House of Tortured Souls

The Babysitter All Boys Wish For But Shouldn’t

Hello, I am the Horror Madam, and I am honored to be joining all of the amazing writers at House of Tortured Souls!
I thought it would be nice to start out here with a lighter horror film to get my feet wet, so I’m going to talk about a new dark comedy horror film called The Babysitter. It is a Netflix original film released this past October 2017, and it is only available on Netflix at this time.
Emily Alyn Lind and Judah Lewis in The Babysitter (2017) / Fair use doctrine.When The Babysitter starts out, it is reminiscent of a John Hughes movie: a nerdy young boy in glasses with a cute girl just waiting for the bus in front of their nice school. You realize quickly that this is not a normal boy going through puberty while pining for the girl next door, and when the girl’s father pulls up in his bitchin’ mid-life crisis hot rod and gives our young protagonist grief, you start to get curious. But it’s certainly not horrific. Yet.
Next, we see the boy, Cole, played by Judah Lewis (who, according to IMDb was a finalist to play Spider-Man but lost out to Tom Holland), riding home on his bike. Like you would see in any coming of age tale, Cole is harassed by some neighborhood bullies. Unlike other movies of that ilk, Cole is saved by his extremely beautiful babysitter, Bee, played by Austrailian actress Samara Weaving (who appeared in Mayhem and the amazing Ash vs The Evil Dead). You may be asking yourself, where have I heard that last name? Samara is the niece of the very talented Hugo Weaving from such great films as The Matrix and V for Vendetta. Good genes in that family.
Bee shows up with the sun shining on her making her look like a guardian angel sent from above and the song “Boys Wanna Be Her” by Peaches playing in the background, setting the stage for her character’s persona. But what you see is what she wants you to see, hiding her true intentions. More on that in a moment because The Babysitter uses enough of its own foreshadowing.
Samara Weaving in The Babysitter (2017) (bikini) crop / Fair use doctrine.Now we start to see the relationship between Bee and Cole which includes a great dance scene and a short slow motion presentation of their time together including a great homage To Fast Times At Ridgemont High with Bee coming out of the pool in the same bikini that Phoebe Cates wore in said film. We also see a game that Cole made up about what would your Intergalactic Dream Team be when facing The Big Bad. Bee’s answer is great and on point showing further that she is a young boy’s wet dream.
Cole wants to see what happens when he goes to sleep and Bee’s boyfriend comes over, so he pretends to sleep and slips down to see what is going on. There is a group of people with Bee, and they are mixing spin the bottle with a truth or dare game. This involves some very hot girl-on-girl kissing and movie quotes. Notably, one particular line involving Fredo from The Godfather. But I digress. The boyfriend in question is a teenage nerd who is very uncomfortable at the party. He is afraid to kiss Bee, but when she finally calms him down and kisses him it looks like the young man has entered bliss but that is when the madness ensues.Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne in The Babysitter (2017) / Fair use doctrine.
From that moment on, we see so many fun and extremely bloody deaths. And I am not kidding about the amount of blood, at one point I remember thinking that it reminded me of old Monty Python skits where copious amounts of blood just spurt and spurt and spurt again.
Warning: Spoilers
The Babysitter was written by Brian Duffield, who also penned Insurgent and Jane Got a Gun, and Directed by McG (also from Michigan), who is best known for one of the longest-running shows on TV, Supernatural. The parents are played by Leslie Bibb from Talladega Nights and Ken Marino from We Are the Millers and Role Models, who provide even more comic relief.
I really enjoyed this movie for its clever wit, great lines, monstrously bloody scenes, and a killer soundtrack, especially a climax scene with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I hope I gave you enough insight without spoiling too much, I hate when reviewers do that. So with that, I leave you with the tagline “That dream girls can be a nightmare”. Or maybe they are just the Big Bad.
MOVIE REVIEW: The Babysitter (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Babysitter (2017)

The Babysitter All Boys Wish For But Shouldn't

Hello, I am the Horror Madam, and I am honored to be joining all of the amazing writers at House of Tortured Souls!
I thought it would be nice to start out here with a lighter horror film to get my feet wet, so I’m going to talk about a new dark comedy horror film called The Babysitter. It is a Netflix original film released this past October 2017, and it is only available on Netflix at this time.
Emily Alyn Lind and Judah Lewis in The Babysitter (2017) / Fair use doctrine.When The Babysitter starts out, it is reminiscent of a John Hughes movie: a nerdy young boy in glasses with a cute girl just waiting for the bus in front of their nice school. You realize quickly that this is not a normal boy going through puberty while pining for the girl next door, and when the girl's father pulls up in his bitchin' mid-life crisis hot rod and gives our young protagonist grief, you start to get curious. But it’s certainly not horrific. Yet.
Next, we see the boy, Cole, played by Judah Lewis (who, according to IMDb was a finalist to play Spider-Man but lost out to Tom Holland), riding home on his bike. Like you would see in any coming of age tale, Cole is harassed by some neighborhood bullies. Unlike other movies of that ilk, Cole is saved by his extremely beautiful babysitter, Bee, played by Austrailian actress Samara Weaving (who appeared in Mayhem and the amazing Ash vs The Evil Dead). You may be asking yourself, where have I heard that last name? Samara is the niece of the very talented Hugo Weaving from such great films as The Matrix and V for Vendetta. Good genes in that family.
Bee shows up with the sun shining on her making her look like a guardian angel sent from above and the song "Boys Wanna Be Her" by Peaches playing in the background, setting the stage for her character's persona. But what you see is what she wants you to see, hiding her true intentions. More on that in a moment because The Babysitter uses enough of its own foreshadowing.
Samara Weaving in The Babysitter (2017) (bikini) crop / Fair use doctrine.Now we start to see the relationship between Bee and Cole which includes a great dance scene and a short slow motion presentation of their time together including a great homage To Fast Times At Ridgemont High with Bee coming out of the pool in the same bikini that Phoebe Cates wore in said film. We also see a game that Cole made up about what would your Intergalactic Dream Team be when facing The Big Bad. Bee's answer is great and on point showing further that she is a young boy's wet dream.
Cole wants to see what happens when he goes to sleep and Bee's boyfriend comes over, so he pretends to sleep and slips down to see what is going on. There is a group of people with Bee, and they are mixing spin the bottle with a truth or dare game. This involves some very hot girl-on-girl kissing and movie quotes. Notably, one particular line involving Fredo from The Godfather. But I digress. The boyfriend in question is a teenage nerd who is very uncomfortable at the party. He is afraid to kiss Bee, but when she finally calms him down and kisses him it looks like the young man has entered bliss but that is when the madness ensues.Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne in The Babysitter (2017) / Fair use doctrine.
From that moment on, we see so many fun and extremely bloody deaths. And I am not kidding about the amount of blood, at one point I remember thinking that it reminded me of old Monty Python skits where copious amounts of blood just spurt and spurt and spurt again.
Warning: Spoilers
The Babysitter was written by Brian Duffield, who also penned Insurgent and Jane Got a Gun, and Directed by McG (also from Michigan), who is best known for one of the longest-running shows on TV, Supernatural. The parents are played by Leslie Bibb from Talladega Nights and Ken Marino from We Are the Millers and Role Models, who provide even more comic relief.
I really enjoyed this movie for its clever wit, great lines, monstrously bloody scenes, and a killer soundtrack, especially a climax scene with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I hope I gave you enough insight without spoiling too much, I hate when reviewers do that. So with that, I leave you with the tagline "That dream girls can be a nightmare". Or maybe they are just the Big Bad.
Posted by Horrormadam in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Megrim (2016) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Megrim (2016) at Shriekfest

Megrim (2016)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Stuart Valberg; Writer: Stuart Valberg; Stars: Max Physer, Pascal Yen-Pfister; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 13 min; Genre: Short, Comedy, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2016
Hello, this is your fiendish reporter reviewing the entries from the Shreikfest horror film festival, 5-8 October 2017. The next film is entitled Megrim written and directed by Stuart Valberg. An unnamed artist (Pascal Yen-Pfister) wants to create a masterpiece, but instead of using oil paints, he decides to choose an unknown man (Max Physer) to donate his blood. From frame one, it's clear that director Stuart Valberg has a nice visual flare, drenching the film with mood and tension. His use of tightly framed medium shots gives an almost unbearable feeling of dread and claustrophobia as does his use of atmospheric lighting. I really enjoyed the stripped down one room stage feel, and its simple and effective plot is clearly having a bit of fun with films like Saw (the artist's reasons seem very Jigsaw-like). This, indeed, is where this short shines, as it is eerie and moody yet has a dark sense of humor which makes it more interesting than a simple bloodbath. The film is just two actors, and both do a fantastic job. Actor Pascal Yen Pfister really shines in this film, and he plays with the razor-thin line of having fun with the role yet not going too hammy and he walks the line brilliantly. While I enjoyed Megrim, I really wished it would have pushed the black comedy just a little further while also providing a little more cat and mouse between the two very talented actors. However, this leads me to my next point, which is that (and I rarely say this with shorts) with some clever writing, I feel like this could easily be translated into a full feature. With a great sense of style and solid writing, Valberg provides an interesting darkly comic spin on the torture porn sub-genre and does it with skill and that will no doubt take him incredibly far as a writer-director.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Tethered (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Tethered (2017) at Shriekfest

Tethered (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Daniel Robinette; Writers: Daniel Robinette, Jeff Cox, Aaron Sorgius, Kayla Stuhr, Jeremy Tassone; Stars: Jared Cook, Grace Mumm, Kayla Stuhr; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 12 min; Genre: Short, Drama, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Hello, again, your fiendish reporter here giving you the low down on the films from Shriekfest. This time we are looking at a short by Daniel Robinette entitled Tethered. A blind boy named Solomon (Jared Cook) is left by his mother in a harsh land. He is tethered to a rope and left a recording by mother explaining the rules on how to survive, the most important being to never ever go beyond the rope. Daniel Robinette turns out a wonderfully bleak yet beautiful horror short that takes a simple premise and milks it for everything its got and then some. He builds a world that is steeped in reality yet has an otherworldly feeling and features a finale that is oh so effective. Cinematographer and co-writer Aaron Sorgius paints an eerie and gorgeous picture with his camera and the location and sweeping camera shots really give this short a more epic and wider scope. Jared Cook does an incredible job and, with little to no dialogue, gives a stellar, almost silent star-like performance. Equally great is Kayla Stuhr in a short but unnerving role. I was really impressed with what Robinette was able to pull off with a paper-thin plot and modest budget. It just goes to prove my point that a scary movie can be made without flashy gimmicks or buckets of blood. And it's refreshing to see a crop of new horror filmmakers that are focusing on plot and visuals to tell a story instead of falling back on tired clichés. Tethered is a tension-filled harrowing and creepy short and I would love to see this expanded into a full feature film.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
VIDEO PODCAST: HoTS LIVE at BloodShed Farms Fear Fest, 28 Oct 17

VIDEO PODCAST: HoTS LIVE at BloodShed Farms Fear Fest, 28 Oct 17

Last night House of Tortured Souls creators John and Stephanie Ann Roisland spent the evening at BloodShed Farms Fear Fest in Columbus, NJ, just off 295. For those who don't know, BloodShed Farms is a popular haunt in the Jersey horror scene and home of The Circus Rejects.
As John and Steph set the mood, a few folks stop by to say, "Hello".

Later, John tells of his visit to BloosShed farms after attending a Circus Rejects wedding and shows off some HoTS gear (most available at TeePublic).

Jim Reed,
co-owner of BloodShed Farms, speaks with John about haunts, haunting, and BloodShed Farms.

Isaac the Living Doll, one of the actors at BloodShed Farms, stops by the HoTS table.

Psych, a friend and special guest, stops by to impart some wisdom to all tortured souls out there.

House of Tortured Souls LIVE at BloodShed Farms Fear Fest concludes as John thanks everyone for inviting HoTS and allowing us to be part of the 2017 Halloween horror scene in Jersey.

Please head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe. If we hit 100, we can properly name ourselves and more easily distribute the content you want to see.
If you like the merchandise you saw or want to see what else we have to offer, head on over to TeePublic and pick up some HoTS gear.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in EXCLUSIVE, PODCAST, 0 comments
HAUNTED LOCATIONS: Walking with Ghosts on the Dark Side of Durango, CO

HAUNTED LOCATIONS: Walking with Ghosts on the Dark Side of Durango, CO

What family vacation would be complete without a local ghost tour to attend? Not ours! While staying up in Purgatory Resort and visiting nearby Durango, Colorado, I researched the ghostly happenings of the area because that’s just how I roll. The amount of paranormal activity in this area is phenomenal; however, there were few true hosts of such a venture in Durango. In fact, there are quite a few experiences mentioned in reviews for places such as the haunted mines up in Silverton, which is a nearby town, or even the Strater Hotel, built in 1887 directly on railroad tracks, in downtown Durango where guests claim to have had more than their fill of ghostly encounters. Wanting to stick to the local Durango area, however, I was a bit disappointed when visiting the good ol’ Diamond Belle Saloon, a ragtime piano bar connected to this infamous Strater Hotel, where I asked the young waitress dressed as a nostalgic saloon girl if it is true that the Strater Hotel is haunted. I was told in no uncertain yet clearly rehearsed terms that, “The only spirits we serve are behind the bar.” Fortunately, I was given the explanation of this standard response plus plenty more when my family went on the Ghost Walk Durango tour led by Mr. Joe Nelson on the tour of all tours!
Just as the website (www.ghostwalkdurango.com) mentions, we began this guided walking tour through 140 years at the Old Durango High School, where we learned that a young man hung himself and continues to haunt the school, moving furniture around and even strategically arranging and stacking large buckets left unattended by custodians for mere minutes. Did I mention that this stacking of buckets had occurred only days before our tour? Many staff continue to hear the sounds of footsteps in this old school only to see no one upon investigation. This tour was already sounding promising.Durango High School, Durango, CO
My ultimate favorite stop of them all was at the original Day family house where all of the children suddenly died from the measles in the summer of 1888. Mrs. Day was so distraught that she hung herself after her children’s passing. Thereafter, her husband went crazy and was eventually admitted to a psychiatric ward. The house stood empty for years and the family who eventually restored it left after a few years. Since then, however, no family is known to have occupied that home for more than a few months. This is because Mrs. Day doesn’t appreciate newcomers to her home. She has been known to yell at children, “Get out of my house!” In the past, her own children often played with the children occupying the house, even getting them into trouble for leaving a mess. Our tour guide, Mr. Joe Nelson, has his own personal experiences with his children being visited as well. It seems Mr. and Mrs. Day’s children prefer to play with older more traditional toys over modern toys and have been known to knock them off the table and stack their favorite Lincoln Logs in their place. By far, the most fascinating stop on this tour, in my opinion.Day Family House, Durango, CO
Another ghastly stop was at Mrs. Amy’s home now known as Hood Mortuary. In 1883, this house was occupied by Mrs. Amy whose three children died from cholera and were then followed by their mother, who is said to have died from a broken heart. The upstairs ballroom was a special place for the family, and Mrs. Amy doesn’t like when furniture is moved around. Owners say any time something is repositioned within the room, crying can be heard as well as a rocking chair moving quickly as though in agitation. Though the actual Hood family no longer runs the mortuary business, the present business owners kept the Hood name and continue to do business right in the middle of the neighborhood. I’m sure it goes without saying what that means. Creepy stop, to say the least.Hood Mortuary
Hood Mortuary, signAnother eerie spot is at a home that was once a courtroom with a jail in the basement. This place is known for having three men running back into their cells before being caught chatting it up while playing a hand at poker on the back porch. Dark shadows and strong pungent smells of cigars are a norm for this location. Contractors are known for having all of their workers suddenly quit with no warning after finding tools inexplicably moved in various locations within the house or even missing entirely. Tile workers are said to have found all of their stacked tiles strategically placed in round patterns on the floor. Needless to say, jobs just never seem to be completed in that home, and owners tend to leave from fear and annoyance before long.Home that was a courtroom with a jail beneath, Durango, CO
Possibly the most intriguing story came from the Rochester Hotel. A naked lady apparently makes appearances here, even having visited a Mr. John Wayne, in and near room 204. You may have heard of him before. (Wink wink). He turned down the lady’s sultry advances and claims that her form, which was just as fleshy as you or I and dressed in lingerie, simply disintegrated into thin air. This is a popular destination spot, especially around Halloween time where guests book this room in advance, hoping to having their own paranormal experience, perhaps of a sensual persuasion.Rochester Hotel, Durango, CO
About that Strater Hotel, we had quite a delicious meal at the Diamond Belle Saloon while sitting on the upstairs balcony listening to the piano player. The gunfight reenactment was also quite entertaining, and Mr. Joe Nelson informed us that despite the many paranormal events experienced by people who visit this venue, upon being employed, the staff is believed to sign a contract specifically stating that no mention of any ghostly occurrences can be discussed with patrons. Nonetheless, that doesn’t make it true, but it certainly explains our waitress’ quick response to our inquiry with a gleam in her eye.Diamond Belle Saloon, Exterior
Diamond Belle Saloon, InteriorDespite the modern novelties, herbal venues, outdoor activities, and delicious breweries bustling in Durango, Colorado, a layer of historical nuance and paranormal allure adds an air of mystery that begs to be aroused. Definitely a wonderful vacation destination for the adventurous soul or any soul for that matter.
Posted by Scarlett O in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
HORROR NEWS: Balsac the Jaws of Death plagued with Myelofibrosis

HORROR NEWS: Balsac the Jaws of Death plagued with Myelofibrosis

The last few years for the shock rock/metal band Gwar has not been all the best in the way of luck. However, we can say that Gwar though will keep on despite what’s been thrown at them making them, by far, the strongest band in the galaxy.
In 2011, Gwar guitarist Cory Smoot, known by his stage name Flattus Maximus, was found deceased of a heart attack while on tour. Then, in 2014, the greatest frontman to ever take the stage Dave Brockie, known to Gwar fans as Oderus Urungus was found dead in his room, due to a heroin overdose. None of this stopped Gwar from carrying on. One thing that they have always done, is kept going despite the odds. Flattus was replaced by Pustulus Maximus, and Oderus role was filled by Blothar which was the original Beefcake The Mighty. Gwar has been through a few changes over the 30+ years of their time on earth. Now, faced with not another change, but another medical issue within the band's members.
Mike Derks aka Balsac the Jaws of Death is facing a disease called myelofibrosis which is a bone marrow disorder that causes the body’s blood cells to not produce properly. This may have come as a surprise to most people. I know for sure it did for me, I got to see Gwar perform on the warped tour, and Balsac was not on a few dates due to this disease causing him great pain and other physical issues. I was wondering why I didn’t see him on stage, and now I understand.
Over the next several months, Derks will be undergoing some major medical treatment, including blood transfusions, constant monitoring, and eventually a bone marrow transplant in which chemotherapy will be administered to rid the body of the diseased marrow, and then the good marrow put in. None of this monitoring and the transfusion of blood will stop Derks or Gwar, as he is still going on tour with the band this fall/winter and will be utilizing various hospital organizations across the country to monitor his condition.
I love music, I love playing music, but if this were me I’d say, “Fuck it”, and not play until it’s all taken care of. Then again, I’m not a bad ass like the guys in Gwar, and I don’t have fans either. HA! Derks has teamed up with Love Hope Strength to get people in the know, get people to donate and gain knowledge of this condition as well as other bone marrow diseases that people face. You can visit https://www.lovehopestrength.org/ and contribute any way you can.
From all of us at House of Tortured Souls as fans, and people with hearts that care about our fellow man, we wish Mike Derks/Balsac Jaws of Death a speedy recovery and issue a thank you for all you do, keeping the ball rolling and having such a positive outlook on the situation at hand.
Posted by Schock in EXCLUSIVE, 0 comments
Evillynn’s Top 5 Halloween Scares

Evillynn’s Top 5 Halloween Scares

Film has the uncanny ability to conjure about some rather magical and deep emotions. The sole essence behind these memorable films is a great story told by remarkable narrators, especially when one removes all the smoke and mirrors. We all have our very own top five favorite films that reawaken our love for the fall season so without any further ado, here are mine.

1. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

EvilLynn - top 5 - Trick ;r Treat (2007) / Fair use doctrine.
How can one not love a horror anthology that has the ability to embrace such expert knowledge behind the Halloween lore? It does such a fantastic job of interlocking these horror shorts together to create a rare Halloween treat at the very end. This one is indeed a fun watch and guaranteed to rekindle the love for this wonderful holiday!

2. Trick or Treat (1986)

This fun and rather cheesy slasher does a magnificent job of blending together the worlds of rock and horror, completing it with guest cameos by Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, and Ozzy Osbourne. The premise of this story is about a Satanic horror rock-star who dies mysteriously in a hotel fire. His biggest fan, a teen outcast named Eddie, scores a rare demo and unwittingly ends up bringing the musician back from the dead. All hell literally breaks loose when the demon musician wrecks bloody havoc upon the high school's Halloween dance, and Eddie is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. I absolutely adore these over-the-top films that were made in this era, and this one doesn't disappoint. A rare gem indeed.
EvilLynn-2017-Top5-Trick or Treat (1986)-615x615

3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

EvilLynn-2017-Top5-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)-615x615 / Fair use doctrine.
Yes, the old Disney short. This one is more about nostalgia than the actual film. Growing up, Halloween didn't truly start for me until my family made our annual trek down to the Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie. This historic park hosted several different mini-events such as painting pumpkins, ghost stories that were told by interactive storytellers around a huge bonfire, and many other delightful Fall activities. The main event consisted of a haunted hayride where they would reenact the famous chase scene of the Horseman. Whilst waiting in the long line, one could entertain themselves by watching this flick play on repeat via the outside projector. I truly believe that this festival is what started my obsession with this holiday and all things horror. This film, especially the last 10 minutes, has a deliciously wicked way of invoking my Halloween spirit that lies within.

4. Return to Oz (1985)

This horror film directly made for children is very loosely based on the second and third books of the Oz Series, written by L. Frank Baum. Return to Oz is during the Fall at the end of the 19th century, and this adaptation introduces some very twisted characters, such as the Wheelers, an evil princess who has 31 different interchangeable heads, and a gnome king who thoroughly enjoys turning all living creatures into stone. This may not be the traditional film that many would place in this category; however, I watched this film at a very impressionable young age. In fact, this film is one of the first of many that terrified me with delight and, therefore, ended up paving my way into the glorious world of horror.
EvilLynn-2017-Top5-Return to Oz (1985)-615x615 / Fair use doctrine.

5. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

EvilLynn-2017-Top5-Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)-615x615/ Fair use doctrine.
This is Ray Bradbury's marvelous tale of a dark carnival that sets up shop in a very small, stale mid-western town in the middle of the night. The owner, Mr. Dark, has some rather cynical attractions where the riders get much more than they bargained for. The two main characters are rather skeptical and elusive to these newcomers, seeing how most carnivals end up leaving before Labor Day. This film just screams Fall every step of the way, and it is a rather enjoyable and spooky enchantment that one can enjoy with the whole family.
And there you have it, folks, these are my absolute favorite flicks that are centered around the Autumn season. Some of these may be considered a bit "childlike" and that is quite okay if you agree with this sentiment. After all, doesn't the love of Halloween originate from the mystical world of childhood imagination?
Posted by EvilLynn in HALLOWEEN, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Play Day (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Play Day (2017) at Shriekfest

Play Day (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Greg Mazzola; Writer: Sophia Rose; Stars: Sophia Rose, Thomas Downey, Jim Nieb, Craig Tate, Harrison Samuels; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK min; Genre: Short, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Your fiendish reporter bringing you another offering from the 2017 Shriekfest. In this short, a lonely man named Steve (Thomas Downey) is looking for that special somebody on the Internet. Nothing wrong with that except instead of a dating site he has chosen an online service called Play Day. Little does he know his payment for this might just be in blood. Writer Sophia Rose and director Greg Mazzola manage to take the premise of online love something terribly routine and totally turn it on its head and the end result is incredibly different. The core concept is explored just enough to give the audience a clear idea of what's going on without feeling the need to over-explain things. Also, it tapped into a psycho sexual-dark web theme which I did not expect and was impressed with. On the technical side, Mazzola gives the low budget film a professional gloss with nice visuals, good editing, and a nice score. My one complaint with this short was actor Thomas Downey. While I think he's a solid actor he defiantly went a little too campy which in a certain context is alright but it doesn't help when it somewhat undercuts the creepy vibes the film is building. When Downey starts to go really barking mental I thought the short totally went off the rails but thankfully a good ending helped save it. Play Day may have some issues however I couldn't hate it because it's really interesting and it takes a familiar troupe and completely remixes it, which is something I love to see. I very much hope that Greg Mazzola and writer Sophia Rose expand this into a feature even if it was just 80 mins or so. Overall, Play Day is great little film, and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Conduit (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Conduit (2017) at Shriekfest

Conduit (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Tim Earnheart; Writer: Tim Earnheart; Stars: Corrie Fleming, Matt Dy, Tyler Totten, Ayuba Audu, Reeve Bareceloux, S Joe Downing; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK min; Genre: Short, Horror, Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Hello, again! Your fiendish reporter coming at you with another short film presented at this year's Shriekfest. Conduit is written and directed by Tim Earnheart whose previous shorts include Working with Damien (2016) and 180 (2015). The FBI is set into an upscale cabin to rescue a little girl who was kidnapped. Little do they know that something far more sinister is waiting for them inside. Conduit is really a brilliant little horror film, and Earnheart takes the ghost film and turns it on its head, taking the tropes and tossing them right out the window. The added action of the FBI raid further gives this an altogether different spin on the supernatural subgenre. With strong and eerie imagery, slick professional editing and a great score, it struck all the right cords with this film critic. Thankfully the audience isn't hit over the head with backstory and I love how things are purposely left vague. In fact, I hope Conduit gets expanded into a feature film because I`d love to be filled in on the mysterious aspects. This feature is effects driven and thankfully the FX expert, HM Grandy, does a great job crafting some truly grisly and realistic make-up - especially when you consider this was done on what I am guessing was a modest budget. Supernatural films are tricky to make effectively and without clichés, but Tim Earnheart and company go into it with an above interesting premise and keeps it fresh with great visuals, gore, and a fantastic ending.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
PRESENTATION: Grady Hendrix – Paperbacks from Hell

PRESENTATION: Grady Hendrix – Paperbacks from Hell

The event was held in a mausoleum.
The venue was PhilaMOCA, the Mausoleum of Contemporary Arts, a former showroom for tombstones and mausoleums in Philadelphia, and we were there for a presentation of Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstor and My Best Friend's Exorcism.
Grady-Hendrix-rev-My Best Friend's Exorcism / Fair use doctrine.All the lights went out except one red spotlight glowing over a podium on the stage at the front of the room. Grady Hendrix walked onto the stage, stepped into the spooky red light and, without preamble, read an excerpt from a book about a town besieged by a rain of maggots. It began quietly, with the creeping dread of a family seeing maggots covering their doorstep, their walkway, their front yard, their fence, unfurling outward over the countryside. It picked up a humorous cadence as Hendrix emphasized the author's constant repetition of the phrase “covered... with maggots,” since, clearly, the reader needs a complete inventory of every single thing that was covered... with maggots.
Hendrix brings up an image on the pull-down screen behind him of a screaming face, missing an eyeball and some skin, crawling with repulsive little white things. It's the cover of the book he's been reading from. You guessed it: Maggots.
Hendrix then gave historical context for the time period leading up to that masterpiece of the written word. For the first half of the 20th century, the horror genre had almost no significance. It provided no answer to the call of social upheaval and cultural change of the 1960s. Horror in the movies was the Gothic fare of the Hammer studios and on television; it was whimsical family comedies. Horror was absent from bestseller lists dominated by literary blockbusters like Catch-22, In Cold Blood, and Valley of the Dolls. Genre fiction was westerns, Gothic romances, and reissues of Tarzan and Conan adventure pulps from decades prior.
In 1971, Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, and Thomas Tryon's The Other were all on bestseller lists and were all adapted into hugely successful movies. They generated multitudes of novels about Satan and the occult, branded with blurbs comparing them to one or more of the aforementioned three. Novels that weren't actually about Satanism were given descriptions, or at least covers, that hinted at something devilish. That trinity of novels had gotten horror taken seriously, and the ensuing imitations rode the wave of the trendy Satanic panic.
On the heels of that craze, the success of The Exorcist inspired David Seltzer to write the movie The Omen, and a novelization of the movie that spawned its own franchise and inspired scores of books about children who were possessed by demons, gifted with supernatural powers, or just generally evil. They didn't even have to be in existence to be menacing. The availability of birth control, the legalization of abortion, and the first “test tube baby” born through IVF led to misinformation, speculation, and, consequently, paranoia. There were books about evil embryos, mutant fetuses, and macabre advancements in any medical technology involving fertility.
Next were the things beyond man's law or control: animals. Peter Benchley's Jaws, Stephen King's Cujo, and James Herbert's The Rats were successful novels that took people's fears of sharks, rabid dogs, and rats and built upon them in ways that were somewhat plausible and wholly terrifying. After that, countless authors utilized every available mammal, amphibian, and insect in their plots. Hendrix displayed covers of horror novels about whales, jungle cats, farm animals, all manner of bugs and crustaceans, both normal-sized and mutated to gigantic proportions: a murderous menagerie dedicated solely to wiping out the human race.
Anne Rice-Vampire-Chronicles-the-wrap / Fair use doctrine.He crossed over to the 1980s and touched on horror subgenres like hackneyed haunted house novels and outlandish medical thrillers. Hendrix also focused on two of the best-selling authors of the 1980s: Anne Rice and VC Andrews. Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles explored the existential dread of the elegant, indulgent undead. VC Andrews only wrote a handful of novels in her lifetime: lurid and scandalous family dramas in sinister Gothic settings. The success of her first novel, Flowers in the Attic created a legacy that was carried on by Andrew Neiderman who has been “ghostwriting” novels under her name since her death in 1986.VC Andrews-Flowers in the Attic / Fair use doctrine.
Horror fiction's success continued uninhibited throughout the decade. Dozens of publishers flooded the market with books nonstop, publishing anything horror, particularly supernatural.
Then, in 1988, Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs came out and won the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award, proclaiming itself the leader of the bloodthirsty pack. The novel and the film adaptation a few years later changed the readers' and publishers' demand from the improbable menace of the paranormal to the entirely possible threat of serial killers. Book covers and content became darker and more sadistic. Many writers didn't adapt to the changing climate or were dropped by publishers who wanted to thin the herd. The horror genre went dormant like a folkloric beast with no peasant population to feed on. “Horror” morphed to “thriller” if it wanted to sell.
The horror fiction of the 70s and 80s was not subtle. The book covers Hendrix showed in the PowerPoint presentation became indistinguishable, using and reusing things like occult imagery, skeletons, broken dolls, evil clowns, and spooky big-eyed children. Plots were derivative or outrageous to the point of self-parody. Hendrix read detailed synopses of several books whose plots and writing didn't just border on ludicrous, they smashed through the boundaries with convoluted storylines, outlandish events, bizarre deviances, clichéd characters, and bad dialogue. The unintentional hilarity wasn't just in the content of the books but in the fact that many of them even got published in the first place.
Ken Greenhall-Lenoir / Fair use doctrine.Despite that, the presentation was as much tribute as it was satire. He went into detail about the lives of some of the artists who painted the covers and the writers who persevered to remain relevant today as well as those who unfairly faded into obscurity. The biggest injustice, Hendrix stressed, was the underwhelming career of Ken Greenhall, whose skill as a writer was comparable to any big name, if not better. He wrote several stunning horror novels but was never considered distinguished from his contemporaries and was moved to smaller and smaller publishing houses. His final book was Lenoir, a historical novel inspired by the model for Peter Paul Rubens' Four Studies of the Head of a Negro. Greenhall's attempt to transcend genres was torn apart by critics and, according to Hendrix's interview with Greenhall's widow, that destroyed his confidence as a writer.Peter Paul Rubens-Four Studies of the Head of a Negro / Fair use doctrine.
Hendrix urged the audience to read books by Greenhall, as well as any other writer whose work he had featured in the presentation, in hopes that, even if the writer or cover artist is no longer living, their contribution to the history of horror fiction will not be forgotten and they will live on through their PAPERBACKS FROM HELL.Grady Hendrix-Paperbacks From Hell-cover / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Laura D. James in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, EVENTS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Ghosted (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Ghosted (2017) at Shriekfest

Ghosted (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Sevgi Isabel Cacina; Writer: Sevgi Isabel Cacina; Stars: Asger Folmann, Shandel Love, Tony Nevada; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK min; Genre: Short, Comedy, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Hello, again, from your creepy correspondent coming at you again with another short film review from LA's Shriekfest earlier this month. So far I've really enjoyed every short from this film festival -- which is pretty darn rare. However, all good things must come to an end, and that end here is with Ghosted. A woman named Sandy (Shandel Love) goes to a shrink with a strange problem, namely that she is haunted by a jealous ghost (Asger Folmann). Written and directed by Sevgi Isabel Cacina, Ghosted is definitely the first weak link I have come across (so far). The biggest issue is a sloppy plot which is not compelling and has aspects that seem needless and, in the case of the ending, confusing. This is labeled as a horror comedy and also a "Fable" (according to the Vimeo link), but, honestly, I didn't get any horror or comedy. And that's a shame because I think the set up is an interesting one. Sadly, the acting, while not terrible is not at the same level as the previous fest entries. It's not all bad as the film is very well shot, and it makes the most of a modest budget. It is also clear Cacina knows how to put together a film with a nice flow editing-wise. I really hate to dump on a movie because even short films take a great amount of time and energy to make, but this one just didn't have a strong, focused screenplay, and it greatly suffered for it. I still would like to see what else Sevgi Cacina has to offer in the future.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: The Armoire (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: The Armoire (2017) at Shriekfest

The Armoire (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Evan Cooper; Writers: Evan Cooper, Brodie Cooper; Stars: Hannah Barlow, Strange Dave, Evan Cooper, Bradley Rose; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK min; Genre: Short, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Hello! Your fiendish reporter here kicking off my Shriekfest viewing with The Armoire, an impressive little gem by newcomers Evan Cooper and writer Brodie Cooper. I watched a lot of short films and, frankly, most of them are terrible. But, to be fair, it's much harder in some ways to make an effective short film because you have to perfectly nail the story theme and mood in a brief amount of time. So when I viewed Evan Cooper's debut The Armoire, I was pleasantly surprised. Emma (Hannah Barlow) is an aspiring actress who just moved into an apartment in LA and must find cheap furniture as she is on a shoestring budget. She seems to hit the jackpot when she finds a wonderful old armoire. Has she made the find of the century or does something sinister dwell within? Cooper skillfully avoids the pitfalls a lot of filmmakers make by telling a simple story yet allowing the true horror and suspense to slowly build and build like a tightrope until the frightening finale. His methods for creating this are equally simple, utilizing great camera work and creepy sound design rather than flashy gimmicks or MTV quick cuts -just pure old-fashioned storytelling. I also love the fact that Evan and writer Brodie Cooper didn't feel the need to overexplain things, giving it a kind of wonderful and scary simplicity. He also doesn't shy away from having some mystery and it leaves you thinking about it after the credits roll. The bulk of the film centers around one actor, Hannah Barlow and thankfully she has what it takes to carry the film. Her acting is solid and she has a natural ease that is both refreshing and also makes her relatable. The fact that this is the filmmakers' first short film is even more impressive, and I cannot wait to see what wonderful tricks they have up their cinematic sleeves. Watch this in the dark if you dare. I am okay with admitting it made me jump.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
RECAP: TWD, S08E01: Mercy (100th Episode)

RECAP: TWD, S08E01: Mercy (100th Episode)

W O W! 😯 Just eye bulging WOW!!!!!!
You know, I was so thrilled to have my beloved The Walking Dead

The 100th episode could not have been more amazing, though. I was thrilled that the whole group was back together and organizing an entire operation together. And my, my, my, our crew sure can pull off some amazing stunts, huh! I'm always thinking to myself, 'OH, that is so genius! I'm going to add that to my notes on How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse'. LOL! It is impressive how much thought goes into this show. I mean, will my geekiness ever become that strong?
Now, allow me to be all over the place with the remainder of this recap (just like the episode).
I did a little bit of a jump on the couch when Carl and Rick were leaving the gas station and a girl walker came shuffling into Rick's view. OMG, it's Summer (Teddy Bear Girl) – talk about coming full circle.
I KNEW Dwight and Daryl were communicating! 😮
Gregory was so pathetic wasn't he?!? The peeping at Negan to see if what Gregory was saying was ballsy enough, and Negan with his “go on'” gesturess. Why, why, why did Father Gabriel feel the need to leave the safety of the car, and risk his neck for Gregory? Gregory did just what I figured he would, and took off in the car without Gabe!
Who is this new kid? I cannot tell if he is sincere or not. Is he safe now? And Rick shooting over his ear. Okay, so you didn't kill the kid with a bullet, but that gunshot will sure as hell draw any nearby Walkers. So the kid is still at risk of dying - only now by Walkers.
OOOOH, the team made it at to where the Sanctuary would get overrun by Walkers. Smooth move indeed!!! But, dammit, Gabriel is stuck in there now! I'm not sure which is better: being outside with Walkers or being inside with Negan.
I'm glad to see Morgan back to work, and (for the moment) sane!
I really wanted to see Carol confront Tobin since she was in Alexandria.
I am so happy TWD is back on, I feel like I just found my favorite blanket again. Come join us on Facebook, we hold group chats during every episode, which is so good to have someone of like to vent with! https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWalkingDeadHeadsUnite.
Seriously, though, who was the young man at the gas station?
Posted by Tammie Parker in SERIES REVIEWS, 0 comments
POETRY TRIBUTE: William Castle

POETRY TRIBUTE: William Castle

POETRY TRIBUTE: William Castle

House on Haunted Hill!

©Rich Orth

Ennis House from William Castle's House on Haunted Hill / Fair use doctrine.You are cordially invited
To the House on Haunted Hill
Hold tight to your seats
Await the thrills
Can you just spend the night
How hard can it be
Not such a fright
That you screamingly flee
An easy 10,000 bucks
Yours for the taking
A little tale of terror
Of William Castle's making
Another priceless performance
by Vincent
Frank Lloyd Wright's structure
breathes
And every time the skeleton
rises from the vat
Several in the audience jump up
to leave
So come have some cocktails
Remember doors lock come midnight
And when all seems said and done
The ghosts will come for you
That begins the true fun...............
Vincent Price House on Haunted Hill / Fair use doctrine.

From The Castle to the Grave!

©Rich Orth

William Castle for President / Fair use doctrine.From the Grave he writes
Invites you into his world.
Scribe that refuses to die
He is risen
As he rises to the occasion
Devises ways for all to succeed
Conceiving the anatomy
Of a story that lives
Awkakens our souls
Exclaims as it unfold
A phantom
living upon a hilltop
gripped by things he doesn’t understand
Death
What is it. Unknown to a dead man.
He ….scares it forward
Elicits the living,,, all onboard..
The tingler ..as it grips
your spine…
The sense of horror..as
it should be defined
Benign..never…
Clever to the end
Endeavor as we intend….
A full moon is love and death and destiny.
As it rises and as it sets
A full moon is love and death and destiny.
and not necessarily all it besets
A full moon is love and death and destiny
As it rises and as it sets
He Scares us forward without regret
William Castle's grave / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Rich Orth in FICTION AND POETRY, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Houses October Built on HoTS LIVE!!!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Houses October Built on HoTS LIVE!!!

The Houses October Built and the recent follow up release, The Houses October Built 2, are two of my favorite films! Let's face it. With the abundance of horror films being made either through Hollywood budgets or Indie fan-funded projects, there's a shit ton of mediocre to bad horror being produced. Since October is the month for horror and scares and with Halloween just around the corner, the options for viewing are endless. During this season I try to stick with Halloween-themed films.
In 2014, I first viewed The Houses October Built. It instantly became part of my personal top five horror films! And, in keeping in with my Halloween-themed films, it's about a group of friends who travel from haunt to haunt in search of the extreme. Now, I ask you: what can be more Halloween than haunts?
Then 2017 came, and the crew released the follow-up, The Houses October Built 2. This sequel answered questions that had left audiences pondering in the closing frames of the original, kept the viewer's Halloween spirit engaged, and ended with an entirely new set of holy-shit-what-the-fuck questions.
After viewing The Houses October Built and launching House of Tortured Souls, I had been trying to get in touch with any or all staff for a written interview. However, once I tracked down the right people through social media, there were always scheduling conflicts. Time went on, and I had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to happen. Still, I proudly supported the films and helped out the best I could on social media by sharing their posts.
It was this past Thursday, October 19, 2017, at approximately 2:30 pm EST when I figured what the hell and sent an email to them in hopes of setting up an interview sometime within the next few years. With part 2 only having been out for a few weeks, I knew they would be busy, but I also figured why not give it a shot? Within an hour, I got a response asking if I was available that day. Long story short, within two hours, both writers/directors/stars of both The Houses October Built parts 1 and 2, Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews, were staring me in the face live through a House of Tortured Souls LIVE video podcast.
We had a great chat, and it was a thrill to have met them and an honor to have them on the show. The guys discuss the origins of the film, working together, haunts, and even dabble in what may be next! So join me as I bring you my afternoon with Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews of The Houses October Built!
Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

It is a great honor for me to introduce next HoTS 'In the Spotlight' Artist: our own Justin Schock!
Justin has done a tremendous amount in the background for House of Tortured Souls this year, so he well deserves this title - and much more! As with many artists, his talent spills over in more than one genre. He records metal music!
Here is a brief bio of Justin "Schock" Terrell:
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jackolanterns-300x300
Schock was a nickname given as a stage name in the early 2000s and kind of just stuck with me all these years... I was born in 1982. I was born and grew up in Anderson, IN. I still live nearby but try to disassociate with the town. Haha! I have one kid, a daughter, who is 9 years old and acts like she's 14. Kids... I'll tell ya. Currently, my normal day job is the Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohl's in Anderson, IN.
And now for our Q&A:
House of Tortured Souls: When did you start drawing?
Justin “Schock” Terrell: I started drawing at a young age, like stupid young. I can remember drawing at 3 years old or so.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-beardskull-300x300
HoTS: What was the first picture you remember doing?
Schock: When I was younger, I would draw comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts while attempting to mock the style. I then moved on around, 4 or 5 years old, drawing Spiderman and Wolverine mostly before developing my own techniques.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jason-300x300
HoTS: Who inspired you when you began?
Schock: I just started drawing things always utilizing pencil only. I use to not care for markers and such. The traditional look of pencil appealed to me. I honestly can't say if I had anyone influence. There were, of course, comic books and cartoons, but I never got the names of the artists. My uncle, Mike Ball is an amazing traditional artist. I mean he doesn't use computers. He was always showing me tricks as a kid, and I admired a lot of the work he did.
HoTS: Who do you follow now?
Schock: Now that I'm older and pay attention to things, some of my favorite artists are James Rowe, Alex Ross, Nikki Bruin, and Scott Anderson. Then there is this one dude, not sure of his real name, but his store is called Electric Zombie. And Ghoulish Gary is hands down amazing, as is Jason Edmiston. Really, there are a lot of insane artists out there.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite creep?
Schock: Favorite creep...hmm well I'm always all over the monsters. It's hard to pick, ya know? Ever go shopping and you see Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein stuff everywhere, but then there's that one off Leatherface item, so you're torn? Do I pick up the traditional monster thing? Or get the slasher? I'm a horror fan, and it's just too hard to pick.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lollipop-300x300
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-ballerina-300x300
HoTS: What is your most prized piece?
Schock: I have a couple pieces that are prized. One is a full pencil/colored pencil piece I did of Reagen from The Exorcist, and the other is a non-horror pencil drawing of ballerina legs/shoes. Both of those are amazing to me because I didn't know I could produce such work.
HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor's markets?
Schock: I have never done any of the cons or markets namely because it takes a lot of money to get started and I totally don't have that kind of loot. But, one day, I will be all over it. I have never done an art show. The art world is a cruel mistress. Fun fact about my region of the world, er, the city: I was told by an artist collective here I was not allowed to join their little club of artists because of my work being mainly horror-influenced. And I went from traditional pencil and paint to almost all exclusively digital coloring, even using Wacom pens to draw without paper. Very snobby artists here. So art shows would only happen, again, if I had the money for it, and if I was more well known.
HoTS: Are you working on something now?
Schock: As of now, I am working on some watercolor paintings, the annual Drawlloween pictures which I'm doing all pencil this year, images for HoTS. As well as working on my next record. I make hardcore/metal music also. All written and recorded by myself called xSCHOCKx, which can be found here: xschockx.bandcamp.com I jump around mediums, drawing, painting, music and even writing. Working on a collection of short stories with a friend. No title yet, but its very X-rated and scary all at once.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-regan-300x300
HoTS: Do you do commission work?
Schock: I do, indeed, do commission work. I'm always open to anything graphic design in advertising, drawings, logo design, the list goes on and on. A list of services and prices can be found on my site (listed below), and it does not have to be limited to horror works. That's just my thing. I've done stuff for the MS people, Diabetic Youth Foundation, and even random churches. A good artist doesn't limit his focus.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
Schock: I am all over the social media and Internet. Heres a list:
Damn that's a lot. Nah, but I do a lot of different things artistically and sometimes they blend together. I use my nickname for both my artistic and musical endeavors, so that it’s easy to promote both.
Folks, be on the lookout for more of Justin. He is amazing, and we here at HoTS plan on keeping him around for many moons to come.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lady-300x300
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
HAUNTED ATTRACTION: BloodShed Farms

HAUNTED ATTRACTION: BloodShed Farms

Looking for more to do than just 31 days of horror? Front porch all decorated and waiting for trick or treaters? Then go to a local haunt! Chances are there's one close to where you live, and you don't even realize it. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to do just that in Columbus, New Jersey. Columbus brings BloodShed Farms to life!
The location is relatively convenient, and the setting is perfect! Once you have paid your admission, you walk through a small section of a cornfield trail that opens up into a grass-based clearing, almost like a park. There you have vendors, interactive events like pumpkin smashing, food vendors, and, hell, they even have a decapitated basketball throw. There are picnic tables for resting frightened bones and even a stage for the endless entertainment they offer, be it scary-okee or the likes of a special guest, like The Enigma who will be there on Friday and Saturday the 20th and 21st... Sorry I had to miss that! Their roaming characters that are great at interacting with guests and are always willing to do a photo opp.
From the central area called The Reapers Ball, you can easily be guided to one of the five attractions that they offer.
BloodShed Farms - Clown-O-Phobia / Fair use doctrine.
Clown-O-Phobia is an incredibly well-built walk-through that will keep you moving and always keep you guessing. Welcome to the mind of The Circus Rejects! From screams to laughs...and even bubbles, you won't be let down!
The Trail of Terror is just that! Mix Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre together with some amazing props and terrorizing actors that even the deepest South wouldn't want to mess with, and you are on the right TRAIL!
BloodShed Farms - Trail of Terror / Fair use doctrine.
BloodShed Farms - Hellsgate Asylum / Fair use doctrine.
Hellsgate Asylum...WOW! This walk-through will quickly penetrate your deep psyche as you enter into this insane asylum gone.....INSANE! A number of hospital props and character acting in Hellsgate was truly amazing and blood-curdling!
The Last Ride was actually the first event that I ventured on. You are seated with approximately 20 other guests on a cornride - not a hayride but cornride - through a vast property (all cornfields) with creatures of the night lurking and leering at you and some even jumping on the ride to torment and scare. They even bring back the dead at the end of the ride. That made it a real thriller!!
BloodShed Farms - The Last Ride / Fair use doctrine.
BloodShed Farms 06 - The Camper
The Camper Escape Room is one attraction that, sadly, I did not venture through, but I really wish I had! It is exactly what it says it is: a full-size RV/camper that you enter and have 15 minutes to figure out how to escape!
My night spent at BloodShed Farms was one that I shall not soon forget and will most definitely make the two-hour drive back to experience again! The night was dark, lit with smoky skies, and it was as if I had walked through a cornfield and wandered into a nightmare of a Halloween carnival. I was introduced to many of the staff who actually told me they were sorry that we had come on that night because of some staffing/technical issues. If I could have punched them all in the dick for having said that I would have. devil-emoticon It was awesome, and I hope all the staff and owners of BloodShed Farms are proud of the job they are doing! I would be.
Be sure to check them out online, and check their calendar because the days of the month are going fast. Prices vary, but they are very reasonable for what BloodShed Farms offers. The haunt is child- and family-friendly....but it ain't Disney. Use some damn common sense. If you know your kid or spouse is a wimp, then leave them at home... Or bring them and torture their ass. Muhahaha! That works too! Lines may be long, so get there early or ask about the VIP program.
Any horror and haunt fans in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, or Maryland areas should get off your asses and get to BloodShed Farms. And tell them I sent you! My only disappointment is that I hardly took any pictures because I was having too much fun, but please take my word for it – you do NOT want to miss this.
Thank you, BloodShed Farms, for a great Halloween night of fun and terror. It was the most fun we have had in a long time!
KEEP IT EVIL...
Posted by John Roisland in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, 0 comments
EDITORIAL: Six Things That Will Make the New Halloween Amazing

EDITORIAL: Six Things That Will Make the New Halloween Amazing

Horror fans all over lost their collective minds over the news that Jamie Lee Curtis will once again return as Laurie Strode in the new Halloween film, and while fans patiently wait I had my own ideas on what needs to happen for this to be awesome. In the extremely off chance a studio executive is reading this please take notes.
1. Make it a direct sequel to Halloween II
This is largely considered what will happen and indeed it makes the most sense. When I first heard this I thought, wait H20 was a very good follow up to Halloween II — and indeed when I watch the films I make it part of the Laurie trilogy (and I ignore Halloween: Resurrection because it's terrible). This also brings me to the number two entry…
2. Set the timeline in the early 80s NOT in modern times
There are conflicting reports about the timeline. Some are saying they are setting it in modern times while others are predicting it will literally pick up where Halloween II left off. I, for one, would love this movie to be set in the 80s, and with nostalgia filled projects like Stranger Things and It making huge waves, it just may. And as I mentioned above H20 basically already did the modern Laurie and her struggles — and brilliantly I might add. There really isn’t anything new to bring to that.
3. Ignore the other sequels
If, in fact, this picks up where Halloween II leaves off the problem of sequels disappears nicely. It also doesn’t ignore them (because they simply didn’t happen at this point) but it doesn’t highlight them either. In a way it’s a nice comprise for both lovers of the sequels and those who only liked the first two. Again it just makes things easier and makes more sense writing-wise.
4. Avoid gimmick casting
No LL Cool J, and no Busta Rhymes; keep it simple while casting it. This doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a familiar face or two but try and be classy about it. Since it might be set in the 80s maybe even shock rocker Alice Cooper in a fun cameo?
5. Handle Dr. Loomis carefully
Dr. Sam Loomis is such a beloved character that if this film indeed will pick up where Halloween II ended they want to pay close attention to exactly how the Loomis character is handled. After all, we saw Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin come back for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with mixed results so, hopefully, they can bring Donald back with more success.
6. Be careful with fanservice
Fanservice for a popular film can both help and hurt — Cult of Chucky, to me, felt like it suffered from bad fan service, adding the Andy character which did nothing to help the already confused plot. However, in H20 fans were treated to some great moments that hearkened back to the series yet felt organic to the plot. Hopefully, this can be handled with some measure of restraint.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EDITORIALS, HALLOWEEN, 0 comments
COMING SOON: TWD 100th Episode on Oct 22, 2017

COMING SOON: TWD 100th Episode on Oct 22, 2017

In seven days (“Seven days...”), The Walking Dead Season 8 will start out with their 100th episode.
It did take a long time for us to get here, us DeadHeads have to suffer a longer break than normal shows, then there's this mid-season break to go through. I mean SHIT.
In anticipation of the event, AMC released these videos:

Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, and Lauren Cohan from the cast of The Walking Dead photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Art Streiber on June 24, 2017, in Senoia Georgia. / Styling: Elaine Montalvo / Prop Styling: John Sanders / Costumers: Mia Nunnally, Derrick Vener
Season 8 will also be the beginning of war between Rick and 'the good guys' and Negan and 'The Saviors'. Season 7 ended with Shiva, a tiger (YEAH, a TIGER!) jumping in and saving the day and ripping Saviors apart! I have waited so long to hear Negan's response to Shiva! I can't wait how he puts that in words. There was also that moment when we saw in Rick's eyes that he got his balls back, wasn't submissive at all and calmly told Negan he would kill him! OMG that quickly became my favorite scene of all time!!  I am so ready for the war to begin. The show was already suspenseful, not it will be pretty damn close to unbearable! So much to take in! So many emotions to go through, I personally am creating new cuss words to shout at the screen during the first episode of season 8!
Through the years, Entertainment Weekly has put out some incredible photos of the cast before the newest season. This coming season is my absolute favorite!
Image: Entertainment WeeklyAndrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, from the cast of The Walking Dead photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Art Streiber on June 24, 2017 in Senoia Georgia. / Styling: Elaine Montalvo / Prop Styling: John Sanders / Costumers: Mia Nunnally, Derrick Vener
Image: Entertainment WeeklyMelissa McBride from the cast of The Walking Dead photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Art Streiber on June 24, 2017, in Senoia Georgia. / Styling: Elaine Montalvo / Prop Styling: John Sanders / Costumers: Mia Nunnally, Derrick Vener
Image: Entertainment WeeklyNorman Reedus, from the cast of The Walking Dead photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Art Streiber on June 24, 2017, in Senoia Georgia. / Styling: Elaine Montalvo / Prop Styling: John Sanders / Costumers: Mia Nunnally, Derrick Vener
Image: Entertainment WeeklyDanai Gurira as Michonne from The Walking Dead / Image: Entertainment Weekly
Image: Entertainment WeeklyAndrew Lincoln from the cast of The Walking Dead photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Art Streiber on June 24, 2017, in Senoia Georgia. / Styling: Elaine Montalvo / Prop Styling: John Sanders / Costumers: Mia Nunnally, Derrick Vener
Photo Credit: Alan Clarke/AMC / Entertainment WeeklyAustin Amelio as Dwight - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Gallery - Photo Credit: Alan Clarke/AMC
Image: Entertainment WeeklyAndrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, from the cast of The Walking Dead photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Art Streiber on June 24, 2017 in Senoia Georgia. / Styling: Elaine Montalvo / Prop Styling: John Sanders / Costumers: Mia Nunnally, Derrick Vener
Posted by Tammie Parker in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MUSIC REVIEW: JasonXVoorhees – Horror Edge (2016)

MUSIC REVIEW: JasonXVoorhees – Horror Edge (2016)

These dudes really know how to bring forth a record that is HARDCORE! Extremely influenced by black metal, hardcore, punk rock, and pretty much everything bloody all the while being a straight edge band, these guys fucking hit it hard!
With an ominous intro dark and divine as you'd expect from any horror based band, it lays precedence to the album ahead. With an obvious metal and horror influence, they let it shine through. Some of the mixing with the gang vocals could have been mixed and maybe reverbed out to sound like there were 5,000,000 people instead of five, but whatever to that. It doesn't take away from the fact they get what they want to say out there and as hard and heavy as can be.
Track by track it kicks you in the face with the hardcore sound. "What's Your Favorite Scary Movie" is probably hands down my favorite song on the record. The punk rock vibe is definitely what I'm used to and what I listen to on a regular basis with the upbeat "skanking" style that you can easily dance to, or stand there like an emo and just bob your head while looking at your shoes. No matter what your secular division of life or who you are, it will get you moving. Then "Still Following" comes on, and it's the same ordeal — fast hard and punk rock...except with a break down that's heavy and catchy all at the same time. You can't beat this style of music they're going on with. The mixture of metal, punk, and hardcore is just fantastic with a perfect combination of all that gives you something for all walks of the underground world. Want them to play a punk show? No problem. Hardcore? Easy. Metal? For sure. They can achieve all and perform to every crowd with ease.
Like all horror punk or horror-influenced bands, song titles and references are there for the songs either in title or lyrics. The true sound of their influences shines through everything from AFI and Misfits to Leviathan, Slayer, Mayhem and even more punk style. It's clear that JXV knows what they want, and their sound all over the spectrum conveys what's what with this band. Working closely with Rikk and Cal of JxV on a few projects artistically and accompanying them on some comps put out by Optimist/Pessimist records which is run by Rikk, I can say they're amazing cats all around. Being a fellow straight edge myself, it's awesome to have a family like this in the horror world. The first time I saw their title "Horror Edge", I knew these guys were either going to be cock suckers and not worth befriending or they're going to be brothers. Lucky for me, the latter was the case. I highly recommend that you listen to Jason X Voorhees and support them in every way. Even if you're not into straight edge life, if you're a music fan, metal head, hardcore, punk...what the fuck ever. This band is for you.
JxV on Optimist/Pessimist Records - Bandcamp
Posted by Schock in HALLOWEEN, MUSIC REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments