Daniel Ryan

I am a 36 year old man from New Jersey with a lifelong passion for horror, science fiction, true crime, and cryptozoology. I will do my utmost to be a worthwhile contributor to House of Tortured Souls.
Terror on the Tide-12 Days That Changed Horror History

Terror on the Tide-12 Days That Changed Horror History

June 20th of this year of 2020 saw the 45th anniversary of the release of https://nyusternldp.blogs.stern.nyu.edu/how-to-write-good-cover-letter-for-job-application/ middle school research topic follow site revia canadian thesis title about plants https://www.guidelines.org/blog/thesis-statement-letter-from-birmingham-jail/93/ https://climbingguidesinstitute.org/17380-first-class-dissertation/ louis murphy arrested viagra watch write articles for money buy cialis kl how to write an introduction for a psychological research paper here online assignments for money go to site https://teleroo.com/pharm/viagra-orgams/67/ http://snowdropfoundation.org/papers/personal-help-with-writing-personal-statement/12/ see click here http://wnpv1440.com/teacher/this-i-believe-essay-examples/33/ here infection control essay https://eagfwc.org/men/efeito-viagra-50mg/100/ follow link http://mechajournal.com/alumni/pay-to-write-essay-for-graduate-school-admissions/12/ how to set up my outlook email on my ipad source url smartphone levitra https://www.platinumed.com/mentrial/is-taking-prednisone-for-lupus-helpful/29/ content analysis thesis philippines thesis abstract voorbeeld https://climbingguidesinstitute.org/320-cheap-report-ghostwriting-service-for-phd/ JAWS. This anniversary was widely celebrated across social media, and in the realm of horror movie fans in particular. And all with good reason, as the film’s legacy cannot be understated; the landmark of cinematic history that created a new model of film promotion and release that we now know was the summer blockbuster. The launching point of the career of one of the most prolific directors of the modern age in Steven Spielberg, as well as the career of Academy Award winning actor Richard Drefyus, and a high note for the careers of Roy Schieder and Robert Shaw. And truly the film that birthed a whole new sub-genre of horror and action film that stalks the cinematic surfs to this day in the form of the killer shark movie. But the month of July also marks an important anniversary of historic events without which JAWS never would have come to be. In the hot summer days of 1916, one-hundred and four years ago this year, a record heatwave and nationwide pandemic of polio sent summer frolickers to beaches across the country in record numbers-little knowing that along the coast of New Jersey they would encounter a real life horror that would leave a tangible legacy of fear that, decades later, would inspire Peter Benchley to pen the novel upon which the film would be based.

That summer’s terror began in the picturesque resort town of Beach Haven, not far from Atlantic City.  23 year old Charles Vansant was vacationing with his family when, on July 1st, he decided to refresh himself with a quick swim before dinner. Moments after entering the water he began to shout, with nearby bathers initially mistaking his cries as being directed toward a dog he had been playing with. But in truth a shark had sunk its teeth into Vansant’s leg below the foaming waves.  A lifeguard swam out to help Vansant struggle to shore, later saying that the shark attempted to follow them into the shallow water. Vansant’s leg was stripped of flesh at his thigh, and he bled to death while stretched out a desk at the very hotel where he was staying.

Despite the gruesome attack on Vansant no measures were taken to secure New Jersey’s beaches.  Reports filed by ships traversing the ports of Newark and New York City that sharks seemed to be swimming the waters in greater numbers than usual were ignored.  In the Philadelphia Public Ledger, former State Fish Commissioner James Meehan asserted that the shark had bitten Vansant by mistake and that “I do not believe there is any reason why people should hesitate to go swimming at the beaches for fear of man-eaters.”

All this changed less than a week later on July 6th, when 27 year old Charles Bruder was attacked while swimming off the beach of Spring Lake. This time the shark’s frenzy was so vicious that initial report from an eyewitness suggested a canoe with a red hull had capsized-the red shape seen in the water actually being Bruder’s pooled blood as the shark tore at his abdomen and legs. The New York Times would report that when Bruder was pulled to shore that women fainted upon sight of the mutilation the shark’s teeth had slashed across his flesh. Bruder bled to death before he could be rushed to a hospital.

This second attack brought a full panic effect, with coverage including the Boston Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle all descending on the Jersey Shore area. A press conference was held on July 8th at the American Museum of Natural History with marine biologists and oceanographers attending as panelists to declare that a third shark attack was unlikely, but nonetheless warning swimmers to stay close to shore and to congregate in netted waters near the resorts. As fear of potential shark attacks along the coast began to spread, eager swimmers turned to inland water sources instead.  Six days later on July 12th, a sailor named Thomas Cottrell was walking across a bridge in the town of Matawan Creek, located 30 miles inland of Spring Lake, when he saw a shark literally swim upstream right below his feet.  Although he rushed to report the sighting, his warning went unheeded as Matawan’s location made it seem an unlikely location for a shark attack.  And it was thusly 11 year old Lester Stilwell was doomed to his fate. Around 2pm Stilwell and a group of friends were swimming in the creek at an area known as Wyckoff Dock when they spotted what they initially mistook for a log floating in the water.  But when a dorsal fin emerged to skim the surface they realized their peril. The other boys were able to scramble to dry land, but unable to prevent Lester from being caught in the shark’s chomping clutch.

Alerted by the cries for help, 24 year old Watson Fisher dove into the waters to try to save Lester.  Although he initially pulled Lester from the attacking predator, he ultimately lost his grip and the boy was lost to the current. Fisher himself suffered a bite on the thigh and bled to death. Stilwell’s body was recovered 150 feet upstream. 30 minutes later that very same day the fifth and final victim, Joseph Dunn from New York, was attacked half a mile from the Matawan Creek attack site. Unlike prior victims, Dunn was able to survive with only a bite on the left leg after being rescued by his brother in a vicious tug-o-war with the aquatic predator.

The public response to these latest attacks was frenzied. The federal House of Representatives allocated $5,000 (120,000 in today’s currency) to assist shoreside towns in taking precautions against shark attacks. Armed motorboats were set to patrol along the coast. A bounty of $100 (2300 today) was posted for anyone who killed the shark in Matawan Creek, and shark hunts took place throughout New Jersey and New York.

Ultimately it was a performer for the Barnum and Bailey Circus named Michael Schleisser who brought an end to the shark’s reign of finned fear. On July 14th while fishing on the Raritan Bay, only a few miles from the mouth of Matawan Creek, he caught a 325 pound shark after a struggle that nearly upended his boat and broke an oar. Upon opening the shark’s abdomen its stomach was found to contain human flesh and bone. Schleisser initially mounted the shark and kept it on display in a store window, with the remains later being lost to time and only one known photograph ever published in the Bronx Home News.  No further attacks were reported for the remainder of that summer. Modern marine biologists have disputed the claims of a single shark being responsible for all of the attacks, with general theory declaring a great white as the culprit along the coast and a bull shark as the perpetrator of the Matawan Creek attacks. The increased presence of human activity in the water due to the polio pandemic is often cited as a key factor as mere volume alone increased the likelihood of encounters with marine wildlife.

Regardless of what kind or how many may have been responsible, sharks officially entered the public consciousness as symbols of menace. While sharks had previously been assumed to be timid and weak creatures, they new exuded an aura of intimidation. It was not long before armchair authorities suggested that swimmers wear loud and ostentatious bathing clothes to scare sharks away, and as the Untied States contemplated entry into the first world war newspaper cartoonists took to depicting German U-Boats with shark like features. It was this lingering effect of fear that would span generations into the year 1974, when Peter Benchley began to conduct research into a possible writing project revolving around a series of shark attacks, with his hero character of Chief Brody even going to so far as to cite the New Jersey shark attacks of 1916 on the page. The legacy of these two weeks of fear swims on today as films like Sharknado, The Shallows, and The Meg continue fill us with amphibious fear of what lurks below the oceans surface.

When Death Meets Domestication-An Interview With The Homicidal Homemaker

When Death Meets Domestication-An Interview With The Homicidal Homemaker

Whether it be Doctor Frankenfurter carving a turkey, or Hannibal Lechter munching on a human thigh, food and horror have a connection. Eating and fear are deeply sensual experiences that stimulate our nerves and delight our senses in ways that evoke intense reactions.  And from cannibalism to vampirism, the consumption of eerie edibles can evoke the greatest gut instinct for fear or flight.  And in this carnivorous contradiction comes one of the most unique and entertaining horror hosts of the 20th century, The Homicidal Homemaker. From when she first began her blog in the days of MySpace to now being a feature contributor to Rue Morgue magazine and a popular horror host on YouTube, she has dazzled fans with her demented, delicious delights.  It was my pleasure to have a chance to conduct a chat with her about horror, cooking, and life. Daniel: What made you love horror, what was your first experience?

Kaci: Well this may shock a lot of people, but I was not a horror fan right off the bat. One of my earliest memories is watching the original version of The Fly, as well as the 80’s remake and I was so scared! I hated horror movies when I was very little, but my parents were huge fans. They used to go to dates in the drive in and see stuff like The Gates of Hell, Dead and Buried, and The Funeral Home. So some of my earliest memories are of watching horror movies-and then they’re sending me to bed by myself.  I was probably three years old, maybe a little younger. But I always did have a fondness for things that were creepy; my earliest memories of having a favorite film was the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors musical. I always had a fondness for Halloween and dressing up. But as for horror movies, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I remember my mom showing me the 1983 The Making of Thriller, and I was scared, but not of the zombies. It was of Michael Jackson in that final shot with the yellow eyes. That’s kind of how it became a fascination. I was like ‘Okay, if I know how it’s done it won’t scare me.’ And that’s really how I became a horror fan. It fascinated me.  So now, like I disconnected it from the character and

Daniel: Now, to your other passion, cooking?

Kaci: Well another early memory of mine is of watching PBS and they had Julia Childs and Yan Can Cook. At my grandparents house I would watch The Addams Family and The Munsters, and then I’d watch Yan Can Cook. These are things they still play on television now, and its so nostalgic for people but it still holds up. I remember watching that and enjoying listening. And then I would help my grandmother in the kitchen. The first thing I remember learning how to cook were crepes. Most people say I learned how to make a grilled cheese or scrambled eggs, but I remember making turkey and swiss cheese crepes. And I would get to spend time with my great grandmother, and we got to enjoy what we made. She would make these dinners for every holiday, and it was so impressive. You never really know how much work that is until you attempt to do it yourself. And after she passed away in October of 1997 I started going through her recipe cards and I wanted to learn to make things I had grown up enjoying. I started watching Food Network. One of the first recipes I printed out was Alton Brown’s brownie recipe. They didn’t turn out very good (laughs). I’d watch Bobby Flay, and he did a vegan recipe that I thought was really cool. It was just something that was very rewarding to me, ‘I followed the instructions and now I get to enjoy it.’ It was the learning experience and the process, how ingredients interact with each other. I’m a huge geek when it comes to science and history, so that played upon my love for science. I started reading on forums about other people’s mistakes and how to avoid them, and learning from my own mistakes. It was very rewarding. From there, when I was 19 or 20, I started wanting to make cakes because I had a little brother and I wanted to make him cakes, whatever theme he wanted. Or if I wanted to make a gift for someone it would be something personalized that they would know was made specifically for them. And that is how I got into bringing the artistic element into the cooking and baking. And I just ran with it.

Daniel: Discussing your fondness for cakes and pastries, you were a finalist for Food Network’s Halloween Wars. Could you tell us about that?

Kaci: When I first got the email from them, I ignored it. Then I got another one, and another one. They were like “Hey, we looked at your YouTube channel and you’re perfect for this!” I was going to ignore them because I don’t want to do reality tv. I think it would ultimately take the fun out of it. When you go at your own pace and have your own expectations its totally different than when you are under pressure and time constraint in an unfamiliar place. Daniel: When it becomes a job?

Kaci: Pretty much. So I did email them back and told them I didn’t really have an interest. They asked “Can we talk to you on the phone about this?” I get it, that’s their job, they are a casting company. They want to find THE person. I’m sure there is an incentive for them if that person gets selected. And they said “Just try it.” I told them I’m not a professional, I’m self taught and these people are professionals. They have production skills that I don’t have because these are people that do this every day, they’ll bake 200 cupcakes for one order, that’s normal. But they said “Just try it” and submitted some pictures of my work that I emailed them to the next tier up. They were very excited, “We want to meet with you.” They started posing challenges to me and it was very stressful. Working a full time job, having all my various hobbies, and they are asking me “Can you make this and have it to us tomorrow?” I made it happen, I don’t know how. I missed an award ceremony for a family member and they didn’t seem to care. They wanted to know that I could make traditional pastries. And after a very lengthy process, having Skype calls with the Food Network team, I finally got an email telling me I was selected to move on if I wanted to. I decided it was something I didn’t want to do. I had a couple sleepless nights wondering, ‘Am I walking away from a big opportunity? Am I making the right decision?’ Ultimately I decided it was something I didn’t want to do. If something doesn’t feel right you probably shouldn’t go with it.  I think a lot of people should go with their gut instinct. My heart just wasn’t into it, and it wasn’t really me. I looked at the experience is a personal challenge, because I didn’t think I’d make it through the first round, let alone all the applications and interviews. I’d rather do this and have control over what I do,  and do things thing’s that people can be inspired by and get advice from me to have recipes that are going to be tried and true, because sometimes it takes six tries before I’ll release a recipe. Every year since then I get contacted about every show. I don’t want to sound unappreciative, its flattering that they would even consider me and want me to try out again. But I’d rather focus on my own stuff right now.

Daniel: I admire your creative integrity. That would have been a big opportunity to raise you profile. The fact you walked away just because you felt you weren’t interested and wasn’t what you wanted takes guts. So kudos for that.

Kaci: Thank you. I didn’t tell anyone about it until after I’d made the decision. I told some people it wasn’t me walking around from ten thousand dollars, because I don’t think I was going to win it to begin with. I don’t think I would have made it past the first round. I look at how those people are almost cracking, you can feel the pressure watching those shows. I don’t want to put myself through that, I’m stressed enough. Daniel: Concerning horror and cooking, is there any particular project you are proud of?

Kaci: Oh my gosh, I have so many recipes I haven’t even shared yet! When I think about the recipes I’m not only thinking of the final results, I’m also thinking of the process and how I develop the recipe and how it came together to make a video for it. I think one I was exceptionally proud of was the Brain Macaroni Salad, that was so much fun to film. And it was the hottest day of the summer in central California, it was a very hot day and everyone was in masks and costumes but they were super awesome about it. As far as recipe, the Twin Peaks Black Lodge Pie was something I hold dear to my heart, as well as The Shining Red Rum Roll Cake. Those were two I had up my sleeve for a long time. These are recipes I developed and never shared. There are hundreds I’ve had ideas for and even photographed but never caught up. That is something I’m trying to be a little better about; content that I’ve done but haven’t shared. The Shining Red Rum Roll Cake was one that I was surprised about. I knew would like it because it’s the Shining inspired, but I didn’t think it would get the coverage that it did. A Chicago news station covered it!

Daniel: In terms of horror movies, do you have a favorite genre? Universal Classics, 80’s slashers?

Kaci: I love 80’s slashers! I’m a kid of the 80’s so that’s nostalgic for me. The 80’s were lots of boobs and lots of blood. I’m also into mid-century psychological flicks like Hitchcock, William Castle, I have a very soft spot in my heart for those. Its not just about the films themselves or the actors that portrayed the characters. I love to look into the marketing for those films at that time. Just seeing the gimmicks that William Castle did to build up to the premier of his films, even when the people were in the audience, the things he did is so fascinating to me. The Ghost Viewer for 13 Ghosts, things like that. It makes me wish I could go back in time and attend those premieres with those people in the audience. But I also think the Hollywood Hack sub-genre, films like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Straight Jacket with Joan Crawford. I think what I really like about those films is I saw them when I was younger and they made a really big impression on me. I specifically remember my mom showing me that film, and the part where she is singing her song and catches her reflection and screams in terror messed me up! Daniel: As far as your channel goes, are there hopes you have for the future? Celebrity guests, collaborations, cross references you want to do?

Kaci: Absolutely! We do have some guests that have expressed interest. Its such a weird thing to say and a weird thing to read. I don’t like to share any names until after, but even then people that I’ve grown up watching in a movie or I’ve listened to their scores on movies and it transports me to back to childhood-having them notice me and say “Hey, if you’d ever like to have me as a guest!” I’m scrolling up and thinking “Did I just read that?” Their work is what inspires me to do what I do, and to have them pay attention and watch is a huge compliment. I am working on coordinating some of that. Especially people that are heroes and icons to me.

Daniel: To wrap things up, is there anything you want to say to the people out there, perhaps some content coming up? 

Kaci: Well we do have some content coming up but I don’t want to say what. Just be sure to subscribe on youtube and click the notification bell.  Every other month I have a new episode on Rue Morgue TV’s channel, the Rue Crew are doing great things. Its an honor to be immortalized in the pages of that publication because I’ve been a huge fan for a long time. They are a great team of people to work with and are very supportive of people of all sizes. I’m on DreadCentral’s show Chronic Horror. There have been so many who have supported my career over the years, I’d like to thank them all but it would take forever because there are so many rad people out there. If nobody liked it, I wouldn’t have a reason to do it. Thank you to everyone. Keep an eye out on YouTube and Rue Morgue for more from Kaci. To share the sentiment, eat drink and be scary! 

Monsters, Creeps, and Cryptids – an interview with Derek Hayes of Monsters Among Us

Monsters, Creeps, and Cryptids – an interview with Derek Hayes of Monsters Among Us

If you have a passion for cryptozoology, there is a good chance you may have listened to the Monsters Among Us Podcast.  If not-why aren’t you? A fun and informative podcast, Monsters Among Us brings you the best of Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, Giant Cats, and other unknowns.  Today I had a chance to speak with Derek Hayes, one of the key drivers of Monsters Among Us, to discuss his interest in cryptids and his own experiences and ambitions. Daniel: Please explain what got you into Cryptozoology. 

Derek: When I was about ten years old I had an experience that changed my life forever. I grew up on a farm in Eastern Ohio. Me, my brother, and a friend would explore the woods behind my dad’s house. There was hundreds of acres of forested land back there and we would just run amok.

Daniel: Great environment. 

Derek: In the 80’s it was awesome! We were back there kind of messing around, and first we heard something strange. We looked up at the hillside and we saw, for lack of a better term, a black panther running across the hill. This creature was immense! A very large wild animal. I’d say the body was four to five feet long, it had a big long tail. It took us by surprise as it ran across the hill. We tried to cut it off-of course it was long gone by the time we got there.  I was enthralled! I knew these things didn’t exist in Ohio, and if they ever did it hadn’t been for hundreds of years. I was like, “What is this thing?” So when I got to school the next day I hit the library and found all these cryptid books. Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, aliens, ghosts, it all just fascinated me to the point I couldn’t get enough.

Daniel: Big Cat sightings are one of the most common cryptid sightings. Not as much in the US, but in the UK they are off the charts. And it could be anything; an escaped wild animal, or it could be a surviving species. That is what is so fascinating about it. 

Derek: That’s the crazy thing. And you’re 100% correct, the UK does have its own big cat legends. Over there they seem to be much more violent, they take down animals left and right. There’s the Beast of Exmoor, a few different creatures of that direction. But in the states, you’d be surprised! There’s a lot of sightings about these things, and they’re called ABC’s-Alien Big Cats. And they’re seen in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia-that region is the big hot spot. And the only wild cat that is common in that area is the bobcat, and those are only slightly larger than a house cat. So that’s not what we’re seeing!
Daniel: In a way that is the best kind of cryptid, where they could be a rational explanation. Even not some ancient species that survived, but maybe a crossbreed of some kind of mountain lions or some other wild animal that has gone out of control. It could be real. 

Derek: That’s exactly right. And we don’t know where these things are coming from. It could be a crossbreed. Maybe someone let loose some sort of black panther, and I don’t know if its biologically possible, but maybe it crossed with a mountain lion that happened to be in the area. And now we have this new species of cat that’s so rare only a handful of people have seen in.

Daniel: Now, your specialty is Bigfoot. What got you into that? 

Derek: It was kind of the logical step. I was interested in the big cats, from there I found out about UFO’s and aliens and then I found Bigfoot. I thought “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!” And of course there was In Search Of, Monster Mysteries, and a bunch of documentaries that came out in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was kind of around for the perfect moment to catch all that. From that point on its been nothing but Bigfoot fascination.

Daniel: As far as Bigfoot goes, its one of those cryptids where I’m 99% certain that most of the sightings are total BS, beyond belief. But you hear about those few sightings where you feel like “You know, maybe? Just maybe?” That’s why its so interesting to me. 

Derek: That’s what keeps me going, actually. You look at 100 Bigfoot sighting reports, you are going to say that 50 of those are a hoax, another 45 are misidentified animals like bears or giant dogs. But then you are left with those 4 of 5 encounters that you can’t explain away. And that’s why I’m interested in all this. I want to know what those 4 or 5 encounters are. Daniel: As far as Bigfoot goes, what would be your favorite sighting or encounter? 

Derek: Well there are so many good ones. One of my favorite ones, and this is from a long time ago, I want to say 1925 off the top of my head. A man named Albert Otsman, who was a prospector in British Columbia. He was back in the mountains by himself, doing his thing. Looking for gold, silver, copper, whatever he was looking for. And he came across a Sasquatch. I guess the thing invaded his camp a couple times at night and eventually it grabbed him in his sleeping bag and all and threw it over its shoulder. Otsman said he walked for ten hours probably, over the top of mountains, over the top of ranges. And finally he arrived to a family of these things. He was held hostage for three or four days and the only way he was able to escape was that he had a can of snuff, chewing tobacco. He gave it to the Sasquatch and it ate the whole thing and immediately started puking. That’s when Otsman grabbed his stuff and took off. And the weird part about this story is that it was 1957 before he finally told anybody that this happened. So,to me, that lends a little bit of clout to his story-the fact that he was willing to keep it a secret so long. If he was going to hoax somebody, and say “oh this thing happened…”

Daniel: “Who’s going to believe this?” Right? 

Derek: Exactly. I’m not saying I blindly believe what he’s saying, but I think it does lend a little bit of credibility to his story. But that is one of my favorites, I think that is just amazing.

Daniel: Are there any other cryptids that you are particularly fond of?

Derek: Oh man, there are so many! There are one off cryptids that I absolutely love, like The Loveland Frogman from my home state of Ohio. There’s the Dover Demon, which is like a little alien out of Massachusetts.

Daniel: I’ve heard of that one. Only a handful of people saw it, over a very short period of time, and in a small area. But their descriptions are so congruous that you immediately think “they saw it, the same thing, there was something there?” 

Derek: Exactly. I think it was three sets of kids that saw it on the same night in 1977 in Dover, Mass. But I think my other biggest favorite has to be The Dog Man, or the Beast of Bray Road. Its essentially a werewolf. And people have seen this thing in association with Native American mounds, so there is some sort of ancient history. The backstory is just too good to pass up, I love the Dog Man. Daniel: My personal favorite has to be Moth Man. Much like Dover Demon, the sightings were over a short while, only a year or two, and in an enclosed area. And the people who saw it were pretty much in agreement about what they saw, their descriptions were congruous. Those factors lead to believe there had to be something that they saw. What we can’t say, but it was there. 

Derek: The Mothman story is even crazier than a lot of people realize. Not only was there the Mothman sightings from 1966, in which dozens of people saw this thing over a ten month period in West Virginia, but you also had tons of UFO activity in the area at the time. You had men in black see in the area at the same time. And then there was Indrid Cold, which is this strange entity that came out of a UFO and talked to a gentleman named Woody Derenberger, and essentially told him it came from this planet called Lanulos outside of our solar system.

Daniel: I hadn’t heard of that one. 

Derek: You should look it up. And its another case where he came right out about it, was on the news the next day saying “I spoke to an alien.” Was plain as day about it, didn’t seem to be lying about it. I guess it ruined his life; his daughter said he became an alcoholic because of it, he got divorced because of it, he died because of it. But he stuck to his story the entire time. But it all kind of crescendos into a tragedy that took place 13 months to the day of the first Mothman sighting, the Silver Bridge collapsed and killed 46 people. Its the biggest bridge disaster in US history. They even made a movie about it, “The Mothman Prophecies” with Richard Gere. Its a decent film, obviously you are a horror fan. Check it out. Derek: Well I mentioned Harry and the Hendersons earlier, as far as fictional films. That’s one of my favorites. 

Daniel: That really helped bring Bigfoot into the mainstream, but  it also kind of wrecked it. It was so cute that Bigfoot as a horror image was ruined.

Daniel: On that same note, being an experienced filmmaker, are there any cryptid films you are fond of?  

Derek: It was. The 70’s set it up so well with Boggy Creek, Creature of Black Lake, and a couple others. In Search of and the other documentaries were spooky. But then the 80’s come alone and Harry and the Hendersons came along, there was one just called Bigfoot with one of the kids from Home Improvement.  But luckily in the last decade or so this is all starting to come back to us. There’s Willow Creek, Bobcat Goldthwaight‘s movie that came out a few years ago. That one was terrifying and very well done, I thought it was one of the best found footage films I’ve seen in a long time. Exists was another good one. I watched one recently called Hoax that is on Amazon Prime that I thought held up very well. There’s a nice twist at the end of that one. I think people are leaning more toward the scary Sasquatch these days, as opposed to the 80’s and 90’s, that friendly furry buddy.

Daniel: And its funny, because Sasquatch is a genre made for found footage. 

Derek: Oh it is! And there’s thousands of those films out there too, because they are a dime a dozen to make. You get a suit and some college kids. And they are fun to watch too, get some buddies and beers to make fun of them. The bad ones are the ones you have to make fun of. Daniel: Are there any documentaries or films that you have done that you’d like to talk about here?

Derek: Well the films I’ve worked on I’m not necessarily proud of *laughs* so I won’t mention a lot of them. I worked on the Underworld series, but it was the later end of it. Those were fun, but I really hang my hat on the cryptid stuff. And I’m working on a documentary myself that we are looking to shoot here in the next couple of months, based on a small town in Southern California. There is like, a window area, this place in the desert where all these creatures seem to accumulate. There’s UFO’s, aliens, missing people, all kinds of things that seem to happen in this state park.

Daniel: Almost like South Park in Utah?

Derek: Exactly! You name it, its all here. Its like Point Pleasant, West VA, where Mothman were sighted. One of these window areas where all this strange stuff seems to happen.

Daniel: Venturing into our main topic at House of Tortured Souls, horror! Is there type of cryptid horror you are fond of? 

Derek: Oh man! Like I mentioned, Willow Creek was a really good one. If you’ve ever been out in the woods looking for Bigfoot or any of these creatures, they kind of captured that. There’s a lot of waiting, a lot of build up, a lot of baited breath. All that build up is there, so you kind of understand what Bobcat was going for. I think that’s something that is lost on people that haven’t been out in the woods, late at night, yelling into the darkness, looking for a hairy creature.

Daniel: Have you had any personal encounters besides that one with the big cat that are particularly vivid?

Derek: As far as cryptids, no, unfortunately that’s the only one. But I did see a full body apparition once when I was a kid. Daniel: Really? So you are into the paranormal too?

Derek: Yeah. In my podcast I cover everything from aliens to doppelgangers to cryptids to ghosts to demons, all that kind of stuff. Pretty much anything paranormal is in my wheel house. I was visiting my grandparents in Jacksonville, Florida. And every time I walked by this particular room, out of my peripheral vision, I could see a Native American dancing in that bedroom. He had a full feather headdress on, beads and straps of leather all across his body. And the second I turned my head it was just gone. I saw it three or four times in five days that we were visiting. That was the one full body apparition I can claim I saw. This concluded our interview . If you have a passion for monsters, mysteries, and magic, check out the Monsters Among Us Podcast

True Love-or Tortured Desire? The Story of Sada Abe

True Love-or Tortured Desire? The Story of Sada Abe

Valentines Day-a season of romance and l’amore…and perhaps a little gore.  For sometimes affection can turn to animosity, and passion unleashed can be as unstoppable as a flood or an earthquake.  And the wrath of a lover scorned can result in the most nightmarish of true life horror. Such was the story of Sada Abe (in Japanese dialect, Abe Sada).

At the outset, the woman destined to become one of Japan’s most famous criminal, did not seem marked for anything extraordinary. She was born into a comfortable upper-middle class family, the seventh of eight children. Of her siblings only three would survive to adulthood, with Sada as the youngest. At a young age she took to skipping school in favor of attending music lessons or spending time with a group of similarly rebellious youths. She would later claim that during one such outing she was raped-and the trauma of sexual assault may account for her later behavior.

After failing in an attempted career as a geisha, she turned to prostitution and petty theft. Her misery was furthered by contracting syphilis, requiring routine medical examination. Rather than submit to such inspection, she worked unlicensed, off the books, exposing herself to further degradation.  Along the way she made attempts at a straight career as a maid and waitress.

It was then that she met Kichizo Ishida.

Taking on a job in the popular Yoshidaya restaurant, Sada Abe soon attracted the attention of its owner, Ishida.  By the time of their meeting Ishida had already garnered a reputation as a drunk and womanizer and had largely given up any interest in establishment, the business end being run by his wife, freeing him up to chase women as he pleased. Ishida began making amorous advances toward her, and a passionate sexual chemistry quickly blossomed. On April 23 1936 they checked into a hotel, intending a brief encounter that proceeded to snowball into a four day binge during which they rarely left bed, their rapture sometimes accompanied by romantic ballads played by geisha attendants.

Sada Abe upon her arrest

Abe would later be at a loss to describe her attraction to Ishida, stating she had never met a man as attractive. As their short relationship intensified, she found herself growing incredibly jealous at knowing Ishida would simply return to his wife after such turid encounters with her. She began to drink heavily and contemplated murdering her lover so no other woman could possess him.

Checking into another hotel on May 16, the two once again spent days in rapturous love making. This time, however, they began to engage in extreme sexual practice; Sada held a knife against Ishida’s penis, threatening to slice it off if he ever saw another woman. Ishida encouraged her to use the sash of her kimono to erotically asphyxiate him, to the point Ishida consumed a heavy dose of sedative to numb the pain he felt afterward. It would prove a prophetic fetish.

In the early morning hours of May 18, Sada Abe used her kimono sash to strangle Ishida to death. She slept alongside the corpse for several hours and then severed his genitals from his body and carved the characters “Sada, Kishida no Kichi Futari-kiri” (translated: We, Sada and Kichiri Ishida, are alone) into the flesh of his thigh before leaving the hotel, the phallus wrapped in newspaper.

When Ishida’s body was discovered it triggered a nationwide sensation. Never had the Japanese press encountered such a heinous sexual crime. The search for the fugitive set off a nationwide panic, with sightings of the runaway Sada Abe reported throughout the countryside, with reports of near stampedes taking place in Ginza when civilians thought they had spotted the suspect meandering through the streets.  Reality was far simpler; Sada Abe checked into a hotel in the Shinagawa ward of Tokyo, where she spent the next few days drinking, going to cinemas, and writing letters to friends and relatives. She experimented with the mutilated organ she had taken from her lover, attempting to stimulate herself with it and even contemplating committing suicide by leaping off Mount Ikoma while holding the organ in her hand.

The hotel eventually became suspicious of the alias she had checked in under and contacted the police. When officers arrived to question her they were astonished to find a smiling suspect who chipperly invited them into her hotel room, stating “You’re looking for Sada Abe, right? That’s me.”  They would describe her becoming eerily excited as she described the details of her crime, and even produced Ishida’s penis to verify herself.

Sada Abe’s trial in November of that year created an even greater public stir. The Japanese press romanticized her story as a tragic tale of star crossed lovers, rather than a brutal act of sexual violence. The presiding judge would later confess to having experienced feelings of sexual excitement at her testimony, as she described her relationship with Ishida in lurid detail. Convicted of second degree murder, she was condemned to a ten year sentence, of which she served four and was released exactly five years to the day of her crime in May of 1941.

The Sada Abe Incident has gone on to be immortalized in Japanese pop culture, including films such as “A Woman Named Sada Abe” and “In The Realm of the Senses,” released in 1975 and 1976 respectively.  Some depictions continue to paint her story as romantic and erotic, while some present a more stark portrait of a deeply troubled and mentally unhinged woman driven to desperate acts by her jealousy and passion.  If any lesson can be take from Sada Abe today, it can be to always be mindful of a woman’s heart-and the danger of a lover’s desire.


Frightful Fitness-Walk Like a Monster, Lose Weight and Get Strong

Frightful Fitness-Walk Like a Monster, Lose Weight and Get Strong

New Year, New Me! At least that is probably what the Frankenstein monster thought every time a new piece got stitched on.  But it’s also what many tell themselves each year as they resolve to drop those extra pounds, get in shape, and improve their health.  In this series, we shall examine ways to do just that-by basing your workout on your favorite genre.

Thinking of the Frankenstein monster-Boris Karloff had to wear weighted shoes, eight pounds each, to achieve the extra height and lumbering gait that so memorably conveyed the physical menace of the Monster.  One can just imagine what a task it was to wear weight equivalent to bowling balls strapped onto his feet for hours every day!  No doubt it taxed the muscles of his legs and challenged his cardiovascular endurance.

You too can achieve the strength and stamina of the Monster-by using ankle weights.  These simple fitness tools can be found in most sports and mega stores in weights of varying ranges.  All you have to do is strap them around your ankles and go for a nice, brisk walk, or even a jog if you want to truly challenge yourself.  Be sure to maintain a steady pace and not to overwork yourself. Once you take those weights off, you will feel as free as a departed spirit floating into the great beyond!


Krampus on the Mantle-Making Christmas Creepy and Fun

Krampus on the Mantle-Making Christmas Creepy and Fun

If you’re anything like me, you pass each December wondering why we have yet to get much in the way of hellacious half-pint horror films based off Elf on the Shelf. How has that creepy little tattle tale yet to inspire some Chucky-style slasher film, preferably involving stuffing a victim’s mouth with marshmallows till they burst, all the while flashing that stupid little smile?

But fear not, horror fanatics, for FYE has come up with a high counter to help quench our thirst for horror during the cuteness overload of the Yule season: Krampus on the Mantle. The European Christmas demon has officially arrived in the mainstream, thanks to his appearances in various media such as America Dad and The Colbert Report, but most notably the 2015 film. Now he comes right into your home in tiny form; his cured horns come to help add some hellacious hoots and hollers to your holiday.

Courtesy of FYE’s own website:

“Watch out kids, there’s a new Christmas tradition. Krampus is coming to town and he’s on a mission. Unlike St. Nick, who rewards good kids with toys, Krampus dishes out terror to bad girls and boys. Watching you, children, no need for a letter, Punishing naughty kids for ever and ever. Kids who are bad will be shaking in fear, But, too late, Krampus is already here. Sharp claws, pointed fangs and menacing horns. If he decides you were naughty, from this world you’ll be torn. When he comes for you, hear his chains and bells clank. You know you’re in trouble, this is definitely no prank. Thrown in his sack, no matter how much you yell, Won’t see a thing as he drags you to hell. Keeping you confined for an entire year. Punishment so awful, you’ll wish you weren’t here. Don’t want to see Krampus? Don’t give him a reason. Be good all year long. Survive the Christmas season. See old St. Nick and all the joy that he brings. Opening presents by the tree while everyone joyfully sings. Don’t do bad things, and always remember, Krampus is watching. He’ll be back next December!”

Although this depiction is a bit off from the big guy’s traditional appearance in greeting cards and woodcuts, it still does his general appearance justice. While he is not typically depicted wearing the mock Santa hat and coat, the cloven hoof, gnarled talons, and protruding horns are all present. His gleeful growl of Grinch-like menace and beady red eyes should help to keep even the most insubordinate of children in line-or encourage the genuinely adventurous to new heights of naughtiness. Parents looking to introduce their children to the delights of Holiday Horror should keep an eye out!

Scary Good Eats: Thanksgiving Dinner-Pricewise

Scary Good Eats: Thanksgiving Dinner-Pricewise

“Let the board groan, let the belly bulge, let our hearts be thankful-lest we forget what our ancestors went through to achieve that first Thanksgiving. The fullness of our fields and fruit trees, of our dairies and hatcheries load the table and this is a day for family and friends to make welcome the stranger.”

So speak the words penned by one of horror’s true icons, Vincent Price, in his marvelous tome A Treasury of Great Recipes. As a longtime admirer of Mister Price’s legendary work in my favorite genre of entertainment, I was greatly interested to learn he was also a man of exquisite taste as a lover of fine food and cooking. But it also made a great deal of sense, since as a world renowned star of screen, stage, and radio, Mister Price would have had abundant opportunity to visit many of the most famous eateries known round the globe, and to sample the finest fare they had to offer. It is with this shared love of fine food and dining that I delve into my copy of this magnificent cookbook to share Mister Price’s decadent recipe for roast turkey and invite all my fellow horror fanatics to replicate this wonderful recipe for their coming Thanksgiving dinner.

This particular recipe comes from the Wayside Inn of Massachusetts. Before we can prepare the bird, we must make the stuffing. While you can substitute with a pre-made, store bought stuffing, the Wayside Inn’s recipe has a rustic, old world quality that cannot be replicated.

To begin, trim the excess fat from one pound of pork shoulder. Grind this into a fine crumble using a hand cranked or electrical meat grinder. Prepare a spice mix of 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon dried crumbled sage. Give this a thorough mix, or even more preferable, a firm grinding in a pestle mortar. Add the spice mixture to your ground pork and knead thoroughly.

For the next step of the stuffing, thoroughly dice 2 stalks of celery and 2 onions. In a pan, melt 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of butter and then fry your celery and onions until caramelized. Add in your sausage mix and fry until cooked. Into this mixture at 1 cup of cooked chicken and 1 cup cooked ham.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and pour over 6 cups of large grain bread crumbs, such as Panko. Add in 4 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon mace, 1 teaspoon marjoram, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth and knead into a stuffing.

Now, to prepare the turkey! The elegance of this turkey recipe is in its simplicity, before the days brining, frying, or plastic bags. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the inside of a 12 pound turkey with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stuff the body and neck with your prepared stuffing. Place your turkey breast-side up into a shallow pan and truss the winds and legs close to the body.  Brush the turkey with 1/2 cup of melted butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Place two slices of bacon across the breast. Into your roasting pan with the turkey pour 2 cups of water and add in 1 whole onion pierced with 3 whole cloves, 1 stalk of chopped celery and 2 chopped carrots, 2 bay leaves, 5 sprigs of fresh parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme. The ideal roasting time for your turkey will be 10-20 minutes per pound.  Baste your turkey every 30 minutes with the pan liquid.

As a final step, while your turkey is cooking, simmer the giblets (neck, wing tips, kidneys, etc) in 1 quart of water for two hours. Once your turkey is prepared, strain the liquid from the roasting pan and let the fat rise to the surface. Return 6 tablespoons or the fat to the pan. Stir in 6 tablespoons of flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring in all the scrapings from the bottom and sides of the pan. Stir in 3 cups of your prepared turkey broth from the giblets and cook, stirring until your gravy is thickened and smooth.

As your final touch to crown this delicious recipe for Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to play the final laugh track from the Thriller music video/album as you sink your fork into the tender, juicy meat of turkey and offer up a brief thanks to the immortal Vincent Price!


Scary Good Eats-the IHOP Addams Family Breakfast

Scary Good Eats-the IHOP Addams Family Breakfast

They’re creepy and the goopy, mysterious and mooshy, they’re altogether droopy-the IHOP family breakfast!

Well, okay, its not quite that bad. But it should go without saying that when fine dining is on the mind, the International House of Pancakes (former the International House of Burgers. No really) is not what immediately comes to mind.  This is the kind of option you more likely go for when you are either in an incredible rush on a very long road trip, or it is 3 am and you are drunk out of your mind-or at least your better judgment.  This reputation has not stopped IHOP from cashing in on the anticipation of the debut of the new Addams Family, to take place later this month of October.  And so for the sake of the reader, your humble narrator chose to undergo the intestinal challenge of taking on some of this limited time menu.

Upon perusing the menu, decorated with images of the upcoming CGI cartoon, I took in the board of fair.  Among the items I was tempted by were
Wednesday’s Web-Cakes: Fluffy, signature Buttermilk pancakes topped with cupcake icing, webbed with HERSHEY’S Chocolate Syrup and topped with violet whipped topping.

Gomez’ Green Chili Omelette: Marinated pulled pork, Jack & cheddar cheeses, fire-roasted peppers and onions, and green chile verde sauce topped with sour cream.

Uncle Fester’s Chocolate Ice Scream Shake: A haunted house-made HERSHEY’S chocolate ice cream shake with violet whipped topping.

Morticia’s Haunted Hot Chocolate: Toasted marshmallow hot chocolate topped with violet whipped topping and a drizzle of HERSHEY’S Chocolate Syrup.

Kooky Kids Combo: A Wednesday’s Web-Cakes served with one scrambled egg, one bacon strip and one pork sausage link.

Although the images attached to said menu held promise, I kept my judgment in reservation. If Hannibal taught me anything, it is to always question what goes into a dish, no matter how attractive. After some consideration, I chose to opt for the Gomez Green Chili Omelette and the Wednesday Web-Cakes.  Upon my food’s arrival, my expectations promptly joined the Addams Family ancestors rotting in the graveyard outside their home.  I’ll allow the attached image to provide all the visual summary of the experience that awaited me that could possibly be asked for.

Upon carrying my fork to my mouth, I found the Wednesday Web-Cakes completely unremarkable, outside of the heart attack-inducing amount of frosting that had been slathered across the surface.  There was no particular flavor profile to these pancakes to set them aside from anything you would get at any other chain restaurant. While I’m sure the web pattern drawn into the frosting looked perfectly lovely the instant it was applied, by the time I found this short stack in front of me it was more resembling the clocks in Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Time.

The Gomez Green Chili Omelette at least looked presentable on the plate.  The green chili chunks were clearly visible in the verde sauce, promising a possibly zesty dish to come.  But upon my first bite I was overwhelmed by the unmistakable taste of artificial, rather than organic eggs. The verde sauce proved completely bland without any hint of the kind of Spanish flare you would expect from the partriarch of the Addams clan.  The pulled pork also proved tasteless, allowing the cheese flavors to completely overwhelm. Trying to find any particular flavor in this dish was harder than locating Cousin It’s face amidst his mop-like pelt.

With a final price tag of less than twenty dollars total, I can at least say the dish is not all that outrageous of a loss for what you invest. But I still walked away disappointed, feeling even less inclined than before to try any of the further Addams themed dishes that IHOP had to offer.  And so I revved up my engine and drove the old hearse home as I waited for the Addams Family revenge to hit my digestive track like Uncle Fester behind the wheel of a big rig.  Overall experience, two stars. Eat at your own risk!


Friday the 13th Vengeance-A Review

If there is any one given rule among fans of the long running Friday the 13th franchise, it is that Jason never dies. Yet for over a decade fans have languished, waiting for the Crystal Lake Killer to re-emerge from the murky depths of his watery grave to once again bring havoc upon unsuspecting, over-sexed victims.  But the fate of the film series remains stuck in limbo amidst legal disputes and a sheer lack of any truly promising scripts.

But out of this void has emerged a thriving community of productions by fans. Some cross Jason over with other horror franchises, serving as defacto successors to Freddy vs Jason. Others simply follow the hockey mask, machete toting monstrosity on his never ending quest to avenge his mother.  And some try to add new and different twists the mythos of Jason. And that is where Friday the 13th Vengeance delivers in spades.

After several long years of production, this long promised feature was unveiled on (fittingly) Friday, September 13th in Blairstown, New Jersey-the true home of Jason, as many scenes from the first film where recorded there, and the bulk of filming took place at nearby Camp Nobebosco, which is still an active Boy Scout camp that offers frequent tours of filming locations and even overnight stays. The feature was the cap off of a weekend of festivities to celebrate the unique event, as under the light of the first Harvest Moon of the season fans fathered amidst various figures of Friday the 13th past (including no less than Ari Lehman, the very first Jason) to celebrate their favorite slasher film franchise and just plain have fun.

The script, as written by Mike Meade and T.C. DeWitt, follows the standard formula for Jason, yet manages to insert plenty of new and unique elements to provide a satisfactory follow up to where the franchise left off (disregarding the 2009 remake) with a plot that sees the daughter of Tommy Jarvis unite with several other descendants of Jason’s many victims to try to clear their family legacies and put an end to Jason’s reign of terror once and for all.  But this time Jason has some back up of his own, as the character of Elias Vorhees (portrayed by CJ Graham, better known for playing Jason in part VI) makes his long awaited big screen debut to back his son up and even the odds, as well as provide further insight into the true story behind Jason’s dark origin. The film also packs in a final, somber appearance by Steve Dash, best known for playing Jason in most of Part II, as an aged Sheriff with some secrets of his own.  Dash had a very personal connection to this project, as he hosted the creators in his own home in order to film his scenes amidst his own failing health, before his death earlier this year. This provide a fitting tribute to “the REAL Jason.” Also included is a delightful appearance by Diana Prince, better known to a new generation of slasher fans as Darcy the Mail Girl from Joe Bob Briggs Last Drive In from the streaming service Shudder.

Although the direction of Jeremy Brown and Dustin Montierth certainly lives up to the legacy of all prior directors responsible for bringing Jason to life, it would be a lie to say this film is not without its flaws.  The story drags in certain areas, such as seemingly meaningless subplots about a crew of convicts, and hikers off on Camp Crystal Like terror tours that provide eye-rolling fodder for Jason’s rampage.  Yet this is more than compensated for in abundant death scenes that more than life up to the bigger budget, mainstream productions of the past.  Jason Brooks gives a Kane Hodder worthy performance as Jason, living up to the character’s trademark rage and thirst for mayhem.  There are no two kills that are alike in this film, much to the delight of the rowdy audience in Blairstown who whooped it up at all the best moments.

Friday the 13th Vengeance is not readily available online and via DVD/Blu Ray.  This film is easily the best successor to step forward from the dark wilderness of Camp Crystal Lake thus far.  If you enjoy blood, breasts, and laughs then this film is definitely worth your investment. Check it out, and as always-stay out of the woods!

Finally, The Fiend!

Finally, The Fiend!

When WWE debuted the character of Bray Wyatt (real name, Windham Rotunda) on Monday Night RAW in May of 2014, wrestling fans with a passion for horror were instantly captivated. While the character had already had a successful run in the early days of WWE’s NXT developmental territory, it was in the vignettes predating his on-screen debut as part of RAW that it truly came into its own.  The haunting music combined with eerie visuals that conjured the imagery of the backwoods south with a smattering of apocalyptic religious zealotry was unlike anything that had been seen in the ring since the days of Raven in ECW.  The character proved an instant hit, swiftly being launched into programs with Daniel Bryan and John Cena, undeniably the biggest stars of the time.

Sadly, the good times were not to last.  Bray Wyatt’s character eventually drifted into obscurity, delivering monotonously vague promos and repeating the same storytelling over and over with various opponents. Despite a brief reign as WWE champion in 2016, the character seemed to have lost its meaning as WWE could not seem to decide what it wanted Bray Wyatt to be. Insane cult leader? Supernatural force? Or just babbling lunatic?  It garnered little notice when the character vanished from television in late 2018, not to be seen again for months.

Then came Firefly Funhouse, and a seeming rebirth. Bray Wyatt was now revealed as a Mr Rogers style children’s icon, talking in over the top delight to his canned in audience as he introduced his bevy of puppet sidekicks and delighted the little ones in the audience with is antics.  Yet in each promo some ominous signs were given that this new and happier Bray Wyatt was hiding something.  Sinner dark, inner side to himself that he struggled to repress.  Just as swiftly as they began, the promos ended and it seemed this story had gone nowhere. Until last night, Summerslam 2019.

And boy, did it ever deliver!  Under the new moniker of The Fiend, this ghastly figure stalked to the ring amidst a haunting remix of Bray Wyatt’s old theme music.  Sporting a lantern resembling a human head (his own, in fact), garishly mismatched ring gear, and a downright nightmarish mask designed by no less than FX legend Tom Savini, The Fiend came to make an impression.  And promptly did so by destroying the first ever Universal Champion, Finn Balor, in short order.  In less than 24 hours wrestling fandom has been set abuzz by this gruesome new visage, and wait with tense anticipation to see where this new angle shall lead.

Scary Good Drinks-Fat Bastard Bloody Red

Scary Good Drinks-Fat Bastard Bloody Red


Summer may have only just begun, but for any horror fanatic the mind is already venturing three months into the future to that first whips of autumn air and the first hint of the Halloween season to come.

Fortunate for us, retail doesn’t wait.

And what better way to prepare than with a nice glass of Fat Bastard Bloody Red.  Pardon, I meant PHAT Bastard, because that is surely what this wine is.  A popular table wine at a reasonable price, Fat Bastard is best recognized for its great quality as an off the shelf brand, and for its memorable hippo mascot.  Its memorable name comes from its creator Thierry Boudinad, who, upon tasting the rich and full bodied vintage he had brewed, exclaimed “Now THAT’s a fat bastard!”

And boy was he right.

The legend for this bottle certainly makes some bold boasts: “Juicy and spicy, the ripe blood-red nectar stays long and rich in the mouth, much appreciated by Count Dracula for its resemblance to his favorite beverage. Bat stew and confit of calf brains are some of the wonderful classic combinations but as these exquisite specialties can be difficult to source today, perfectly delicious with grilled burgers, fried chicken, and pumpkin pie. Fat Bastard Bloody Red is remarkably impressive and plush!”

And thanks to this wine being so good, I’ll forego their lie, for thanks to Bela Lugosi we all know that Dracula never drank…wine.  But indeed, this would make a fine wine for a barbecue or hot summer evening on the porch as you await the coming fall.  While its color is far more purple than blood red, there is no denying the richness and boldness of its flavor.  It is far more fruity than most dry red wines, but not sugary enough to be considered a sangria.  Its lingering tang is testament to citrus fruits used in its brewing, and while there is little hint of spice you can surely detect the faint taste of wood barrel.

But by far this brand’s biggest selling point is its memorable label, changed each year to suit the season.  This year we enjoy a dark purple background littered with reaching zombie hands, wispy spider webs, and lurking ghosts as our yellow eyed not-so-happy hippo glances over his shoulder to dare us to partake.  Just looking at it puts me in the Halloween mood months ahead of time!

So while our favorite time of the year may be off yet, I invite you all to join me in pouring a glass and toasting the season to come.  Cheers!

Visit FAT BASTARD WINE to see what other great spirits they have to offer


Scary Good Drinks: Zinzilla King of the Disappointing Wines

“By the light of the full moon, Zinzilla erupts from the deep within the Zinfandel vineyards of California. A monster vine Zinfandel, producing intense powerful fruit that devastates other varietals and catapults Zinfandel to the forefront of California wines. Full bodied, Zinzilla expresses dense layers of raspberries, chocolate, pepper, and spice.”

So reads the legend printed on each bottle of Zinzilla, produced by the McNab Ridge Winery of Ukiah California.

Don’t you believe it.

Perhaps my experience with this Zinfandel was just a self fulfilling prophecy, as the moment I picked up the bottle I anticipated an underwhelming experience. Doubtlessly named in a blatant attempt to cash in on the anticipation of Godzilla King of the Monsters, my suspicions about the quality of what I would be testing across my tastebuds were set by the sheer fact that despite the name being an homage to the great King of the Monsters, it is impossible to look at he image on the label and not see Groot of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. Yes, I know that is meant to be a Zinfandel vine, but the sheer timing of the most recent Avengers film alone makes it impossible to separate the two out.

In doing some research about this particular vintage, my expectations were only lowered further. For on the website McNab Ridge Winery developed for this wine they do indeed have footage of Japanese kaiju monster films-but of Gamera. And Gamera vs Guiron no less, easily one of the most mundane of the Gamera titles. All of Monster Island weeps for this injustice.

Upon uncorking I found the bouquet of this wine to be rather unremarkable, completely lacking in any of the exotic influences cited by the legend. Upon pouring I found the color to be the first pleasant thing I had experienced thus far, with a deep and rich red perfectly suitable to a fine brew. But the taste proved an experience that left my mouth filled with a taste as bitter as the 1998 Tristan Godzilla. Simply put, I found the flavor completely devoid of raspberries, chocolate, pepper, or spice. What instead met my tongue was a rancid witch’s brew that left me with stomach acid fit to bring about some atomic breath of my own. I had not been this disappointed by anything Godzilla related since the day I first played Godzilla on Gameboy.

While I confess myself on great connoisseur, I do knot what I like-and this was not it. About the only promise the label lived up to was that I found the texture to indeed be full of body-just not the kind that I would want to see walking around barely clad on the beach. Although it may seem a reasonable get for the price of 13.99, there are definitely much better zinfandel’s to be had for the same amount. Should you choose to brave it, I strongly suggest you break out the radiation suit and Geiger meter, lest the mutations take a hold of you as well!

Posted by Daniel Ryan in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, 0 comments