sid haig

“The Only Way Out… Is Down”

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

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

Cody Longo in Death House.

Cody Longo in Death House.

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

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

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

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA.

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

IMDb provided a great quote:

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

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

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

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

Cortney Palm in Death House.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

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

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

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

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

Dee Wallace in Death House.

Dee Wallace in Death House.

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

Death House - Kane Hodder arriving on set.

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

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

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

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

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

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

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

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

HoTS: What is the theme for Death House?

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

Death House - The Five Evils

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

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

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

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

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

“The Only Way Out… Is Down”

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

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

Cody Longo in Death House.

Cody Longo in Death House.

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

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

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

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA.

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

IMDb provided a great quote:

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

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

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

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

Cortney Palm in Death House.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

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

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

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

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

Dee Wallace in Death House.

Dee Wallace in Death House.

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

Death House - Kane Hodder arriving on set.

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

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

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

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

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

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

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

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

HoTS: What is the theme for Death House?

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

Death House - The Five Evils

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

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

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

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

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: Monster Mania 37

CON REVIEW: Monster Mania 37

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

It’s 10:15 am, and I have arrived for what will become my fourth time to Monster Mania horror convention. The guest list was actually pretty decent this time around, and I always look forward to seeing my horror family and friends who attend regularly. As I pull in front of the hotel, I'm automatically routed through the parking lot, past what was a free parking lot of a closed on the weekend business plaza but is now a $15.00 pay to park ripoff. Well, that shit ain't going to fly with me, so I ended up about three blocks away. My choice, but honestly, I think having to pay to park now is a pretty shitty deal. Onward to the CON!!
Aside from honestly wanting to see the faces of old friends, I had an agenda. You see, House of Tortured Souls - after much waiting and pulling of hair - finally has merchandise. T-SHIRTS!!! I had one on (looking awfully dapper, I must add), and the three that I brought with me were spoken for. Two were for the Soska sisters, Jen and Sylvia. How could I present a shirt to only one of them? The final shirt was slotted for ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. I was on a mission from God!
Monster Mania, I am here! The lobby held the usual handful of stragglers and lines already formed for certain celebrities. I made my way through the lobby to the ticket table to pay. Now I understand conventions and also understand a large percentage of the staff is comprised of volunteers. I could only hope the two not so pleasant ladies I encountered were volunteers and not representatives of the convention itself. No eye contact, no verbal greeting of any kind, didn't even ask how many. As a matter of fact, I actually had to get their attention, not that they were busy, but they just didn't care. It was as if I was placing a food order - although at least at a fast food joint, the employees would have acknowledged me. After I got my wrist band from Ms. Happy, off I went.
The layout is always the same, and in my opinion, is done quite nicely. Having to go from one end of the building and through the always crowded lobby to get to the main celebrity room can be a pain if you’re in a hurry - and especially so if the hallway leading to the celebrity rooms is packed with people waiting in lines that have been formed to keep the main room operable. So it works, no one to blame, it's a busy place. And when it's busy, and in the middle of August, it tends to get a bit warm and the air conditioners just can't seem to handle the demand. Again, no one's fault.
After getting my wrist band, I headed over to the main celebrity room to find where the lovely Soska sisters were. To my surprise, they hadn't even shown up yet, and there were only about 10 people in line for them. So I became number 11. They didn't show up for about 45 minutes, but I really didn't mind because I waiting next to Ms. PJ Soles, who was already hard at it, working alone. An autograph and picture combination was only $20.00! I wish more were like that. She had a good, constant line going, and everyone - including her - seemed to be having a good time! For those of you who know me, I've always said that PJ Soles is the nicest lady you would ever want to meet.
At last the Soskas came out and were cheery and loving to everyone there! Of all the celebrities I have been fortunate enough to meet, I've got to say that the Soska sisters are by far the most energetic and appreciative of the people who come to see them. When it was my turn at bat, before I could even say hello, they were literally on the table giving me a hug. Everyone got a hug. I told them of the website and presented EACH of them (lol) with a t-shirt, sticker, and business card for House of Tortured Souls. Jen read off my phone number to me and said, “Halloween will be here and I will be pretty busy, as you can imagine, but don't be surprised if I do call”. She gave me her email address and told me to reach out to her for the interview I had mentioned earlier. The two of them offered to do a video promo with the shirts I gave them, hugged me again, and I was gone. It was a pleasure and honor to have had the opportunity to meet them. So that's one – or two! - down.
I made my way back through the now heavily crowded ticket area and lobby to get to one of other celebrity rooms on my way to meet Scott Ian!! I have been a big fan of Anthrax since....8th grade? I've seen them numerous times in concert but have never actually met any of them, so this was a really big deal to me - especially since Scott is a horror fan himself. I walked straight through the room and right up to his table where, to my surprise, there is not one person there to see him. I smiled, introduced myself, and explained the website and how he was part of my mission. I inquired about trying to set up an interview, and without even looking at me, he said simply, "Contact my label". Nevertheless, I presented him with his shirt, also with card and sticker, and he quickly handed it to the person that was with him and it was out of sight. I had to think quickly as his attention wasn't on me and he didn't seem to even want to be there. I asked if I could grab a picture of him just holding up the t-shirt. Sadly, he gave me this look and said simply, "Yeah, I really don't like to do that". Before I could feel like any more of a loser (since I now felt completely destroyed), I shook his hand and thanked him for his time, turned, and casually walked away. Maybe he had a bad morning, maybe there was no hot water in his shower, or maybe his breakfast was cold. Who knows? There could have been a million different things that might have been wrong with Mr. Ian that morning. After talking to others about him later, they all said how much fun he was the night before. Well, he is a rock star, and they usually don't do mornings. What was I thinking? What I was thinking was that he was there for his fans, and despite what issues may or may not have been, he was supposed to be there for his fans. I am still a fan, but I do wish things had been different. He was just very unreceptive. Oh well...
I then made my way through the now pretty damn crowded venue and skimmed through all the vendors. Sooooo many vendors… I truly wish I had a lot more money to spend on because I wanted it all - from t-shirts to action figures to DVDs and custom, handmade crafts! And yes, although you will find a lot of the same items at some vendor tables, there are still many unique items that you just don't find anywhere other than at cons.
I especially loved these awesome shadowboxes from Curious Goods.Halloween and Trick 'r Treat shadowboxes
I did have the pleasure of running into a good handful of friends, and it was, as always, great to geek out with all of them. Then, I looked past them to see a dark figure in the distance, a man with a certain presence about him. It was the one and only Father Evil. Father is a good friend of mine personally and I always look forward to seeing him at the show. It's a thrill to see just how far he has come and to know how far he's headed! Lou, to you and Sarah, all our love and support!
Now, from the moment I stepped foot in the lobby, there was something not right...something was amiss. It actually took me a while to put my finger on it, but I suddenly realized what it was. There was next to no cosplay. There were, of course, fans dressed as their favorite horror characters, but there was really no cosplay to be found. This was something that always welcomed me to the con as clowns would at the entrance to the circus big top. And that’s what had been missing all day - the circus! If you’ve ever attended a con, you know that attendees take tons and TONS of pictures with those cosplaying. It really kind of warms you up and gets you in the festive spirit of the convention. Through trusting friends, I found out later that day that the promoters of the Monster Mania wanted all cosplay people to pay even if they were just hanging out in the lobby. Many cosplay people attended and staked out in the lobby, just to add to the party, free entertainment if you will. Were they causing issues? Not that I could tell. Now, for whatever reason is was - be it money alone or what, I really don't know, sadly many have since sworn off returning. This was not just a shame; it was a damn shame. It really seemed to have taken away from the spirit of what I knew to be Monster Mania.
As 2:00 pm neared, I had done just about all there was to do. I hadn't planned on staying late, or even till dark, but to be ready to go at 2:00 pm was just wrong. Something was seriously amiss. I made one last round through the building to say my goodbyes. I stopped and thanked the Soskas again and, while doing so, got to shake hands with Sid Haigas he was passing through. So there’s that.
Please, don't get me wrong. I didn't have a bad time at Monster Mania, and I'm not bashing it. I've seen tons of pictures from others who were there, and they all had a good time. I love horror conventions, and yes, I'm a big boy and understand that things are what you make of them. But there was a different feeling this time around. Here’s hoping next year it’s back to abnormal.Trick 'r Treat shadowbox
Keep It Evil.
Posted by John Roisland in EVENT REVIEWS, 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 EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
VORTEXX THANKSGIVING WEEK SCHEDULE FOR NOVEMBER 20 – 27, 2016

VORTEXX THANKSGIVING WEEK SCHEDULE FOR NOVEMBER 20 – 27, 2016

By The Crimson Executioner
&
Woofer McWooferson
Welcome to The Vortexx where it's been ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME FOR SIX YEARS!
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in THE VORTEXX! We have a great line-up of hosts, shows, and movies for your holiday pleasure, including one new movie making its Vortexx debut on Friday, along with an all-day Double Turkey Day Marathon at the Peninsula of Horror on Saturday and a Misty Brew Fangsgiving Special on Sunday to conclude the holiday weekend. On Wednesday we will announce the winner of our prestigious Golden Turkey Award for Horror Host of the Year. An All-Day Marathon of the recipient's shows will begin immediately after the award is announced culminating in a brand-new show by our award-winner on Thanksgiving Day.
Our hosts are Arachna & Deadly and Ron Purtee on Sunday, Vincent Grimmly & Phydeaux on Monday, Freakshow & the Bordello gang on Tuesday, Bobby Gammonster & Boris the Buzzard on Wednesday, Scarlett Kaiju & CJ the Werewolf on Friday, Professor Gillman and Master Vyle at the Peninsula on Saturday, Misty Brew next Sunday -- and, of course, our Golden Turkey winner (who may be one of the hosts previously mentioned or, then again, maybe not) on Thanksgiving Day itself.
CHRISTMAS DADDY will make all your Christmas wishes come true!
Christmas is little more than a month away, and that means our very own bearer of Yuletide gifts CHRISTMAS DADDY will be coming to The Vortexx soon to make your Christmas wishes come true. A new slack module . . . a membership in the Puppy of the Month Club . . . a Dr Lady action figure . . . a singing Sluggo plushie that also does lap dances. . . . Those are just a few of the wonderful gifts that Christmas Daddy has given to our viewers in years past. Whatever your wish may be this year, just send an e-mail to Christmas Daddy at The Vortexx North Pole and he'll do his very best to make it happen. You can reach Christmas Daddy at christmasdaddy@horrorhost.net

Sunday (11/20). 9:00 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.]
BEWARE THEATER
presents
THE MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1953)

BEWARE THEATER with Arachna of the Spider People and her friend Deadly presents another cinematic gem from the Golden Age of Black & White -- THE MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1953) starring Jackie (Uncle Fester) Coogan and George (Ro Man) Barrows in one of his rare non-gorilla roles. It's got mad scientists, gigantic spiders, voluptuous women, and dwarfs! How can any movie with a combination like that possibly go wrong? Join us tonight and you'll find out. [Movie poster by Sean Hartter courtesy of Saturday Fright Special.]

Sunday (11/20). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
MOVIE HOUSE HOT TAKE
discusses
WOLF COP (2014)

Please Note: Arachna's show will be preceded by a MOVIE HOUSE HOT TAKE with Ron Purtee. Tonight Ron takes a few moments to talk about the Canadian horror-comedy WOLF COP (2014).

Monday (11/21). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
NIGHT CHILLS THEATRE
presents
HORROR EXPRESS (1972)

NIGHT CHILLS THEATRE with Vincent Grimmly and his co-host Phydeaux presents a Vortexx favorite -- HORROR EXPRESS (1972) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Telly (Kojak) Savalas. Our three stars find themselves traveling on the Trans-Siberian Express, accompanied by the frozen remains of a primitive humanoid creature who, needless to say, doesn't stay frozen for long. As always, Vincent has added some pizzazz to the mix with numerous sound inserts and other extras. Meanwhile back at Castle Pappdeckel, Phydeaux comes down with a fatal case of the bird flu. Is Phydeaux REALLY dead? Find out tonight in this fun episode.

Tuesday (11/22). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
BORDELLO OF HORROR
presents
SPIDER BABY (1968)

BORDELLO OF HORROR with Freakshow, Mistress Malicious, Sgt. Drizzlepuss, Ali Katt and Marijohuana celebrates its 100th episode with a Vortexx favorite -- SPIDER BABY (1968). In one of the best roles of his career, Lon Chaney, Jr., stars as Bruno, the caretaker of three orphaned siblings who suffer from "Merrye Syndrome" - a rare disease which causes them to mentally, socially, and physically regress backwards. Lon also sings the title song as the opening credits roll! Sid Haig, Carol Ohmart, and Mantan Moreland co-star. Tonight's episode was filmed at the October 1 live show at the Al. Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Wednesday (11/23). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
MONSTER MOVIE NIGHT
presents
DOMINIQUE IS DEAD (1979)

MONSTER MOVIE NIGHT with Bobby Gammonster and Boris the Buzzard presents DOMINIQUE IS DEAD (1979). Academy Award winner Cliff Robertson, who could play good guys (including an American president) and bad guys with equal ease, stars as a greedy husband who drives his wife (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Jean Simmons) to suicide so that he can get his hands on her fortune . . . only to find out that she has come back from the dead to haunt him! Dominique is dead, all right. She's all messed up. Jenny Agutter, Simon Ward, Ron Moody, Judy Geeson, and Flora Robson round out a strong cast in this British made-for-television horror-mystery-thriller.

Wednesday (11/23). 11:00 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.]
The Vortexx
presents
THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARD 2016

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring to you . . . THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARD FOR 2016! The Golden Turkey Award is the highest honor The Vortexx can bestow upon a horror host. Each year one host is selected from among all the fine hosts whose shows have aired on our channel as the recipient of this prestigious award. Previous winners have been Victor von Scary, Justy Ghost, Floyd Cadaverous, Freakshow, Bobby Gammonster, and Cnl. Graves. Who will be the next host to join this prestigious group? Come by tonight and find out!

Wednesday (11/23). 11:15 P.M. (ET) [Time approximate.]
The Vortexx
presents
THE GOLDEN TURKEY DAY MARATHON

Be sure to stick around after the award ceremonies for THE GOLDEN TURKEY DAY MARATHON featuring four movies hosted by this year's award winner. Obviously we can't tell you the name of the winner or the names of the movies, because that would ruin the whole surprise. But we'll be posting a promo on the Vortexx group page and the Vortexx fan page Wednesday night as soon as the award is announced. The marathon will run from approx 11:15 P.M. on Wednesday until 9:00 P.M. on Thursday.

Thursday (11/24). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
The 2016 Golden Turkey Day Award Winner
presents
EEGAH! (1962)

Now that Thanksgiving is almost over and you've had your fill of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie, come on by The Vortexx for our THANKSGIVING GOLDEN TURKEY DAY SPECIAL! Tonight we will be airing a brand-new episode hosted by the winner of the 2016 Golden Turkey Award. We can't tell you the name of the host, but we will tell you the name of the movie. It's none other than EEGAH! (1962) starring Sluggo's heartthrob Arch Hall, Jr. and co-starring Marilyn Manning. Arch and Marilyn play a couple of clean-cut teens named Tom and Roxy who stumble across a giant prehistoric caveman (Richard Jaws Kiel) in Bronson Canyon (the same place where Ro-Man cavorted a decade earlier). Roxy befriends the caveman and gives him a shave, and the big galoot falls in love with her. This is a love story that you know cannot end happily. Arch Hall, Sr., plays Roxy's dad, while Arch's mom (Addalyn Pollitt) and Ray Dennis Steckler (aka Cash Flagg) appear in smaller roles.

Friday (11/25). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
MANSION OF MYSTERY
presents
The Vortexx premiere of
SLIPSTREAM! (1989)

MANSION of MYSTERY with special guest host Tripp Punter presents The Vortexx premiere of SLIPSTREAM (1989) directed by Steven (TRON) Lisberger. Bill Paxton (of Titanic and Aliens) stars as a bounty hunter in a dystopian future who kidnaps a murderer (Bob Peck) out of the hands of two police officers (Mark Hamill of Star Wars and Kitty Aldridge) so he can claim the bounty for himself. The two men travel among several bizarre societies with the police officers in hot pursuit. The strong supporting cast includes F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter), and Ben Kingsley (Gandhi). Meanwhile our guest host Tripp Punter, leader of the Legends of Fifteen Minutes Ago, and his trusty A.I. Caiaphas set out to reassemble the team after the events of their last appearance in July. Their mission is complicated by a stowaway who mistakes Tripp for another, more famous time traveler, leading to a series of visits to other times and places, each housing a familiar face. The events of this fun episode, entitled "No Time Like the Future", lead into the epic season finale, coming next month.

Saturday (11/26). 3:30 P.M. (ET)
PENINSULA OF HORROR
presents
DOUBLE TURKEY DAY MARATHON!

Welcome to the THE PENINSULA OF HORROR'S DOUBLE TURKEY DAY MARATHON! Our good friends at the Peninsula of Horror -- the showcase for Florida's finest horror hosts -- will be airing a full day and night of shows presented by PROFESSOR GILLMAN SHOW and HOUSE OF MASTER VYLE PRESENTS. We guarantee that each show will be a turkey fit for Thanksgiving. The times below are approximate. A hosted chat will begin, as always, at 8:00 P.M.
  • Saturday (11/26). 3:30 P.M. (ET) - WOMEN IN THE NIGHT (1948) - A World War II melodrama set in Shanghai, China about group of women held prisoner at a German officer's club. Hosted by Master Vyle.
  • Saturday (11/26). 6:00 P.M. (ET) - UFO: THE TRUE STORY OF FLYING SAUCERS (1956) - A pseudo-documentary about (you guessed it!) flying saucers. Hosted by Prof. Gillman.
  • Saturday (11/26). 8:00 P.M. (ET) - THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY (1958) One of K. Gordon Murray's many Mexican imports. Hosted by Prof. Gillman.
  • Saturday (11/26). 9:00 P.M. (ET) - THE MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1953) Starring Jackie (Uncle Fester) Coogan and George (Ro-Man) Barrows. Hosted by Master Vyle.
  • Saturday (11/26). 10:45 P.M. (ET) - TEENAGERS BATTLE THE THING (1958) A movie about a mummified ape that was re-released 18 years later with extra footage as Curse of Bigfoot. Hosted by Prof. Gillman.
  • Saturday (11/26). 12:00 P.M. (ET) - THE RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING SKULL (1937) A supernatural western starring The Three Mesquiteers (Bob Livingston, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, and ventriloquist Max Terhune). Hosted by Master Vyle.

Sunday (11/27). 9:00 P.M. (ET)
MISTY BREW
presents
MISTY BREW'S FANGSGIVING SPECIAL

We end our Thanksgiving Weekend with MISTY BREW'S FANGSGIVING SPECIAL! Tonight Misty will be presenting an assortment of holiday treats, including a cartoon short, vintage TV ads, a 30-second turkey drop, turkey dressing tips from Misty, and a music break with Black Oak Arkansas, and much, much more! George Burns & Gracie Allen will also be dropping in for dinner tonight. It's gonna be a lot of fun, so don't miss out!
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HOSTED HORROR, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JULY

HISTORY OF HORROR: JULY

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

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

July 1 - 7

 

July - Trilogy of Terror-1975 Karen Black07/01/1942
Karen Black (actress in many horror films) born

 

July - Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window (1954)07/02/1997
James Stewart (actor in Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo (1958)), (b. 1908)

 

July - Day of the Dead07/03/1985
Day of the Dead released theatrically

 

July - Silent Hill 3 video game07/03/2003
Silent Hill 3 released on the PlayStation and PC in Japan

 

July - Adam Brooks07/03/????
Adam Brooks, known for Astron-6, Manborg, and Father's Day, born

 

July - Scary Movie 207/04/2001
Scary Movie 2 released theatrically

 

July - Battle Royale II07/05/2003
Battle Royale II: Requiem released theatrically

 

July - Janet Leigh07/06/1927
Janet Leigh, actress in Psycho, born

 

July - Blood Feast07/06/1963
Blood Feast released theatrically

 

July - The Descent07/06/2005
The Descent released theatrically

 

July - The Mummy's Ghost07/07/1944
The Mummy's Ghost released theatrically

 

July - Scary Movie07/07/2000
Scary Movie released theatrically

July 8 - 14

July - The Raven07/08/ 1935
The Raven released
theatrically

 

July - Phantasm 207/08/1988
Phantasm 2 released
theatrically

 

July - Dark Water 200507/08/2005
Dark Water released
theatrically

 

July - Dean Koontz07/09/1945
Dean Koontz (writer Phantoms (1989), Odd Thomas (2013)) born

 

 

July - Fred Gwynne07/10/1926
Fred Gwynne (actor in The Munsters (1964) and Pet Sematary (1989)) born (d. 1993)

 

 

July - Michael Rosenbaum07/11/1972
Michael Rosenbaum (actor in Urban Legend (1998) and Cursed (2005)) born

 

July - Tod Browning07/12/1880
Tod Browning (director of Dracula (1931) and Freaks (1931)) born (d. 1962)

 

July - Lon Chaney, Jr07/12/1973
Lon Chaney, Jr. (actor in Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) and The Wolfman (1941)) dies (b. 1906)

 
July - Michelle Rodriguez07/12/1978
Michelle Rodriguez (actress in Resident Evil (2002) and The Breed (2006)) born
 

July - Halloween: Resurrection07/12/2002
Halloween: Resurrection released theatrically

 

July - Stellan Skarsgard

Image courtesy WireImage.com

07/13/1968
Stellan Skarsgård (actor in Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)) born

 

July - Sid Haig07/14/1939
Sid Haig (actor in The Brotherhood of Blood(2007), The Devils Rejects (2005),
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)) born is born

 

July - The Chronicle07/14/2001
The Chronicle premieres on television

July 15 - 21

 

July - Larry Cohen07/15/1941
Larry Cohen (writer, director, producer known for of Phone Booth (2002), A Return to Salem's Lot (1987), The Stuff (1985)) born

 

July - Kingdom Hospital07/15/2004
Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital ends its run on television

 

July - The Fly07/16/1958
The Fly released theatrically

 

 

July - Jaws: The Revenge07/17/1987
Jaws: The Revenge released theatrically

 

 

July - Eight Legged Freaks07/17/2002
Eight Legged Freaks released
theatrically

 

 

July - Prom Night07/18/1980
Prom Night released theatrically

 

July - Aliens

07/18/1986
Aliens released theatrically

 

July - Arachnophobia07/18/1990
Arachnophobia released theatrically

 

 

July - Hideo Nakata07/19/1961
Hideo Nakata (director of Ringu (1998), Ringu 2 (1999), and Dark Water (2002)) born

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)07/19/1996
Tales from the Crypt ends its run on television

 

July - The Frighteners07/19/1996
The Frighteners released theatrically

 

July - The Breed07/19/2001
The Breed released theatrically

 

July - The Conjuring07/19/1964
The Conjuring released theatrically

 

July - The Devil Rides Out07/20/1968
The Devil Rides Out released theatrically

 

July - Dracula07/20/1979
Dracula released theatrically

 

July - Castlevania Dracula X07/20/1995
Castlevania: Dracula X released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America

 

July - The Haunting07/20/1999
The Haunting released theatrically

 

July - Jeepers Creepers07/20/2001
Jeepers Creepers released theatrically

 

 

July - Castlevania Dracula X07/21/1972
Castlevania: Dracula X released
on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan

 

 

July 22 - 28

 

July - James Whale07/22/1889
James Whale (director of The Invisible Man (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)) born (d. 1957)

 

July - The Hills Have Eyes07/22/1977
The Hills Have Eyes released theatrically

July - Orca07/22/1977
Orca released theatrically

 

July - Jaws 3-D07/22/1983
Jaws 3-D released theatrically

July - The Devil's Rejects07/22/2005
Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects released theatrically

 

 

July - Castlevania Chronicles - Japan07/23/1993
Castlevania Chronicles released on the X68000 in Japan

 

 

July - Chris Sarandon07/24/1942
Chris Sarandon (actor in The Sentinel (1977), Fright Night (1985), and Bordello of Blood (1996)) born

 

 

July - Ileana Douglas07/25/1965
Illeana Douglas (actress in Cape Fear (1991) and Stir of Echoes (1999)) born

 

 

July - Michael C. Williams07/25/1973
Michael C. Williams (actor in The Blair Witch Project) born

 

July - Night of the Seagulls07/26/1976
Night of the Seagulls released theatrically

 

 

July - The Amityville Horror07/27/1979
The Amityville Horror released theatrically

 

 

July - Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan07/28/1989
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan released theatrically

 

July - Deep Blue Sea07/28/1999
Deep Blue Sea released theatrically

 

July 29 - 31

 

July - Zombi 307/29/1987
Zombi 3 released theatrically

 

July - Cherry Falls07/29/2000
Cherry Falls released theatrically

 

July - The Blair Witch Project07/30/1999
The Blair Witch Project released theatrically

 

 

July - Mario Bava07/31/1914
Mario Bava (director of Black Sunday and The Girl Who Knew Too Much) born (d. 1980)

 

July - Invisible Agent07/31/1942
Invisible Agent released theatrically

 

July - Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man07/31/1951
Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man released theatrically

 

July - The Lost Boys07/31/1987
The Lost Boys released theatrically

 

July - Buffy the Vampire Slayer07/31/1992
Buffy the Vampire Slayer released theatrically

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

By Dixielord

Usually when I get excited for a movie it leads to disappointment, so I went into Bone Tomahawk with some trepidation. However, this is one of those rare times that I walked away happy. Bone Tomahawk is everything it promised. Horror films that flirt with the Western genre don't have a great track record, there are a few good ones like High Plains Drifter, but many more that just don’t cut it, like Gallows Walker and The Killing Box. Bone Tomahawk is one of the good ones, one of the best.

Kurt Russell in Bone Tomahawk

Kurt Russell in Bone Tomahawk

In Bone Tomahawk, a pair of murderous thieves, played by Sid Haig and David Arquette, inadvertently lead a tribe of cannibalistic troglodytes back to a peaceful western community. There they kidnap several townspeople in the middle of the night. The next morning the Sheriff (Kurt Russell) leads a small but determined posse in an attempt to get them back. The posse includes Matthew Fox (Lost) as a local gunman and Indian fighter, Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading) as back up deputy Chicory, and Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), whose wife was taken by the cannibals. But the trail to the missing townspeople may be as dangerous as the troglodytes themselves.

Bone Tomahawk does so many things right. It's a horror movie, but it is also a legitimate western. You can completely remove the horror tag, and western fans will be able to enjoy it. The horror aspect doesn't really kick in till over half way into the film. There are a few brutal scenes early on, but I was beginning to believe it was going to be simply a cowboy film. Then the posse makes it to the cave of the troglodytes.

Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk

Dear people talking about how extreme the gore was in The Green Inferno, check out Bone Tomahawk. While scene for scene it might not contain as much gore, Bone Tomahawk is more squirm-inducing than The Green Inferno. There is one scene that looks incredibly real and it looks to be all practical effects. You want a hard to watch kill scene? Watch Bone Tomahawk.

And it's not just gore that makes this film work. Russell is excellent as an aging sheriff. He might not be as fast, or as smart as some of the members of the posse, but he is determined, honorable (to a fault at times), and wise. He's also tired, and you can see the weight of the bad decisions on his face. He seems to know this is his last hurrah and he will save his people, even if he doesn't come back alive.

Matthew Fox's character is almost immediately unlikeable. Along the trail we learn about his history, and why he hates Native Americans. He becomes a valuable asset, and by the end I had actually developed some respect for him.

Patrick Wilson ends up being the most unlikely hero of them all. Shackled with a bad leg, that's getting worse along the way, he still plays a major part in the resolution. His wife (Lili Simmons) is one of the townspeople kidnapped by the trogs, and he will die to get her back. It is slightly telegraphed that he is going to “save the day” and while logically it might seem contrived, it never feels that way in the film. Instead of shaking my head and laughing, I was cheering him and the rest of the posse on.

On of my favorite characters was Richard Jenkins as Chicory. He is almost a stereotypical western deputy, but it works perfectly. He's fiercely loyal to Sheriff Hunt and determined to follow him into danger. He adds a lot to the western feel. He's a throw back to great western characters like Pea in Lonesome Dove and Mose in The Searchers. There isn't a lot of humor in Bone Tomahawk, but most of it is provided by Jenkins.

One of the things I most disliked about The Green Inferno was the injection of humor into the film. The cannibal films that The Green Inferno paid homage too weren't funny. They were brutal, depressing, and dark. It's almost Eli's calling card to inject humor into his gore fests. It works at times, but with Bone Tomahawk, director S. Craig Zahler (in his directorial debut) plays it straight, with no silly comedy or fart jokes. There are some small humorous moments, but they are all natural and develop from the characters, mostly Chicory’s personality.

Bone Tomahawk takes it time developing. It's a bit of a slow burn as the posse takes time to get to its destination, but it's never boring. The group of would be heroes face adversity every step. There's a run in with bandits that leaves the men on foot. There are battles not only with the horse thieves but with themselves, and with the infection raging in Wilson's leg. The trek there also gives them time for character development that seems natural and unforced. It might be slow, but it is never boring.

Some people may claim it isn't really horror, but it contains suspense, murder, cannibalism, and on screen gore. It's a horror movie. Maybe it's not supernatural, but it's horror. And it's also a legitimate western. I just love this film, no holds barred and no reservations. It is a slow burn, but it isn't boring and the pay off is totally worth it. I give Bone Tomahawk my highest rating, 10 out of 10.

Bone Tomahawk's Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins

Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins in Bone Tomahawk

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: Fear Fete (2015)

CON REVIEW: Fear Fete (2015)

By Dixielord

This year was my second year to attend the Fear Fete in Biloxi, Mississippi. I came across the show almost by accident last year, and enjoyed myself enough to come back the second year. Sadly work obligations led me to only being able to attend on Saturday, but it was still a fun weekend.

Wishmaster's Andrew Divoff at Fear Fete

Andrew Divoff at Fear Fete

Fear Fete is a smaller convention, nothing (crowd wise) compared to more nationally known shows such as Monster Mania, or Texas Frightmare, but that doesn't mean it's not a fun show. There is a real atmosphere here of fun. The people running the show seem to work hard to make sure both the fans and celebrity guests are having a good time.

This year the guest list consisted of Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th), Brutus Beefcake (WWE), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster), Sid Haig (The Devil's Rejects), Robert Kurtzman (special effect on Tusk) and others. I was able to meet both Andrew and Robert for the first time this year and both were really cool and friendly. While I have met Sid Haig before, it is hard to pass the man up when he's at a show. Sid is the poster child of how to be a great convention guest. Still 20 dollars, still free table pictures, that my friends is showing how much you love your fans. If you happen to read this Sid, you are the greatest man, much respect.

Me and Sid Haig at Fear Fete

Film legend Sid Haig at Fear Fete

Besides the celebrities there was a nice gathering of vendors selling everything from Jewely, to DVDs to Funko Pops. I ended up picking up a handful of Pops from the Three Alarm Comics table and wanting a lot more. They had the NYC Comic con exclusive Cthulhu Pop fer crissake!

Also there again this year was the crew from Horse Creek Productions, promoting their movie Dollface. Dollface was part of the Fear Fete film festival last year, as Dorchester's Revenge and where it won best picture. After a name change it is now available on DVD and Amazon VoD, I picked up a DVD copy for myself, autographed by the crew. It was cool to hang out with director Tommy Faircloth, and actress Elizabeth Mears again, and to meet the rest of the cast in attendance.

Just like last year, Fear Fete had a film festival, free for people attending the show. The one movie I was most looking forward to was Valley of the Sasquatch (You know I love Bigfoot movies). Sadly it was a victim to my shitty work schedule that week, but I did get to talk to one of the stars, Jason Vail, who was at the Horsecreek table. I did get to attend the Wishmaster screening and panel with director Robert Kurtzman and Andrew Divoff. It's been a while since I have last seen Wishmaster and had forgotten what an awesome cast of horror icons it contained. Then hearing Andrew Divoff do the voice afterward was priceless.

KNB Effect's Robert Kurtzman at Fear Fete

Robert Kurtzman of KNB Effects and Yours Truly at Fear Fete

There's always too much to do at conventions, and no way to do everything. I really wanted to make a whole weekend at Fear Fete, but it wasn't too be. So I didn't get to go to the zombie pub crawl, or the zombie survival experience and missed a lot of panels and movies. However there is always next year and I think Fear Fete is going to continue to grow. Hopefully, I'll catch you there next year.

Posted by Allen Alberson in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Fear Fete Horror Con and Film Fest

Fear Fete Horror Con and Film Fest

By Dixielord

Fear Fete in Biloxi

Fear Fete in Biloxi Mississippi

Fear comes to the Mississippi Gulf Coast this Halloween season, as the Fear Fete Horror convention and film festival returns to Biloxi. This October 16-18th Fear Fete will be back at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center. While Fear Fete might be a smaller convention, it isn't lacking in great celebrities and cool horror films.

I went to Fear Fete last year after discovering it on Facebook at the last moment. I was only able to stay a couple hours but was able to meet Lloyd Kaufman, of Troma fame, for the first time. Also got to meet (again) Tony Todd (Candyman) and Tyler Mane (Halloween) again. I only had the time to check out on feature film, the independent Dorchester's Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head, and had the chance to meet the director Tommy Faircloth and actress Lizzy Mears.

Sid Haig Is Coming to Fear Fete

This year the guest list at Fear Fete is just as impressive. The list includes the nicest guy on the circuit, Sid Haig (The Devil's Rejects), Alex Vincent (Child's Play), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster, and special effects master Robert Kurtzman of KNB effects. Robert was also the director of the Wes Craven produced Wishmaster, along with many other guests. Fear Fete will also feature a reunion of last years film favorite Dorchester's Revenge. Dorchester's Revenge has been re titled for DVD release as Dollface, which is a little less of a mouth full.

The show also has a full weekend of Horror films, both feature length and shorts. Films include Valley of the Sasquatch from the United States and Inner Demons from Australia, and many more. A full list of movies can be found on the website. There will also be vendors of course and something called “The Zombie Survival Experience” sounds intriguing.

The full guest line up (as of this writing) is:

Sid Haig
Jeremy London (Mallrats)
Alex Vincent
Andrew Divoff
Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th)
Robert Kurtzman
Cast and crew from Dollface

So come on out if you are in the area, and I hope to see you at Fear Fete in Biloxi.

Posted by Allen Alberson in EVENTS, 0 comments

COMING SOON: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Dixielord

Kurt Russell in Bone Tomahawk

Western horror movies are a somewhat rare thing, especially good ones. This Halloween, the genre gets a new entry with Bone Tomahawk, which will also bring Kurt Russell back into the horror genre. Russell is popular with horror fans from his starring role in John Carpenter's classic The Thing, as well as Carpenter's not quite horror, but still classics Escape From New York and Big Trouble in Little China. Bone Tomahawk won't be Russell's only dip into the western genre this year. December will see the release of Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight which will also star the former Snake Plisken.

Bone Tomahawk will be the directorial debut of writer/director Craig Zahler. The cast, along with Russell will include Patrick Wilson, David Arquette, Matthew Fox, Sean Young and horror icon Sid Haig. Timothy Olyphant and Jennifer Carpenter were originally set to star in the project but have since dropped out, replaced by Russell and Lili Simmons.

Kurt Russell and Sid Haig in Bone Tomahawk

Kurt Russell in Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is set in the 1800s on the border between Texas and Mexico. It tells the story of a small town raided by a group of “cannibalistic troglodytes.” The cannibals kidnap several townspeople, and a posse, led by Russell, sets out to rescue them.

Just on the surface the film bears a passing resemblance to The 13th Warrior, with cannibals attacking a small town, and a group of warriors going in pursuit. The 13th Warrior was in itself based on the classic tale of Beowulf and Grendel. Whether or not this is just a surface resemblance we won't know until it releases next month.

The movie will world premiere September 25 at Fantastic Fest, and will screen at the London Film Festival October 15, 2015. Bone Tomahawk will is set for a limited theatrical release on October 23, 2015 just in time for Halloween.

Halloween is going to be a sweet time for Horror fans with The Green Inferno opening late September, Crimson Peak in October as well as Bone Tomahawk. And you can never go wrong with Sid Haig being back on the big screen.

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

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Spider Baby (1968)

By Nick Durham

spider baby
There're a lot of films I've seen over the years that have managed to make me say out loud, "What the fuck did I just watch?" Spider Baby is one of them. From exploitation director extraordinaire Jack Hill (who would go on to direct Foxy Brown, Coffy, and one of my all time personal favorites in Switchblade Sisters) and featuring the legendary Lon Chaney, Jr. in one of his last roles, Spider Baby is a nasty little gem and an underappreciated classic.

Chaney plays Bruno: a guardian and caretaker for three siblings who suffer from a strange genetic disorder that causes them to de-evolve. Bruno has always had his hands full, but things soon become a bit more complicated when some distant relatives show up to the decrepit mansion they all live in to claim the property. What happens next is some pretty nasty shit, with sanity and various body parts lost in the process.

Darkly humorous and peppered with some very freaky moments, Spider Baby is a treat. The performances from Chaney and the three siblings (which features a young Sid Haig!) are wonderful and somehow still terrifying to this very day. Granted some elements of the film itself haven't aged all that well, but it still manages to be an effective little piece of trash regardless. Originally filmed in 1964, the film didn't get officially released until 1968, and went through a whole lot of different titles in the process as well. Thanks to midnight showings over the years and word of mouth, Spider Baby has managed to become a beloved film of the era, and continues to be discovered and re-discovered as the years go by.

I know I've raved about other releases from Arrow Films before, but their release of Spider Baby is another wonderful Blu-ray package. The picture quality has been remastered, with it's stark black and white cinematography looking simply beautiful. There's a feature length commentary from Jack Hill and Sid Haig, as well as Hill's 1960 short film The Host (also starring Haig) included here as well. There's a panel discussion on the film from 2012, a rarely seen alternate opening sequence, new interviews, video of Hill revisiting the old house the movie was filmed in, and the typical collectors booklet that all Arrow releases include, among other features packed in here as well.

Like I said before, Spider Baby is a supremely underrated exploitation/horror film from an era where films like this were rarely seen. This release of it from Arrow Films is a must have for collectors and aficionados of this type of wonderful trash. Do yourself a favor, pick it up...even if you've never seen it. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5

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