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Letranger Absurde: Interview With A Lego Builder Extraordinaire

Letranger Absurde: Interview With A Lego Builder Extraordinaire

You can find all the vignettes in this album –
Hey horror fans, Horrormadam here with an amazing artist! Letranger Absurde from Romania makes the most creative and innovative Lego displays of our favorite scenes from horror movies! I was so captivated by his work that I had to go on a search to find the man who crafted these true to form pieces. I found him fortunately when I found the Bricktastic Blog where he was in the Builder Spotlight. I reached out to him and he was extremely kind enough to answer my questions so that we here at House of Tortured Souls could take you on a behind the scenes look into the world of Lego building.
House of Tortured Souls: So you are from Romania I saw with rolug (Romanian LEGO® Users Group), is the Lego culture any different than in the US?
Andrei: I can only speak about the US culture from what I’ve noticed through online interactions, so I may be off the mark, but people seem to be more receptive to novelty and pop culture in general, so a hobby like this is easier to accept and get into. Around here they’re more… traditional, for the lack of a better word; the association Lego = toy makes many people frown at the idea and stops them from being able to take it seriously; it also makes adult fans buy them under the guise of buying for their children and keep their passion as a dirty little secret, but things seem to be changing lately – only in the last year our lug doubled it’s number of active members if I’m not mistaken. Another thing I noticed is that people around here (and Europe in general) tend to lean towards Lego technic more – the side of Lego dealing with functions with little care for the aesthetics (remote controlled cars, moving cranes and so on).
HoTS: Why did you choose to make scenes from horror films?
Andrei: I’ve been a horror fan for most of my life (since I was 8 or 9), so it would have happened one way or another. But the decision to make a series was due to the poor representation the genre had in the community. Aside from some builds here and there, mostly dealing with the mainstream, you could find mainly pictures of mini-figures (customs in general) with no focus on scenes and plenty of generic Halloween builds so I wanted to try and change that.
HoTS: How do you choose the scenes?
Andrei: I mostly build what I like, but there are other factors that come into play. I tried to keep a balance between popular and lesser-known movies to maintain the audience’s interest with the familiar ones and hopefully draw their attention to the ones they haven’t seen. Also, no matter how much I like a movie, it needs a scene that translates well both into the new medium and into a purely visual vignette, since horror tends to rely a lot on atmosphere, sounds, lights, music, camera angles and so on – remove all that and you’re left with something very bland and boring in many cases. For example, I wanted to add Halloween to the list, but I can’t find a scene that would make an interesting build. And finally, having close enough mini-figure parts to build the characters, especially the villain; it’s one of the main parts I wanted to get right.
HoTS: Do you custom design any of the pieces or are they all available from Lego?
Andrei: This is one of the bigger divides in the Lego community – altered parts or limiting your self to available ones. I chose to stick with available parts for a number of reasons: It’s the popular choice and the standard for any contests and such; it offers a great gauge to judge the quality of builds since everybody has access to the exact same tools of the trade. Actually, I can’t really give a good reason here, except that it just seems right, it’s Lego building after all and altering parts feels closer to sculpting. 🙂
Also, part use is something appreciated in the community in general, meaning using parts in interesting, unintended ways; let’s take Audition, for example, to stick with the horror theme:
Letranger Absurde Lego Audition
The couch pillows used in here are hats from this painter mini-figure:

And the tablecloth is the ruff from this fella:
Letranger Absurde Lego Shakespeare
Other examples from Evil Dead:
Letranger Absurde The Evil Dead
The Necronomicon is made from the printed eyes of the gorilla:
Letranger Absurde Unaussprechlichen Kulten
And the moose head is made from a brown frog and a helmet decoration:
Letranger Absurde Lego FrogLetranger Absurde Lego Moose Helmet
Not the most exciting or creative examples, but this wasn’t my focus in the horror series; hopefully they give a rough idea on what I’m trying to say; not sure how interesting this bit is for someone outside the hobby.
HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror films?
Andrei: I’ve always had a soft spot for Italian horror (Argento, Fulci, Bava); there’s so much creativity and they have a very distinctive style. Some of the most memorable soundtracks as well. I also love the lavish decors and atmosphere of Hammer films. Although despite my love for hammer, as far as vampires go, Subspecies is my favorite series, proof you don’t need doll vampires to make a proper vamp movie – and that’s coming from someone who likes doll vamps! I have to add The Wicker Man to the list as well, one of the most effective movies I’ve ever seen. As far as slashers go, one of my favorites is The Hills Run Red; sure, it’s got some problems, but it’s best moments are enough to get over the lows. And anything with Vincent Price in it. Won’t bother mentioning mainstream classics like Alien or Exorcist, sure, plenty of them on the list, but I see no point mentioning the ones pretty much everyone loves.
HoTS: What all horror themes have you done and any plans for new ones in the future?
Andrei: I have done other horror related builds over time (some were utter garbage unfortunately, I’ll throw in a few of the better ones) – the Necronomicon and Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Unaussprechliche Kulte would be the German for “unspeakable cults”) books (hoping to add Eibon (Soul Eater: Eibon is based directly based from the sorcerer of the same name from Clark Ashton Smith’s short story “The Door to Saturn“) to the list soon.
Letranger Absurde Necronomicon
Letranger Absurde Unaussprechlichen Kulten
– some Halloween builds, like the witch mosaic, the vampire couple, some busts
Letranger Absurde Boo Bitchcraft
Letranger Absurde Lego Come in for a bite

Letranger Absurde Lego Dracula Bust
Letranger Absurde Lego Frankenstein Monster Bust
– a larger scale build of the classic IT scene
Letranger Absurde IT

Andrei: Of course, I’ll continue building in the genre and I’m going to continue the vignette series soon. One of the things I’ve had on my list for a while is the lobby from Suspiria, but sourcing the parts in the right colors quite difficult and expensive. Plenty of movies from what I’ve mentioned in my favorites are on the list as well.
HoTS: Are they very hard to do, and are they time-consuming?
Andrei: In general neither, but it depends on what you’re trying to do and the complexity you aim for. Size is also a factor, but not necessarily the biggest one; you can spend more time shaping, reshaping and polishing a tiny part of a build than it takes building a castle, so it’s also up to you how much time you want to dedicate to each build. The vignettes I’ve done in the horror series were done in an afternoon/evening; at most spread over the course of 2 days; my aim here was to make them simple and accessible, yet recognizable. The biggest factor is the parts; if you don’t have what you want and have to order them, waiting for them to arrive can extend the project for weeks and is definitely the most annoying bit. But I suppose that’s true for every other hobby when it comes to sourcing the “materials”.
HoTS: I saw that your favorite one is Room With a View, what is your favorite horror one and why?
Andrei: I’m going to go with the crowd favorite here, The Exorcist. Not only was it the one that started it all, it just seemed to flow effortlessly into the new medium. Maybe I’m biased a bit towards the subject as well. Although in a way the series started a year or so before this one with the Predator vignette I’ve done back in 2015, I chose not to make it part of the series as it’s pretty mediocre and isn’t a scene directly from the movie. I’ll most likely redo this down the road.
Letranger Absurde Predator
This is one of the real benefits of working with Lego – you can always take apart a model and redo it – and the parts are there to reuse. You don’t have to deal with consumables. Or you can simply alter a few details. Maybe a new part is released that works better than what you used before, nothing stops you from replacing it. Or your skill grows with time and you figure out a better way to do things. I constantly do this with the models I have on display, I like the fact that it’s all pretty dynamic and keeps things fresh, instead of just shoving them on the shelf and let them gather dust.
HoTS: Legos are pretty pricey, how do you afford to make these?
Andrei: To some, it may seem like I’m keeping everything I do, but the opposite is true; I only have a few smaller pieces on display, the norm is built, dismantle, repeat. I only keep larger builds intact for a longer period if they’re made for exhibits.
Andrei: There are a couple of ways to get your hands on cheap parts, the easiest is buying multiples sets when they are heavily discounted and sell/trade the excess/useless bits, but this doesn’t get you exactly the parts you need. Being a part of a lug also has it benefits, allowing you to purchase cheap parts in large quantities directly from Lego, but you have little room for diversity and it happens only 2-3 times a year. It’s still a big help. The rare and specific parts I get from Bricklink. BrickLink is a venue where individuals and businesses from all around the world can buy and sell new, used, and vintage LEGO through fixed price services.
Andrei: There’s also the opportunity to get parts straight from brand stores, but I have no access to that in my area, unfortunately.
HoTS: Will you ever sell any of your pieces, or do you ever take commissions? Told my boss about you and he now wants a Lego Haunted House like on our logo. ?
Andrei: Neither, although I’ve been getting requests every now and then. I would be open to it, the issue is sourcing the parts; I don’t have the opportunity to get them locally for a decent price, so I have to get most of them from international sellers and the shipping costs alone are overkill on multiple orders. I may end up doing it someday, but for now, I’m happy with it being just a hobby. There are plenty of talented builders in the community taking commissions, so you can pretty much find the right person for any subject; although each of us has our own little touches and style so it’s a good idea to be familiar with their work beforehand.
So I want to give a huge thank you to Andrei for myself and everyone here at the House of Tortured Souls! His answers were very illuminating and insightful and they made me want to go out and start building my own Lego creations. I hope you enjoyed this, readers, and that you will go out and start making your own horror creations!



Posted by Horrormadam in EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTIST, HALLOWEEN, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, STAFF PICKS, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Kayla Stojek – Zombie Peepshow

INTERVIEW: Kayla Stojek – Zombie Peepshow

Hello, everyone Horrormadam here to show you the stunning creations of Kayla Stojek. She makes THE most incredible horror/goth/punk-themed shoes, boots, and hats that I have ever seen, each pair more astounding than the last. I reached out to Kayla to find out everything I could about this remarkable woman and her sensational designs:
House of Tortured Souls: How did you get into making these amazing creations?
Kayla Stojek: I was a chemistry major, with intentions of becoming a dentist. Making shoes and clothing was always something I did for fun, either for myself or friends. I made an extreme pair of heels for a Halloween costume in 2011. People loved them and began asking for pairs of their own. Shortly after I opened my Etsy store and the internet sort of ran with it!

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: Why horror, and what are some of your favorite horror movies?
KS: I’ve loved horror since about age 6. I grew up on the ’70s and ’80s horror so the fascination was always there. Favorites would be The Shining, Black Christmas (original), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Halloween, most anything from the ’70s. I’m also a fan of Rob Zombie’s films.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: Saw that another of your influences is punk, what are some of your favorite bands?
KS: Misfits, Rancid, Dropkick are a few favorites. Outside of punk, I find heavy artistic influence from Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie.

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: What is it you like about Kawaii (in the context of Japanese popular culture: cute) culture?
KS: I’ve never really worn any Kawaii items personally. But it’s something I love to look at. I think it reminds me of youth and nostalgia from growing up in the ‘90s.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: How did you come up with the name Zombie Peepshow for your brand?
KS: I had a very brief run at roller derby in my early 20s, Zombie Peepshow was my derby name. I liked that it was a perfect dichotomy of gore and girly, which suits my designs.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: What materials do you use for the sculpture?
KS: We use all industrial-strength epoxies and materials to bond the shoes. I’m constantly experimenting with new compounds for sculpting. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of cosplay materials and mixtures I’ve created.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: Who are the celebrities wearing your work?
KS: We’ve been fortunate enough to make shoes for people all over the world. Whoopie Goldberg has purchased a few, along with YouTube star Trisha Paytas. Many models, musicians, and other artists have pairs as well.

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: Did you have fine art/fashion training?
KS: I don’t have any formal artistic training. My background is mostly science and mathematics, so this venture was definitely something new. I quickly realized that this creative outlet was what I longed for. It’s what I’m supposed to do. 😊
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: Do you have a favorite pair?
KS: Probably a few that I haven’t released yet. There is one in particular that I hope to launch Fall 2018 and I believe it’s my best design yet. If I had to choose one from my store I would say The Texas Chainsaw design. It was our first sound producing a pair, so that was exciting.
HoTS: How much does a commission cost? Any plans or is there already one of Sammy from Trick R Treat (my fave along with Carpenter’s Halloween-😉)
KS: Trick R Treat would be amazing! Custom pieces usually start around $175 and increase based on the level of detail (led lights, extreme pieces, etc.)

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: And my boss wanted to ask about men’s boots and if so he is willing to model.
KS: We do make men’s items often! My husband has a tendency to hoard most of the men’s items I create, but we have orders for them every month.
HoTS: Any haunted houses? Our site is called the House of Tortured Souls. 😊
KS: We’re big fans of haunted houses. Good friends from our hometown in West Texas run a huge haunt called A Nightmare on 19th Street. One of them is also in the process of building the largest haunt Austin has seen. We love them!

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

I just want to thank Kayla so much for taking the time to answer my questions because I know how extremely busy she is with the success of her shoes! We here at the House of Tortured Souls are big fans of her work and because I am a huge cheeseball I am reminded of the lyrics from Megadeaths cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic:
These boots are made for walking
That’s just what they’ll do
And one of these days these boots
Are gonna stomp all over you
So get a pair of Kayla’s boots and get stomping and look fabulous doing it!
Posted by Horrormadam in ART AND VENDORS, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
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!

Posted by Horrormadam in FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
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!
Posted by Horrormadam in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, FEATURED CONTENT, FICTION AND POETRY, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WOMEN IN HORROR, 1 comment
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:
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Schock 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.
And now for our Q&A:
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.
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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.
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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.
HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor's 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 don't 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'm 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.
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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.
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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
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.
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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.
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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
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 2)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 2)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

My Top 5 MUST WATCH for October

By Tammie Parker

#5: Halloween (1978) & (2007)

Okay. HOOOW can you NOT watch Halloween in October?

Halloween / Image: Compass International Pictures
And for me, I absolutely must watch both the original and Rob Zombie's revamp! Speaking of Rob, how many of y'all have House of 1,000 Corpses on your list? I mean, when I hear that piano I feel like I just made it home after a 5 year journey!! My cocoon bursts wide open when that music starts playing! HELL, I want to thank the landscape artist that kept that hedge trimmed so perfectly for Michael to peep around. I want to thank Mother Nature for blowing a few crunchy leaves around from time to time so that I mentally teleport to that street. Yes, it only takes one leaf for me to get the feel of the place. I can even hear that big ol' Ford LTD right now! And I have that long cleaver hanging on my kitchen wall, just waiting for a long lost brother that I didn't even know about to pop up. BRING IT ON, MICHAEL! See I'll know exactly when to run for it... I'd know that piano theme music if I was nearly deaf! (heehee)

#4 Friday the 13th (films) (1980-present)

Friday the 13th / Image: Paramount Pictures / Warner Bros.
My second MUST would be all of the Friday the 13th (films)! (Okay, not Manhattan.)

I mean, Jason just has a way with the women, right? And so many of the deaths were so damn unique for the time! And think about how Friday the 13th opened the gate for other horror movies, and how many soon-to-be horror directors learned so much from these movies! Horror authors were born by the dozens! Those deaths seeded — NO demanded — fresh new twists on freakish murder. How many stopped sending their kids to summer camp after this? How many had a sort of horrific epiphany because of these movies? How many 'Oh my God, we're not going camping, fishing, or hiking any more'? How many 'Welp, no more premarital sex for me'? No more, I'm not sleeping in another damn bed that has the possibility of some jackass crawling under! No more weed smoking for me! No more hanging the sheets outside! How many?

#3 Young Frankenstein (1974)

My third would be Young Frankenstein. This year more than usual!! Gene played the hell out of this role!

Young Frankenstein / Image: Gruskoff/Venture Films
"IT'S PRONOUNCED FRONK–EN–STEEEEEN! These one has so many YES! moments in it for me. The look of a classic Universal horror movie, humor, rolls in the hay, and the freshly dead. How eye drawing was the cinematography? And they must of have one hell of a choreographer? Did you see that tapping jig for 'Putting on the Ritz? This one just has such a nice feel!

#2 The Ring (2002)

The Ring / Image: DreamWorks SKG
Fourth? The Ring.

When this movie originally came out, it was soooo different than anything any of us had seen before. How many times did you ask yourself 'What was that?' when the video was rolling? It screwed with your mind! The music and sound effects were spot on and intensified every move. The suspense was like no other, and this new grey cinematography was so crisp! And the master-minds behind it. This was a pretty low budget film, and look at what it did. Just don't ever comb your hair around me if it's long...I am scarred forever, and whatever is nearby will be thrown at your head!

#1 The Exorcist (1973)

Last but not least-- The Exorcist! DUH! It's a classic for us Generation Xers.

The Exorcist / Image: Warner Bros.
It came out the year I was born, so I'm not talking I was at the theater when it was released lol. I first saw it when I was about 12 and I cannot believe — looking back now — how terrified I was of the special effects in this one! Good stuff.

With that being said, let the marathons begin!

Posted by Tammie Parker in HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
SPOTLIGHT: Spirit Halloween

SPOTLIGHT: Spirit Halloween

By Woofer McWooferson

Fall Means Halloween

As anyone who loves Halloween in North America knows, Spirit Halloween stores as much a seasonal tradition as trick-or-treating. For those who don't know,

Spirit Halloween (spirithalloween.com) is the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country with more than 1,200 locations in strip centers and malls across North America. Celebrating 33 years of business, Spirit is the authority on all things Halloween, offering one-stop shopping for everything from costumes to decor and party goods to accessories. In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, 'tweens, teens, and adults along with exclusive décor you won't find anywhere else.

For a lover of Halloween and things spooky, a trip to a Spirit Halloween store is like walking through the Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Workshop to those who favor Christmas. Being able to browse their wares in person is a real treat

Spirit Halloween retail locations feature larger-than-life, nightmare-inducing animatronic displays for the home. Those tempted to walk around the spine-chilling “Clock Tower” will be frightened by the motion-activated Howling Werewolf, a life-size Swinging Scarecrow, a crazed three headed dog Cerberus, and back by popular demand, the evil Lil Skelly Bones. Brave shoppers can also experience the “Haunted Hotel” where Floating Ghost Girl surprises from above with demonic laughter and a haunting cry followed by the Electrified Corpse, which hangs upside down, shaking and glowing from LED lights and equipped with screaming, moaning, popping and zapping sounds.

For those planning a party but still undecided on a theme,

Spirit’s wide selection of new Ouija-themed items allows the stylish hostess to match a Ouija dress and scarf with Ouija candles, pint glasses, shot glasses and more. With themed décor such as Spirit’s Haunted Séance Board, spooky Ghost Writing Book, motion-activated Spider Portrait and Whirl-A-Motion LED projection spotlights, it’s never been easier to transform a home into the neighborhood’s most talked about haunted house.

Costumes and Costuming

The most anticipated items are the costumes. What has hit Spirit Halloween for the season? Spirit Halloween offers a variety of costumes to satisfy all ages and costuming desire. This year’s top picks and can’t-go-wrong selections range from presidential candidates to superheroes and villains to animation and games. From their latest press release, here are the top ten costumes/categories for 2016:

Anti-heroes

2016 is all about the anti-heroes. And doesn’t it feel so good to be bad! Harley Quinn, the Joker and Deadpool all combine the daring and mischievous traits of a villain with the heart of a hero.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Girl Power

Who runs the world? Girls. Fierce, fearless females remain popular this year, with super heroines Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman (who celebrates her 75th super hero-versary in 2016!) as well as real-life heroes: doctors, police officers and firefighters. Daughters will be thrilled to coordinate with moms in costumes for all sizes.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Election 2016

America’s top candidates for president are the most controversial to date. Spirit Halloween has both realistic and humorous candidate masks and wigs for a creative political statement. Accessorize your candidate to show their sexy side, devilish demeanor or even what they’d look like behind bars.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Gaming

Level-up with the phenomenon that took the world by storm this year: Pokémon. Other fan-favorite gamer costumes for 2016 include Fallout, Assassin’s Creed and Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Anime

This Japanese cultural icon has crossed the Pacific! Hone battle skills and dress the part of a Dragon Ball Z warrior, an Attack On Titan cadet or a Naruto ninja in anime-inspired costumes.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Crayola

Color outside the lines with new Crayola costumes. Collaborate with friends to bring a rainbow of Crayola crayons to life. An easy last-minute costume for shoppers of every age, and perfect for teachers celebrating Halloween and creativity in the classroom.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Trending Tykes

Let the little ones’ imaginations soar as they transform into today’s most-loved cartoon friends, including official styles you won’t find anywhere else from PJ Masks, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.
Images: Spirit Halloween

Pop Culture

Go viral with looks from the most talked about topics of the year from FX’s smash hit “American Horror Story” to musical legends Prince and David Bowie.
Images: Spirit Halloween

#TBT

Throw it back to iconic characters of Halloweens past for a #trendingcostume. From horror classics to beloved characters Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & 2 and TMNT, these costumes are a guaranteed high five.
Images: Spirit Halloween

DIY

Express individuality with a large selection of basics and beyond in every color to elevate a do-it-yourself look. Take a Spirit Halloween costume over the top with key accessories that strut your style, such as colorful wigs, bright eyelashes, bold makeup, statement-making suspenders, masks or hats of all shapes and sizes.
Images: Spirit Halloween

The Heart of Spirit Halloween

At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children (spiritofchildren.com), a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since its inception in 2006, Spirit of Children has raised over $29 million for the Child Life department at hospitals across the country. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100% of funds going toward a child’s life. For the 2016 Halloween season, Spirit of Children will be supporting 139 hospitals across the country, with a goal to raise $7.8 million. Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child's life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram by using #SpiritofChildren in their photos.

How to Find Spirit Halloween

  • Online and search for one near you: SpiritHalloween.com
  • Facebook: For discounts and the inside scoop on all things Halloween, "Like" us if you dare on Facebook Facebook.com/SpiritHalloween
  • Instagram: @SpiritHalloween
  • Twitter: @SpiritHalloween
  • Pinterest: Pinterest.com/SpiritHalloween
  • YouTube: youtube.com/SpiritHalloween
  • Upload your spooky Spirit Halloween shopping experience by tagging photos with #SpiritHalloween on your social media channels.
  • Posted by Woofer McWooferson in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    SPOTLIGHT: Eli Roth – The Busiest Man in Hollywood

    SPOTLIGHT: Eli Roth – The Busiest Man in Hollywood

    By Tammie Parker

    Do you remember when Eli Roth appeared as The Stoner in his own movie Cabin Fever? OH? You didn't realize that was him? Yeah, insane, huh? And to go from this scrawny, Shaggy looking fellow in this bonfire scene from Cabin Fever...

    ...to this muscular giant with the appropriate title the Bear Jew in Inglorious Basterds...

    ...is quite the transformation!

    Eli has his hands in so much at the moment, I don't know how he has time to sneeze!

    Last year alone he produced:

    • Knock Knock
    • The Man with the Iron Fists 2
    • This Forgotten Day in Fright
    • Chainsaw
    • 33 episodes of Hemlock Grove
    • 15 episodes of #15SecondScare
    • 11 episodes of 1 Minute Horror
    • 8 episodes of South of Hell
    • 15 episodes of Real Scares

    In addition, The Green Inferno was also (finally!) released.

    Already this year he remade one of his first movies Cabin Fever, and just last month the USA was gifted with Clown.

    Currently Eli is working on a big film with none other than Jim Carrey. This movie, Aleister Arcane, is based on the horror novel written by Steve Niles (which comic book geeks and horror fans alike know his work!). The story has an interesting twist, Aleister Green (a retired newsman) returns to his home town and hosts a TV horror show titled Aleister Arcane. The township doesn't like it, and puts an end to the show. Aleister soon passes after the end of his show. But he's not finished with this town.

    Just recently Eli took a break from filming to play with sharks during Shark Week:

    I fell in love with Eli Roth's mind when I watched Hostel and Hostel II.

    Eli Roth - HostelEli Roth - Hostel

    Eli Roth - Hostel 2I caught interest in Hostelwhen I saw his name and remembered him from Cabin Fever. I thought to myself "OH, this well be interesting!" Boy, was I in for a shock. Aside from pushing the limit with the level and intensity of the gore, the story itself was frighteningly plausible. It freaked me the frack out! I started thinking how possible this could be. I honestly enjoyed Hostel II even more than the first. GIRL POWER!

    Eli Roth - Gorgeous
    On top of everything else, he certainly is easy on the eyes!

    Thanks, Eli Roth! We can’t wait for your next film.

    Posted by Tammie Parker in HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 1 comment
    SPOTLIGHT: Robert LaSardo

    SPOTLIGHT: Robert LaSardo

    By John Roisland

    Robert LaSardo

    Robert LaSardo. When you say the name Robert LaSardo, many people respond, “Oh, yeah I know him. He's the actor with all the tattoos.” But that's barely scratching the surface of who he is. I had the privilege of meeting Robert LaSardo last July at the Scares That Care charity weekend convention, and he agreed to call me and arrange an interview when he returned from filming in Europe. Although we had not yet officially launched www.HouseofTorturedSouls.com, he, nevertheless, said he would call.

    Robert LaSardo Photo by Justice Howard

    Photo by Justice Howard

    Not to disparage Mr. LaSardo, but I never really expected my phone to ring because, as I said, we had not officially launched. One evening, however, it did and displayed a Los Angeles phone number. I looked at my phone and then let it go to voicemail since I don't know anybody in LA. About 10 minutes later, the same phone number called again, and again I let it go to voicemail, but this time he left a message. After listening to the voicemail, I was grinning from ear to ear; Robert LaSardo had just called my phone. I called him back, and, by the end of the call, he told me to call him Rob.

    Unlike many actors might do, Robert reached out to me as a person. We talked a few times and built a rapport and a friendship. When I told him I wanted to do an article on the real Robert LaSardo, not just the actor, he liked the idea and agreed to an interview in mid-September of 2015... So I’ve been sitting on it staring at it for almost a year now! I wasn’t sure how to do it – and him - justice. With House of Tortured Souls’s one year anniversary upon us, however, I decided to turn the spotlight on Robert LaSardo and give the rest of the world a look at the man behind the tattoos.

    Robert LaSardo was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 20, 1963, and currently resides on the West Coast in California with his loving family. But what about in between?

    At a very young age, he became quite the aspiring actor. I asked him about this. Had he dreamed of growing up to be an actor when he was a young boy? “No,” he said. “I used to watch the trains, watching them leave town and wishing I was on one of them.” This is not surprising. Robert had a hard life growing up. He lived on the street sometimes, in cars at other times, and sometimes with friends. However, there was one bright spot: Robert was accepted to a high school for the performing arts where he received critical acclaim for his work. In spite of this, Robert was in and out of gangs and even had a few run ins with the law. He could’ve stayed on the streets at this point, but he was smart enough to realize that was a dead end. So he walked away from it and into the US Navy after high school.

    Robert LaSardo in Bleach

    Robert LaSardo in Bleach

    When he returned, he redoubled his efforts to become an actor and flesh out his talent. At first he received small parts here and there, but he found himself stereotyped by his appearance. This did not deter him, and he continued to seek various types of characters. Eventually, the combination of his talent, determination, and self discipline paid off. Not only did Robert LaSardo gain recognition in the tattoo industry, but he has also become a versatile, well-established actor with a lengthy list of credits ranging from China Beach to General Hospital to Strangeland to The Human Centipede III and encompassing a variety of roles from thugs to tattoo artists to priests.

    Robert LaSardo left an impact on me like not many others have. He's a man of few words but who always chooses them wisely, so when he speaks, people listen. He often portrays tough guys, perhaps because he demands - and earns – respect from those with whom he works. Indeed, while he isn't the biggest guy in the room, he does give the impression of the one who will kick your ass the hardest. I'm not saying that's not true (or that it is true); what I am saying is that he has a presence and is not the type of person who can be ignored. I'm honored to have gotten to know the real person, the man behind the tattoos. He is grateful for what he has and passionate about what he does and it shows. In addition to being a prolific actor with over 118 credits to his name – and more in production, he is also a published author, having penned. Life Sentence: A True Story About Love, Lunacy, and Fame and Playing With Fire.

    Though we did not get to speak often or for long, I always looked forward to our next chat and not because it was Robert LaSardo the actor calling, but because it was Rob the awesome person calling. He was always very honest and direct, and I have the utmost respect for him.

    Robert LaSardoAt the end of my interview with Rob, he said to me,

    Life can be really hard, but never give up. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. Never forget that there are always people that are going to try to bring you down, and thats when you have to pull together everything you have and make it work, to not only prove them wrong, but to prove it to yourself.

    Robert LaSardo is proof that dreams can be realized.

    Robert LaSardo, I look forward to seeing and speaking with you again soon.

    Take care, my friend, and thank you.

    Keep It Evil.

    Posted by John Roisland in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    Creeped Out By Dolls, Part 1!

    Creeped Out By Dolls, Part 1!

    Dolls, Part 1

    Creepy Things?
    Or the Creepiest Things Ever?

    By Tammie Parker

    For years now screenplay writers, and producers have been scaring the shit out of us with these wimpy little floppy TERRORS! Yeah, those things made out of porcelain, plastic, wood, or cloth and stuffed with a thousand screams!

    Have you heard of Isla de las Munecas - The Island of the Dolls? Such a place actually exists? Oh, yes, and it's just as creepy as you imagine.

    Island of Dolls 01

    Island of Dolls... Not creepy at all.

    The story goes like this:
    The caretaker of the floating garden Don Julian Santana Barrera found a little girl drowned. Shortly thereafter, Julian saw a doll floating near the canals. Believing the doll belonged to the little girl, he retrieved it and hung it from a tree as a way of showing respect for and support of the spirit of the girl.

    Julian believed he was haunted by the spirit of the girl and started hanging more dolls in an attempt to please her spirit. After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead, drowned in the same spot where the girl had.

    Island of Dolls 02

    Island of Dolls - Not even a little creepy.

    After Julian’s death in 2001, it has become a tourist attraction where visitors bring more dolls. The island has been featured on many shows now. including one of my favorite shows Ghost Adventures. (Can you hear Zac snapping, "Stop running!" now?)

    Ghost Adventures - Island of Dolls

    Island of Dolls - Who am I kidding? This is creepy as all get out!

    Dolls - Poltergeist - clown doll

    Poltergeist - I'm pretty sure the clown doll was behind everything.

    Who could forget the freakish clown doll (seriously, why was that even in the house?) in the original Poltergeist! Good Lord, that horrible ear to ear grin on his glass face was enough for me! Then it's going to run and hide under the bed? NOPE! I was done at the point! The whole grabbing him and holding him hostage was completely uncalled for! (LOL) Who else threw out all the dolls in their house at the end of the movie?

    While we are on the subject of little boys, did you know there was a boy's doll called My Buddy that's the size of (and dressed similar to) Chucky?

    Check out this creepy video!

    I remember the doll coming out before the movie, and just finding out  that My Buddy was a partial inspiration for Chucky! Tom Holland told the doll's creator (Kevin Yagher)to make a cross between My Buddy and Raggedy Andy! Here're pictures of all three dolls. What do you think?

    Dolls - Raggedy Andy, My Buddy, Good Guy Chucky

    How about ventriloquist's dummies, huh? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Have you seen the old ones? Have you seen a Howdy Doody? It's very easy to make a horror movie based on those things with their freakish, 'follow you everywhere' eyes. I'd be out of there at the first creak of wood! The movie Dead Silence made my skin crawl, so keep an eye out here. I'm going to do an entire article on that one!

    Another freakish doll movie is The Boy (2016) (not to be confused with the 2015 film The Boy). The Boy definitely messes with your head!The boy is actually a doll...or is he? I don't even want to envision the thoughts floating around in writer Stacey Menear's mind.

     

    Dolls - Lorraine Warren and Annabelle

    Lorraine Warren and Annabelle

    Let's not leave out the girl, though! Which girl? Annabelle, of course! I have to give props to Annabelle for being scary as hell!! The real doll is a Raggedy Ann, but I understand why the producers used a nightmarish porcelain doll for the movie. The porcelain doll's looks alone freak me out just writing about her. HOWEVER, I confess that I was equally as freaked out when I first learned about Annabelle being a Raggedy Ann seeing as how I had a Raggedy Ann and a Raggedy Andy as a child!

    The real Annabelle is locked away in Ed and Lorraine Warren's museum -The Warrens' Occult Musuem in Monroe, CT. You may have heard of Ed and Lorraine since they were the first investigators in the Amityville house!! Ed has passed on, but Lorraine still runs the museum and gives tours (certainly on my bucket-list). Getting back to Annabelle, though... If I had her, the first time that doll appeared to be in a different position than I left her, I'd be fully aware from then on out. If the doll was in a different location than where I left her, that would be a wrap, scene, and fin! Her ass would be ripped to shreds and the pieces scattered between every dump and landfill in the tri-statel And if I lived by the sea or a lake, I'd rip her up, burn the pieces, hop in a boat, go 5 miles out if by the sea or the middle of the lake, and dump the ashes.

    howboutno

    Which doll do you think is creepiest? Have a doll you'd like to see covered? Let House of Tortured Souls know below!

    Posted by Tammie Parker in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    My IDOL George Romero Finally Gets a Hollywood Star!

    My IDOL George Romero Finally Gets a Hollywood Star!

    They're Coming for You, George...
    (And it's about time!)

    Star of the Dead

    By Tammie Parker

    George Romero - Night of the Living DeadGeorge Romero made zombies famous in Night of the Living Dead and redefined the genre while doing so. But not only did he direct the movie, he also helped write it. The man is a zombie genius! Almost all of us learned how zombies walk, move, moan, and what they look like (Hint: Not so good.)  from this movie. How real the movie looked (especially for the time period) made it truly disturbing to many viewers, and the concept of using radio broadcasting to report on what was happening was beyond creative. Lest we forget, Romero also encouraged the actors to perform with conviction, to bring realism to the drama, as evidenced with Barbara's nervousness and getting the shakes and Ben's slap to bring her back to reality, or the doomed family in the basement who, nevertheless, remain steadfast in their resolve to remain n the basement and to keep the others out, He made us feel for these people, and that made it all the more frightening.

     

    Dawn George RomeroGeorge later blessed us with more to the story - Dawn of the Dead (1978),

     

     

     George RomeroDay of the Dead (1985),

     

     

     

    zombies-georgeromaro-landofthedeadLand of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009), and a work in progress Origins (a prequel). Thanks, George!

     

    This, of course, has made so many zombie fans (myself included) obsessed with Mr. Romero!

    Zombies with George Romero

     George RomeroHell, look here! Even the zombies love him!

     

     

     

    zombies-georgeromaro-blackopsSome big fans include the creators of Call of Duty: Black Ops- Zombie map, Call of the Dead

     

    horrormovies-silenceofthelambs-georgeromarocameoAnd director Jonathon Demme gave him a cameo in Silence of the Lambs!!Did you notice him?

     

    Crazies George RomeroBy no means is Romero just for the zombie lover of course, He loves horror in general. He directed the original The Crazies, and the cult vampire movie Martin, and how about the Monkey Shines, huh? Pretty weird stuff, George! He even directed the commercial for the video game Resident Evil 2

    George has also worked with Stephen King.

    Stephen King and George RomeroThey created the comic book throwback movie Creepshow.

     

     

     

    horrormovie-thedarkhalfAnd Romero also directed The Dark Half - boy, were the sparrows flying.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    During his 50 years in the film industry, he has written, produced, and directed many films and even had a television show called Tales from the Darkside (Rumor has it that Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, will be working on a new version of Tales... yet another King tie). So why did it take so long for him to get a star?

    zombies-georgeromaro-creepyglow

     

     

    Posted by Tammie Parker in HORROR HEROES, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    MIKE NASH and CURIOUS GOODS

    MIKE NASH and CURIOUS GOODS

    By John Roisland 

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    I first met Mike Nash (aka Mike Smash), owner of Curious Goods, in 2014 at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I'm a convention lover and attend them  as often as the all mighty dollar will let me. My wife Stephanie and I took our daughter for her 16th birthday.

    Over the years I've lost a bit of the fanboy feel that I used to carry towards the celebrities, even though there are still some that I do enjoy meeting and even some I enjoy getting to see and speak with repeatedly. More so, I go to run into my horror family and the vendors that I have met with through the years. These days, my convention weakness is the vendors!!! My wife and I try to collect horror merchandise whenever possible. From art work and jewelry to action figures and clothing, there is no place better to find my personal Xmas list of wants than at a convention! Trust me, I could spend my every last penny in the vendor rooms!

    Well it happened to have been at Monster Mania when I walked up to a rather large vendor set-up that wasn't just a folding table full of DVDs or a few t-shirts but rather a full walk-in display of a style of artwork like I had never seen in my life! Now, I'm a horror action figure collector, or I try to be, and what I saw took it to entire new level!

    461006_363023357051038_1377962305_o

    Creating full size posable action figures, Mike makes ANYTHING that comes to mind - from horror to music and sci-fi! I saw the figures from King Diamond,  Star Wars, Ghost, Jaws, The Human Centipede , American Psycho, and tons more! But these aren't like action figures that you can buy off a rack in any store, no sir!

    All of these are so exquisitely and precisely made that they will honestly make you do a double take, and you will find yourself staring at them. The attention to detail is what really makes them extraordinary. After you see one and say to yourself, "Holy shit, it's <whoever> !", then you really look closely at the fine details - and this detail level is in each and every piece that you see on display. You'll fall silent as you pan the entire display that you are now engulfed in because you are quite amazed by it all - now in  an entirely new way. It no longer looks like a guy selling action figures, but rather an artist selling his work.

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    Since I last saw him, Mike was at Scares That Care Weekend Convention in Virginia last August and, most recently, at Monster Mania this past March. Curious Goods is now making  3D shadow boxes and, like the action figures, are all custom, hand crafted works of art. And, as I mentioned earlier, Mike makes anything you can think of - from Trick or Treat to Faces of Death and Motorhead to Bob's Burgers. Now he is getting into stained glass work, too. While I was looking I saw what I believe was a finished piece of stained glass, and it was gorgeous!

    All items are created, produced and or customized by me. I spend a very large portion of my time and energy on this art, and travel the country sharing it with you, the fans, at comic/horror and tattoo conventions. This is my livelihood/job/career. All items are available and for sale, commissions always welcome... I hope you enjoy what I have created... -Mike Smash

    Do yourself a giant favor, the next time you're at a convention, look up Curious Goods and check out all that is offered - especially if you're looking for good quality work and something a little different. While gawking at his work, keep an eye out for pieces that Mike may have added his own twist, or sense of humor to! But you don't have to wait for a convention because you can also look at his work online and stay up to date via his Facebook page.

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    If you're lucky enough to find Curious Goods at a convention that you're attending, say hello to the artist. Mike is a great guy and awesome to talk to. But keep in mind, he is there for business, and takes it very seriously. More often than not, he is either watching over his booth or working on more projects as you talking to him. The man is non stop!

     

    Keep It Evil

    Posted by John Roisland in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
    Gia Nova- Women in Horror

    Gia Nova- Women in Horror

    By Dixielord

    Women are making their mark in horror today. From directing and producing to acting virtually every step of the film making process has notable women representing and pushing the envelope. Not limited to film women are attacking every aspect of the genre, such as fiction, and bringing new elements like burlesque into horror.       So today I am focusing on a woman who has made her own path in horror and has walked it bravely. The House of Tortured Souls proudly salutes Gia Nove for her accomplishments in helping to bring dance and burlesque to horror fans.

    Gia Nova is a model, actress, and stage performer, and more than that a wonderful person.

    Gia Nova

    Gia Nova autographed photo

    Gia Nova has graced the pages of Playboy and took her modern horror burlesque act across the nation, from New Orleans to Las Vegas and beyond, as well as all points in between. She is the tattooed showgirl who swallows fire and walks on coals, wearing nothing more than a G-string, pasties and demon horns.

    Gia Nova bends over backwards

    Gia Nova bends over backwards for you
    Copyright Corinne Barrios used with permission

    She has also brought her horror burlesque act to the realm of horror conventions, appearing regularly at the Mad Monster Party show based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She also was a guest at the Scares That Care II convention in Williamsburg, Virginia. At Scares That Care she performed her act to a packed audience, and brought the house down. Since the convention she has become an official celebrity representative of the charity.

    Gia Nova at Mad Monster Party

    Gia Nova at Mad Monster Party Copyright Corrine Barrios, used with permisssion

    Her charity work shows that Gia is just as beautiful on the inside as the out. Besides her work with Scares That Care she has also worked to distribute warm clothing to the needy in Atlanta during the insane winter storm in 2014. And now she is adding actress to her resume as she stars in the upcoming independent film Frankenstein Created Bikers. The film shot in Atlanta also stars actress and permanence Tristan Risk, best known from American Mary.

    Frankenstein Created Bikers with Gia Nova

    See Gia Nova and Tristan Risk in Frankenstein Created Bikers

    She is also costarring with adult superstar Christy Canyon on Vivid Radio, and has been featured in Heavy Metal Magazine (whew shes busy!). She was voted 2012 entertainer of the year at the Exotic Dancers Award Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. All this and she still takes her stage show on the road. I met Gia back in 2013 in New Orleans at a convention. Of course I went to meet her because she was a beautiful playboy model, I didn’t know what a big heart she had, but I found out quickly. I love this girl and an honored to call her friend. I could write a thousand words about how wonderful she is, and not scratch the surface. You need to get out and see her, and see for yourself. Follow the lady on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media. Find out where she is performing and get yourself there.

    Posted by Allen Alberson in FEATURED ARTIST, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    INTERVIEW: Brian Papandrea

    INTERVIEW: Brian Papandrea

    By Amy Lynes

    Brian Papandrea headshot
    It's no big secret that I am a huge fan and supporter of Indie horror. It's also no secret that I have been backing the Indie sensation Fangboner since it's inception. I recently had the pleasure of meeting the lead actor of Fangboner (and Silver Bullet Pictures film Chubbies), Brian Papandrea. And he is one hell of a guy. I jumped at the opportunity to ask for an interview. He is just too talented (and hilarious) to let the opportunity slip by.

    If you haven't seen any of his films, I urge you to do so. He is a damn good actor and really complements all the films I've seen him in. He pretty much makes the film. Check them out. If you like comedy in the same vein of many Troma films, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, without further adieu, I give you Brian Papandrea...

    House of Tortured Souls: First off Brian, I wanna say thanks for granting me (and House of Tortured Souls) your first interview.

    Let’s get started with a little bit of background for the readers. Tell me how long have you been acting and how you got your start?

    Brian Papandrea: Well I suppose that depends on if you count high school plays, which was very bad acting! Like, Troll 2 bad but without any of the charm! (Laughing) And if we count that as acting then I might as well throw in skits I made with some friends and my dad's VHS camcorder years before. In that case, let's say twenty years! Yeah, that'll make me kind of sound legit, somehow.

    HoTS: When did you know that you wanted to be in the industry? Was it something you figured out early on?

    BP: I don't know if I've ever thought I've wanted to be in an "industry" or anything like that. I just always knew that I've wanted to perform and make movies from a very young age. I do remember one moment that I knew I wanted to pursue comedy, which was the summer of '94 and I was flipping through channels and came across this sketch show on MTV called The State. And I don't know if you're familiar with that (although if you're not YOU SHOULD BE!!) but it blew me the fuck away because it was like Saturday Night Live on whip-its!

    HoTS: I am definitely familiar with it (laughing) I loved it! Tell me a little bit about how you honed your craft. Have you trained professionally?

    BP: Yes, I have and I have a bachelor's degree in Theatre Performance which means I can work at any restaurant of my liking (laughs) but while I was doing that I also took classes at The Second City which gave me so much more confidence both on stage and off. It even helped with writing scripts because if I'm completely out of ideas and staring at a blank computer screen, I'll just have the characters improvise dialogue and see what happens. Seventy percent of Chubbies was written that way and we left it in cause it just happened to work!

    And not knocking my training in college because I did get a lot out of it in terms of becoming a character, and understanding their thoughts and motivations and blah blah woof woof...that's really boring, tedious shit but it was very necessary that I use on every film I've worked on.

    And yes, I'm aware that I play a guy named Dick in a movie called Fangboner where I have to drink blood from people's crotches to stay alive!

    HoTS: I know you’ve done a few Silver Bullet Pictures films, and now Fangboner with Nathan Rumler. Is there anything else I don’t know of? What was your first role ever?

    BP: The first movie I ever worked on was called The Stevie Wondershow, which actually had somewhat of a budget and was filmed in Iowa in the early summer of 2008. It was a very dry, dark comedy that was just an incredible experience. It traveled to a few festivals but never landed any distribution, unfortunately. After that I auditioned at an improv theatre and was a resident cast member there for about four years, which was awesome and consumed most of my time. And not just with improv, but I was also apart of several written shows that I am very proud of.

    HoTS: All of your work in film that I have seen has all been comedic. Do you have any aspirations to take on something a little more serious in nature?

    BP: Actually, months before we were going to start shooting Fangboner, I was cast in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. I've done some serious shows in college but this one I was going to play the role of Demetrius, who (along with his brother) rapes Titus' daughter then cuts off her tongue and hands. So...that was going to be something a little different for me. Of course, this show got cancelled two weeks before opening due to other actors dropping out or some shit. I don't remember. But if I can't do Shakespeare, Rumler is a good enough replacement!!

    HoTS: What film was the most fun for you to be a part of? Any funny on set stories you can share?

    BP: I'm having a hard time with this question...

    The first half of filming the bowling ally scenes in Chubbies was an absolute nightmare! There was a blizzard going on every time we went up to shoot, we had cheap-ass lights, some effects weren't going right...nobody was having fun at all. When summer hit and we had the space scenes left to shoot, then it became fun. It was a pain in the ass shooting four scenes as one character in costume talking to an empty space, and then getting in make up for another character for four more scenes, but that was a fucking blast! I don't know if you have Chubbies or not but the BTS/outtakes on the dvd show a lot of the good time that went into making it. There's also a pretty good BTS/outtake reel on the Fangboner dvd as well.

    chubbies snerd

    HoTS: I have scene all the extras on both movies and you're right. It's pretty funny. So what's your background in horror? Are you a longtime horror fan and if so what was it that started you on the horror trail?

    BP: I've been a fan as long as I can remember! I have an older sister who was a teenager in the 80's so she introduced me to the likes of Freddy and Chucky.

    I really had an awesome childhood because when my uncle would watch us, he would take us to the video store (back when there were not one but three video stores in one plaza!!!) and he would let us rent whatever we wanted! I have so many video store memories in the horror section that I could write chapters about it. Sometimes I would just stare at all the boxes and just be in awe of everything. Especially the vhs box for The Dead Pit because every time I had to push the button to make his face glow up, and I never rented it because I was probably too scared at the time. However, a couple years ago I got it from netflix (RIP Video Express) and turned it off after fifteen or twenty minutes because it wasn't the movie at all that I imagined it was as a little six year old fucking around with a movie box. And I didn't want to ruin the magic. I don't know if that really answered your question. But for real, I could talk about horror movies all day. And Van Damme movies too!

    HoTS: Who are some of the people in the industry that you look up to?

    BP: Anyone who is passionate in their art. People that are humble and not a pretentious asshole (which there are plenty in the scene). I guess I'm giving vague answers... John Waters is someone that I have looked up to for a long time. Rumler and I got to see him do his X-Mas spoken word show live a couple years back.

    We didn't pay the extra $100 for a bullshit meet and greet so he and I polished off a few beers at a bar next store. Then went towards the back of the building and John fucking Waters was leaving the venue. Now I've heard he is kind of a dick at meet and greets, but he was very gracious enough to stop, sign our dvds and take an individual picture with him, all while it being a snowy, 12 degree night and his taxi is waiting for him to go to the airport. I love stuff like that happening! As opposed to Tony Todd who will charge $20 for an autograph but be on his goddamn phone the entire time when meeting him. I digress, but seriously fuck Tony Todd, he sucks!

    HoTS: Does acting pay the bills or do you have an “Average Joe” job that does that for you?

    BP: I'm a server at a restaurant. I make very good money and they're flexible with my schedule for shooting and going to conventions. (Laughs) I tried the office job. I lasted four days.

    HoTS: So what else is in the works for you? Anything new coming up soon?

    BP: We have two or three projects in the early stages right now. There's going to be a winter movie that we'll start filming early December that may just be my directing debut. Then Nate (Rumler) and I are going to collaborate on a movie in the spring where I play Jesus, who gets kicked out of Heaven for being gay and is stuck on Earth. There's a lot more to it, but I'm not sure if I can give any more details out. I also have a script for a Chubbies sequel, but I'm not sure if that will get made any time soon because it's going to need a pretty decent sized budget that we have yet to work on. All in due time, though.

    I'd also like to get back on stage for something, but at this rate, I have no fucking time!!

    HoTS: Any future screenings planned for Fangboner? I know you had a vendor table at Motor City Nightmares back in September. How did that go for you? Were you well received?

    BP: We did ok at MCN this year, however there wasn't that big of a turn out due to the fact that HorrorHound was the same weekend. We're just very excited to have a screening at our favorite convention recently, CINEMA WASTELAND! The screening went very well, it was standing room only!

    We always have the greatest time at Wasteland, whether we have a screening or not, it's just a non-stop adventure and some of the coolest people you could ever be around!

    As far as other screenings or conventions, we definitely want to get a table for HorrorHound in March, also Monster Mania and possibly Texas Frightmare but we'll see. Just enjoying the positive feedback we've gotten so far from it.

    HoTS: I am hoping to be able to get to Monster Mania as well. Maybe I'll see you there! Alright, lastly, the premiere for the film was back in September on the 25th. How did that go? Unfortunately I was unable to attend…

    BP: It was perfect! And I sorta got engaged! I proposed to my girlfriend of 3 years (Sadie Tate) who is also in Fangboner, on stage right before the movie played. Aside from that, people really dug Fangboner, which seemed like a Disney movie compared to the movie we screened before ours: James Bell's TANTRUM. And if you or your readers have seen Tantrum, you'll know what I mean.

    sadie proposal

    HoTS: That's awesome news man, congrats! Sadie is a sweet gal! I wish you the best of luck.

    BP: Thanks! And thank you for the interview and all your incredible support thus far, Amy! It was great meeting you in person a few weeks back and hope to run into you again soon!

    HoTS: I'm sure we will see each other around, Brian. Maybe even at Monster Mania! Thanks again for taking the time out to talk with me for The House of Tortured Souls. We wish you tons of success!

    So there you have it, readers! I don't know about you but I for one am definitely looking forward to this future project where Mr. Papandrea plays a gay Jesus. I'm sure he will rock that role! And we will be sure to keep you up to date on the developments of said project, so stay tuned!

    Posted by Amy Mead in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
    STEELBOOK REVIEWS: Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986)

    STEELBOOK REVIEWS: Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986)

    Synapse Films Nails It With Demons and Demons 2 Steelbooks

    Review of Limited Edition Synapse Film
    Steelbook Releases
    Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986)

    By Amy Lynes

    Demoni 1 and 2 Synapse

    Having been a longtime fan of both, Demons and Demons 2, I quickly went into hardcore fangirl mode when I heard about the pending release of their limited edition steelbooks from Synapse Films. From the pictures alone they looked absolutely stunning. I knew immediately that I had to have them. Not only based on the previous transfer and restoration work I had seen come from the talented folks at Synapse Films (and what they did with films such as Prom Night, Curtains, and Basket Case 2), but also because these films have seriously been among my favorites for YEARS. I love them.

    Synapse-Films-LOGO

    Not long after their release, I called Jerry Chandler (of Synapse Films) directly, and ordered one of each film. A few days later, they at long last arrived. I couldn't wait to tear into the box and lay my eyes on them. And when I finally did? They were totally worth the long, agonizing wait. They literally took my breath away. The outside artwork is incredible. I almost didn't want to unwrap them and have them as display only, they were that beautiful.

    Very carefully, I removed the cellophane and opened the first film, Demons. When I opened it up, I found a replica of the Metropol theater ticket and more artwork on the inside of cover (of an image I absolutely love - I had gotten the exact image tattooed on my shoulder about two years prior) and a DVD copy of the film as well as the Blu-ray. I popped in the Blu-ray and kicked back to take it all in. I sat there speechless for the entirely of the film. The colors, the sound, everything about it was breathtaking and I was seriously over the moon that I had decided to make this purchase.

    Synapse Demons Steelbook

    After the credits rolled, I started in on all the bonus features. In addition to the ticket replica, there are plenty more. If you are a fan of Italian horror and names like Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, Octavio Dell'Acqua and Luigi Cozzi, then you really need to see/own this Synapse release. The interviews are very informative and are a must see for the diehard fans. There is also audio commentary with director Lamberto Bava, actress Geretta Geretta, Claudio Simonetti, and SFX make up artist Sergio Stivaletti.

    A few days later, I finally got the chance to open up and inspect the Demons 2 steelbook and It's pretty much more of the same awesomeness and badassery. There is a replica of Angela's birthday party invitation and more fantastic artwork on the inside cover, as well as a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film. I started the Blu-ray, got comfortable and once again, the sound, the color, and clarity were all truly amazing. I was glued to the TV until the credits ran.

    Synapse Demons 2 Steelbook

    Of course, I also had to check out the bonus features and they are once again a treasure trove for Italian horror fans, complete with English and Italian soundtracks, the original theatrical trailer, and interviews with Lamberto Bava, Roy Bava, Sergio Stivaletti, Federico Zampaglione and Soundtrack Composer Simon Boswell. And like all the interviews in the Demons steelbook, they are a must see for the diehards.

    Overall, I couldn't be happier with what Synapse has given us with these steelbook releases and I am extremely happy that I was able to get my hands them, especially since they are limited to 3,000 each. I'm telling you, if you are an extreme fan of these films like me, these are pieces you have to have in your collection and proudly display.

    Earlier in 2015, I discovered that Synapse had also taken on the restoration of three Dario Argento films, Suspiria, Tenebrae, and Phenomena (aka Creepers). Because of what Synapse has done with Demons and Demons 2, I am eager to see what they do with these classics from one of my all-time favorite directors.

    I highly recommend these and I give them both a solid rating of 10/10.

    Posted by Amy Mead in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
    Evil Dead: The Musical Returns to Detroit for 6th Season

    Evil Dead: The Musical Returns to Detroit for 6th Season

    By Amy Lynes

    edmusicalHEADER

    The bloody tradition of this "disarmingly funny" production continues! Beginning October 1, 2015, Evil Dead: The Musical, presented by The Ringwald and Olympia Entertainment, will begin it's sixth season at the City Theater in Detroit, Michigan. The production will run every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 8pm through the entire month of October, with the final show happening on Halloween night.

    Based on Sam Raimi's cult classics, the show tells a familiar tale (a mash-up of all three films) that we have all come to know and love: Boy takes girlfriend and some friends to a deserted cabin in the woods hoping to get lucky but instead awakens an ancient evil, his girl and friends turn into Candarian demons, and he fights them all night long, trying to stay alive and not become one of them.

    The production will feature a cast of talented local area members who will bring this fan favorite to wildly hysterical life with side-splitting musical numbers such as "Do The Necronomicon", "All The Men In My Life Keep Getting Killed By Candarian Demons", and "What The Fuck Was That?", and audience members can even choose the sit in the "splatter zone" for a real interactive (and messy) experience that they will never forget!

    Performance schedule is as follows:

    Thursday, October 1, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Friday, October 2, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Saturday, October 3, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Thursday, October 8, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Friday, October 9, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Saturday, October 10, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Thursday, October 15, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Friday, October 16, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Thursday, October 22, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Friday, October 23, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Saturday, October 24, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Thursday, October 29, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Friday, October 30, 2015 @ 8 p.m.
    Saturday, October 31, 2015 @ 8 p.m.

    Tickets prices are $15 for opening night, $29 ($40 with service charge and fees) for all other shows and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge), at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000.

    Posted by Amy Mead in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    Welcome Back Boo-Berry!

    Welcome Back Boo-Berry!

    By Dixielord

    BooBerry

    Yeah, it's that time of the year when horror fans and cereal fans unite to welcome back the Monster cereals. Many of us grew up with Boo-Berry, Count Chocula, or Franken Berry part of our breakfast ritual. But, wait, maybe some of you reading this have been living under a giant boulder for the last 40 years or so and have never heard of monster cereal. The monster cereals collectively refer to a group of cereals first created way back in 1971 by General Mills. The cereals all had a monster theme featuring a somewhat friendlier version of well known cinematic monsters.

    The first two cereals released back in 1971 were Count Chocula and Franken Berry. Count Cholcula featured a chocolate loving vampire named Count Chocula, whose catchphrase was, “I want to eat your cereal”. The cereal was chocolate flavored frosted bites with chocolate flavored marshmallows. The Count was voiced on television commercials by Larry Kenny impersonating Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Kenney is also known for being the voice of Sonny the Cuckoo Bird (He's Cuckoo for Coco Puffs!) and Lion-O from the classic Thundercats cartoon. As a trivia note, Larry is also the father of Kerri Kenney-Silver, who portrayed Deputy Trudy Weigel on Reno 911.

    Also debuting in 1971 was Franken Berry, based on the Frankenstein Monster from Universal Pictures. The monster represents a more kid friendly and pink version of Karloff's monster. On commercials, Franken Berry was voiced by Bob McFadden impersonating Boris Karloff. The cereal itself was a strawberry flavored frosted cereal with strawberry flavored marshmallows. McFadden had a long career of voice acting before he sadly passed away on January 7, 2000.

    Then, in 1972, the two monsters were joined by Boo-Berry, the friendliest ghost since Casper. Boo-Berry was a blueberry loving ghost who bore a resemblance to horror icon Peter Lorre. Boo-Berry cereal is a blueberry flavored cereal with marshmallows. It is believed to be the first blueberry flavored cereal ever produced. Boo-Berry was voiced in television commercials by Paul Frees. Frees did Boo-Berry's voice in the style of his lookalike Peter Lorre.

    Outside of the monster cereal gig, Frees had an interesting career in voice acting. He provided the voice of Boris Badenov in the popular Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. He also provided English dubbing for the legendary Toshiro Mifune in the film Midway. Frees also dubbed Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot (his female voice), and Humphrey Bogart in The Harder They Fall. Bogart was suffering from throat cancer and had to be redubbed to be heard. Off screen, Frees also provided may voices for the attractions as Disney theme parks such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

    monster cereal

    Everyone remembers the original three monsters (well maybe not that guy under the boulder), but not so many remember the fourth monster. “What? There was another monster cereal?” Well yes, actually two more. In 1974, buoyed by the popularity of Boo-Berry, Franken Berry, and Count Cocula, General Mills added Fruit Brute to the pack. Fruit Brute's mascot was a child friendly version of a werewolf. Fruit Brute was a mixture of fruit flavored corn cereal, and lime flavored marshmallows. Yes, lime flavored marshmallows. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this. Lime belongs in mixed drinks, not kid cereals. Kids may have felt the same way as Fruit Brute was the first of the monster line to be discontinued in 1982. It was briefly reintroduced in 2013 for a Halloween special, but is not available now. Original boxes of Fruit Brute cereal are considered collectibles.

    General Mills tried again in 1987, introducing Fruity Yummy Mummy. Yummy Mummy was basically a reintroduction of Fruit Brute cereal with vanilla marshmallows instead of lime and an Egyptian mummy as the mascot. Sadly for fans of the Egyptian undead, Yummy Mummy soon went the way of Fruit Brute and was discontinued in 1992. It, along with Fruit Brute, received a short curtain call in 2013, but, alas, it is no longer available.

    Over the years since their introduction, they have faced some controversy but they have survived. It kind of makes sense that parents might complain about a kids cereal based on movie monsters. However, the controversies were stranger than you might imagine. Apparently the original run of Franken Berry had a food coloring that wasn't digestible by the human body. The dye was harmless, but passing though a kid's intestine had the unfortunate side effect of causing the stool to turn bright pink. It looked a little too much like the kids were passing blood for the comfort of parents. The dye was quickly replaced.

    To add to the controversy, it's possible this whole event was just an urban legend. The Internet is mixed on whether this really happened or not. It's wide spread enough that Stephen King referenced it in his book Cujo and its movie adaptation. If you remember your parents freaking out, or perhaps a rushed visit to the Emergency Room after a diet of Franken Berry back in the early 70s, please let me know. It would be nice to confirm it.

    The Count had a bit of controversy himself. It wasn't, as far as we know stool-related, although there's no proof it doesn't turn your stool brown. Instead, there were concerns about the sugar content of the cereal. Parents, under the misguided belief that health was more important than sugary fun, complained. Thus, Count Chocula was briefly pulled and the caloric content was slightly reduced.

    Through all this, Boo-Berry has remained pretty much controversy free. While supposedly eating too much Boo-Berry, or any berry cereal can discolor your poo, it has never caused hysteria. Seeing blue or green in the toilet apparently isn't quite as fright inducing as red or pink.

    The three originals - Boo-Berry, Count Chocula, and Franken Berry - are still going strong. They are still produced and sold though only during the Halloween season. They might be a bit harder to find, but they are available. The boxes have been redesigned with new artwork, but the three monsters are still out there haunting our breakfasts.

    So go out while the season is right, and grab yourself a box or a dozen. Whatever your favorite, Boo-Berry, Count Chocula, or Franken Berry, they are available now. Enjoy the hell out of them because once Halloween is gone, so are the monster cereals. And while we enjoy our monster cereal and the Halloween season, let's all have a moment of silence for those monsters no longer with us. Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy, you are gone but not forgotten. Okay, maybe outside of us horror nerds, you are forgotten, but hopefully you will make another Halloween appearance in the future.

    Lastly, I'd like to give a shout out to my friend Stevie, who is no longer with us but truly will never be forgotten, and he loved his monster cereal. RIP my friend.

    Posted by Allen Alberson in FOOD AND DRINK, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments