Frankenstein

“The Only Way Out… Is Down”

I had the great privilege of interviewing the superb director Harrison Smith on his newest film Death House. Before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about the film.

Death House poster.There is a Fed-Max subterranean government prison that holds humanities worst criminals known as the Death House. It serves as a medical, psychological, and parapsychological research center aimed at eradicating evil. Two federal agents are granted a tour of the center. While on the tour, the unthinkable happens. There is a power outage that releases all of the prisoners, and the agents must fight their way through all of the horror and violence to try to survive. They soon discover that they are being herded down to the lowest depths of the facility. In those depths are a group of supernatural evil beings known as The Five Evils and they may be the agents’ only chance at salvation.

Cody Longo in Death House.

Cody Longo in Death House.

The movie sounds and looks amazing but before I go on I just wanted to say that the media and many articles have labeled the movie, “The Horror Movie genre of The Expendables“. I have to disagree with that. If it were The Expendables we would have a movie with Freddy vs Jason vs Michael vs et. al. Which, to some, may sound interesting but it would lack any substance. The stars in this movie are so much more than their individual roles that they have portrayed, they are true actors who excel at their craft. Let me tell you some of them:

  • Adrienne Barbeau: Escape From N.Y., Creepshow, Swamp Thing, The Fog
  • Kane Hodder: Jason Voorhees in some of the Friday the 13th films and Victor Crowley from The Hatchet films
  • Dee Wallace: The Howling, Cujo, The Frighteners
  • Michael Berryman: The Hills Have Eyes, The Devils Rejects
  • Barbara Crampton: Re-Animator, From Beyond, You’re Next
  • Sid Haig: The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses, Kill Bill
  • Tony Todd: Candyman, Hatchet, Final Destination
  • Bill Moseley: The Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Vernon Wells: The Road Warrior, Weird Science
  • Lindsay Hartley: Nightmare Nurse
  • Cody Longo: Piranha 3D, Nashville
  • Cortney Palm: The Dark Tapes
  • Felissa Rose: Sleepaway Camp
  • Vincent Ward: The Walking Dead

Whew, that is a LOT of talent in one film!

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA.

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA. The place had a built-in horror film setting, full of dark history and eerie vibes. It really acts as a functioning character in the film.

IMDb provided a great quote:

This is a solid horror piece, dark, nasty and gore-soaked; not satire or tongue in cheek.

And like Harrison told me, he was writing in a local bar when the ad for Jurassic World came on and it hit him that this movie was “Assault on Precinct 13 meets Jurassic World without the dinosaurs”. So… great actors along with an exciting script and skilled direction. Then throw in stupefying makeup and effects by the Roy Knyrim (Sinister 2) and SOTA FX, and a soundtrack by John Avarese that sets the perfect ambiance. We will finally get what we paid for at the box office!

Death House - Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Death House – Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Harrison was why the horror genre?
Harrison Smith: My first film, The Fields, was based on what really happened to me when I lived and grew up with my grandparents on their farm. The farm came under attack for a short period of time by an unseen presence. We never understood what caused it and we never understood what ended it, so I had personal experience. But also my grandmother and I used to watch horror movies and the old horror TV show Dr. Shock who hosted Saturday morning shows like Scream-In, Horror Theater, and Mad Theater. The movies were captivating. I loved finding out there was a sequel to Frankenstein and that he didn’t die in the burning windmill. There were more like Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man that continued on the story of Lon Chaney. Like when they killed Lon Chaney in the original Wolfman I was like, “Why? He was a nice man, he didn’t want to be The Wolf Man“. I loved it. They were like Saturday morning soap operas. I loved them as a kid, but that time is gone. That is why I like Tom Holland’s Fright Night. I was watching in the summer of ’85 and knew it was a Valentine to an era that was quickly fading and disappearing. At that time, the threat was coming from cable television and the home video revolution, so Peter Vincent was this aging icon of an era long gone trying to stay relevant. Tom Holland got it, and Fright Night works on many levels. So horror movies, for me, were a real escape from the actually really scary shit that happened to me.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

HoTS: Then I asked him about the abundance of horror movies and shows seem to be throwing back to the ’80s. Movies like It Follows and The House of the Devil and shows like Stranger Things all reflect that age in horror, and Death House has many actors from that era. Why do you think it is a niche we all still enjoy?

Dee Wallace in Death House.

Dee Wallace in Death House.

HS: Director and actor Eli Roth said that the have-sex-and-die concept behind many of the ’80s slasher films was not as relevant today because millennials look at it and don’t get it. There was a study reported by the L.A. Times in an article by Melissa Batchelor Warnke saying that the millennial generation is the least sexually active, so that concept does not translate well. But at the time when Friday the 13th came around, it was a perfect storm of both liberal and conservative values. We had a very conservative administration with Reagan and yet, at the same time, we were known as the party generation. It was a weird flux of things coming together. So Friday the 13th had fun and parties with lots of boobs and tons of gore but with a moral lesson. See what happens when you fuck in the woods? Jason was like a walking STD. So the ’80s made us nostalgic for the ’50s, and now we look back to the ’80s. We are nostalgic for when we grew up. That is why, when making Death House, we always remembered that we were handling peoples memories and that is very important. The new generation gets to fall in love with it like we did. And with regards to the actors in Death House, they were all smart enough to choose great directors and projects that were just starting out, and their careers flourished from those collaborations so they are all still relevant today.

Death House - Kane Hodder arriving on set.

Kane Hodder arriving on the Death House set pictured with Harrison (dressed as an extra for the ward scene). The guy over his shoulder is producer Rick Finkelstein.

HoTS: I did some research on Holmesburg Prison, where you decided to film the movie. Some extremely monstrous things went on there. Any ghosts try to break into acting for the film?

HS: No, I did not experience anything myself. There were a few reports of the cameras acting wonky, but it was really cold there which probably contributed to that. The place itself was perfect for the mood though. There is a great book called Acres of Skin: Human Experiments At Holmesberg Prison 1998 by Allen Hornblum that tells all about the medical experiments and tortures that went on inside the prison. It really lent itself to what we were shooting. I remember when they gave us a tour and brought us into the warden’s office where he had his throat slit. Nothing paranormal happened but everyone was in tune with what had happened there. Dee Wallace said that it was sometimes overwhelming knowing that you were walking by cells where so much abject misery and torture had taken place. It is a building built on misery.

Harrison also wanted to make sure and give a shout out to the administration and the City of Philadelphia and especially the Philadelphia Police Department, who were more than gracious and just all-around wonderful people.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

HoTS: My next question for Harrison was, as a director, what directors influence his work?

HS: Growing up, John Carpenter: Halloween, The Thing, They Live and Tommy Lee Wallace: IT, Halloween III, Fright Night II were major influences on me because they were accessible to me. I used to read Fangoria Magazine all the time and got a subscription to it. I used to read and devour the interviews and not just because of the pictures and oh! there making a sequel to Halloween and I want to see the blood and gore. They did an interview with John Carpenter and he talked about how he made movies and about finding a good crew and sticking with them. And I noticed for the first decade of John’s career he used a lot of the same people in front and behind the camera and that really made an impact on me because Carpenter was very much the founder of the guerilla film movement — that you get a camera, you go out there, and you shoot. That’s what you do, and that really inspired me as a filmmaker. I had a Super 8 silent Kodak camera, and I was learning. I was learning from those interviews in Fangoria and got a really strong base of knowledge. So if you look at my catalog of work so far, you will see many of the same faces. And if you read the credits, you will see a lot of the same names return time and time again. I bring them back because it is like putting the band back together, so to speak, which works for me because it becomes like production shorthand. I would also say Tom Holland of Fright Night and Psycho II fame was another influence because Psycho II made a big impact on me because of the script. I think it is one of the greatest sequels ever made and is very underrated. I wanted to hate it, but 30 minutes into the film I just fell in love with it. When it was over I walked out, called my family to let them know I would be late and went in to see it again. My film Camp Dread is a tip of the hat to Tom Holland. It was more like Psycho II than Friday the 13th.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

HoTS: What is the theme for Death House?

HS: The whole pretext of Death House is evil is evil and good is good, but do they need each other? Because when you try to eradicate evil you are, at most, canceling out good as well. There is no need for good if there’s no need for evil. Bill Mosely has a great line in the film, “True evil is nothingness”. That is true hell. If we were to remove the Holocaust from history we would need a litmus test. Dee Wallace’s and Barbara Crampton’s characters think what they are doing is good. Look at the Nazis during the Holocaust. They didn’t think what they were doing was evil. Dee is like Nurse Ratched. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest as a social horror film was a snake pit. Louise Fletcher played it so well because there are real nurses like that. That is the banality of evil. How a modicum of power gives rise to abuse of said power. Are The Five Evils in Death House really evil compared to Dee’s character or Nurse Ratched? They aren’t Cenobites they are regular people like you run into in everyday life. How many times in your own life might you have come into contact with real killers? The Five Evils are normal looking people.

Death House - The Five Evils

Death House – The Five Evils: Vincent Ward, Vernon Wells, Bill Moseley, Lindsay Hartley, Michael Berryman.

The original script for Death House was penned by the incredible Gunnar Hansen, who is best known for playing the mentally-impaired cannibal Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Gunnar left us on November 7th, 2015, from pancreatic cancer. His agent, Michael Eisenstadt, brought producers Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase of Entertainment Factory to the screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard to meet Harrison. Another writer had taken a stab at rewriting the script, but it turned into Texas Chainsaw meets Friday the 13th meets Saw, but that was not what Gunnar wanted. He did not want torture porn but a high concept horror film. Gunnar liked what Harrison did with it, so Harrison finished writing and then directed it. The actors were all there for their friend Gunnar and with Harrison collaborating with Gunnar before his death, I like to think of this as a love letter to an amazing man and actor that we lost too soon.

Gunnar Hansen, 4 March 4, 1947 – 7 November 2015

I was extremely honored to speak with Harrison Smith and pick his brain. To read more on Death House, I have included some links that come straight from the horse’s mouth. Harrison Smith’s Road To Death House articles.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to see this film. It has already won the audience choice award along with best feature film from the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO). MPAA said it was gritty, claustrophobic and a hell of a lot of fun. Harrison said it is like a roller coaster ride through a funhouse, and Kane Hodder said it was his favorite film he has worked on. So horror fans get ready for the ride of your life!

I have also included a link to a petition if you want Death House to come to a Regal Cinema near you. It is going to major theaters but I would like to see it in all of them.

So, from myself and the family at House of Tortured Souls, thank you again to the great Harrison Smith and everyone involved with Death House! And just remember readers… “Hell isn’t a word…it’s a sentence.”

Death House - Harrison, Yan Birch and Lauren Compton after filming in LA.

Harrison, Yan Birch, and Lauren Compton after filming Death House in LA.

INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

“The Only Way Out… Is Down”

I had the great privilege of interviewing the superb director Harrison Smith on his newest film Death House. Before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about the film.

Death House poster.There is a Fed-Max subterranean government prison that holds humanities worst criminals known as the Death House. It serves as a medical, psychological, and parapsychological research center aimed at eradicating evil. Two federal agents are granted a tour of the center. While on the tour, the unthinkable happens. There is a power outage that releases all of the prisoners, and the agents must fight their way through all of the horror and violence to try to survive. They soon discover that they are being herded down to the lowest depths of the facility. In those depths are a group of supernatural evil beings known as The Five Evils and they may be the agents’ only chance at salvation.

Cody Longo in Death House.

Cody Longo in Death House.

The movie sounds and looks amazing but before I go on I just wanted to say that the media and many articles have labeled the movie, “The Horror Movie genre of The Expendables“. I have to disagree with that. If it were The Expendables we would have a movie with Freddy vs Jason vs Michael vs et. al. Which, to some, may sound interesting but it would lack any substance. The stars in this movie are so much more than their individual roles that they have portrayed, they are true actors who excel at their craft. Let me tell you some of them:

  • Adrienne Barbeau: Escape From N.Y., Creepshow, Swamp Thing, The Fog
  • Kane Hodder: Jason Voorhees in some of the Friday the 13th films and Victor Crowley from The Hatchet films
  • Dee Wallace: The Howling, Cujo, The Frighteners
  • Michael Berryman: The Hills Have Eyes, The Devils Rejects
  • Barbara Crampton: Re-Animator, From Beyond, You’re Next
  • Sid Haig: The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses, Kill Bill
  • Tony Todd: Candyman, Hatchet, Final Destination
  • Bill Moseley: The Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Vernon Wells: The Road Warrior, Weird Science
  • Lindsay Hartley: Nightmare Nurse
  • Cody Longo: Piranha 3D, Nashville
  • Cortney Palm: The Dark Tapes
  • Felissa Rose: Sleepaway Camp
  • Vincent Ward: The Walking Dead

Whew, that is a LOT of talent in one film!

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA.

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA. The place had a built-in horror film setting, full of dark history and eerie vibes. It really acts as a functioning character in the film.

IMDb provided a great quote:

This is a solid horror piece, dark, nasty and gore-soaked; not satire or tongue in cheek.

And like Harrison told me, he was writing in a local bar when the ad for Jurassic World came on and it hit him that this movie was “Assault on Precinct 13 meets Jurassic World without the dinosaurs”. So… great actors along with an exciting script and skilled direction. Then throw in stupefying makeup and effects by the Roy Knyrim (Sinister 2) and SOTA FX, and a soundtrack by John Avarese that sets the perfect ambiance. We will finally get what we paid for at the box office!

Death House - Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Death House – Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Harrison was why the horror genre?
Harrison Smith: My first film, The Fields, was based on what really happened to me when I lived and grew up with my grandparents on their farm. The farm came under attack for a short period of time by an unseen presence. We never understood what caused it and we never understood what ended it, so I had personal experience. But also my grandmother and I used to watch horror movies and the old horror TV show Dr. Shock who hosted Saturday morning shows like Scream-In, Horror Theater, and Mad Theater. The movies were captivating. I loved finding out there was a sequel to Frankenstein and that he didn’t die in the burning windmill. There were more like Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man that continued on the story of Lon Chaney. Like when they killed Lon Chaney in the original Wolfman I was like, “Why? He was a nice man, he didn’t want to be The Wolf Man“. I loved it. They were like Saturday morning soap operas. I loved them as a kid, but that time is gone. That is why I like Tom Holland’s Fright Night. I was watching in the summer of ’85 and knew it was a Valentine to an era that was quickly fading and disappearing. At that time, the threat was coming from cable television and the home video revolution, so Peter Vincent was this aging icon of an era long gone trying to stay relevant. Tom Holland got it, and Fright Night works on many levels. So horror movies, for me, were a real escape from the actually really scary shit that happened to me.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

HoTS: Then I asked him about the abundance of horror movies and shows seem to be throwing back to the ’80s. Movies like It Follows and The House of the Devil and shows like Stranger Things all reflect that age in horror, and Death House has many actors from that era. Why do you think it is a niche we all still enjoy?

Dee Wallace in Death House.

Dee Wallace in Death House.

HS: Director and actor Eli Roth said that the have-sex-and-die concept behind many of the ’80s slasher films was not as relevant today because millennials look at it and don’t get it. There was a study reported by the L.A. Times in an article by Melissa Batchelor Warnke saying that the millennial generation is the least sexually active, so that concept does not translate well. But at the time when Friday the 13th came around, it was a perfect storm of both liberal and conservative values. We had a very conservative administration with Reagan and yet, at the same time, we were known as the party generation. It was a weird flux of things coming together. So Friday the 13th had fun and parties with lots of boobs and tons of gore but with a moral lesson. See what happens when you fuck in the woods? Jason was like a walking STD. So the ’80s made us nostalgic for the ’50s, and now we look back to the ’80s. We are nostalgic for when we grew up. That is why, when making Death House, we always remembered that we were handling peoples memories and that is very important. The new generation gets to fall in love with it like we did. And with regards to the actors in Death House, they were all smart enough to choose great directors and projects that were just starting out, and their careers flourished from those collaborations so they are all still relevant today.

Death House - Kane Hodder arriving on set.

Kane Hodder arriving on the Death House set pictured with Harrison (dressed as an extra for the ward scene). The guy over his shoulder is producer Rick Finkelstein.

HoTS: I did some research on Holmesburg Prison, where you decided to film the movie. Some extremely monstrous things went on there. Any ghosts try to break into acting for the film?

HS: No, I did not experience anything myself. There were a few reports of the cameras acting wonky, but it was really cold there which probably contributed to that. The place itself was perfect for the mood though. There is a great book called Acres of Skin: Human Experiments At Holmesberg Prison 1998 by Allen Hornblum that tells all about the medical experiments and tortures that went on inside the prison. It really lent itself to what we were shooting. I remember when they gave us a tour and brought us into the warden’s office where he had his throat slit. Nothing paranormal happened but everyone was in tune with what had happened there. Dee Wallace said that it was sometimes overwhelming knowing that you were walking by cells where so much abject misery and torture had taken place. It is a building built on misery.

Harrison also wanted to make sure and give a shout out to the administration and the City of Philadelphia and especially the Philadelphia Police Department, who were more than gracious and just all-around wonderful people.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

HoTS: My next question for Harrison was, as a director, what directors influence his work?

HS: Growing up, John Carpenter: Halloween, The Thing, They Live and Tommy Lee Wallace: IT, Halloween III, Fright Night II were major influences on me because they were accessible to me. I used to read Fangoria Magazine all the time and got a subscription to it. I used to read and devour the interviews and not just because of the pictures and oh! there making a sequel to Halloween and I want to see the blood and gore. They did an interview with John Carpenter and he talked about how he made movies and about finding a good crew and sticking with them. And I noticed for the first decade of John’s career he used a lot of the same people in front and behind the camera and that really made an impact on me because Carpenter was very much the founder of the guerilla film movement — that you get a camera, you go out there, and you shoot. That’s what you do, and that really inspired me as a filmmaker. I had a Super 8 silent Kodak camera, and I was learning. I was learning from those interviews in Fangoria and got a really strong base of knowledge. So if you look at my catalog of work so far, you will see many of the same faces. And if you read the credits, you will see a lot of the same names return time and time again. I bring them back because it is like putting the band back together, so to speak, which works for me because it becomes like production shorthand. I would also say Tom Holland of Fright Night and Psycho II fame was another influence because Psycho II made a big impact on me because of the script. I think it is one of the greatest sequels ever made and is very underrated. I wanted to hate it, but 30 minutes into the film I just fell in love with it. When it was over I walked out, called my family to let them know I would be late and went in to see it again. My film Camp Dread is a tip of the hat to Tom Holland. It was more like Psycho II than Friday the 13th.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

HoTS: What is the theme for Death House?

HS: The whole pretext of Death House is evil is evil and good is good, but do they need each other? Because when you try to eradicate evil you are, at most, canceling out good as well. There is no need for good if there’s no need for evil. Bill Mosely has a great line in the film, “True evil is nothingness”. That is true hell. If we were to remove the Holocaust from history we would need a litmus test. Dee Wallace’s and Barbara Crampton’s characters think what they are doing is good. Look at the Nazis during the Holocaust. They didn’t think what they were doing was evil. Dee is like Nurse Ratched. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest as a social horror film was a snake pit. Louise Fletcher played it so well because there are real nurses like that. That is the banality of evil. How a modicum of power gives rise to abuse of said power. Are The Five Evils in Death House really evil compared to Dee’s character or Nurse Ratched? They aren’t Cenobites they are regular people like you run into in everyday life. How many times in your own life might you have come into contact with real killers? The Five Evils are normal looking people.

Death House - The Five Evils

Death House – The Five Evils: Vincent Ward, Vernon Wells, Bill Moseley, Lindsay Hartley, Michael Berryman.

The original script for Death House was penned by the incredible Gunnar Hansen, who is best known for playing the mentally-impaired cannibal Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Gunnar left us on November 7th, 2015, from pancreatic cancer. His agent, Michael Eisenstadt, brought producers Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase of Entertainment Factory to the screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard to meet Harrison. Another writer had taken a stab at rewriting the script, but it turned into Texas Chainsaw meets Friday the 13th meets Saw, but that was not what Gunnar wanted. He did not want torture porn but a high concept horror film. Gunnar liked what Harrison did with it, so Harrison finished writing and then directed it. The actors were all there for their friend Gunnar and with Harrison collaborating with Gunnar before his death, I like to think of this as a love letter to an amazing man and actor that we lost too soon.

Gunnar Hansen, 4 March 4, 1947 – 7 November 2015

I was extremely honored to speak with Harrison Smith and pick his brain. To read more on Death House, I have included some links that come straight from the horse’s mouth. Harrison Smith’s Road To Death House articles.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to see this film. It has already won the audience choice award along with best feature film from the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO). MPAA said it was gritty, claustrophobic and a hell of a lot of fun. Harrison said it is like a roller coaster ride through a funhouse, and Kane Hodder said it was his favorite film he has worked on. So horror fans get ready for the ride of your life!

I have also included a link to a petition if you want Death House to come to a Regal Cinema near you. It is going to major theaters but I would like to see it in all of them.

So, from myself and the family at House of Tortured Souls, thank you again to the great Harrison Smith and everyone involved with Death House! And just remember readers… “Hell isn’t a word…it’s a sentence.”

Death House - Harrison, Yan Birch and Lauren Compton after filming in LA.

Harrison, Yan Birch, and Lauren Compton after filming Death House in LA.




Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
THE VORTEXX: COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN

THE VORTEXX: COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN

2. Vortexx Halloween theme (1) / The VortexxObviously, Halloween is a special time of the year for the denizens of The Vortexx, your home away from home for horror hosts, B-movies, and cult flicks. In celebration of the Season of the Witch, we've put together a great line-up of Halloween-themed shows starting on October 20 and continuing through All Hallows' Eve itself. Unless otherwise indicated, each show begins at 9 (ET). Please come on by, enjoy our shows, and if you are so inclined, join our friendly chatters in The Vortexx chat room. You can find us at horrorhost.net.
4. Oct 20. Night Chills Theatre / The VortexxOur Countdown to Halloween kicks off on Friday, October 20, with THE NIGHT CHILLS THEATRE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL. Host Vincent Grimmly and special guest Vlad give the deliciously cheesy Spanish horror thriller VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES (1973) the MST3K treatment. Horror great Paul Naschy stars in a triple role. Some gratuitous nudity, a little gore, and an undeniably groovy free-form jazz and progressive-rock score add to the fun.
5. Oct 21. Sicko Psychotic / The VortexxThe Countdown continues on Saturday, October 21, with SICKO-PSYCHOTIC'S TWISTED HALLOWEEN SPECIAL! In a tribute to the Silent Screams of yesteryear, Sicko is presenting two rare and seldom-seen classics -- Georges Méliè’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (1896) and the earliest surviving version of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1912) -- followed by Sicko's twisted and tasteless alteration of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920).
6. Oct 22. Sir Graveson Show / The VortexxThen come back on Sunday, October 22, at approx. 10:30 (ET) as THE SIR GRAVESON SHOW presents a SPECIAL HALLOWE'EN SPECIAL. Sir Graveson and his friends attempt to have a knock-out Halloween show, but a pesky casket salesman keeps interfering! In addition to some delightful host bits, this one-hour show will include movie trailers and clips, cartoons, vintage TV commercials, and musical guests The Petty Ghouls.
7. Oct 24. Vortexx Halloween Show 2016 / The VortexxThe Countdown continues on Tuesday, October 24, with a VORTEXX HALLOWEEN PARTY from 2016. Our Monster of Ceremonies will be Mortimer Van Creep, host of SKUNKY CINEMA, who will be presenting CARRY ON SCREAMING (1966), the twelfth installment of the long-running British "Carry On" series. It's a hilarious parody of the Hammer horror films of the 1960s starring Kenneth Williams and Fennella Fielding.
8. Oct 25. Mummy TV Halloween Show / The VortexxOn Wednesday, October 25, our ancient host Mr. Mummy continues our Halloween celebration with MUMMY TV HALLOWEEN TRICKS & TREATS. Mr. Mummy likes to keep the details of his upcoming shows under wraps (so to speak), but based on his previous holiday specials we're guessing that Mr. Mummy will be entertaining us with a plethora of Halloween-themed cartoons, trailers, retro TV commercials, and original song parodies -- some of which may well feature members of The Vortexx staff! There will be a spotlighted Vortexxian who will be revealed at the start of the show. Last time 'round it was The Crimson Executioner; who will it be tonight?
9. Oct 29. Vortexx Halloween Show 2015 / The VortexxThe Countdown swings into high gear on Sunday, October 29, with A VORTEXX HALLOWEEN, a re-broadcast of our 2015 Halloween show. Mortimer Van Creep will once again be our Monster of Ceremonies, and he has a couple of very creepy movies lined up for us tonight -- BLACK SABBATH (1964), a trilogy of terror from Mario Bava starring Boris Karloff, and Mary Roberts Rinehart's THE BAT (1959) starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead. In addition, there will be special appearances by some of your favorite horror hosts and Vortexx denizens, along with numerous other extras and special features.
10. Oct 30-31. Morty's Monster Party (1) / The VortexxWe conclude our Halloween festivities with MORTY'S MONSTER PARTY! This brand-new Halloween show featuring a collection of Mort's Monster Shorts is so overwhelming that we're airing it in two parts on two successive nights -- Monday, October 30, and Tuesday, October 31. If you're not familiar with Mort's "shorts," they're 9-10 minute versions of classic horror movies from the '30s, '40s, and '50s originally released on 8mm and 16mm film by Castle Films. Although the originals are under copyright, these abbreviated home movies are not!
11. Oct 30-31. Morty's Monster Party (2) Movies / The VortexxAmong the "treats" in store for you are the Universal's original Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), and The Mummy (1932), along with Universal classics from the 1940s such as The Wolf Man" (1941) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and classic sci-fi thrillers from the 1950s such as Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) and The Deadly Mantis (1957).
12. Oct 30-31. Morty's Monster Party (3) Hosts / The VortexxAnd if that isn't awesome enough, each movie will be presented by one of our horror hosts. The hosts who have signed up so far include Arachna of the Spider People, Bobby Gammonster, Charley Macorn, Master Vyle, PumpkinMan, Sicko-Psychotic, Uncle Edward, and Wolfie from the Late Dr Lady Show, as well as several hosts on the Vortexx staff -- Dr. Sigmund Zoid, Sluggo, Cerberus, and Destroyah.
3. Vortexx Halloween theme (2) / The VortexxWhether it be Halloween or any other day or night of the year, if you're in the mood for entertainment -- or just want to relax and unwind -- the Vortexx is here for you. Our movies run 24/7, our chat room is open day and night, and we have a featured movie and a moderated chat at 9 (ET) every night of the week. We’ve been around for seven years, and we'll keep the doors open as long as you keep coming around. Happy Halloween!
Posted by Crimson Executioner in HALLOWEEN, HOSTED HORROR, 0 comments
In Memoriam: Basil Gogos

In Memoriam: Basil Gogos

It is with a heavy heart that House of Tortured Souls announces the passing of another horror icon - acclaimed artist Basil Gogos. If you don’t know his name, you certainly know his work. Gogos was responsible for nearly 50 Famous Monsters of Filmland covers, with the first being the late, great Vincent Price in House of Usher on issue 9, November 1960. His work in and influence on horror and horror art ultimately led to a 2006 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award in Special Monster Kid Hall of Fame .Basil-Gogos-Famous Monsters of Filmland-November 1960-09 / Fair use doctrine.
Egyptian-born to Greek parents, Gogos and his family emigrated to America when he was only sixteen. Gogos attended several art and design schools and studied at the Art Students League of New York under acclaimed illustrator Frank J. Reilly. His professional career began when he won a Pocket Books competition to illustrate the cover for Pursuit, a paperback western, in 1959. Following this, Gogos worked on covers for men’s adventure magazines as well as Eerie, Creepy, and other horror comics. Gogos was drawn to horror art both because of the challenge in painting the unreal and also because it allowed him to experiment with a variety of techniques. He is most known for offering a unique view of his subjects, using bold, striking colors which seemed to bathe them in several lights. He also embraced his subjects, striving to render them sympathetic as well as horrifying. Because of this, he had the honor of painting many horror icons, such as Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and, as mentioned earlier, Vincent Price.
Although he decided to focus on fine art in the 1970s, he continued to work occasionally as a photo retoucher and movie poster illustrator before moving into advertising for a while. Gogos returned to horror art in the 1990s, painting CD covers for The Misfits, Rob Zombie, and Electric Frankenstein.

A Small Gallery of the Art of Basil Gogos

If you would like to see more of the art of Basil Gogos, check out the 2005 Vanguard Productions publication entitled Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos on Amazon.com.
Basil Gogos died on September 14, 2017, at the age of 78, and the world became a little bit darker.Basil Gogos / Image: LuigiNovi

Thank you for everything, and rest in peace, Mr. Gogos.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in ART AND VENDORS, EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, OBITUARY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
History of Horror in November

History of Horror in November

By Woofer McWooferson
Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in November. Click on thumbnails for full images.

November 1 - 7

11/01/1985 - A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge released theatrically
A Nightmare on Elm Street / Fair use doctrine.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night / Fair use doctrine.
11/01/1997 - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night released on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in the European Union
11/01/2000 - Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem released on the Nintendo GameCube in the European Union
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem / Fair use doctrine.
28 Days Later / Fair use doctrine.
11/01/2002 - 28 Days Later released theatrically in the United Kingdom
11/02/1990 - Jacob's Ladder released theatrically
Jacob's Ladder / Fair use doctrine.
Carrie / Fair use doctrine.
11/03/1976 - Carrie released theatrically
11/03/1946-Tom Savini pioneer F/X artist born
Tom Savini / Image: IMDb
The Snake Pit / Fair use doctrine.
11/04/1948 - The Snake Pit released theatrically
11/05/1943 - Son of Dracula (1943) released theatrically
Son of Dracula / Fair use doctrine.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.
11/05/2006 - Castlevania: Curse of Darkness released on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in North America
11/06/1931 - Mike Nichols (director of Wolf) born
Mike Nichols / Photo by Steve Granitz - © WireImage.com - Image courtesy WireImage.com
Thandie Newton / Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage.com
11/06/1972 - Thandie Newton (actress in Interview with the Vampire) born
11/06/1972 - Rebecca Romijn (actress in Godsend) born
Rebecca Romijn / Photo by John Shearer/WireImage.com

November 8 - 14

Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde / Fair use doctrine.
11/07/1971 - Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde released theatrically
11/07/2000 - Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem released on the Nintendo GameCube in Australia
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem / Fair use doctrine.
Bram Stoker / Fair use doctrine.
11/08/1847 - Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) born (d. 1912)
11/08/1968 - Parker Posey (actress in Scream 3) born
Parker Posey / © 2004 USA Cable Network. All Rights Reserved.
Tara Reid / IMDb
11/08/1975 - Tara Reid (actress in A Return to Salem's Lot, Urban Legend (film), Devil's Pond, Alone in the Dark, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer) born
11/09/1984 - A Nightmare on Elm Street released theatrically
A Nightmare on Elm Street / Fair use doctrine.
Silent Night, Deadly Night / Fair use doctrine.
11/09/1984 - Silent Night, Deadly Night released theatrically
11/09/1988 - Child's Play released theatrically
Child's Play / © 1988 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Castlevania: Chronicles / Fair use doctrine.
11/09/2001 - Castlevania Chronicles released on the PlayStation in the European Union
11/10/1889 - Claude Rains (actor in many horror films) born (d. 1967)
Claude Rains / Photo by Hulton Archive - Image courtesy gettyimages.com
Bill Moseley / IMDb
11/11/1951 - Bill Moseley (actor in many horror films) born
11/11/1995 - Interview with the Vampire released theatrically
Interview with the Vampire / Fair use doctrine.
Resident Evil Zero / Fair use doctrine.
11/11/2002 - Resident Evil 0 released on the Nintendo GameCube in North America
11/12/1904 - Jacques Tourneur (director of many horror films) born (d. 1977)
Jacques Tourneur / Image: IMDb
The Mad Ghoul / Fair use doctrine.
11/12/1943 - The Mad Ghoul released theatrically
11/12/1999 - Resident Evil 3: Nemesis released for the PlayStation in North America
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis / Fair use doctrine.
Seed of Chucky / Fair use doctrine.
11/12/2004 - Seed of Chucky released theatrically
11/13/1933 - The Invisible Man released theatrically
The Invisible Man / Fair use doctrine.
Cape Fear / Fair use doctrine.
11/13/1991 - Cape Fear (1991) released theatrically
11/13/1992 - Bram Stoker's Dracula released theatrically
Bram Stoker's Dracula / Fair use doctrine.

November 15 - 21

Night of the Comet / © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
11/16/1984 - Night of the Comet released theatrically
11/16/1990 - Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 released theatrically
Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 / Fair use doctrine.
Frailty / © 2002 - Lions Gate Films - All Rights Reserved
11/17/2001 - Frailty released theatrically
11/18/1990 - It premieres on television
It / Fair use doctrine.

November 21 - 27

Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.
11/21/1931 - Frankenstein released theatrically
11/21/1964 - Onibaba released theatrically in Japan
Onibaba / Fair use doctrine.
Predator 2 / Fair use doctrine.
11/21/1990 - Predator 2 released theatrically
11/21/2002 - Resident Evil 0 released on the Nintendo GameCube in Japan
Resident Evil Zero / Fair use doctrine.
Gothika / © 2003 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved
11/21/2002 - Gothika released theatrically
11/22/1958 - Jamie Lee Curtis (actress in Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night, etc.) born
Jamie Lee Curtis / © 2010 20th Century FOX All Rights Reserved
Boris Karloff / Image courtesy mptvimages.com
11/23/1887 - Boris Karloff born (d. 1969)
11/23/1917 - Michael Gough (actor in Hammer horror films) born
Michael Gough / Image: IMDb
Silent Hill 2 / Fair use doctrine.
11/23/2001 - Silent Hill 2 released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in Europe
11/24/1999 - End of Days released theatrically
End of Days / Fair use doctrine.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.
11/24/2006 - Castlevania: Curse of Darkness released on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in Japan
11/26/1992 - Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge released on the Game Boy in Europe
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge / Fair use doctrine.
Alien: Resurrection / Fair use doctrine.
11/26/1997 - Alien: Resurrection released theatrically
11/27/1988 - John Carradine (actor in numerous horror films) dies (b. 1906)
John Carradine / Photo by Ulvis Alberts - © 1978 Ulvis Alberts - Image courtesy mptvimages.com
Castlevania: Legends / Fair use doctrine.
11/27/1997 - Castlevania Legends released on the Game Boy in Japan
11/27/2003 - Castlevania: Lament of Innocence released on the PlayStation 2 in Japan
20032711_castlevania-lament-of-innocence

November 28 - 30

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie / Fair use doctrine.
11/28/1974 - Let Sleeping Corpses Lie released theatrically
11/30/1999 - Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness released on the Nintendo 64 in the United States
Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
SCHEDULE: TCM Horror Classics 2016

SCHEDULE: TCM Horror Classics 2016

By John Roisland

TCM Logo / Fair use doctrine.

In keeping with the spirit of the Halloween Season, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) has brought forth a most impressive line-up for our viewing pleasure. TCM has truly gone into the vault and dug out some of the most obscure and brilliant classics.

Some of these rare gems date back as early as the 1920s! These films are where horror movies began. Please take the time not only to enjoy the films, but also to appreciate them.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Terror Classic Movies:
20s Horror

  • 8:00 PM – Nosferatu (1922)
  • 9:45 PM – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
  • 11:15 PM – Unholy Three (1925)
  • 1:00 AM – The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
  • 2:45 AM – Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)
  • 4:45 AM – The Penalty (1920)

Saturday, October 8, 2015

  • 7:30AM – Mad Love (1935)
  • 9:00 AM – Isle of the Dead (1945)
  • 2:00 AM – The Zodiac Killer (1971)
  • 3:30 AM – The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1977)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Monster of the Month:
Frankenstein

  • 8:00 PM – The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
  • 9:15 PM – Frankenstein Meets Wolf Man (1943)
  • 10:45 PM – House of Frankenstein (1944)
  • 12:15 AM – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
  • 2:00 AM – House (1977)
  • 3:30 AM – The Haunting (1963)

Monday, October 10, 2016

  • 8:00 PM – The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)
  • 1:30 AM – Nothing but the Night (1972)
  • 3:15 AM – Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Terror Classic Movies:
Horror Comedies

  • 8:00PM – The Cat and the Canary (1939)
  • 9:30 PM – The Fearless Vampires (1966)
  • 11:30 PM – Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
  • 1:00 AM – Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • 3:00 AM – Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967)
  • 4:30 AM – Spooks Run Wild (1941)
  • 5:45 AM – Ghosts on the Loose (1943)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

  • 8:00 PM – The Innocents (1961)
  • 12:00 AM – Eye of the Devil (1966)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Monster of the Month:
Frankenstein

  • 8:00 PM – The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
  • 9:45 PM – The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
  • 11:15 PM – Black Cats and Broomsticks (1955)
  • 2:00 AM – Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968)
  • 3:30 AM – The X from Outer Space (1967)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Star of the Month:
Christopher Lee

  • 8:00 PM – Horror Hotel (1960)
  • 9:30 PM – Horror Express (1972)
  • 11:15 PM – The House That Dripped Blood (1970)
  • 1:15 AM – The Creeping Flesh (1972)
  • 3:00 AM – The Oblong Box (1969)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

  • 6:15 PM – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Terror Classic Movies:
Evil Scientists and Doctors

  • 8:00 PM – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
  • 10:00 PM – Eyes Without a Face (1960)
  • 11:45 PM – The Body Snatcher (1945)
  • 1:15 AM – Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)
  • 2:45 AM – Macabre (1958)
  • 4:00 AM – The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
  • 5:15 AM – The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

  • 6:45 AM – The Killer Shrews (1959)
  • 8:00 AM – The Devil Bat (1940)
  • 9:15 AM – The Seventh Victim (1943)
  • 8:00 PM – Jaws (1975)
  • 10:15 PM – Jaws 2 (1978)
  • 12:15 AM – Jaws 3 (1982)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monster of the Month:
Frankenstein

  • 8:00 PM – Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
  • 10:00 PM – Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! (1970)
  • 12:00 AM – The Phantom Carriage (1922)
  • 2:00 AM – Epidemic (1987)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Star of the Month:
Christopher Lee

  • 3:15 PM – The Gorgon (1964)
  • 4:45 PM – The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
  • 6:15 PM – Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966)
  • 8:00 PM – Horror of Dracula (1958)
  • 9:30 PM – Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1965)
  • 11:15 PM – Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1969)
  • 1:00 AM – Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
  • 2:45 AM – The Scars of Dracula (1970)
  • 4:30 AM – Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

  • 6:00 AM – Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy (1965)
  • 7:15 AM – The Time Machine (1960)
  • 9:00 AM – Time After Time (1979)
  • 1:00 PM – The Ice Pirates (1984)
  • 2:45 PM – Satellite in the Sky (1956)
  • 4:15 PM – Logan’s Run (1975)
  • 6:15 PM – Soylent Green (1973)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Terror Classic Movies:
Universal Horror

  • 8:00 PM – Dracula (1931)
  • 9:30 PM – The Mummy (1932)
  • 11:00 PM – The Invisible Man (1933)
  • 12:15 AM – The Wolf Man (1941)
  • 1:30 AM – The Black Cat (1934)
  • 2:45 AM – The Uninvited (1944)
  • 4:30 AM – Island of Lost Souls (1933)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

  • 6:00 AM – The Devil-Doll (1936)
  • 9:00 AM – Bedlam (1946)
  • 12:00 PM – The Black Scorpion (1957)
  • 1:45 PM – The Blob (1958)
  • 3:15 PM – Village of the Damned (1961)
  • 4:45 PM – The Thing From Another World (1951)
  • 6:30 PM – Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
  • 8:00 PM – Blood and Black Lace (1964)
  • 9:30 PM – Carnival of Souls (1962)
  • 11:00 PM – It’s Alive (1974)
  • 12:45 AM – The Baby (1973)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Monster of the Month:
Frankenstein

  • 12:00 PM – The Tingler (1959)
  • 1:30 PM – The Hinchback of Notre Dame (1939)
  • 6:00 PM – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
  • 8:00 PM – Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • 10:00 PM – Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
  • 12:00 AM – The Monster (1925)

Monday, October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

  • 9:45 AM – Dementia 13 (1963)
  • 6:00 AM – Mark of the Vampire (1935)
  • 9:30 AM – I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
  • 12:45 PM – Black Sabbath (1964)
  • 11:15 AM – House of Wax (1953)
  • 2:30 PM – Dead of Night (1945)
  • 4:30 PM – House on Haunted Hill (1958)
  • 6:00 PM – The Haunting (1963)
  • 8:00 PM – The Devil’s Bride (1968)
  • 9:45 PM – The Mummy (1959)
  • 2:45 AM – The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1961)
  • 4:30 AM – To the Devil, a Daughter (1976)

Thank you, TCM, for reminding us of where it all began.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Keep it Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 2 comments
COMING SOON: Young Frankenstein on the big screen!

COMING SOON: Young Frankenstein on the big screen!

By Dixielord

In 1974 Young Frankenstein had horror fans singing “Putting on the Ritz”, and now Fathom Events is putting it back on the big screen. Yep for one, and only one special night, the Mel Brooks comedy classic will be back in theaters. On October 5th, 2016, for one night only Young Frankenstein will be back in theaters. The movie will screen on 500 screens nation wide, and there will be a live presentation before the film with director Mel Brooks.

Young Frankenstein credit Young Frankenstein

Teri Garr, Gene Wilder, and Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein (1974)
TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

It's perfectly timed for fans of the film with Halloween just around the corner. Sadly Gene Wilder, star of Young Frankenstein and other Brooks classics, recently passed away from Alzheimer’s. Fans might be concerned about the timing, but director Brooks assured fans that this was not a move to cash in on Wilder's death. In fact, this had apparently been planned for some time before the star’s death, so there is no fear of disrespecting the memory of Wilder. Go out, enjoy it, and celebrate his life.

Now for you people who have never heard of Young Frankenstein, and I accept the possibility there might be some people who haven't, here's the down low. Young Frankenstein is a comedy based on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s classic Frankenstein story. But calling it a comedy seems such an understatement. It's one of the funniest films by one of America’s funniest directors. Now full disclosure: Blazing Saddles (which also stars Wilder) is my favorite Mel Brooks film. Young Frankenstein is a close second.

Peter Boyle and Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein Credit Young Frankenstein

Peter Boyle and Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein (1974)
TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Ready for a roll in ze hay

The plot involves the infamous Dr. Frankenstein's heir, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, returning to his father's castle. There, in classic horror movie style, he discovers the mad doctor's journals At first reluctant, he eventually falls to the hubris that doomed Dr. Frankenstein and creates his own monster. Cue the pissed off villagers! Lust, mayhem, and even a song and dance soon ensue, along with much laughter from the audience.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Teri Garr, 1974. TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Terri Garr in Young Frankenstein (1974)
TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

What is it that makes Young Frankenstein so popular with horror fans? It's not so much a horror comedy, in my opinion, as a comedic spoof. Yet as hilarious as it is, as irreverent as it is, it never seems disrespectful toward the source material. It's not like it is making fun of the horror genre or it's fans. It's like we're all sitting around, laughing together. With all it's absurdities, the characters are loveable, flawed, and sympathetic - just like the characters in the original Universal classic.

Besides the comedic genius of Gene Wilder, the Young Frankenstein cast includes Teri Garr, Madelyn Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Gene Hackman, and Peter Boyle as the Creature. If you haven't seen Young Frankenstein, what are you waiting for? October 5th, that's what. Young Frankenstein is available now on DVD, and the usual outlets, but if you have waited this long why not experience it on the big screen? Check the Fathom Events website to see if it's playing near you. I'll be there, and I hope to see you there too!

Posted by Allen Alberson in COMING SOON, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
Goodbye, Penny Dreadful

Goodbye, Penny Dreadful

Goodbye, Penny Dreadful

By Dixielord

Spoiler Warning

Fans of Penny Dreadful, including me, were shocked at the end of episode nine with the revelation that this was the end. The Showtime series starring Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, and Timothy Dalton, was in its third season. According to series creator John Logan, there was no pressure to cancel from Showtime. The show had simply ran its course, and with the end of the Vanessa Ives story line, it was time to say goodbye.

Goodbye John Clare and Goodbye Penny Dreadful

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7)

The decision was apparently made during season two. It was also decided to keep the show's fate a secret, so as not to risk spoiling the ending to the show's loyal fans. It does feel like this was a deliberate attempt to go out while the series was in its prime. I'm sad that Penny Dreadful is no more, but I don't feel cheated. So many shows have died too soon, and just as many have gone on to become a pale shadow of what they were. How different would the legacy of Dexter have been if it had ended a few seasons earlier?

The Wolf of God in Penny Dreadful

Ethan wolfs out

Penny Dreadful was first and foremost the story of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green). True fans got to know and love those around her, her loves, and enemies, and even casual acquaintances, but this was Vanessa's story. Her struggle ended, at the hands of her love Ethan, and so Penny Dreadful ended.

What of the other characters? Ethan Chandler (Talbot), Sir Malcolm, Frankenstein and his monster, and Lilly? Their stories will most likely never be known to us. Call me a sucker, but I hold out faint hope that we might see some continuation of the characters in a special or mini series, but I know that's just wishful thinking. This was Vanessa's story. The other stories will forever be unknown to us. It's heartbreaking, but it's for the best.

So goodbye Ethan, Dorian, Dr. Seward, John Clare, and the rest, and most of all goodbye Ms. Ives. Thank you for three seasons of wonderful Victorian monster fun. Thank you for reinventing the creatures we knew too well, and for doing it in an imaginative and respectful way. And thank you Showtimeand John Logan, for having the strength and knowledge to end the show where it needed to end. Thank you for saying, “it's time to end” even while your fans are screaming “no”. I leave Penny Dreadful with no bad memories. It's been a fun ride, a beautiful experience, but like Vanessa said, “let it end”. Goodbye, Penny Dreadful.

Posted by Allen Alberson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

COMING SOON: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

By Dixielord

Victor Frankenstein

Victor Frankenstein

The story of Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation have been told many times. The films have ranged from classics like the Universal film that made Boris Karloff an iconic actor, to the abysmal I, Frankenstein that I don’t even want to talk about.

This Thanksgiving, we will have a new version hitting the big screen. Victor Frankenstein starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) and James McAvoy (Xmen: Days of Future Past). This new incarnation of the classic, tells us the story from Igor's point of view.

Igor, played by Radcliffe, is the faithful, and apparently straight backed, companion and helper of Victor Frankenstein, played by McAvoy. This is an interesting departure for the subject matter, and rumor is that this film will focus more on the relationship between doctor and assistant, than between doctor and creation. While most of the films have historically focused on the tensions between the Frankenstein and his monster, it's not completely a new idea.

In most American versions Igor, was little more than a cackling hunchbacked slave who many times took joy in tormenting the creature. However Hammer films version of the stories tended to eschew the hunchback. Hammer was more often to use more intelligent assistants, sometimes of an evil bent, and many times there was a stron rivalry between assistant and doctor.

The official synopsis from IMDb is:

Told from Igor's perspective, we see the troubled young assistant's dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man - and the legend - we know today.

Along with McAvoy and Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay (Black Mirror) will portray Lorelei and Charles Dance will have an as yet undisclosed role (The Creature maybe?) Actually when I saw Dance involved I had a quick shudder of terror that Victor Frankenstein might try to tie in with the forgettable Dracula Untold from 2014. Hopefully the fact this is a a 20th Century Fox release means that isn't so, but Universal has stated an interest in rebooting their classic series in a interconnected Marvel style. Dance's master vampire from Dracula Untold was rumored to be the lynchpin to that reboot.

Any modem retelling of classic horror makes me a bit wary. I am hoping the actors in Victor Frankenstein will make this film work. Radcliffe has shaken off the invisible mantle of Harry Potter and gave a great performance in Horns and McAvoy is always fun to watch. The trailers look very good and it is a period piece which I love. I just hope they don't modernize it too much.

Will it be a great horror classic, or another dud that should have been left untold? We don't have long to wait, as it is set to open November 25, 2015, in American theaters.

Posted by Allen Alberson in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments