FREAKSHOW DESIGNS out of Orlando Florida. Take note. Why do I bring this name to your attention? Because you need to know and remember this name!
FREAKSHOW DESIGNS is the collaboration of the husband and wife team of Matt Allen and Angie Calabrese. About three years ago, I first met these two horror-loving love birds online, and we instantly hit off. I soon found out of their own contributions to the horror world and, as a matter of fact, discovered that I had been admiring their work online before I even knew it was theirs. The items I’m talking about are incredible hand-crafted lamps. Each lamp is unique, and they even make them to order. At first, Angie was known among friends of mine “The Lamp Lady”. Everyone knew who you meant when you said it.
I asked Angie Calabrese for a bit of background on FREAKSHOW DESIGNS, and this is what she had to say:
Freakshow Designs was born 3 years ago. Our first show was Spooky Empire in the spring of 2014. Starting out with 22 skull lamps, we really didn't know if people would be interested in our stuff. We ended up selling out, which prompted us to vend that following October. One week before our horror-themed wedding. Products include skull lamps, hand painted Xmas ornaments, replicas of Freddy gloves and the Audrey II. New ideas are constantly on the horizon and I'm sure we'll be doing more. Cons we've vended [at] include Walker Stalker and Spooky Empire. In the future, we plan on Bay of Blood in Tampa, and once we get our hearse on the road, any con that will have us! Our lamps are on display at Artegon mall inside Gods and Monsters Orlando as well as Coffee Shop of Horrors. Our website is now open! We can also be found on Facebook. It's our pleasure to do custom jobs as well. Inspiration comes from our love of horror. But mostly we feel there's not enough year-round decor for horror fans available in stores. We love our friends in the horror community and hope to branch out as far as we can.
Most recently, Matt “The Mad Scientist” Allen, has brought to life a new creature – or, to be exact, several new creatures: SIDESHOW SAUCES! That's right, Matt loaded his laboratory with the freshest of vegetables, spices, and a lot of HOT STUFF to bring his specialty horror-themed hot sauce flavors to the world.
As of now, they offer the following flavors:
Sideshow Sauces - Bearded Lady-500x500
Blended with fresh, organic, Georgia peaches, tangy and fresh grated ginger, and blazing hot Habanero peppers.
Sideshow Sauces - Bubba the Redneck Werewolf-500x500
Straight out of Cracker County! Bubba likes his wings HOT with a touch of the ole Bourbon. This sauce gives you all the flavor a fun loving werewolf could ever need! Check out everything Bubba at
Sideshow Sauces - Java Lava-500x500
Infused with Coffee Shop of Horror's "My Little Cuban Friend". This mix of Chipotle, Habanero, and Coffee gives you the heat you want with a KICK! Say HELLO to my little friend!!! Check out or some AWESOME COFFEE!!!
Sideshow Sauces - Key Lime-500x500
Her song will bring your taste buds to the depths of HELL! Fresh, organic Key Lime juice, blended with Serrano peppers and a couple Scotch Bonnets thrown in for a little extra HEAT. Give your taste buds some heat with the one of a kind tang of Key Lime.
Sideshow Sauces - Tom's Slaughterhouse-500x500
A secret family recipe available in hot, medium, and mild.
Sideshow Sauces - Vamp Slayer-500x500
A recipe from Van Helsing himself, used to defend
against vampires. Fresh Roasted Organic Garlic blended with Organic Red Chili Peppers. The perfect combination to keep those blood suckers away from your neck!
Last, but certainly no less delicious than the others, is Tortured Souls Jalapeno Hot Sauce. Yes, you read that right: Tortured Souls, a sauce named after your favorite horror website, House of Tortured Souls. And is it made with actual tortured souls? Only Matt knows for sure.
A blend of fresh, organic Jalapenos and organic Tomatillos. Just enough heat to torture any soul to its core. Visit our friends at for everything HORROR!
It was just a few short months ago Matt and Angie approached me about using House of Tortured Souls on one of their sauces, and last week I received the finished product – complete with killer label artwork – in the mail! It actually brought a small tear to this old man’s eyes. When they first asked if I’d care to join in, “HELL YEAH” was my response. I was honored. Then I found out that two weeks ago at their sauce-tasting event at Coffee Shop of Horror, the reviews were incredible! The favorite? Why House of Tortured Souls, the jalapeño and tomatillo sauce, of course! In case it’s not obvious, this is a huge personal source of pride for me – and for HOUSE OF TORTURED SOULS – and we thank FREAKSHOW DESIGNS for allowing us to be a part of something this special!
As I mentioned before, I have now known FREAKSHOW DESIGNS personally for three years, but what I didn’t mention is that we have never even met in person! We have tried making plans, but often times life gets in the way. Still, we have assured each other that one day it will happen! Perhaps we may even combine House of Tortured Souls and FREAKSHOW DESIGN somewhere on the road and vend together. Who knows what the future holds?
Matt and Angie bust their asses to bring us new and creative products to the horror world, and whatever is next, I assure you, will be more than worth the wait!
Now, get on over to WWW.FREAKSHOW-DESIGN.COM, order some hot sauces, feel the burn, and tell them I sent ya!!
Matt Allen, the Devil, and Angie Calabrese
Congratulations, Matt and Angie, we love you both!
Keep It Evil...

CONGRATULATIONS: The Bone Jangler Selected for Horror Host Hall of Fame

The Horror Host Hall of Fame was established to honor and memorialize people who have made major contributions to the the world of horror hosting. Thus, both hosts and crew are recognized with this honor. Past inductees include Vampira (Malia Nurmi), Svengoolie (Jerry Bishop), Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), Joe Bob Briggs (John Bloom), Chilly Billy (William Robert Cardille), Grandpa (Al Lewis), Joel Robertson (Joel Hodgson), and The Cryptkeeper (John Kassir).
One of this year’s inductees is The Bone Jangler, host of The Bone Jangler and The Bone Jangler’s Daytime Dungeon, who has been gracing horror fans with his presence as a horror host since late September of 2001. I first met The Bone Jangler in the chat for Monster Channel back in 2010 (I believe), and we’ve been Facebook friends since. He is a wonderful individual, and I truly feel that this honor is well-deserved. You can see his shows now on the Eerie Late Night Horror Channel.
But who, really, is The Bone Jangler? Well, in his own words...
Since long before time itself had been recorded, there has been The BONE JANGLER! Throughout the years, the world's most prolific thoughtsmiths have theorized that the "big bang" that spawned the Earth's creation also heralded the arrival of this ancient enigma.
Content with sitting on the sidelines, watching various lifeforms evolve, The BONE JANGLER took particular notice of the vagina. Many were the songs the women sang unto Him, with fevered hopes that He would anoint them, and permit them entry into His Coven. And, as The BONE JANGLER and His merry maidens moved across the lands, the seeds of thousands of civilizations were sown. From the building of the ancient sphinx in Egypt, to the mysterious rock formation of Stonehenge, even as recent as the crop circles of today...The BONE JANGLER has been there.
While the true extent of His powers are none of your business, rest assured that He has zero, if any, rivals. From witchcraft to voodoo, reaching all the way back to Native American shamanism, The BONE JANGLER has had an impact on all forms of magick, past and present. In fact, many of the world's occult practices are based on the fundamental principles of The BONE JANGLER.
If you should run into him online or in person, be sure to congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.
To The Bone Jangler from all of us at House of Tortured Souls - Way to go, Bone Daddy!

THIS JUST IN: Halloween

John Carpenter has finally brought to our attention that Halloween is officially moving forward and the idea for the new film came from director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) and Danny McBride, who has appeared in comedies such as Pineapple Express, Your Highness, This is The End, and the TV series Eastbound and Down.
Last week, David and Danny, along with long time producer Jason Blum, met with Carpenter with a pitch so astounding that it even blew Carpenter away. He stated that these two understand the formula, that the film is in good hands, and he cant wait to release the film on October 18, 2018.
The only thing about the new movie that has been revealed at the present time is that the film will continue right after the events which took place on Halloween in 1978 after Dr. Loomis blew up himself and Michael Myers in the hospital. There is a solid decade between Halloween II and Halloween 4, which indicates that the film can go in any direction at this point. To a certain extent, it sounds like this new movie could possibly be the real Halloween 3.
Carpenter and his new team have promised to keep us updated on developments throughout the process. Hopefully we will have a better description on what the film is about and what we can expect by summer. All I know is that you can bet your ass that Michael Myers will return to stalk helpless victims in Haddonfield, Illinois once again.
Halloween has been scheduled to open theatrically on October, 18, 2018, which is one week shy of the 40th anniversary of the original (October 25, 1978) and 6 days after Michael's birthday (October 12, 1957).
Mark your calendars!


Welcome to The Vortexx where it's been ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME FOR SIX YEARS!
Welcome to THE VORTEXX where it's ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME! We've got a terrific line-up of hosts, shows, and movies this week, including one great new host making his Vortexx debut, one great movie making its debut, and a SLUGGO BIRTHDAY BASH to begin the week. Be sure to stick around Saturday night after our featured movie for VORTEXX FLASHBACK RADIO -- a tribute to the old-time radio shows of yesteryear. Our hosts this week are Sluggo & Sluggles, Deadwood & Co., Slash (making his debut on Monday), Arachna & Deadly, Edgar von Ghoul, Cnl. Graves & Smiley Bones, Karlos Borloff & the crazies at Monster Madhouse, Dr. Lady & the Usual Suspects, and Misty Brew. Enjoy our shows and thanks for hanging out!
Sunday (2/12). 9:00 P.M. (ET) Join us tonight for our SLUGGO BIRTHDAY BASH! On February 12 each year our nation celebrates the birthday of two great presidents -- Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, and Sluggo Gonzales, freely elected president of the Vortexx. It should come as no surprise that the movie our Dear Leader has decided to host on her birthday stars her favorite actor, singer, and musician -- Arch Hall, Jr. Be sure to come by tonight as SLUGGO'S STRANGE TAILS with co-host Sluggles and special guest Wolfie presents Sluggo's all-time favorite Arch Hall, Jr. movie -- and, believe us, folks, she loves them all! -- WILD GUITAR (1962). In tonight's movie, released just eight months after Eegah, Arch plays Bud Eagle, a young musician who comes under the influence of unscrupulous record producer Mike McCauley (Arch Hall, Sr.). Co-star Cash Flagg (who also directed under his birth name Ray Dennis Steckler) hams it up as McCauley's henchman Steak in what has to be the "meatiest" role of his career. Our show will be followed by an encore presentation of SCREAMING SOUP: HELLBOUND.
Monday (2/13). 9:00 P.M. (ET) Join us tonight as we welcome Indiana's newest horror host to The Vortexx with SLASH'S GRAVEYARD TALES. An artist, sculptor, pro wrestler, and haunter at the Harrodsburg Haunted House in his previous life, Slash is a Wolf Man who loves the old-time classic horror and sci-fi movies. And now that he's been bitten by the horror host bug, he's put together a show that he describes as "a cross between Pee-wee's Playhouse and Tales from the Crypt." Tonight Slash and his sidekicks Poe, Hoots, and Bones will be hosting Ed Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959). This is a movie that needs no introduction, but we're going to give you one anyway. A couple of pompous aliens in silk pajamas (Dudley Manlove and Joanna Lee) and their leader The Ruler (Bunny Breckinridge) plan to resurrect Bela Lugosi, Vampira, and Tor Johnson as slow-moving zombies. Why? Because all you of Earth are Idiots!
Tuesday (2/14). 9:00 P.M. (ET) Happy Valentine's Day to all our friends in The Vortexx! Tonight we've picked a movie that we feel is suitable for the occasion. It's a lovely love story about a mad scientist who loves his girlfriend so much that he's willing to stalk and murder to get a new body for her." Join us tonight as BEWARE THEATER with Arachna of the Spider People and her friend Deadly presents THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE (1962). Affectionately known to its many fans as "The Brain That Wouldn't Shuddup" and "Jan in the Pan," this film has everything that a B-movie fan could possibly ask for -- mutants, mad doctors, talking heads, cat fighting strippers, and some of the sleaziest, most infectious music you've ever heard.
Wednesday (2/15). 9:00 P.M. (ET) MIDNIGHT CHILLERS with Edgar von Ghoul presents THE EMBALMER (1965) aka The Monster of Venice. A psycho in a monk's robe and skull mask dons a scuba suit and stalks the canals of Venice looking for victims (all beautiful women, of course) to kill and then bring to his secret underwater lair for the titular embalming. Unfortunately, the budget did not allow for any underwater photography, which might have improved the killing scenes. But the secret lair, revealed at the end of the movie, is something to be seen.
SCREAMING SOUP reviews Fred Olen Ray's EVIL TOONS (1992)
Wednesday (2/15). 11:15 P.M. (ET) Don't go away folks! Stick around after Midnight Chillers for another episode of SCREAMING SOUP! Now entering its fourth season, this animated horror host show specializes in raunchy movie reviews. In tonight's episode our host Deadwest reviews Fred Olen Ray's EVIL TOONS (1992) while being ambushed by Buzzkill, a competing horror host. A knock-off of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, tonight's movie stars David Carradine, Dick Miller, Arte Johnson, and scream queen Michelle Bauer. Please note: This episode contains nudity and gross-out raunchiness and is, therefore, recommended for immature adults only.
PUBLIC DOMAIN DRIVE-IN presents Roger Corman's QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966)
Thursday (2/16). 9:00 P.M. (ET) PUBLIC DOMAIN DRIVE-IN with Cnl. Graves and Smiley Bones presents Roger Corman’s QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966). Here we go again! Corman got his hands on some more Russian footage, hired someone to write a screenplay around it, brought in Basil Rathbone and a few other English-speaking actors, and finished the whole thing in little over a week at a cost of $65,000. But the really strange thing is . . . this is actually a very good movie! Florence Marley gives a deliciously creepy performance as a green-skinned, glowing-eyed alien woman who is rescued on Mars to be brought back to Earth and proceeds to drain the blood from assorted crew members on the way home. Keep an eye out for a delightful cameo appearance by Forrest J Ackerman at the end.
Friday (2/17). 9:00 P.M. (ET) MONSTER MADHOUSE with Karlos Borloff, Slo Frank, and a cast of thousands presents HORROR EXPRESS (1972) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Telly (Kojak) Savalas. Our three stars find themselves traveling on the Trans-Siberian Express, accompanied by the frozen remains of a primitive humanoid creature who, needless to say, doesn't stay frozen for long. As always, there will be plenty of insane hijinks by Borloff and the Madhouse crazies both during and in between segments of the movie. Truth be told, we lost count of the number of times Frank gets punched, poked, and slapped silly in tonight’s episode!
THE LATE DR LADY SHOW presents Jess Franco’s OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981)
Saturday (2/18). 9:00 P.M. (ET) THE LATE DR LADY SHOW with Dr. Lady, the Usual Suspects, and special guest Sluggo presents our all-time favorite Dr. Lady episode -- Jess Franco’s OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES(1981) aka Skull on a Stick. The movie is about an expedition searching for gold hidden by Field Marshall Rommel that comes up against an army of Nazi Zombies. But what really makes tonight's show completely off-the-wall are its hilarious skits, several of which feature our own Pink Lady.
MISTY BREW'S CREATURE FEATURE presents The Vortexx premiere of THE HAUNTING OF JULIA (1977).
Sunday (2/189). 9:00 P.M. (ET) MISTY BREW'S CREATURE FEATURE presents The Vortexx premiere of THE HAUNTING OF JULIA (1977) aka Full Circle. Mia Farrow (sporting her Rosemary's Baby haircut) stars in this British-made thriller as a wealthy American woman named . . . you guessed it, Julia. She's living in London, trapped in an unhappy marriage, and haunted by the sadness of losing her child. Julia decides to ditch her hubby and move into a new house, which happens to be inhabited by the ghost of an obnoxious little girl who plans to use Julia as a pawn in her terrible revenge scheme. Unlike most of the foreign movies that sat on the shelf for years before being released in America, this one, based on the novel by Peter Straub who also wrote Ghost Story, is actually pretty good. And it's got a shocking and completely unexpected ending. Keir (2001: A Space Odyssey) Dullea costars. Note: Tonight's show will be followed by an encore presentation of Wednesday's SCREAMING SOUP: EVIL TOONS.

RECAP: TWD, S07E09, Mid-Season Premiere: Rock in the Road

AT LAST, my lonely days are over!
No? Don't sing, Tammie? Okay, how about... FINALLY! THE WALKING DEAD IS BACK!
And as soon as it comes on, we are all cussing! UGH. Why is Gregory still around? Stab him with those scissors on that outrageous desk! Actually, that would be a nice kill! Considering Maggie's younger sister Beth was killed while attempting to kill someone with scissors. It would feel like closure, right? 🙂 Nothing is getting in that thick skull of his. I'll say again how those scissors would be perfect. So what a relief. This good news is Enid rallied some Hilltopians to join their crew in their stance against Negan and brought them to our guys on their way out the door (with shoulders slumped). Way to go, Enid and Hilltopians! YES! Rise up! Now we have a crew growing in The Hilltop, and they have Maggie on their side, so they certainly will be just fine. 🙂
Since it did not go well with Gregory, Jesus was ready to introduce Rick's crew to King Ezekiel. I laughed out loud at the look on Rick’s face when Jesus said, “King Ezekiel”! I could not wait for them to see Shiva. LMAO. It was rich! Before Rick made it to Ezekiel, he found Morgan who faithfully did not tell Rick that Carol was right outside The Kingdom in her own little house. Morgan just told a side-ways truth by saying, “She left here”. Getting back to King Ezekiel, how touching it was to see him (the King) telling a young boy a bed-time story. How humble and how powerful. As much as I loved that, Ezekiel TigerDick did turn Rick down, not having any interest in joining to defeat Negan.
We did see a little of Carol. She almost shot our rising star Benjamin. Thank the Lort Carol did not tie this young man to a tree for the monsters to come along and eat him! That may mean that Carol will find another way to traumatize the poor fella.

The team now comes a roadblock. Crap. As they move all the vehicles over, Michonne, who has been on watch (But why? Is she pregnant, too, and cannot push heavy vehicles?!), spots a cable running across the road loaded with dynamite! HERE (and I hope she notices!) Rosita steps in. Here is her purpose! Rosita disarms the unit, and teaches them how to disassemble it. And our team has to work fast because Negan has sent a team to Alexandria (they know this from listening in on the walkie-talkie Jesus snatched while in The Sanctuary) and a horde of walkers are headed towards them. Of course they finish up just as the horde reaches them, but how in the hell did neither Michonne nor Rick get scratched up while they were playing patty cake with the walkers? BTW, aww snap, Rosita! Sasha speaks to her, and Rosita's claws come out. She lets Sasha know in a not so kind manner that she does not like her and to leave Rosita alone.
On to the most awesome scene we have had in a long ass time. All the dynamite has been removed from the cable – which is still attached to two cars. Who would not jump in these cars?! Bonnie and Clyde, I mean Rick and Michonne, hop in the cars and take off, making that cable one hell of a melee weapon! They go slicing through hundreds of walkers shuffling down the highway. Oh what a site! And then Rick looks over to Michonne, locking eyes and making sure she is fine and can keep up with him.

Rick's crew gets back to Alexandria just in time. As a matter of fact, Stanley and a gang of Saviors come revving up just before they get the gate shut. And, as they search the community with Rick in the lead, they go into the storage shed. Which is absolutely empty. Gabriel did not even leave a single cracker packet! They come up with a story to tell The Saviors because instantly Stanley thinks they have hidden all the food. When the Saviors leave and our crew are scratching their heads as to where their food went and why Gabe is missing, Rick goes through Gabriel's notebook. The last page says a single word, and one word was all the was needed. That word was 'Boat'. BINGO! I WAS RIGHT, Y'ALL. Those mysterious boots watching Rick and the crew were apparently worn by Leslie. As in the sign-maker aka SignDick aka the owner of the boat in the middle of the walker pond. I'm just trying to figure out if Leslie is good or bad. Did Leslie approach Gabe kindly and scheme up a genius plan, a plan involving hiding all of the food? OR is Leslie an evil asshole who threatened the place if Gabriel did not bring all of Alexandria's supplies back to his boat?
Rick and the crew head back to the boat, find boot prints, and follow the tracks. Suddenly, they are in a clearing. I must mention just how gorgeous and vivid all the greenery is here! Of course you can never walk out in the middle of a clearing in the zombie apocalypse without another crew popping out of the woodwork surrounding you. I couldn’t tell whether or not they were all female? Are these the folks from Oceanside? In the trailer on The Talking Dead, we see that the biggest smile imaginable spread across Rick’s face as they are surrounded and overrun. Maybe Gabriel comes out with this crew. That is the only thing that makes sense to me. Unless Heath comes out with them?
Naturally, they left us hanging. Until next time DeadHeads.

WIHM: Women in Horror Film Festival (WIHFF)

Happy Women in Horror Month! We continue our tribute to amazing women in horror with a look at the Women in Horror Film Festival (WIHFF).

Overview of Women in Horror

Women have played critical roles in horror films since horror films began. They began as objects of desire before evolving into damsels in distress. With Psycho, female nudity became part of the standard, eventually leading to the trend of "bad" girls having sex and being killed. With this came the final girl trope, wherein a female survives to the end, often killing the monster or slasher who had been the film's antagonist. The final girl was almost always the one who didn't do any drugs, drank little if at all, and did not engage in sex. Despite the evolution of the female to a strong survivor, there was quite a bit of underlying misogyny that really only began to be weeded out of horror in the 2000s with the current crop of strong women filmmakers. Indeed, the changing roles of women were defined by the changes in the genre itself, and, as any horror fan knows, there is no shortage of great women in horror. Moreover, not only have women moved beyond the stereotypes, they've also moved beyond simply acting in the films to becoming more active behind the camera in virtually every aspect of filmmaking. And that’s what the Women in Horror Film Festival (WIHFF) is all about.

The Women in Horror Film Festival

The WIHFF is a new horror film festival whose time has definitely come. According to the website, the festival showcases and celebrates not only female writers, directors, producers, and actors, but also cinematographers, make-up artists, and composers who have dedicated their craft to the horror genre. In order to be considered, submissions must be in no later than 15 July 2017, the extended deadline. A complete list of deadlines is available on the WIHFF official website.
The first rule for the WIHFF is that entries have women in key creative positions from the following roles: (Producer(s), Director(s), Writer(s), Cinematographer(s), Composer, SFX Artist, and lead talent). This is especially exciting for women behind the camera since those roles are often overlooked – particularly when staffed by women. Feature films (80-120 minutes) and short films (45 minutes) both are welcome as are feature screenplays (80 – 100 pages), short films (30 pages maximum), and TV pilots (45 pages maximum). Have a screenplay or TV pilot that hasn’t been produced? No worries there. As long as the script was written or co-written by a woman, it’s still eligible for submission. All items to be considered must be submitted no later than 15 July 2017 to allow sufficient time for the judges to evaluate all entries. To ensure impartial consideration, people who have worked on a festival submission are exempt from judging.
There are a total of 19 categories eligible for prizes that include, but aren’t limited to, custom WIHFF trophies, distribution consideration by Terror Films (feature only), and a 1-hour mentoring session with industry pro Mark Simon, who has over decades of experience in the camera department for major films (One Missed Call, Risky Business, Weird Science, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Predator 2, and Primal Fear). The 19 categories are:
  • Best Traditional Horror Film (short or feature)
    These films can encompass but are not limited to Slasher/Stalker/Supernatural
    /Creature Feature/Zombie/Folklore/Urban Legend
  • Best Non-Traditional Horror Film (short or feature)
    These films can encompass but are not limited to Animated/Comedy/Experimental,
  • Best International Horror Film (short or feature)
  • Best Documentary Horror Film (short or feature)
  • Best Grindhouse Film (short or feature)
  • Best Sci-Fi Film (short or feature)
  • Best Local Horror (GA filmmakers) Film (short or feature)
  • Best Student Horror Film (short)
  • Best LGBTQ Horror Film (short or feature)
    These films must be made by persons who identify as LGBTQ or center around LGBTQ characters/stories/subject matter)
  • Best Overall Feature Audience Award
  • Best Overall Short Audience Award
  • Best Unproduced Feature Screenplay
  • Best Unproduced Short Screenplay
  • Best Unproduced TV Pilot
  • Best Director (short or feature)
  • Best Actress (short or feature)
  • Best Cinematography (short or feature)
  • Best Musical Score (short or feature)
  • Best Make up/Practical FX (short or feature)
Clearly there’s a lot to look forward to in this festival.

The Festival Directors

The WIHFF is being organized by festival directors Vanessa Ionta Wright and Samantha Kolesnik. When I learned of the WIHFF, I knew that I had to honor it during Women in Horror Month. I reached out to Vanessa and Samantha who were kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Without further ado, here's your chance to learn something about the strong women filmmakers who have organized this much-needed festival.
WIHFF - Vanessa Ionta WrightVanessa Ionta Wright is an award winning screenwriter. Her work has garnered recognition at film festivals & competitions around the globe. She graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Video Production & Film. She recently launched the Women in Horror Film Festival with fellow screenwriter, Samantha Kolesnik. She enjoys punctuality, scary movies, a quick wit, sandwiches, the music of Michael Jackson, Halloween & Bacon Jam. She does not enjoy bugs, clowns, perpetual lateness, mean people, oppression, laziness, running more than 3 miles or curved walls.
WIHFF - Samantha SkolesnikSamantha Kolesnik is a writer and independent film producer living in Pennsylvania. She co-directs the Women in Horror Film Festival with Vanessa Ionta Wright. Her screenplays have been recognized at various festivals nationwide, and her fiction has recently appeared in The Bitter Oleander and The William and Mary Review. Her short horror film, I Baked Him a Cake, is currently in post production, and stars actresses Fleece and Lillian Gray.
HoTS: Who are some of your inspirations?
Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling are two biggies. I love Hitchcock's approach to suspense and building fear around what cannot be seen. I think Serling was an absolute visionary and I can definitely see his influence in a lot of my more science fiction/thriller writing. I am also very inspired by anyone brave enough to take a risk and put their work out there for everyone to see. As an independent filmmaker, I understand the challenges and the risks involved and I am absolutely inspired by those who don't take no for an answer and power through.
Some of my recent inspirations include Jennifer Kent, Vladimir Nabokov, Shirley Jackson, The Great Medieval Heretics: Five Centuries of Religious Dissent by Michael Frassetto, the huge database of the Righteous Among Nations, the performances of Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson in the film, Schindler's List, and so much more. I was a tremendous introvert as a child, and relentlessly bullied, so 'horror' for me, both in film and literature, has a deeper meaning than a temporary adrenaline rush. I enjoy psychological horror, tales steeped in folklore, and statements (intelligent, subtle statements...) on culture, myth, and human nature. Horror is when the darkness threatens to overtake the light at any moment in time, but I am a huge believer in the power of light. You can always make a light brighter, but darkness only gets so dark. I guess, what I'm saying, is there's more to horror than blood and guts - it just depends on your lens.
HoTS: How did you get into horror?
I wrote by first horror novel at the age of 7. It was called The Witch's Castle and it was a best seller in my second grade class. 😉
I watched my first horror film at the age of 8, Poltergeist. It firmly sealed my fear of stuffed toys, especially stuffed clowns. It also got me completely hooked on horror and I started chasing that fear 'high'. While my parents thought I was asleep, I would sneak downstairs and sit quietly on the steps and spy while they watched movies like Cujo and The Amityville Horror. When I was a teen, you would find me and my friends huddled around the TV on a Friday night, binge watching everything horror that the local video store had to offer. I like to think horror is in my blood.
I was always "into horror". There's a great streak of hope and triumph that runs through classic horror, and I was always on the side of our horror heroines. I think I also always sensed, even as a young child, that humans don't always make the best decisions, that humans are fallible. Horror, in a way, takes that to the extreme and shows us the most monstrous manifestations of our darker natures, and then it allows us to prevail against it (or at least to try to). Early horror favorites for me were the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, The Craft, the original Halloween Parts I and II, and the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I was also exposed to other kinds of 'horror' in film, though, that ended up impacting how I create within the genre... films like Sleepers, American History X, Citizen X... evil isn't confined to special effects and masks.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster?
My favorite monsters to create and write are the ones within us. Imagining the depths of evil that people are capable of. As far as iconic monsters, I've always really loved vampires. I know that's so clichè. What can I say, vampires are sexy.
Humans. The human is the most dangerous monster, and doesn't need any alterations or special powers to be utterly terrifying. Leatherface looks like a dandelion when you study human history.
HoTS: What's up next for you?
I always have a few irons in the fire. Up next will be taking the two short films I directed, I Baked Him a Cake and Rainy Season, to festivals. Both films allowed me to collaborate with Samantha Kolesnik who is always a pleasure to work with. She wrote and produced I Baked Him a Cake and came on board as the Executive Producer for Rainy Season. We also teamed up to launch the Women in Horror Film Fest. I also continuing to write, working on a few shorts, a feature and TV pilot. I sneak in a nap or two when I can. 😉
I'm working on finishing a collection of short stories, all which would probably fit into the category of either hyper-realism or 'dark fiction' (depends on how you see life), zealously working on making the Women in Horror Film Festival the best celebration of women filmmakers and writers that it can be, and I'm also wrapping up post on I Baked Him a Cake.
HoTS: What prompted you to start this much needed festival?
Sam and I are both very aware of the unbalanced representation of female filmmakers in the industry, especially within the horror genre. We really wanted to create a platform to showcase the amazing films and screenplays created by women. We are very grateful for the outpouring of support we have received for this festival. We are extremely proud to be doing something we love, supporting our sisters in the industry and scaring the hell of viewers.
Look at the last year's release of horror films. Look at the teams behind them. Very, very few have women directors, women composers, women writers, or women cinematographers. And trust me, that's not because they don't exist or aren't talented. Diversity works hand in hand with creativity. I could say 'I hope we see more recognition for women horror filmmakers in the future' but hope isn't a strategy, right? So, tons of women, like Hannah Neurotica, founder of Women in Horror Film Festival, and my colleague, Vanessa, are doing something about it.
HoTS: That’s fantastic. It really is long overdue, and I have great respect for you two organizing this.
I know it's early, but do you foresee this becoming an annual festival?
100% yes.
I know it will be.
HoTS: If money was no issue, what would your dream horror film be?
A $250,000,000 feature that starts with Jason Voorhees showing up in Haddonfield on Halloween night to battle Michael Myers. They end up in a chase that brings them to Texas where they pick up Leatherface. They start to realize they have a pretty cool little club here so they hop in a van headed to Springwood where they pick up Freddy Krueger. Horror ensues and they stumble upon the infamous puzzle box. Looks like someone forgot to invite the cenobites.  This upsets Pinhead so he drags them all to hell,after all he needed 4 more for poker night.
My dream horror film, should money be no issue, would be one that digs into the violence on women that is perpetrated by other women. It's something rarely explored or discussed, and I think it's a very important and relevant issue. That's vague, but that would be the concept at the heart of the film.
So there you have it - a look inside the minds of two women filmmakers whose impact on the genre has just begun!

Where and When

The WIHFF, which takes place September 22 – 24, 2017, is being held at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta in SW Peachtree City, Georgia. If you’re interested in submitting your work or just finding out more about the event, you can find the complete information at the Women in Horror Film Festival official website. You can also contact the directors at

RETRO REVIEW (MOVIE): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 1

Part I: That's Why God Made Fathers

Hello there, kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
When I was a kid, Saturdays were a special day relegated to staring at my television all day long. The mornings were full of cartoons. Late morning to early afternoon, we watched wrestling, 70s kung-fu, or giant monster films. But, later in the day came the horror movies. This was the best time to be glued to that screen. One of my favorite films, which they ran quite often, was Creepshow. I was too young to remember this film’s theatrical release, but I can imagine that the combination of George A. Romero and Stephen King was enough to make most horror fans' hearts thump erratically. In fact, this was one of the first horror films I can remember watching, along with Psycho and Night of The Living Dead. It was also one of the films that jump started my love for Stephen King and soon afterwards I was begging my mother to buy me one of his books. She purchased Night Shift (an anthology of short stories) from a flea market for 50 cents.
As an obsessive fan of horror and comic books, this was the perfect film for me. It brought together two of my favorite things that, at the time, was not easy for a young boy to find. To Romero and King, it was an homage to the comic books they loved as kids, EC horror comics like Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Comic books were all but exclusively about superheroes by the time I was old enough to enjoy them and I didn't even know that horror-themed comic books had ever existed. In fact, by the time the Tales From The Crypt television series first aired, I thought they were ripping off Creepshow! Boy was I wrong.
The year was 1982 and Warner Brothers was trying to decide when was the best time to release this strangely-toned R-rated film. Summer is usually the time most people go to the movies, but horror films do better closer to Halloween. They knew they couldn't release it before October 31st as the Halloween film series was dominating ticket sales for their last two releases. Michael Myers was becoming a household name and Creepshow would definitely be overshadowed by it. In an unusual move, they decided to give it a limited summer release in the Boston area. They gave it a four-week trial run, and it was met with great sales and high praise. Upon hearing that Halloween III: Season of The Witch would not feature Michael Myers, much to the lament of the fans of the series, they predicted that tickets sales for the film would dry up quickly. They were correct. Creepshow was released in theaters worldwide on November 12, 1982. It grossed well over $5 million in its opening weekend and knocked First Blood off of the number one spot. The first and only George A. Romero film to open at number one at the weekend box office. By the end of its run, the film grossed over $21 million in the US, becoming Warner Brothers’ biggest horror hit of the year.
Creepshow consists of five terrifying tales written by Stephen King. This is the only time George A. Romero directed a film that he didn't write. Three stories were written specifically for the film, while the other two were adaptations of short stories previously released in magazines. Most of the tales follow the stereotypical Tales of The Crypt formula. Someone commits a horrific act and it eventually comes back to haunt them, usually in the form of a murdered individual returning from the dead with a horrifying visage. Karma...
The film begins with a wraparound story about a boy who loves to read horror comics, but his father sees it as trash and refuses to allow his son to read it. I think this is an ever relevant topic, especially to 80s kids who listened to Heavy Metal and played Dungeons & Dragons. There was a huge push back against them at the time as they were thought to be teaching kids Satanism. To Romero and King, this was a callback to the similar attack on comic books in the 50s, which led to the self-regulating organization, Comics Code Authority and eventually the fall of horror comics.
The Creepshow comic book props and artwork seen in this story and the rest of the film were drawn and inked by Jack Kamen, a legendary artist in a variety of genres for EC Comics. He also drew the comic book cover-style movie poster. Originally, King wanted Graham Ingels (famous for his work on The Haunt of Fear and Tales from The Crypt) for the artwork. If you've ever read King’s non-fiction book about horror in film, radio, print, and comics, Danse Macabre, or the short story, The Boogeyman, then you know Stephen King thinks highly of Ingels' artwork. Unfortunately, Ingels was not interested. So, William M. Gaines (publisher and co-editor of EC Comics) recommended Kamen.
Playing the father Stan in this story is a non-mustachioed Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Night of the Creeps), who also starred in Halloween III which was released two weeks prior and was in direct competition. He also worked with Romero later on in Two Evil Eyes and Bruiser. Playing the horror comic reading son, Billy, is Stephen King's eldest son, Joseph King, who eventually grew up to become a best-selling author in his own right, under the pseudonym, Joe Hill (Horns, The Fireman). During a break, Stephen took Joe out to McDonald's, he had the make-up crew put scars and cuts and bruises on Joe as a joke. After leaving the drive-thru, the girl working the register called the police. Stephen had to explain to the police that they were making a movie and it was all a gag.
The scene ends with Stan smacking Billy for talking back and then throwing the comic in the trash. Afterwards, Billy is visited by The Creep, hovering outside his window heralding the upcoming horrors. Billy smiles at The Creep, knowing full-well that his revenge against his strict father is at hand. Although it is quite an evil notion, and should not be seen as good, this is an emotion most children have felt at one point. A concept that we can all relate to. This is followed by an animated intro with drawn images of all of the stories encompassing the film. I also loved this as a kid and I would be lying if I said, I didn't love it now.
Well, that concludes part one of my retrospect. I hope you enjoyed it. Join me next time kiddies, when we take a look at the first terrifying tale of the bunch — Father's Day...

MOVIE REVIEW: Tales of Halloween (2015)

Tales From Halloween ... I have so many mixed feelings on this film. Tales From Halloween is a compilation of ten short stories all woven into one Halloween night.
The film, at first watch, I must admit, was a huge disappointment. I have been wanting to see Tales From Halloween since I first heard of it, so my expectations were really hopeful. For some reason, it first felt like I was watching a made for TV movie. I thought the special effects were extremely low grade and the music was even quirky. I am the biggest fan of the Halloween season and always make it a point to watch any movie based around it. So, sorry to say, I wasn't a happy trick-or-treater!
As the movie went on, I tried to put my disappointment aside and give it more of a shot. As I did, my frown became more of a smirk. I started to see the campy and almost comedic side to Tales From Halloween. In my opinion, the movie isn’t a horror/comedy, but it does have you a campy B movie horror feel.
The film opens with the narration of a local radio disk jockey as the camera pans over a small town. The DJ, who is talking about Halloween and the witching hour, is none other than the sultry voice of movie legend ADRIENNE BARBEAU, and it set the mood for the film. The short stories range from legends of sweet tooth killers, aliens, neighbors fighting over the best yard decorating, children's revenge, and what would Halloween be without a killer jack-o-lantern.
The film does host a very impressive list of names to the cast, Barbeau, being one, obviously, the lovely Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Contracted), Greg Grunberg (Heroes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spin City (TV series)), Tiffany Shepis (12 Monkeys (TV series), The Night Watchmen), Lin Shaye (Insidious 1+2, Theres Something About Mary), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, We Are Still Here, You’re Next), Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman, Filth) Pat Healy (Compliance, Cheap Thrills, Carnage Park) and a small appearance by legendary director John Landis ( The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London) Now with a list like this, you would be expecting one of the best horror films ever, but sadly it isn't. To be honest, most of the names on this list have relatively small parts.
In keeping up with recent director compilation films (The ABCs of Death 1 and 2) and other Halloween films (Trick Or Treat), Tales From Halloween falls a bit short. Enjoyable for a non-serious horror film night - or a fun watch with friends.
Sorry, guys, but this is one where I loved the cover art for more than the film.
Keep It Evil...

TWD: Thoughts on the Mid-Season Premiere

My biggest obsession returns to me next Sunday. The Walking Dead returns from their break for season 7's second half. This half will be about our team preparing for war with Negan and The Saviours and is rightly titled, "Rise Up". The first half of season 7 showcased our team broken. Negan's effect hit our leader (Rick Grimes) the hardest. It was a real struggle seeing Rick in such a position. He has been broken, quite a few times come to think about it, but never have we seen this type of defeat in his eyes. Or this amount of fear. I kept thinking he's being this submissive because he has a plan in action. He needed Negan to see him as a weakling that will hold your weapon as your plunder his village. The last episode of the first half of the season however taught me Rick was just playing by ear. He did not want to lose his family so he abided... until Aaron's beating (the straw that broke the camel's back) and the conviction Michonne's speech had. Then I figured out that Rick was frightened because he saw Negan had so many followers. He saw Negan’s pull and came to the realization that no matter how badass he (Rick) was, no matter who he had on his side, he and his team were nowhere near ready to take on The Saviours. Plans needed to be drawn out, rehearsed, thought through and through. Teaming up with others needed to be done. Weapons and ammo needed to be collected and made. The damaged ones (members) needed repair and needed to "Rise Up". They all need to adapt and overcome, so I'm thrilled that the second half is about them getting up, dusting off, and moving on. And I seriously am looking forward to finding out who the hell is in those boots?! Is that 'Leslie'? Dammit, they sure love to leave us hanging for flipping months! I bet there will be hundreds tune in just to find out who the hell that is!
I honestly do not believe we will have a big death (meaning one of the main characters) in the second half. It will be focused on the crew meeting other crews, proposing a merger (and that may takes a few meetings of begging, I'll come back to that), coming up with a plan of action, training, and rehearsing. I'm sure it will also focus on supplies, since they are extremely critical at this stage. Getting back to the begging. We know the stance of two of the other groups - *Oceanside and *The Kingdom - neither are interested! And we know the convection of two of our members, Carol and Morgan. It appears Morgan is more torn than Carol. Carol actually doesn't appear conflicted at all; Carol is simply done with it all. She did not like the person she became, and I personally would love to see her in a new light. Carol is my favorite character by far! She did rise up, and she certainly is a phoenix, but she took a wrong turn in Alexandria and it turned her into this numb killing machine that she was not happy with. I believe Sam had a big part in that! Carol has one hell of a mind, though, and can become our Queen when she gets through being in the dumps. And Morgan is slowly (like molasses in the winter) coming around. He's been through a lot. Morgan lost what Rick is afraid of losing. Morgan, like 98% of our crew, snapped. Then came around and did a 180 when he meet the cheesemaker. I am waiting to hear him say, “All life is precious, but some need to end”. I see glimpses of him taking in the fact that there is this giant grey side instead of black or white, and the Kingdom is a perfect place for both of them to comes to terms.
I sooooo look forward to Maggie stepping up and taking her position. I mentioned before about her being a phoenix (just like Carol) so "Rise Up" is very appropriate! I also look forward to Rick persuading Ezekiel to stand and fight Negan. Ezekiel's role in the Kingdom is unique, and I am looking forward to how he will approach telling his followers to take a stand and fight as well. Will the choir be singing on the battlefield? LOL Shiva alone could take out a slew of Saviours with the swat of one paw! OH I want to see that so bad, now! And will it be Tara busting out about the team of women she came across, or will someone else (Carl isn't in the house again) stumble upon the village and run back to tell Rick? Wouldn't it be completely badass if the ladies from Oceanside team up with our ladies at the Hilltop?! :O
Now I mention Eugene possibility doing intel while in the Sanctuary. Now with the title "Rise Up" I'm feeling that he will also find his courage once and for all and fill in his spot as a team member.
Rosita surely is thrilled to death that they will now stand. I am wondering if she will fall into another relationship or go solo for awhile. I want to see her solo, want to see her learn her worth!
And what about Tobin? Will he go to Carol once he finds out where she is? There are questions to be answered. Apparently Carol and Ezekiel did not hit it off; well, she did say she was a fan of chocolate not fruit and he brought that pomegranate. I'm thinking Carol teams up with Ezekiel but not in a romantic way, but yet it's still over between her and Tobin.
And for the love of all that is holy, please give Gabe more kill scenes! I was floored when he gave that Savior a blessing then shot him! Completely boondocks man! And completely badass!! DO IT AGAIN!!! And I love the fact that Father Gabriel freaked Negan out! GOOD!! We have that in our pocket, then!
This whole second half of the season promises to be awesome. Andrew Lincoln is quoted as saying, "I promise you, there is one beat in 16, I dropped my script and started punching the air and did a little jig" (16 meaning the last episode of this season).
We (DeadHeads) always have group chat while the show is on to vent with like minded people. You are going to be screaming at the television anyway you might as well join us. 🙂

WOMEN IN HORROR: Lizzie Borden

Such a cute song to sing while jump-roping right? Truth be told, Abby Borden took about 19 chops and Andrew took about 15. Still that was one hell of a mess, huh?! I wonder if they called Ms. Evers to come back and clean up. 😉
As you may be able to tell in Andrew’s photo, his head was split right down the middle. Abby's head was chopped with such force that chunks of her skull were driven into the hardwood floor. Lizzie did SEEM to be the guilty party. lizziebordenFor one thing, she was on the property. She claimed to be in the barn. Then, when she went back into the house, she found her parents hacked up. So tell me how Lizzie did not hear any screams while she was in the barn? For another, she kept changing her story, and she burnt the dress she was wearing that day. On the other hand, none of the hatchets found on the property had a single drop of human blood on them. lizzieborden-prettyeyesOne did have blood and hair, but police found it was from a cow. One was rusty and two were covered in dust. There's also the fact that Lizzie was a quite, demure, spinster Sunday School teacher, so this was mysterious indeed!
lizzieborden-longsleeveAndrew was a stick in the mud. He was a popular man but notoriously dour. He was on the board of several banks, was well off YET lived in a rinky-dink, two-story (with maid's room in the attic) frame house that didn't even have up-to-date commodities. The house was on land that had been in the family for generations (we will get to that in a moment) and wasn't far from the district he worked in. However, it was still in a poor neighborhood, and his two grown daughters who lived there with him argued over this continuously. You put me in one of those long-sleeved frocks in August with no 'ice chest', no fan... I'll leave it at that.
Now here's a 'Wait, WHAT???' tidbit for ya. Remember I said I would get back to the family's land? Well Lizzie's uncle and step-aunts (they kept dying on him *eyebrow raised*) lived in the house right next door to the famous Borden House (on the same land). After Lizzie's uncle had three children with his second wife Eliza, she threw her children down the cellar cistern (one managed to survive) and then slit her own throat with a razor!
The Borden Murders and the house are extremely popular among us ghost hunters and horror fans. Several ghost tracking shows have gone there to film including:
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Adventures
The Dead Files
Two amazing women have played Lizzie for TV. In 1975, Elizabeth Montgomery gave a powerhouse performance in the TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden. Christina Ricci (you know one of our all time favorite Horror Queens) did an exceptional job playing Lizzie in Lifetime's 2015 miniseries The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.
Elizabeth Montgomery and Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden
Nowadays the house is a Bed and Breakfast (B&B). It has been completely renovated to resemble the Victorian House as much as possible, including several saved pieces of furniture and photographs of the family. And every year, on the anniversary of the murders, there is a reenactment and tour.
So make sure to add this quaint little B&B to your Bucket List!

WOMEN IN HORROR: She Who Must Burn (2016)

It's always a bit of a risk making a movie that deals with a hot button political issue. While traditionally horror films have a legacy of delving into social issues, they aren’t always as front and center as in She Who Must Burn. When they social issue is abortion, well, it doesn't come much more controversial and risky.
She Who Must Burn, directed by Larry Kent stars Sarah Smyth, Shane Twerdun (who co-wrote the script) and Jewel Staite (Firefly). Smith is Angela, a worker at a local abortion clinic that has shut down after a doctor is murdered by a local religious leader. Angela stays behind in order to help local women and runs afoul of the leader's cult-like followers.
There's no escape for She Who Must Burn
Right off the bat I know a lot of people will complain that this treats right to life Christians in a bad light. Maybe it does, in the same way that The Hills Have Eyes presents children of incest in a bad light. You might even say that Hills is much more unfair to its subject, since abortion providers have been murdered in recent history, whereas stories of cannibalism by inbred families are pretty much unheard of.
So toss out any complaints about the film being unfair and lets just watch the movie. First, it's beautifully filmed, scenes of the rural landscape look bleak but all too real. They remind you this is a film set in a different America, an America of rural, low income people struggling to survive and hold on to their way of life. It’s a film set among the forgotten people, those overlooked in our rush for social justice and progressive values. Growing up in rural Mississippi, that landscape is all to familiar. The visuals are what make this film work so well. It anchors some of the more exaggerated (hopefully) acts in a firm reality.
The acting is top notch, from Smyth, Twerdun, and especially Missy Cross, as the bat shit crazy sister of Twerdun's character. Somehow she is able to go completely off the rails and still remain very real, very believable. The cast and director do a great job of making all the characters seem real people and not caricatures, or one dimensional representations of a belief. While Angela may be diametrically opposed to the local belief system, she never looks down on them and seems to actually care for them. She knowingly stays around in spite of the danger to her own life.
All the characters seem real, which adds a complexity that is important for a film like She Who Must Burn. It elevates it to a true film and not just a propaganda piece. That and it never makes a moral judgment on the actual act of abortion, nor on those who oppose abortion, just the ones who use violence to oppose it.
In fact, its social statement reaches much deeper than the abortion issue. It subtly but clearly points to how the powerful use belief and tradition to control people. We see the coal workers, sick, dirty, unable to afford health care. We are told the water is poisoned and the children are dying. But we don't blame the corporations, we don't blame pollution, we blame sin. We fight those trying to help us and follow those telling us what we want to hear, be they politicians or religious leaders.
She Who Must Burn
And the last 15-20 minutes of She Who Must Burn is absolutely brutal. It's intense, violent, and bloody. It's shocking, and that's coming from a guy who loves shocking movies, and it's utterly unrepentant. Even the villains of the movie seemed shocked at their actions. You know when the climatic final segment begins that it isn't going to end well. It can't end well, as a storm hits both literally and figuratively, a storm taken as a judgment from God, but really just a storm born of nature, alongside a storm born of human nature. The rain falls on the just and unjust, so does violence and death.
There's no doubt She Who Must Burn is a good movie, hell it's a great movie. But will you like it? That's a different issue. If you are a firm believer in the right to life movement, you might think it's painting your belief in an unfair light. Personally, I think it's more an attack on those who use the movement for their own devices, and maybe how we let our belief systems blind us to actual human compassion. I'd like to think that if both sides of this film just sat down and talked, Angela and Jonathon they would have actually understood each other. Which is kind of like real life isn't it? We had rather curse at each other, than talk to each other. Or maybe not. Maybe we are just as doomed as the people in She Who Must Burn.
Other than that, it's a real dark, depressing, nihilistic film which may turn off a lot of people. It's not your gory slasher film, with one liners and stupid teens. It's a real dark, hopeless, horror movie with some extremely dark and gory scenes. This is a movie that will stay with you. It will bother you. I'm sure a lot of people might not agree, but it gets a five out of five stars from me.

COMING SOON (Fall): Cult of Chucky (2017)

Everyone's favorite killer Good Guy doll is heading back in front of cameras with a new Child's Play installment known as Cult of Chucky. Child's Play creator, Don Mancini, who wrote the original as well as wrote and directed Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky, is back and at it again with Cult of Chucky. The new film will bring back Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, Jennifer Tilly and once again, Brad Dourif as the foul-mouthed voice of Chucky. The film started shooting in Canada at the beginning of the year with hopes to release it straight to DVD and On Demand just in time for Halloween.
The synopsis for Curse of Chucky is this.
Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) is erroneously convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new therapeutic "tool" to facilitate his patients' group sessions - an all-too-familiar "Good Guy" doll with an innocently smiling face - a string of grisly deaths begins to plague the asylum, and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn't crazy after all. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky's now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child's Play, races to Nica's aid. But to save her he'll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky's long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.
I, for one, am looking forward for a new Chucky movie and since the last one was a clever surprise, I am more than certain that this will be another enjoyable film in the Child's Play franchise.

2017 Convention Dates and Locations

House of Tortured Souls has compiled a list of the conventions going on this year. If you know of others, please let us know so that we can add them to our list. Likewise, if you have any changes or corrections, please let us know. Thanks!

TRIBUTE: In Remembrance of Sir John Hurt (Updated)

On the 25th of January 2017, the world lost one of the most prolific and iconic actors to grace us with their presence on the silver screen. Sir John Hurt publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. Dedicated to his craft, he continued to perform while undergoing treatments. By the end of that year, he announced that his cancer had gone into remission. So, it was surprising and sad to hear that he had passed away, three days after his 77th birthday, in his home in Cromer, Norfolk.
If you grew up in the 80s, like me, you may have been introduced to John Hurt in the classic science fiction/horror film Alien. He played Executive Officer Kane in one of the most unforgettable scenes in film history: the alien chest-buster scene. He even replayed this scene in Space Balls, the Mel Brooks parody of science fiction films. After that, I always recognized him in any role, and he always brought a smile to my face – regardless of the type of character he was playing.
Hurt's career spanned over 60 years, with over 129 films and dozens of television appearances. Some of his films are of massive importance, from films that advanced the art of filmmaking (Midnight Express, The Elephant Man, and Perfume) to the films that affected the global social conscience (Watership Down, 1984, and V for Vendetta) to his appearances in films based on “geek” culture (Hellboy, the Harry Potter films, and Indiana Jones) to his contributions to the horror genre (The Ghoul, Alien, and Frankenstein Unbound). One thing that I had always noticed about him is that he always took his roles seriously. Even when comedy was called for, John never failed to give his best performance.
In one of his final performances, he portrayed an incaration of one of the most important British characters in television history – a character that has existed for about the same length of time as his own career. He played the War Doctor, a version of The Doctor from the BBC series Doctor Who, a role which is of ultimate importance to the plot of the main character and his background.
John Hurt has left behind some of the most impressive works in film history and will always be remembered as one of the greatest actors of all time. I hope you rest well, Sir John.
Sir John Hurt
(22 January 1940 – 27 January 2017)

Good-bye, and thank you.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to replace an image of Gary Oldman.
-Woofer McWooferson Woofer's Paw Print microscopic

COMING SOON: 2017 Horror Video Games, Part 1

2017: The Year That Horror Video Games Came Back With a Bite, Part 1

Horror is a genre that brings joy to many people – as is video gaming. Combine the two and you have a beautiful relationship that brings a mixture of happiness, excitement, and maybe even a little fear to countless fans. That said, there are some amazing horror video games coming out in 2017. Let's take a look at some of them.
1.) Game: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Release Date: January 24. 2017
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC

Resident Evil is a name that many horror fans and gamers alike know. For many of us, the first couple of Resident Evil games were our first forays into horror video games. Many were disappointed with the last Resident Evil game, Resident Evil 6, because it felt like a clunky, cheesy action movie instead of the survival horror game that we have all come to know and love. With Resident Evil 7, it looks like we are getting back to that horror atmosphere.
Resident Evil 7 takes place in Louisiana four years after what happened in RE6. You are playing as a new character to the series, Ethan Winters, who, while searching for his missing wife, comes upon a haunted plantation filled with psychotic individuals, and, of course, some haunting and frightening creatures. We are not sure how Ethan and the events in this game are connected to the other games in the series, but Capcom has said that they do tie together in some way.
2.) Game: Friday the 13th: The Game
Release Date: Early 2017
Developers: Gun Media, Illfonic
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC

If there is one thing horror fans love, it’s a killer with a style that will make you fall in love with evil, such as Jason Voorhees, a mighty and ominous figure in the horror world, or as Jason Voorhees the man. The goal of the game, if you are a counselor, is to escape Jason and the camp. You can try the stealth route and hide and sneakily escape from him or team up with other counselors to take him on. If you play as Jason, the goal, of course, is to brutally kill all the counselors!
In this game, we are taken back to good ol’ Camp Crystal Lake, where you can play as a camp counselor or as the man himself, Jason Voorhees. The goal of the game, if you are a counselor, is to escape Jason and the camp. You can try the stealth route and hide and sneakily escape from him or team up with other counselors to take him on. If you play as Jason, the goal of course, is to brutally kill all the counselors!
If you are a Friday the 13th fan, whether you grew up watching the movies or just recently took a liking to Mr. Voorhees, this game will give you the biggest smile on your face. The setting is straight from the early movies, in all its 80s glory, the kills are brutal and gory, and you finally get to play as Jason Voorhees. What more could you ask for? Just remember, counselors, it doesn't matter how fast you run because Jason will always walk faster than you!
3.) Game: Agony
Release Date: June 2017
Developer: Madmind Studio
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC

Probably one of the least talked about games on this list, Agony, is looking to be a great and gruesome addition to the horror video game catalog. You play a tortured soul who is stuck deep in the depths of Hell looking for an escape. By interacting with other souls stuck in in Hell, you soon learn that the only way to escape is to meet the one and only mystical Red Goddess. You have abilities, such as controlling other demons, that will aid you on this journey to escape.
Agony has some of the most hauntingly beautiful scenery that I have seen in a long time. Morbid and gruesome images play throughout the trailer, exactly what you would expect Hell to look like. The demons are nightmare -inducing, even if some of them have some really nice boobs to look at. Agony looks like it's going to be an Indie gem that will garner a cult following.
Well, there you have it – part one of my ongoing series of 2017 video game releases. Keep an eye out because part two will be coming soon.

MOVIE REVIEW: Incarnate (2016)

Incarnate is a movie. I saw it. I'm tempted to end it here, but that wouldn’t be fair to anyone. Except maybe the people responsible for making Incarnate. Well, I should probably start with what I liked about the film. That's fair, right? Well, then, for the good parts: It was dark, slick, with a compelling and visually pleasing female lead front and center. Wait, that's not Incarnate! That's my mother fucking diet Coke-filled Rogue One cup I got at the concession stand! And that's the best thing about Incarnate.
Hello? Is this my agent? You're fired!
Oh shit, bra, you being hard on that movie. Yes, I am. I would say I hated it but that's such a small unassuming word. If Incarnate were a puppy, I would have it put down. I would record the process and post it to the Internet as a warning for other puppies. By now, you are probably wondering what brought on this attack of obvious hyperbole. There were many things. Many things which all amount to one base thing. The film was lazy, and it insults its audience.
Well, shit. I guess winter did come.
The plot as it were, a person (Aaron Eckhart) is able to enter the mind of possessed people. He does this to force the demon out. He heard about a kid possessed. The church comes knocking.
“U exorcise dat kid”
“No I not gonna exorcise dat kid”
“Y U no Exorcise dat kid?”
“Cause I haz sads for my dead family”
“Demon in dat kid killz your family”
“Ok I exorcise dat kid”
It's all cliché. It's all formula. Paint by numbers and to hell with Bob Ross.
Aaron Eckhart is trying his hardest to look and sound like Sean Bean. Seriously, the first time I saw him, after the opening they stole from Inception, I said, “Damn he looks just like Sean Bean. Shit that means hes gonna die”. Guess what happens ***spoiler alert*** he dies deader than Ned Stark. Seriously if the Sean Bean foreshadowing wasn't enough, Incarnate goes out of its way, over and over and over to let you know he's going to die. So all suspense about your main character is gone.
Incarnate sucks. Here's a kitten.
But I decided to give it a chance. Knowing the ending of a movie doesn't necessarily ruin it for me. I mean I knew Liberty Valance was gonna die, but I still loved that film. It's in the damn title. So, onward.
I pride myself in not being an overly picky viewer. Hell, look at my reviews. But here is a little thing that bugged the shit out of me. Mostly because there was no reason for it. The little kid possessed by a demon is asked its name. It goes though this evil sounding litany, some of which - names and timeline - struck me odd, but oh well - until... “After the deluge, when the angels took human women, my name was Passion”.
Now, I am paraphrasing a little, maybe, but the key part, “after the deluge”... No. Seriously, no. What the fuck - no. Did you actually research this or just hear somewhere “Hey, dude, the bible says angels raped women”. Fucking lame ass shit; read a goddammed bible. The deluge, aka the flood, happened after the angels came upon human women and children were born to them. In the Apocrypha, Book of Jubilees, I think, it’s even stated that the deluge was caused specifically to cleanse the earth of this ungodly offspring.
Now you are possibly saying “That’s such a small thing. Is it really important?” It's important because it works just as well if you say it right. “Before the deluge”. But the writers are either to lazy to research at all, to dumb to understand, or just don’t give a shit because they think fans wont notice. Well, I noticed and as much as I tried to ignore it, I was bothered during the entire film. Did I mishear it? Maybe they meant this. It bothered me. On its own, that would have been a small itch, an annoyance, but it's part of a whole.
Nit pick number two. The hero has to go into a dimension inside the child’s mind to evict the demon. He wont use the word exorcise because he hates the church. GRRRR church. Sean Bean, Aaron Eckhart hates you. Well, in this dimension, we are told over and over that time stands still. Yet you have to get out in eight minutes or you die, or something. But......if time stands still it doesn’t matter how long you are inside. Time stopped, remember? Yet we have the faux suspense of seeing clocks and counters, and people rushing and, chill out, he got forever, time be standing still, y'all.
The film ends with what seems like fifteen solid minutes of fake out after fake out, and each false ending you know is a fake out, you know it's a “twist”, and you know what's coming next. Every fucking twist is telegraphed or just so obvious that you feel like you must have stolen a copy of the script.
So what do we have? Predictable and utterly preposterous plot (lifted from Inception), lazy writers, over dramatic acting, CGI eyes on the demons, and no scares at all. Not a single fucking jump or even twitch in the whole film. Incarnate is boring, and manages to be both confusing and predictable at the same time. The characters do completely illogical, irresponsible, and ignorant things for no reason.

Incarnate Works on the Theory That Horror Fans Are Dumb and Will Watch Anything

I felt insulted as a viewer and as a fan of horror films. I feel dirty for paying money to see this. Please give me my money back. I feel like I gave my PayPal password to a Russian porn bot, and she laughed at me online. I knew this movie wouldn't be good. Knew that going in. It had the look of suck. But I convinced myself it go. And I did want to get one of those sweet Rogue One cups. But I didn't expect to hate it this much. At least I got my cup, and it is sweet.
Incarnate stars Aaron Eckhart (Batman: The Dark Knight), David Mazouz (Gotham), Clarice van Houten, and some other people. Brad Peyton (San Andreas) directed. See it at your own risk.
1 dimly burning Christmas star out of 10

MUSIC REVIEW: Calabrese – Lust for Sacrilege (2015)

Image: Rock Revolt Magazine
Over the years since I first started listening to Calabrese, I thought they couldn’t get any better. Their E.P. Midnight Spookshow (way back on made me fall in love with this band. They were campy, fun, and cartoonish with some hard-hitting yet almost poppy rhythms that really brought something different to the scene at the time. Then 13 Halloweens comes out with the same flavor, and you could tell it’s a great band that would – and has – just kept getting better. So, skipping past the rest of the albums to the latest, which I’m going to talk about here, I’ll say those first two defined them with some of us in the early 2000s punk rock scene.
The following Calabrese expressed a lot of growth and experience from this band of three brothers. I just finally had a chance to listen to the latest record, Lust for Sacrilege, and it is definitely a solid, one hundred percent different feel from where they were until now.
The talent in the music is very present in this album. It’s slower than the previous albums, however, as after 13 Halloweens they did kind of slow it down and evolve into more adult-themed with their brand of horror rock. Lust for Sacrilege is an album that I would put in a category with bands like Sisters of Mercy and The Cult - the super dark death rock that is great to listen to and just admire the marksmanship of the lyrics, harmonies, and music that really shows what kind of band can come from the land of campy cartoons to the big screen adulthood of rock n’ roll.
I would not classify this album as Horror Punk because, like horror, there are many subgenres. In the beginning, Calabrese got straight to the point with songs like “Blood in my Eyes”, “Midnight Spook Show”, and “Backseat of my Hearse”. Moving on to the albums III-Touch of Death and Born of the Scorpions Touch, we saw that their style was evolving – maturing. Lust for Sacrilege is the ultimate mature album for a truly talented band that is strong in everything they do that each song glides smoothly from one to the other.
The album opens with “The Dark Is Who I Am”, and, man, you CANNOT get a better opening song than this as it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a bit slow and different from the Calabrese signature sound they started with. It really sets the dark tone of the album. The following tracks are a little harder and faster as they move on to “Teenage Crimewave”, which showcases some of that old school Calabrese guitar riffs and driving tempo. Still, it’s not campy and is very lyrically pleasing, a solid song from start to finish that serves as a great throw back number for them musically. The rest of the album, like I said, has some really heavy vibes of The Cult, which is a fantastic band to be compared to. “Wanted Man” is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. When I first heard it, I could practically feel it actually resonating through the speakers. In short, the whole song gives off a vibe that is just amazing and needs to be felt not heard. Some slower songs on the album, such as “Serpent Flame” and “Drift into Dust, I couldn’t really get into. I don’t mind slow songs but these just didn’t do it for me, and I skip over them. On the other hand, you, the reader, may prefer such numbers. The beauty of music is there’s always something for everyone. This album exemplifies that.
For a band that came from some punk rock, campy, horror roots, Calabrese evolved and transformed their signature sound to create something marvelous with Lust for Sacrilege , a solid album with something for everyone and really keeps you listening. I highly recommend this album, and, while you’re at it, please show Calabrese some love and pick up their other albums as well. If you have a chance to see them live, let me assure you that you should. Calabrese is something you will want to experience live, and you will not be disappointed - I promise you that.
Don’t forget to check out the official Calabrese website.
Keep it Creepy


Welcome to The Vortexx where it's been ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME FOR SIX YEARS!
Welcome to THE VORTEXX where it's ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME! We've got a terrific line-up of hosts, shows, and movies this week, including three new movies making their Vortexx debut, along with several returning favorites and a trip to The Peninsula of Horror on Saturday. Our hosts this week are Misty Brew, Bobby Gammonster & Boris the Buzzard, Freakshow & the Bordello gang, Edgar von Ghoul, Deadwood, Uncle Pete, Dave Binkley & Holly Schilthelm, Arachna & Deadly, and (at the Peninsula of Horror) Professor Gillman and Master Vyle. Enjoy our shows and thanks for hanging out!
MISTY BREW'S CREATURE FEATURE presents The Vortexx premiere of ANTS! (1977)
Sunday (01/22). 9:00 P.M. (ET) MISTY BREW'S CREATURE FEATURE presents The Vortexx premiere of ANTS! (1977) aka It Happened at Lakewood Manor. Robert Foxworth, Suzanne Somers, Lynda Day George, Bernie Casey, Myrna Loy, and Brian Dennehy are among the stars in this TV movie about an army of poisonous ants that attack the residents of an old-fashioned lakeside hotel targeted for purchase by an unsavory gambling casino promoter. This was one of several movies made during the late 1970s to capitalize on the popularity of Jaws. Tonight's show will be followed at approximately 10:45 by an encore presentation of last Wednesday's episode of SCREAMING SOUP (DEADGIRL).
MONSTER MOVIE NIGHT presents Larry Buchanan's IN THE YEAR 2889 (1967)
Monday (01/23). 9:00 P.M. (ET) MONSTER MOVIE NIGHT with Bobby Gammonster and Boris the Buzzard presents Larry Buchanan's IN THE YEAR 2889 (1967). Although the movie's title is taken from a Jules Verne novel of the same name, it's actually a remake of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955), and the story is set in the year 1977. A nuclear war has wiped out most of the human race, and a group of survivors in a Dallas mansion find themselves beset by rising radiation levels, a ruthless tough guy, and cannibalistic mutants. You heard right, folks -- cannibalistic mutants. It don't get any better than that! Former child actor Paul Petersen (The Donna Reed Show) stars as the lead survivor.
Tuesday (01/24). 9:00 P.M. (ET) BORDELLO OF HORROR with Freakshow, Sgt. Drizzlepuss, Ali Katt, and Beelzabroad presents TRACK OF THE MOON BEAST (1976). After a beefy young mineralogist (Chase Cordell) gets boinked in the head by a meteor fragment, he is transformed into a hideous lizard-like monster whenever the moon comes out. Badly paced and badly shot, with a badly constructed story and a mostly talentless cast playing cardboard characters, its one saving feature is that soon-to-be-famous Rick Baker designed the beast. Along with the movie, Freaky will be presenting footage from the March 2015 Horrorhound Weekend including the Horror Host Hall of Fame awards, interviews with producer Paul Travers from Old 37 and Fred Vogel from Toe Tag Productions, and music by The Renfields.
DEAD END DRIVE-IN presents The Vortexx premiere of KEEP MY GRAVE OPEN (1974)
Wednesday (01/25). 9:00 P.M. (ET) DEAD END DRIVE-IN with Edgar von Ghoul returns to the Vortexx for its second appearance! Tonight Edgar will be hosting The Vortexx premiere of KEEP MY GRAVE OPEN (1974) aka The House Where Hell Froze Over. This slow-moving but creepy thriller from S. F. Brownrigg, the director of Don't Look in the Basement, re-unites Basement cast members Camilla Carr and Gene Ross. Carr, who would later go on to become a successful novelist, stars as Lesley Fontaine, a troubled young woman who lives in an isolated farm estate miles from the nearest town. Murders are being committed in the vicinity, and Someone is responsible. Is it Lesley? Or perhaps her brother Kevin (Chelcie Ross), who may be real or may be a product of Lesley's overworked imagination. Gene Ross (Judge Oliver W. Cameron in Basement) plays Lesley's compassionate doctor. Larry Buchanan favorite Bill Thurman plays a hitchhiker looking for food, who becomes one of the victims.
Wednesday (01/25). 10:45 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.] We welcome SCREAMING SOUP back to The Vortexx for its second appearance! Now entering its fourth season, this animated horror host show specializes in raunchy movie reviews. In tonight's episode our host Deadwest reviews THE GREEN SLIME (1968) while his friends try to defuse his rage over the film's lameness. The film itself might be lame and the monsters laughably ridiculous, but it's got one of the catchiest title songs in movie history. In addition to Deadwood, tonight's cast includes Billy, Eb'nstein, Deadbeat, Doc Rex, and Aleena.
UNCLE PETE'S DARK VAULT OF PUBLIC DOMAIN presents The Vortexx premiere of ABBY (1974)
Thursday (01/26). 9:00 P.M. (ET) Join us tonight as we welcome THE DARK VAULT OF PUBLIC DOMAIN with Uncle Pete back to The Vortexx. Now in its 9th year of Cult Movie Madness, this great show is broadcast on local cable on various stations in New York State, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire and is now spreading like The Blob throughout the Northeast. Tonight Uncle Pete will be hosting The Vortexx premiere of ABBY (1974). Think Blackula meets The Exorcist, and you have some idea of what this movie is all about. William (Blackula) Marshall stars as a bishop/archaeologist who unknowingly brings back a demon from Africa that takes over the body of his daughter-in-law. Released one year after The Exorcist, Warner Brothers wasn't too happy about this blatant rip-off, and their subsequent lawsuit kept the movie out of circulation for years.
Friday (01/27). 9:00 P.M. (ET) THE WEIRDNESS REALLY BAD MOVIE with Dave Binkley and Holly Schilthelm presents NO HANDS ON THE CLOCK (1941). Chester Morris, best known for playing jewel thief-turned-detective Boston Blackie in fourteen films during the 1940s, plays another detective in tonight's comedy-mystery released the same year as the first two Boston Blackie movies. In this one he is wise-cracking private detective Humphrey Campbell who impresses his boss no end by not only finding a missing girl (Jean Parker) but also marrying her in the process. But just as their honeymoon in Reno, Nevada, gets underway, Campbell is dragged into another missing person case, invoking the suspicions of his jealous bride as he investigates an assortment of blondes, brunettes, and redheads. In keeping with the theme of the movie title, tonight's episode was shot at Time Zone, a clock repair shop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Saturday (01/28). 8:00 P.M. (ET) Join us tonight as THE PENINSULA OF HORROR -- the showcase for Florida's finest horror hosts -- presents DOUBLE DANGEROUS CHAT NIGHT! First up at 8 (ET) HOUSE OF MASTER VYLE PRESENTS will be hosting DELIGHTFULLY DANGEROUS (1945) starring fifteen-year-old Jane Powell as a young music school student who discovers that her big sister (Constance Moore) is a burlesque queen and not a celebrated Broadway star. Then stick around at 10:30 (ET) for the ultimate stoner movie REEFER MADNESS (1936). We guarantee the joint will be jumping tonight, so come on by for a smoking good time! As always, Professor Gillman will be broadcasting live from Lagoon House throughout the evening. A preshow for the Early Boids featuring Master Vyle's new MiniSode HAPPY NATIONAL TATER TOT DAY will air at 7 (ET).
PLEASE NOTE: Tonight's feature will be aired on The Peninsula of Horror's Livestream channel -- Viewers who show up on The Vortexx channel Saturday night will be re-directed there, so you can save yourself a couple of steps by going directly to The Peninsula of Horror. We will be doing the chat through Chattango -- To see both the show and the chat, you need to have two windows open, one with the Peninsula and one with the chat.
BEWARE THEATER presents Herk Harvey's CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962)
Sunday (01/29). 9:00 P.M. (ET) BEWARE THEATER with Arachna of the Spider People and her friend Deadly returns to The Vortexx with a brand-new episode and yet another monochromatic marvel from the Golden Age of Black & White. Tonight our hosts will be presenting Herk Harvey's CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962). Shot on a budget of $33,000 and largely ignored at the time of its release, this film has since become a cult classic. Reminiscent in many ways of an elongated Twilight Zone episode, it relies more on atmosphere than on special effects to create a mood of unease and foreboding. Candace Hilligoss stars as Mary Henry, a young lady who survives a car accident and becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival. Director Harvey appears uncredited as the pale man who is stalking Mary. Tonight's show will be followed at approximately 10:45 by an encore presentation of last Wednesday's episode of SCREAMING SOUP (THE GREEN SLIME).

MOVIE REVIEW: Split (2016)

Director and Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Runtime: 117 min
Split is listed as a horror/ thriller produced by Blumhouse and given a PG 13 rating. Personally, I felt like this movie could be listed as a suspenseful psychological thriller. I did not find it scary at any time but did feel the tension in the final 30 minutes of the film. There are a few incidents of mild gore and content that could be found disturbing to some viewers.
This movie wastes no time leading the viewer into the abduction of three teen girls following a birthday party. The audience and the girls quickly come to realize that the abductor suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, otherwise known as multiple personalities. In fact, the lead character Kevin (James McAvoy), has 23 distinct alter egos. McAvoy does a great job making each of these personalities very unique and recognizable characters. It is difficult at times to remember you are watching the same actor.
While the girls are kept in a claustrophobic environment, the audience is able to follow Kevin and "the horde" that lives inside him to visits with his therapist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). The girls and the audience meet alter egos, such as obsessive clean freak Dennis, strong and authoritative Patricia, 9 year old Hedwig, and fashionista Barry.
James McAvoy in Split
Shyamalan uses flashbacks throughout the story to give us more insight to the lead female character, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy). She is the outsider of the three abducted girls and seems to know how to relate to some of the alter egos. These flashbacks work well to give us important pieces of information along the way.
Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey in Split
The last third of Split really leads the viewer in to suspense and tension. It has a good build-up and left me feeling anxious. I really appreciate the originality of the story and the believability of McAvoy's character personalities. Of course, with M. Night Shyamalan we've come to expect a twist ending. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say I wasn't let down and fans of his previous films are given a nice surprise at the conclusion.
I enjoyed the film and recommend it to anyone who likes a good thriller. Some may feel let down due to the lack of scares, but there is a good bit of tension. Don't expect jump scare tactics or an over abundance of blood and gore.

MOVIE REVIEW: Ghost Team (2016)

Director: Oliver Irving; Writers: Oliver Irving, Peter Warren; Stars: Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Melonie Diaz, Amy Sedaris, Paul W. Downs; Rating: PG-13; Run Time: 83 min; Genre: Horror Comedy; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2016
I first heard of Ghost Team from a friend of mine a few months ago. I remember he showed me a trailer for it on YouTube, and, I must admit, the trailer did make it look pretty damn funny. When you put John Heder and Justin Long together, your outcome will most likely be laugh out loud funny... Well, unfortunately, that's not the result in Ghost Team.
Louis (Jon Heder) and Stan (David Kromholtz) are roommates living down-and-out lives going nowhere fast. The two are fans of a paranormal TV show that is running a contest where the winner gets to be the next member of the show. So, when they hear of a local barn that might be haunted, the light bulbs over their heads switch on with the ingenious idea to become ghost hunters and try to win a spot on the show.
The two team up with other friends who they think might be able to help them out by specializing in different departments of their investigation, such as Ross (Justin Long), a rather gung-ho night security guard for a department store who becomes head of security for the Ghost Team. With a now full paranormal investigation crew, they head to the supposed haunted barn in the middle of nowhere in a van full of equipment that was borrowed from a local electronics store where Louis’ nephew Zak (Paul W. Downs) just happens to work.
From the beginning of the movie, I kept waiting for all the one liners and the slapstick to happen, and it just never really did. There were a few chuckles at best. It did, however, start to turn into what I thought was going to become a decent and suspenseful ghost movie. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes of build-up, the suspense ball was dropped when we discover the reality of what their ghosts really are.
The film itself reminded me of an episode from the old Scooby-Doo mystery cartoon. The kids are out for adventure, looking for ghosts, but it lacked the pull-off-the-rubber-mask-to-reveal-who-is-underneath. The ball was dropped, and in so many ways! In short, Ghost Team as an entire film is a big let-down on many levels.
With the cast that was acquired for this film, Ghost Team had the possibility of being a great comedic piece and, even better, a great horror comedy. I am a fan of Justin Long's work, and I’m not saying that his or anyone else’s acting is bad, but the movie just did use the talent properly. This leads me to believe that the cast must have owed a lot of favors to whoever made this. Maybe with the right group of people or if I had been a little drunk, it would’ve worked for me, but I was neither. Sorry guys, but this one goes nowhere fast!
Ghost Team is currently playing on Netflix.
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