Bill Paxton

In Remembrance of Bill Paxton

In Remembrance of Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton was a tough loss… He will forever be a cinema icon.
I am honored to be given the opportunity to write about the life and career of Bill Paxton and to say some final words in remembrance of one of my favorite actor/directors.
Born on this day in 1955 and raised a good ol’ boy in Fort Worth, Texas, Bill first wanted to make movies but not necessarily star in them. His desire was reinforced by his father who supported his children’s imaginative and artistic spirit.
After graduating high school, he and a friend studied abroad at the private University of Richmond College in England. When they returned to Texas, they began making Super8 films with another friend they had met while away at school.
Fair use doctrine.
In 1974, Bill decided to make the move to Los Angeles and work his way into the film industry. With the help of a friend of his father, he got his first job as a production assistant. He later worked in the art department as a set dresser on super low-budget films for Roger Corman, which is where he first met and became friends with James Cameron.
At the age of 21, he moved to New York and enrolled at NYC in order to study under famous acting teacher Stella Adler. He completed 2 years, but never earned his degree. He returned to L.A. in the pursuit of putting all he had learned to work for him, and he has said that he didn’t think he needed a degree to do that.
In the 1980s, Bill was steadily getting small roles, some of which were in some important cult classic films, such as the blue haired punk in the opening of The Terminator (1984) and the biker vampire Severen in Near Dark (1987). In 1986, he met, fell in love with, and, less than a year later, married his wife and mother of his two children, Louise Newbury.
Regardless how small the role, Bill always left an impression. The first movie role he really stood out in for me was as the tyrant older brother with the goofy laugh, Chet Donnelly in Weird Science (1985). Even though we hated that guy, we still couldn’t help but like him. One of his most memorable character roles is the young and cocky marine with the witty one liners, PFC William L. Hudson, in Aliens (1986). He also played the role of Patrick Swayze’s brother, whose death is avenged in Next of Kin (1989).
Fair use doctrine.
In the 1990s, Paxton continued to steadily get acting roles. He teamed up with the other Bill, Bill Pullman, in the twisted horror sci-fi film Brain Dead (1990) and played LAPD detective Lambert in Predator 2 (1990). Another memorable character, though maybe not as well known as others is Graham Krakowski, the young up and coming professional who is framed for murder by a crazed squatter in the hilarious horror comedy The Vagrant (1992).
In 1993, Bill Paxton had finally risen to well deserved fame co-starring along side Sam Elliot, Kurt Russell, and Val Kilmer as Morgan, Wyatt Earp’s younger brother, in Tombstone.
Fair use doctrine.
Throughout the 1990s, he continued to work alongside some of the most iconic actors of our time and under the direction of some of the best in the business in films like True Lies (1994) opposite Jamie Lee Curtis and, once again, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And directed by longtime friend James Cameron. The Academy Award-nominated Ron Howard film Apollo 13 (1995) co-starring Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon in which he was nominated and won a SAG award and One of my personal favorites, the natural disaster thriller Twister (1996) He worked again with friend James Cameron on Titanic (1997) and starred opposite Billy Bob Thorton in A Simple Plan (1998), with whom he also co-starred in his first starring role back in 1991s One False Move. Paxton received his first Golden Globe nomination in 1999 for his work in the HBO miniseries A Bright Shinning Lie (1998).
Fair use doctrine.
In 2001, Paxton directed his first feature film Frailty in which he co-starred with Matthew McConaughey and Powers Booth. Rightfully he was nominated and won the 2003 Filmmaker’s Showcase Award. A few years later he directed his second feature, Disney’s biographical film The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) starring Shia Lebouf.
Between his two directorial debuts, Bill Paxton played the free loving musician/ resort owner, Coconut Pete in the Broken Lizard slasher comedy Club Dread (2004).
In the last decade of his life, Bill seemed to only take on more serious roles, starring in the HBO series Big Love in which he portrayed a Utahan polygamist and which explored his relationships with his multiple wives. He received three Golden Globe nominations for that role.
In 2012, Bill won a well-deserved, SAG award for his role as Randall McCoy in the History Channel’s miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. He continued to stay busy with several film projects throughout the next seven years, including the horror sci-fi The Colony (2013).
He had a substantial supporting role as crooked ex-black ops CIA agent Earl in the Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlburg action comedy 2 Guns (2013). Paxton always did play a good bad guy.
He had a recurring role on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. as a vengeful member of Hydra, John Garrett, and he played Joe Loder, Louis Blooms’ (Jake Gyllenhaal) main competitor in the pursuit of gruesome accident/crime scene footage, in Nightcrawler (2014).
Bill did a superb job of portraying Sam Houston in History Channel’s miniseries about the Texas revolution, Texas Rising, alongside Jeffery Dean Morgan, Chistopher McDonald, Ray Liotta, and many others.
Fair use doctrine.
In 2016, he co-starred as crooked cop Det. Keenan in Term Life opposite Vince Vaughn and Mike Epps as well as another crooked cop and abusive father Wayne Carraway in Mean Dreams.
At the time of his death, Paxton had completed filming 13 episodes of the CBS spinoff of the 2001 film Training Day. He even got to work alongside his son James in an episode of the series.
Looking back at his life and works actually makes saying farewell to this beloved actor even more bittersweet. Laughter and a few tears went into this article, and I think that’s fitting for a man like Bill Paxton who, by all accounts, was a friendly, and joyous person in life and seamlessly and fearlessly let that, as well as everything else he was or was just pretending to be, get absorbed by the cameras for his fans to enjoy. Thank you for the many years of entertainment that will continue.
RIP, sir.
Fair use doctrine.
May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017
Posted by Tabitha Harvey in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, OBITUARY, 2 comments


By The Crimson Executioner
Woofer McWooferson
Welcome to The Vortexx where it’s been ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME FOR SIX YEARS!
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in THE VORTEXX! We have a great line-up of hosts, shows, and movies for your holiday pleasure, including one new movie making its Vortexx debut on Friday, along with an all-day Double Turkey Day Marathon at the Peninsula of Horror on Saturday and a Misty Brew Fangsgiving Special on Sunday to conclude the holiday weekend. On Wednesday we will announce the winner of our prestigious Golden Turkey Award for Horror Host of the Year. An All-Day Marathon of the recipient’s shows will begin immediately after the award is announced culminating in a brand-new show by our award-winner on Thanksgiving Day.
Our hosts are Arachna & Deadly and Ron Purtee on Sunday, Vincent Grimmly & Phydeaux on Monday, Freakshow & the Bordello gang on Tuesday, Bobby Gammonster & Boris the Buzzard on Wednesday, Scarlett Kaiju & CJ the Werewolf on Friday, Professor Gillman and Master Vyle at the Peninsula on Saturday, Misty Brew next Sunday — and, of course, our Golden Turkey winner (who may be one of the hosts previously mentioned or, then again, maybe not) on Thanksgiving Day itself.
CHRISTMAS DADDY will make all your Christmas wishes come true!
Christmas is little more than a month away, and that means our very own bearer of Yuletide gifts CHRISTMAS DADDY will be coming to The Vortexx soon to make your Christmas wishes come true. A new slack module . . . a membership in the Puppy of the Month Club . . . a Dr Lady action figure . . . a singing Sluggo plushie that also does lap dances. . . . Those are just a few of the wonderful gifts that Christmas Daddy has given to our viewers in years past. Whatever your wish may be this year, just send an e-mail to Christmas Daddy at The Vortexx North Pole and he’ll do his very best to make it happen. You can reach Christmas Daddy at

Sunday (11/20). 9:00 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.]

BEWARE THEATER with Arachna of the Spider People and her friend Deadly presents another cinematic gem from the Golden Age of Black & White — THE MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1953) starring Jackie (Uncle Fester) Coogan and George (Ro Man) Barrows in one of his rare non-gorilla roles. It’s got mad scientists, gigantic spiders, voluptuous women, and dwarfs! How can any movie with a combination like that possibly go wrong? Join us tonight and you’ll find out. [Movie poster by Sean Hartter courtesy of Saturday Fright Special.]

Sunday (11/20). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
WOLF COP (2014)

Please Note: Arachna’s show will be preceded by a MOVIE HOUSE HOT TAKE with Ron Purtee. Tonight Ron takes a few moments to talk about the Canadian horror-comedy WOLF COP (2014).

Monday (11/21). 9:00 P.M. (ET)

NIGHT CHILLS THEATRE with Vincent Grimmly and his co-host Phydeaux presents a Vortexx favorite — HORROR EXPRESS (1972) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Telly (Kojak) Savalas. Our three stars find themselves traveling on the Trans-Siberian Express, accompanied by the frozen remains of a primitive humanoid creature who, needless to say, doesn’t stay frozen for long. As always, Vincent has added some pizzazz to the mix with numerous sound inserts and other extras. Meanwhile back at Castle Pappdeckel, Phydeaux comes down with a fatal case of the bird flu. Is Phydeaux REALLY dead? Find out tonight in this fun episode.

Tuesday (11/22). 9:00 P.M. (ET)

BORDELLO OF HORROR with Freakshow, Mistress Malicious, Sgt. Drizzlepuss, Ali Katt and Marijohuana celebrates its 100th episode with a Vortexx favorite — SPIDER BABY (1968). In one of the best roles of his career, Lon Chaney, Jr., stars as Bruno, the caretaker of three orphaned siblings who suffer from “Merrye Syndrome” – a rare disease which causes them to mentally, socially, and physically regress backwards. Lon also sings the title song as the opening credits roll! Sid Haig, Carol Ohmart, and Mantan Moreland co-star. Tonight’s episode was filmed at the October 1 live show at the Al. Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Wednesday (11/23). 9:00 P.M. (ET)

MONSTER MOVIE NIGHT with Bobby Gammonster and Boris the Buzzard presents DOMINIQUE IS DEAD (1979). Academy Award winner Cliff Robertson, who could play good guys (including an American president) and bad guys with equal ease, stars as a greedy husband who drives his wife (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Jean Simmons) to suicide so that he can get his hands on her fortune . . . only to find out that she has come back from the dead to haunt him! Dominique is dead, all right. She’s all messed up. Jenny Agutter, Simon Ward, Ron Moody, Judy Geeson, and Flora Robson round out a strong cast in this British made-for-television horror-mystery-thriller.

Wednesday (11/23). 11:00 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.]
The Vortexx

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring to you . . . THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARD FOR 2016! The Golden Turkey Award is the highest honor The Vortexx can bestow upon a horror host. Each year one host is selected from among all the fine hosts whose shows have aired on our channel as the recipient of this prestigious award. Previous winners have been Victor von Scary, Justy Ghost, Floyd Cadaverous, Freakshow, Bobby Gammonster, and Cnl. Graves. Who will be the next host to join this prestigious group? Come by tonight and find out!

Wednesday (11/23). 11:15 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.]
The Vortexx

Be sure to stick around after the award ceremonies for THE GOLDEN TURKEY DAY MARATHON featuring four movies hosted by this year’s award winner. Obviously we can’t tell you the name of the winner or the names of the movies, because that would ruin the whole surprise. But we’ll be posting a promo on the Vortexx group page and the Vortexx fan page Wednesday night as soon as the award is announced. The marathon will run from approx 11:15 P.M. on Wednesday until 9:00 P.M. on Thursday.

Thursday (11/24). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
The 2016 Golden Turkey Day Award Winner
EEGAH! (1962)

Now that Thanksgiving is almost over and you’ve had your fill of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie, come on by The Vortexx for our THANKSGIVING GOLDEN TURKEY DAY SPECIAL! Tonight we will be airing a brand-new episode hosted by the winner of the 2016 Golden Turkey Award. We can’t tell you the name of the host, but we will tell you the name of the movie. It’s none other than EEGAH! (1962) starring Sluggo’s heartthrob Arch Hall, Jr. and co-starring Marilyn Manning. Arch and Marilyn play a couple of clean-cut teens named Tom and Roxy who stumble across a giant prehistoric caveman (Richard Jaws Kiel) in Bronson Canyon (the same place where Ro-Man cavorted a decade earlier). Roxy befriends the caveman and gives him a shave, and the big galoot falls in love with her. This is a love story that you know cannot end happily. Arch Hall, Sr., plays Roxy’s dad, while Arch’s mom (Addalyn Pollitt) and Ray Dennis Steckler (aka Cash Flagg) appear in smaller roles.

Friday (11/25). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
The Vortexx premiere of

MANSION of MYSTERY with special guest host Tripp Punter presents The Vortexx premiere of SLIPSTREAM (1989) directed by Steven (TRON) Lisberger. Bill Paxton (of Titanic and Aliens) stars as a bounty hunter in a dystopian future who kidnaps a murderer (Bob Peck) out of the hands of two police officers (Mark Hamill of Star Wars and Kitty Aldridge) so he can claim the bounty for himself. The two men travel among several bizarre societies with the police officers in hot pursuit. The strong supporting cast includes F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter), and Ben Kingsley (Gandhi). Meanwhile our guest host Tripp Punter, leader of the Legends of Fifteen Minutes Ago, and his trusty A.I. Caiaphas set out to reassemble the team after the events of their last appearance in July. Their mission is complicated by a stowaway who mistakes Tripp for another, more famous time traveler, leading to a series of visits to other times and places, each housing a familiar face. The events of this fun episode, entitled “No Time Like the Future”, lead into the epic season finale, coming next month.

Saturday (11/26). 3:30 P.M. (ET)

Welcome to the THE PENINSULA OF HORROR’S DOUBLE TURKEY DAY MARATHON! Our good friends at the Peninsula of Horror — the showcase for Florida’s finest horror hosts — will be airing a full day and night of shows presented by PROFESSOR GILLMAN SHOW and HOUSE OF MASTER VYLE PRESENTS. We guarantee that each show will be a turkey fit for Thanksgiving. The times below are approximate. A hosted chat will begin, as always, at 8:00 P.M.
  • Saturday (11/26). 3:30 P.M. (ET) – WOMEN IN THE NIGHT (1948) – A World War II melodrama set in Shanghai, China about group of women held prisoner at a German officer’s club. Hosted by Master Vyle.
  • Saturday (11/26). 6:00 P.M. (ET) – UFO: THE TRUE STORY OF FLYING SAUCERS (1956) – A pseudo-documentary about (you guessed it!) flying saucers. Hosted by Prof. Gillman.
  • Saturday (11/26). 8:00 P.M. (ET) – THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY (1958) One of K. Gordon Murray’s many Mexican imports. Hosted by Prof. Gillman.
  • Saturday (11/26). 9:00 P.M. (ET) – THE MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1953) Starring Jackie (Uncle Fester) Coogan and George (Ro-Man) Barrows. Hosted by Master Vyle.
  • Saturday (11/26). 10:45 P.M. (ET) – TEENAGERS BATTLE THE THING (1958) A movie about a mummified ape that was re-released 18 years later with extra footage as Curse of Bigfoot. Hosted by Prof. Gillman.
  • Saturday (11/26). 12:00 P.M. (ET) – THE RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING SKULL (1937) A supernatural western starring The Three Mesquiteers (Bob Livingston, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, and ventriloquist Max Terhune). Hosted by Master Vyle.

Sunday (11/27). 9:00 P.M. (ET)

We end our Thanksgiving Weekend with MISTY BREW’S FANGSGIVING SPECIAL! Tonight Misty will be presenting an assortment of holiday treats, including a cartoon short, vintage TV ads, a 30-second turkey drop, turkey dressing tips from Misty, and a music break with Black Oak Arkansas, and much, much more! George Burns & Gracie Allen will also be dropping in for dinner tonight. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, so don’t miss out!
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HOSTED HORROR, 0 comments


By Amy Mead

Boxing Helena

Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch

Story written by Phillipe Caland

Screenplay written by Jennifer Chambers Lynch

Starring Julian Sands, Sherilyn Fenn, Bill Paxton, Kurtwood Smith and Art Garfunkel


Dr. Nick Cavanaugh is a successful surgeon living on a posh Atlanta estate who is as lonely as the day is long. Lonely and harboring some pretty hardcore mommy issues, he becomes obsessed with the beautiful and beguiling Helena after a clandestine one night stand. He is unable to shake the memory of her, in spite of being engaged to his lovely fiance Anne. His enchantment with Helena leads him to many careless acts, including climbing the trees outside her apartment and peeping on her and pretty much stalking her. 

Nick throws a party one night and foolishly invites Helena. He is forced to witness her flirt with a young man at the party. Helena becomes the talk of the party when she removes her dress and goes for a nice, sexy stroll through the majestic water fountain in Nick’s garden and then leaves with the young man she just met. The way Nick feels for Helena is written all over his face as he watches her in the fountain, leading to an angry confrontation with his fiance Anne in which he denies any sort of relationship with Helena. 

The next day Helena returns to Nick’s estate to retrieve something she mistakenly left something behind at the party.  This leads to an awkward standoff between Nick and Helena and she tries to leave in a hurry and winds up getting hit by a car in front of Nick’s property, leaving her with some pretty gnarly damage to her legs.

Lucky for Helena (or is it?), Nick is a surgeon and he is able to treat her right there in his home and keep her alive. However, when Helena finally wakes, she discovers that both of her legs are gone and she is virtually a prisoner in Nick’s palatial home. Nick uses excuse after excuse as to why he is keeping her there and eventually Helena tries to strangle him. bad move on her part as she then wakes up and her perfectly healthy arms have also been removed.

She is now completely dependent upon the man who has taken his obsession to another level and she is beginning to resign herself to the fact that she may never make it out alive…



Boxing Helena is the directorial debut from Jennifer Chambers Lynch and it garnered just as much controversy during its creation as it did once it played to shocked audiences upon its completion. There were many legal woes as a lawsuit was filed against Kim Basinger for backing out of a verbal agreement to play the titular role. The studio won and it cost her a cool seven million dollars, thus placing the film in the spotlight before it was even in the can. 

It turns out it was what was best for the film in the long run. I cannot see this film being even half as good with Basinger in the role of Helena. I have a hard time seeing anyone but the sexy siren Sherilyn Fenn (yes, she is my woman crush) playing her, even knowing that Madonna was up for the role at one point. Sherilyn Fenn is Helena. No question about it for me. I think she is the only one who could exude the sexiness required for the role and do it any justice.

Jennifer Chambers Lynch gets a lot of hate for this movie but I personally love it. I have since my first viewing upon the film’s video release WAY back in the nineties. I don’t care what anyone says, I think her direction on this film is fantastic. I have also heard that Fenn and Sands have both received criticism for their performances in the years since the films release, but I think the roles of Nick and Helena were played exactly the way they needed to be, by who they needed to be. Being that Chambers Lynch adapted the screenplay from Phillipe Caland’s story herself, their performances were more than likely exactly what she was after. 

Given the subject matter, one might be led to believe that the film would be ultra gory but that is not the case here at all. We are not made privy to the act of Helena’s limbs being taken from her, we are only made witness to the aftermath and Helena’s shock upon waking up and realizing that parts of her are missing. We witness her downward mental spiral and it is truly horrific and heartbreaking to watch her decline into anger, sadness. and despair and it is almost heartbreaking to watch, until we start to see that in spite of everything, she has retained her fiery spirit after all. She unleashes her fury and holds nothing back with her verbal tirades upon Nick. She abuses him right back with her words and it’s very refreshing to see. 

While Boxing Helena is not your typical horror film by any means, even without the gore and jump scares, the film is quite terrifying purely based on its subject matter alone. It takes a really unhinged person to subject someone you “love” to the humiliation he places upon Helena. The thought of going through what Helena does makes my skin crawl. SO creepy. 

Say what you want about Boxing Helena, but I myself love it. It may not be in your face horror but it is truly horrific nonetheless. I have watched it countless times and will watch it countless more. If you haven’t seen it yet (and I don’t know how that’s possible) you need to. Immediately. 

I give Boxing Helena a solid  9/10 



Posted by Amy Mead in MOVIE REVIEWS, RETRO REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments


By Nick Durham


One of the films that always finds its way on my TV is Near Dark. While most tend to think of The Lost Boys as an 80s vampire film classic, I, in all honesty, have never, ever liked that fucking movie. Call it blasphemy or what you will, but no, The Lost Boys doesn’t mean shit to me.

Near Dark does.

Released in 1987 and directed by Kathryn Bigelow before she became an Oscar winning, Hollywood darling with films like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty (and even before she directed action favorites like Point Break and Strange Days), she directed this nasty little gem written by Eric Red (The Hitcher). Starring a variety of James Cameron vets (and Aliens stars) including Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jeanette Goldstein, Near Dark tells the story of Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) whom, in the process of chasing a girl (Jenny Wright), falls in with her group of vampires. Yeah, it sounds almost exactly like the plot of The Lost Boys, but minus the Corey duo and ups the ante on blood and nastiness…and it also has ten times the heart.

Now I keep making the Lost Boys comparisons because while that film was a massive hit, Near Dark definitely was not. It had some time on VHS before disappearing to obscurity, only to be released on DVD for the first time ever a decade or so ago by Anchor Bay, and was thus rediscovered by many. Now recognized as a cult classic and unique to the vampire genre for a number of reasons (the V-word is never said once, there’s no typical vampire-lore stuff, and the blend of horror and western elements is just plain awesome), this is something I pop in every October like clockwork.

If you’ve never seen Near Dark, I can’t recommend it enough. Granted some elements of it haven’t aged all that well as the years have gone by, but this is my go-to vampire movie for the Halloween season year after year. You should make it yours too.

Rating: 5/5