Horror

CON REVIEW: Monster Mania 37

CON REVIEW: Monster Mania 37

Event: Monster Mania 37
Location: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Date: Saturday, August, 19, 2017

It’s 10:15 am, and I have arrived for what will become my fourth time to Monster Mania horror convention. The guest list was actually pretty decent this time around, and I always look forward to seeing my horror family and friends who attend regularly. As I pull in front of the hotel, I’m automatically routed through the parking lot, past what was a free parking lot of a closed on the weekend business plaza but is now a $15.00 pay to park ripoff. Well, that shit ain’t going to fly with me, so I ended up about three blocks away. My choice, but honestly, I think having to pay to park now is a pretty shitty deal. Onward to the CON!!
Aside from honestly wanting to see the faces of old friends, I had an agenda. You see, House of Tortured Souls – after much waiting and pulling of hair – finally has merchandise. T-SHIRTS!!! I had one on (looking awfully dapper, I must add), and the three that I brought with me were spoken for. Two were for the Soska sisters, Jen and Sylvia. How could I present a shirt to only one of them? The final shirt was slotted for ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. I was on a mission from God!
Monster Mania, I am here! The lobby held the usual handful of stragglers and lines already formed for certain celebrities. I made my way through the lobby to the ticket table to pay. Now I understand conventions and also understand a large percentage of the staff is comprised of volunteers. I could only hope the two not so pleasant ladies I encountered were volunteers and not representatives of the convention itself. No eye contact, no verbal greeting of any kind, didn’t even ask how many. As a matter of fact, I actually had to get their attention, not that they were busy, but they just didn’t care. It was as if I was placing a food order – although at least at a fast food joint, the employees would have acknowledged me. After I got my wrist band from Ms. Happy, off I went.
The layout is always the same, and in my opinion, is done quite nicely. Having to go from one end of the building and through the always crowded lobby to get to the main celebrity room can be a pain if you’re in a hurry – and especially so if the hallway leading to the celebrity rooms is packed with people waiting in lines that have been formed to keep the main room operable. So it works, no one to blame, it’s a busy place. And when it’s busy, and in the middle of August, it tends to get a bit warm and the air conditioners just can’t seem to handle the demand. Again, no one’s fault.
After getting my wrist band, I headed over to the main celebrity room to find where the lovely Soska sisters were. To my surprise, they hadn’t even shown up yet, and there were only about 10 people in line for them. So I became number 11. They didn’t show up for about 45 minutes, but I really didn’t mind because I waiting next to Ms. PJ Soles, who was already hard at it, working alone. An autograph and picture combination was only $20.00! I wish more were like that. She had a good, constant line going, and everyone – including her – seemed to be having a good time! For those of you who know me, I’ve always said that PJ Soles is the nicest lady you would ever want to meet.
At last the Soskas came out and were cheery and loving to everyone there! Of all the celebrities I have been fortunate enough to meet, I’ve got to say that the Soska sisters are by far the most energetic and appreciative of the people who come to see them. When it was my turn at bat, before I could even say hello, they were literally on the table giving me a hug. Everyone got a hug. I told them of the website and presented EACH of them (lol) with a t-shirt, sticker, and business card for House of Tortured Souls. Jen read off my phone number to me and said, “Halloween will be here and I will be pretty busy, as you can imagine, but don’t be surprised if I do call”. She gave me her email address and told me to reach out to her for the interview I had mentioned earlier. The two of them offered to do a video promo with the shirts I gave them, hugged me again, and I was gone. It was a pleasure and honor to have had the opportunity to meet them. So that’s one – or two! – down.
I made my way back through the now heavily crowded ticket area and lobby to get to one of other celebrity rooms on my way to meet Scott Ian!! I have been a big fan of Anthrax since….8th grade? I’ve seen them numerous times in concert but have never actually met any of them, so this was a really big deal to me – especially since Scott is a horror fan himself. I walked straight through the room and right up to his table where, to my surprise, there is not one person there to see him. I smiled, introduced myself, and explained the website and how he was part of my mission. I inquired about trying to set up an interview, and without even looking at me, he said simply, “Contact my label”. Nevertheless, I presented him with his shirt, also with card and sticker, and he quickly handed it to the person that was with him and it was out of sight. I had to think quickly as his attention wasn’t on me and he didn’t seem to even want to be there. I asked if I could grab a picture of him just holding up the t-shirt. Sadly, he gave me this look and said simply, “Yeah, I really don’t like to do that”. Before I could feel like any more of a loser (since I now felt completely destroyed), I shook his hand and thanked him for his time, turned, and casually walked away. Maybe he had a bad morning, maybe there was no hot water in his shower, or maybe his breakfast was cold. Who knows? There could have been a million different things that might have been wrong with Mr. Ian that morning. After talking to others about him later, they all said how much fun he was the night before. Well, he is a rock star, and they usually don’t do mornings. What was I thinking? What I was thinking was that he was there for his fans, and despite what issues may or may not have been, he was supposed to be there for his fans. I am still a fan, but I do wish things had been different. He was just very unreceptive. Oh well…
I then made my way through the now pretty damn crowded venue and skimmed through all the vendors. Sooooo many vendors… I truly wish I had a lot more money to spend on because I wanted it all – from t-shirts to action figures to DVDs and custom, handmade crafts! And yes, although you will find a lot of the same items at some vendor tables, there are still many unique items that you just don’t find anywhere other than at cons.
I especially loved these awesome shadowboxes from Curious Goods.Halloween and Trick 'r Treat shadowboxes
I did have the pleasure of running into a good handful of friends, and it was, as always, great to geek out with all of them. Then, I looked past them to see a dark figure in the distance, a man with a certain presence about him. It was the one and only Father Evil. Father is a good friend of mine personally and I always look forward to seeing him at the show. It’s a thrill to see just how far he has come and to know how far he’s headed! Lou, to you and Sarah, all our love and support!
Now, from the moment I stepped foot in the lobby, there was something not right…something was amiss. It actually took me a while to put my finger on it, but I suddenly realized what it was. There was next to no cosplay. There were, of course, fans dressed as their favorite horror characters, but there was really no cosplay to be found. This was something that always welcomed me to the con as clowns would at the entrance to the circus big top. And that’s what had been missing all day – the circus! If you’ve ever attended a con, you know that attendees take tons and TONS of pictures with those cosplaying. It really kind of warms you up and gets you in the festive spirit of the convention. Through trusting friends, I found out later that day that the promoters of the Monster Mania wanted all cosplay people to pay even if they were just hanging out in the lobby. Many cosplay people attended and staked out in the lobby, just to add to the party, free entertainment if you will. Were they causing issues? Not that I could tell. Now, for whatever reason is was – be it money alone or what, I really don’t know, sadly many have since sworn off returning. This was not just a shame; it was a damn shame. It really seemed to have taken away from the spirit of what I knew to be Monster Mania.
As 2:00 pm neared, I had done just about all there was to do. I hadn’t planned on staying late, or even till dark, but to be ready to go at 2:00 pm was just wrong. Something was seriously amiss. I made one last round through the building to say my goodbyes. I stopped and thanked the Soskas again and, while doing so, got to shake hands with Sid Haigas he was passing through. So there’s that.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have a bad time at Monster Mania, and I’m not bashing it. I’ve seen tons of pictures from others who were there, and they all had a good time. I love horror conventions, and yes, I’m a big boy and understand that things are what you make of them. But there was a different feeling this time around. Here’s hoping next year it’s back to abnormal.Trick 'r Treat shadowbox
Keep It Evil.
Posted by John Roisland in Categories, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: IT (2017) (1 of…???)

MOVIE REVIEW: IT (2017) (1 of…???)

When we are kids, we watch movies, read books, and hear stories that we carry with us throughout our lives. IT, the super long novel by Stephen King, is one that King’s Constant Readers, as well as most horror fans, have carried with us through our youth. The original adaptation, released in 1990, as a miniseries, started with the youth of Derry, Maine, and ended with the adults when Pennywise returned 27 years later. Of course, the time the film was made plays a large factor in how it was portrayed. So we have to look at it that way in regards to content and exactly what boundaries could be pushed and what couldn’t. Since it was a TV miniseries and the rules were different then, IT really was a different adaptation altogether.
Looking back on the original, I have always felt it to be rather boring and a little too much on the cheesy side. This opinion does not reflect on the actors themselves, but on the direction and the script. I do not speak for everyone, but for me, the story could have been told in a way that wasn’t so much like an after school special about talking to strangers and more like an actual horror film. In other words, the miniseries was like a Goosebumps version compared to what we are allowed to see now in films. IT was very kid friendly so to speak, and for the time it was made, it was definitely on the verge of causing concern for the people of the world. Tim Curry is a great actor and did very well putting that scare into the youth of the early 90s. As horror fans, we need to go into this re-envisioning of the story with fresh eyes and a fresh mind – regardless of who you are. Try to avoid comparing and contrasting both films. And now, on to how this new movie, which was not only a better portrayal but also much scarier.
When I walk into the theater, I was actually amazed that we had fancy seating, all recliner like and cozy. That was a bit weird to me as I’m used to the poor people theaters with sticky floors and immensely uncomfortable seating. Big kudos to United Artists theater in Fishers, Indiana for being awesome in that regard.
I am pretty sure there were 20 minutes of previews, and a couple of them looked really good. Saw 8, though, that horse has been beaten to death. Give it up already. Mother is, I’m pretty sure, a spin-off of Rosemary’s Baby. I can’t for the life of me remember the two that actually looked really good though. I’ll figure it out later. Ha!
Spoiler warning skull_smallRight from the start, the movie gets you all hyped up because it’s set in 1988-89 which, for many of the movie-going public, is when we were young and have some of our earliest memories of life. Those that are into that whole holding on to nostalgia, this is perfect for that. The soundtrack alone was fantastic, and the fashion, lingo, and settings definitely invoke the late 80s. The movie starts with Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) and Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) in a bedroom making a paper boat with Georgie super excited to get it going. Bill instructs Georgie to get some wax to waterproof the paper boat and allow it to float. The foreshadowing comes immediately upon Georgie entering the basement, scared but carrying a 1980s-era walkie talkie that squealed and made a lot of noise to communicate with Billy on the whereabouts of the wax. Yes, that’s important to the film.
Not five minutes later, Georgie is running down the street chasing the paper boat in the rain, but the boat is at the mercy of the water and quickly falls into the a sewer drain. Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgård) appears in the drain with his famously evil grin and gains the attention of Georgie, who doesn’t really find it odd that a clown is just hangin’ ‘round in the sewer. There was some struggle, some blood, and a lot of screaming. I’ll just say this: those who haven’t seen the original or read the book, that’s all you need to know; however, those who have seen or read the original know just how fast IT jumps the gun and gets bloody fast.
Flash forward to 1989, almost a year after Georgie goes missing, and the kids are all leaving school. Each one is focused on for character development, a really cool and quick way for the movie to get past all the rhetoric and get to the action on what is to come. The bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), and his crew terrorize all of the “Losers Club” and just sets a tone that you may believe he is working with Pennywise to abduct kids so that he is safe from harm. There wasn’t a lot of storytelling in this film it was really straight on, get down to business. Pennywise shows up to each kid that was focused on in Derry, and presenting fears to them that could cause them to panic and freeze, enabling Pennywise to snatch them up. What he didn’t realize is that they’re stronger than that. As the stories cross together, the Losers Club all hang out and become closer enjoying some of their summer. It is finally opened up that these things are happening. Each kid giving a brief story of what they saw. Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff) sees a creepy painting that frightens him, and the woman in it comes to life. Michael Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), who is home schooled, sees Pennywise hanging in a meat locker. Beverly Marsh has the infamous drain incident where blood comes shooting out like – not unlike Johnny Depp’s death scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Eddie Kaspbrak, my favorite character, sees a leper, and Billy, of course, sees Georgie. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) also has an encounter. Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) is the only one who (I think) had not seen Pennywise beforehand. Richie makes it a point to mention this as well. Is he funny and smart sassy? Very much so and way much more so than the Seth Green was in his portrayal. Richie really sets the comedic tone for the movie always cracking jokes about sex, penis size, and just generally making fun of everyone. I can relate to this guy pretty well. For example, when Ben gets cut up and beaten, Richie says something about him bleeding Hamburger Helper. HA! So this kept the lightheartedness pretty well throughout the movie even though there were dire things happening all around them.
After a few dozen jump scares and plot development, the kids come together and discover that the key to finding him is in the Well House, which we see is an abandoned and almost certainly condemned house that probably shouldn’t be standing. Eddie, Billy, and Richie man up and go inside to look around. With some fear tactics and an encounter with Pennywise, Bev comes in and stabs the clown in the head giving some wiggle room for the boys to get out of the there. I know I’m vaguely telling what’s up. But y’all don’t need too much info because this is where IT really takes off.
So, with all of that said, the movie from beginning to end was fantastic – and we actually see who and what floats and where “down here” is (which always bugged me about the miniseries). Finally, the Losers Club comes together and decides that if IT comes back, then they will return and fight it again, leaving room for a sequel of course. However, I don’t feel like it needs one. Still, ending like with a “just in case” situation was good after everything played out as it did and they got free. The ending was pretty solid and could be left standing as is. To me, this movie works a standalone film on its own accord. Not only was the direction solid, the script excellent, and the acting on point, but it was seriously a great scary movie. The way I see it is that the original was something thrown together because someone had an idea, and at the time was a good one. This film, though, had a lot of thought and time put in into it, which gave it a better quality story and made it much scarier, creating a fearfest that I believe ANY horror fan can appreciate.
Check out what some other attendees thought of IT in my video below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As many staff members are attending IT, there will be more reviews to come. Please stand by.
-Woofer McWooferson, Editor-in-Chief
Posted by Schock in MOVIE REVIEWS, 1 comment
EDITORIAL: In Defense of: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

EDITORIAL: In Defense of: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Hello, horror fiends. In my new series “In Defense Of…”, I look at movies often loathed, you know, those fugly, redheaded, stepchildren in the genre. But are they really worth the hate? After all, a lot of now classic horror films were once looked down upon by other like-minded genre fans. Day of the Dead (1985) is a prime example. So all I ask is your time and open mind because you never know, you might just see a movie in a totally new light.
Oscar nominated director Joe Berlinger seemed like an interesting choice when it was announced he would helm the sequel to the mega hit The Blair Witch Project. Berlinger is known for award winning documentaries such as Brother’s Keeper and the hugely successful Paradise Lost trilogy. He is currently directing a project about Ted Bundy (Zac Efron is slated to play Bundy).

Opening Statement or Sequels Don’t Always Suck

For my first film, I want to look at the ill-fated sequel to the smash hit The Blair Witch Project (1999). Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was looked at by many fans as a quickly slapped together film to keep the Blair Witch money train chugging along. But it’s really not the cinematic turd we unfairly dismiss it as. I’m going to use the term ballsy a lot because that is exactly what the Joe Berlinger was when attempting to tackle the sequel to the huge runaway hit the first Blair Witch was. He could have taken the easy route and simply sent another batch of kids in the woods screaming and looking into the camera and sobbing etc., but he didn’t. Instead, he chose to take the template of the first film and do what a good sequel should do, which is expand the mythos and take the series in a different direction.

Studio Interference

When defending Blair Witch 2, you have to have some context. The director’s vision of Blair Witch 2 is totally different than what we see in the final product all thanks to studio interference. For example, key scenes were re-arranged along with additional violent scenes, etc. It was further confused by adding Book of Shadows to the title when, in fact, there is no book in the movie. That, my friends, was – you guessed it – the studio suits’ bright idea and not the director’s. On a side note, I’ve heard of fans making their own “director’s cut” versions using details from the shooting script and listening to the commentary. (SERIOUSLY, the commentary is amazing. You must listen to it. ), and (surprise, surprise) it’s much better. Sadly, the odds of seeing an official director’s cut is slim because Artisan (now Lions Gate) doesn’t really do a lot to cater to fans. Even The Blair Witch Project (1999), a film that put them on the map, didn’t get a tenth-anniversary release because I guess they figured why bother.

What Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Got Right

After viewing last year’s stinkfest which was Blair Witch, it only reinforced the idea that Blair Witch 2, for all its flaws, at least attempted to explore interesting themes and ideas. Not only does it all but ditch the whole found footage concept, which is pretty ballsy in and of itself, it is a clever take on Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. Each character in Book of Shadows represents an aspect of the film. Jeff is the opportunist cashing in on the film; Kim is the goth girl who was drawn into the film’s dark themes and subject matter; Tristine and her husband are the brainy skeptics; and Erica is the Wiccan who found the film to be offensive to the witch community. Again this is so much more interesting than simply another batch of kids going off into the woods… God, I hate Blair Witch (2016).
In short, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is much more lofty than the remake/rehash we got last year. With the filmmaker’s background in documentary film, he explores blurring the lines between fiction and reality and the very real danger in doing so. Also, the cliché imagery throughout is purposefully placed because the young people are so steeped in media that it’s the only way they relate to things once shit gets weird. The fact that The Blair Witch Project exists (in the sequel’s context) as a work of fiction rather than a part of its own universe is another incredibly ballsy move and helps to further echo its core theme while also giving an interesting slice of meta. Its cast is solid and the pacing moves at nearly breakneck speed. It also has a pretty good soundtrack which is now nostalgic for people of my generation.

Closing Statement or Before You Pass Judgment

I’m the first person to admit Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is flawed largely due to studio tampering, but it doesn’t deserve the 4.0 rating on IMDb! It attempted to give the audience something a little more challenging than simply a run of the mill cash grab remake (which, AGAIN, Blair Witch (2016) totally was) by introducing interesting themes and concepts. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my respect for this film, and it seems other fans are coming out of the woods and proudly reclaiming Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. I still hold out hope that Lions Gate will release a director’s cut to allow fans to see the film as the filmmaker intended.
Michael Vaughn is a published genre writer and has appeared in Fangoria, Scream (UK) in print as well as sites like FilmsinReview.com. He also owns the blog “Gorehound Mike’s Weird Cinema”. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema, which compiles over 300 reviews spanning films from all over the globe and covering multiple genres.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in Categories, EDITORIALS, 0 comments
In Remembrance:  Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper didn’t just change the face of horror, I credit (or blame, depending on who you talk to) him with changing the direction of my life. I don’t say that lightly. Not many movies or directors have impacted me as much as his films.
I grew up during the video rental craze of the 80s. I also grew up in a house where horror wasn’t a popular genre. So anytime we went to the local video rental place, I would always browse the horror section looking at all the boxes of all the movies that I would rent if only my mom would let me.
Not too many of those boxes stood out or left a lasting impression on me. Except two. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first of those two. It was like the Holy Grail of horror movies in my opinion. Even when my parents started letting me rent scary movies, they always told me “No” when it came to that one. I still remember the first time I got the okay to rent The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was a defining moment in my young, impressionable life. It also changed my life forever.
Up until that point I had not seen a lot of horror, and a lot of what I had seen was pretty straightforward stuff. Universal classics, 70s Hammer horror, and Roger Corman cheapies. I had no idea what I was getting into when I popped in the video tape after everyone else in the house had gone to bed.
This was the first movie that caught me by surprise. It blew me away. I had never seen anything like that before. The brutality and the stark tone set it apart from anything I had ever seen before. I remember rewinding and re-watching scenes over and over. For a movie with very little blood, it came across as one of the most gut-wrenching watches I had seen up until then.
That was the moment I knew that I wasn’t going to just be a fan of horror. I was going to be one of those “horror people”.
After that, I knew I had to seek out the other works of Mr. Hooper. I watched every single one I could find. Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot both left lasting impressions on me. The Fun House and Lifeforce were enjoyable and interesting. But nothing seemed to grab my attention with the same force as the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
It’s a fair bet that no movie will ever have the same impact on me as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And as much as I wanted to discuss how much I loved Poltergeist and The Apartment Complex, I really don’t think anything I could say will compare to how I feel about that one film.
Although I never met the man, I feel as though his contribution to entertainment helped shape who I am. His legend and legacy will live on in all of the filmmakers that continue to be inspired by his work.
Posted by Richard Francis in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Rick Styczynski of 13x Studios

INTERVIEW: Rick Styczynski of 13x Studios

Rick Styczynski of 13X Studios Talks Camp Blood Celebration 10/13/17

“His name was Jason. And today is his birthday.”
-Pamela Voorhees
Jason Voorhees has been a household name since the 1980s. From the moment he emerged from the lake and made Camp Crystal Lake his home, he has terrified us, and endeared himself into the hearts of every horror fan on the planet. We all know his signature hockey mask and weapon of choice: the machete. No matter your favorite film of the franchise, whether you prefer “walking Jason” or “running Jason”, Jason on land, Jason in space, or Jason in New York City, it is guaranteed that this slasher will live on as a legend.
One of the greatest parts of his fandom is the unique, one of a kind art created by the people who know and love Jason best. Rick Styczynski is no exception. His company, 13X Studios, creates specialty one of a kind hockey masks celebrating our favorite force of nature. Whether the theme is sports, horror, music, and yes even serial killers, Rick can create just about any mask that you can think of. The sky is the limit.
For most of us Jason fanatics, Friday the 13th is just as a big a holiday as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Rick feels the same way. And with the help of Gods and Monsters, a fantastic shop filled with collectibles/comics/toys and even a bar, we will all be celebrating Friday the 13th Camp Blood Celebration in Orlando Florida! The event will have it all! Fan films, cosplay, trivia and celebrities. It will not only be a place to wish Jason a “Happy Birthday”, but proceeds from the event will benefit both 13 Hearts and Give Kids The World charities.
13X Studios has teamed up with Matt Allen and me, owners of Freakshow Designs and Sideshow Sauces, to create a brand new hot sauce that will be making its debut at Camp Blood this October! We’re calling it Hodder Than Hell. The greatest news is that Kane Hodder himself has personally given his permission to use his name on this heavenly concoction of scorpion pepper and pineapple. We are extremely thrilled and grateful to Kane for his support on the newest addition to our hot sauce collection.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Rick to find out about all of the incredible things that made his business flourish, and what we can all expect from the Friday the 13th event!
House of Tortured Souls: It’s very obvious you’re a “Jason Guy”. Tell us how that fandom began and how it influenced you to start 13X Studios.
Rick Styczynski: After Halloween this past season, I put a few pictures of me cosplaying Jason on Instagram and someone contacted me about buying an outfit and guess a lightbulb went off…..13X Studios was born. I started messing around with masks and just went with it. It started with Jason and Friday the 13th but that also lead me into Pop Culture Custom hockey masks. In 10 months as a new business, I have sold over 1000 masks, sold out at 3 conventions, and have my masks in retail stores Gods & Monsters in Orlando, Florida, and Halloween Megastore across the US. The coolest thing that has happened is that my Silent Bob mask was noticed by Kevin Smith, and I got an exclusive deal at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. This is only the beginning of 13X Studios.
HoTS: What is your hottest seller?
RS: My biggest sellers are all the Jason and Friday the 13th masks. Because of the affordable price and great quality/detail, they hands down sell the most. Outside of the Jason world, My best sellers of pop culture are: Joker, Deadpool, Freddy, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Punisher. I love making new styles as it changes everything up for me as a artist. One day I’ll do Jason. Next day I’ll do pop culture.
HoTS: Everyone is looking forward to the Camp Blood Celebration at Gods & Monsters. What can the attendees expect from the event?
RS: One day I went to visit Todd at Gods & Monsters and told him I wanted to do a Friday the 13th event. It took a pitch of 8 seconds for him to be part of it. I wanted to bring a celebration to the event where all of us horror fans can come together. I really have been just going with the flow and have been adding fun stuff daily. We will be having artists/vendors, contests, cosplay meet up, movie screenings, Friday the 13th themed bar and menu… Again, I’m just going with it. The buzz on this event is huge!! We just added Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead for pictures and autographs. You don’t want to miss this event. For more info just search: Friday the 13th Camp Blood Celebration on Facebook.
HoTS: You’ve recently partnered up with Matt Allen at Sideshow Sauces for your name to be on a Jason themed label. How were you inspired to reach out and how did you feel after hearing that Kane Hodderr himself gave his personal thumbs up to distribute the sauce using his name Hodder Than Hell?
RS: Back at Spooky Empire in April, I was across from Matt with Freakshow Designs. I know he has a sister company with Sideshow sauces. As my mind is always creating ideas, I came up with a cool hot sauce idea with Jason and 13X Studios on a label. I brought the idea to him and he said that Kane Hodder could be involved. So from there it just took off to bring you Hodder Than Hell sauce. Having your name and Kane Hodder’s name on the same product is so cool. Kane Hodder is the biggest name in horror. He changed the game. And seeing how he is with fans is why you love this guy even more. I have known Kane for almost 16 years. As I said above, he changed the game. And very happy to be involved with Matt and Angie from Freakshow Designs. This is just the beginning. I’m sure we will come together many more times in future.
HoTS: What are your plans, future state, for 13X Studios?
RS: As I grow my business, I will start looking for more things to add. We just started a podcast called Spitting Blood. Our second episode already got 11,000 views, so I’m on the right track. Next episode will be Sept 6 at 9pm. Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead will be a guest. We do a Facebook Live Podcast (you can add me Rick Styczynski). For my masks, my goal is to get into many more retail stores. What’s cool is that most think this is more of a Halloween business. Actually it’s a year round business with all the conventions. I wake up every day and smile knowing that this is my job now. I have no idea where this will bring me in life, But I will give my all no matter what. You can check my online store at www.13xstudios.com and my Etsy store.
13x Studios - Hodder Than Hell / Photo: Sideshow SaucesKane’s Hodder Than Hell sauce, as well as many other handcrafted flavors can be found on Sideshowsauces.com. And as always, skull lamps, baby groots and other fun items can be found on our site Skulllamps.com. As Rick stated above, you can find his masks on www.13xstudios.com, and be sure to find him on Facebook and enjoy the Spitting Blood podcast! Stay tuned for my coverage of Friday the 13th Camp Blood: The Aftermath. For now, stay freaky! Much love from your Lamp Lady and I’ll see you soon!
Posted by Angie Calabrese in CONVENTIONS AND EVENTS, FEATURED ARTIST, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Piece of My Mind: Is There Room for Fun Horror Anymore?

Piece of My Mind: Is There Room for Fun Horror Anymore?

Is There Room for Fun Horror Anymore?

Brain Damage poster / Fair use doctrine.Frank Henenlotter’s seminal 80s horror film Brain Damage made its Blu-ray debut this past spring, it further remained me of those bygone days when horror films were fun and not bleak and frankly depressing. Sure, I’m glad that the genre is maturing, and films like Baskin are, in part, brilliant for their stark brutal and sobering aspects. But along the way have we lost the fun in these films?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 poster / Fair use doctrine.Why does everyone love the 80s? If you ask any fan why they recall so fondly the horror of the 80s they`ll most likely say because they had a fun, even wackiness, to them. They were horrific without being mean spirited. Just imagine Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 without the over the top humor and gore mixed with biting satire? And when you stack Chopping MallChopping Mall poster / Fair use doctrine. up with say Martyrs, I know which one I`d like to visit again and again. Even when filmmakers dealt with heavy subjects, they kept things enjoyable. House poster / Fair use doctrine.A prime example is House the movie. House tackled the subject of Vietnam and PTSD but added an almost cartoon like element which balanced it and kept it enjoyable to watch. It didn’t lessen the impact of the central themes, i.e. war and its effects on the participants; it just made it entertaining.

The Cabin in the Woods and the Return of Fun Horror?

The Cabin in the Woods poster / Fair use doctrine.Thankfully, I see a return to horror with a spark of light heartiness. The Cabin in the Woods was a breath of fresh air, because not only was it a smart sardonic take on the genre it also let itself have that 80s snarkiness. Another great example is the 2015 heavy metal horror gem Deathgasm poster / Fair use doctrine.Deathgasm. With its Sam Raimi-esque style, it straddles the line between horror and way out gags (some gross out, of course), and it makes me misty-eyed for those bygone days. Even the wonderful surprise hit Get Out deals out equal thought-provoking satire and topical issues with humor, giving the film a great balance and a better rewatchable trait.
In closing, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for horror that takes itself seriously because it’s a genre that all too often gets scoffed by alleged serious film buffs, but when it’s so grueling I feel like I want to slit my wrists, maybe it’s time to lighten up a bit. Thankfully, though, I see a return to less brutal (subject wise) films and more of what I loved from the 80s and early 90s, which is horror that was gory, goopy, and sometimes neon-tinted but not really mean-spirited. But that’s just a Piece of My Mind.
Michael Vaughn is a published genre writer and has appeared in Fangoria, Scream (UK) in print as well as sites like Films in Review.com. He also owns the blog Gorehound Mike’s Weird Cinema. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema which compiles over 300 reviews spanning films from all over the globe and covering multiple genres.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in Categories, EDITORIALS, 0 comments
URBAN LEGENDS: Slender Man

URBAN LEGENDS: Slender Man

slinderman-playground / Fair use doctrine.No matter how many stories you have heard or photos you have seen, Slender Man is a fictional character. Mind you, he is a very popular monster, but he crept out of the mind of Eric Knudsen aka Victor Surge as recently as 2009. The black and white photos you have seen are edited. Very good Photoshopped pictures.
Slender Man is, of course, an amazing creature and a gripping, frightful man. I love the enthusiasm people have when they tell their Slender Man experiences! He was such a brilliant creation! He lurks; therefore. I love him!
As the name suggests, Slender Man is extremely tall and very slim. He has a blank face, wears a black suit, and sometimes even has tentacles coming out his back. Sometimes he is portrayed as having unusually long fingers that he can uncoil and use like tentacles. Slender Man kidnaps and traumatizes people – usually children. He appears in one of two ways. He may creep up, or he may suddenly appear in the distance. Slender Man, of course, is mute, seeing as to how he usually has no mouth. Neither does he have a nose or eyes for that matter. He has a completely blank face; nothing there but skin.
He is popular enough to have his own video games: Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival. Slender Man pops up in Minecraft as well.
There are some pretty good Slender Man sightings on YouTube, some not so good. Here is my favorite.

There are even some pretty creepy costumes of him! (I am an affiliate for halloweencostumes) Check out the Slender Man costumes here.
~~ Keep on creeping 😉
Posted by Tammie Parker in Historic Horror, HORROR HEROES, URBAN LEGENDS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Sharkenstein (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Sharkenstein (2016)

Holy crap. You have GOT to see this movie.
Sharkenstein is not your average bad shark movie. This one takes bad shark movies to a whole new level. It’s one of those movies that makes you wonder exactly what the hell the creators were going for. Did they know how bad it was going to be? Was the goal to make a hilariously awful film? How long did they film before they decided to chuck it all in the bin and go for broke with a bat shit level of insanity?
This is not a quality bad shark film like the Sharknado films. It’s not even a Sharktopus. This movie makes the special effects in those films look like Avatar. I’m not sure if the shark in this film is a puppet, claymation, or a combination of both. Whatever it is, it’s hilarious. Seriously, the animated sharks in Shark Tale were more convincing and terrifying.
The story is equally awful and ridiculous. It all has to do with three “kids” on vacation (Greta Volkova, James Carolus, and Titus Himmelberger). They’re referred to as kids in the film, but I’m pretty sure the one dude is pushing 40. Also, there’re Nazis, a mad doctor (Jeff Kirkendall), and the brain and heart of Frankenstein’s monster.
I’m not really sure how it all ties together because I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t hear the movie. Does it even matter? At one point the brain and heart of Frankenstein’s monster are put into the shark to make it immortal.
Now, I’m no expert on transplanting human hearts and brains into sea creatures, but I’m pretty sure it’s a bit more in depth than the three and a half minutes they put into it.
The story and battle culminates on land (yes, you read that correctly) at a lighthouse filled with a shit ton of explosives that mysteriously look exactly like road flares. There’s also an angry mob, a hunky but none-too-bright harbor worker (Ken Van Sant), and something about a retired porn star who thankfully remains clothed.
The last part of the film is akin to some sort of fever dream I once had when I was all hopped up on prescription cough syrup and had a fever of 105°.
I cannot recommend this film enough. It’s not great. It’s not even good. It’s awful, but it’s exactly the kind of awful that makes it endlessly entertaining.
Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Richard Francis in MOVIE REVIEWS, 1 comment
MUSIC REVIEW: Doyle – Doyle II: As We Die (2017)

MUSIC REVIEW: Doyle – Doyle II: As We Die (2017)

Doyle — Doyle II: As We Die

Released: 2 July 2017
Label: Monsterman Record
  • 1. Kiss Me As We Die
  • 2. Beast Like Me
  • 3. God of Flies
  • 4. Run For Your Life
  • 5. Darkside
  • 6. Witchcraft
  • 7. King of the Undead
  • 8. Virgin Sacrifice
  • 9. We Belong Dead
  • 10. Show No Mercy
  • 11. Dark Gods Arise
  • 12. Blood on the Axe
  • 13. Night of Sin
Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Doyle album, Abominator (released on Monsterman Records July 30th, 2013). Though the combination of Alex Story and Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein was, to many in the horror community, the union of two mega talents, it felt flat and forced to me. With as much respect as I have for Doyle’s musical body of work, nothing about the first album connected with me. Alex Story was a musician that I, shamefully, wasn’t ever able to fully appreciate either. His live performances with Cancerslug seemed to be his strong point and without ever seeing one in person I had to base my opinion off the select pieces of his extensive musical catalog to gather some type of opinion. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the first album, I joined the numbers of people that preordered the group’s second release Doyle II: As We Die, and I am ecstatic I did so.
Right from the opening number, “Kiss Me As We Die”, this album felt different. The band felt full and less compressed. Doyle’s guitar was prominent and heavy and led the charge while Alex Story delivered a powerful vocal performance. Accompanied by Alissa White-Gluz and Michael Amott, both of Arch Enemy, the opening track left me feeling ashamed for not realizing the genius and talent of this group of musicians sooner. The addition of They Live bassist Brandon Strate and Black Flag/ Ho99o9 drummer Brandon Pertzborn helped fill out the overall sound of the band and the working relationship between the four artists is immediately palpable. The album continues on with “Beast Like Me” and “God of Flies”. Both tracks attack the listener with a blasting, relentless, and unique style of metal that is convincing only in the hands of these musicians. Listening to Alex Story croon about offering sacrifices to the god of the flies and violence rooted deep in the horror genre over Doyle’s wailing guitar riffs gives the listener chills and could make any corpse head-bang along.
I’ve never been much of a metal-head and the genre, though never appalling was never entirely appealing to me, but three tracks into As We Die and I found myself wholly enveloped in the music these four had crafted. Without a misstep, the bands most notable track from the album, and first single, “Run For Your Life”, kicks off. This track satisfies the horror junkie in me, and it simultaneously adds a new flavor to what is already an incredible disc. Starting off on a stomp along riff reminiscent of “Gorgeous Frankenstein” (“Gorgeous Frankenstein”) or “The Abominable Doctor Phibes” (The Misfits) the song quickly releases one of the catchiest hooks on the album with Story screaming “run for your life, fight to survive, your only hope is to die!”. The frantic energy continues into Darkside before segueing into my favorite track of the thirteen offered, Witchcraft. This song encapsulated everything I had always hoped to hear from an Alex Story vocal performance. The chugging walk along guitar and bass lays the perfect platform for Story to croon over. “Witchcraft” stands as a song that could’ve fit into the catalog of nearly any group Doyle’s been a part of (or any era of said bands).
King of the Undead”, though not a favorite of mine, helped re-solidify the band’s horror roots with dark lyrics delivered with an aggressive growl over howling guitars. The album’s eighth song, “Virgin Sacrifice”, is another high point feature a vocal performance from Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God. The song benefits greatly from the vocal coupling of Story and Blythe with a chorus as reminiscent of” Valley of Shadows” (Abominator). The album continues on delivering quality metal tunes one after another with “We Belong Dead”, “Show No Mercy” and “Dark Gods Arise”. Again, for someone not really involved in the metal scene, I was surprised to find myself enjoying the album as much as I was. At no point did it feel like the band slipped up, and any track could’ve been a lead single with the same force as “Run For Your Life”. Doyle was able to flourish after crafting himself a rock solid back bone with Pertzborn and Strate.
The album nears closure with another strong entry in :Blood On The Axe”. The song hits like a blow to the chest as Story channels an ax murderer piling up bodies. The album’s final track, “Night of Sin” starts off with more of Doyle’s signature stomping guitar style and ghastly howls before tearing into a fast paced verses leading into a huge release in the chorus and in total being a satisfying album closer. Listening to Story scream “one night of sin” before the band pounds out their final notes that fade away felt like watching the closing credits to an epic film. After listening to As We Die I have jumped on board the bandwagon and decided that both Doyle and Alex Story have earned their rights to be hailed as forerunners in both the metal and horror genres. I can only hope that Pertzborn and Strate stick around for the third album. Throughout the first album I felt the connection to the horror side of the music was thinner and more of an vague undertone whereas the theme is shoved to the surface in As We Die without being so bold as to scare away the metal masses. Listening through the record gave me a new respect for the music these artists have made together and individually. If you haven’t heard the album yet head over to Monsterman Records and order yourself a copy!
Doyle II: As We Die / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Dom Calzola in Categories, MUSIC REVIEWS, 0 comments
RETRO REVIEW (MOVIE): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 3

RETRO REVIEW (MOVIE): 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 Categories, RETRO REVIEWS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: Haruo Nakajima

TRIBUTE: Haruo Nakajima

1954 gave us a lot of things. First RCA color television. First TV dinner sold by Swanson. The beginning construction of Disneyland. But, most importantly, 1954 gave us Godzilla (Gojira). And the man behind that classic monster was legendary stunt actor Haruo Nakajima.
Haruo Nakajima and Godzilla's Hollywood StarHaruo Nakajima donned the green suit for a dozen films from 1954 to 1972. In interviews with The Times, Mr. Nakajima said he studied many animals at the zoo and their walks to perfect his Godzilla manner. His original suit was over 200 pounds and he was quoted saying that “At the end of a day’s shooting he could wring enough perspiration from his undershirt to fill half a bucket.”
Who was Haruo Nakajima? He was born in Yamagata, Japan, on January 1, 1929. As a black belt in martial arts, be began his acting career started as a stuntman. At 23, Haruo had his first credited role in Sword for Hire, a 1952 samurai movie. Then, the moment came that changed his life. He stepped into the big green suit and made history. His last role as Godzilla was in 1972’s film Godzilla vs Gigan.
But, Mr. Nakajima was a not a one trick kaiju. In 1967’s King Kong Escapes, he traded the green scales for brown fur and portrayed the iconic King Kong. Other lesser known monster credits he can be seen depicting are The War of the Gargantuans, Latitude Zero, and Matango*. There are many more uncredited roles he had under his belt before retiring.
I had the honor and privilege of not only meeting this legend, but, having breakfast with him and other famous wearers of the green suit. It was FandomFest 2016 in Louisville, KY, and I was doing my normal volunteer duties. I came in early that Saturday to see if I could help and boy it paid off. The convention photographer was on his way to take pictures of the Godzilla breakfast (a special moment that some had paid to enjoy) and they asked if I wanted to join him. Of course, I said yes. And it was amazing. I spoke with everyone via a translator. Told them I had brought my #1 issue of Godzilla to be signed. And they invited me to their tables after my shift for pictures and autograph…for free. I was floored.
Haruo Nakajima and HoTS' own ZombieGurl at breakfastI went back and finished out my day counting each minute. As soon as I was released, I went to visit them. I got pictures and talked with everyone but saved Haruo Nakajima for last. He was all smiles and a mere two inches taller than me. I couldn’t believe it. I am a huge Godzilla nerd and I was hugging the original. He hugged and then bowed to me. He also signed my classic Marvel Godzilla #1 comic. It was an amazing day.
Haruo Nakajima and HoTS' own ZombieGurlHaruo Nakajima may be gone but his legend will live on forever. With each new installment of Godzilla, we will always think back to that first Gojira. The original kaiju. The true one. May you rest in peace and I hope you finally made it home to Monster Island.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: I saw Matango as a child and didn’t eat mushrooms for years! True story.
-Woofer McWooferson, Editor-in-Chief
Posted by ZombieGurl in OBITUARY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Dakota Bailey: A Retrospective Review of His Three Feature Films

Dakota Bailey: A Retrospective Review of His Three Feature Films

Dakota Bailey is a Colorado filmmaker who began with a simple goal: to create movies he himself would want to watch. Since 2015, Bailey has created some short films and has currently put the finishing touches on his third feature The Acid Sorcerer. This is a revisit of Bailey’s films My Master Satan and American Scumbags. It also features a preview review for The Acid Sorcerer.

MY MASTER SATAN:
3 TALES OF DRUG FUELED VIOLENCE
(2016)

My Master Satan - DVD coverThis film was shot between March 2015 and April 2016. It is an independent product of R.A. Productions and primarily its writer, director, producer, and actor is Dakota Bailey.
This is an anthology horror film that features three interconnected tales revolving around serial killer/druggie Alister (Dakota Bailey) and his equally demented serial killer friends, Woody, Charlie, Bubba, and Dealin’ Dick, which takes the viewer deep into a seedy underworld of crime, drugs, and murder.
In the first tale, Bubba (Matt Marshall) enlists Alister’s help to exhume the corpse of his deceased unfaithful wife who he murdered. Afterward, the two of them decide to take some LSD resulting in an acid trip where they briefly see Satan.
In the second tale, Alister and his twisted friend Charlie (Brian Knapp) go out for a night of deviance and committing crimes, such as home invasions and murder.
Finally, in the third and final tale, Alister and Bubba go on a quest for more LSD, meeting their serial killer friend Woody and committing violent acts along the way, and finally having the ultimate ritualistic acid trip that once again brings them face to face with Satan himself.
Firstly, a big thank you to Dakota Bailey for sharing this film with me upon release. I was honoured when I was asked to review it and honestly getting an email from “MY MASTER SATAN” was quite surprising to say the least (at 9am on a Sunday morning).
As already stated, they are stories laced with drugs, violence, and ultimately murder. Each character has his own evil dance with the devil and wrestles with good and bad within the film. We see these men decline into drug induced madness, we watch as people die to feed their addictions and new lust for death, and we recoil when we witness the acid trips that guide them to Satan.
The biggest Satan scene, shot in a style reminiscent of an Andy Warhol crazed moment, was a truly inspiring choice. It felt like a bizarre and very maniacal acid trip. The deaths themselves were well filmed and clearly considerate of a technique I love – “Less is Best”. We didn’t need to see each piece of the deaths graphically. A simple blood splatter, a pillow on a face, or even a well used camera angle was much more effective.
I noticed the sound quality was sketchy in parts (and I must point out I had been warned prior to viewing). This did hinder some parts, where I felt the dialogue really drove the scene and is one thing perhaps the filmmakers can work on. There were some magnificently shot scenes throughout. Whether it was a simple shot of the cemetery or the pick axe being dragged. A shadowy silhouette digging, and primarily the driving/outdoor scenes.
The aggressively enjoyable thrash metal that interjects in between scenes fits in well with the gritty and unseemly atmosphere throughout the themes of this 70 minute film. We feel the harsh reality of an insane life on drugs and the desperation for escape from the depressing wheel of life (in a low socio-economic area).
These three stories seemed so well connected and the small passages, injected within the scenes, was very well thought out. I liked the stop start motion that was used to introduce each character, giving us a moment to process who we’re meeting within their first scene. This helped with following the story and characters (due to the sound issues).
All in all a great effort by all involved.

AMERICAN SCUMBAGS (2016)

American Scumbags - DVD CoverThis review is about the latest offering from My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence creator Dakota Bailey for R.A. Productions. Yet again (like with My Master Satan), we are introduced to an interesting collective of characters, who each have their own story to tell within the intertwining plot.
This time our focus is on the stories of Johnny (Dakota Bailey) , Billy (Darien Fawkes), Chester (Fred Epstein) , Wheelin’ Deals (L.B.), Lucifer (Nick Benning), Angel (Bianca Valentino), The Ex (Katy Katzar), The Boyfriend (Bill Chafer), Teddy (V.B.), and Chester’s victim (Laura Ray).
This time around Dakota Bailey showcases some awesome punk songs from the Welsh Punk band Pizzatramp. Using their songs “Ciggy Butt Brain, Scumbag Boogie” and “Taxi Cunts Fuck Off”, Bailey uses them to help gel the scenes of American Scumbags together. I checked out a few more tidbits about Pizzatramp and will say their style, spirit, and attitude is indicative of the punk world and its legion of fans.
The stories within American Scumbags that jump out at the viewer are the dynamic drug dealings of Chester (a lowly dealer with axes to grind all over his patch), Johnny (an addict and Chester’s hired gun for drugs in payment), and Lucifer (a jovial prankster who is determined not to pay what he owes); the exploits of Billy (a violent man who is hell bent on punishing his ex), his ex, and her new boyfriend; and, lastly, the tale of homeless veteran Wheelin’ Deals and his strange interactions with pedophile Teddy.
The standout performance for me was Darien Fawkes as Billy. He was such a natural on screen that I despised and was repulsed by some of his aggression and actions. This is a great indication of Fawkes natural prowess on screen and an ability to be immersed in his character.
Bailey as Johnny omits his usual deep voiced, fearful rogue as he does what he must to satisfy his lust for Heroin. Chester was a fun character and you will either love or hate Epstein’s ability to switch from playful to ill-tempered with such ease. Lucifer had me chuckling with one rather fecal scene, but well done to Nick Benning for bringing that air of jovial disruption to the scumbags’ demises.
Each character was grounded in believable portrayals, and we feel like we are watching a story of love gone sour, drug fueled mayhem, and perversion at its prime. Congratulations on improving the sound quality this time around and making the majority of the film much more fluid and easy to hear. The shots again (yes, even those involving urination) were all well thought out and yet again the less is best approach was well used to produce some of the best violence on screen.
I will say if Cannibal Holocaust’s infamous turtle scene leaves one squeamish, perhaps avoid the scene involving the road kill bunny – I was extremely relieved to read “No animals or people were harmed in the making of this film” as I was taken off guard by that scene myself.
Congratulations, Dakota Bailey and his team, on a well-developed second film.

THE ACID SORCERER (2017)

The Acid Sorcerer - posterThe Acid Sorcerer is a dark and nihilistic horror film that borders between fiction and reality. The film introduces the viewer to a serial killer, a drug addicted couple, a sadistic drug dealer, a cross dressing snuff filmmaker and a prostitute who has HIV. The characters embrace their inner darkness, struggle with morality, come to terms with their mortality, and ultimately meet their demise.
This is Dakota Bailey’s third feature film and it is evident that he is truly growing as an artist.
This time around we are treated visually to some kaleidoscopic imagery of drug addicts on benders at their most intense, characters both rich and raw, and a story laced with lost souls.
First up we meet Smoke, a serial killer guided by evil, played impressively by Dakota Bailey (who also wrote and directed the film). Bailey stumbles through convincingly and, as he is ultimately guided by the evil reaper like character called Loach, we take pity on his misdeeds.
We also meet Vermina (played by Natasha Morgan), a pregnant meth addict, and her concerned partner Crawdad (played by Darien Fawkes– who had a dual role as Loach as well). Each offers up a vulnerability, that keeps the film’s moral compass pointing throughout.
Eyevin is a cruel dealer (played very well by the ever enjoyable Brian Knapp) who convincingly is just all about business. And Ecstasy (played well by Selena Velveteen) is a HIV infected hooker, who meets a tragic demise. Nikki, is a cross dresser with darker desires (played brilliantly by Nick Benning). Nikki was sweet and convincing, yet still deranged and maniacal. I loved Benning’s ability to switch between personas and immerse wholly in his character.
Shot gloriously in black and white, it helps accent the darkness within the shadows and pockets of light which our characters inhabit. The double exposed colourful imagery of the ‘acid trips’ is mind-blowing and offers insight into the madness and mayhem within each character’s life.

All of Dakota Bailey’s films are available at R.A. Productions Store Envy site, except The Acid Sorcerer.
To order The Acid Sorcerer, Bailey has an Indiegogo campaign, with extras for fans to purchase with it ahead of its August 2017 release.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

We here at The House of Tortured Souls love horror. It’s kind of our jam. And we love to see good horror get recognition. It can be argued that horror is more popular than ever, there are more conventions, festivals, and awards than ever. However, one thing bugged us here at HoTS, and from responses online, we weren’t the only ones. Some awards, not to call names (message me), stretch out the word horror way to far. Seriously Deadpool? Captian America: Civil War? I love me some Cap, and who can talk smack about Ryan Reynolds’ red spandex covered ass, but it’s not FUCKING horror.
So we said “Screw it. Let’s do this”. So here we are with the first annual House of Tortured Souls Awards. Neato huh? We can’t promise we wont make mistakes, can’t promise we don’t stutter step and come in a bit late (I planned to have this April 1st), but we do promise to keep it horror. No super heroes, no Tarzan, and no funny South African robots! What we got? Serial killers, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons, we got ’em. No there are films that straddle that line of horror/ thriller. We accept that, but repeat after me, no friggin superheros or Jedi.
We are still learning, but we decided to jump in with both feet and stomp the shit out of it. We asked our staff to pick their favorites in a group of categories. Rules are the films have to be originally released in a mass audience format. So feature films released to VoD, DVD, or theater, for the FIRST time in 2016 are eligible. Secondary release to DVD, does not qualify it for 2016. Thus, a film released to theater in 2016 will qualify for 2016. If it is released to DVD in 2017, it would not qualify for 2017.
There is a slight difference for independent films. Since most of them will not get a wide release theatrical release, and it might be years before a VoD or DVD release. For independent films, they may be considered, if they have had a major festival release, are currently (award year) touring the festival circuit, or have a release to VoD, DVD, or theater, AND have not been nominated in a previous year. There’s a logic there as many Indie may tour the festival circuit for a couple years, this allows them a chance to be seen, but not to win multiple years. The HoTS staff will select four nominees per category, in case of an unbreakable tie (which we had a couple of), we may select five nominees in some categories. It’s a work in progress, but we think this is fair.
So without the proverbial further ado, here are the nominees.

Best Horror Movie 2016*

  • Green Room
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • The Witch
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • 31

Best Horror Director 2016

  • Jeremy Saluner – Green Room
  • Andre Overdal – The Autopsy of Jane Doe
  • Roger Eggers – The Witch
  • Rob Zombie – 31

Best Actor Horror 2016

  • John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Anton Yeltsin – Green Room
  • Patrick Wilson – The Conjuring
  • Richard Brake – 31

Best Actress Horror Movie 2016

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Vera Farmiga – The Conjuring
  • Anja Taylor Joy – The Witch
  • Blake Lively – The Shallows

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Stephen Lang – Don’t Breathe
  • John Gallager Jr – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Christopher Lloyd – I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • Patrick Stewart – Green Room

Best Supporting Actress Horror 2016

  • Imogene Poots – Green Room
  • Kate Dickey – The Witch
  • Ella – The Monster
  • Madison Wolfe – The Conjuring 2

Best Television Horror

  • Stranger Things
  • Bates Motel
  • Ash versus Evil Dead
  • American Horror Story
  • The Exorcist

Best Actor TV Horror

  • Bruce Campbell – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Freddie Highmore – Bates Motel
  • Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead
  • Alfonso Herrara – The Exorcist

Best actress TV Horror

  • Vera Farmiga – Bates Motel
  • Millie Bobbie Brown – Stranger Things
  • Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist

Best Supporting Actor TV Horror

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead
  • Ray Santiago – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Max Theriot – Bates Motel
  • Gaten Matarazzo – Stranger Things

Best Supporting Actress TV Horror

  • Kathy Bates – American Horror Story
  • Lucy Lawless – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist
  • Olivia Cooke – Bates Motel

Best Indie Horror Movie

  • Circus of the Dead
  • The Barn
  • Plank Face
  • Family Possession

Best Indie Horror Director 2016

  • Billy Pon – Circus of the Dead
  • James Bickert – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Justin M Seaman – The Barn
  • Scott Schrimer – Plank Face

Best Indie Actor Horror 2016

  • Parrish Randal – Circus of the Dead
  • Nathan Barret – Plank Face
  • Mitchell Muselino – The Barn
  • Fred Lass – Bubba the Red Neck Werewolf

Best Indie Actress Horror 2016

  • Tristan Risk – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Chanel Ryan – Circus of the Dead
  • Susan M Martin – Plank Face
  • Lexi Dripps – The Barn

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Bill Oberst – Circus of the Dead
  • Laurence Harvey – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Mitch Hyman – Bubba the Redneck Werewolf
  • Will Stout – The Barn

Best Supporting Actress Horror

  • Ellie Church – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Alyss Winkler – Plank Face
  • Lizzie Mears – Family Possessions
  • Brigid McCauley – Plank Face
(*Five nominees due to a tie.)
Posted by Allen Alberson in Categories, HOUSE OF TORTURED SOULS EXCLUSIVE, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Spawn (UNK)

COMING SOON: Spawn (UNK)

Spawn (UNK)
Written and Directed By: Todd McFarlane

Spawn the anti-hero, literally and figuratively from Hell, has had a long rough ride to being translated successfully to the big screen. First, (em)HBO(/em) produced the fairly faithful (and enjoyable) adaptation to the small screen and then sadly 1997 gave us the lackluster Spawn starring Michael Jai White. Despite an amazing performance by White and John Leguizamo the movie failed to strike a chord with fans, as it watered down the source material and worst yet strayed too much from the comics. And while the film is something of a guilty pleasure for me personally, it is still a far cry from what hardcore fans truly deserve.
But fear not, with the hugely successful DeadPool franchise making studio execs see green we once again are hearing rumblings that the undead caped hero will be resurrected once more. In a recent interview with SyFy Wire, creator Todd McFarlane once again stoked the rumor mill by saying he has written a script with an estimated 10 million dollar budget. Seems that McFarlane wants to write, produce, and direct the film. He has remained firm on this issue which seems to make studios nervous and not willing to back the pet project. He says,
“It’s slowly moving forward, just trying to put all the pieces together both from an artistic and a financial side. The intent is trying to finance as much as possible internally and then finding partners who will help in the production of it as we move forward. I can argue getting the money might be harder than getting everybody signed off on the story.”
He also assured fans that it would indeed be a hard R rating and would use less CGI (a major problem with the 90s film) and more on good old practical effects. He goes on to say,
“I’m going for the same crowd that horror film releases go for. People who want to take their boyfriend or girlfriend or go out with the girls and go to the movies and get spooked.”
All this sounds pretty amazing and, as a fan of the comics, I really want to see it done properly this time. It seems you just can’t keep a good undead hero down.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in Categories, COMING SOON, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: George A. Romero (5 of ?)

TRIBUTE: George A. Romero (5 of ?)

Remembering George A. Romero

With the passing of George A. Romero this week many of us are mourning the loss of one of the true legends of the horror industry. Although he is viewed as the father of the modern zombie film, I feel that it’s important to keep in mind some of the other influences he had both inside the horror industry as well as outside.
As we all know, he is almost single-handedly responsible for the modern zombie. Everything from The Walking Dead graphic novels and the TV series, the Resident Evil franchise (both the games and the films), and even books like The Zombie Survival Guide all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Romero, as his take on the undead have helped to shape all these.
His sphere of influence spreads far beyond zombies, though. Some of his best work was with the writing of Stephen King. Everyone knows that the works of King are notoriously difficult to translate to film. His take on King’s The Dark Half made the story compelling and interesting while remaining very true to the source material. Many people consider it to be one of the most faithful King adaptations ever put to film.
His directing skill was always spot on and appropriate to the type of film he was making. His use of unique lighting and camera angles on Creepshow differed from most other films and made it feel like a comic book come to life. It also helped teach young impressionable fans such as myself that horror could be artistic, beautifully lit, ironic, and fun.
Although many people consider Bruiser to be his worst film, I believe that it proves that he wasn’t just a great director but a masterful storyteller. Weaving a very bleak story with depth and heart about a man struggling with life and identity. Making the viewer feel compassion for the man and the monster while also creating a stark, uncomfortable world.
Don’t even get me started on the genius and magic behind the film Martin. I could talk about that one for hours.
So much more than just the “Godfather of zombies”, George A. Romero was a true visionary who will be missed but whose influence will live on for generations.
Posted by Richard Francis in HORROR NEWS, HoTS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: GEORGE A. ROMERO (2 of ?)

TRIBUTE: GEORGE A. ROMERO (2 of ?)

RIP – The Godfather of Zombies
George A. Romero

georgeromero-zombielove / Fair use doctrine.George Romero meant so much to me personally. He created my love, my obsession with zombies. I cannot tell you my exact age when I first watched Night of the Living Dead, but it sparked the fire that is my love for horror and, more importantly, zombie stories. George A. Romero opened the door for many to follow, pushed the limits of horror further than anyone dreamed, awakened future directors and storytellers, and educated the world on the zombies (how they move, groan, react, and how people would react in a zombie apocalypse).
I’m not sure if Romero went for black and white to blend in with the classic horrors or because makeup and prosthetics aren’t what they are today. All I know that it was a genius move! Night of the Living Dead was meant to be b&w. When I first turned on the movie (in my foolish youth) I wanted to immediately change the channel, after all b&w movies are just boring (back in the 80s when everything was neon). I’m not even sure now what kept me watching, but I am ever so thankful! George Romero was such a creative intelligent fellow in his time.
Romero was one of my first articles for HoTS when a little over a year ago Mr. Romero finally received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. It blew my mind that only just now was he receiving a star! After all his movies and work?!?!? Night of the Living Dead had several sequels (almost all 10 years apart), and he made several other type of horror movies, directed much of Creepshow, and participated in many documentaries, and specials. Romero is so loved by so many that The Walking Dead has had many tribute Easter eggs to Romero.
Fair use doctrine.
Romero even had a part in the zombie mode on Call of Duty: Black Ops.

George Romero left his mark and ‘infected’ so many of us. I, personally, will truly miss him.
Posted by Tammie Parker in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, Historic Horror, HORROR HEROES, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, OBITUARY, STAFF PICKS, 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, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Mitch Hyman

INTERVIEW: Mitch Hyman

My Interview With Satan!

Attention Hulu subscribers!
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is now available to enjoy! In case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the lovable hairy beast Bubba, I am here to enlighten you. He started out as a glimmer in the eye of Actor/Comedian/Writer and all around funny man Mr. Mitch Hyman. Back in the 90s Bubba was a very popular comic. In 2014, Cracker County was under attack by The Devil himself, and it was up to Dog Catcher Bubba Blanche to defeat the enemy, save the town, and win the heart of his love Bobby Jo. But, not before he made a deal with said devil and became Bubba, The Redneck Werewolf in the hit film now available on Hulu!
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf poster / Fair use doctrine.
The popularity of the film has been on the rise since its premier, and with over 11 million viewers on Hulu, ol’ Bubba has reached celebrity status! He even has his own souvenir caps (Mohawkcrew.com), hot sauce, (Sideshowsauces.com), and coffee (Coffeeshopofhorrors.com)! Another character that has made a pretty big name for himself is the Devil, played by Hyman. Since then, there have been many requests to see the fallen angel in his glory. This included an appearance in full make up at December’s Spooky Empire event at the Orange County Convention Center.
In May of 2017, Satan struck out solo on his very own YouTube show, Coffee Time With Satan! This is the epitome of irreverence and shock, and NOT for the faint of heart. Angie, your “Lamp Lady”, had the rare opportunity to discuss the show with Satan in his lair.
House of Tortured Souls: What was your inspiration for Bubba the Redneck Werewolf comics back in the day?
Mitch Hyman: Well, it all started on a week – long binge in Bangkok…Seriously, that did happen, but back to Bubba. I loved werewolves as a kid, and Halloween was my chance to be one. So, when I owned a bar many years ago, I wanted to go to my own party as a werewolf. Now, I knew some make up techniques, so, some latex and rubber mask grease made the face. The hair was tough. So, I put on a trucker hat, and then decided that Lon Chaney, Jr.’s wolfman had clothes, cause no one needs a naked lycan running around as we all learned in American Werewolf. At the time, overalls and flannel shirts were popular and so…Voilà! One cigar-chomping, booze-carrying redneck werewolf was born!
HoTS: Tell us about Satan. How did this lovable character come to life on screen?
MH: There is a horror con in Florida called Spooky Empire, and I have been part of it since the first year it was open, now about 11 years. Great show run by awesome folks. A real family feel too. I was a guest writer and another writer I knew, Kevin Ransom, wanted to do an Apocalypse panel and asked if I could do Satan as part of it around 2006. I first just got some horns from my buddy, make-up artist Michael Davy, who was Dick Smith’s personal protégé, and walked in with a briefcase and said I was the prosecuting attorney for humankind. Later, as the years went on, Mike put me in the red make-up and so there it was! Later, when the film was being put together, the writer I hired to do the low budget script, as my original idea would have cost at least a million to produce and I needed someone to do schlock as I just wasn’t that kind of writer was deathly afraid of my Satan character (and Satan in general), had seen the shows. My comic origin is much different, but I figured comics and movies always are. So, I wrote most of my own dialogue and ad-libbed the rest and wrote most of my scenes to my taste, like the devil montage and the final battle with Bubba. I had to as I was the guy who started this whole insanity fest. I love being him as I get away with the craziest stuff when I am in the red paint, and who would not want an alter ego so heinous and hilarious? People love the character and walk up to me now on the street and offer their souls to me. I turn them down, of course. Well, unless they want to throw in a beer too. LOL!
HoTS: The film has been getting a lot of hits on Hulu, and Bubba is even going to Cannes, you must be proud!
MH: Yep! So proud! We are now global, and for an Indie film of the budget I was able to work with, this is huge. I only had $25,000 to work with and some behind the scenes shenanigans from a few contractors I trusted took me to $19,000. But I have been running a comic for 21 years on very little and have been a stage tech, recording studio owner and performer for years, and knew the biz and how to make it work. Plus, I had so many good friends in the business who pitched in to help and just my actors, make-up, and longtime friends came in to see this dream come true as I said it would be good for all Indie film folks and [would] prove my theories I taught when a college scripting and writing instructor. It was up to me to lead by example. I was floored when Bubba made it to the most popular on Hulu. Thanks to MVD and Gravitas distribution! Also, One Eyed Jack distribution in Europe. After we were shown at Sitges Spain at the world’s biggest film fantasy fest as a featured guest item, the audience knew a winner when they saw one. Cracking the European market with a redneck American werewolf who was all about acceptance made me so damn proud! Then, to be vended at Cannes? Formidable!
HoTS: What do you think has made this film so popular?
MH: It’s just goofy fun like the comics have been all these years. Bubba is all about the little guy getting his chance to prove himself. We all know a Bubba in our lives or are one. We try and do the right thing, and it seems like the world never gives us a break. Friends turn on you, bosses are never seeing your potential, other people don’t see us as good mates or friends because they are all about appearances or all about dollar signs. But a true underdog, no pun, always fights for what is right and sacrifices his wants and needs to do the right thing. Sometimes, giving up your wants to help another can actually take you to the place in life or your heart that will get you even further because you gave of yourself. I wanted Bubba in the film to be like my comic version in one important respect…To be the quiet hero we all need in our lives. To be the person who at 4am will show up if the aliens have your cows, the zombies are in the house, a bully or scumbag is harming you or yours, or you just need someone to be there when all others ran off ‘cause you don’t have much. As long as you are a good person, Bubba will see this and show up. Plus, a few beers won’t hurt either. Just sayin’. LOL!
HoTS: Let’s talk about your new YouTube show, Coffee Time With Satan. Episode one is out there, with episode two on the editing floor. How did the idea come about?
MH: The character became so popular that people would just walk up to me at shows and on the street and tell me their problems and wants. I figured that Satan was easier to talk to about your troubles as he was probably to them the cause or someone who understood angst. Fallen Angel and so on. But I played him very snarky and like a used car salesman up to no good, and people felt at ease as they do with comedians. We get life in a way most don’t. We make fun of fear and those who instill it in us. You laugh at pain and bigotry and inhumanity and make it easier to take the steam out of that crap. Make fun of ourselves, too. Plus, we’re brave and crazy at the same time to societal rules. We’re like the kid in the fairy tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes; we tell you the straight truth of living. [That’s] why royalty always had the court jester to keep them humble. So, I wanted to do a talk and variety show that was like the stuff I saw in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Laugh In, SNL classic, National Lampoon and so on. Pryor, Carlin, Brooks… All my heroes. Since we now live in times like those, I thought we needed to go back and learn from history, not repeat it! I was also a freelance writer for CRACKED magazine and fires Donald Trump way back in 04. I think I am still on the enemies list. LOL! Now, I have an amazing ensemble cast of crazies who are brilliant and fearless. So, the show is not PC and meant to shock and amuse those with the courage to look within themselves and grow stronger and resilient to face a world on the brink and laugh at the all the damn “emperors” out there.
HoTS: What can your viewers expect from the show?
MH: Just this…Fun! It’s a great way to unwind and think a bit. We may be goofy, but we are being very intellectual. The show is a group effort and we all write bits and so on for it. A community for sure. But the ladies rule and rock this show! Myrtle, Momma Mary, Lilith, and now others coming on board. And this is girl power to me. I know how tough and strong women have to be in a misogynistic and prejudiced world and I turn them loose! I simply sit back, react, and applaud it all. I instigate lot of it. I want people to have a voice who are always told to shut up. A smart man knows that smarter women can multi task and get shit done!
HoTS: What was the inspiration for the characters that appear on Coffee Time?
MH: I have all these wonderful friends who are educated and have been doing either stand-up or other things that put them in the public eye, for one. The others are just those people at parties or at work who have the whole place laughing or are courageous to stand up for themselves. So, I just figured out ways to give them personas for the screen that celebrate who they are in real life. The ultimate cosplay as it were. I am a producer and we look and polish talent till they take off on their own like my crew has. Like being Den Mother and Father to a crazed troop of merry makers.
HoTS: How was Coffee Time cast?
MH: Again, by looking around my life and seeing those who have talent and want to try a risky idea. Brave souls, all! That’s show biz! And they are truly sweet people in real life.
HoTS: How did you decide who would be on your hellish team?
MH: I needed those who could put on costumes and make-up and become these personalities I needed for the show. Like I did for the casting of the Bubba movie. I spent months looking around my group of friends and seeing others at cons and shows who stepped out and could handle being in front of a camera. A lot of people think this is easy. Well, sorry, it’s not. Try it some time. Go to a store and just start being funny, REALLY funny, not just silly or stupid, to the crowd at the supermarket who are stuck behind the 80 year old with an expired coupon, or the twenty something who can’t get their apply pay to work, or the guy who is hitting on the check-out person and who doesn’t give a shit that you’re late for work or your kid is throwing up in the shopping cart ‘cause you have no one to watch them and you had to get their medicine, or you just pulled double and just want to get home before you pass the hell out. You help them to endure and they are happy you showed up, and then you, my friend, have just made the world a better place. Or at least the checkout line and may have prevented someone from going postal later. We all need a laugh and to be part of something. I was in a supermarket shooting once and after the police got the bastards, I walked around trying to calm and make folks smile ‘til the all clear was called and we could go. True story.
HoTS: What are your hopes, future state, for Coffee Time With Satan and Bubba?
MH: Well, to not get deported, even though I was born in the USA, or lynched mostly for either. LOL! Actually, I want to see Coffee Time evolve into an interview show for the first half as I talk to celebrities about their more decadent and evil side, you know, what we really all enjoy about living and doing something more than make money and ego. and then turn the ladies loose as a round table of REAL women, not a bunch of over privileged millionaire celebs who might have been from humble beginnings but have lost touch with the real day to day life. I have stood during production and heard them talk about clothes, movies, men, women motherhood, family and so on and was fascinated at how right and down to Earth they saw things. This show could teach men how to really understand women and others in the world around us. As for Bubba? I am scripting the second movie now and am going to be proposing it soon in California as having a studio or Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix on board would be a ticket for this one to go theatrical and even though we did great in DVD, VOD, streaming, and so on, and I am grateful as hell, I want to go further. I am wanting it to be filmed in Florida like the last one and I know that the LA crowd can be worked with and we Indies need to respect them not be adversarial. Hell, like anyone needs anymore enemies in life? LOL! Cooperation is key!
My state is diverse in culture and location. Plus as we proved to the world after the PULSE shooting, we get along and when family is needed we all are. Florida Man is a pain in my ass as most are transplants from elsewhere who just don’t get into our lifestyle. I was part of the film and TV scene here in the 1990s and it was greedy politicians and the fear from LA and NYC that we could be a threat that took it away. I am watching Atlanta closely and I got a vibe that it is just another Hollywood East that could implode or be used up fast as they are not as experienced as we down here. We down here have been there and done that. Our current governor does not like the entertainment biz from cutting state incentives. BUT! We are the makers of lifetime dreams come true. We have talent, techs, and support to not just take you into a fantasy world for two hours. We can take you to stories and places that you’ll tell your grandkids about. Plus, I and some others in film down here have gone county to county and city to city and found that being truly Florida friendly, as what we true locals call it, can do much! So sunshine is in our hearts and our handshake. I made Bubba happen because of just that. But, ya gotta be sincere, responsible and play fair, cause that phony smile and BS goes just so far if you are not a true believer.
If you’d love to see Satan and all his pals do their worst, check out Coffee Time With Satan, now on YouTube!
Posted by Angie Calabrese in Categories, 0 comments
COMING SOON: The Houses October Built 2 (2017)

COMING SOON: The Houses October Built 2 (2017)

The Houses October Built Retrospective
and The Houses October Built 2 Announcement

the houses october built 2With the big news of a sequel to The Houses October Built, I thought it was time I wrote a nice little piece about this sometimes misunderstood film. I’m one of those horror fans that don’t automatic hate on the found footage sub-genre. The Houses October Built is one that actually nails it pretty well!
Bobby Roe (l), Zack Andrews (r)
Bobby Roe (l), Zack Andrews (r)
Now some hardcore fans seem to simply write this off as a lazy and a bit clichéd, and while I enjoy the film immensely, I have to agree that it is guilty of some horror pitfalls. Still, I think the film has an above interesting plot with some genuinely creepy moments and a decent ending (even though it sorta cribs the original The Vanishing). The very fact it’s already gaining a fast and loyal cult following with a sequel on its way means I must not be alone. Returning Houses writer/director/actor Bobby Roe uses the found footage not nearly as clunky or unrealistic as some in the genre, and in a lot of ways it amps the suspense and creep factor, which is how found footage should be utilized. The follow up, simply titled The Houses October Built 2 (for now, anyway), was penned by Roe and Zack Andrews and will, by all accounts, pick up from the last film and reunite Roe and Andrews with fellow cast members Brandy Schaefer, and Mikey Roe. I only hope that they build and expand the mythos of Blue Skeleton instead of simply remaking the first film, but the synopsis indicates it could go either way.
SYNOPSIS:
Five friends try to recover from the trauma of being kidnapped last Halloween by the Blue Skeleton – a group who takes “extreme haunt” to another level – by facing their fears in order to move on. As they go back out on the road to experience more haunted house attractions, signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing and a new terror begins…
RLJE Films has picked up the North American rights to The Houses October Built 2 and plan to release the film in theaters and On Demand in September 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in Categories, COMING SOON, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Tapes (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Tapes (2017)

Face the Unknown with The Dark Tapes (2017)

The Dark Tapes (2017) / Fair use DoctrineAfter three long years of dedication and personal funding, Michael McQuown and fellow producers, are proud to present their film The Dark Tapes. This film blends genres with its interlocking story-lines covering horror, fantasy, sci-fi and more. With a crew comprised primarily of himself and four producers (who also served as the primary crew members), The Dark Tapes is Michael McQuown’s first film to direct. Fellow producer, Nicola Odeku gave him the original idea for the story. When asked what three words he would use to describe this film, Michael said, “Twists, Tension and Terror”. This film was 100% independent from any studio but that has not affected its achievements. Among the film festival circuit, The Dark Tapes has won or been nominated for 61 awards across 30 festivals. This includes a nomination for a Rondo Hatton Award for “Best Independent Feature”. You can also find it ranked in the top three highest rated films ever on FoundFootageCritic.com.
The Dark Tapes is a found footage horror anthology film comprised of four primary narratives. As you watch, you will find each story original and interweaving with some great surprises in store for you. The scares are not cheap and the fear is genuine. This film doesn’t rely on jump scares or gore to scare you. It will build the tension until you must turn your lights back on. It proves that you don’t need a big budget to put out a quality film. Dark imagery, good effects and sincere acting drives it to success.
It is now available for purchase on most VOD platforms, including Amazon, iTunes, VUDU, Google Play, Sling TV, Vimeo, Xbox, PlayStation, and more. Due to its popularity, Michael and his crew are already in pre-production working on a sequel titled The Darker Paths. I expect them to lead us even further into the nightmares with this follow-up.
Check out The Dark Tapes at the links below:
Happy Nightmares,
ZombieGurl
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