House of Tortured Souls

Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King!

Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King!

Buckle up, Constant Readers, because House of Tortured Souls is paying tribute to the father of contemporary horror – Stephen King. This post won’t be as long as one of Mr. King’s novels, but you might want to get a fresh beverage and a snack before continuing.
Comfy? Got your drink and snack? Good. Then follow us as we delve into a few of the memories Mr. King has given us. It’s not dark here – certainly not as dark as Pet Sematary – but you might want to keep a lamp burning. Just in case.Simpsons Opening-Stephen King / Fair use doctrine.

I’m His Number One Fan! Wait…

By Woofer McWooferson

I honestly can’t remember the details of my first exposure to Stephen King’s work, but I do remember that it changed my life. As a horror fan, I read everything horror that came my way. When someone mentioned this new writer and his book Carrie, I gave it a shot and have never looked back. I tore into everything that he wrote like a werewolf starved for human flesh and finding the tastiest morsel around. My family and friends were thrilled as they now had a guaranteed gift for the freaky kid – anything King.
horror-novel-thestand / Fair use doctrine.When The Stand was released, I was a freshman in high school. I snapped it up fast and read it in record time even for me. Those of you who’ve read The Stand (or seen the mini-series) know about Captain Tripps. You can imagine, then, how freaky it was for me when I caught a cold while enjoying it. Strangely, every subsequent reading also resulted in a cold. That’s a bit trippy, don’t you think? Later, when the unabridged version was released, I also snapped it up – and yes, I got another cold – and enjoyed it even more than the heavily cut original. Many Constant Readers have said they don’t care for the unabridged version as they feel it adds nothing to the story, but I have to respectfully disagree. King is the master of detail, and I found all the extra bits particularly satisfying. The Stand remains my favorite standalone King work.
The Gunslinger trade paperback / Fair use doctrine.And then The Gunslinger was released. My then-boyfriend, Rich, got an advanced release, read it, and passed it along for me to read. We both fell in love with Roland Deschain. Rich was as much of a horror fan as I was, and we shared many glorious King novels before eventually parting as a couple but remaining friends. But it was his gift to me of The Gunslinger that will always be most special. He started me on the road to the Tower and even accompanied me about halfway there. We’ve fallen out of touch, but I still think of him fondly and wonder what he thought of the rest of Roland’s tale. Did he love it as much as I did? How could he not?
Although I’ve read everything King’s written thus far, none have had the impact on me that The Stand and The Dark Tower did. Indeed, King’s influence on me was such that I found myself speaking of him during the oral portion of my master’s exam. I didn’t exactly plan to bring up King, and I wasn’t sure what the panel would think of my comparisons even as I spoke. He wasn’t exactly taught in college back then (at least not much outside of the composition classes I taught), after all, and I nervously smoked outside as the panel discussed me and my answers. Apparently, they found my comments valid because I did receive my MA. Thanks, Mr. King.
Today, I raise a glass to you and wish you the best. May you continue to fuel our nightmares for many more years to come. Happy birthday!

By Scarlett O

I was a mere tot when the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining came out in theaters in 1980; nevertheless, I was allowed to watch it before the age of ten. How times have changed! It was my very first horror movie, and I can honestly say without reservation that I’ve never been the same since. Both traumatized and intrigued, the level of terror that this particular movie held for me has set the standard for which I judge all horror movies. Needless to say, that’s a pretty high bar that few other horror films have been able to come close to clearing. As an adult, I read the actual book from which the movie is based and like all other good books, Stephen King’s The Shining reaches a level of impressive that I couldn’t have imagined in my worst nightmares. To this day, large hotels with seemingly endless hallways or hearing “REDRUM” gives me chills. As it should.The Shining - Bloody Elevator / Fair use doctrine.
Though there were clear differences between King’s novel and Stanley Kubrick’s direction of the film, such as the main character’s name (Jack vs John Daniel), physical appearances (blonde Wendy vs brunette), preference of cartoons by the boy Danny (Sesame Street vs the Road Runner), and even the hotel room number (217 vs 237), and perhaps the most interesting – that one ended in fire (the book) and the other in ice (the film), it’s obvious that readers and viewers alike could appreciate the artistic thrill of them both. Still, it should not go without mention that none of this would have been possible if the one and only Stephen King had not written the infamous novel in the first place.

By Michelle MIDI Sayles

On this day in 1947 a King was literally born – Stephen King that is!
It wasn’t until 42 years later that I discovered his literary world and my own thirst for horror grew in me, like a beast of its own.
I was 9 and at a slumber party with three other girls watching the VHS release of Pet Sematary. Unlike most girls, I didn’t hide under the blankets during the “scary parts” or scream. I just watched with amazement as Gage’s, Church’s, and Louis’ antics mesmerized me.Church-Pet Sematary_02 / Fair use doctrine.
I was so enamored with the film that I begged my parents for a month to buy me the novel for my 10th birthday, and I still have that battered and much loved copy to this day (after countless rereads).
From that moment, I was glued to all things King! I spent my teen years on a mere babysitter’s budget (choosing that and my studies over flipping burgers part time like most kids here). I would frequent yard sales and second-hand markets to find older but cheaper copies of King’s novels so I could stockpile all of his books (one day, when I retire, I will try and read any remaining that I have yet to tackle). I recorded each mini-series and film that came onto my screen to VHS, so I could watch it again and again (The Tommyknockers, The Stand, Children of the Corn -and sequels- etc). I clipped articles about my idol and more recently began collecting merchandise related to his works.
Through bad relationships, schooling, work life, having a family, and even suffering losses, King was my beacon. At any time, I could immerse myself in a book or film of his and just feel centered and at home.
Happy birthday, Mr King, I doubt you understand the impact you have had on many lives, but you’ll always be special in mine.MIDI's King collection

By Schock

The horror world wouldn’t be the same if not for author Stephen King. His novels – that seem to multiply like gremlins – and movies that spawned from his narratives have become a staple in the world of horror, terror, and suspense. When we hear the name Stephen King, we think only of monsters and twists that ensue within the stories he’s penned as well as the rich east coast New England area of his mind.
My first encounter with anything Stephen King was Carrie – the movie based on the novel that we have all come to know as an ultimate in psychological (and psychic) terror. I discovered at a young age my love for the underdog, but my apparent blood fetish spawned way later in life. That’s another story altogether… Carrie introduced me to the world of King and I wanted to dig a little deeper. I then discovered other movies based on his novels – Cujo, Christine, Children of the Corn, Thinner, Needful Things, Cat’s Eye, The Shining, Stand By Me, Pet Semetary, IT… The list goes on and on and on. Then there are the King short stories translated to film. My absolute favorite of these is “Sometimes They Come Back”. Obviously, if you can’t tell, I didn’t read a lot as a child; I threw down on the movies, though, and when I got older I discovered that the novels were actually pretty easy to find. So I began the hunt for as many as possible in my area.
Christine was the first book I acquired, and reading the book, I could feel what he was writing more so than the movie portrayed. So I wanted more. I wanted to see how the stories could just put fear and terror into people. The directors of the movies really shined a light on the stories with their films. Some of the novels, though, like IT are thicker than every version of the bible put together. My friends and I use to have an ongoing joke when we would discuss Stephen King movie and book comparisons. He used three pages just to describe the treads on the tires in From a Buick 8. That brings me to something that King inadvertently taught to those of us who are creators of art – whether it be prose, poetry, music, or the visual arts: detail is KEY to making sure you give the audience every inch of what your mind wants to get out. This was a beautiful thing to learn from King’s legacy of horror and terrifying tales.From A Buick 8 / Fair use doctrine.
If anyone deserves to be awarded the title King of Horror or Master of the Macabre, it is none other than Stephen King himself. King’s not a man who walks around mopey and weird as you’d expect a horror writer to be. He’s a regular man, a visionary, and an inspiration – and not only to filmmakers and fans. He has inspired now for decades, generations even, and will continue to inspire for many years to come. When we are all long gone from this earth and some weird alien life goes digging around, they’ll find one (or thirty) of his novels and be terrified at what they read. Let’s hope that one day this happens and Stephen King will be known to these people thousands of years from now as a God.Stephen King-Pet Sematary / Fair use doctrine.

Happy Birthday to the *King* of Horror

By Tammie Parker

horror-novel-firestarter / Fair use doctrine.I read Firestarter when I was 8! That truly did raise the bar pretty high for all trying to scare me from then on out. I had a tough childhood, this was written for me! OH, to have the power to set shit on fire!
A truly odd fact is that we read IT in English 101 in my 8th grade class!! A bit of an odd book to use to teach all about grammar, huh? We even watched the original movie right there in class.   horror-movie-it-original / Fair use doctrine.Although the monster at the end disappointed me, I loved the story and the build-up. I loved the goosebumps, the hair-raising, eye-bulging, hanging onto the bed rail, it’s-way-past-my-bedtime words!
After IT, (a few years down the road) I fall in love with Misery. horror-novel-misery / Fair use doctrine.The cockadoodie potty language definitely had me cracking up. Stephen King taught me how to find out when someone was going into my private stuff!
horror-novel-doloresclaiborne / Fair use doctrine.And then Dolores Claiborne. I truly loved the character Dolores! Having personally gone through 10 years of molestation, this novel was tough to read. However I wanted to read it through, I was certain I would be ecstatic with Dolores’ settling this chaos. I love how simple it is to travel into the story, Stephen completely takes you there. There is never a question of the color of the sky, the scent in the air, especially the creepy thing lurking around the corner.
Then came The Stand, which very rapidly became my favorite book.
horror-novel-thestand / Fair use doctrine.Stephen is probably the source of my love for dystopian horror. The Stand opened my eyes to so much! Scenarios I had never thought of before. Human characteristics and how we would react, and what we would become if/when something happens.
After that (again a few years down the road) Dark Tower novels, WOWZA what a story!!
I have YET to see the movie, but I love the cast! And the trailers look absolutely amazing!

I have read Desperation, The Dead Zone, and, well, it is safe to say Mr. King is my most read author. During my research, I found out that Stephen and his wife Tabitha actually stayed in the real Stanley Hotel as he wrote the novel! I fell in love with him all over again. What a true badass! And what a wicked imagination 🙂
Happy 70th, Mr. Nightmare Maker!

What Stephen King Has Meant To Me

By Dixielord

Stephen King's Full DarkI discovered Stephen King sometime around the mid 80s. I don’t remember exactly when, about my senior year in high school or maybe my first year in college. I remember a high school friend/acquaintance was reading Christine, and me, to my utter shame now, thought reading a book that big was the nerdiest thing in the world. How things change.
Christinebecame one of the first King novels, probably THE first novel, that I read. I think Night Shift was the first book, followed by Skeleton Crew, as I fell quickly in love with his short stories. I devoured his short stories rabidly, as quickly as I could get my hands on them. Then I started on the novels – Christine, Carrie, Firestarter, everything my college library had to offer, including the non-fiction Danse Macabre. It was through Danse Macabre that I became aware of H.P. Lovecraft.
Is it fair to say my life was changed? It was changed, dear readers. I had transformed from someone who laughed at readers to a voracious reader, from a man who had never heard of Lovecraft to a hardcore fan of the Cthulhu mythos and the unspeakable horrors from beyond.
Out of college I continued to follow him, buying his books when I could afford to, checking them out of the local library when I couldn’t. I built up a nice collection of hardcover King over the years. After his near-fatal accident, his stories changed, and my life changed as well. I lost my mother to cancer, and his books started taking on a more depressing (at least to me) tone. The recurring theme of God demanding a sacrifice started to wear thin on me, and I just recently realized why. Don’t get me wrong, his writing was still top notch, but I couldn’t take the new stuff. I stopped reading King altogether after Desperation. I still cherished my King collection, though, and it nearly killed me when I had to sell them.
Sell your King collection? Blasphemy! Sadly, life doesn’t always go as planned, and losing my job with no employment in sight meant I needed money. Of all the books I owned, I hated putting up my King collection for sale. But someone offered me too much money, and I needed money too much. I said goodbye with tears in my eyes.
I came back to King, and I’m still coming back, going back for the books I missed and grabbing the new ones as well. Now, new fans are discovering Stephen King, and old fans are rediscovering him. IT is in the theaters, reinvigorating horror in general, and putting the master’s name back on the lips of everyone. The Dark Tower is just out of theaters. All of this has brought me back to my books, thinking about reacquiring the ones I had to sacrifice. King changed my life. Stephen King gave me a life, he gave me books and made me a reader. He opened worlds after worlds.

By Brenda Wilder Antlitz

Carrie-Sissy Spacek-John Travolta / Fair use doctrine.I was first introduced to the King, Stephen King that is, in the winter of 1976, the year that Carrie, came out. I was 12 at the time and in junior high school, which meant that 1) every girl was in love with John Travolta, and 2) I was too young to see it in the theater. So after hearing all of the cool kids telling us about the movie, especially the ending when the hand comes out of the ground, I knew I had to see it! But what was I going to do? And then I knew. I would do the next best thing: go to the bookstore.
The bookstore experience was just as exciting – walking down the aisle of the horror section, smelling the scent of new books under the incandescent lights, and looking for the name Stephen King. Even his name sounded grand! As I walked, I looked and looked, then and there it was: Carrie. I quickly opened it up, flipped through the pages, my hair flying back, as I watch the words fly past me, and I then floated to the register where I paid and become the proud owner of my very first (but certainly not last) Stephen King novel!
When I got home, I got a bottle of Coca-cola and went straight up to my bedroom (my safe haven), and I began to read Carrie. It was in the early afternoon when I began reading, and I only stopped to go to the bathroom, which I did with all lights on of course! LOL. But I simply could not stop reading it… I could relate Carrie White. Completely.
I felt as if Stephen King saw through me and wrote this character about me (except that I did not have special psychic abilities nor a crazy, religious fanatic for a mother). I was a very shy loner, misunderstood and bullied so bad that my only escape was through books, TV, music, and movies. And so, because of Carrie White, I became a horror lover and not just of the Friday the 13th kind but of the psychological kind. The kind that makes you think – and question – EVERYthing!!
After that, I was hooked on The King of Horror!
Stephen King became known not only for his novels and their adaptations to the big screen but also for the works that made it to the small screen, TV. You have to realize that back then we only had a handful of TV stations. Cable was new (we did not have it), and VCRs were just starting to come out although few could afford them, yet. So when there was a movie of the week, or better yet a mini-series, it was a big deal! An event, even.
'Salem's Lot / Fair use doctrine.The first major Stephen King-based mini-series was a two-night event, and it’s still talked about to this day. ‘Salems Lot, staring David Soul and Lance Kerwin, debuted on 11/17/1979, and it was something we’d never seen before. A second ‘Salem’s Lot mini-series (remake not sequel) debuted on 11/19/2015 and starred Rob Lowe, who played Nick Andros in the mini-series of The Stand. If you ask people what they remember about it, they will tell you that it scared the crap out of them.'Salem's Lot mini-series remake / Fair use doctrine.
I could go on and on with the list of books and movies, that Stephen King has written, but there is not enough time or room.
All I can say is this: there are writers who affect only a few, and Stephen King is not one of them. Stephen King has affected generations! He is the reason why most of us became fans of horror/thrillers, became writers – authors, even – readers, and film fans. For me, not only did he do all of the above, but he also was an influence on my becoming a paranormal investigator.
I guess all that is left to say, besides “Thank You”, is happy birthday to The King of Horror, Mr. Stephen King!!
From House of Tortured Souls to you, Mr. King, fangs for everything.horror-stephenking / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
HoTS Explores Halloween Goodies 2017 – 1 of ???

HoTS Explores Halloween Goodies 2017 – 1 of ???

House of Tortured Souls is committed to bringing you all things horror, and Halloween is OUR holiday. As such, HoTS staff will be making videos throughout the Halloween season as we explore the decor and goodies out this year.
First up, ZombieGurl takes you through some of the items available at Michael’s.

Next, ZombieGurl shows us what’s up At Home (the store, not her home, but I imagine they’re quite similar decor-wise).

John Roisland tours Spirit Halloween and outlines their goodies for 2017.

Schock visits Halloween City and reveals some interesting items.

Finally, John Roisland takes a tour of his local Target and shows us what they’re offering.

Stay tuned for our second installment of 2017 Halloween goodies.
Until then, creep on.
-Woofer
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HALLOWEEN, 0 comments
THIS JUST IN: Jamie Lee Curtis Returning to Halloween

THIS JUST IN: Jamie Lee Curtis Returning to Halloween

She’s Baaaaaaaaaaack!!!

Lately, it seems that the horror world we all have grown to love and honor has been on a dizzy downward spiral with news of sequels, remakes, and nonsense not even worth mentioning – unless you’re a 16-year-old who loves PG-13 horror films and has the attention span of a turtle. With all that mumbo jumbo said, it comes with great pleasure to announce that a new Halloween installment is being put together by Blumhouse, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, and the master of horror himself, John Carpenter. The news broke earlier today and included some really great news – the original Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, will reprise her role as Laurie Strode.

What do we know about the new installment thus far?

Well, for starters, we know that John Carpenter and Jason Blum are heavily involved. We know that Danny McBride co-wrote the film with David Gordon Green, who is directing as well. We also believe that the film will take place roughly after the events that happened in Halloween II (1981). It seems that this will be the version that everyone wished that was gonna happen when we got Halloween III: Season of The Witch (which is not a bad film at all) instead. Halloween III is great on its own, but it doesn’t fit with the direction the franchise took. Had it continued as John Carpenter originally intended, a series of films telling different stories set around the Halloween season. We also know that the film will go back to the basics, back to when the franchise was scary, and if Carpenter is behind this damn thing 100%, then you know he isn’t gonna let bullshit get in front of cameras. Especially when it comes to Halloween. Last, but certainly not least, we know that John Carpenter is not only serving as Executive Producer, but that he very much wants to score the film as well.
News doesn’t get much better than this, especially for a huge Halloween fan like myself.
So now that we have a new film scheduled to be released on October 19, 2018, it’s also being touted as the final film in the Halloween franchise. If you ask me, the box office will decide on that or not. I, for one, am highly excited to see the new film, and I am also excited to see Laurie Strode and her brother, the maniacal mass murderer known as Michael Myers, go head to head one more time.
Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted earlier:
Same porch, Same clothes, same issues 40 years later. Headed back to Haddonfield one last time for Halloween.
Jamie-Lee-Curtis-Halloween-tweet / Fair use doctrine.Next October can’t come soon enough!!!
Posted by Jonathan Hughes in HORROR HEROES, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
In Memoriam: Basil Gogos

In Memoriam: Basil Gogos

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

A Small Gallery of the Art of Basil Gogos

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

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

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR HEROES, OBITUARY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
COMING SOON: AMC’s The Walking Dead 100th Episode Contest

COMING SOON: AMC’s The Walking Dead 100th Episode Contest

The Walking Dead’s 100th episode will begin season 8 on October 22, 2017! It’s hard to believe that after 7 years, October 22nd will only be the one hundredth episode. But as long as it takes for a new season to come on, and the mid-season break does take up a lot of time. On Sunday, September 10th, during the return of Fear the Walking Dead, there will be an exclusive sneak peak into this special occasion. Take a look at this video that the folks at AMC put together of the best scenes of the last 99 episodes.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead will be the beginning of the war between Negan and The Saviors and our man Rick and everyone else! The season premieres are in generally pretty thrilling, and since this is the 100th episode, I imagine they have some very special treats for their fans.
Come join our The Walking Dead Facebook group. As always, we will be having a group chat during the episode. Since you are already going to be screaming at your TV, crying, and laughing, so why not join the fun with like-minded fellow DeadHeads.
Just yesterday AMC announced that they are holding a contest where the winner (one extremely lucky fan) will be flown to see the special and sit in for a 2-hour filming of The Talking Dead. The winner will even get a photo with the entire cast! Oh MAN! Just think of it. You would be up close and personal with the crew of The Walking Dead! :O (I think I truly would become one of the walking dead as I’m fairly certain I would die a million times over if I won!)
Here is the link to enter this amazing and generous contest. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Posted by Tammie Parker in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – September 2017: Ryan Case

Artist of the Month – September 2017: Ryan Case

Ryan Case is an artist and co-owns Sink or Swim Art Gallery in Louisville, KY, with his wife, writer/artist/poet Bridget. In their own words:
I am Ryan. It took me many years to feel comfortable enough to call myself an artist, but that is what I am. I create mainly with ink and acrylic paints, but I’ll use whatever is laying around the studio from time to time. My subjects are an entire spectrum of the adorable and abominable. I am a homeschooling dad of 2 girls by day, and creative monster machine by night.
Bridget is a writer, poet, abstract painter, and jewelry designer/maker. She is known for her fierce attack in your face poetry. She is active in the animal rights, LGBT and Women’s equal rights movements, and her passion is reflected in her works and words.
AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-01House of Tortured Souls: When did you know you were meant to be an artist?
Ryan Case: I’ve always been drawn to art. it was always my escape and my friend.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-08
HoTS: And why do you still do it?
RC: It’s a passion/obsession. I can’t not paint. I’m drawn to it, and it makes me feel better. It’s my own private therapy. I’ll always create.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-03
HoTS: Where do you pull your inspiration from?
RC: I absorb movies and music. though not all my paintings are of monsters, horror movies have been a huge influence on my work since day one.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-04
HoTS: Do you have a piece you have done that you are the proudest of?
RC: I think I am most proud of my pet portraits.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-02
HoTS: Why is that?
RC: They are usually commissioned after a pet has passed away, so I want to give them the life they once beamed out.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-05
HoTS: Who is your favorite artist?
RC: My favorite living artist is Chet Zar, and my favorite dead artist is Salvador Dali.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-07
HoTS: What advice would you give to young artists out there?
RC: Never ever ever give up. Every piece you do is another step closer to where you want to be. Fuck rejections. Fuck toxic people. Kick all that out of your life and mind. Focus on your work and what you want to accomplish.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-10
Check out this gallery opening video to see a little bit more of what you can expect at Sink or Swim Art Gallery.

Stop by their Facebook page and give it a like.
And don’t forget to visit their Sink or Swim Art Gallery to see more awesome horror art – some of which is available for purchase. And Halloween is just around the corner.
Posted by ZombieGurl in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, Homepage picture, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: American Horror Story: Cult (5 September 2017)

COMING SOON: American Horror Story: Cult (5 September 2017)

A Look At American Horror Story: Cult

Okay, okay, okay – American Horror Story: Cult is coming! So, with this last trailer they have released, I have put together that a political figure (with shady past, looks like she murdered someone) has a fear of clowns, someone a tad upset over the murder is out for revenge and royal pisses in her fruit loops!
I had to blurt that our first. Many of my fellow AHS fans having been wondering if the clowns in the sneak peeks were a representation of the circus act going on in the White House. I say YEP, but they do pull off the clown plot in the story.
For example, this poster could easily be seen as all the red states and a lone blue in the mix. And I did pick up on the hints of a hive-like cult suggestion from that poster of the female clown with skull open and a bee hive where a brain should be and the beehive pattern of the background. In one of the trailers, a mass of bees fly out the mouth of the clown at center of circle.

And the symbol, sometimes it is unclear as to how many sides it has, could easily be the Pentagon (maybe Sarah works there), but it’s sometimes shown in the trailers more as symbol of beehive.
From the commercials, it seems more put together than “Roanoke”, and with much more Evan Peters (for that fact alone, you have my full attention ;-)), so already more people are interested in this season! I do not have Coulrophobia personally but tons do, so this season will certainly keep many peeking at the TV screen from under a blanket while holding tightly onto their teddy bear. An absolutely brilliant move by Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchak! Fans did, after all, shout out their disappointment in “Roanoke”.
I, myself, was not a fan of the show until the trailer for season 5. Lady Gaga walking down a creepy hotel hallway as a Countess had me hooked! I’m not even a fan of Lady Gaga, but that scene was absolutely perfect, and I was dying to see if she pulled the role off as she appeared to be perfect for it. I soon after started a Facebook group for the show Fans of AHS. We have group chat during the airing of each show, and all mention of that episode is kept in the chat until two days after because our friends across the pond do not get to watch the same day as those of us in the US. I was thrilled for the most part, the ending of that season did disappoint me, and I was ‘meh’ for several scenes, but I did binge shortly after starting the group. I loved “Murder House” and “Coven” was pretty good as well. “Asylum” and “Freak Show”, however, could not capture my attention. I do love Twisty though. 🙂 I will speak more of him in an upcoming clown article I have planned for House of Tortured Souls. I quickly discovered I am in love with Evan Peters! I am aware that so are thousands of others, but I will warn you I am a big gal and stubborn AF.
For the most part, I love American Horror Story. We certainly needed a horror show, and we most definitely needed one that switched it up every season. I am LOVING the clowns in the trailers. They look phenomenal (and appear to be scary as hell – especially for those with a fear of clowns), and their cult dances set up the anticipation nicely, and I have my finger crossed that they pull it off smoothly and AHS: Cult be my new favorite season. 🙂
American Horror Story: Cult premieres on 5 September 2017, so get your snacks and security blanket ready – and happy viewing!
Posted by Tammie Parker in EDITORIALS, HORROR SERIES, TELEVISION REVIEWS, 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
In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper: Gone But Not Forgotten

It is with heavy heart that we report the passing of the ever so great Tobe Hooper – the man who brought us many, MANY great horror flicks, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Poltergeist, The Fun House, Lifeforce, Salem’s Lot, and Toolbox Murders – among others. His legacy of horror films are what spawned fear and intrigue on several levels for all of us here at House of Tortured Souls. We will be paying tribute to him, so stay tuned to find out how his work has influenced our work and our lives.
Here’s a list of his directorial credits alone:
  • Djinn (2013)
  • Destiny Express Redux (2009)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “The Damned Thing” (2006)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “Dance of the Dead” (2005)
  • Mortuary (2005)
  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Taken (TV Mini-Series) (1 episode) – “Beyond the Sky” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Cargo” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “The Maze” (2002)
  • Crocodile (Video) (2000)
  • The Others (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Souls on Board” (2000)
  • Dark Skies (TV Series) (1 episode) – “The Awakening” (1996)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Turnabout” (1995)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Absolute Zero” (1995)
  • The Apartment Complex (TV Movie) (1999)
  • Prey (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Hungry for Survival”: Unaired Pilot (1998)
  • Perversions of Science (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Panic” (1997)
  • The Mangler (1995)
  • Body Bags (TV Movie) (segment “Eye”) (1993)
  • Night Terrors (1993)
  • Tales from the Crypt (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Dead Wait” (1991)
  • Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories (TV Mini-Series documentary) (1 episode) – “Ghosts R Us/Legend of Kate Morgan/School Spirit” (1991)
  • I’m Dangerous Tonight (TV Movie) (1990)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (1990)
  • Freddy’s Nightmares (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1988)
  • The Equalizer (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No Place Like Home” (1988)
  • Amazing Stories (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Miss Stardust” (1987)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Invaders from Mars (1986)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • Billy Idol: Dancing with Myself (Video short) (1983)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Fun House (1981)
  • Salem’s Lot (TV Movie) (1979)
  • The Dark (replaced by John Cardos, uncredited) (1979)
  • Eaten Alive (1976)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Eggshells (1969)
  • The Heisters (Short) (1964)
Now, pop in a classic, grab your favorite snack, and celebrate the scares that he gave us.

Poster Gallery of Some of Tobe Hooper’s Films

Click for larger image.
Posted by Schock in Categories, EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, TRIBUTE, 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
COMING SOON: Hatchet 4 – Victor Crowley (2017)

COMING SOON: Hatchet 4 – Victor Crowley (2017)

The Hatchet Army got a big surprise when they attended the 10th Anniversary Celebration in LA on August 22, 2017, at Arclight Hollywood. Everyone showed up to see a special showing of the original film but got a whole lot more. Director Adam Green surprised fans by debuting his fourth installment of his slasher franchise instead. The movie, aptly title Victor Crowley, sent the crowd into a frenzy and you could tell the Hatchet Army was still strong. In an age of script leaks and hackers, it is amazing that this was pulled off without a “hatch”. Brian Farmer, director of upcoming 2018 film Blue Call, was one the lucky attendees. When asked how he felt about the surprise, he told me this:
My jaw hit the floor…Victor Crowley is back and he’s even more pissed off then ever before. There’s something special about the fourth installment. Of the Hatchet series. If you have the chance to catch it in the theater, don’t miss it! Adam Green is back baby!
Kane Hodder reprises his role as Victor Crowley and scream queen Felissa Rose will make an appearance. The rest of the cast includes Laura Ortiz (The Hills Have Eyes(2006)), Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie), Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween), and franchise favorite tour guide Parry Shen. The official synopsis released sounds just as fun and bloody as the original.
Synopsis: In 2007, forty-nine people were brutally murdered in Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp. Over the past decade, lone survivor Andrew Yong (Parry Shen) still claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the massacre but has been met with great controversy. Now a twist of fate puts Andrew right back at the scene of the grisly murders and Crowley is mistakenly resurrected.
Writer/director Adam Green was quoted in a press release stating:
Resurrecting the series for its tenth anniversary was our way of saying thank you to everyone in the Hatchet Army and beyond who has supported this series since its inception. This bloodbath is for you.
He also told Entertainment Weekly how he approached pulling this off without anyone knowing:
The script was called Arwen’s Fancy Dinner and then, when we were shooting, it was called Arwen’s Revenge, just because that was easier to fit on a camera slate. Nobody ever spoke the words Hatchet or Victory Crowley. Also, it really came down to me sort of sitting down with each and every crew member for a while, and explaining why I was doing this, and who we were doing it for. Maybe not everyone in the world is going to have their life changed when they hear, ‘There’s a new Hatchet movie.’ But for the fans that do love this so passionately, it is going to be a surprise, and I’m just so happy that it stayed that way.
Victor Crowley will be screening at the upcoming FrightFest Festival in London. Then it will hit select theaters in the US this October as part of what is being called the Victor Crowley Road Show. Green among other cast members will travel with this show and provide special introductions to these one-night screenings across America.
I don’t know about you all, but I cannot wait. The kills in the Hatchet movies are unlike no other. I will definitely be watching out for this one to see if it releases near me or even just within driving distance. This would so be worth the road trip. Check out the official teaser trailer below.

Happy nightmares!
ZombieGurl
Posted by ZombieGurl in Categories, COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, HORROR SERIES, 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
CONCERT REVIEW: Slayer (28 June 2017)

CONCERT REVIEW: Slayer (28 June 2017)

SLAYER…SLAYER…SLAYER…SLAYER…

Slayer 01 / Image: John RoislandDid I mention SLAYER? Anyone who has ever seen the band live knows this chant oh so well! Many, many months ago, I was fortunate enough to have interviewed BJ McDonnell on a House of Tortured Souls Live podcast. McDonnell, aside being a great guy, was also the director of Hatchet 3 and most recently helmed the Slayer trilogy of music videos, which are combined make a short story and are INCREDIBLE! Well, after the interview, I had mentioned that I wanted to try to interview Slayer for the website, and after a little pushing, he gave me a few names to try. So try and try I did – for months on end. At last, word of Slayer touring surfaced. Long story short, from one name to another name, from one email to a different phone number, I landed my first photo pass for Behemoth, Lamb of God, and FUCKING SLAYER!!!!!! The days couldn’t pass quickly enough!!
Friday, July 28, 2017, was the day of the show. Fortunately, I had a pretty decent day at work, so getting out on time was going to be no problem. All I would have to do is get home, get dressed, and head into downtown Baltimore. Just one small problem: FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS! The entire tri-state area got hit with downpours all day. Their promoter kept in touch with me all day, assuring me the show would continue. Guess I should have mentioned, the show was being held at a pavilion on the inner harbor, so weather could have had a huge impact on the show.
So after getting into downtown and saying FUCK YOU to the pavilion parking ($50.00! Ha!), I parked two blocks away in Little Italy (for $3.00). I then walked my ass through the now heavy mist of rain, got to will call, and there it was – my beautiful pass. I had seen Slayer many times growing up, but it was this show, at this moment, that my knees actually shook for a second.
Slayer 02 / Image: John RoislandBy the time I got in, Behemoth had already finished their set, so I pulled out my camera and lined up in between the stage and the barrier that surrounds the stage. Lamb of God came on and put on one HELL of a show!! I’ve always enjoyed them, but truth be known, I wasn’t really familiar with a lot of their work. The show they put on made a fan out of me! With photo passes, you’re allowed in a designated area for the first three songs, then out you go so the front row people can enjoy the show without folks in the way.Slayer 03 - Lamb of God / Image: John Roisland
About an hour later, Lamb of God was off the stage, and Slayer’s crew was setting up. The rain stopped, the darkness took over, a cool breeze whipped through the pavilion, and you could hear the chant – ”Slayer! Slayer! SLAYER! SLAYER!!” The other cameramen and myself all lined up to get into our photo op area. The house lights went out, the roar of the crowd grew louder, and the spotlights projected pentagrams on the ceiling. At last – SLAYER had taken the stage.
The entire time I was in the photo area, I had this smile plastered on my face that couldn’t have been beaten off my face with a baseball bat. There I was, standing in between Tom Araya and Kerry Fucking King, snapping pictures like a crazed tourist eager to document every moment! I was there…at the stage…closer than anyone else. The music blared, yet I heard nothing. As I mentioned, this was my first opportunity in a photo pass situation, and it was surreal. I’ve been up to – and even on – many stages for many bands through the years, but this was different. Only a few were allowed to go beyond the barrier, and I got the chance to be one of them.
After our songs were over and it was time for me to head out, I did stop and manage to take a selfie of me and Tom Araya as he was singing. I had to! I walked out and stood outside of the crowd on side stage and watched the show, walking around in awe of what I had just achieved – not only for House of Tortured Souls, but also for myself.Slayer 04 / Image: John Roisland
Slayer fucking killed it…as always. The light show was incredible, the sound was awesome, and the line up they played…well, you name it and they slayed it – from new to old. Man I couldn’t have been happier. The crowd sang along to all the happy little ditties about God, Satan, war, hatred, violence, and death. I watched over the crowd and saw heads banging, arms flying, and not a single ass in a seat. As I said before, I’ve seen Slayer many times over the years. I am a HUGE fan! Years back, I would have been down in the pit, crowd surfing, or you name it. This time I was glad to have my camera with me and had the chance to watch them for who they are. I was not let down at all.
In between songs as I watched alongside the stage, the crowd screamed, but the band just stood still. Then Tom walked to the mic, hands crossed over his bass, and waited for silence. Watching him stand there, it wasn’t a look of arrogance he wore but one of power. And everyone got quiet. It’s hard to explain the powerful presence the band has, but it’s truly amazing to see up close.Slayer 05 / Image: John Roisland
For over 30 years, Slayer has remained true to who they are, and it’s safe to say they ain’t never gonna change! Say what you will about other metal bands – bands who may have just tour, but Slayer still reigns. Indeed, they are still the best heavy metal band of all time.Slayer 06 / Image: John Roisland
Will I continue to go see Slayer if they come back around on another tour you ask…YOU BET YOUR ASS!!
Keep it Evil…
Posted by John Roisland in Categories, MUSIC REVIEWS, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls Gear at TeePublic

House of Tortured Souls Gear at TeePublic

Do you want stuff? Of course! We all do.
Well, look no further because we have stuff for you, and that stuff can be purchased from TeePublic with one of three exclusive House of Tortured Souls designs.
Check out what you can get emblazoned with one of these original killer images:
  • T-Shirts
  • Tank Tops
  • Crewneck Sweatshirts
  • Long Sleeve T-Shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Baseball T-Shirts
  • Kids T-Shirts
  • Kids Hoodie
  • Kids Long Sleeve T-Shirt
  • Onesie
  • Wall Art
  • Notebooks
  • Mugs
  • Phone Cases
  • Laptop Cases
  • Stickers
Fair use doctrine.

TWO DAY SALE PRICES!

For the next two days only, House of Tortured Souls tee shirts are on sale for $14.00 at TeePublic! You can’t beat that deal with a stick! (We know because we tried.) So get yours now – and pick up one for a friend. You’ll be glad you did.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, HoTS, 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
CONVENTION REVIEW: Days of the Dead – 2017 Indianapolis, IN

CONVENTION REVIEW: Days of the Dead – 2017 Indianapolis, IN

DotD / Courtesy ZomieGurl-DaysoftheDead Indy 2017.
ZombieGurl (far left) with Eileen Dietz and fellow con-goers Kim (far right) and Maria (back).
This past July I was able to represent House of Tortured Souls at the awesome Days of the Dead convention in Indianapolis, IN. It was my second time volunteering for this con when they gave me the go ahead to cover it in a more professional aspect and write about it. Let me give you some history about how this con came to be.
Co-founders Adolfo Dorta and Rick Lara used to run a website called From Dusk till Con. In the beginning, DOTD was going to be a Midwest expansion of another well-established horror convention and they had approached From Dusk Till Con about sponsoring an even for that show. However, just a few months after the decision, the original promoter had changed their mind. This caused Mr. Bill Philputt (one of the people putting it together) left without a partner and a hotel space to fill. Adolfo stated, “Rick and I were offered the opportunity to step in as partners in what went on to become Days of the Dead. As huge horror fans who would go to several conventions a year, it was kind of a no brainer.” From there, their first show was held in July 2011 in Indianapolis, IN.
This year’s Indy show was special. It introduced the DOTD Hall of Fame. After years of guests giving their all, the show wanted to give back. The inaugural inductees were Jason Hover (owner of Jabb Pictures), Roddy Piper (RIP), and the legend himself Sid Haig.
Sid Haig, 2017 DoTD Hall of Fame Inductee / Courtesy / ZomieGurl-DaysoftheDead Indy 2017.
Sid Haig – 2017 Days of the Dead Hall of Fame Inductee

Each DOTD con also offers a Chaostume Showdown featuring special guest judges and face off events at times. It can be extreme. They will often pair with tattoo artists to bring you live tattooing. Get your favorite celeb to sign your arm and then get it tattooed. Numerous guest panels, film screenings, vendors/artists, and after parties. In addition to all this, DOTD also collects for local non-profit organizations. The Indy show campaign and food drive, titled DOTD: More Grains, broke their record books. They collected enough nonperishable food to feed approximately 3,000 meals to both people and pets in need in the Indy area.
One regular attraction at these conventions is the sideshow act of Captain and Maybelle – “America’s Favorite Sideshow Couple”. They have performed at Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Americas Got Talent season six, Coney Island, and many other events. I had a chance to ask the beautiful Maybelle what they thought of working with Days of the Dead, her response was perfect, “DOTD is a place for like-minded horror fans to come together and enjoy diverse entertainment, panels, shop unique vendors, and meet a broad spectrum of celebrity guests. We enjoy connecting with our fan base and expanding our brand across the country with people who truly appreciate SHOCK!” You can visit their site at Captain & Maybelle: America’s Favorite Sideshow Couple!.
Captain and Maybelle / Courtesy https://captainandmaybelle.com.
Captain and Maybelle – seven sword and balloon swallow
Days of the Dead now occupies five cities a year: Louisville, KY; Indianapolis, IN; Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; and Chicago, IL. And, between me and you and all their fans, I wouldn’t expect it to stop there. If you get a chance to check it out, let us know. I will be attending the Louisville show for sure and can’t wait to share my experiences with you all.
Happy Nightmares!
ZombieGurl
Posted by ZombieGurl in CONVENTIONS AND EVENTS, 0 comments
PREVIEW: Stranger Things, Season 2

PREVIEW: Stranger Things, Season 2

Like most of you horror junkies, you have a huge monkey on your back and that monkey is named Stranger Things. For those of you living under a rock, the mega hit Stranger Things is a series that masterfully fuses pulse pounding horror and humor, all wrapped in a warm blanket of 80s nostalgia. And now us hooked rabid fans must wait until October before we get more ST goodness. But just to keep us semi-slated a brand-new trailer was premiered at SDCC.

The New Cast:

Along with the returning cast we are in for an array of new faces joining the upside down! Sean Astin: This one is pretty cool bit of casting considering Sean Astin was an original Goonies member. His character will be Bob Newby a boy from Joyce’s (Winona Ryder) past who just so happens to manage the local RadioShack. Another genius stroke because not only does this play into the sci-fi tech angle of the show, but it offers another sadly bygone slice of 80s culture.

*SMALL SPOILER*

Spoiler title

About Paul Reiser…

And now from a former Goonies to a fellow Aliens cast member, Paul Reiser joins the gang. It’s not known whom he will be playing apart from a high ranking member of the shadowy front known as Department of Energy. Its sounds like his character will be similar from Aliens. It is unclear at this point if Reiser will be indeed a villain or a hero and the actor has been understandably tight-lipped on the subject.
Other new cast members include Linnea Berthlesen, Brian Gelman, Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery. The little info me know thus far: Spoiler Free. Creators and show runners the Duffer Brothers told Entertainment Weekly that this season will be more James Cameron inspired (echoing the casting choice of Paul Reiser). It is also said to reveal more info about the upside down and the creatures within it. Rumors have it the fright factor will also be getting amped up leaving many of us fans even that more excited about it.
I guess I’ll have to be happy with new Rick and Morty to keep my inner nerd child happy until I can get my Netflix fix.
Stranger Things season 2 will premiere on Netflix October 27, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in TELEVISION 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