Tony Todd

For the first time, the Days of the Dead convention invaded Charlotte, NC this past weekend. They brought in a big lineup that included horror and rock icons. Some of those names are Heather Langenkamp, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Linda Blair, Tony Todd, Dee Snider, and Vinnie Vincent.

Friday night was night 1 of the event and at the end of the night was a Hall of Fame Induction. Days of the Dead honors a popular guest who has helped evolve the show and also an Indie Film Maker. The Charlotte show’s inductees were Heather Langenkamp and Tommy Faircloth. Langenkamp, of course, is known for her work in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Faircloth is a Carolina native who has made films for years including Family Possessions. He is working on a new project called Nun’s Curse, which he has a crowdfunding campaign going. So congratulations to both Heather and Tommy!

 

This con was similar to most cons as there were panels, photo ops and chances to meet and get signatures from popular horror icons. The panel I found the most interesting was the Friday The 13th Part 6 panel. There were five cast members (CJ Graham, Thom Mathews, Darcy DeMoss, Tom Fridley, and Kerry Noonan) along with writer/director Tom McLoughlin. This had been the first convention appearance for Noonan, so this group has not been together since filming ended 32 years ago.

Now having traveled to several conventions just in this calendar year, I have seen a lot of great and some not so stellar moments. I have seen some things happen at shows that angered a lot of fans. Days of the Dead did not seem to have those issues this past weekend. Let me qualify this by saying that yes, I was a volunteer at this show. I have volunteered at several shows though. Does that mean that Days of the Dead has mastered how to put on a show? Not exactly.

They have put on 26 shows now in the last decade, so after a while, you learn what can and cannot work. I will also say they did have an advantage that some of the other conventions did not have. Timing. Days of the Dead came after some other shows that had problems. A lot of volunteers do work more than one show, and they post on social media about their experiences. Thus, the staff at Days of the Dead were able to see what problems other conventions experienced and had time to make sure they would not happen at their show. Again, this was their 26th show, and they have run in at least six states. They also hosted an open forum for fans to voice their ideas, issues, suggestions, complaints, etc. They wanted to ensure the fans knew they had a voice.

Let’s talk attendance. The attendance was not nearly what other shows have done. This has caused some people to say the show was unsuccessful. There have been shows in other cities where the crowds were so massive that the fire marshals were called. It’s a double-edged sword. Is there a perfect amount of people that is just right if this was too small and others were too big? I don’t have the answer to that.

What made this show work was that they secured a hotel big enough for fans to spread out. There was also a rhyme and reason for the celebrity layout. The celebrities all seemed to have a great time, including Kerry Noonan, who was often seen having fun with the fans.

What made this show seem to flow smoothly (at least from the perspective that I saw) was that Days of the Dead used a wash, rinse, repeat method. They booked a lot of celebrities that they have used at other shows, and they mixed them with some first-timers. They also used the same core volunteers and staff members that work most of, if not all of their shows.

Were there some hiccups? Sure. Tony Todd had an unexpected family issue come up and was not available for the show on Sunday. I was assured everything is okay, but it had to be taken care of. Life happens, and these celebrities are just like us. Were there some issues with the hotel? Yes. Was the crowd smaller than expected? Yes. But this was the first show Days of the Dead has run in North Carolina, and there are growing pains when you are dealing with a brand new venue and city.

There were some very creative fans that put their cosplay skills to use. There was an entertaining band called Elzig (a cross between Elvis and Danzig) that played the afterparty.

So final analysis. Was this a perfect show? Of course not. Has Days of the Dead found a formula that works for them? Yes. Were there things that could have gone better? I am sure that there are. Most of the fans that I spoke with were extremely happy and excited. Some fans voiced that there was not clear signage of where the panels were being held, but they were happy that team members on the floor were able to guide them in the right direction. Are there changes Days of the Dead can do make improve before their next show? Yes. That will always be the answer, though. This was overall a very successful show, especially for their first run in a new city.

Overall Grade: A

CON REVIEW: Days of the Dead – Charlotte, NC – 2018

CON REVIEW: Days of the Dead – Charlotte, NC – 2018

For the first time, the Days of the Dead convention invaded Charlotte, NC this past weekend. They brought in a big lineup that included horror and rock icons. Some of those names are Heather Langenkamp, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Linda Blair, Tony Todd, Dee Snider, and Vinnie Vincent.

Friday night was night 1 of the event and at the end of the night was a Hall of Fame Induction. Days of the Dead honors a popular guest who has helped evolve the show and also an Indie Film Maker. The Charlotte show’s inductees were Heather Langenkamp and Tommy Faircloth. Langenkamp, of course, is known for her work in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Faircloth is a Carolina native who has made films for years including Family Possessions. He is working on a new project called Nun’s Curse, which he has a crowdfunding campaign going. So congratulations to both Heather and Tommy!

 

This con was similar to most cons as there were panels, photo ops and chances to meet and get signatures from popular horror icons. The panel I found the most interesting was the Friday The 13th Part 6 panel. There were five cast members (CJ Graham, Thom Mathews, Darcy DeMoss, Tom Fridley, and Kerry Noonan) along with writer/director Tom McLoughlin. This had been the first convention appearance for Noonan, so this group has not been together since filming ended 32 years ago.

Now having traveled to several conventions just in this calendar year, I have seen a lot of great and some not so stellar moments. I have seen some things happen at shows that angered a lot of fans. Days of the Dead did not seem to have those issues this past weekend. Let me qualify this by saying that yes, I was a volunteer at this show. I have volunteered at several shows though. Does that mean that Days of the Dead has mastered how to put on a show? Not exactly.

They have put on 26 shows now in the last decade, so after a while, you learn what can and cannot work. I will also say they did have an advantage that some of the other conventions did not have. Timing. Days of the Dead came after some other shows that had problems. A lot of volunteers do work more than one show, and they post on social media about their experiences. Thus, the staff at Days of the Dead were able to see what problems other conventions experienced and had time to make sure they would not happen at their show. Again, this was their 26th show, and they have run in at least six states. They also hosted an open forum for fans to voice their ideas, issues, suggestions, complaints, etc. They wanted to ensure the fans knew they had a voice.

Let’s talk attendance. The attendance was not nearly what other shows have done. This has caused some people to say the show was unsuccessful. There have been shows in other cities where the crowds were so massive that the fire marshals were called. It’s a double-edged sword. Is there a perfect amount of people that is just right if this was too small and others were too big? I don’t have the answer to that.

What made this show work was that they secured a hotel big enough for fans to spread out. There was also a rhyme and reason for the celebrity layout. The celebrities all seemed to have a great time, including Kerry Noonan, who was often seen having fun with the fans.

What made this show seem to flow smoothly (at least from the perspective that I saw) was that Days of the Dead used a wash, rinse, repeat method. They booked a lot of celebrities that they have used at other shows, and they mixed them with some first-timers. They also used the same core volunteers and staff members that work most of, if not all of their shows.

Were there some hiccups? Sure. Tony Todd had an unexpected family issue come up and was not available for the show on Sunday. I was assured everything is okay, but it had to be taken care of. Life happens, and these celebrities are just like us. Were there some issues with the hotel? Yes. Was the crowd smaller than expected? Yes. But this was the first show Days of the Dead has run in North Carolina, and there are growing pains when you are dealing with a brand new venue and city.

There were some very creative fans that put their cosplay skills to use. There was an entertaining band called Elzig (a cross between Elvis and Danzig) that played the afterparty.

So final analysis. Was this a perfect show? Of course not. Has Days of the Dead found a formula that works for them? Yes. Were there things that could have gone better? I am sure that there are. Most of the fans that I spoke with were extremely happy and excited. Some fans voiced that there was not clear signage of where the panels were being held, but they were happy that team members on the floor were able to guide them in the right direction. Are there changes Days of the Dead can do make improve before their next show? Yes. That will always be the answer, though. This was overall a very successful show, especially for their first run in a new city.

Overall Grade: A


Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Brooke Lewis (2017)

INTERVIEW: Brooke Lewis (2017)

Brooke Lewis / Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

One of the Hardest Working Women in the Business

-Scream Queen, Amazing Actress, Author-

Hello readers, and thank you for joining me on another part of my series on celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women in Film! I had the honor, joy, and just great time interviewing the most wondrous Scream Queen Brooke Lewis. When I say she is hardworking, I feel that I may be using that phrase inadequately. She is an actress, scream queen, Certified Life Coach and Dating Coach, Author, singer, producer, columnist, voice-over artist, has her own talk show/ web series, a clothing line, upcoming make-up line, and is also a hugely altruistic philanthropist. She makes me tired just thinking about it. One of my favorite things about her that we talked about is that she has a wonderful distinction in horror in that she has never been killed in a  horror film…yet.
Brooke is an award-winning actress who has starred in such films as the thriller iMurders (2008) with Gabrielle Anwar, William Forsythe, Tony Todd, Frank Grillo, Billy Dee Williams, and the amazing Charles Durning. Sinatra Club (2010) with Jason Gedrick, Danny Nucci, and Michael Nouri. And one of my new favorite shorts Sprinkles (2010).
House of Tortured Souls: Knowing she’s acted along such greats I asked her what some of those experiences were like I was especially interested in her work with Charles Durning known for being the King of Character Actors.
Brooke Lewis: You know I did five films with god rest his soul Charles Durning, yes I used to dine with the man. Adults really get it, Oscar-nominated for Dog Day Afternoon, When a Stranger Calls, TootsieCharles Durning. I mean are you kidding me? I have worked with Michael Pare: Eddie and the Cruisers, Streets of Fire, and The Philadelphia Experiment, he’s my friend. The legendary Billy Dee Williams: Mahogany, Star Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. I am not sure if the younger generation understands the magnitude of that. When I was a young girl, I was in high school and I was obsessed with Candyman and then I found out I was going to be starring next to Tony Todd, someone has got to be kidding me! I was so scared to be going on set but he is so great! The celebrity and fame have never changed him, he has done so much acting, even on Broadway. Tony is really more than meets the eye. Its crazy, I have gotten to work with both Costas and Loius Mandylor. Saw for Costas and My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for Louis.The thing is that they are just brilliant actors. One of my dearest kindred spirits is The Hills Have EyesSuze Lanier-Bramlett. She is like my soul sister. She was Bambi on Welcome Back Kotter, you know Barbarino’s girlfriend. We sit and talk about yesteryears, her life as an actress, being young and in Hollywood vs my experience and it is so scary. I don’t know if the younger generation of moviegoers will be able to distinguish between real stars of that era vs Youtube sensations with no real acting chops.You cant just get together with a few friends and spill ketchup on your boobs film it on your phone, dub yourself a Scream Queen and call it horror. Horror fans are way too intelligent for that. To know and understand the careers of people like Charles Durning or Billy Dee Williams or Margaret Colin and Larry Hankin from Home Alone may be out of their purview.
HoTS: I next asked Brooke about being a woman in horror and being a Scream Queen.

Brooke Lewis Brooke Lewis Brooke Lewis
BL: I embrace being a Scream Queen. I earned it! I am very proud to be on any lists where the greats like Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, and Dee Wallace along with the newer generation like my girls Felissa Rose and Debbie Rochon and the list goes on and on. As far as acting in horror, anything I have done in the horror genre is by choice. I am committed to a certain standard. People come up to me and are like but you did a film like Slime City Massacre? Yes, I did and thank you very much it won me the 2010 Golden Cobb award!

HoTS: And readers that was a hot year for horror! I checked her competitors that year and they were impressive. For BEST SCREAM QUEEN:
Debbie RochonSlime City Massacre
Victoria MauretteBulletface
Kristina KlebeZone of The Dead
April Monique BurrillChainsaw Sally
Brooke LewisSlime City Massacre
BL: People can say what they want, it was an ultra-low budget sequel to the cult classic “Slime City” (1988) and I had to make a decision, a choice when I made that film. When Greg Lamberson came to me and said you are one of the new IT girl Scream Queens of 07-08, read my script and see if you want to get involved. Look at any of the roles and maybe you wanna come in and produce in some way, and we bonded right away. That man is one smart man and he is an amazing writer and a great director. If you see the movie, the undertones and the subtext is amazing it covers drug addiction, gentrification, politics, US vs Canada, abortion, and it goes on and on. There are so many smart messages underneath the campy, gory, fun stuff, that I was inspired to do it. I am so glad I did because it became one of the horror films that I am most known for. Horror embraces strong women. I am a short, curvy, voluptuous, ethnic woman, horror embraces that pin-up look which I have always been grateful for. Horror always embraces outside the norm, I am not the typical Hollywood starlet look and horror does not discriminate. Not like most movies where you have to look like a supermodel in order to get naked, in horror real people have sex.
I can only speak for myself and some of my peers, I choose to be a powerful woman in horror. I don’t just act in horror, I have done Broadway, and thrillers, and mob movies, I just wrapped an amazing dramedy called 1/2 New Year, I do it all because I am an actress but the stuff that I have chosen to do in horror and I am very proud of it. I feel like I have got to do some great stuff, made some great films with some really great people.
HoTS: I then wanted to find out about the Ms. Vampy talk show/web series, But before we get into that, let me introduce you to Ms. Vampy. Ms. Vampy is America’s funniest, sexiest, sassiest and most extraordinary board certified Life Coach and Vampiress! Her personality is as big as her hair and is often described as Betty Boop meets Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. She has two books, Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk and Coaching From a Professed Hot Mess. I have read them both readers and cannot recommend them highly enough. Ms. Vampy gives sage advice and does so in such a relatable and entertaining way.

BL: What do I get cast in usually in the mainstream? Hooker, stripper, because I have big boobs and big hair and I wear high heels because I am short so naturally…the hairstylist, the guidette, which I love and that’s how Ms. Vampy was born. I looked at the body of my biggest work and at that point in time, ten years ago it was mobster movies, it was comedy, big hair and guidette roles that I used to play like in Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding where I got my start  on Broadway which I love, then add horror to the mix. It came to me that this had never been done before and it is a lot of what my horror fans embrace about me. And I thought why not? Ms. Vampy is a Brooklyn, big-haired vampire guidette with a heart of gold. On the teen talk show, we talk about everything from the LGBTQ community, to racism, to sexism, to bullies and it was very important to me to get this done. It needs to be made and I will not stop till it is done correctly. She is from the Vamprelli crime family, killing people and drinking blood is declasse so she eats everything else that is red. So everything needs the suspension of reality because she has a heart of gold and tons of positive messages. She’s my alter-ego. She talks about everything that I have experienced in my life. Also there is the teen smash hit TV/talk show/web series Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk, which won the Honolulu Film Awards 2012 SILVER LEI AWARD, the coveted 18th Annual Communicator Awards (2012) AWARD OF DISTINCTION for Social Responsibility and Los Angeles Film Awards May 2017 INSPIRING WOMAN IN A FILM AWARD .

I wanted to bring to your attention readers three of her new projects. Psycho Therapy (2016) a short film was written and directed by another great woman in film and horrorStaci Layne Wilson. It has won twenty-one awards already, including awards for Brooke and her production company Philly Chick Pictures. Philadelphia is her hometown hence the name. The other is a film she already mentioned called 1/2 New Year which is in post-production so make sure to keep an eye out for it. The last was the aforementioned Sprinkles short film which has twenty-five wins also for Brooke and Philly Chick.

Brooke Lewis Brooke Lewis

Brooke also has partnered with Rock n’ Roll Lifestyle Company Metal Babe Mayhem to brand and launch their ‘Rock Your Hot Mess’, ‘Ms. Vampy’ and ‘Scream Queen Brooke Lewis’ clothing lines. She was also branded with the hypoallergenic Makeup and Skincare Company TASH Cosmetics to launch their ‘Profess Your Hot Mess’ and ‘Ms. Vampy Girl’ makeup lines. I told you this woman was busy!
As far as being a columnist she has the distinction of writing for the Huffington Post as a contributor which she started in 2012. With such great articles as “Ask the Drama Queen”, “Hollywood Darlings Let Their Light Shine With Anti-Bullying Campaign”, and “Ageism and Heterosexism in Hollywood.”
And if you were wondering about the singing she signed with Tazmania Records/Metropolitan Records and released the freestyle dance hit “Get Me Off Your Mind”. Released in 2009 and on the album Tazmania Freestyle In-motion vol. 13.
Brooke strongly believes in charity work that empowers women and young adults. She is active in several charities that support Breast Cancer and Anti-bullying and can be found feeding the Skid Row homeless at the Los Angeles Mission which I saw when she showed a few pictures at Christmas, best looking Santa’s helper out there. She is also a proud Breaking The Chains Foundation (BTCF) Celebrity Ambassador. Brooke is a proud member of Women In Film and Film Independent. She was also the Hot Hunks of Horror Hottie for 2009 and the co-captain of Dread Central’s Bowling for Boobies.
She also told me that people would say to her, with her cleavage, high heels, big hair, and makeup how did she expect to be taken seriously as an intelligent woman?And she would say to them really? She has more degrees than six of them combined. For her naysayers I will say this, she majored in rhetoric and communications, she minored in both theater and criminal justice. She was also Inducted into ‘Outstanding Filmmakers Of The Year’ at the first Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival 2017 and for me to list all of her awards and accolades, I would need to get new hands after typing because mine would fall off!
Brooke Lewis / Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

Photo credit: Roger A. Scheck

Brooke Lewis on the web:

So for myself, Horrormadam and everyone at the House of Tortured Souls I want to say thank you so much to Brooke Lewis and also huge congratulations on her fiancee’s proposal on September first (her birthday) 2017. Brooke is such a sweet, intelligent, and kind woman and she deserves all the best. And as she and Ms. Vampy would tell you. Be you…And be fearless and definitely Vamp It Out!
Metal Babe Mayhem: Scream Queen Brooke Lewis (SQBL)
Discount code #BROOKE16 to receive 20% OFF!
Posted by Horrormadam in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, FEATURED CONTENT, FICTION AND POETRY, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WOMEN IN HORROR, 1 comment
Death House Gets Updated Release

Death House Gets Updated Release

Big news in the horror world regarding the highly-anticipated film Death House. A press release was shared yesterday stating:

Indie Distributor Hannover House (and theatrical subsidiary Medallion Releasing) have entered in a pact with Entertainment Factory for a NATIONAL theatrical release of Death House. It will open in approximately 100 theaters in the top USA markets beginning February 23, 2018. The red carpet events will be open to the public in both LA (2/22/18) and New York (2/23/18). Theatrical exhibitors will include Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark/century Group, Malco Theaters, Harkins, Marcus, B&B and Megaplex theaters.
“We share the horror-industry’s enthusiasm for the release of this film,” said Hannover House CEO Eric Parkinson, “ The concept of a film featuring the all star cast of stars from some of the biggest horror hits in recent decades is brilliant and Harrison and the entire production team have delivered a truly enjoyable result. We believe that audiences will love this film, as has already been indicated through word of mouth and pre-screenings.
The home video release and VOD release is planned for June through a distribution pact with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Hanover House logo / Fair use doctrine.For those who have been living under a tombstone, this is an all-star packed horror thriller feature from director B. Harrison Smith. Co-written by the late (but not forgotten) Gunnar Hansen, Death House is being called “The Expendables of Horror”. It will feature some huge names from horror, including Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace, Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Felissa Rose, and more. Like a lot more.

Posted by ZombieGurl in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 1 comment
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, 2 comments
History of Horror in December

History of Horror in December

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

December 1 - 7

12/01/1944 – House of Frankenstein (1944) released theatrically
House of Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.
Howling II / Fair use doctrine.
12/01/1985 – Howling II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch released theatrically
12/02/1924 – John Herbert “Jonathan” Frid (Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows) born
John Herbert “Jonathan” Frid / Fair use doctrine.
London After Midnight / Fair use doctrine.
12/03/1927 – London After Midnight released theatrically
12/04/1954 – Tony Todd (actor in Night of the Living Dead (1990), Candyman, and Final Destination) born
Tony Todd / Fair use doctrine.
Cat People / Fair use doctrine.
12/06/1942 – Cat People (1942) released theatrically
12/07/1945 – House of Dracula released theatrically
House of Dracula / Fair use doctrine.

December 8 - 14

Blade: Trinity / Fair use doctrine.
12/08/2004 – Blade: Trinity released theatrically
12/10/1992 – Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse / Fair use doctrine.
Paul Wegener / Fair use doctrine.
12/11/1874 – Paul Wegener (director of The Golem: How He Came Into the World) born (d. 1913)
12/12/1941 – The Wolf Man (1941) released theatrically
The Wolf Man / Fair use doctrine.
Phantom of the Opera / Fair use doctrine.
12/12/1943 – Phantom of the Opera (1943) released theatrically
12/12/1997 – Scream 2 released theatrically
Scream 2 / Fair use doctrine.
Wendie Malick / Image: MingleMediaTVNetwork
12/13/1950 – Wendie Malick (actress in the Tales from the Crypt episode "In the Groove") born
12/14/1955 – Tarantula released theatrically
Tarantula / Public Domain.
Ted Raimi / Image: GabboT
12/14/1965 – Ted Raimi (actor in numerous horror films) born
12/14/2002 – Cabin Fever released theatrically
Cabin Fever / Fair use doctrine.
King Kong / Fair use doctrine.
12/14/2005 – King Kong (2005) released theatrically

December 15 - 20

12/15/1974 – Young Frankenstein released theatrically
Young Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.
Ghost Story / Fair use doctrine.
12/15/1981 – Ghost Story released theatrically
12/16/1970 – Night Gallery premieres on television
Night Gallery / Fair use doctrine.
The Keep / Fair use doctrine.
12/16/1983 – The Keep released theatrically
12/16/1976 – King Kong (1976) released theatrically
King Kong / Fair use doctrine.
Nancy Kyes / Fair use doctrine.
12/19/1949 – Nancy Kyes (usually credited as Nancy Loomis, actress in Halloween and The Fog) born
12/19/1956 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956) released theatrically
The Hunchback of Notre Dame / Fair use doctrine.
Little Shop of Horrors / Fair use doctrine.
12/19/1986 – Little Shop of Horrors released theatrically
12/20/1996 – Scream released theatrically
Scream / Fair use doctrine.
Maila Nurmi (aka Vampira) / Fair use doctrine.

December 21 - 27

12/21/1921 – Maila Nurmi (aka Vampira) born
12/21/1966 – Kiefer Sutherland (actor in The Lost Boys and Flatliners) born
Kiefer Sutherland / Image: Gage Skidmore
Freddie Francis / Fair use doctrine.
12/22/1917 – Freddie Francis (director and cinematographer of many horror films) born
[/su_row]
12/22/1932 – The Mummy (1932) released theatrically
The Mummy / Fair use doctrine.
Son of Kong / Fair use doctrine.
12/22/1933 – Son of Kong released theatrically
12/22/1944 – The Mummy's Curse released theatrically
The Mummy's Curse / Fair use doctrine.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse / Fair use doctrine.
12/22/1989 – Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan
12/23/1971 – Corey Haim (actor in Silver Bullet and The Lost Boys) born (d. 2010)
Corey Haim / Image: Bree from Worcester, MA
Diedrich Bader / Image: Gage Skidmore
12/24/1966 – Diedrich Bader (actor in Dead & Breakfast) born
12/25/1946 – The Beast with Five Fingers released theatrically
The Beast with Five Fingers / Fair use doctrine.
The Innocents / Fair use doctrine.
12/25/1961 – The Innocents released theatrically in France
12/25/1997 – An American Werewolf in Paris released theatrically
An American Werewolf in Paris / Fair use doctrine.
The Faculty / Fair use doctrine.
12/25/1998 – The Faculty released theatrically
12/25/1999 – Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness released on the Nintendo 64 in Japan
Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.
Wolf Creek / Fair use doctrine.
12/25/2005 – Wolf Creek released theatrically
12/26/1973 – The Exorcist released theatrically
The Exorcist / Fair use doctrine.
The Invisible Woman / Fair use doctrine.
12/27/1940 – The Invisible Woman released theatrically
12/28/1888 – F.W. Murnau (director of Nosferatu) born (d. 1931)
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau / Public Domain.

December 29 - 31

Ghost in the Machine / Fair use doctrine.
12/29/1993 – Ghost in the Machine released theatrically
12/30/1942 – Fred Ward (actor in Tremors and Tremors 2: Aftershocks) born
Fred Ward / Fair use doctrine.
Eliza Dushku / Image: Alex Archambault from Dallas, TX
12/30/1980 – Eliza Dushku (actress in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Soul Survivors, Wrong Turn, and Open Graves) born
12/31/1931 – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) released theatrically
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / Fair use doctrine.
Sean Cunningham / Image: GabboT
12/31/1941 – Sean S. Cunningham (creator of the Friday the 13th series of films) born
12/31/1957 – The Strange World of Planet X released theatrically
The Strange World of Planet X / Fair use doctrine.
Zombie Revenge / Fair use doctrine.
12/31/1999 – Zombie Revenge released on Dreamcast and arcade
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
BREAKING NEWS: Tony Todd to Voice Count Dracula

BREAKING NEWS: Tony Todd to Voice Count Dracula

Count Dracula Gets a Voiceover

Tony Todd Set to Voice
Dracula in Audio Play

By Woofer McWooferson

Tony Todd as Rev. Zombie in Hatchet

Tony Todd as Rev. Zombie in Hatchet

Exciting news from FANGORIA Musick and Bleak December Inc. - Tony Todd will be voicing Count Dracula in a new audio play. If you're a horror fan and don't know who Tony Todd is, then you need to get yourself to IMDb and YouTube for some serious horror education. The rest of you can keep reading.

Todd, whose role as the titular Candyman, is an icon in horror, having also appeared in the Hatchet, Final Destination, and Wishmaster franchises as well as the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake. At 6'5”, Todd cuts an imposing figure in any role, but his voice is just as imposing - and recognizable - as his appearance. Deep and resonant, Todd's voice lends an ominous tone to even the most innocuous of personas, so it's no surprise that he secured the role that has been immortalized by such greats as Bela Lugosi, Christoper Lee, and Leslie Nielson (shut up). The Dracula audio play will star Anthony D.P. Mann, who is also executive producer, as Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula's nemesis.

Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Tony Todd in Wishmaster

The Three Faces of Evil - L to R: Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Tony Todd in Wishmaster

According to Mann, the production will focus on “a frightening Victorian-era Count Dracula in the classic mold featuring one of the greatest voices in the business. I’m not only a creator, but a fan of genre film - and Tony Todd is such a coup for us. I’m a long-time fan.”

For his part, Todd had this to say, “I’m honoured and thrilled to form a partnership with Bleak December Inc. and FANGORIA Musick, in presenting the first of hopefully many audio recordings of classic horror characters. First up perhaps most iconic of them all. Yes, I’m so proud to lend my voicing to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

Image credit Tony Todd Fan Club

Tony Todd in the studio
Image credit Tony Todd Fan Club

Bleak December Inc., Mann's own production company, will be producing the adaptation, and FANGORIA Musick will be releasing the finished piece. Mann has previously worked on Terror of Dracula and Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, which also featured Goblin keyboardist Maurizio Guarini, for FANGORIA Musick.

Dracula is to be the first of many classic horror audio adaptations fans can expect from Bleak December Inc. and FANGORIA Musick.

Tony Todd on You and Me This Morning thinks cookies should have milk.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR HEROES, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments