart – and despite being a sequal, is actually a superior film to the less than memorable The Gamers.

This weekend I watched Zero Charisma, a crowdfunded take on gamer life which originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. The main character is zero chrthe archtype of the loser gamer –  the one who lives with his parents (or in this case grandmother) feels entitled, the rule lawyer and obnoxious type. It’s not a bad film. The direction is good and there really is a story here. The main problem is having someone totally unlikable as the protagonist (and in certain ways antagonist). We don’t see much of an arc with him…he might have grown just a teensy bit at the close of the movie but I’m not sure. I feel I can cut him some slack when I see his mother (who abandoned him at an early age) and the truth is, as obnoxious as he is, he’s right about a few things. That doesn’t save his life from falling apart though, and in the end, you really can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. We spend an hour and a half laughing with him and cringing at him. It manages to be beautifully sad in the end.

I also hit up Knights of Badassdom. This one takes place at a LARP and ask the question what would happen if a bunch of gamers used a real spell book by accident and summoned a real demon? It’s directed by Joe Lynch, who I’ve been enjoying on Holliston and was recommend by Ted over on the Horror Knights_of_Badassdom_1Ect podcast. It’s great. A fun time in gamer culture, with some outside characters to ground us. Peter Dinklidge  is amazing here by the way. This is before Game of thrones, but he is an absolutely brilliant warrior in this. It manages to be tense, funny, bloody and fun all on a budget about equal to what you might pay for a happy meal at McDonalds. This, by the way is exactly my beef with the SyFy channel. They constantly put out soulless boring, stupid films on shoestring budgets with lousy CG on budgets about the same as what we see here. If this were the kind of movie SyFy was running on Saturdays, I’d be glued to the TV. Find some filmmakers with passion and a hook like this and give me some good films and you could win me back I and second. In any event, Knights is a high recommend along with the Gamers 2. Zero Charisma isn’t bad per se, but go in knowing its going to be a little depressing…there’s no rewatchability on that one.

I really have to run and get some Violent Blue done. I’m trying to do a topical series this week, but I can feel the window closing on me before I have to dip into the buffer and post a different strip. Still, before I go I’m going to throw a fun little music video in here. Also well done, though I’m not sure if gamer culture is being celebrated here or satirized…


The Devil’s Rain

forgotten bannerMV5BMTU4MDI3OTE5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ5NDQzMQ@@__V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_The Devils Rain from  1975 starring  – get this- William Shatner,  Ernest Borgnine, and Tom Skerrit. This is a post Star Trek Shatner, but still a pre-TJ Hooker one. Interestingly enough, Skerrit is really well groomed in this. I always assumed that the look he had in Alien was his normal look for the 70’s and that by the time Top Gun came around he’d gotten older and trimmed everything up. Apparently I was wrong.

This is also John Travolta’s first film role, but don’t strain your eyes looking for him, he’s hidden under a black robe most of the time.

From IMDB : A bunch of Satanists in the American rural landscape have terrible powers which enable them to melt their victims. However one of the children of an earlier victim vows to destroy them.

A good enough description. Tom Skerrit comes to town trying to solve the untitledmystery of the satanic killings and wondering what happened to Captain Kirk.  It’s standard Satanist fare, and if you’re a fan of that kind of movie you’ll like this.  It’s mostly made notable for the cast. Earnest Borgnine’s devil makeup really has to be seen to be believed.

This was a discount title for the longest time, but it’s mostly vanished off the shelves (if it was ever on them). Take your chances on Amazon or eBay.


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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