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Posts tagged “monsters

Monster walk 2017

It was slightly chilly for a spring afternoon as the creatures crawled out of their holes and congregated in the back patio of the 5 o’clock lounge for their annual food drive and monster walk. I was particularly excited this time around because my girls were both with me – but something was different this time… This year, instead of being zombies, they had chosen to arrive as hunters. Madeline carried her bow, and Lydia packed her crossbow under her purple survivor vest.

The monster walks at the 5 o’clock lounge are familiar – it’s where the first zombie walks I can remember started, and the rout is a traditional block of Lakewood that I’ve spent many years on. It’s probably the one that I’ve taken the kids on the most frequently as well – with familiar streets and faces. The umbrella corporation was there, as well as our typical field leader – this time decked out in a slightly more armoured persona of major iseue. The zombie hunter aspect is new for the kids though, it’s something I’ve been suggesting for years since they don’t always dig the make up… This time however, it’s fueled by a desire to play a little more into the world that Maddie is creating with her backyard zombie movie. Indeed, the girls cornered various zombies before the walk and got some footage for their web series…

I was actually a little disappointed with my own make up, but the kids decision to go was a last-minute one… Lydia informed me the night before that she wanted to go and wanted a costume, but she didn’t know what… Something like survival clothing – with tools and weapons on it… I cut up an old purple bag and added a walkie-talkie, spare arrows, and grenades to it (she was inexplicably excited about the grenades – a tool she recognises from some of her video games). On the back she requested a cute and tie zombie picture which I whipped up using gel markers, paint, and glitter.

With Maddie deciding the day of the zombie walk that she wanted to go, there is no time to really create much for her though I did build her some balsawood arrows with blunted foam tips, that way she can carry her bow though she wasn’t allowed to fire it. She was a little bummed, especially since Lydia was allowed to shoot her soft foam arrows from her crossbow.

While your average zombie walk brings out the typical undead featuring torn skin, splattered blood, and oozing sores, The 5 o’clock monster walk always seems to encourage a greater variety of creatures – you never quite know what kind of monsters will show up… Killer panders or demented Easter bunnies – Gas mask fiends, zombified dogs and Teen Titans, not to mention the star cars from the weaponised zombie Dodge, to the glitterati art car that pulled up behind it.

Lydia mention to her mother that she wanted to go to the zombie walk because it was something that daddy liked and she wanted to do something with me… I think that’s the best part of these kind of things… We all had fun, and in the end the walk wrapped up too soon – leaving the girls asking when the next one was. We’ll find out soon.


Monster Junkie photo shoot

We’ll talk a bit about the convention Monday, but for now, check out these pics from the photo shoot I did for Monster Junkie Magazine! (credit to Ginger Rose,Chelsea Darling and Jeff Stover in addition to my own pics!)

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 : 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.


Monster Bash 2014

Conman10300521_783678301676595_6738373931679320802_nHeaded back out to Mars for Bash, this year 10151905_783678145009944_1020727276008162128_nwith 7-year-old Maddie in tow. I figured Bash would be a good first horror con for her, but had no idea how she would like it.

Maddie was enthralled from the moment we reached the doors and saw the Dragula. She really wanted to get in it, but being roped off, I was a little wary to let her. We also passed a green Creature of the Black Lagoon car. The creature car was so cute, with details on the sides, a plushie creature in the front seat and back window, and a liscence plate reading “creech”.

We got inside in time for morning cartoons. Maddie has never seen Woody Woodpecker or Chilly Willy, but recognized Bugs Bunny at least. a lot of fun watching and she laughed through it all. She also discovered the Three Stooges here. I don’t know that she’d seek them out, but she had fun watching them, describing them as weird but funny.10487477_783679515009807_7828695295420606985_n

We got in and started to meet some of the guests. Judith O’Dea is someone I wanted to meet for a good while now. She’s the last surviving cast member from Night of the Living Dead  that I haven’t gotten to see and she was a delight. Very friendly and outgoing. Maddie marched right up to her  and I introduced her. She smiled and greeted Maddie and asked “You haven’t SEEN this movie have you?” Maddie smiled and admitted she’d only seen part of it (you may remember that we only made it through about half of it at the OSS zombie walk). They talked about how it’s scarier in Black and white, and I handed over my poster to be signed. I love it when people look over my posters to see who have signed it before them. She seemed to have a lot of fun looking at all the names spread across it, remembering the people – especially 10462708_783679231676502_7286672786506249640_nones like Bill Hinzman who is no longer with us.
I also took Maddie over to see John Russo. This was always part of the plan for the day. Even though I wasn’t planning on buying something over at his table this time around (I have several times in the past) Maddie wanted to meet the person who created zombies and I thought he was a good choice, having written the screenplay for Night of the Living Dead with George Romero. He was extremely friendly with her and seemed genuinely pleased to hear her questions. Maddie asked how he came up with the idea for zombies.

He replied “Well when George and I were working on the story we wanted to start it in a cemetery – because cemeteries are creepy. We knew someone was chasing Barbra, but didn’t know who. I suggested it could be a dead person – and it went on from there.”

10489911_783996241644801_5965609127265774671_nMaddie asked if Making a zombie movie was hard. His answer was “It beats working in the coal mines.” then he elaborated on it.

Finally Maddie asked how he learned to make a movie. He told her about going to the movies all the time a as kid and reading a lot. These things gave him ideas from making his own films. Maddie mentioned that she liked going to the movies too. He told her she could grow up to make them herself if she worked at it. Maddie said” It might even be easier now, with tape and video and things…” Russo loved that and told her (and later me) that she was very smart. Before we moved on he pulled out a trading card with his picture on it from Night of the Living Dead, and agave her an autograph.

You know, it seems like all day people were giving Maddie stuff. A led bouncy ball from the WOW table, suckers from one booth, a temporary tattoo from another. during our last pass through the dealers room, Maddie stopped to admire some coffins one of the artists had created. He asked which was her favorite and she pointed out the Dracula one. He told her that she could keep it.

We finally made it back to the film room for Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. The Abbott and Costello impersonators were back this year and introduced the movie, much to our delight. The lobby had been set up with elements from the films which was a great way of setting the mood. It was Maddie’s first 10320580_783678958343196_8034071362143705790_ntime seeing any of these monsters on screen (outside of cartoon fare like Hotel Transylvania). I think that in our modern day, we forget how truly scary the Universal monsters can be. The transformation of the wolfman terrified Maddie and she cuddled close to me when the monsters were menacing people on screen. The comedy helped and afterwards she declared that she loved it! however she allowed that the monsters were a little scary. Not as scary as she finds zombies though.

Back to the dealers room for an autograph and to find something for Lydia. I did get around to meeting Joel Hodgson, but have to admit, he seemed like he was bored with the whole event. He was friendly, but didn’t seem to really want to be there. His manager was a little weasel, and his prices were a little outrageous. All in all, not a great experience. Tom Savini was also he normal reticent self. I have to assume 10407788_783680278343064_3039167183084776753_nit’s just an awkwardness with people he doesn’t know. I can relate to that, but on the other hand, I watched on fan talk to (at) him for ten minuets, and while he nodded and acknowledged her, he never looked up from his iPad. On the other hand, he is fun and charming in every panel I’ve ever seen him in, not to mention amazing during the fencing match he participated in with the show runners daughter.

This was really fun to watch by the way. They had a strip set up to monitor hits while the ref kept score. Apparently this isn’t their first bout either. In a pervious match, Paisley won. Tom attributes this to the fact that she’s 17 and he’s….*ahem* a senior citizen (His words, not mine!). Apparently a few years ago, one of her friends was over at Toms table looking at the photos, trying to decide which to get, and she found a fencing one. Tom was originally up for the role in The Mask of Zorro when Robert Rodregiouz was still attached to direct. When he left the film, the role 10414580_783680148343077_56532490130144715_nwent to Antonio Banderas and Tom was really disappointed about this, but came away with a knowledge of swordplay.

I spent the match cheering for Paisley, while Maddie cheered Tom on. The goal was best two out of three rounds, five touches each. Double touches allowed. It came down to the last round. Each had one win, each had four touches. Paisley lunged, Tom came in under her arm and DOUBLE TOUCH. Tie match.  The ref laughed and shook his head. “There are no ties in fencing!” One more engarde and Tom took  the win.

After lunch we headed back for the storytelling part of the show. This is something new that they did t his year, exploring the roots of oral tradition and urban legends, then telling some stories along the way. It was half panel and half entertainment, but very well done. Maddie loves being told stories (she made me tell her the story of Dracula on the way home) and this was a great addition, and a good example of how kid friendly this convention is.


10482813_783996244978134_6167100564771218183_nWe elected to leave shorly after the Monster kid home movies that they do, as it was getting late, the dealers room was closing and we; have to wait out another film that Maddie didn’t want to see before getting to the Abbott and Costello tribute show and cake. Still, despite leaving a bit early we had a great time and Maddie was estatic.  She ended up buying an old Wonder Woman cup to bring home for Lydia.
Lydia’s Eyes lit up when maddie presented it to her and Lydia almost tackled Maddie hugging her. I like these too, they were Burger King premiums originally. I had a Superman one when I was a kid.

She also bought a set of trading cards for herself. She found some old “Fright Flicks” cards – another item I remember having as a kid. They feature pictures of monsters on them with funny sayings on the bottom and spooky stories on the back. The vendor handed them over to her with the warning “Don’t eat the gum. It’s older than I am!”

I do believe we will be back next year. Maddie really loved it and talked non-stop about it to both her mother and sister about it.  In fact, next year…it may be Lydia’s turn to come too.

10505563_783678885009870_5310500654765114444_n 10505563_783679991676426_8323886524783566191_n10500507_783680485009710_266743760219017763_n10464366_783678188343273_83428208230382309_nThe Creature car was adorable, but Maddie really liked the Dragula best!


Frankenstein is  EVERYWHERE!


10443496_783678495009909_1294002831501484502_n 10463991_783678668343225_6518928035610437805_n 10407366_783678538343238_7111732293167017570_n 10474661_783679148343177_9219406363546269898_n 10351813_783678845009874_7476820005888868055_n 10380909_783678441676581_9220641375998953118_n10371899_783678348343257_4572661101843657470_n 10380909_783678441676581_9220641375998953118_n 10492347_783678808343211_6457746159925293273_n 10488125_783678365009922_6048377979430368414_n 10337750_783678398343252_3065038187317352046_n We really loved the fencing match. Zorro came out at the end!

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More monsters!


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Monster Bash really does have one of the best dealer’s rooms around.


10387345_783680101676415_6360907197223080065_n 46226_783679585009800_5697213929681690651_n  10329035_783679805009778_6313437018525164371_n 10364192_783679685009790_369387334845609798_n 10390318_783679598343132_3187475289546838466_n 10414538_783678581676567_7960357623707956439_n   10482813_783996244978134_6167100564771218183_n 10485883_783995991644826_2096692206121499787_nI was so excited to find this. It’s a vintage eraser. There was a whole line of these back when Masters of the Universe first came out. I only ever had a Merman one, which I always substituted for the figure when I was a kid. I found this for a dollar in one of the booths.

10306739_783995771644848_7105885961792484140_nI remember this figure being very expensive a while back. I got a great deal on it


One last note, we’ll be featuring Monster Bash all week this week on Violent Blue! Head on over and check it out!







HorrorHound Cinicy 2014


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.


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.



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.


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.


Time for the Bald cap.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


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


Jason stalking someone.

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


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.

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.


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.


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!


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…..

IMG_20130720_123739 IMG_20130720_124102 IMG_20130720_123958 IMG_20130720_125037 IMG_20130720_125146 IMG_20130720_114206 IMG_20130720_083732 IMG_20130720_083722 IMG_20130720_080603 IMG_20130720_080553

My Found Footage marathon

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grave-encounters2-movie-poster-vicious-brothers-itunesA while back we talked about 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. 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 first 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.

I 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 here. 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 :

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

Evil Dead 2013

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I was determined to catch this while it was still in the theatres…despite the outpouring of negative reviews.

Now, most of the negative reviews I’ve seen generally fall into two categories :

The first is people who don’t like horror. Why these people would go see a movie titled “Evil Dead” I have no idea, but there are countless IMDB reviews complaining about violence, the excessive gore, even coining the phrase “Gore Porn” I guess the term “Torture Porn” has gotten played out.

The second category is people who are devotees of the original. This is the far greater category, those who revere the original film and prize it as a Horror classic.

It’s these folks especially that I have an issue with.

IMG_2683I like the Evil Dead movies. They possibly get more attention from me than they might otherwise because of their status as cult classics.  More than once I’ve been known to marathon them, and for me an Evil Dead marathon includes not only the three films, but also “Within the Woods” (the short film made to finance Evil Dead- a sort of proof of concept), both of the musicals (not only “boomstick”, which everyone knows, but also the small production that was done without authorization in Chicago and shut down quickly) and a copy of Evil Dead along with the live commentary done at Cinema Wasteland a few years ago.

I’ve tried to get into the Army of Darkness comics from Dynamite, but really the only ones that really worked for me was the crossover with the Marvel Zombies. When I see them at Half price books though, I usually get them. On my wall is a print of Tom Sullivan’s original poster, sporting the original name “Book of the Dead”. It’s signed by a bunch of the cast. I’ve gone out of my way to meet as many as I possibly could, even Bruce Campbell was nice enough to sign the thing through the mail for me.

So now that I’ve established that I have some cred here, I’d like to point one thing out about the original Evil Dead.

It’s not a great movie.Evil Dead Autos

It’s not meant to be. This isn’t cinema, it’s not art. It’s a B-Movie classic, a VHS memory. These things are good, they should be remembered, even celebrated. That’s why there are conventions like Monster Bash, and Cinema Wasteland. But let’s not overrate their quality. The original has a paper thin plot, minimal characterization and emphasizes gore over storytelling (all criticisms I heard leveled by fans at the new movie). It overcame it’s shortcomings by putting the passion of the filmmakers on the screen, and by not taking itself too seriously, venturing into a hyper-reality with comic book level violence and the occasional slapstick. It’s even possible that it could benefit from a modern remake (or preferably a sequel) that’s faithful to the original.

I think with this new movie, I take the greatest issue with the idea of “reimagining” rather than remaking it. “Reimagining” essentially gives the director the power to remake without any connection to the source material. It’s indulgent towards the film maker, not the audience, and that’s a problem. It’s especially a problem with a movie that is already fighting an uphill battle because it’s a remake and divergent from the original. In this case, they’ve used it as an excuse to skew dark and serious. Evil Dead was never dark and serious. If you get the tone of the film wrong, it casts a shadow over the entire end product and that’s a shame.

The “Reimagineing” excuse also allows them to change the rules. The most noticeable to me was how the Book of the Dead would not burn. It was a fundamental change in the relic, separating the continuity. It also gives them leave to stick in little homages wherever they feel like it…reminding you “this isn’t a sequel! It’s a reimagining!” Yeah. Ask Bryan Singer how well that worked in Superman Returns.

That said, this isn’t a bad movie. I really want it to be a sequel instead of an alternate universe, and I will probably continue to look at it that way. There could have been more than one book of the dead. Who knows if that’s even the same woods? but I’ll tell you what, if it is the same woods, I can totally understand there being more than one cabin out there.  Maybe paranormal and archeological researchers are drawn out to that region for some reason. Perhaps it has a history. That’s enough rationalization for me anyhow. Moreover, I don’t NEED Ash for a sequal, anymore than I NEEDED Ripley for it to be an Alien movie. I’ve long disowned the third film in that series, and despite what they call her in the fourth, that’s NOT Ripley that Sigorney Weaver is playing there…and I’m cool with that. The same is true for Evil Dead. I’m good with it just being about the demons and the killings.

While they may get the tone wrong, introducing serious elements like detox and abandonment, they get the gore and the creature effects VERY right. These kind of practical effects in this sort of movie always hold up better than CG, and when CG is used, it’s used right – that is, it’s used to enhance the practical. The book of the dead looks shockingly good. The redesign was really well thought out, though I have one tiny little beef with it. There are a great many interior illustrations that are pretty straightforward. it’s dark art, but still very comic book figure looking. It’s close enough in style that they really should have given this job to Tom Sullivan (the man who created the original book of the dead. Here he is pictured with me – he’s the guy holding the book!). Tom could have created these nightmarish images just as well as whatever artist took the job, and the producers could have really played up the connection to the original movie. A real missed opportunity here.   The Tree assault is done with more taste (marginally) and logic – there’s a point to it. The dialogue is chilling when we hear the demon declare “your girlfriend is being raped in Hell!” or “your mother hates you. She waits for you in Hell”. Even in the original, confidant lines like  “you are all going to die tonight” was scary. It still works here.

I’m not going to lie here. I liked this movie. It’s not better than the original, but it’s not any worse either, and that’s something a lot of sequels can’t say. It’s got it’s flaws but if we can get past both that and our (somewhat unwarranted) reverence for the original, there’s a fun and scary movie here. I’ll definitely be buying this when it comes out and am looking forward to some commentaries. I’ll pop this at the end of my next marathon (something I wouldn’t do with the Nightmare on Elm Street remake) and I look forward to seeing where this goes next.


By the way, Simply Film is also doing a review today, check out the podcast here :

Alien : The Director’s Cut

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I 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……


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, 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.” ( 

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.




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 :

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!

Monster for Daddy

Maddie grabbed her crayons and a piece of paper and told me she was going to draw some thing for me. She said she was going to draw a scary monster.

This is what she came up with. A creepy creature with six heads and eight arms and six

legs.  Isn’t he cute?

Violent Blue needs more monsters.

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!