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Women in Horror Month: Women in Film

Women in Horror Month: Women in Film

I have always been a huge cinephile and in so being have always tried to champion not only my favorite genre-horror but also women in film and independent filmmaking. So for Women in Horror Month, I wanted to reach out to some different women in the industry to get their feelings on the subject du jour. I was lucky enough to have been on Twitter when I came across a hashtag labeled #femalefilmmakerfriday. I just put up a tweet asking if any women in film would like to answer some questions for me, and I was so grateful to get many wondrous women volunteer to answer my inquiries. I do want to stipulate that I am not disparaging men in the business but celebrating women’s contributions to film which can oftentimes go unheralded. It shouldn’t need to be said that any actor, director, writer, etc…should be judged on the work that they put out, not on their gender, race, or sexual preference. But that is usually not the case. I heard a great quote this week from Danai Gurira from Black Panther this week, she said that “if you create excellence it will be responded to.” And I truly believe that should be true. So I will let you know my questions, and introduce you to the extremely talented women who answered them for me.

My first question: Do you approach directing/acting differently as a woman?

Katherine Filaseta Director: Black Panties Web series about women’s intuition and black girl magic, and mini-documentary The Loud, Proud Voices of the Women’s March on Washington. www.kayfilums.com

The main thing that makes my directing unique is that I never thought of film as a career choice growing up – and this is, indirectly, the result of me being a woman. Coming from an academic math-centered family, the only inspiration I had was whatever books, film, & TV I consumed, and unfortunately when I thought of film directors (or even just actors or authors) it didn’t even feel like an option for me because I only ever saw names like Scorcese or Tarantino or other white men in those positions. I was always a storyteller and played with writing stories and books, but I never thought about doing that professionally, even up through and beyond college. So I have a really varied background – I studied a lot of biology, math, chemistry, anthropology, history, music… I pretty much touched everything else before realizing that film was a thing. And all of that comes into my directing style. Even though it took a long time for me to figure it out, I’m really glad I had those experiences because I think if I had been a white man, or just been born into a different family, I would be viewing film from this “film school perspective” instead of just as an audience member and consumer, and I, of course, prefer my own perspective that I’ve figured out through trial and error and consumption over trying to emulate anyone else.

Noomi Spook-Independent producer/director of film, documentaries, and music videos. Nominated for Best New Media Entertainment. LTNT-Boss Lady, The Glowing Divide, Vodum-Spirits Past. www.noomispook.com

My gender influences the creative decisions I make as a director in so much as, I care about how women are represented on screen. I find it repulsive that most women characters are often defined exclusively by their relationship to the male characters (most likely the protagonist)- the wife, the mother, the love interest. They have no agency, and most of the time they have no brains and no personality either – they are functional plot devices. Therefore I chose to work on projects that show women as fully rounded, flawed, human beings. I thoroughly enjoy any opportunity I have to show a woman being badass – and that doesn’t always mean beating the shit out of someone or behaving in a stereotypically “masculine” way, to me being a badass woman means to constructively wield one’s own power, and to not take any shit for doing that.

My next question was “what challenges have you faced as a female director or actor?”

Nihil Noctem: Izzy Lee Director/Author.  My Monster, Rights of Vengeance, Innsmouth (on Shudder), The Lake Children in “Hydrophobia: A Charity Anthology Benefitting Victims of Hurricane Harvey and a new PSA for the Soska’s Blood Drive www.nihilnoctem.com

Getting a producer to want to go on a cinematic journey with me. Getting funding. Guys thinking that my husband is the director, not me.

Noomi: I’ve been told to wait to be hired by an ad agency to direct commercials because they didn’t have any girly adds, nothing with perfume or flowers etc. Fuck that. I want to do something with tanks in it! Another problem is navigating the sexual minefield. I’ve been inappropriately touched, propositioned and humiliated in business meetings, by powerful men who offered to finance my projects if I performed sexual favors on them. And as a result, now, I always have my guard up whenever I am meeting a man who could potentially support my career.

Third Question: Do you ever have trouble with the men you direct or act with as a woman?

Emily Sheskin Director Damon at 86th Street, There She Is, and Girl Boxer: Jesszilla about Jesselyn Silva a 10-year-old boxer hoping to win gold at the 2024 Olympics. http://www.emilysheskin.com/jesszilla

Once I had an actor mansplain calling action. He was a bit of a dumdum though and I laughed it off and noted as an actor in such a competitive market, correcting a director is not the best way to keep getting jobs. I’ve also experienced older, male DoPs sometimes talk down to me but that’s been rare since I choose to work with DoPs and crew members who I know and have a good history with. In those situations, it’s hard to know if it’s me being a woman, or me being “young” that has them speaking to me the way they initially do.

Question number four: What women in film influenced you?

Ariel Hansen Bad Cookie Pictures, Actor and Director specializing in Sci-Fi, Horror, and Grindhouse Nepenthes, Ready To Burst, Paint the Town Red https://twitter.com/BadCookiePics https://www.facebook.com/BadCookiePictures/

Living in Vancouver I’m very lucky because I get to rub shoulders with some really awesome women in the horror side of the industry who constantly inspire me like Jen & Sylvia Soska, Tristan Risk and my friend Gigi Saul Guerrero who taught me the basics of directing before we started shooting my first film. I’m also inspired by Karyn Kusama’s horror films, especially The Invitation, and Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary really disturbed me as a kid

Katherine: I had the opportunity when I was first starting my career to attend the NYWIFT Muse awards where I got to hear Dawn Ostroff speak, so she has inspired me from the beginning of my career. What she did to grow CW into a network where young women could actually see stories that interested them on screen is basically what opened the doors to me being able to do what I do now. I also, through NYWIFT and very early on in my film career, heard Annetta Marion speak about her journey, and getting to know her – an incredibly kind, confident, beautiful woman who had a non-traditional path into the industry similar to mine and isn’t afraid to demand what she is worth – has been inspiring to me as well. Lastly, my favorite director of all time is Bollywood director Farah Khan, whose films all contain reverence for the Bollywood industry while also containing yet incredibly intelligent mockery of it. I also super respect how she always has her entire crew featured in a really fun credits sequence. I wish all directors had that much respect and admiration for every member of their crew, even the ones whose names would otherwise pass by in the credits totally unnoticed by the audience.

Nihil: Jennifer Lynch, Karyn Kusama, and my friend Jovanka Vuckovic. Other directors that made me think I could do this too: Maude Michaud and the Soskas. Another friend, Jill Gevargizian, is inspirational with the sheer amount of talent she has.

Noomi: My number one female filmmaking hero is Lynne Ramsay. I saw the Ratcatcher when I was in college and it broke my heart, I’ve never been more moved by a film, before or since. However, in terms of my personal style, I have always been more influenced by John Carpenter, David Lynch, and John Waters. They are all much bigger influences on my style and the kinds of films I aspire to make.

Emily: Amy HeckerlingClueless, words don’t express how much I love that film or how important it was to me growing up. Also, Penny Marshall who directed Big. Those two women managed to shelter me from the fact that not many women directed films. As a kid, I just knew that I loved these two movies and they both were by women…no big deal! It was only later that I realized how rare their existence was. Sailor Moon was also huge for me as a kid and it was created by Naoko Takeuchi (who I believe was a pharmacist before she found success with her manga). That show made me believe not only that women were great storytellers but that storytelling is universal. I figured if a show from Japan (an island I’d never been to or thought much about as an 11-year-old) could bring me such joy and impact my life in such a positive way, people are not so different and stories can bring us all together. That show made me want to do what she did for me for someone else.

Question number five was is there anything you have experienced as a female director/actor that is a great story?

Emma Dark, Award-winning filmmaker, actress, and model specializing in Horror and Sci-Fi Salient Minus Ten, Seize the Night, Island of the Blind Dead www.facebook.com/SalientMinusTen www.twitter.com/SalientMinusTen

As a female director, the fact that we have wonderful events and interviews for movements such as Women in Horror Month. We need more of this!

Nihil: I was onstage at a film festival where I was the only woman with about 8 or 9 guys. An actor who was repping the film he was in was the first to get the mic, and said, “I’m so happy to be up here with all these fine young men.” I mean, what?! When I got the mic as it was passed down, I wiggled my pinkie in front of crouch, and looked at my husband in the crowd and said, “Hey Steve, sorry, but I seem to have gotten a sex change while I’ve been up here.” You have to call people out when a situation is as egregious as that.

Question number six was “If you could direct a film about any famous woman, who would it be?”

Gemma Wilks, Actress, Alien Outbreak, Harvest of the Dead, Skullz  https://www.spotlight.com/2537-0194-7453

She’s not famous, but I am developing a story inspired by the life of my grandmother who has now passed away. My dream is to write and produce it as a feature film/tv series one day, perhaps Anne Mensah will come knocking! The themes are around my grandmother’s struggles growing up in the 20th Century when her youth was ripped away by the war. Being a WAF officer with a particular instance involving Churchill. Living through technology changes that were baffling. Watching people you cared about die as you age. There is more that I can’t go into but she was an inspiration and her tenacious spirit certainly contributed to make me the person I am.

Emma: Grace Jones was given a tough time in the 80s and treated with a degree of sexism, based on my understanding given the interviews with her that I’ve watched. Her avant-garde style and diverse creative skillset would have been something held in higher regard today. So maybe there’s a story to tell there!

Ariel: There are a few different women through history that I’d love to make films about, like the sniper Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko from WW2, Boudica, or since they’re finding evidence of women being a part of Viking raiding parties, it would be so cool to make a film about female Vikings.

Nihil: Not sure, but a biopic about Sigourney Weaver or Charlize Theron before either made it as an actor would be cool. The story of the “radium girls” is horrific but compelling.

Emily: There’s a documentary on Bret the Hitman Hart (Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows), and now that Ronda Rousey has signed a contract with the WWE I’d be very curious to document her transition out of MMA to WWE. I have been so curious how she feels about leaving a sport that she helped open up to other women in the way she left it, and how she feels about this next chapter.

Noomi: Rosa Luxemburg. That’s a no-brainer for me, her politics were so ahead of its time, she was a genius, a fighter, a real revolutionary. She was sexually free at a time when people didn’t do that, and she stood for something she believed in, even up the point when she was murdered for her beliefs. people were terrified of her. And she was only 4foot 10 with a limp. She was a total badass.

And my last question: What does a woman bring to the film industry that a man doesn’t?

Gemma: Men bring a huge amount to any industry, but I think from my experience women bring organizational skills which help things run smoothly. This then allows them to look beyond an issue and see a series of options available beyond the confusion of daily functioning. They have an empathy and understanding of individuals circumstances which they can take on board whilst making sure the job still gets done and standards aren’t compromised. Obviously, there are men that can do this too but this is in my experience. Oh, and women don’t generally take no for an answer, even if they pretend they have!

Emma: In terms of horror the audience is increasingly female. I believe having more of an equal balance of men and women in cast and crew will help bring more diverse themes, ideas, and creativity to the table.

Noomi: Anything they can do, we can do bleeding

Katherine: I recently got the opportunity to work with an all-female cast and crew through the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge, and it was such a wonderful experience. In general, I think women and other minorities have had to be exceptional at their jobs to be taken seriously at all, so everyone had an incredible work ethic and was amazing to work with. Also, I think a lot of the stories we see are repetitive and formulaic – which is not an issue, because formulas work and it’s so cool to see what different people do with those formulas. But most of the people we’ve seen play with those formulas are men, and it’s so cool to see what a female perspective brings to those formulas. Women have a ton of stories that simply haven’t been told without a male gaze on them, and it’s exciting that finally, we are getting the opportunity to tell those stories on our own. We’ve seen a million great coming of age stories, and yet Ladybird touched me in totally new ways and honestly told an entirely different story – just because I finally got to watch a coming of age story about myself, for literally the first time ever. Which is completely ridiculous given the number of coming of age novels that are required high school reading but ONLY ABOUT BOYS.

Ariel: Women bring our own diverse experiences and stories to the industry which has been very homogeneous in what you see on screen for far too long. Having those stories told on the big screen are crucial in creating an equal society and helping the next generation to know that women can be more than just “so and so’s love interest” not just in films, but in their own lives as well.

Nihil: I hate to generalize, but I would think that empathy and multitasking could be it.

Emily: I think being a woman just gives you a different experience. There are small things that we take for granted that men never think about. It’s the reality of living in this body and going through life socialized the way we are. I think women are trained to be more sensitive to the feelings of others and as a result, tend to make very thoughtful inclusive films. This is a sweeping generalization though and I have a hard time answering this when experience varies so greatly.

In preparing for this article and putting feelers out I got a response from the very talented actor Eddy Shore (Murrays Run, White) who had such an insightful comment on the subject that I wanted to include it here:

As we all know there shouldn’t be a differentiation between genders in job opportunities, pay, etc. But there is a huge difference in the emotional connections those two genders have. Women are much more in touch of certain (deep) emotions which men are often not (or often are not allowed to be in a stereotypical image) and this emotional connection brings a whole different point of few to stories. If we keep having dominantly white male directors, we will keep having white male points of few to the majority of stories. I’m to 100% certain that women will pay attention to different details, will focus on different statements they want to portray and this which will show in a film. In my opinion, there is a huge need for a fresh wind in the film industry.

So I want to thank everyone for their very valuable time and the thought that went into their answers. All of these amazing women answered all of the questions, but so this did not become a novella I have chosen to just feature a few from each. Hopefully, this has given you some insight and awareness into the world of women in film but always remember that they are, as far as the film industry should be concerned with, they are writers, directors, producers, actors, etc… first and foremost and their vast talents are paramount.


Posted by Horrormadam in DOCUMENTARIES, EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, OPINION, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Cast and Crew of Dead Air (2018)

INTERVIEW: Cast and Crew of Dead Air (2018)

Dead Air (2018)

Gremlins on a Plane: More Fun Than Any Interviewer Should Be Allowed!

Dead Air (2018)

Hello guys, Horrormadam here to introduce you to a new film that I am really excited about called Dead Air that is still in post-production but will be released later this year. This film is something different and I had the great honor of learning about it from almost everyone involved! First, let’s tell you what it is about:
Set on a plane traveling to a final gig, Dead Air tells the story of Monster Kitten, an all-female punk rock band who end up on a flight with some nasty little creatures with all hell breaking loose at 30,000 feet.

Dead Air (2018)

Great name for a band and a great fresh premise! Let me introduce you to who will be answering my questions:
Geoff Harmer the Director (Overtime, Addict, Smile), Peter Hearn the Writer (Smile, Scrawl, Motto). Our Actresses Stacy Hart (Get Real, The Beach) as the drummer, Charlie Bond (Vendetta, Strippers vs Werewolves) as the singer, Johanna Stanton (Nightmare Box, Sinatra: All or Nothing at All) as the guitarist, and Kate Davies Speak (Horizon, Deadman Apocalypse) as the bassist. And our master puppeteers Andrew James Spooner (Muppets Most Wanted, Muppets Treasure Island), Tony Lymboura (Muppets Most Wanted, The Muppets Christmas Carol) and Nicola Buckmaster. And a special appearance by Dave (IMDb finds him to controversial to cover) as The Creature but he reminded me he is an actor, not a puppet.
Dead Air (2018)
House of Tortured Souls: Why are you guys fans of the horror genre?
Peter Hearn: I’m a fan of most genres, I like writing horror because I find it fun. I don’t take it too seriously even if others read my work and think it’s really dark. I think the other thing I like about the horror genre is the fans are a loyal bunch. Very supportive. Not saying fans of other film genres aren’t supportive, but I’ve never witnessed a more fan-friendly genre. I mean, look at the Internet and you find x amount of sites dedicated to horror. If you are lucky, you’ll find the odd website dedicated to a comedic film, or a drama or whatever, but not the same rabid fan base you get from the horror community. It always annoys me when people assume you are weird or macabre or sick if you like horror films or books or whatever it may be. I don’t buy into any of that.
Geoff Harmer: I’ve been a huge horror fan for years! I used to work in a video shop, we had all the video nasties behind the counter. I grew up watching stuff like Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Evil Dead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I then got a subscription to magazines like Fangoria and Gorezone. I can still remember seeing The Thing on pirate video back in 1982 when I was 10 years old! Scared the shit out of me! Haven’t looked back since!
Dead Air (2018)

HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Charlie Bond: Not a lot of people know this about me, but I’m actually a massive Hammer Horror fan. I love to pop on a gorgeous, sleepy old classic like the beautiful, ethereal Twins Of Evil or one of their many Draculas, curl up under a blanket and lose myself in that dreamy fantasy world of Hammer land. Despite being predominantly a Horror genre actress, I try to watch as much modern horror as I can, too. My top favorites from the last few years are really fun, gory romps – off the top of my head, American Mary, The Babysitter, and The Love Witch have been my favorites for the past few years. That said, I saw Dead Love recently, which stars the monstrously talented James Hamer-Morton, who plays our co-pilot in Dead Air. I was absolutely blown away by both performance and the incredibly complex and sweet story that director Chris Gallagher had created, within a VERY gory horror with absolutely insane SFX. Really worth a watch if you can find it!
Kate Davies Speak: I adore so many horrors but I have my favorites, I actually really love the movie Scream which is more of a homage and parody of several classic horrors but it was such a wonderful blend of teen drama, black humor and some wicked jump scares. The cast was amazing too and big influences for me in my dreams of being an actor. I also love John Carpenter and Stephen King movies; The Thing, Christine, Cujo… Also, some of my favorites slightly more modern horrors are The Descent the all-female cast in that were amazing, Sinister was terrifying (mostly the soundtrack) and recently I’ve enjoyed Hush and Creep (on Netflix).
Johanna Stanton: My two favorites are Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby.
Stacy Hart: I go for more psychological stuff like Silence Of The Lambs or Eden Lake.

Dead Air (2018)

HoTS: I have series celebrating women in film and women in horror so wondering why you went with an all-female punk band?
PH: We didn’t initially – it started off as a mix, but the more we looked at it, the more we reworked the script we realized they had to all be female. As soon as we hit that point in the process we knew we had made the right decision. There were always characters that were female from the word go, others that got rewritten or replaced over time to fit the band. I just really wanted a film that had female characters that weren’t side characters to a hulking male out to save the day. Those days are gone.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Why go to the 80s era for the puppets?
GH: It’s not really an 80s flick, but it does heavily influence the look and feel of the film. The puppets weren’t originally in the film to the extent that they are at the moment. They were originally only fleeting glimpses and glowing eyes in the darkness. But Pete twisted my arm with the idea of puppets… and the next thing I knew we were in Wimbledon chatting to these talented students about designing our creatures!
PH: There was no specific ‘this is an 80s movie’ woven into the script. When I first wrote the initial draft, the Creatures were just glowing eyes in a box and a conceit to get us from A – B, as we moved further down the road with it, I mentioned to Geoff that it would be cool if the creatures were actually Muppet-like puppets and he agreed. I had used a puppet in my previous film Scrawl and had always loved puppetry. I told him I knew some Henson puppeteers, well I knew of one as he had recently contacted me on twitter. That was Andrew James Spooner, although we wouldn’t properly speak to him for about a year after this point…not that we didn’t want to, we just felt we would never get someone of his caliber to join us.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Writer influences?
PH: For this project? I had a bunch of films in my head: – American Werewolf in London, Deathgasm, Critters, Dead Snow 2, Empire Records, Josie and the Pussycats. Throw a TV ep in with Twilight Zone’s Nightmare at 20000 feet and you have my initial influences. Others came later, but that’s where I started…
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Director influences?
GH: For me as the Director, Dead Air is heavily influenced by films like From Beyond and Vamp, at least from an aesthetic point of view. I love the look of those films and they reek of 80s horror! I wanted Dead Air to have that same look and feel.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Why did Mr. Spooner get into Puppetry and why Dead Air?
Andrew James Spooner: I got into Puppetry and voice work because I’m an introverted performer! I love acting but don’t like being seen on camera. So Puppetry and voice acting are perfect! I grew up in the 70s and was obsessed with Doctor Who, The Muppets and Star Wars. Specifically the puppets in The Muppet Show and the creatures and special effects in Doctor Who and Star Wars. Puppetry brings the worlds of performance and special effects together. In its essence, every shot of a puppet and creature on a TV show IS a special effect. We’re convincing you that this creature/character is alive and breathing.
Why Dead Air? It’s the kind of project that doesn’t come along that often. In an industry that’s so used to using CGI as the tool of choice for films like this, practical effects are seen less and less. So, it’s a chance to play with practical puppet creatures. It also harks back to Horror movies of the 80s, when practical effects were at their prime. Gremlins on a plane! Come on! Who WOULDN’T want to be involved in that!
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: I was so honored to have Dave included in this interview. He is such a legend in the industry. How did Dave like working with everyone?
Dave: “I hated working with all of them! They showed me NO respect on set whatsoever! In between takes, they shoved me in a box that (get this!) HAD NO AIR HOLES! I nearly suffocated in that f**king thing! The girls were fine to work with. But you know what it’s like if you aren’t ‘conventionally’ good looking, they tend to just nod at you and then get back to texting or twittering or whatever the f*ck it is they do. Inspiration? I guess I’d have to say that my biggest influence is Leo Sayer.” “Why are you laughing?”
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: How about Tony and Nicola?
Tony Lymboura: I don’t have an interesting quotable answer for the first part. As for the second part, …cos it looked like so much fun!
Nicola Buckmaster: I hadn’t thought about being a puppeteer at a young age, most likely as I thought they were real! I had a great imagination & believed in everything. I went to the theatre & Cinema a lot, loved sooty & sweep, Emu, the muppets & often saw old Punch & Judy in Covent Garden, so much that the puppeteer knew my name!
I trained as an actor & singer pretty much all my life, it wasn’t until I worked at a theme park that they asked if I would audition for the puppet show, I did, rehearsed for weeks & became a puppeteer! That was 12 years ago, I did 3 seasons there, absolutely loved it learned a lot & auditioned for more puppetry jobs after.
Puppetry has always been in my life. As a kid, I had some puppets & I would play with pens, household objects, give them characters, which I later learned is called object manipulation.
And Why Dead Air? Why not, it’s got everything I love: horror & puppets! And as Andrew said it’s gremlins on a plane (I love gremlins). For me too it was getting to work with like-minded people, learn a lot & work on a film with puppets. Meeting the Dave’s was great too, although one of the Daves tends to text when he’s had a few & I didn’t give him my number…
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Did you all like working with the puppet actors?
CB: One of the most interesting things about working with puppet actors, is how quickly they can pick up and drop their puppet persona – to the level where you yourself are struggling to keep up with them! One moment you’re chatting away to lovely Andrew James-Spooner with his hand up a fuzzy, toothy puppet and the next moment he’s gone and ‘Dave’ the grouchy, foul-mouthed little demon is in the room. By the end of the shoot, I’d developed close personal relationships with both and consider them both equally fabulous.
KDS: Working with the Dave puppets was a lot of fun for me, it was a first as well. I have worked using green screen and CGI in the past but often find that hard to ‘connect’ with, working with physical puppets was great, they were very cute too but don’t tell them I said that, they start swearing at you when you compliment them lol. Most of my interaction scenes with the puppets involved me smashing seven shades of s*** out of them with my bass guitar…
JS: Yes. The team was amazing. I’d worked with puppets before on the musical Casper the friendly Ghost years ago. So was used to acting alongside puppets.Basically, they are just another cast member. Although I was genuinely freaked out when they were biting my face….ugh..the sound of those teeth sends shivers down my spine.
SH: Working with the puppet team was awesome fun! I didn’t get quite as much chance to act opposite the creatures as a couple of the others; mainly I had furry balls flying at my face and hit them away. Make of that any double entendre you will.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: What inspired the monsters?
PH: The monsters (the little creatures) were inspired initially by Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and the Sumatran Rat Monkey from Braindead (Dead Alive) with real creatures thrown in for good measure. While Critters and Gremlins were benchmarks for the use of practical puppets, they were never influences on the actual design of the creatures.
We still have our ‘Dave’s’ living in my garage (a bit like Fonzie from Happy Days). They were up on our crowdfunding as potential perks but nobody wanted to give them a home. So they are sleeping on my couch, for now, eating leftovers, playing poker.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Saw the girls names were inspired by famous punk rockers. Got Nancy Spungen, Patty Smith, and Debbie Harry, but who is Eve? Possible Eva Destruction?
PH: They were and you are the first person to recognize that! The cast wanted their characters to have names, even if for this concept short they are just named on screen as the Singer, the Drummer etc (somewhere in the back of my mind, Two-Lane Blacktop was influencing this decision)
These will be the names in the feature, as there’s a broader canvas to play on.
Anyway, to circle back to your question, you got the 3 absolutely correct but Eve is actually Eve Libertine from the British punk band Crass from the late 70s.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Are you fans of punk and if so what bands?
GH: I went with Punk more for the look than the music, to be honest… but I’m finding a love for the music!
PH: I love loads of different kinds of music. My brother was a massive influence on me growing up as he was into heavy metal and punk and all that stuff. Firstly playing in a band himself and then going to work for a major record retailer for 20 odd years. Punk bands that have always been there for me are ones like the Ramones, early Adam and the Ants, the Sex Pistols, the Misfits, the Runaways, the Clash etc. Mainly punk with a pop edge. Too many to mention.
SH: I do like punk. Being a 90s child, Nirvana was a first love of mine and I was into Green Day. I really like female-fronted stuff like Bikini Kill, and I adore The Distillers; Brody Dalle is a fucking goddess. Right now I’m enjoying some older stuff vicariously as my sons get into it. they have the Ramones and The Ruts on their playlists.
JS: I’m a fan of most styles of music. Having been signed to RCA in a pop group, then gigging around London in a rock band and also throwing a musical theater background in the mix. I’m basically a schizophrenic music fan.
KDS: I have an eclectic musical taste, I admit that I don’t listen to much rock but I would definitely be a fan of ‘Monster Kitten’ if they were a real group…
CB: I’ve definitely got eclectic music tastes. When I was in my teens, I was a little skater punk girl and was wild about quite poppy punk rock bands like Green Day, Less Than Jake, The Offspring, Alkaline Trio, Fenix TX, the Misfits etc. As I got older I actually became quite goth, got very into heavy metal, psychobilly and would jam to Cradle Of Filth, Nightwish, Kittie, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, etc. My favorite band of all time is the now-split The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – I followed them around for years in my teens!! I’m still a huge Punk Rock fan and have really been enjoying Spotify’s ‘Time Capsule’ feature of late – though it has thrown a few Britney tracks at me that I’ve enjoyed rediscovering, haha!
Dead Air (2018)
So horror fans I will keep you updated on this amazing new film and will let you know the moment it is released. Everyone involved in the making of this film is so lovely and generous and I will share more of their stories as we get closer to the release! So you heard it here first and start getting ready for what I think is going to be an amazing ride! I am just gonna sit here and start getting ready for a wicked game of Texas HoldEm with Dave and he better not welch this time!

Dead Air (2018)

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INTERVIEW: Writer/Director Jared Cohn

INTERVIEW: Writer/Director Jared Cohn

Where we talk Dead AfterLife, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Serial Killers, and Mental Fitness

Jared Cohn We're All Animals - chilling / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Horrormadam here, guys, and I had the privilege of interviewing actor/director Jared Cohn. Best known for 13/13/13, Hulk Blood Tapes, and Feed the Devil for acting and Hold Your Breath, The Horde (which got a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes), and Little Dead Rotting Hood for his directing.
For those who do not know yet, Dead AfterLife is a currently in development film written by Michael Joy. And Michael knows horror, he is the CEO of Marketing Macabre, CEO of Joyhorror Entertainment, Director of Marketing for Artsploitation Films (that just released Red Christmas starring Dee Wallace), and Operations Manager for Horrornews.net. I am really looking forward to Dead Afterlife because of its unique and interesting premise. Imagine watching your own funeral as a ghost and then the unthinkable happens, your undead body climbs out of your coffin and starts killing and eating your friends and family. Pharmaceutical Scientist, Donald Conlee faces this conundrum after he’s murdered and is administered his own “Awake”, super drug. His death was only the beginning of his problems. The Gatekeeper has given Donald a time limit to return his Zombie-self to the ground, or else his soul can never gain entrance into Heaven. To complicate matters, he finds out that his murderer is at the funeral and his girlfriend is in grave danger. How can a couple of disgruntled gravediggers and a hearse driver help Donald’s lost soul find the way? Or maybe the real question is how can the spirit world defeat the living dead?

Jared Cohn on Stepmother / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

House of Tortured Souls: Is that an amazing premise or what? I asked Director Jared Cohn about this budding horror film.
Jared Cohn: I am a big fan of Michael Joy and looking forward to working with him, he is plugged into the horror community. Look this is a really cool story we got ghosts vs zombies, we got amazing talent on board to act in this. This project is gonna be a bad ass horror movie, straight up. It’s ghosts and zombies fighting each other, it’s gore there’s lots of blood, there is death and a funeral, it can’t lose.

Jared Cohn working on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

And Jared wasn’t kidding about the amazing talent. They just signed on Dee Wallace (Cujo, The Howling), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Bill Moseley (The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses), Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley in Hatchet, and Jason Voorhees from some of the Friday the 13th films), Bill Oberst Jr. (Scream Queens, Priest), David Gere (Bleed For This), Andy Gates (Garden Party Massacre), David Vescio (Hick), Mindy Robinson (Lizzie Borden’s Revenge), WWE wrestling star Diamond Dallas Page( Devil’s Rejects), And first timer professional wrestling legend,The Universal Heartthrob, Austin Idol.
Jared Cohn with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn with William Shatner

HoTS: I was really excited about the prospect of seeing ghosts fighting the living dead on film and asked Jared about that.
JC: I am a fan of practical effects and I would also love to incorporate some CGI to enhance the ghosts visually. Really want to do something cool and a little different if we really want it to be scary and to pay homage to some of the great classics. That would go a long way towards making it look cool, make it look good. But in order to do that, you have to rely on the resources that are available. Which some could consider a cop out answer but it’s true. I would love someone like Vincent Guastini (Under The Bed, Requiem For A Dream, V/H/S Viral, and The Dark Tapes), he does creature suits, ghosts, zombies, makeup. To get someone like him on board would be amazing, but he is not cheap. But he would make amazing looking ghosts and zombies, those are the kind of things you need obviously if you want that big budget look, you need those premium people. We are still waiting on the financing to go through though but it is getting a lot of press so it is just a hurry up and wait game, but I am extremely excited to get going.

Jared Cohn sunlight / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

HoTS: I then had to ask Jared about a film that I saw on IMDB that he is directing that is in post-production called Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash because I am a fan of the band and found this title so intriguing.

JC: I got the movie shot, there are just some legal difficulties going on. Kind of waiting until March to see whats going on with that one. I’m very proud of that movie so I am really hoping it can see the light of day. It happened because of Cleopatra Entertainment, I love those guys. They gave me great opportunities to make movies, big fan of that company. I am going to be doing some music videos for them that I am very excited about. I used to do a lot of music videos back in the day in New York. I like getting back to my roots. I used to do more cinematography, stunts, editing, and camera work and lately I have been focusing on acting and directing but it is so great to go back and relearn everything and expand.

Jared Cohn on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

When researching the film, I found that Jared wrote the film from a story by Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle. It depicts the band’s tragic history centering on Pyle and his experiences of the events surrounding the chartered-plane crash on October 20, 1977, that killed original band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, Steve’s sister. An assistant road manager and the two pilots also died in the crash after the plane ran out of fuel over Mississippi after the final show of the Street Survivors tour. Ian Shultis, Taylor Clift, Samuel Kay Forrest and Rich Dally III have been cast in the film and the legal battle continues.
HoTS: Next, I asked Jared about his film Death Pool starring Sara Malakul Lane (Jailbait, Kickboxer Vengeance), Randy Wayne (Hellraiser Judgement, Hold Your Breath), James Cullen Bressack (Bethany), and Shawn C. Phillips (WTF!, Cannibal Cop). I just loved how this film dealt with the whole cult of personality. The premise is this:
Johnny Taylor has a big problem: he LOVES to drown good-looking girls. When he sees water and attractive females together, something in his head begs him to kill – the psychological result of a traumatic near-drowning during his childhood at the hands of a twisted babysitter. Fighting the urge to act on his sinister thoughts most of his adult life, Johnny finally succumbs to his dark instincts when the only work he can find is around water, cleaning pools. Filled with colorful characters, beautiful women and set against the backdrop of the LA party scene, Death Pool encapsulates the desire for fame, the lust for desire, and the urge to kill.

JC: I think that was one of the more interesting movies that I have made, it had a message. Social media, fame, the upsides and the downsides, and the reactions of people to someone who is killing people. There are a lot of serial killer groupies. It’s nutty, but in a weird way it is understandable also. There are many people out there that are contemplating killing someone, not that they go out and do it but it’s the idea. To analyze the psyche behind those people who do these things, those that find that extreme violence is their only outlet is interesting.
Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner

HoTS: I also asked him about who his directing influences might be.
JC: I think that Alejandro Inarritu (Amores Perros, Birdman, The Revenant) and Damian Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) have really great style. There are so many great and talented people out there.
HoTS: We then talked about what he is doing for 2018:
JC: I am keeping positive, focusing on mental health, and spirituality. You can be the busiest and most successful person in the world, but if you are not feeling great mentally, physically, and spiritually, you cant get your best work done. So I am trying to raise awareness, you know, help people who feel like they could use a boost in life. I would like to give back rather than just make movies. I would like to help people. Many people are suffering quietly, and I want them to know that they are not alone. If I can do something in that regard, it makes me feel better. Not that this is about me, I just want to give back. I’ve made some mistakes. I have some regrets, so I understand the challenges. It is good to talk about, doing interviews, and talking about various movies and being able to bring awareness to the problem of people’s mental health.
Lastly but cool as hell is the fact that Jared became a licensed FAA 107 certified drone remote pilot for taking absolutely stunning aerial shots for filmmaking and commercial use. Check out Drone-Shots.net to find out what’s available. He is also a Pro-paintballer and a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate.

Jared Cohn with drone / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Please check out more on him at:
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INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

Short, Comedy, Horror:
Interview With Clarissa Jacobson

Hello everyone, this is the Horrormadam here with the second in my series celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women In Film. I was honored to interview the brilliant Clarissa Jacobson on her new short film Lunch Ladies which she wrote and produced. To say I enjoyed this short would be a gross understatement, I loved it! So well written, so well acted, so well directed. The only thing I want out of it…is more! But before we get into that, a quick tease to wet your appetites!

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you the extraordinary premise in Clarissa’s own words.

Clarissa: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? To all of those naysayers out there that say there are no new ideas, I say that you aren’t thinking outside the box. Clarissa’s clever story is outside the box, maybe even outside of leftfield and that is what makes it so surprising and refreshing.

Let’s see what else Clarissa had to say about Lunch Ladies and filmmaking:

Clarissa: When we first started out it was a bit disheartening, the first director said that no one would want to see this movie because no one wants to see two middle-aged female leads. Clarissa and I discussed this for a little while, especially how one of the nice things about the horror genre, is that horror does not discriminate. Young, old, beautiful, different looking, black, white, gay straight-in horror films we embrace them all.

Clarissa went on to discuss people thoughts on her influences:

Clarissa: I have heard John Waters (Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, Hairspray), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and I grew up on them and I love them. They’re saying that and its funny how it just seeps in and it is the biggest compliment.
Clarissa: This was my first time producing a movie and I had so much luck drawing the right people to me. The first set designer we had dropped out like one week before shooting and I was like don’t worry about it, just go with the flow. Then brought in this husband and wife couple, Ray and Alicia Ho that were one hundred times better. What happened is I just totally stepped out of the way and the most amazing people helped me and worked on it. They were all at the top of their game and everybody brought what they brought, everyone did their job and when we finished it was everything that I wanted. Exactly what I imagined in my head, even better.

I said to her how amazing that was that she was able to get what she wrote, everything that was in her head to fruition.

Clarissa: It really was magical. My writing mentor, he was a tap dancer on Broadway when he was younger. He came on as a producer also and he did the dancing scene in the cafeteria. What I had written was rhythmic and he said he had this crazy idea, how about we do a mash-up? We will have ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, and tap dancers and I was like Joe, I have no idea what is inside your head but you are the most talented person I know so do what you want.

I was also honored to speak to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Bratcher who has been acting since 1976 in some really great shows like All In The Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Rockford Files, and in films like The Howling and Coma. He also runs The Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, the longest running screenwriting classes in Los Angeles. He told me how hard Clarissa had been working and how much he loved working with her and what a great person she is. He also backed up the story Clarissa had just told me by saying that she really went to bat for him with the director. She really wanted him to create his vision for the cafeteria scene because she knew it would work.

Clarissa: The director was awesome, but that’s how everybody was, they all brought really creative shit to it. The director J.M. Logan is an award-winning filmmaker and who has filled nearly every position in the business over twenty-five years. Out of hundreds, credits include Kidnap, Manson Family Vacation, The Circle, The End Of The Tour, Stoker & Annabelle. He said his goal is to be as close to the script as possible. At one point he was like there is this scene at the beginning, it was gonna be expensive to do and I was concerned what might happen, it might not work. I was like you know we can just cut that and we can just do the scene in front of the school than we don’t need to get a car. And Josh was like NO! That is whats written in the script and that’s what we’re gonna do. And the car scene I mean the car scene is so great for starting out the movie, he was so adamant, he and everybody came up with great ideas, like the whole concept with the Russian posters, so inventive I just loved it.
Clarissa: I also had a hard time finding a location. I called like a hundred schools. This one place is like we read the script and we’ll never let you film your movie here! They acted like I had written a porn! But I wanted a John Hughes type of school kind of upper-class. Josh the director had a friend that was like call these two Catholic schools and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a location. So I called these two schools and they both said I could film there. The only thing was that they had really big kitchens and we needed it to look run down so we just filled it with all this stuff. And then Josh had the idea to use these eastern block like posters which along with the lunch trays were the only real punches of color. We filmed over two weekends, four days with twenty thousand dollars. It was really great and everyone was really fun but the last day was the hardest, we didn’t get out of there till four a.m. We had one hundred and thirty people working on it and everyone is coming back to do the feature which is already written.

I asked her then, it is winning so many awards you would think someone would just jump on it? Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2017 (winner: Best writer/producer and Best Director), Nightmares Film Festival 2017 (best writer/producer, director), and the South African Horrorfest 2017 (Best writer/producer and director).

Clarissa: Well its still new so a lot could happen in the next couple of months. We started our run in August which went great and we had nothing in September, but we had a lot in October because it is Halloween. So we have only been on the film festival route for about four months and it goes on for a year and a half. The majority of competitions and stuff aren’t until next year. So we are just working our asses off to get it noticed. And I definitely want to give a shout out to the horror community. I LOVE the horror community, they are my kind of people! I didn’t start out writing horror, I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it on the screen I couldn’t believe that came out of my head! All I could think was, where did that come from and what was wrong with me? I have always been a closet horror fan, I love The Exorcist, Let The Right One In and The Shining. One time I was writing a Gothic horror story and as I went dark, I realized the dark side is the most creative place to be. In it, you can do anything.


I want to thank Clarissa Jacobson again for taking the time to talk to me at the
House of Tortured Souls and also thank her for writing such a unique horror/comedy short. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough readers. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I know that you will not be disappointed when you see it. All I am waiting for now is the full-length feature to be made so I can enjoy the further escapades of the Lunch Ladies! And from now on I may even find myself asking as I go through life…WWJD?

Clarissa also wanted to say a big thank you to Fire The Animal who wrote and performed the song Bury My Body, courtesy of Couch Guys Records and Antoni M. March who did the score.

And, like I said before, I don’t want to give any spoilers but some fun trivia: Lunch Ladies used 10 gallons of blood, 10 gallons of slime/goo, 15 gallons of “food,” 40 pounds of potatoes (200 pounds brought to set) and 13 pounds of ground meat. And Clarissa told me the meat had been left out and smelled like hell and they had to have the school back together for when the kids came in on Monday and she had to Febreeze everything to death (pun intended).

Before I send you on to the link so you can check out some more fun information on the Lunch Ladies I wanted to tell you the name of said ladies who are more Gifted Heroines of Horror. Donna Pieroni at Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne. These women were so wonderful and entertaining, so looking forward to much more from them!

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INTERVIEW: Brooke Lewis (2017)

INTERVIEW: Brooke Lewis (2017)

Brooke Lewis / Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

One of the Hardest Working Women in the Business

-Scream Queen, Amazing Actress, Author-

Hello readers, and thank you for joining me on another part of my series on celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women in Film! I had the honor, joy, and just great time interviewing the most wondrous Scream Queen Brooke Lewis. When I say she is hardworking, I feel that I may be using that phrase inadequately. She is an actress, scream queen, Certified Life Coach and Dating Coach, Author, singer, producer, columnist, voice-over artist, has her own talk show/ web series, a clothing line, upcoming make-up line, and is also a hugely altruistic philanthropist. She makes me tired just thinking about it. One of my favorite things about her that we talked about is that she has a wonderful distinction in horror in that she has never been killed in a  horror film…yet.
Brooke is an award-winning actress who has starred in such films as the thriller iMurders (2008) with Gabrielle Anwar, William Forsythe, Tony Todd, Frank Grillo, Billy Dee Williams, and the amazing Charles Durning. Sinatra Club (2010) with Jason Gedrick, Danny Nucci, and Michael Nouri. And one of my new favorite shorts Sprinkles (2010).
House of Tortured Souls: Knowing she’s acted along such greats I asked her what some of those experiences were like I was especially interested in her work with Charles Durning known for being the King of Character Actors.
Brooke Lewis: You know I did five films with god rest his soul Charles Durning, yes I used to dine with the man. Adults really get it, Oscar-nominated for Dog Day Afternoon, When a Stranger Calls, TootsieCharles Durning. I mean are you kidding me? I have worked with Michael Pare: Eddie and the Cruisers, Streets of Fire, and The Philadelphia Experiment, he’s my friend. The legendary Billy Dee Williams: Mahogany, Star Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. I am not sure if the younger generation understands the magnitude of that. When I was a young girl, I was in high school and I was obsessed with Candyman and then I found out I was going to be starring next to Tony Todd, someone has got to be kidding me! I was so scared to be going on set but he is so great! The celebrity and fame have never changed him, he has done so much acting, even on Broadway. Tony is really more than meets the eye. Its crazy, I have gotten to work with both Costas and Loius Mandylor. Saw for Costas and My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for Louis.The thing is that they are just brilliant actors. One of my dearest kindred spirits is The Hills Have EyesSuze Lanier-Bramlett. She is like my soul sister. She was Bambi on Welcome Back Kotter, you know Barbarino’s girlfriend. We sit and talk about yesteryears, her life as an actress, being young and in Hollywood vs my experience and it is so scary. I don’t know if the younger generation of moviegoers will be able to distinguish between real stars of that era vs Youtube sensations with no real acting chops.You cant just get together with a few friends and spill ketchup on your boobs film it on your phone, dub yourself a Scream Queen and call it horror. Horror fans are way too intelligent for that. To know and understand the careers of people like Charles Durning or Billy Dee Williams or Margaret Colin and Larry Hankin from Home Alone may be out of their purview.
HoTS: I next asked Brooke about being a woman in horror and being a Scream Queen.

Brooke Lewis Brooke Lewis Brooke Lewis
BL: I embrace being a Scream Queen. I earned it! I am very proud to be on any lists where the greats like Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, and Dee Wallace along with the newer generation like my girls Felissa Rose and Debbie Rochon and the list goes on and on. As far as acting in horror, anything I have done in the horror genre is by choice. I am committed to a certain standard. People come up to me and are like but you did a film like Slime City Massacre? Yes, I did and thank you very much it won me the 2010 Golden Cobb award!

HoTS: And readers that was a hot year for horror! I checked her competitors that year and they were impressive. For BEST SCREAM QUEEN:
Debbie RochonSlime City Massacre
Victoria MauretteBulletface
Kristina KlebeZone of The Dead
April Monique BurrillChainsaw Sally
Brooke LewisSlime City Massacre
BL: People can say what they want, it was an ultra-low budget sequel to the cult classic “Slime City” (1988) and I had to make a decision, a choice when I made that film. When Greg Lamberson came to me and said you are one of the new IT girl Scream Queens of 07-08, read my script and see if you want to get involved. Look at any of the roles and maybe you wanna come in and produce in some way, and we bonded right away. That man is one smart man and he is an amazing writer and a great director. If you see the movie, the undertones and the subtext is amazing it covers drug addiction, gentrification, politics, US vs Canada, abortion, and it goes on and on. There are so many smart messages underneath the campy, gory, fun stuff, that I was inspired to do it. I am so glad I did because it became one of the horror films that I am most known for. Horror embraces strong women. I am a short, curvy, voluptuous, ethnic woman, horror embraces that pin-up look which I have always been grateful for. Horror always embraces outside the norm, I am not the typical Hollywood starlet look and horror does not discriminate. Not like most movies where you have to look like a supermodel in order to get naked, in horror real people have sex.
I can only speak for myself and some of my peers, I choose to be a powerful woman in horror. I don’t just act in horror, I have done Broadway, and thrillers, and mob movies, I just wrapped an amazing dramedy called 1/2 New Year, I do it all because I am an actress but the stuff that I have chosen to do in horror and I am very proud of it. I feel like I have got to do some great stuff, made some great films with some really great people.
HoTS: I then wanted to find out about the Ms. Vampy talk show/web series, But before we get into that, let me introduce you to Ms. Vampy. Ms. Vampy is America’s funniest, sexiest, sassiest and most extraordinary board certified Life Coach and Vampiress! Her personality is as big as her hair and is often described as Betty Boop meets Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. She has two books, Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk and Coaching From a Professed Hot Mess. I have read them both readers and cannot recommend them highly enough. Ms. Vampy gives sage advice and does so in such a relatable and entertaining way.

BL: What do I get cast in usually in the mainstream? Hooker, stripper, because I have big boobs and big hair and I wear high heels because I am short so naturally…the hairstylist, the guidette, which I love and that’s how Ms. Vampy was born. I looked at the body of my biggest work and at that point in time, ten years ago it was mobster movies, it was comedy, big hair and guidette roles that I used to play like in Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding where I got my start  on Broadway which I love, then add horror to the mix. It came to me that this had never been done before and it is a lot of what my horror fans embrace about me. And I thought why not? Ms. Vampy is a Brooklyn, big-haired vampire guidette with a heart of gold. On the teen talk show, we talk about everything from the LGBTQ community, to racism, to sexism, to bullies and it was very important to me to get this done. It needs to be made and I will not stop till it is done correctly. She is from the Vamprelli crime family, killing people and drinking blood is declasse so she eats everything else that is red. So everything needs the suspension of reality because she has a heart of gold and tons of positive messages. She’s my alter-ego. She talks about everything that I have experienced in my life. Also there is the teen smash hit TV/talk show/web series Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk, which won the Honolulu Film Awards 2012 SILVER LEI AWARD, the coveted 18th Annual Communicator Awards (2012) AWARD OF DISTINCTION for Social Responsibility and Los Angeles Film Awards May 2017 INSPIRING WOMAN IN A FILM AWARD .

I wanted to bring to your attention readers three of her new projects. Psycho Therapy (2016) a short film was written and directed by another great woman in film and horrorStaci Layne Wilson. It has won twenty-one awards already, including awards for Brooke and her production company Philly Chick Pictures. Philadelphia is her hometown hence the name. The other is a film she already mentioned called 1/2 New Year which is in post-production so make sure to keep an eye out for it. The last was the aforementioned Sprinkles short film which has twenty-five wins also for Brooke and Philly Chick.

Brooke Lewis Brooke Lewis

Brooke also has partnered with Rock n’ Roll Lifestyle Company Metal Babe Mayhem to brand and launch their ‘Rock Your Hot Mess’, ‘Ms. Vampy’ and ‘Scream Queen Brooke Lewis’ clothing lines. She was also branded with the hypoallergenic Makeup and Skincare Company TASH Cosmetics to launch their ‘Profess Your Hot Mess’ and ‘Ms. Vampy Girl’ makeup lines. I told you this woman was busy!
As far as being a columnist she has the distinction of writing for the Huffington Post as a contributor which she started in 2012. With such great articles as “Ask the Drama Queen”, “Hollywood Darlings Let Their Light Shine With Anti-Bullying Campaign”, and “Ageism and Heterosexism in Hollywood.”
And if you were wondering about the singing she signed with Tazmania Records/Metropolitan Records and released the freestyle dance hit “Get Me Off Your Mind”. Released in 2009 and on the album Tazmania Freestyle In-motion vol. 13.
Brooke strongly believes in charity work that empowers women and young adults. She is active in several charities that support Breast Cancer and Anti-bullying and can be found feeding the Skid Row homeless at the Los Angeles Mission which I saw when she showed a few pictures at Christmas, best looking Santa’s helper out there. She is also a proud Breaking The Chains Foundation (BTCF) Celebrity Ambassador. Brooke is a proud member of Women In Film and Film Independent. She was also the Hot Hunks of Horror Hottie for 2009 and the co-captain of Dread Central’s Bowling for Boobies.
She also told me that people would say to her, with her cleavage, high heels, big hair, and makeup how did she expect to be taken seriously as an intelligent woman?And she would say to them really? She has more degrees than six of them combined. For her naysayers I will say this, she majored in rhetoric and communications, she minored in both theater and criminal justice. She was also Inducted into ‘Outstanding Filmmakers Of The Year’ at the first Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival 2017 and for me to list all of her awards and accolades, I would need to get new hands after typing because mine would fall off!
Brooke Lewis / Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

Brooke Lewis on the web:

So for myself, Horrormadam and everyone at the House of Tortured Souls I want to say thank you so much to Brooke Lewis and also huge congratulations on her fiancee’s proposal on September first (her birthday) 2017. Brooke is such a sweet, intelligent, and kind woman and she deserves all the best. And as she and Ms. Vampy would tell you. Be you…And be fearless and definitely Vamp It Out!
Metal Babe Mayhem: Scream Queen Brooke Lewis (SQBL)
Discount code #BROOKE16 to receive 20% OFF!
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HoTS Christmas Edition: A Christmas Carol

HoTS Christmas Edition: A Christmas Carol

Flashing colored Christmas lights
ChristmasCarolLogo / Fair use doctrine.
I have mentioned before how spooky winter was in the olden days. The last of a fallen animals body heat leaving their body, even the brief fog humans made as they breathed in the chili air had people thinking of spirits. Also, the improper storage of the last harvest caused wonderful hallucinations. They would pile up their grains and the dampness caused mildew; also, rye was often contaminated with ergots, which scientists now believe is the cause of the Salem tragedy. Charles Dickens was, of course, born quite a bit after that occurred. Still, the mists and, by that time, 'nose powder' (and the fact that Dickens was an English novelist with rock star status), helped to make A Christmas Carol as popular as it became.
Alastair Sim-A Christmas Carol (1951) / Fair use doctrine.
Charles was not only an awesome author but an incredible actor, making him the best of storytellers. He would pack the crowd when doing his book tours, Charles Dickens acting out his own words on the stage was a sight to see. A Christmas Carol was published in 1843, just a few decades after much of America started celebrating Christmas again ( The Puritans saw Christmas just as a time for the poor to wassail the rich, and also believed that Dec the 25th became the popular date to celebrate the birth of Christ to cover up the Roman holiday Saturnalia (which was a festive celebration of the God Saturn) many Christian Holidays 'occur' during the time of more 'uncivilized heathens' Holidays, so nothing new there.

Muppets-A Christmas Carol / Fair use doctrine.

Dickens was inspired to write A Christmas Carol one night after he spoke one night at a charity event for Manchester Athenaeum. He was broken hearted and worried about the outcome of the poor and ignored children. After the event, he roamed the chili, night air streets (it was October after all) and became obsessed with getting his story out in time for Christmas.

A Christmas Carol is still reenacted every year across the nation on many stages. And has been turned into a movie, not once but 49 times! From old cranky men to muppets, to animated versions of Jim Carrey!

The first being put out in 1908, Tom Ricketts was the first screen Scrooge.

ScroogeMcDuck-A Christmas Carol / Fair use doctrine.

Some of the more popular Ebenezers have been:

Alastair Sim

George C. Scott
(yep dude from The Exorcist)

Patrick Stewart

Bill Murray

Michael Caine

Jim Carrey

Flashing colored Christmas lights
I am delighted by the fact that the most popular Christmas story is filled with ghosts, hauntings, nightmares, and a vision of one's own death. Nothing better than scaring the Christmas spirit into someone. 😉

Posted by Tammie Parker in FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, FICTION AND POETRY, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, PARANORMAL, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

With Christmas upon us, we venture through the veritable treasure trove of dark stories of yuletide fair. Here is a short list of 9 Christmas tales and traditions used originally to promote the darker (and in some cases oddly comical) side of the holiday period. Whilst some are purely laughable by today’s standards, others are still used to scare children into being good all around the world.
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1. KRAMPUS:

Krampus / Fair use doctrine.The most obvious on the list and easiest to recognize, KRAMPUS has gained a notoriety with horror fans through various films in recent years.
KRAMPUS is a Christmas character from Austria, who on KRAMPUS Night (December 5th) each year appears to scare and maim. Some say he is Santa Claus’ evil twin brother and, like his brother, has a duty each year to perform. Unlike his kindly brother who delivers gifts to good girls and boys, KRAMPUS has the opposite job and will beat and punish all of the naughty children.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

2. CAGANER:

The Shitter / Fair use doctrine.This odd little custom is used in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
As usual, a nativity is set up and decorated with the expected characters on display – Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three wise men and perhaps a shepherd. However, in these three countries, you may also add a character known as CAGANER.
CAGANER is literally translated as ‘the crapper’ or ‘the shitter’, and his figurine (which traditionally depicts a man, pooping with his pants around his knees and with a pile of poop at his heels) is usually placed in the corner of a traditional nativity scene. Children are encouraged to find him, as part of their Christmas ritual. The CAGANER is not a new custom, having been around for a few hundred years. It is a bit of a shitty custom, I know, but I will admit I was intrigued by the concept of a man crapping in my nativity scene.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

3. WITCHES:

Brooms - WitchesIn Norway each year, it is perceived that WITCHES and evil spirits will ascend on the towns in search of brooms to ride on to do their evil bidding on Christmas Eve. To thwart this evil, the Norwegians will hide all brooms on Christmas Eve and fire a warning shot outdoors with a shotgun.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

4. FRAU PERCHTA:

Frau Perchta / Fair use doctrine.Continuing on with our witch folklore, FRAU PERCHTA is another occult Christmas legend from Austria and Germany. It is known that FRAU PERCHTA visits children through the 12 days of Christmas, from December 25th until January 6th. She is seen as both good and bad.
Thought to have descended from an Alpine goddess of nature, FRAU PERCHTA will reward good children.
However, she is very well known for her gruesome punishments for the bad, including one fearful tale of ripping out internal organs and replacing them with garbage.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

5. HANS TRAPP:

Hans Trapp / Fair use doctrine.In certain regions of France, the tales of HANS TRAPP circulate as an anti-Santa.
Dressed like a raggedy scarecrow when he visits, HANS TRAPP was a wealthy man who worshiped Satan and became greedy and evil.
The stories say that HANS TRAPP was about to eat a small boy when he was punished by God and struck by lightning, killing him instantly. However, his dark soul still returns to scare children (looking like a scarecrow) each Christmas, as a reminder that they still have time to be good.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

6. PERE FOUETTARD:

Pere / Fair use doctrine.PERE FOUETTARD was an evil French butcher who many still fear today.
Said to be a ghoul whose name translates as ‘Father Whipper’, PERE FOUETTARD lured children to their deaths whipping and cutting them (primarily by slicing their throats).
A gruesome tale of 3 young boys he led into his butcher’s shop, was the one that cemented his fate as a part of Christmas’ evil side.
It was there that he murdered them, chopped them up and salted the remains.
St. Nicholas came to the boys’ aid and resurrected them, before enslaving PERE FOUETTARD as his dispenser of punishment, by whipping them naturally.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

7. WEREWOLVES:

Werewolf / Fair use doctrine.Yes …I said WEREWOLVES!
According to varied legends, Lycanthropy is very much included as part of some countries Christmas legends.
In The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Olaus Magnus (a Swedish folklorist) wrote regarding werewolves gathering on Christmas night to “rage with wondrous ferocity against human beings, by attacking their homes and devouring the inhabitants”.
This was supposedly in Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania.
However, that is not all of the Christmas-werewolf connection.
In modern times, it has since been reduced to merely being born on Christmas Day is cause enough to believe that person will become a werewolf.
It is seen that being born on December 25th is mocking Jesus Christ and so you must be punished.
Sorry to all you December 25th born children, perhaps steer “clear of the moors”?
Flashing colored Christmas lights

8. GRYLA:

Gryla / Fair use doctrine.GRYLA is an Icelandic legend of a woman with 13 sons (known as the YULE LADS) and her cat Jólakötturinn (see story available on this page about the YULE CAT).
In Iceland, it is customary to receive a gift of new clothes to wear on Christmas Eve. Usually, good workers receive clothes as a gift from employers, and children from their parents.
For those children considered naughty, who do not receive new clothes in time for the festive season, GRYLA comes out from her home and seeks them out -to devour them.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

9. THE YULE LADS:

Like their mother GRYLA, THE YULE LADS were not at all nice to encounter during the holidays. Tales of their numbers vary from five to thirteen, and their antics range from mere pranks to acts of cannibalism.
Either way, these ‘lads’ were to be feared and were usually seen as henchmen for their mother.
In more recent years each of their 13 characters has evolved (since a poem published in 1932 by Jóhannes úr Kötlum) and THE YULE LADS have been seen as more impish, mischievous and less aggressive. In fact with recent toys, stamps and images available they appear more like the seven dwarves than evildoers.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in FEATURED CONTENT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, STAFF PICKS, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
Last Minute Christmas Shopping, Oh the Horror

Last Minute Christmas Shopping, Oh the Horror

DancingSantaSkullI would not dream of starting the list without our very own merch at TeePublic. You can get any of the designs below on everything from throw pillows to tapestries.

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Here are some good ones from Funko Pop: Annabelle; Jason, Freddy, and Sam; and Krampus!

Funko Pop - Annabelle

Here’s the lovely Annabelle.

Funko Pop - Freddy, Jason, Sam

How about a trio of Halloween classics – Mini Freddy, Jason, and Sam.

Funko Pop - Krampus

And what good would a Christmas be without Krampus?

Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider

How about getting your loved one a sweater for Christmas? 😉 You can pick up a Krueger sweater on Amazon.
Amazon - Freddy Krueger sweater
And are gloves on your list? You can pick up a Krueger glove on Amazon. But why stop at one?
Amazon - Freddy Krueger's glove
Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider

House of Tortured Souls – Artists of the Month
Many of our previous Artists of the Month have special sales going on.

Check out this tee from Don England. He has many other T-Shirts on sale for only $10.95! They go up to a size 3x.

Maxwell Blackheart has many original pieces for sale on his Etsy page. Check this one out.
Max Blackheart - Christopher Lee Frankenstein

RF Pangborn has this lovely original (framed) on sale for $125. Such a charming piece. 🙂

Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider

More Amazon
Amazon has an awesome section of horror movie collectibles. Check them all out!
Overlook hotel keyAmazon - Kill Time Coloring Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for fans of The Walking Dead, Amazon has some awesome collectibles.
Amazon - The Walking Dead calendar
American Horror Story fans will love the selection of AHS merchandise on Amazon.
Amazon - American Horror Story Graphic
Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider

Don’t have Amazon Prime and don’t want to pay that shipping fee? How about Walmart. 😀 Select shipping to store so you don’t pay shipping.
Walmart - Mystery Mini Horror Classics Series 3
Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider
Gamestop
How about Friday the 13th for XBox One? 😀
Gamestop - Friday the 13th Xbox
Or BioShock The Collection? 😀
Gamestop - Bioshock collection
Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider
Etsy
Or how about a completely unique approach to showcasing your love for horror? The couple behind EclecticGoodsVa paints sneakers (and totes, hats, anything that sits still long enough).
EclecticGoodsVa-Pennywise shoe
Christmas ribbon and bells with holly divider
I hope I helped someone, I know how ‘frightening’ Christmas shopping can be. Don’t forget to connect with us on social media.
Like House of Tortured Souls on Facebook
Follow @HOTorturedSouls on Twitter
Subscribe to House of Tortured Soulson YouTube
Christmas tree of stars color changing

Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, EVENTS, FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls Gear for the Holidays – And Year Round

House of Tortured Souls Gear for the Holidays – And Year Round

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AVAILABLE NOW AT TEEPUBLIC

Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season just got a lot easier with House of Tortured Souls gear. You can get everything from T-shirts to tapestries to phone cases in six great House of Tortured Souls designs.
Check out the array of great items below. All designs are available on all products listed. Click on the links and head over to TeePublic to pick up your very own House of Tortured Souls gear. There's something for everyone! Don't forget to make a wish list for yourself while picking up gifts for your friends, family members, and assorted tortured souls.

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Adult Apparel

T-Shirts

Tri-Blend T-Shirt (Extra Soft) HoTS Murder in the Pumpkin Patch

Design: Murder in the Pumpkin Patch
Style: Classic T-Shirt

Tank Tops

Junior Athletic Racerback Tank Top HoTS Basic-F

Design: Basic
Style: Junior Athletic Racerback Tank Top (Female)

Hoodies

Classic Zip Hoodie HoTS The Dead Always Scream

Design: The Dead Always Scream
Style: Classic Zip Hoodie

Crewneck Sweatshirts

Female Raglan Pullover - HoTS Bloody Good Time

Design: Bloody Good Tim
Style: Female Raglan Pullover

Long Sleeve T-Shirts

Premium Long Sleeve - HoTS The Mansion

Design: The Mansion
Style: Premium Long Sleeve

Baseball T-Shirts

Baseball T-Shirt - HoTS Murder in the Pumpkin Patch

Design: Murder in the Pumpkin Patch
Style: Baseball T-Shirt

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Kids Apparel

Kids T-Shirts

Youth T-Shirt - HoTS The Mansion

Design: The Mansion
Style: Youth T-Shirt

Kids Hoodies

Youth Hoodie - HoTS Murder in the Pumpkin Patch

Design: Murder in the Pumpkin Patch
Style: Youth Hoodie

Other

Onesie - HoTS Behold the Evil

Design: Behold the Evil
Style: Onesie

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Home Goods

Wall Art

Poster - HoTS The Dead Always Scream

Design: The Dead Always Scream
Style: Poster

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Notebooks

Spiral Notebook - HoTS The Mansion

Design: The Mansion
Style: Spiral Notebook

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Mugs

Travel Mug - HoTS Bloody Good Time

Design: Bloody Good Time
Style: Travel Mug

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Pillows

  • Throw Pillow, Extra Small, 14"x14"
  • Throw Pillow, Small, 16"x16"
  • Throw Pillow, Medium, 18"x18"
  • Throw Pillow, Large, 20"x20"
  • Throw Pillow, Extra Large, 26"x26"
Pillow - HoTS The Dead Always Scream

Design: The Dead Always Scream
Style: Throw Pillow

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Totes

  • Tote Bag, Single and Double Sided, 13"x13"
  • Tote Bag, Single and Double Sided, 16"x16"
  • Tote Bag, Single and Double Sided, 18"x18"
Totes - HoTS Basic

Design: Basic
Style: Tote Bag

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Tapestries

  • Tapestry, Small, 36"x26"
  • Tapestry, Medium, 60"x51"
Tapestry - HoTS The Dead Always Scream

Design: The Dead Always Scream
Style: Tapestry

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Cases and Stickers

iPhone Cases

  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
iPhone 8 Case Slim - HoTS Bloody Good Time

Design: Bloody Good Time
Style: iPhone 8 Case Slim

Galaxy Cases

  • Galaxy S8
  • Galaxy S7
  • Galaxy S6
  • Galaxy S5
  • Galaxy S4
Galaxy S7 Case Slim - HoTS The Mansion

Design: The Mansion
Style: Galaxy S7 Case Slim

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Laptop Cases

  • 12” Laptop
  • 13” Laptop
  • 15” Laptop
Laptop Case - HoTS Behold the Evil

Design: Behold the Evil
Style: Laptop Case

Stickers

Sticker - HoTS Basic_3-1/2x2-7/8

Design: Basic
Style: Sticker

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House of Tortured Souls
Designs Available at TeePublic

Head on over to TeePublic and check out all the HoTS gear available. Don't see a product you want? Email us about it, and we'll see what can be done.

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Connect with House of Tortured Souls on Social Media

Like House of Tortured Souls on Facebook
Follow @HOTorturedSouls on Twitter
Subscribe to House of Tortured Soulson YouTube

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Posted by Woofer McWooferson in ART AND VENDORS, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, 0 comments
Gorehound Mike’s 2017 Naughty and Nice List

Gorehound Mike’s 2017 Naughty and Nice List

Christmas time is finally upon us, and just as we put away our favorite Halloween movies, we also get out those classic yuletide classics. Or clas-sicks as the case may be. Instead of a rehash of all the countless holiday horror films, I thought I`d give you my rundown of favorite and least favorite. Or my Naughty and Nice list.

NAUGHTY

Elves (1989)

Elves (1989) / Fair use doctrine.I have oft heard of this VHS era film, and I finally decided it was high time to check it out. And seeing how I was making this list — and checking it twice — what better excuse? Elves is interesting in that it takes the horror holiday movie in a different direction than just a killer Santa, and I respect that a lot. The plot as insane as it also attempts something just a little bit more creative as well. However, sadly, the film takes itself far too seriously, and the lack of the titular elves is disappointing. Mix this with an all over the place plot, bad dialogue, and even worse acting, and you have a film you wouldn’t want to give to your worst enemy.

Silent Night (2012)

Silent Night (2012) / Fair use doctrine.Silent Night, Deadly Night (1980), if we are being totally honest with ourselves, wasn’t a stellar movie. However, I love it for its over-the-top camp and intentional tongue-in-cheek humor. For me, those are the main reasons it’s a cult classic that really deserves the love it gets from fans. Silent Night, however, is pure garbage. It lacks any of the fun, dark sense of humor that made the original a fan favorite. This time around we get a cold, joyless movie which muddles through its confused plot just to get to a kill scene. The real horror is seeing a once great actor like Malcolm McDowell reduced to this bottom of the barrel crap.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987) / Fair use doctrine.And speaking of Silent Night, Deadly Night, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is bad despite its cult infamy. “It’s Garbage Day!” Yes, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 has some fun moments, but it recycles a huge chunk of the first film, so much so that I feel like the director of the first should be credited as co-director. Talk about lazy. After the film is done “recapping”, the rest is just lazy, cringe-worthy dialogue and a rather dull plot. Once you get past its “cult status”, it’s really just part one with a small amount of crap added to fill out its runtime.

To All a Goodnight (1980)

To All A Goodnight (1980) / Fair use doctrine. I don’t mind a good killer Santa movie, but one thing a movie shouldn’t be is dull. To All a Goodnight seems to follow the slasher pattern but forgets to inject anything original, interesting, or compelling. Despite a few good kills, the film is essentially a snooze fest and seems to get lost in its own inept plot.

NICE

Krampus (2015)

Krampus (2015) / Fair use doctrine. It’s rather fitting that I’m writing about Krampus for two reasons. One is that December 5th is Krampus day, and the second is that two years ago I saw this gem in theaters. The Krampus trend has been incredibly popular for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before someone made a movie to fill the void. Thankfully, we got Krampus, a wildly creative black horror comedy, that (surprisingly) has a heart in its dark twisted center. Many have compared it to Gremlins as it acts as both a legit horror movie with moments comedy and yet actually sneaks in a message (without being heavy-handed or sappy). I really implore anyone who hasn’t seen it to do so ASAP as it’s a really fun movie and something that has future cult classic written all over it.

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) / Fair use doctrine. NAUGHTY! Of course, no holiday horror list would be complete without this trashy but fun horror gem. Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t what you’d call a great movie; however, I love it — flaws and all. It wisely doesn’t take itself too seriously and plays up its camp status. It’s the black comedy that really keeps this from being too clichéd or too depressing. And when you’re dealing with kids in horror, it’s a good route to go. Some films have cult status that I feel isn’t really deserved, but I have to say this one truly is an enjoyable film, and it’s awesome that it is as beloved as it is.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) / Fair use doctrine. Looking for something from a different country? Look no further than Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a highly clever film from Finland. Instead of killer Santas or little elves, Rare Exports takes a totally different spin on the holiday horror and the end result is fast-paced, creative, and (most importantly) engaging. You really invest in the characters, and the film’s childlike perspective really helps sell the fantasy and horror of the piece. I can’t say enough great things about this movie, and if you are looking for something completely different, you will not be sorry. Not a slasher, but a damn clever little movie that deserves to be more praised.

Christmas Evil (1980)

Christmas Evil (1980) / Fair use doctrine.Christmas Evil may just be my favorite on this list. It has more of a special meaning to me since the star, Brandon Maggart, gave me an exclusive quote for my book The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema, which follows my review of the film. For anybody who has never seen Christmas Evil, it’s not a traditional slasher like Silent Night, Deadly Night; rather, it is more psychological. To me, this makes it more disturbing and interesting – think Santa Claus meets Taxi Driver. This is not to suggest it doesn’t have any bloody moments, but the fact that they are used sparingly makes the impact all that more shocking. Anybody willing to give it a chance, Christmas Evil is a masterfully done movie and well worth checking out.

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas (1974) / Fair use doctrine.The granddaddy of all slashers is often cited as Halloween (1978); however, as much as I love and respect that film, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas did it first. Black Christmas is a wonderful whodunnit slasher that really grips you from the very first frame and doesn’t let up until your nerves are shattered by the twists and turns. Its setting and tropes would be often copied, including its killer point of view, the setting of girls alone in a dorm, and the mystery surrounding the slaughter. I will even say I enjoyed the remake a lot though not as much as the classic 70s version.

That is my Naughty/Nice list -I hope you all enjoyed it, and I hope everybody has a very Horrifying Winter Holiday and a Scary New Year.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in FEATURED CONTENT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – December 2017: Tony Blake

Artist of the Month – December 2017: Tony Blake

I found December’s AotM because of my love for The Walking Dead once again. 🙂

And even though this was one of the most horrible occurrences on my favorite show, Steven was impressed!

One of the reasons Tony Blake’s art stands out is the fact he uses color pencils! You guys should know by now I love different. 😉

Here is his brief bio:

Tony is from Great Yarmouth in the UK. He is a full-time freelance artist and is currently studying for a degree in art. He is 41 years old. Married with three children.

Our Q&A:

House of Tortured Souls: How long have you been into horror art?
Tony Blake: Always loved horror art from a young age. First ever character I drew was Freddy from a t-shirt my dad brought me.

HoTS: Did you have a teacher or go to art school??
TB: I’m self taught.

HoTS: Who is your favorite monster?
TB: Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

HoTS: Do you have booths at conventions or any art galleries?
TB: I do comic cons across the UK and my art was featured in the Z-Nation exhibit at the Spokane Museum of Art.

HoTS: How old were you when you started drawing?
TB: Probably about 5. Once I went to school. It was all I could do as I had problems with reading and writing, I’m dyslexic.


HoTS: What is your favorite method, pencil, charcoal, the blood of innocents?
TB: I use Prismacolor and Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils for the last two years love them.

HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
TB: Yes!

antblakeart
@TonyBlake76
@tonyblakeart

HoTS: Do you do commissions?
TB: Yes always doing what the customers want.

HoTS: Are you working on something now?
TB: Currently drawing Bill Murray as Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters.

HoTS: What advice would you give anyone interested in starting this career?
TB: Best advice I can give is practice, practice, never give up and always try new styles, and if that doesn’t work sell your soul to the devil.

Throughout the month of December, Tony is selling original pieces $80! :-O #Floored!!

Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTIST, FEATURED CONTENT, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

It is a great honor for me to introduce next HoTS ‘In the Spotlight’ Artist: our own Justin Schock!
Justin has done a tremendous amount in the background for House of Tortured Souls this year, so he well deserves this title – and much more! As with many artists, his talent spills over in more than one genre. He records metal music!
Here is a brief bio of Justin “Schock” Terrell:
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jackolanterns-300x300Schock was a nickname given as a stage name in the early 2000s and kind of just stuck with me all these years… I was born in 1982. I was born and grew up in Anderson, IN. I still live nearby but try to disassociate with the town. Haha! I have one kid, a daughter, who is 9 years old and acts like she’s 14. Kids… I’ll tell ya. Currently, my normal day job is the Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohl’s in Anderson, IN.
House of Tortured Souls: When did you start drawing?
Justin “Schock” Terrell: I started drawing at a young age, like stupid young. I can remember drawing at 3 years old or so.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-beardskull-300x300

HoTS: What was the first picture you remember doing?
Schock: When I was younger, I would draw comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts while attempting to mock the style. I then moved on around, 4 or 5 years old, drawing Spiderman and Wolverine mostly before developing my own techniques.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jason-300x300

HoTS: Who inspired you when you began?
Schock: I just started drawing things always utilizing pencil only. I use to not care for markers and such. The traditional look of pencil appealed to me. I honestly can’t say if I had anyone influence. There were, of course, comic books and cartoons, but I never got the names of the artists. My uncle, Mike Ball is an amazing traditional artist. I mean he doesn’t use computers. He was always showing me tricks as a kid, and I admired a lot of the work he did.
HoTS: Who do you follow now?
Schock: Now that I’m older and pay attention to things, some of my favorite artists are James Rowe, Alex Ross, Nikki Bruin, and Scott Anderson. Then there is this one dude, not sure of his real name, but his store is called Electric Zombie. And Ghoulish Gary is hands down amazing, as is Jason Edmiston. Really, there are a lot of insane artists out there.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite creep?
Schock: Favorite creep…hmm well I’m always all over the monsters. It’s hard to pick, ya know? Ever go shopping and you see Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein stuff everywhere, but then there’s that one off Leatherface item, so you’re torn? Do I pick up the traditional monster thing? Or get the slasher? I’m a horror fan, and it’s just too hard to pick.

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HoTS: What is your most prized piece?
Schock: I have a couple pieces that are prized. One is a full pencil/colored pencil piece I did of Reagen from The Exorcist, and the other is a non-horror pencil drawing of ballerina legs/shoes. Both of those are amazing to me because I didn’t know I could produce such work.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-ballerina-300x300

HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor markets?
Schock: I have never done any of the cons or markets namely because it takes a lot of money to get started and I totally do not have that kind of loot. But one day, I will be all over it. I have never done an art show. The art world is a cruel mistress. Fun fact about my region of the world, er, the city: I was told by an artist collective here I was not allowed to join their little club of artists because of my work being mainly horror-influenced. And I went from traditional pencil and paint to almost all exclusively digital coloring, even using Wacom pens to draw without paper. Very snobby artists here. So art shows would only happen, again, if I had the money for it, and if I was more well known.
HoTS: Are you working on something now?
Schock: As of now, I am working on some watercolor paintings, the annual Drawlloween pictures which I am doing all pencil this year, images for HoTS. As well as working on my next record. I make hardcore/metal music also. All written and recorded by myself called xSCHOCKx, which can be found here: xschockx.bandcamp.com I jump around mediums, drawing, painting, music and even writing. Working on a collection of short stories with a friend. No title yet, but its very X-rated and scary all at once.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-regan-300x300

HoTS: Do you do commission work?
Schock: I do, indeed, do commission work. I’m always open to anything graphic design in advertising, drawings, logo design, the list goes on and on. A list of services and prices can be found on my site (listed below), and it does not have to be limited to horror works. That’s just my thing. I’ve done stuff for the MS people, Diabetic Youth Foundation, and even random churches. A good artist doesn’t limit his focus.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
Schock: I am all over the social media and Internet. Heres a list:
Damn that’s a lot. Nah, but I do a lot of different things artistically and sometimes they blend together. I use my nickname for both my artistic and musical endeavors, so that it’s easy to promote both.
Folks, be on the lookout for more of Justin. He is amazing, and we here at HoTS plan on keeping him around for many moons to come.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lady-300x300

Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTIST, FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
WiHM: Jamie Lee Curtis

WiHM: Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis was my first (and still my top go to) Scream Queen. She was 19 when she played the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween.
And boy did she play the hell out of the role!! The horrified faces she made, the shaky hand with the butcher knife, and that scream! She would later play that role three more times in Halloween II, Halloween H2O, and Halloween: Resurrection and had a voice role in Halloween III.
Jamie held on to the audience after Halloween with her banging body, which she took full advantage of in Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, and the infamous hotel scene from True Lies.
I mean isn't the perfect damsel in distress look?
Her ability to play any type of role amazed watchers and added even more to her fans list!!Jamie is one of the incredibly talented actresses that can go from horror to family movie (Freaky Friday), back to horror, and onto your 'typical housewife' in a dramatic adventure.
The show Scream Queens was conceived based on her, and she, of course, has a role in it to freak the audience once more. 🙂
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
WiHM: Kathy Bates

WiHM: Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates is the one and only Grand Dame of Horror.
Oh, if only Annie Wilkes (Misery) heard the cockadoodie filth coming out of Sunny Soke's (Bad Santa 2) mouth, what a scene that would be. Kathy's performance in Misery is talked about to this day! How did a normal looking, I dare say Plain Jane type, woman pull that off? I mean her performance was absolutely stunning! Then, she goes from dark horror to Fried Green Tomatoes and then back to another Stephen King adaption Dolores Claiborne. Holy Hell, woman!
Kathy has gone on to play roles in every genre andbalways stuns the crowd with her performance – usually as an evil bitch. 🙂 Have you seen her as the Queen of Hearts in Syfy's Alice?
Alice -- Pictured: Kathy Bates as The Queen of Hearts -- Syfy Photo: James Dittiger
It is for that fact that I was floored a few months ago at the announcement that she had received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. WTF do you mean? Just now? Shouldn't she have received that back in the early 90s?! Who is in charge of handing out these stars?
Now we can all enjoy hating her on American Horror Story, which she has been in many seasons. Of course, her performances are always spot on. She is equally amazing and comfortable in horror and/or dramatic roles. Each season of AHS she plays a completely different type of role than the last, and she nails it every time.
Kathy has turned evil stare downs into an art form. Her look alone could give a yeti sunburn, and, as I said before, looks like a completely normal person. This is why her performances so memorable.
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR HEROES, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The History of Krampus

The History of Krampus

By Tammie Parker
Fans of horror like to think of another guy in a fur coat this time of the year: Krampus. He has been around for centuries now, and is growing more popular in these times. Krampus originated in the Alpines region. He is said to be part goat, part man, and all demon. krampus-red He walks upright on goat hind legs, is covered in fur, has goat horns, and sports a long curling pointed tongue. Krampus is Deutsch (German) and derives from the word krampen, meaning claw. Now doesn't he sound like a rootie pacutie!
In some regions of Europe ,Krampus is one of the Companions of Saint Nick. Knecht Ruprecht, Belsnickel, and Zwarte Piet are the others. Krampus and St. Nicholas are often seen together in books, and on Christmas cards. Krampus has been featured on cards since the 1800s in Europe.
krampusstnick krampussaintnicholas
Krampus comes the night before The Feast of Saint Nicholas. This night is called Krampusnacht. He carries a sack full of switches and goes into every house to find the misbehaving children. With eyes rolling all directions, tongue lashing in and out, krampus-sledtotheunderworldstumping with one goat hoof and one man foot (I imagine that is from versions blending together), he would sniff out the bad ones. Krampus would whip them, throw the naughty child into his sack and take them back to the Underworld, where they would be lost forever.
Then, with all the rotten children gone, St. Nicholas could come. Saint Nick only deals with good children.
In other versions, Krampus would just leave lumps of coal instead of presents. But who wants to hear about that when we have claws, fur, and an underworld?
Nothing like the good ole days and demons to scar a child for life huh! Maybe if this snot-nosed heathens now had some demons to fear they wouldn't be so disrespectful. Hell, maybe we could get some shirts tucked in!
In Germany, it used to be popular to pass around holiday cards with Krampus decorating the front. Just look how lovely these are.
krampus-childreninbasket2 krampus-childreninbasket
Until Krampus was outlawed in 1923. OUTLAWED! Craziness! Luckily, in the 60s, he started to appear again. Many cities in the Alpines have parades today, where they dress up as Krampus.
krampus-parade2 krampus-parade4
It's called Krampuslauf (Krampus run) Where drunk men dressed as krampus run around the streets. It's pretty much *St.Patty's day meets Mardi Gras meets Christmas*, and it is certainly time for America to embrace Krampuslauf!!!!
Merry Krampuslauf!
Posted by Tammie Parker in FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR HISTORY, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 0 comments
RECIPE: Halloween Soup

RECIPE: Halloween Soup

By Tammie Parker

This soup became a tradition when my twin sons were growing up. We called it Witch's Brew, but it has many names (Biohazard Soup, Stuff and Thangs Soup, Clown Soup, etc). The trick is to add ingredients that you can say are something incredibly creepy or disgusting (tomato juice is now blood for example), but use names that will go with the title of the dish. Thus, for Witch's Brew, chicken wings become bat wings and green beans become goblin fingers. For Clown Soup, cherry tomatoes are clown noses, spiral cut different colored vegs for a clown's rainbow wig, and so on. The only thing you need to know to make all of this weirdness come out tasting great is simple seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed red pepper-easy!) and to slow cook the soup.

fearpremiere-food-biohazardstew2I'm having a TWD Premiere Party (if that wasn't drilled into your head yet from previous articles 😉 ), so my soup will contain a lot of shredded or ripped body parts (hearts, guts, limbs - thangs Lori!) and blood.

Here's a list of examples to help you out (I hope you make Clown Soup 😀 because this is the perfect year for it!)NOT ALL OF THESE GO IN ONE PARTICULAR THEMED SOUP (for instance if you are making for a TWD party, there wouldn't be any Dragons' Tongues. That's InShane!! :

  • Tomato juice (1 large can – sufficient for the soup base) = Blood
  • Stewed tomatoes (1 can) – partially rip apart by hand = Hearts
  • Raw chicken wings (4) = Bat wings
  • Smoked oysters (1 can) = Ogre hearts
  • Hominy (1 can) = Teeth
  • Smoked sausage (1/2) (peeled) = Skinless fingers or Limbs of a goblin
  • Spiral cut vegetables (potatoes, zucchini, carrots) (1 each) = Guts
  • Spinach (to taste) = Ogre Skin
  • Pearl onions (to taste) = Eyeballs
  • Bacon (4 slices cut in half) = Skin
  • Red kidney beans (1 can) = Rat hearts
  • Baby Carrots (1 pkg) = Dragon's tongue
  • Ribs (small package) = Guess
  • Hot dogs (1 pack cut in fours) and spaghetti noodles (2 per hot dog quarter) broken in half. Poke four noodle through each hot dog (THIS IS TO BE ADDED AT THE END) = Zombie virus
  • Angel hair pasta (1 serving) = Hair (If you want to use noodles, please remember they will go end at the end because they will get too soggy.)

1. Combine your choice of items 1 – 13 in large sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Add items 14 and 15 if desired.
4. Cook 10 more minutes.
5. Serve.
6. Enjoy.

Servings: Plenty of leftovers.

fearpremiere-food-biohazardstewHave fun and be disgusting! 😀

Posted by Tammie Parker in FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
HALLOWEEN CONTEST: Submit Your Scary Story

HALLOWEEN CONTEST: Submit Your Scary Story

WE WANT YOUR SCARY STORIES!

By Tammie Parker

Image: Woofer McWoofersonWe know tons of you have your own scary stories. They be actually be real story or something you went through or even something you witnessed first hand. We want to hear about them, and we're going to publish them EVERY day between October 24th and Halloween. You will, of course, be credited. Each story will start with the title. Don't worry - if you can't think of a title, we will. Then your name, where you're from, and any other introductory information your story requires.

The deadline to submit your scary story is 15 October 2016 midnight all time zones. This allows us to process the entries and communicate with the authors.

Image: Woofer McWoofersonAll entrants will become automatic Friends of the House and will have their names and stories posted on our site. From the submissions, three winners will be chosen based on creepiness (of the story, not the entrant). Winners will receive horror mystery bags.

To enter, email your scary story to us at admins@houseoftorturedsouls.com, subject: Scary Story Contest.

We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We are looking forward to being creeped out by our fans! Winners to be announced on November 8, 2016.

Posted by Tammie Parker in EXCLUSIVE, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, PARANORMAL, 4 comments
House of Tortured Souls LIVE, S01E01

House of Tortured Souls LIVE, S01E01

House of Tortured Souls LIVE

Sunday, 17 July 2016
Season 01, Episode 01

It's the very first episode of House of Tortured Souls LIVE! Join our hosts, John, Andrew, and Dixie as they talk horror. We are horror all the time. It's the first show and we are still working out the kinks. Did someone say kink? Okay, back to horror. In this first episode we do introductions, then we move on to talk about the new Ghostbusters movie. Who are you gonna call?

After that, we talk about the upcoming Scares That Care Weekend 3, and the Scares That Care charity itself. If you are anywhere near historic Williamsburg, Virginia on July 22-24, 2016, get your ass to the Double Tree Hilton for Scares That Care Weekend 3.

Finally, we send a special salute out to a living legend of horror. THE master of horror who finally gets some just recognition. Who is it? Listen to find out! Most of all keep coming back. The gang has great chemistry born of friendship and a mutual love of horror. Tune in, and turn it up!

Special thanks to Rocky Gray for our opening music and our artwork. You the man, man!

Posted by Allen Alberson in FEATURED CONTENT, PODCAST, 0 comments
Salute: 50 Years of Dark Shadows

Salute: 50 Years of Dark Shadows

Welcome to Collinsport


Woofer McWooferson

This tribute is dedicated to Jason "Egg" Brown who is no longer with us. Jason was a smart, funny, and kind person, and he had a way with words as anyone in The Vortexx chat will tell you. Rest in peace.

Egg with Mod Ghoul, who left us in July of 2015.

Dark Shadows - Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins

Despite Dark Shadows airing between 1966 and 1971 when I was three- to eight-years-old, I have fond memories of rushing to watch it when it came on. How much of this is from the original airing and how much is from its syndication run I do not know. Memory is a tricky thing. Either way, Dark Shadows was a big deal for me and many other young horror fans. With witches, vampires, werewolves, gothic architecture, flashbacks to period piece episodes, and storylines inspired by the likes of Shelley, Poe, and Lovecraft, Dark Shadows was nothing like anything we'd seen on TV before. And we couldn't get enough of it.

Dark Shadows - Kathryn Leigh Scott as Magie Evans

Kathryn Leigh Scott as Magie Evans

Created by Dan Curtis after he dreamed of a mysterious young woman on a train, Dark Shadows began as a gothic soap opera following the lives of the Collins family of Collinsport, Maine (named for the family) and eventually morphed more into a supernatural soap opera. The show really took off in the second after the character of Barnabas Collins was introduced and Jonathan Frid joined the cast. Barnabas was eventually revealed to be a Collins ancestor who was cursed to be a vampire after he refused to return to the witch Angelique (Lara Parker), his former lover.

Dark Shadows - Joan Bennett as Elizabeth Stoddard Collins

Joan Bennett as Elizabeth Stoddard Collins

Barnabas was imprisoned by his own father in a chained coffin with a cross on the inside of the lid, but returns after his coffin is disturbed by contemporary Collins' looking for the family's alleged jewels. It doesn't take long for Barnabas to assume the role of a ladies man while feeding off the citizens of Collinsport at night. He is most taken by Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) because she resembles his long lost love Josette.

Dark Shadows - David Selby as Quentin Collins

David Selby as Quentin Collins

Interestingly, Barnabas was not supposed to be a regular, but his enormous popularity persuaded the producers to bring him on board completely. It even took quite a while before any character used the word vampire to describe Barnabas. Until that time, characters merely referred to him as one who “walks at night but...ain't alive” and “one of the undead”.

Dark Shadows - Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard

Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard

Other show regulars include Joan Bennett (who was on for the show's entire run) as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, who had not ventured outside of her palatial home in over eighteen years, Alexandra Moltke Isles (for which producers received a great deal of criticism because of her age and lack of experience) as Victoria Winters, Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard (Elizabeth's daughter), Louis Edmonds (who also stayed for the show's full run) as Roger Collins (Elizabeth's brother), and David Selby as Quentin Collins.

Dark Shadows - Alexandra Isles as Victoria Winters

Alexandra Moltke Isles as Victoria Winters

Bennett, Barrett, and Edmonds were acting veterans who brought an air of legitimacy to the show and offset the perceived problem with having an unknown in a key role.

 

It's difficult to imagine now, but Dark Shadows was first and foremost a soap opera – a dark, gothic soap opera, but a soap opera nonetheless, and it originally aired on daytime television. With only a weekly budget of $70,000, they managed to create 1,125 episodes of one of the most beloved horror shows of the 20th century and spawn countless variations, including:

-House of Dark Shadows (1970) – feature length movie
-Night of Dark Shadows (1971) – feature length movie
-A television revival show in 1991 (featuring a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
-Two book series of Dark Shadows, one consisting of 32 books and a novelization of House of Dark Shadows and the other a trilogy by Lara Parker, the actress who played Angelique
-Countless magazine articles and features
-A comic strip
-Comic books
-Two board games
-Coloring books
-Two jigsaw puzzles
-A View-Master reel
-A series of audio dramas with many members of the original cast

Yes, Dark Shadows was a seminal production that paved the way for many other horror television shows, and television was the better for it.

Dark Shadows cast

The cast of Dark Shadows

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments