George A. Romero

It was a Sunday afternoon one year ago today and the news popped up on Social Media. George A Romero had passed away at the age of 77. Today we are remembering George A Romero: One Year Later.

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary Birth of the Living Dead

Born in New York in 1940, Romero started out shooting short films and commercials after college in the early 1960s. In 1968, a film he made with John Russo would change a horror sub-genre as we knew it. With a budget of $114,000, Night of the Living Dead unleashed itself on October 1, 1968.It gave a new life and spin on the zombie film. The Godfather of Zombies would make several films over the years, but the —– of the Dead titles would always be what he would gain his fame for. There are six —– of the Dead films in total, with the last one, Survival of the Dead, released in 2009. Romero directed all 6 films.

georgeromero-zombielove / Fair use doctrine. George Romero and friends / Fair use doctrine.

Romero attended several horror cons starting in the early 2000s and continued until right before his passing. He would frequently talk about his films, give his thoughts on the state of the zombie film and share memories with the fans. Romero battled a brief battle with lung cancer, before passing away in his sleep last year on this day. Three months after his passing in front of the Hollywood Toys and Costume Store at 6604 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood honored him posthumously. On October 25th, he finally was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The bittersweet moment of the award is that many felt it should have come years earlier and while he was still alive. He was also honored this past March in the Oscar Memoriam presentation.

ZombieGurl with George A. RomeroCrypt Keeper Clint with George A Romero

Please join everyone at House of Tortured Souls in remembering the “Godfather of the Zombie Film”, George A Romero on the one year anniversary of his passing.

Mad Monster welcomes George Romero

Remembering George A Romero: One Year Later

Remembering George A Romero: One Year Later

It was a Sunday afternoon one year ago today and the news popped up on Social Media. George A Romero had passed away at the age of 77. Today we are remembering George A Romero: One Year Later.

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary Birth of the Living Dead

Born in New York in 1940, Romero started out shooting short films and commercials after college in the early 1960s. In 1968, a film he made with John Russo would change a horror sub-genre as we knew it. With a budget of $114,000, Night of the Living Dead unleashed itself on October 1, 1968.It gave a new life and spin on the zombie film. The Godfather of Zombies would make several films over the years, but the —– of the Dead titles would always be what he would gain his fame for. There are six —– of the Dead films in total, with the last one, Survival of the Dead, released in 2009. Romero directed all 6 films.

georgeromero-zombielove / Fair use doctrine. George Romero and friends / Fair use doctrine.

Romero attended several horror cons starting in the early 2000s and continued until right before his passing. He would frequently talk about his films, give his thoughts on the state of the zombie film and share memories with the fans. Romero battled a brief battle with lung cancer, before passing away in his sleep last year on this day. Three months after his passing in front of the Hollywood Toys and Costume Store at 6604 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood honored him posthumously. On October 25th, he finally was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The bittersweet moment of the award is that many felt it should have come years earlier and while he was still alive. He was also honored this past March in the Oscar Memoriam presentation.

ZombieGurl with George A. RomeroCrypt Keeper Clint with George A Romero

Please join everyone at House of Tortured Souls in remembering the “Godfather of the Zombie Film”, George A Romero on the one year anniversary of his passing.

Mad Monster welcomes George Romero


Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EDITORIALS, STAFF PICKS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF  MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

The last three days have been a whirlwind of screening delight at the second Sydney Monster Fest . From 7 pm on Friday, 9 March 2018, night until 11 pm on Sunday, 11 March 2018, Monster Fest screened a total of twelve films, and of those twelve, two were short films.

Unfortunately, there were two films I could not attend due to time restraints. These were Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Cold Hell (a German thriller about a woman in hiding following witnessing a murder) and Luke Shanahan’s Rabbit (noted as a strong, well driven Australian thriller surrounding the disappearance of a girl’s sister). Next year I shall be clearing my schedule to attend all of the screenings available as both, I felt, offered so many possibilities as a film fan, and I did want to see them.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 1 of 3

At Monster Fest, Australia served up some more homegrown horror with the two shorts Edward and Melissa LyonsAlfred J Hemlock (an impressive revamping of the better the devil you know style dealings with a hilariously lovable comedic twist- that kick-started the festival ahead of the opening screening) and Ren Thackham’s and Fliss Keep’s Tightly Ground ( a boring and rather overindulgent hipster attempt at satire with a bit of murder thrown in). As well as the films like Steven Spiel’s superb Living Space (an awesome time looping thriller featuring some pure moments of amazement – including a human swastika!), Daniel Armstrong’s Tarnation (which despite an impressively campy premise was ultimately an abysmal film featuring a group of annoyingly bad actors facing perils of obscure concepts – penis bugs, demonic unicorns and zombie kangaroos all sound great but if executed poorly are not as fun as hoped), and the standout Mystery Movie that ended the festival Chris Sun’s desperately anticipated BOAR.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 2 of 3

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 3 of 3

BOAR is a beast of a film all of its own which features a huge quality bag full of lovable Australian larrikin humor, great creature effects and a cast of likable and deliberately unlikeable characters. Switching from the douchebag boyfriend Robert (played so well by Hugh Sheridan), to the hulking gentle giant uncle Bernie (played adorably by Nathan Jones) and even familiar faces such as John Jarratt, Bill Moseley, and even Steve Bisley, Sun has his star-studded cast guide this film superbly through the sentimental, the comedic and the terrifying!

From the USA, Monster Fest secured screenings of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2: Prey at Night (which for me knocks the original out of the picture through its musically rich murderous antics and opened the festival with a bang alongside Alfred J Hemlock), the 1987 classic Fred Dekker film The Monster Squad (I had never seen this and am a huge lover of it now!!!!) , and  their 4K restoration screening of the classic George. A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (crisper clear quality without losing the original film’s awesomeness).

Canada served up Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, an impressive occult themed film about the suffering that follows a loss. It starred The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Vancouver actress Nicole Munoz (both dove deep to create likable and unlikeable aspects to their tortured characters).

Lastly, from Turkey came the Can Evrenol film Housewife, an inexplainable romp into the insanity that it displays thoroughly throughout. With dream realms, surreal ongoing and a beginning classic to any horror film, you will not be let down by this film. Brilliant!!

All in all, Monster Fest was a thoroughly amazing viewing experience and I cannot wait for any further screenings throughout the year or events like this one. I will be there!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EVENT REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

In a couple of days, the MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow will hit Sydney Australia, beginning the Australian run of early year premieres and film screenings with Q & A sessions.

This year’s screening list varies from new to old, funny to horrifying and even local to foreign horror.

The MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow is held at the Event Cinemas, 505- 525 George Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The screenings will occur over three days beginning in the evening on Friday, the 9th of March, and finishing with the final screening at 9:30 pm on Sunday, the 11th of March.

The screening list is as follows:

FRIDAY, 9 MARCH 2018

7:00 pm — The Strangers Prey At Night

MonsterFest - The Strangers: Prey at NightThis is the Australian premiere of the American film The Strangers Prey At Night and it will screen hours before the official international release of the film. Before the film screens, patrons will also get the chance to view the Australian horror comedy short Alfred J Hemlock.

930 pm — Pyewacket

MonsterFest - PyewacketThis is the Sydney Premiere of the Canadian horror thriller occult independent film Pyewacket , featuring former The Walking Dead star Laurie Holden.

SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2018

2:30 pm — The Monster Squad

MonsterFest - The Monster SquadThis will be a screening event of the classic 1987 family-friendly action horror comedy film The Monster Squad.

4:30 pm — Night of The Living Dead (4K Restoration)

MonsterFest - Night of the Living DeadThis is the World Premiere of this 1968 George.A.Romero zombie classic since it has had a 4K restoration and will be crisply screened for MONSTERFEST patrons.

7:00 pm — Living Space

MONSTERFEST proudly presents not only the World premiere of the Australian independent horror film Living Space but also MONSTERFEST will be hosting a Q & A session at the event with writer/director Steven Spiel, producer Natalie Forward, Cinematographer Branco Grabovac and stars Emma Leonard, Georgia Chara, and Leigh Scully.

9:30 pm — Rabbit

Vendetta films presents the Sydney Premiere of Rabbit, an independent Australian horror film and will be including a Q & A session with writer/ director Luke Shanahan and producer David Ngo.

SUNDAY, 11 MARCH 2018

2:15 pm –Tarnation

MonsterFest - TarnationAnother Australian film’s Sydney Premiere, Tarnation, is presented by Monster Pictures and features a crossbow-wielding paraplegic, possessed cultists, penis bugs, a demonic unicorn, and a zombie kangaroo. This screening will also be shown with a short 7-minute film called Tightly Ground which will also be making its Sydney debut.

4:30 pm — Housewife

This fresh slice of Turkish horror called Housewife is set to get Australian horror friends talking with it joining the MONSTERFEST line up for its Sydney premiere.

7:00 pm — Cold Hell

Also stepping onto the line up will be the Sydney premiere of the German horror film Cold Hell.

9:15 pm — ???????Mystery Screening???????

This screening is a mystery to all who attend and will not be announced until just before the film hits the screen at its Sydney premiere. All patrons know is that it is an Australian creature feature and will have an amazing bevy of local talent within it.

Speculation is that it will be Chris Sun’s Boar finally making its way to Sydney (only having screened once at its world premiere in Melbourne at MONSTERFEST’s Opening Night Gala in November). Fans are very hopeful…and so am I!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

Robert Joy is a name that might not be instantly familiar to cult/horror fans but he has over 100 film and TV credits and has been in such classics as George Romero’s Land of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes (2006).

Robert Joy

Currently fans can see Joy as Polonius in an excellent production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Alan Cox, Madeleine Potter (Red Lights), Oyin Oladejo (Star Trek Discovery), Keith Baxter, Ryan Spahn, Kelsey Rainwater, Chris Genebach, Gregory Wooddell, Avery Glymph and directed by Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC. I saw it, and it was very impressive.
Joy has taken time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his craft and the genre films he is beloved for as well as the play he is currently in and what he has in store film-wise.
House of Tortured Souls: You got your start on the stage, were you exposed to many theatre productions as a child?
Robert Joy: I didn’t have an opportunity to watch much theater. When I was older I saw a few things, I remember my mother took me to a musical of The King and I that was done really well. And when I was in my late teens, I worked at a canoeing summer camp for kids in Northern Ontario, and three of us from the staff went down to Stratford. We hitchhiked for adventure, and then after that summer, when I got back to St. Johns Newfoundland, I got involved with the amateur theatre scene which was really sophisticated. And I started doing Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and a wide range of other things.
HoTS: Your first huge break was starting out in the play The Diary of Anne Frank (1979) with heavy hitters like Eli Wallace. What was he like to work with?
RJ: That was an amazing experience I had admired his work on television and I had seen a movie of his called The Tiger Makes Out and it was Eli Wallace and his wife Anne Jackson. It (the film) was very funny but it was also very emotional; the comedy was mixed with heartbreak. And I was floored by their acting, and it was amazing years later I got to act with them in The Diary of Anne Frank. Its only because of him and his family that I’m in the United States at all, really, because he invited me down to New York when The Diary of Anne Frank came from Toronto to New York.

Robert Joy

HoTS: The film Ragtime was an early breakthrough role where you worked with the legendary Milos Forman (One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus, People vs Larry Flynt) What was he like as a director?
RJ: He was an amazing guy, he’s not with us anymore is he?
HoTS: I believe so, yes.
RJ: He’s an amazing fellow; he’s very smart and very fun loving, so the atmosphere on this huge production, the logistics of which were daunting, the sense that it was all a big party was palpable (laughs). He had bought a puppy. I think it was a lab. The puppy was on the set the whole time, pooping and peeing (Both laugh). There was this atmosphere you were living in some very big-hearted fun-loving guys’ home (laughs) shooting this enormous movie. But yeah it was a lot of fun to work with Milos Forman. He wouldn’t hesitate to sort of indicate any way he could what he was looking for, and you had to be careful not to do exactly what he did because he would sort of act the scene for you. Like he’d say (in a Czech accent), “More eyes! More crrrazzy”. Stuff like that. It was almost like being directed by one of the Muppets and you had to take one he said and interrupt it into what you knew he wanted. He was a very wonderful and supportive director.
HoTS: It’s an incredible film with an incredible cast. What memories do you have of that shoot in regards to the cast?
RJ: James Cagney wasn’t in the best of health, and he couldn’t take airplanes. I can’t remember exactly why, but a friend of his came over on I think it was the Queen Mary from New York to London because he shot it in London. All my scenes are in London and Oxford that part of England. Donald O’ Conner, Pat O’ Brien, and Pat O’Brien’s wife, and what I remember most is how down to earth everybody was and friendly and approachable. It was very moving to see these old friends being old friends, and, you know, they were open-hearted about including a young actor like me. In the film, Pat O’Brien plays my lawyer, and I had admired him, his movie career was amazing. His wife, whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall (Eloise Taylor), she played my mother (laughs) in that movie. I couldn’t believe my luck.
HoTS: I watched an old interview with youon YouTube actually – it must have been mid-eighties – for TV, and you mentioned you turned down Amityville 2: The Posession on grounds of the violence. I’m guessing you’ve softened you’re stance since, with being in films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Land of the Dead?
RJ: Well that’s interesting I didn’t realize I had done that, I was in an Amityville film it was Amityville 3D.
HoTS: Yeah.
RJ: So had I turned down Amityville 2, I guess. I very rarely turn anything down so I might have had another job at the time. As an actor, especially early in your career, you can only really afford to be fussy about what you expect when you have income. It might have been I was disturbed by the excessive violence. I’m not a fan of really violent movies, and as you say The Hills Have Eyes was probably the most violent I’ve ever been in. I have mixed feelings about it, I think it’s very skillfully made and ultimately I think it makes a very interesting premise behind it and as a cautionary tale  about what happens when people are marginalized or when things go bad and human beings are so separate from each other that they almost mutate away from each other. It had that kind of parable element to it. I remember reading the script of The Hills Have Eyes, and when the father character is crucified on the flaming cross, I thought this was too much, but I did it. It was one of those things I did because my daughter was about to go to university, and I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. But I’m proud of it. It wasn’t an easy part to play, and there were a lot of challenges in the making of it. I’m proud we all pulled together an made what turned out to be in its own way a high quality of example of that kind of movie. The director, Alexandre Aja, the principal director, would say, “It has to be brutal and uncompressing”. And that’s what it was.

Robert Joy

HoTS: You also have a great role in George Romero’s adaptation of The Dark Half. Had you read the book before filming?
RJ: No, I hadn’t read the book, but I feel like the opportunity to work with George Romero was one of the great opportunities in my life. The Dark Half has violence in it, but you have a mixture of Stephen King and George Romero, and the range of the material in it is wide and deep. And I was very happy to do it based on the screenplay, but, no, I did not read the novel.
HoTS: So safe to assume you were very familiar with his body of work?
RJ: Yeah. I was most familiar with Night of the Living Dead. It was one of those one-of-a-kind kinds of movies because at the time it hadn’t really spawned that much of a collection of movies by the time I did The Dark Half, at least not that I was aware of. It just seems like subsequently that zombie genre has exploded. But back then it was like he was a one of a kind artist and it was such an interesting role. Like that scene where I come in and basically come in and try to extort Tim Hutton’s character and it’s one of the most interesting scenes. The character on the surface is so playful but under the surface menacing, and the politics of the scene goes up and down. One person has the power, then you wonder maybe the other person has the power, and its really good screenplay writing. And, of course, it’s beautifully directed by George. And when I met George in Pittsburgh, I was struck by courtly he was; it made me think of this old-fashioned gentleman. And he was so welcoming. I didn’t feel like I was just being hired to be in a movie; I felt like I was being welcomed into a community. That’s very important in a profession that is very gypsy-like where often you’re just hired, and when the job is over you never see the people again, so it was very special to be a part of his team.
HoTS: The character of Fred is so wonderfully cocky. Is a role like that enjoyable because it seems like you’re having a ball playing him. Do you enjoy those types of roles?
RJ: Well, you know that was the first role of that kind I had ever played. The other thing based just on the audition I did, I guess I auditioned for him in New York, and I didn’t have the reputation for playing that kind of part. I was so appreciative of George for saying, “Oh yeah, he can do it”. Whereas a lot of other people try to keep you in a pigeonhole, so he’s an actor’s best friend.
HoTS: Was George a fan of rehearsing his actors?
RJ: Yes. It was very interesting. It started before rehearsal with George, and it happened again with Land of the Dead. It starts with the audition in a funny way. You start to get an idea what he’s after, and he’s very involved in the costume and makeup, the costumes, in particular. The costume becomes a kind of rehearsal even though you’re not doing the scene at all. But you get an impression of George’s input where every visual detail that you’re going to present to the camera goes through the filter of his vision. Take Land of the Dead for example. He thought that Charlie should have a cap – you know a wool watch cap they call them – and then when they put one on me, he said, “Ah, no, but it should have a hole in it. Here is where the hole should be” (laugh). So every visual detail had a significance – a storytelling significance, and then in the rehearsals he would have on the shooting day, I don’t think we had separate rehearsals like on other days, but he would rehearse on the day. And for the most part, what I appreciated was that he would respond to what the actors brought and support what the actors brought. Every now and then he would just have just one thing to say, a detail or one turning point in the scene, and he would give his one note that would be an enormous contribution. He wasn’t a control freak. He wasn’t a puppet master. He was wanting to know what you brought, and then he could help you take it a step further.
HoTS: So he gave you the freedom to find the character yourself?
RJ: You gotta remember that during the auditions he saw basically what he wanted, but then when he would see it on the shooting day, he could refine it, improve it, and enhance it. He was a real connoisseur of what the actors brought. He was one of those people who would be really encouraging. His contribution and his notes were in the middle of a kind of cheerleading capacity, like a great coach really.
HoTS: Speaking of Charlie from Land of the Dead you give the character of a real depth and pathos, I was wondering if you drew inspiration from anything specific?
RJ: Not really, no, but the character is written beautifully, and he has a backstory that was very easy to get behind. I mean it was painful, but the idea that to go through a trauma and then come out the other side with a loyalty to the person that saved you, I never had that kind of experience but it was easy to get behind it. It’s weird somebody asked… You saw Hamlet the other night, right?
HoTS: Yes.
RJ: So somebody asked the actor playing Hamlet, Michael Urie, how do you feel those feelings? He said, “Well, you know, it’s what we have to do as actors. I never killed a king or seen my father’s ghost or anything like that, but you have to imagine what it would be like”, and that’s how I feel about Charlie. He wrote a backstory and situation for Charlie that was so rich that it was so easy to get behind it. It’s what we do when we read a novel or see a movie. We, as an audience, as readers and viewers, we enter that situation. And as actors, it’s an extension of that same thing. We go there, and the material takes you there.
HoTS: You’ve done several make-up heavy movies. Do you feel like it informs your character similar to a costume?
RJ: Oh my god, yeah. Because the makeup alters your face, it’s even more significant than a costume. I remember when I’d be sitting in the chair for three or four hours with Chris Nelson who applied the prosthetics and painted them. What a genius. He’s an actor as well. He’s in Kill Bill. He plays The Groom in the wedding scene. While I was in that makeup chair watching it happen, it was incredible. It’s incredibly helpful to the actor’s imagination because you’re watching it [take shape] in the mirror. You are becoming something else, and it takes a lot of the burden off of the actor because the makeup is doing much of the work. I mean I certainly don’t have to ask my way into communicating Charlie’s history if half of his face is a burn scar. That trauma is there, and it’s enormously important. Same with The Hills Have Eyes. That mutation is present. There’s so much less effort required. It’s still a lot of work in the acting, but there is such a thing as bad effort as when a performance becomes effortful instead of natural, and what the makeup does is let the extraordinary be natural.
HoTS: How long did the makeup take on Land of the Dead, and can you walk us through the process?
RJ: It took about four hours. It was two large pieces on the right side of my face, and when they go on in a kind of an approximate pinkish flesh color. The application is very important and takes time. The first thing is you have to have your hair plastered back under a cap, but the painting is amazing. With the painting, he would paint red and blue first. Then cover it with the kind of skin tone and add layers of paint so that even though all you see is flesh color underneath, it is hints of veins and arteries and such. It took a long time.
Robert Joy and Tess Harper in Amityville 3D
HoTS: You are currently playing Polonius in the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC’s amazing production. First of all, I saw you in this and thought you were incredible, as was the entire cast. What did you think of the modern re-imagining?
RJ: I am totally excited by this re-imagining because sometimes a modern re-imagining doesn’t fit a classic play but Michael Kahn has imagined this play. Not only does it fit, but it enhances the text. You know that scene where I enlist my daughter to spy on Hamlet. Classically that’s done where Polonius and the king are watching behind a curtain, but to have a listening device in the book she’s reading… I mean, Shakespeare put the book in the scene and somehow that book was going to be a clue I imagine. Because he doesn’t put props into his scenes very often, so 400 years ago that book would have been some kind of a clue to Hamlet that she is spying on him. But to have a listening device in it makes it relatable, and that is just one example. Some of in the play lends itself to this depiction of a surveillance state and authoritarian kind of East German State.
HoTS: Yes. I thought it was really interesting how they dealt with the politics which is rife in the play. Now you are, of course, no stranger to performing Shakespeare. In fact, I read you and Ruby, your daughter, acted in The Tempest together?
RJ: That’s right. That was really the highlight for both of us, I think. She had been auditioning in Canada and got the role of Miranda in The Tempest, and as they were talking to her after she was hired, they asked her about her last name and if, by chance, she was related to me because they knew me from CSI: New York. She said yeah he’s my dad, and they asked if it would be alright if we asked him to play Prospero. It was a miraculous turn of events because it turned out to be one of the most amazing things each of us ever did. And it’s so rich with implications for our current world as well. The weird thing is Ruby and I were just talking about it last night because she is working with a group of academics in Toronto. Even now they are doing this kind of symposium about The Tempest, and its implications on colonialism and immigration and the attitude having different cultures in the one place. Like Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero were like different species of humans. But it was a fascinating play and we had a great time doing it.
HoTS: Do you think you’ll ever do a film together?
RJ: We are always looking or possibilities. We keep imagining it will happen on stage maybe playing King Lear and she could play one of King Lear’s daughters or any combination where I get to play her dad again or just be in the same project. But you know, these things can happen, but they are hard to force. But we certainly both want to work with each other again.
HoTS: Great! Finally, I wanted to ask about your latest film, Crown and Anchor, and if you could tell us what it’s about and a bit about your character in it?
RJ: Yeah. I really like this film. You’re introduced to this a police officer in Toronto, and he has rage issues. He gets a call from his hometown that his mother has passed away, so he goes back to his hometown and you realize where all his rage issues come from. It’s a very complicated family with a father who’s in prison and a brother who is going down the wrong road and getting involved with drug dealers. My character is his uncle, the imprisoned brother’s father, who is trying to be a leader figure in the family but can’t quite manage it because he’s a drinker and has flaws of his own. It’s a fascinating character because on the one hand there are comedic elements. He’s a bit of a mischief maker and an eccentric character, but then it becomes clear he is really trying to save a very bad situation. It’s a complex and nuanced film, and I loved playing that part. I just got another part you might be interested to hear about. I don’t know if you know of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Gold Finch?
HoTS: Yes. This is filming now or in post-production?
RJ: Yes. It just started filming last week, and I am playing the part of Welty in that. Jeffery Wright plays the part of Hobie, a man who has an antique shop and antique restorer in Manhattan. I play his partner who goes through trauma at the beginning of the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but the part of Welty will involve a wound in makeup. I did the fitting, and when you were talking about prosthetic makeup, I thought about that because I had to do one of those life casts. It’s going to be a horrific head wound.
Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Joanne Boland, Robert Joy, Shawn Roberts, and Pedro Miguel Arce in Land of the Dead (2005)
I once again want to thank Mr. Joy for his time and sharing insights into his craft and touching on some of his amazing and varied body of work. Also a big thank you to the fine people at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC.
If you are in the area its an incredible production with a brilliant cast and director. It runs now until March 6, 2018. Please visit the website below for more info.

Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Joy in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 3

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 3

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part 3: You Lunk Head!

Hello there kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to the third installment of my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
In the last two installments, I discussed the film's background, its impact upon its release, the intro of the film and the first story, "Father's Day". Now let's get into the second story, "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill".Creepshow-Jordy Verrill-01 / Fair use doctrine.
This story begins with a crash. A meteor lands in a run down farm in rural Maine. The owner of the farm is Jordy Verrill, played by the writer of the film and horror master himself Stephen King. Jordy is portrayed as being quite unintelligent and makes terrible decisions. He comes to the conclusion that the meteor would be worth a pretty penny, which his small mind views as $200, at the local university. When Jordy touches the meteor, it burns his fingertips, so he decides to cool it off by pouring some water on it. This breaks the meteor in half, revealing a white liquid inside. Jordy thinks the meteor will be worth significantly less now that it is broken, but decides to try anyway. He picks up the meteor pieces after pouring the liquid that sat inside into the ground and places them in a bucket. Hours later, while watching TV and drinking beer, Jordy looks at the fingertips he had burnt on the meteor and sees a type of green moss growing from them. He runs to the phone to call the doctor, but imagines that the doctor will cut his fingers off and hangs up. He then realizes that he had been periodically sucking on those fingers all night. He sticks his tongue out at the bathroom mirror and sees it is covered in the same green moss. From here, things escalate quickly as the farm and Jordy himself are being overrun by foliage growing at an incredible rate.
Creepshow-Jordy Verrill-02 / Fair use doctrine.This story was adapted from the Stephen King short story "Weeds" published in Cavalier Magazine in 1976. Since then, it's been very difficult to find and has never been published in any of King's short story collection books. The short story is similar but does carry differences. One main difference is the tone. Jordy Verrill is not very intelligent, but it is played straight, whereas in the film it seems to be played at a goofy level, almost cartoonish. The short story shows that the weeds possess a form of sentience as Jordy begins hearing them communicate in his head and also make suggestions to him, like taking a cold bath to relieve his itching for example. He also doesn't imagine himself talking to his father in the mirror, I think this was the film's way of addressing the weeds talking in his head and his contrasting thoughts about the bath making it worse.
This story seems to be an homage to H. P. Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space", in which a meteor of an unknown color lands on a remote farm and begins to change the foliage and the family living there. It can also be seen as a jab at the isolationist and lonely lifestyle of being a farmer as Jordy seems to have little exposure to life outside the farm. You may even see this as he struggles with the thought of calling the doctor for help. But, I don't think this was intentional. Another story that may have inspired King is a true one. In 1961, a man in North Carolina purchased a single square of linoleum from a neighbor to fill in a missing piece on his floor. Soon after, his wife began suffering from acute respiratory ailments. When he removed the piece of linoleum, he discovered a mass of mold had grown underneath. They cleaned it with all kinds of chemicals, but it wasn't long before the mold had grown on the walls and furniture. Eventually, most of the home was covered in gray, hairy mold. Although, this is similar to Weeds, there is no confirmation that King had ever heard of this.
This segment of the film definitely stands out for its goofy acting and cartoonish sound effects. It's the only story in the film played for laughs. This was on purpose. Romero had told King to play Jordy like Wile E. Coyote, the way he looks when he goes off a cliff. In this aspect, King doesn't disappoint. Some may call his acting hammy, but I think it suits the character perfectly. King also had an allergic reaction to the makeup he wore and had to take medication just to make it bearable. One can only imagine how difficult it would be for one to act under such circumstances.
Creepshow-Jordy Verrill-03 / Fair use doctrine.In conclusion, this is one of my favorite stories, mainly because it evokes the hopelessness of a Lovecraftian cosmic horror. From the second the meteor landed on Jordy's farm, he was doomed. It's also a very good example of Stephen King's earlier works, when he wore his inspirations on his sleeve. The end is also something I enjoy very much, we hear the news on the radio proclaim that serious rainfall is on the way and we see the foliage has reached the highway and is making its way towards Castle Rock, Portland, and Boston. Will the entire country eventually be covered in weeds? It would appear so.

Well, the weeds in my backyard are telling me to end part 3 of my retrospective. In any case, I hope you lunk heads can hold your breath a long time, at least until my next installment, where I take a look at the next creepy tale, "Something To Tide You Over"...
Posted by Alf Benny in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: George A. Romero (6 of ?)

TRIBUTE: George A. Romero (6 of ?)

My Moment With George A. Romero

Like many doing this tribute, I didn't know Mr. Romero on a personal level, but, like many - if not all, I feel like I did because of how deeply his work has touched me and, indeed, changed my life. There are certain movies I can remember vividly the first time I've seen them and George's seminal Night of the Living Dead was certainly one of them. One faithless evening I was at the mall with some school friends (I was in middle school at the time) and I of course found myself scouring the video store. The iconic image of Kyra as the pint-sized zombie on the cover beckoned me and soon I was in its undead clutches. After popping in the clunky VHS in my machine I stood in awe of the black and white nightmare and ninety odd minutes later I was a lifelong fan. What struck me was how stark and nihilistic it was, something I had seldom seen before. And I still consider the ending a milestone in not only the genre but of all cinema.
Of course, after that I raced to my local mom and pop rental shop to pick up Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow and later lesser known but brilliant stuff like Martin, The Crazies, etc. I couldn't get enough. It was when I attended a Monster Mania Con when I got to meet the zombie king in the flesh and boy was I nervous. I decided I wanted to give something back so I created a sketch of George's portrait popping up out of a cemetery with a few brain munching zombies. I framed it and waited in line, all while trying to keep my cool. We met and I had some posters and prints signed and with shaking hands I presented the legend with my modest tribute to his body of work. He seemed utterly taken back in a good way and I always like to think he displayed it in his home.
Yes, I didn't know George as a friend, we didn't share long talks about important things like life and love but the shadow of his work has always followed me and the iconic images he produced continues to have a last impact on me not only as a film buff but as a person as well. We will miss you, Mr. Romero, and we take comfort in knowing you left us a legacy that, like your zombies, will never die.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: GEORGE A. ROMERO (1 of ?)

TRIBUTE: GEORGE A. ROMERO (1 of ?)

Remembering George A. Romero

George A. Romero, as many of you know by now, passed on Sunday, July 16, asleep in his own bed. Romero had a small but aggressive bout with cancer, but that is said not to be the cause of his death. Romero was 77.
When one thinks of zombies these days, sadly, most think of The Walking Dead and believe this to be the greatest zombie representation in film (or TV). Not to take anything away from the abundance of talent that goes into making TWD, but if you were to ask its main man Greg Nicotero who he himself was inspired by (as well as any true horror and or zombie fan) and who is the master and father of the modern zombie, you'll get the same answer from them all. That name would be legendary filmmaker George A. Romero.
George A. Romero was born in New York City in 1940. After graduating school, George made many short film and did some commercial work as well. He and friends formed IMAGE TEN PRODUCTIONS where they all chipped in about $10,000.00 each to produce and direct a black and white horror film that became an instant horror classic and a legend among all zombie film to ever be made: Night of the Living Dead (1968).
Romero went on to write, direct, produce, and even act in more than a combined 78 films. Films titles such as The Crazies (2010/1972), Diary of the Dead (2007), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), Land of the Dead (2004), Creepshow (1982), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and many more.
George A. Romero was always known for his trademark thick rimmed black frame glasses and safari vest. But, more so, was always known for being a warmhearted man who always cared and took the time for his fans. I personally wasn't fortunate enough to have met Romero at any of the conventions that he had attended as a celebrity guest, but I always heard from those who did that he was a very personable and kind man.
The legendary horror/zombie films that Romero made in his lifetime were inspiring to future filmmakers and loved by audiences across the globe. Romero's Night of the Living Dead became the standard for all other zombie films. All, in some way, seemed to be compared to that of Romero, but none ever seem to make the same impact. While Romero's films were always full of great gore, blood, and BRAINS(!!!!), the films always had great stories. They were always driven by characters whose main goal was to survive among the dead for their life. And it always worked!
Mr. Romero, you have been inspiring, admired, respected, loved, and now, most of all, missed.
On behalf of myself, John Roisland, founder and CEO of House of Tortured Souls, thank you, sir, for all the memories you have given to all of us.
Keep It Evil.
Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 2

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 2

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part 2: I Want My Cake

Hello there kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to the second installment of my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
In the last installment, I discussed the ins and outs of the film's background, its impact upon its release, and the intro of the film. Now, let us take a look at the first story in this anthology, aptly named, "Father's Day".
This tale centers around the affluent and boorish Grantham family as they gather at their patriarch's home on Father's Day seven years after his death. Aunt Sylvia (Carrie Nye (The Screaming Skull, Too Scared To Scream)), Richard (Warner Shook (Knightriders)), Cass (Elizabeth Regan), and Cass' husband Hank Blaine (Ed Harris (The Abyss, Needful Things)) are waiting for Sylvia's Aunt Bedelia (Viveca Lindfors (Exorcist III, The Hand)) to arrive. Creepshow-Father's Day-Father's Day cake / Fair use doctrine.In the meantime, they begin to tell Hank the story of how Aunt Bedelia killed her own father, Nathan, played by Jon Lormer (Twilight Zone, Star Trek), on Father's Day, years after he had her fiance murdered in a "hunting accident". Aunt Bedelia, now an alcoholic and consumed with guilt, arrives and visits her father's grave. After getting the event off of her chest, her father's decayed corpse rises from the grave to exact his revenge. He strangles Bedelia and shortly begins murdering the rest of the family, all the while asking for his Father's Day cake.
This story is one of the best examples of a Tales From The Crypt story. Usually, someone kills another person and that person will eventually rise from the grave to exact their revenge. Although, most of the times in these tales, the previously dead would have been killed for an unjust cause. In this story, that is debatable. The Grantham family is not seen as the shining example of morality, but the family patriarch, Nathan, is surely the worst of them all. After having Bedelia's fiance killed, he is left in her care. He nags and nags about his Father's day cake as she is seen to be emotionally distraught. It's difficult to blame her for her actions, but one can say that murdering him can not be justified. As pleasing as it is to see a bad person receive their comeuppance, in general, revenge leads to more revenge. Nathan's reanimated corpse also kills the maid, Mrs. Danvers. Where some may see her as being innocent in all of this, she was witness to his murder and did nothing about it. This could make her an accomplice in some people's eyes. The only character killed that one could say was wholly innocent was Hank. I guess a vengeful animated corpse cares not for the innocent. In the end, this is a shining example of karma.
I've seen many reviews say that it is the weakest story and others say that it should have been left out. I personally feel it is a great way to start the film and give us a taste of what is in store for us. Some of the imagery is outstanding. Who could forget the scene of Sylvia's head on a platter, topped with icing and candles, and Nathan proudly proclaiming, "It's Father's Day and I got my cake. Happy Father's Day!", while Richard and Cass look on in stark terror? Hell, someone even made an action figure of this scene recently. Nathan's reanimated corpse, played by John Amplas (Day of The Dead) looks amazing. The make-up effects were done by the legendary Tom Savini (Dawn of The Dead, Maniac). One other thing that sticks out to me about Nathan's reanimated corpse is his voice. I can never get tired of hearing that ghoulish sound, it's quite terrifying. All of the actors do a great job as well, especially Viveca Lindfors. Despite her strong Swedish accent, she delivers a powerful monologue. She asked George A. Romero if she could improvise the scene. She channeled her anger over her rocky relationships with her own father and her ex-husband. The product is a realistic and emotionally-charged performance. One more thing I truly love in this story is small, but has stuck with me since I was a child. When Richard and Cass encounter Nathan at the end, Richard let's out a gasping "Oh my god!" which is quite unique. We're used to hearing people scream or just gasp in horror films, but Warner Shook decided to recite his line while inhaling. This strikes me as a very authentic reaction to seeing something so horrifying.
Creepshow-Father's Day-Aunt Bedelia / Fair use doctrine.This isn't to say this story doesn't have its downfalls. The flashback scene of Nathan nagging Bedelia for his cake is quite hammy and goofy. This could have been on purpose, perhaps Romero felt that this is how the family sees the event as they are relating it to Hank. It does retract a bit from the overall feel of the story and otherwise great performances. Another scene that isn't very good is Hank's death. He falls into the hole that was Nathan's grave and sees Bedelia's corpse. Nathan's obelisk-like tomb then slowly starts inching fotward, threatening to fall onto Hank. It seems like Hank has no sense of urgency here and just lays there staring at the tomb for seconds on end. Nothing is holding him in place. In the comic book, we see that Bedelia's lifeless corpse has rolled on top of him and he struggles to get it off of him. This slows his escape long enough for the tomb to fall onto him and crush him. Why Romero chose to portray it the way he did in the film is beyond me. Since the comic book was based on the original script, I feel King had written this into the screenplay. It's very odd and a bit comical, you just end up screaming at the screen, "Get up, you fool!"
Stephen King wrote this story specifically for this film and as I stated before, I think he wrote this as a pastiche of the general Tales From The Crypt story. He may have had some inspiration from James Joyce's book, Finnegan's Wake. In this story, the titular character falls from a ladder and dies. He is then revived when someone accidentally spills whiskey on his corpse. In Father's Day, Nathan is revived directly after Bedelia accidentally spills her whiskey at Nathan's grave. This idea originally came from an old Dublin street ballad and the Gaelic word for whiskey translates to "water of life".
This was Ed Harris' fourth role. The year before this film, Ed Harris had the starring role in Romero's previous film, Knightriders. Later in 1993, he went on to play the main character, Alan Pangborn, in the film adaptation of the novel, Needful Things. But, beyond these connections, I don't think I need to tell you how well his career has gone since his appearance in Creepshow.
Ed Harris in Creepshow / Fair use doctrine.
One more thing of note to mention is the murder weapon. Creepshow-Father's Day-ashtray / Fair use doctrine.In the flashback sequence, we see that Bedelia kills Nathan by bashing him over the head with a marble ashtray. This ashtray can be seen in every story in this film, even in the wraparound story. Maybe, you can watch the film again and make a game out of spotting each of its appearances. No, I'm not going to spoil it for you! Where's the fun in that?
Well, that concludes part 2 of my retrospect and I've suddenly got myself a hankering for some cake. How about you? In any case, don't be a nunk head and join me next time as I take a look at the next spooky story, "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verril..."
Posted by Alf Benny in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 1

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

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part I: That's Why God Made Fathers

Hello there, kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
When I was a kid, Saturdays were a special day relegated to staring at my television all day long. The mornings were full of cartoons. Late morning to early afternoon, we watched wrestling, 70s kung-fu, or giant monster films. But, later in the day came the horror movies. This was the best time to be glued to that screen. One of my favorite films, which they ran quite often, was Creepshow. I was too young to remember this film’s theatrical release, but I can imagine that the combination of George A. Romero and Stephen King was enough to make most horror fans' hearts thump erratically. In fact, this was one of the first horror films I can remember watching, along with Psycho and Night of The Living Dead. It was also one of the films that jump started my love for Stephen King and soon afterwards I was begging my mother to buy me one of his books. She purchased Night Shift (an anthology of short stories) from a flea market for 50 cents.
As an obsessive fan of horror and comic books, this was the perfect film for me. It brought together two of my favorite things that, at the time, was not easy for a young boy to find. To Romero and King, it was an homage to the comic books they loved as kids, EC horror comics like Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Comic books were all but exclusively about superheroes by the time I was old enough to enjoy them and I didn't even know that horror-themed comic books had ever existed. In fact, by the time the Tales From The Crypt television series first aired, I thought they were ripping off Creepshow! Boy was I wrong.
The year was 1982 and Warner Brothers was trying to decide when was the best time to release this strangely-toned R-rated film. Summer is usually the time most people go to the movies, but horror films do better closer to Halloween. They knew they couldn't release it before October 31st as the Halloween film series was dominating ticket sales for their last two releases. Michael Myers was becoming a household name and Creepshow would definitely be overshadowed by it. In an unusual move, they decided to give it a limited summer release in the Boston area. They gave it a four-week trial run, and it was met with great sales and high praise. Upon hearing that Halloween III: Season of The Witch would not feature Michael Myers, much to the lament of the fans of the series, they predicted that tickets sales for the film would dry up quickly. They were correct. Creepshow was released in theaters worldwide on November 12, 1982. It grossed well over $5 million in its opening weekend and knocked First Blood off of the number one spot. The first and only George A. Romero film to open at number one at the weekend box office. By the end of its run, the film grossed over $21 million in the US, becoming Warner Brothers’ biggest horror hit of the year.
Creepshow consists of five terrifying tales written by Stephen King. This is the only time George A. Romero directed a film that he didn't write. Three stories were written specifically for the film, while the other two were adaptations of short stories previously released in magazines. Most of the tales follow the stereotypical Tales of The Crypt formula. Someone commits a horrific act and it eventually comes back to haunt them, usually in the form of a murdered individual returning from the dead with a horrifying visage. Karma...
The film begins with a wraparound story about a boy who loves to read horror comics, but his father sees it as trash and refuses to allow his son to read it. I think this is an ever relevant topic, especially to 80s kids who listened to Heavy Metal and played Dungeons & Dragons. There was a huge push back against them at the time as they were thought to be teaching kids Satanism. To Romero and King, this was a callback to the similar attack on comic books in the 50s, which led to the self-regulating organization, Comics Code Authority and eventually the fall of horror comics.
The Creepshow comic book props and artwork seen in this story and the rest of the film were drawn and inked by Jack Kamen, a legendary artist in a variety of genres for EC Comics. He also drew the comic book cover-style movie poster. Originally, King wanted Graham Ingels (famous for his work on The Haunt of Fear and Tales from The Crypt) for the artwork. If you've ever read King’s non-fiction book about horror in film, radio, print, and comics, Danse Macabre, or the short story, The Boogeyman, then you know Stephen King thinks highly of Ingels' artwork. Unfortunately, Ingels was not interested. So, William M. Gaines (publisher and co-editor of EC Comics) recommended Kamen.
Playing the father Stan in this story is a non-mustachioed Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Night of the Creeps), who also starred in Halloween III which was released two weeks prior and was in direct competition. He also worked with Romero later on in Two Evil Eyes and Bruiser. Playing the horror comic reading son, Billy, is Stephen King's eldest son, Joseph King, who eventually grew up to become a best-selling author in his own right, under the pseudonym, Joe Hill (Horns, The Fireman). During a break, Stephen took Joe out to McDonald's, he had the make-up crew put scars and cuts and bruises on Joe as a joke. After leaving the drive-thru, the girl working the register called the police. Stephen had to explain to the police that they were making a movie and it was all a gag.
The scene ends with Stan smacking Billy for talking back and then throwing the comic in the trash. Afterwards, Billy is visited by The Creep, hovering outside his window heralding the upcoming horrors. Billy smiles at The Creep, knowing full-well that his revenge against his strict father is at hand. Although it is quite an evil notion, and should not be seen as good, this is an emotion most children have felt at one point. A concept that we can all relate to. This is followed by an animated intro with drawn images of all of the stories encompassing the film. I also loved this as a kid and I would be lying if I said, I didn't love it now.
Well, that concludes part one of my retrospect. I hope you enjoyed it. Join me next time kiddies, when we take a look at the first terrifying tale of the bunch — Father's Day...
Posted by Alf Benny in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
Zombies: To George A. Romero

Zombies: To George A. Romero

Zombies: A Tribute to George A. Romero

George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead forever changed our view of zombies. Since then, he has released five additional zombie movies. On this day in 2005, George A. Romero's Land of the Dead was released theatrically. House of Tortured Souls pays tribute to Romero and his zombies with two poems by our resident poet Rich Orth.

 

Zombie silhouettes designed by Freepik

Sea Escape!
©Rich Orth

Lost Johnny this morning
God them bastards are fast
Wish Romero did more research
Maybe we'd be able to last
They function, predators
on top of their game
Snuffing us out
like flickering flames

Zombie silhouettes designed by Freepik

Savagely killing....

Only to have our friends
rise again
Our numbers diminish
For every one we kill.... 4

seemingly
appear to return.........
We've run out of land
There is no high ground
Surrender not an option
Suicide may be the only escape
Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikI last flight..to the Ocean
we flee
With the slightest notion of what
to expect
Upon the seas
Marauding Pirate zombies
or zombie serpents
So must shit has hit the fan
Nothing would surprise me..............

 

Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikZombie Preamble!
 ©Rich Orth

In this city of sin
Where life is a gamble
Heard my first rendition
Of the Zombie preamble
Now a majority rule
Constitution theirs to change
We the Living Dead people
In order to form a more perfect union
Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikNo matter how deranged
Basically are saying .."Screw You"
We want your brains, only as hors d'oeuvres
You are merely
Soylent Green
A way to a means
As we march on, well lumber that is
Eating your young
Killing your bitches
******
Well since that day
I've been in hiding
We sit here now
Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikTime is bidin'
Immoral Majority take heed
Will fight for your second death
Should there be need
Enjoy the top
While you can
Cause one shot
to the head
And your ass again
will be dead

 

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Zombie silhouettes designed by Freepik

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in FICTION AND POETRY, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in June.

June 1 - 7

June - Phantasm

 

06/01/1979
Phantasm released theatrically

June - Poltergeist (original)

 

 

06/04/1982
Poltergeist released theatrically

June - Robert Englund

 

06/06/1949
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street actor) born

June - The Omen (remake)

 

06/06/2006
The Omen (remake) released theatrically

June 8 - 14

June - Hostel 2

 

06/08/2007
Eli Roth's Hostel Part II released
theatrically

June - Damien: Omen II

 

06/09/1978
Damien: Omen II
released theatrically

June - Poltergeist III

 

 

06/10/1988
Poltergeist III released theatrically

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)

06/10/1989
Tales from the Crypt premiers on TV

June - Rosemary's Baby

 

06/12/1968
Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby released theatrically

June - Jason Voorhees

 

06/13/1946
Fictional mass
murderer
Jason Voorhees is born

June 15 - 21

June - Herschell Gordon Lewis

 

06/15/1929
Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, The Wizard of Gore) actor, filmmaker, and Godfather of Gore born

June - Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

 

06/15/1948
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein released theatrically

June - Gremlins 2: The New Batch

 

06/15/1990
Gremlins 2: The New Batch released theatrically

 

June - Psycho

06/16/1960
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho released theatrically

June - Jaws 2

 

06/16/1978
Jaws 2 released theatrically

June - Lucio Fulci

 

06/17/1927
Lucio Fulci
(The Beyond,
City of the Living Dead
writer, director) born

June - The Exorcist II: The Heretic

 

06/17/1977
Exorcist II: The Heretic released
theatrically

June - Willard

 

06/18/1971
Willard released
theatrically

June - Haute Tension

 

06/18/2003
Haute Tension
released theatrically in France

June - Daria Nicolodi

 

06/19/1950
Daria Nicolodi (Dario Argento's Opera actress) born

 

June - The Twilight Zone06/19/1964
The Twilight Zone original TV series ends its run

June - Jaws

 

06/20/1975
Jaws released theatrically

June - Frenzy

 

06/21/1972
Frenzy released
theatrically

June - Lifeforce

 

06/21/1985
Lifeforce released theatrically

June 22 - 28

June - Bruce Campbell

06/22/1958
Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness actor) born

June - Elvira's Haunted Hills

 

06/23/2001
Elvira's Haunted Hills released
theatrically

June - Land of the Dead

 

06/24/2005
George A. Romero's Land of the Dead released theatrically

June - The Omen (original)

 

06/25/1976
The Omen released theatrically

June - The Thing

 

06/25/1982
John Carpenter's The Thing released theatrically

 

June - Peter Lorre06/26/1904
Peter Lorre (The Comedy of Terrors
actor) born

June - Dark Shadows

 

06/27/1966
Dark Shadows premiers on TV

June - Blade the Series

 

06/28/2006
Blade: The Series premiers on TV

June 29 - 30

June - The War of the Worlds (remake)

 

06/29/2005
War of the Worlds released theatrically

June - Vincent D'Onofrio

 

 

06/30/1959
Vincent D'Onofrio (The Cell actor) born

 

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
Coming Soon: Horrors of the Living Dead

Coming Soon: Horrors of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead zombies.

Night of the Living Dead zombies.

 

By Woofer McWooferson

Good news for zombie fans – George A. Romero is putting together an anthology of zombie tales set in the days around his 1978 genre favorite Night of the Living Dead. Though he's said that he never intended to redefine the zombie and was, instead, featuring ghouls, redefine it he did. Gone were the living zombies created only to do their masters' bidding, and in were the mindless undead creatures whose only desire was to consume human flesh. And we loved it.

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."

 

John A. Russo

John A. Russo

The anthology is tentatively titled Horror of the Living Dead (some are reporting it as Nights of the Living Dead) and will take place in the 48 hours surrounding the events in Night of the Living Dead. Fellow Night of the Living Dead writer John A. Russo will be contributing as well as many other writers, including:

-Jay Bonansinga: Winner of the Chicago International Film Festival Silver Plaque (1988) and Houston International Film Festival Gold Remi (2007).

-Sandra Brown & Ryan Brown: Sandra is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award, and Ryan is the author of the zombie sports novel Play Dead as well as the scifi western Thawed Out & Fed Up.

-Mike Carey: Author of multiple comic books and novels.

-Keith R.A. DeCandido: Prolific science fiction and fantasy writer who has written comic books, novels, role-playing games, video games, and countless media tie-in books.

-Mira Grant (a/k/a Seanan McGuire): Winner of the John W. Campbell Award, the Hugo Award, several Pegasus Awards, and a member of the Darrell Awards Hall of Fame.

-Brian Keene: Two time Bram Stoker Award winner.

-Joe R. Lansdale: Ten time Bram Stoker Award winner.

-Jonathan Maberry: Eight time Bram Stoker Award winner.

-Isaac Marion: Author of Warm Bodies, the New York Times bestselling zombie novel which was  made into a successful movie of the same name.

-Joe McKinney: Double Bram Stoker Award winner.

-Neal Shusterman & Brendan Shusterman: Neal is a 2005 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (2005), California Young Reader Medal (2008), and the National Book Award (2015). Brendan, his son, is a frequent collaborator.

-David Wellington: Best known for his Monster (zombie) trilogy.

-Chuck Wendig: Prolific author of everything from short stories to comics to novels.

The book will be published by Griffin and should be out in early 2017.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

Boogeyman 2: Masters of Horror

By Woofer McWooferson

Boogeymen 2-1

 

Director: Mike Mendez, Dave Parker; Writers: Curtis Bowden, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Gary Shenk; Stars: Dario Argento, Bruce Campbell, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Guillermo del Toro, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, George A. Romero; Rating: U; Run Time: 90 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2002

“Their movies gave you nightmares. Now the most diabolical minds in horror are coming together in the ultimate Halloween horror special – Masters of Horror.”

The 2002 documentary Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror is hosted by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and features some of the greatest names in horror movies, from Dario Argento to Guillermo del Toro. Divided into three parts, it asks the great questions all horror fans have:

Part 1: Why Do We Like to be Scared?
Part 2: What Scares Us?
Part 3: (Where Do They Get Their Ideas?)

Parts one and two are rather brief and hop from director to director as each answers why we like to be scared and what scares us. As to why we like to be scared, answers range from “why do some people like to ride roller coasters” to “preparation for our own deaths” and all are equally valid since why we like to be scared is as unique as each of us. When it comes to what scares us, however, most of our fears are the same, from death (of self or loved ones) to the dark (or what lies in it), and this is the bread and butter of these directors.

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

Part three, however, is much longer and divided into six sections with each section focusing on one director. These sections and the featured directors are:

The Reality of Horror (Wes Craven)
The Horror of Innocence (Guillermo del Toro)
The Rebel of Horror (John Carpenter)
The Horror of Society (George A. Romero)
Transforming Horror (John Landis & Rick Baker)
The Beauty of Horror (Dario Argento)
Living the Horror (Tobe Hooper)

Highlights of the documentary include:

• Craven discussing the making of The Serpent and the Rainbow and how The Last House on the Left managed an R rating.

• del Toro recounting his introduction to the supernatural while still in his crib, the influence of Universal monster movies on him, and how he established a special effects company in order to create Cronos.

• Carpenter talking about the change in audience sensibilities and the effect it had on the horror industry in the 70s and 80s.

• Romero revealing his fear of being typecast and his eventual return to the dead films.

• Landis and Rick Baker explaining how they created Schlock and why An American Werewolf in London is a watershed film in special effects work.

• Argento discussing his films as works of art where each shot is framed for both beauty and horror.

• Hooper recounting the horrors behind the scenes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, including the effects that the gruelling shot had on the cast and crew.

Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper

Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror also includes commentary from Gunnar Hanson, Tom Savini, and KNB Effects and is full of clips from the movies being discussed as well as movies that exemplify the topics being described.

Is this for everyone? No, but it is damn good fun and a must for horror lovers.

7/10 claws

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: The Making of George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead (2014)

BOOK REVIEW: The Making of George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead (2014)

By Nick Durham

The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead
We all know who George Romero is, and we all know about his Dead movies. While Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead are the films that everyone rightfully recognizes as the benchmarks of the genre, Day of the Dead has often been relegated as that red-headed stepchild of his initial Dead trilogy (that's right, I said trilogy...I don't count Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, or Survival of the Dead much). Despite its initial lack of success with critics and audiences during its original 1985 release, the film has underwent a bit of reclassification in recent years, and is now recognized as practically being a classic of the zombie genre.

With all that in mind, here comes this super enjoyable book from Romero super-fan Lee Karr, The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead. This book begins with a foreword from effects icon Greg Nicotero (who got his start in the business with this film working under Tom Savini) and continues with plenty of behind the scenes stories, anecdotes, rarely-seen photos, and material from the film's cast and crew. We learn of the trials and tribulations that Romero went through making this film, having been forced to slash his original script when discovering just how low-budgeted the film would end up being. Not to mention the fact that filming in an actual mine and the rotting guts used for Savini's landmark effects work making Joe Pilato (Captain Rhodes) require some quick hits of oxygen during his infamous death scene, just goes to illustrate how making these kind of films is no picnic (no pun intended). Hell, the book is a good reflection on the trials and tribulations of filmmaking in general, regardless of the genre.

If there's any drawbacks to The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead, it's that I wish the book was hardcover. This is mostly a personal thing with me I guess, because I just like the way hardcover books sit on my shelf more than paperback ones do. Then again, after reading this thing cover to cover and paging through it again afterwards, it becomes really apparent that the book's binding kind of sucks. That doesn't speak to the quality of what's in these pages, but when the spine starts cracking that fast, that's not really a good thing is it?

Anyway, I've always tended to enjoy Day of the Dead a little more than I probably should, so seeing all these candid photos and reading about all this is a true treat for me personally. If you enjoy Day of the Dead and/or any of Romero's films at all, you need to check this book out as soon as you can. If you can get past the cruddy book binding, you'll enjoy what all you get here. That being said, check this out as soon as you can.

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted by Nick Durham in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

By Nick Durham

DOTD

There isn't much I can say about the original Dawn of the Dead that hasn't been said plenty of times through the decades after it was released, but fuck it, I'm going to anyway. This was the first zombie movie I had seen in my youth that I had legitimately loved from the first time I'd seen it. All these years later, it's still my go-to zombie movie not just for Halloween, but for the whole month of October.

Now I know what you're thinking right now reading that opening paragraph...what about Night of the Living Dead? Well kids, I can't deny that the original Night of the Living Dead isn't essential Halloween viewing. I mean how can it not be? It's the movie that started it all. We wouldn't have anything modern zombie-related without it. So yeah, that is a classic film and absolutely iconic as well, there's no denying that one bit, but it's Dawn of the Dead that where George Romero really hit his mark with his zombie films. No Dead film that followed can touch this, and nothing that Romero could churn out now will ever come close either.

Talking about the film's story is pretty much a moot point, we all know it. Four people barricade themselves inside a shopping mall amidst the zombie epidemic. Things are good for a while and there's a lot of social commentary and knocks against consumerism. Then a Tom Savini-led biker gang starts some shit and everything proceeds to go to hell. It sounds simple on paper, but holy shit is it so effective, even to this day.

Believe it or not, what always made Dawn of the Dead so special to me is the film's acting and characters. You actually legitimately give a shit about our four heroes (yes even asshole Flyboy) and you, surprisingly, don't want to see them die. Romero's films have always had acting that was all over the map in terms of solid performances and over the top screen chewing (no pun intended), but here all four actors (Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, David Emge, and Scott Reiniger) are wonderful. Savini's makeup effects and zombie makeup haven't aged all that well (Day of the Dead would be his crowning achievement in makeup and gore effects), but they still pack a punch when all the gut-munching commences towards the film's climax. And oh yeah, how could I forget that iconic music score by Goblin?

So yeah, Dawn of the Dead has a special place in my heart, and not just because it's my favorite zombie movie to watch this time of year either. It's my favorite horror film of all time, and one of my all time favorite films of any genre ever. I can watch this any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year. I never get tired of seeing it, and I never fucking will either.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Nick Durham in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

DOC REVIEW: Doc of the Dead (2014)

Doc of the Dead

The Definitive Zombie Culture Documentary

By Machete Von Kill

Doc of the Dead Poster

Writers: Chad Herschberger and Alexandre O. Philippe

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe

Cast: Bruce Campbell, George A. Romero, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman, Simon Pegg, Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, Sid Haig, Howard Sherman, Matt Mogk and more.

Genre: Documentary Runtime: 1 hr 20 min

Rating: NR Release Date: 2014

Zombies are everywhere these days. Television, movies, books, video games, toys and even pornography. You name it and there is a zombie take on it. No matter which way you turn, zombies ARE everywhere. You can't escape. But do you really want to?

Doc of the Dead presents the history of the zombie in film. From it's earliest inception in 1932's White Zombie and the Haitian Voodoo lore, to 1968's Night of the Living Dead and George A. Romero's rewriting of zombie lore, to the modern zombie in films like Shaun of the Dead, World War Z and the highly successful television series The Walking Dead, Philippe covers them all.

Philippe uses film clips, zombie themed music (seriously, the soundtrack alone makes my zombie lovin' soul happy), hilariously cheesy segment introduction scenes and an impressive interview list to give us the history of the flesh eating undead. He also sets out to explain why they have become such a huge part of popular culture and answer some of the biggest questions about the zombie apocalypse: What is a zombie? What causes people to turn into zombies? Slow zombies versus fast zombies, can one survive the zombie apocalypse, and would you even want to survive?

Doc of the Dead is a MUST for anyone who loves the zombie genre. By no means is this the be all, end all Zombie Documentary, but rather a smart, funny, entertaining primer on all things Zombie.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty rad!

Posted by Machete Von Kill in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments