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House of Tortured Souls sits down with Ms. Langanja Estranja

House of Tortured Souls sits down with Ms. Langanja Estranja

I got to sit down with the amazing, talented and beautiful Ms. Laganja Estranja! We talk about everything So sit back relax, light up your favorite recreational treat, grab those heels, pause that horror movie and let’s break down what’s on Laganja’s mind! 

  • HOTS:I’m Jai Alexis here for House of Tortured Souls here with Laganja Estranja!
  • LE:YASSS GAWD!
  • HOTS:So, I saw the show and it was really good. It was so fun. It felt very natural for you. I know you wanted to do this last year, but for whatever reason it didn’t go through. It was heart breaking we didn’t see it, but we finally have! How did it feel going on stage as FrankenFurter?
  • LE:Thank you! Last year was the anniversary, but the rights weren’t available. It felt really nerve racking. I’ll be honest as a drag queen I’m very rarely nervous. As a drag queen I’m so used to that you know, I lip sync, death drop, say a couple catch phrases and hit it! Tonight, was a big night for me I had to remember lines, act and sing. It was very natural it’s what I grew up doing. I felt honored to showcase my talents in other ways.
  • HOTS:I know you did Ru Paul drag race, So you can think you can dance to Rocky Horror picture show. Do you think you’ll find yourself venturing into acting?
  • LE:Absolutely I think the best queens. Not so much drag queens but queens in general they’re all about reinvention. I’m actually going through a big re-invention myself. I was recently in Miami this year I was in a dance residency where I was director, choreography, set designer, costume designer. I did it all. It was a spiritual journey for me. It made me realize I have so many gifts. I was able to be multifaced and to show different skills I gained all these years in this world.
  • HOTS:You come a long way in the years in your career from the beginning to now and as stated you were on, So you can think can dance? Was this your idea, or did your fans or friends encourage you to go forward for an audition?
  • LE:It was a little from column A and column B. I tweeted out to my supporters who I call my “Buds” I asked them, “do you think I should go in as a boy or in drag?” They were extremely supportive and said I should audition in drag. I think normally I wouldn’t have gone in drag, but I’m so glad I did, my story was one of the first which was seen especially on FOX. To represent my community in a different light that show is really all about your talent. Not to say that Drag race isn’t about talent but it’s a tv show there’s drama there’s a certain way thing work where SYTYCD you have 30 seconds to show your talent with what you bring in that solo. It was going back to my roots. I plan on returning next year I have a strong feeling I’ll make it to the live show. I made it to top 33 this year which was a big deal for me something I wanted my whole life I grown up watching it since season 1. I definitely want to go back next year make top 20, top 10 and I want to win. My plan is going back to the studio take some time off to focus on my technique which is where I was failing if you will working from Nov to Feb working on my technique and in Feb I’m going to go kill that audition!
  • HOTS:I heard your latest song “LOOK AT ME” from your newest album “Exhibit A” what I love is with the music, the outfits your message on expressing your love for Cannabis where you state numerous facts that it’s proven to be a medical drug that helps so many as well as drug arrests for very minor items involving cannabis can you tell us what we expect to hear from the album?
  • LE:Yes, so my next single which is called Smoke Break will be coming out this Nov. I’m very vulnerable and open on this album where I express the separation from Jay to Laganja about my life with the difficulties that come with. There’re some fun tracks on it as well. As an artist it was important to focus on a message. Like “Look at me” I focused on the racial injustice that people go through more specifically through marijuana and the jail system and I feel because I’m a white man making rap music dealing with things that come from an African American culture it’s very important I use my platform thanks to Ru Paul drag race I can give a message to people. I represent a lot more than just death drops and tongue pops. It’s my duty as an entertainer and as an artist to be an activist.
  • HOTS:Are you finding more fans from cannabis, drag or dance?
  • LE:Most of my fans have been Drag race, with that being said my work in the lgbtq community to the cannabis community separate from drag and dance. I have accumulated a group of wonderful weirdos and beautiful people I love so much it’s growing and changing every day as I am rebranding moving into dance, acting where I’m adyrongus not necessarily Laganja with the wig and without a beard where people are used to seeing my horizons are broadening and that’s my goal.
  • HOTS:In the past you considered yourself being Non-binary. Do you still feel that way?
  • LE:I do. Absolutely. I present male, but I feel female. So that’s why Non-Binary works for me it’s about being one or the other but a beautiful blend of both. For Rocky horror I chose to keep my beard. Usually Frankenfurter doesn’t have a beard.
  • HOTS:I thought it worked. A lot of performers when playing Dr. Frankenfurter go for his look where as you brought your own look to it.
  • LE:It’s important for me to bring something new to the table. I was inspired by Tim Curry I did several moves he’s known to do. I brought my own flair the dance elements to it. My voice isn’t as low so theirs softer moments. As an artist we have this opportunity to take a character like Frankenfurter and make it into our own.
  • HOTS:Do you feel yourself doing more horror after this performance?
  • LE:Yes, I love horror it’s my favorite genre! I love Halloween, haunted houses, I’m a big horror fan! I would love to continue more in the genre. It’s a lot of fun with horror there’s a message behind it too for me it’ll be a natural transition. I would love to bring horror to my dance. In college I was known around campus to have these dark dances being inspired by Macbeth, Vampires, Witches. Horror has always had a big influence on me. I was a vampire for seven years as a kid for Halloween!
  • HOTS:Would you try to be Non-Binary in the role of a horror movie or just be male for a horror movie?
  • LE:Well I would be whatever the role and money called for! I would love to see horror continue to expand in the lgbtq scene the non-binary scene there’s plenty of gay horror movies. I would love to see more of that I think the generation is ready for it.
  • HOTS:For your love of Horror and drag. Do you see yourself being a judge for Draugla?
  • LE:I would LOVE to be a judge on Dragula! I feel like a shoe in for it! I wanted to be on season 2 but it was a conflict of interest since I’m best friends with Biqtch Pudding and they didn’t want it to be unfair, but I’m hoping to get a seat on season 3!
  • HOTS:I’ve seen you perform a few times already where Rey Lopez (Rey Lopez Entertainment) brings you for either a small headlining event or a bigger event bringing down the show with an amazing performances from his showgirls to you . Do you enjoy your times here regardless the event in San Antonio whether it’s a small or big event?
  • LE:I love San Antonio! You guys have the best queso in the world! For me San Antonio reminds me of being a child coming here for choir competions this was one of the big hubs we would come to. I always have a place for San Antonio in my heart. I would say I have enjoyed playing Dr. Frankenfurter this role than my club roles. I’m looking to push myself and challenge myself.
  • HOTS:Well thank you so much for giving me your time and patience for this interview!
  • LE:Of course, my pleasure!




Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTISTS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Trailer Review: DIS the new movie from Unearthed Films coming this January-House of tortured Souls

Trailer Review: DIS the new movie from Unearthed Films coming this January-House of tortured Souls

When it comes to surprises Unearthed Films is no stranger to them. It was revealed this week that the film DIS (2017) will be released in Jan. The trailer which I saw blew me out of the water. The film has a feel of part indie art film to graphic twisted nightmare. The plot follows: an ex-soldier with a criminal past takes refuge in the woods. A demonic figure seeks the seed of killers and the blood of the damned to feed his mandrake garden. DIS is an infernal descent into the root of the mandrake legend and a man who wanders too close to that legend and the unnamable terror behind it. What you sow you will reap. The movie gives us interesting details but no real spoilers. Which is great because it’s best to walk in with no real idea of what to expect. I’m sure there will be gore, brutality, insanity with a story. The film stars Bill Orbest Jr. Who you might recognize from Circus of the Dead (2014) Death Camp (2018) and even Criminal Minds (2014) who is no stranger to horror. So, after the holidays are over the turkey has been devoured and the Christmas presents have been opened. Sit back and enjoy this film as we venture into the new year with a new film that will for sur be talked about for a while!

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, 0 comments
Leprechaun Returns gives us the pot of gold earlier than we expected

Leprechaun Returns gives us the pot of gold earlier than we expected

Linden Porco

Growing up as a kid I made it my mission to watch Leprechaun when it first came out. When I was able to finally watch it on VHS I couldn’t be happier the films were pretty much gory b movies to finally just…a comedy…to LEPRECHAUN ORIGINS. The less said about origins the better. All hope was lost in the films. Well they have them all on Blu-ray so there’s that. Then there was word the film was going to get a reboot I was listening again. Sure it was going to be on SYFY, but the directors of The Void (2017) Steven Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie were going to be behind it  so I have faith in it. With news breaking today of a poster it pretty much gives us the hint that this will be a direct sequel to Leprechaun (1993) Now originally, we were going to see the film in March of 2019 but a couple of great things: The movie will be released next month on VOD DEC 11TH. Plus the original distributor LIONSGATE will be behind it after all. So, this means more blood and more gore. The plot for Leprechaun Returns is “The Leprechaun returns once again, when a group of girls unwillingly awaken him, when they tear down a cabin so that they can build a new sorority house.” Truth be told I’m not looking for Oscar worthy stuff just give me a creature terrorizing people out in the woods, city, Las Vegas, Space, wherever he may bust just as long as we have Leprechaun back on the small or big screen. Below is the teaser trailer that premiered this past St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly, Warwick Davis won’t be in this version but there will be a new actor playing name Linden Porco who you may have seen in Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block and Cult of Chucky (2017). Linden has done numerous roles in movies and tv shows bringing a lot to his roles. So, this should be interesting to maybe see a different take on Leprechaun.

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, NEW RELEASES, SATANIC/DEMONIC, THRILLER, 0 comments
Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi MiikeOver the upcoming weeks, I’m going to try and attempt to cover what I feel are the best films by Takashi Miiike. For those of you who don’t know his work, you’re in for a real treat and for those of you who do you can just follow along and smile knowingly. With over 100 films to his name, it’s hard to pick just one to cover.

Miike is a Japanese filmmaker that really covers every genre and has something to offer every film enthusiast. He does everything from heartwarming family films like Zebraman (I recommend this even if you don’t have a family) to extremely violent films like Ichi the Killer and Yakuza Apocolypse. I personally love his extreme stuff and that will be my main focus. I will try and cover all his bigger titles except for two: his latest release Blade of the Immortal and Audition. Our own Spencer Evatt has you covered there, so watch for those in the near future. I will also try and cover a few of his lesser-known works that I think are noteworthy and deserve some love.

Takashi MiikeMiike tends to have a lot of controversy surrounding his films and he receives a lot of criticism for some of the ultra-violent content, graphic gore, and sexual “perversions”. He’s known for his dark sense of humor and bizarre themes. He started his career in 1991 with mostly straight to video releases, his first theatrical release The Third Gangster didn’t generate much interest. In 1995, his third theatrical release Shinjuku Triad Society finally started to catch the public’s attention and at last, in 1999, his film Audition (based on Ryu Murakami’s book of the same name) got him recognized internationally. Audition probably still remains his most well-known work worldwide. No one else on the market does it quite like Miike, and I’m excited to introduce him to new fans and maybe help old ones discover a film they don’t already know about.
Takashi Miike

Posted by Candace Stone in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
INTERVIEWS: Felissa Rose & Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party

INTERVIEWS: Felissa Rose & Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party

Crypt Keeper Clint here with the first of my two articles on Mad Monster Party (Carolinas), which as held February 16 – 18, 2018. I will keep this introduction brief, but I had the great fortune to interview two amazing individuals – Felissa Rose and Harrison Smith. Check out their interviews below and be sure to subscribe to House of Tortured Souls on YouTube.

Also, watch for my review of Mad Monster Party coming up in the next couple of days.

Crypt Keeper Clint Interviews Felissa Rose at Mad Monster Party (Carolinas)

We talk Sleepaway Camp (1983), No Solicitors (2015), Victor Crowley (2017), Family Possessions (2016), and much more.

Crypt Keeper Clint Interviews Writer/Director Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party (Carolinas)

We talk life, the universe, Death House, and Gunnar Hansen.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
WiHM: Interview with Rakefet Abergel of Jax in Love (2017)

WiHM: Interview with Rakefet Abergel of Jax in Love (2017)

Hey horror fans, Horrormadam here with a Women in Horror interview with the amazing stand-up comedienne, actor (Superbad, Just Go With It, and My Best Friend’s Girl), director (Girls on Girls), and writer (Jax in Love, Live) Rakefet Abergel. We are here to discuss the wonderful short film Jax in Love.
First, let me give you the premise:
A mysterious and lonely young woman, Jax (Rakefet Abergel) is traveling through the expansive desert of the American West, in search of some tangible connection, a kindred spirit or like-minded soul with whom she can bond. When her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, her journey takes a dangerous turn, and we learn this seemingly sweet woman may not be who she seems at all. How far will she go for love? Will she make it out of the desert alive?
—Written by Nick Laskin
I really loved this film and apparently, I am not alone. The awards that are already pouring in are illuminating.
  • Best Actress in a Short — Nightmares Film Festival
  • Best Horror Short — Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival
  • Award of Merit — Best Shorts Competition (Leading Actress)
  • Award of Merit — Best Shorts Competition (Women Filmmakers)
  • Award of Commendation — Canada Shorts Film Festival
  • Best Thriller Short Nominee — Women in Horror Film Festival
  • Best of Fest Nominee — Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival
  • Best Actress Nominee — Independent Horror Movie Awards
JAX IN LOVE was directed by Academy Award Nominee (Best Short Film, Live Action, Seraglio (2000)) Colin Campbell and produced by Jory Weitz, the executive producer of Napoleon Dynamite. It also stars John Gammon (Corey and Lucas for the Win, The Middle), Ben Kacsandi (Rio, Please Tell Me I’m Adopted), Devi Veysey (Breaking Fat), and Laura Wiggins (Rings, Shameless).
I certainly do not want to give too much away but one of my favorite things about the film is the role reversal over what we normally see in these kinds of thrillers. So well acted and engaging, this horror short grabs you from the beginning and leaves you wanting more. It is all-inclusive as a short but the action made me hope that not only would it become a feature but hopefully a series. We need more of the main character out there. So let’s get to it.
House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Rakefet, what was your motivation while writing Jax in Love?
Rakefet Abergel: The whole idea stemmed from the desire to write something for myself that was dark and dramatic versus the comedy roles I was used to booking. I also wanted to cast myself in a part I would never get cast in just because of my type. I want to change the way we look at what a “leading lady” is.
HoTS: Are you a big fan of horror and what made you want to do a horror film?
RA: I actually grew up hating horror films. Lol. Not because they’re bad but because they are so good at scaring the crap out of me. And I don’t like to be scared! Of course, that begs the question as to why I made one, for which the only answer I can give is that it wasn’t intended to be a horror film. I didn’t even know it would become one. But based on test audience reactions I quickly realized that I had the genre wrong. I still don’t necessarily consider it a horror film, it has so different tones to it. But attending all these horror festivals has allowed me to watch more horror films then I’ve seen in my entire life combined and I realized that I have a place in my heart for horror now. I kinda get it now. The allure. Especially with the quality of the genre really changing now more than ever.
HoTS: Do you have any favorite horror films?
RA: I actually do love some horror films. Identity was one of my favorite. And The Sixth Sense. Split. Teeth was really good too. I liked the message. Get Out was incredible. I really like psychological horror. Not so much into all of the blood. But a good mind-sc4.
HoTS: It is Women in Horror Month, who are some of your female real life/ fiction influences in horror or other?
RA: All of the women filmmakers I’ve met over the last few months are so inspiring to me! As far as influences, I don’t know. I suppose I’m influenced by everything I’ve ever seen!
HoTS: You have played a lot of diverse roles. Do you have a favorite?
RA: Jax is probably one of my favorites. If not the favorite. As far as comedy, I really enjoyed playing Jodi Flooger on iCarly. That was a fun role. And getting to work with Adam Sandler in Just Go With It and wear a prosthetic nose was pretty cool too.
HoTS: Have you faced any difficulties being a woman in film?
RA: Sometimes as a woman in our society it’s hard to be taken seriously. That’s been something I’ve come up against. That our stories maybe aren’t as important as the ones men want to tell. That we are too emotional or sappy or feminist or whatever. But I don’t generally care that much about what other people think. Or I try not to. I experienced an inappropriate comment on my own set by a crew member. That was shocking. I was his boss. Paying him. And he decided to make a comment about my body and considered it to be a compliment. Unfortunately, since I didn’t want to jeopardize my film and we were on location and I couldn’t lose a crew member, I couldn’t do anything about it. And that was very frustrating. Even when a woman is in power, she can still be harassed and have no real recourse. It’s very unfortunate.
HoTS: In the movie, can you tell me about the tattoo?
RA: Yes! It’s a heart with a set of car keys inside it. It symbolizes Jax’s love for the road and her quest for love and how she goes about it. We give out replicas at the screenings and people really love the idea, so that’s fun. It was designed by my former editor and forever friend Lindsay McKenna!
HoTS: Is this going to be made into a feature?
RA: Possibly. Or a series. I haven’t decided yet. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jax.
HoTS: I love that a great stand up artist went so dark, any plans for more along the same lines?
RA: Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 Yes! I love dark. It’s why I wanted to act. I love the drama. Comedy is fun too, but this is a more satisfying genre for me. I’m writing two very, very dark screenplays at the moment that I hope to also star in, so I’m sure there will be more where Jax came from.
I really recommend that you check this film out. It was a lot of fun and I so enjoyed Rakefet’s performance in it. I want to thank her for taking the time to talk with me and to let her know the darker the better for us! And dear readers always keep this question in mind: How far would YOU go for love?

Rakefet Abergel's Jax in Love (2017)

Posted by Alan Smithee in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Women in Horror Month: Women in Film

Women in Horror Month: Women in Film

I have always been a huge cinephile and in so being have always tried to champion not only my favorite genre-horror but also women in film and independent filmmaking. So for Women in Horror Month, I wanted to reach out to some different women in the industry to get their feelings on the subject du jour. I was lucky enough to have been on Twitter when I came across a hashtag labeled #femalefilmmakerfriday. I just put up a tweet asking if any women in film would like to answer some questions for me, and I was so grateful to get many wondrous women volunteer to answer my inquiries. I do want to stipulate that I am not disparaging men in the business but celebrating women’s contributions to film which can oftentimes go unheralded. It shouldn’t need to be said that any actor, director, writer, etc…should be judged on the work that they put out, not on their gender, race, or sexual preference. But that is usually not the case. I heard a great quote this week from Danai Gurira from Black Panther this week, she said that “if you create excellence it will be responded to.” And I truly believe that should be true. So I will let you know my questions, and introduce you to the extremely talented women who answered them for me.

My first question: Do you approach directing/acting differently as a woman?

Katherine Filaseta Director: Black Panties Web series about women’s intuition and black girl magic, and mini-documentary The Loud, Proud Voices of the Women’s March on Washington. www.kayfilums.com

The main thing that makes my directing unique is that I never thought of film as a career choice growing up – and this is, indirectly, the result of me being a woman. Coming from an academic math-centered family, the only inspiration I had was whatever books, film, & TV I consumed, and unfortunately when I thought of film directors (or even just actors or authors) it didn’t even feel like an option for me because I only ever saw names like Scorcese or Tarantino or other white men in those positions. I was always a storyteller and played with writing stories and books, but I never thought about doing that professionally, even up through and beyond college. So I have a really varied background – I studied a lot of biology, math, chemistry, anthropology, history, music… I pretty much touched everything else before realizing that film was a thing. And all of that comes into my directing style. Even though it took a long time for me to figure it out, I’m really glad I had those experiences because I think if I had been a white man, or just been born into a different family, I would be viewing film from this “film school perspective” instead of just as an audience member and consumer, and I, of course, prefer my own perspective that I’ve figured out through trial and error and consumption over trying to emulate anyone else.

Noomi Spook-Independent producer/director of film, documentaries, and music videos. Nominated for Best New Media Entertainment. LTNT-Boss Lady, The Glowing Divide, Vodum-Spirits Past. www.noomispook.com

My gender influences the creative decisions I make as a director in so much as, I care about how women are represented on screen. I find it repulsive that most women characters are often defined exclusively by their relationship to the male characters (most likely the protagonist)- the wife, the mother, the love interest. They have no agency, and most of the time they have no brains and no personality either – they are functional plot devices. Therefore I chose to work on projects that show women as fully rounded, flawed, human beings. I thoroughly enjoy any opportunity I have to show a woman being badass – and that doesn’t always mean beating the shit out of someone or behaving in a stereotypically “masculine” way, to me being a badass woman means to constructively wield one’s own power, and to not take any shit for doing that.

My next question was “what challenges have you faced as a female director or actor?”

Nihil Noctem: Izzy Lee Director/Author.  My Monster, Rights of Vengeance, Innsmouth (on Shudder), The Lake Children in “Hydrophobia: A Charity Anthology Benefitting Victims of Hurricane Harvey and a new PSA for the Soska’s Blood Drive www.nihilnoctem.com

Getting a producer to want to go on a cinematic journey with me. Getting funding. Guys thinking that my husband is the director, not me.

Noomi: I’ve been told to wait to be hired by an ad agency to direct commercials because they didn’t have any girly adds, nothing with perfume or flowers etc. Fuck that. I want to do something with tanks in it! Another problem is navigating the sexual minefield. I’ve been inappropriately touched, propositioned and humiliated in business meetings, by powerful men who offered to finance my projects if I performed sexual favors on them. And as a result, now, I always have my guard up whenever I am meeting a man who could potentially support my career.

Third Question: Do you ever have trouble with the men you direct or act with as a woman?

Emily Sheskin Director Damon at 86th Street, There She Is, and Girl Boxer: Jesszilla about Jesselyn Silva a 10-year-old boxer hoping to win gold at the 2024 Olympics. http://www.emilysheskin.com/jesszilla

Once I had an actor mansplain calling action. He was a bit of a dumdum though and I laughed it off and noted as an actor in such a competitive market, correcting a director is not the best way to keep getting jobs. I’ve also experienced older, male DoPs sometimes talk down to me but that’s been rare since I choose to work with DoPs and crew members who I know and have a good history with. In those situations, it’s hard to know if it’s me being a woman, or me being “young” that has them speaking to me the way they initially do.

Question number four: What women in film influenced you?

Ariel Hansen Bad Cookie Pictures, Actor and Director specializing in Sci-Fi, Horror, and Grindhouse Nepenthes, Ready To Burst, Paint the Town Red https://twitter.com/BadCookiePics https://www.facebook.com/BadCookiePictures/

Living in Vancouver I’m very lucky because I get to rub shoulders with some really awesome women in the horror side of the industry who constantly inspire me like Jen & Sylvia Soska, Tristan Risk and my friend Gigi Saul Guerrero who taught me the basics of directing before we started shooting my first film. I’m also inspired by Karyn Kusama’s horror films, especially The Invitation, and Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary really disturbed me as a kid

Katherine: I had the opportunity when I was first starting my career to attend the NYWIFT Muse awards where I got to hear Dawn Ostroff speak, so she has inspired me from the beginning of my career. What she did to grow CW into a network where young women could actually see stories that interested them on screen is basically what opened the doors to me being able to do what I do now. I also, through NYWIFT and very early on in my film career, heard Annetta Marion speak about her journey, and getting to know her – an incredibly kind, confident, beautiful woman who had a non-traditional path into the industry similar to mine and isn’t afraid to demand what she is worth – has been inspiring to me as well. Lastly, my favorite director of all time is Bollywood director Farah Khan, whose films all contain reverence for the Bollywood industry while also containing yet incredibly intelligent mockery of it. I also super respect how she always has her entire crew featured in a really fun credits sequence. I wish all directors had that much respect and admiration for every member of their crew, even the ones whose names would otherwise pass by in the credits totally unnoticed by the audience.

Nihil: Jennifer Lynch, Karyn Kusama, and my friend Jovanka Vuckovic. Other directors that made me think I could do this too: Maude Michaud and the Soskas. Another friend, Jill Gevargizian, is inspirational with the sheer amount of talent she has.

Noomi: My number one female filmmaking hero is Lynne Ramsay. I saw the Ratcatcher when I was in college and it broke my heart, I’ve never been more moved by a film, before or since. However, in terms of my personal style, I have always been more influenced by John Carpenter, David Lynch, and John Waters. They are all much bigger influences on my style and the kinds of films I aspire to make.

Emily: Amy HeckerlingClueless, words don’t express how much I love that film or how important it was to me growing up. Also, Penny Marshall who directed Big. Those two women managed to shelter me from the fact that not many women directed films. As a kid, I just knew that I loved these two movies and they both were by women…no big deal! It was only later that I realized how rare their existence was. Sailor Moon was also huge for me as a kid and it was created by Naoko Takeuchi (who I believe was a pharmacist before she found success with her manga). That show made me believe not only that women were great storytellers but that storytelling is universal. I figured if a show from Japan (an island I’d never been to or thought much about as an 11-year-old) could bring me such joy and impact my life in such a positive way, people are not so different and stories can bring us all together. That show made me want to do what she did for me for someone else.

Question number five was is there anything you have experienced as a female director/actor that is a great story?

Emma Dark, Award-winning filmmaker, actress, and model specializing in Horror and Sci-Fi Salient Minus Ten, Seize the Night, Island of the Blind Dead www.facebook.com/SalientMinusTen www.twitter.com/SalientMinusTen

As a female director, the fact that we have wonderful events and interviews for movements such as Women in Horror Month. We need more of this!

Nihil: I was onstage at a film festival where I was the only woman with about 8 or 9 guys. An actor who was repping the film he was in was the first to get the mic, and said, “I’m so happy to be up here with all these fine young men.” I mean, what?! When I got the mic as it was passed down, I wiggled my pinkie in front of crouch, and looked at my husband in the crowd and said, “Hey Steve, sorry, but I seem to have gotten a sex change while I’ve been up here.” You have to call people out when a situation is as egregious as that.

Question number six was “If you could direct a film about any famous woman, who would it be?”

Gemma Wilks, Actress, Alien Outbreak, Harvest of the Dead, Skullz  https://www.spotlight.com/2537-0194-7453

She’s not famous, but I am developing a story inspired by the life of my grandmother who has now passed away. My dream is to write and produce it as a feature film/tv series one day, perhaps Anne Mensah will come knocking! The themes are around my grandmother’s struggles growing up in the 20th Century when her youth was ripped away by the war. Being a WAF officer with a particular instance involving Churchill. Living through technology changes that were baffling. Watching people you cared about die as you age. There is more that I can’t go into but she was an inspiration and her tenacious spirit certainly contributed to make me the person I am.

Emma: Grace Jones was given a tough time in the 80s and treated with a degree of sexism, based on my understanding given the interviews with her that I’ve watched. Her avant-garde style and diverse creative skillset would have been something held in higher regard today. So maybe there’s a story to tell there!

Ariel: There are a few different women through history that I’d love to make films about, like the sniper Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko from WW2, Boudica, or since they’re finding evidence of women being a part of Viking raiding parties, it would be so cool to make a film about female Vikings.

Nihil: Not sure, but a biopic about Sigourney Weaver or Charlize Theron before either made it as an actor would be cool. The story of the “radium girls” is horrific but compelling.

Emily: There’s a documentary on Bret the Hitman Hart (Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows), and now that Ronda Rousey has signed a contract with the WWE I’d be very curious to document her transition out of MMA to WWE. I have been so curious how she feels about leaving a sport that she helped open up to other women in the way she left it, and how she feels about this next chapter.

Noomi: Rosa Luxemburg. That’s a no-brainer for me, her politics were so ahead of its time, she was a genius, a fighter, a real revolutionary. She was sexually free at a time when people didn’t do that, and she stood for something she believed in, even up the point when she was murdered for her beliefs. people were terrified of her. And she was only 4foot 10 with a limp. She was a total badass.

And my last question: What does a woman bring to the film industry that a man doesn’t?

Gemma: Men bring a huge amount to any industry, but I think from my experience women bring organizational skills which help things run smoothly. This then allows them to look beyond an issue and see a series of options available beyond the confusion of daily functioning. They have an empathy and understanding of individuals circumstances which they can take on board whilst making sure the job still gets done and standards aren’t compromised. Obviously, there are men that can do this too but this is in my experience. Oh, and women don’t generally take no for an answer, even if they pretend they have!

Emma: In terms of horror the audience is increasingly female. I believe having more of an equal balance of men and women in cast and crew will help bring more diverse themes, ideas, and creativity to the table.

Noomi: Anything they can do, we can do bleeding

Katherine: I recently got the opportunity to work with an all-female cast and crew through the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge, and it was such a wonderful experience. In general, I think women and other minorities have had to be exceptional at their jobs to be taken seriously at all, so everyone had an incredible work ethic and was amazing to work with. Also, I think a lot of the stories we see are repetitive and formulaic – which is not an issue, because formulas work and it’s so cool to see what different people do with those formulas. But most of the people we’ve seen play with those formulas are men, and it’s so cool to see what a female perspective brings to those formulas. Women have a ton of stories that simply haven’t been told without a male gaze on them, and it’s exciting that finally, we are getting the opportunity to tell those stories on our own. We’ve seen a million great coming of age stories, and yet Ladybird touched me in totally new ways and honestly told an entirely different story – just because I finally got to watch a coming of age story about myself, for literally the first time ever. Which is completely ridiculous given the number of coming of age novels that are required high school reading but ONLY ABOUT BOYS.

Ariel: Women bring our own diverse experiences and stories to the industry which has been very homogeneous in what you see on screen for far too long. Having those stories told on the big screen are crucial in creating an equal society and helping the next generation to know that women can be more than just “so and so’s love interest” not just in films, but in their own lives as well.

Nihil: I hate to generalize, but I would think that empathy and multitasking could be it.

Emily: I think being a woman just gives you a different experience. There are small things that we take for granted that men never think about. It’s the reality of living in this body and going through life socialized the way we are. I think women are trained to be more sensitive to the feelings of others and as a result, tend to make very thoughtful inclusive films. This is a sweeping generalization though and I have a hard time answering this when experience varies so greatly.

In preparing for this article and putting feelers out I got a response from the very talented actor Eddy Shore (Murrays Run, White) who had such an insightful comment on the subject that I wanted to include it here:

As we all know there shouldn’t be a differentiation between genders in job opportunities, pay, etc. But there is a huge difference in the emotional connections those two genders have. Women are much more in touch of certain (deep) emotions which men are often not (or often are not allowed to be in a stereotypical image) and this emotional connection brings a whole different point of few to stories. If we keep having dominantly white male directors, we will keep having white male points of few to the majority of stories. I’m to 100% certain that women will pay attention to different details, will focus on different statements they want to portray and this which will show in a film. In my opinion, there is a huge need for a fresh wind in the film industry.

So I want to thank everyone for their very valuable time and the thought that went into their answers. All of these amazing women answered all of the questions, but so this did not become a novella I have chosen to just feature a few from each. Hopefully, this has given you some insight and awareness into the world of women in film but always remember that they are, as far as the film industry should be concerned with, they are writers, directors, producers, actors, etc… first and foremost and their vast talents are paramount.

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARIES, EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, OPINION, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Letranger Absurde: Interview With A Lego Builder Extraordinaire

Letranger Absurde: Interview With A Lego Builder Extraordinaire

You can find all the vignettes in this album –
Hey horror fans, Horrormadam here with an amazing artist! Letranger Absurde from Romania makes the most creative and innovative Lego displays of our favorite scenes from horror movies! I was so captivated by his work that I had to go on a search to find the man who crafted these true to form pieces. I found him fortunately when I found the Bricktastic Blog where he was in the Builder Spotlight. I reached out to him and he was extremely kind enough to answer my questions so that we here at House of Tortured Souls could take you on a behind the scenes look into the world of Lego building.
House of Tortured Souls: So you are from Romania I saw with rolug (Romanian LEGO® Users Group), is the Lego culture any different than in the US?
Andrei: I can only speak about the US culture from what I’ve noticed through online interactions, so I may be off the mark, but people seem to be more receptive to novelty and pop culture in general, so a hobby like this is easier to accept and get into. Around here they’re more… traditional, for the lack of a better word; the association Lego = toy makes many people frown at the idea and stops them from being able to take it seriously; it also makes adult fans buy them under the guise of buying for their children and keep their passion as a dirty little secret, but things seem to be changing lately – only in the last year our lug doubled it’s number of active members if I’m not mistaken. Another thing I noticed is that people around here (and Europe in general) tend to lean towards Lego technic more – the side of Lego dealing with functions with little care for the aesthetics (remote controlled cars, moving cranes and so on).
HoTS: Why did you choose to make scenes from horror films?
Andrei: I’ve been a horror fan for most of my life (since I was 8 or 9), so it would have happened one way or another. But the decision to make a series was due to the poor representation the genre had in the community. Aside from some builds here and there, mostly dealing with the mainstream, you could find mainly pictures of mini-figures (customs in general) with no focus on scenes and plenty of generic Halloween builds so I wanted to try and change that.
HoTS: How do you choose the scenes?
Andrei: I mostly build what I like, but there are other factors that come into play. I tried to keep a balance between popular and lesser-known movies to maintain the audience’s interest with the familiar ones and hopefully draw their attention to the ones they haven’t seen. Also, no matter how much I like a movie, it needs a scene that translates well both into the new medium and into a purely visual vignette, since horror tends to rely a lot on atmosphere, sounds, lights, music, camera angles and so on – remove all that and you’re left with something very bland and boring in many cases. For example, I wanted to add Halloween to the list, but I can’t find a scene that would make an interesting build. And finally, having close enough mini-figure parts to build the characters, especially the villain; it’s one of the main parts I wanted to get right.
HoTS: Do you custom design any of the pieces or are they all available from Lego?
Andrei: This is one of the bigger divides in the Lego community – altered parts or limiting your self to available ones. I chose to stick with available parts for a number of reasons: It’s the popular choice and the standard for any contests and such; it offers a great gauge to judge the quality of builds since everybody has access to the exact same tools of the trade. Actually, I can’t really give a good reason here, except that it just seems right, it’s Lego building after all and altering parts feels closer to sculpting. 🙂
Also, part use is something appreciated in the community in general, meaning using parts in interesting, unintended ways; let’s take Audition, for example, to stick with the horror theme:
Letranger Absurde Lego Audition
The couch pillows used in here are hats from this painter mini-figure:

And the tablecloth is the ruff from this fella:
Letranger Absurde Lego Shakespeare
Other examples from The Evil Dead (1981):
Letranger Absurde The Evil Dead
The Necronomicon is made from the printed eyes of the gorilla:
Letranger Absurde Unaussprechlichen Kulten
And the moose head is made from a brown frog and a helmet decoration:
Letranger Absurde Lego FrogLetranger Absurde Lego Moose Helmet
Not the most exciting or creative examples, but this wasn’t my focus in the horror series; hopefully they give a rough idea on what I’m trying to say; not sure how interesting this bit is for someone outside the hobby.
HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror films?
Andrei: I’ve always had a soft spot for Italian horror (Argento, Fulci, Bava); there’s so much creativity and they have a very distinctive style. Some of the most memorable soundtracks as well. I also love the lavish decors and atmosphere of Hammer films. Although despite my love for hammer, as far as vampires go, Subspecies is my favorite series, proof you don’t need doll vampires to make a proper vamp movie – and that’s coming from someone who likes doll vamps! I have to add The Wicker Man to the list as well, one of the most effective movies I’ve ever seen. As far as slashers go, one of my favorites is The Hills Run Red; sure, it’s got some problems, but it’s best moments are enough to get over the lows. And anything with Vincent Price in it. Won’t bother mentioning mainstream classics like Alien or Exorcist, sure, plenty of them on the list, but I see no point mentioning the ones pretty much everyone loves.
HoTS: What all horror themes have you done and any plans for new ones in the future?
Andrei: I have done other horror related builds over time (some were utter garbage unfortunately, I’ll throw in a few of the better ones) – the Necronomicon and Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Unaussprechliche Kulte would be the German for “unspeakable cults”) books (hoping to add Eibon (Soul Eater: Eibon is based directly based from the sorcerer of the same name from Clark Ashton Smith’s short story “The Door to Saturn“) to the list soon.
Letranger Absurde Necronomicon
Letranger Absurde Unaussprechlichen Kulten
– some Halloween builds, like the witch mosaic, the vampire couple, some busts
Letranger Absurde Boo Bitchcraft
Letranger Absurde Lego Come in for a bite

Letranger Absurde Lego Dracula Bust
Letranger Absurde Lego Frankenstein Monster Bust
– a larger scale build of the classic IT scene
Letranger Absurde IT

Andrei: Of course, I’ll continue building in the genre and I’m going to continue the vignette series soon. One of the things I’ve had on my list for a while is the lobby from Suspiria, but sourcing the parts in the right colors quite difficult and expensive. Plenty of movies from what I’ve mentioned in my favorites are on the list as well.
HoTS: Are they very hard to do, and are they time-consuming?
Andrei: In general neither, but it depends on what you’re trying to do and the complexity you aim for. Size is also a factor, but not necessarily the biggest one; you can spend more time shaping, reshaping and polishing a tiny part of a build than it takes building a castle, so it’s also up to you how much time you want to dedicate to each build. The vignettes I’ve done in the horror series were done in an afternoon/evening; at most spread over the course of 2 days; my aim here was to make them simple and accessible, yet recognizable. The biggest factor is the parts; if you don’t have what you want and have to order them, waiting for them to arrive can extend the project for weeks and is definitely the most annoying bit. But I suppose that’s true for every other hobby when it comes to sourcing the “materials”.
HoTS: I saw that your favorite one is Room With a View, what is your favorite horror one and why?
Andrei: I’m going to go with the crowd favorite here, The Exorcist. Not only was it the one that started it all, it just seemed to flow effortlessly into the new medium. Maybe I’m biased a bit towards the subject as well. Although in a way the series started a year or so before this one with the Predator vignette I’ve done back in 2015, I chose not to make it part of the series as it’s pretty mediocre and isn’t a scene directly from the movie. I’ll most likely redo this down the road.
Letranger Absurde Predator
This is one of the real benefits of working with Lego – you can always take apart a model and redo it – and the parts are there to reuse. You don’t have to deal with consumables. Or you can simply alter a few details. Maybe a new part is released that works better than what you used before, nothing stops you from replacing it. Or your skill grows with time and you figure out a better way to do things. I constantly do this with the models I have on display, I like the fact that it’s all pretty dynamic and keeps things fresh, instead of just shoving them on the shelf and let them gather dust.
HoTS: Legos are pretty pricey, how do you afford to make these?
Andrei: To some, it may seem like I’m keeping everything I do, but the opposite is true; I only have a few smaller pieces on display, the norm is built, dismantle, repeat. I only keep larger builds intact for a longer period if they’re made for exhibits.
Andrei: There are a couple of ways to get your hands on cheap parts, the easiest is buying multiples sets when they are heavily discounted and sell/trade the excess/useless bits, but this doesn’t get you exactly the parts you need. Being a part of a lug also has it benefits, allowing you to purchase cheap parts in large quantities directly from Lego, but you have little room for diversity and it happens only 2-3 times a year. It’s still a big help. The rare and specific parts I get from Bricklink. BrickLink is a venue where individuals and businesses from all around the world can buy and sell new, used, and vintage LEGO through fixed price services.
Andrei: There’s also the opportunity to get parts straight from brand stores, but I have no access to that in my area, unfortunately.
HoTS: Will you ever sell any of your pieces, or do you ever take commissions? Told my boss about you and he now wants a Lego Haunted House like on our logo. ?
Andrei: Neither, although I’ve been getting requests every now and then. I would be open to it, the issue is sourcing the parts; I don’t have the opportunity to get them locally for a decent price, so I have to get most of them from international sellers and the shipping costs alone are overkill on multiple orders. I may end up doing it someday, but for now, I’m happy with it being just a hobby. There are plenty of talented builders in the community taking commissions, so you can pretty much find the right person for any subject; although each of us has our own little touches and style so it’s a good idea to be familiar with their work beforehand.
So I want to give a huge thank you to Andrei for myself and everyone here at the House of Tortured Souls! His answers were very illuminating and insightful and they made me want to go out and start building my own Lego creations. I hope you enjoyed this, readers, and that you will go out and start making your own horror creations!
Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTISTS, HALLOWEEN, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, STAFF PICKS, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Kayla Stojek – Zombie Peepshow

INTERVIEW: Kayla Stojek – Zombie Peepshow

Hello, everyone Horrormadam here to show you the stunning creations of Kayla Stojek. She makes THE most incredible horror/goth/punk-themed shoes, boots, and hats that I have ever seen, each pair more astounding than the last. I reached out to Kayla to find out everything I could about this remarkable woman and her sensational designs:
House of Tortured Souls: How did you get into making these amazing creations?
Kayla Stojek: I was a chemistry major, with intentions of becoming a dentist. Making shoes and clothing was always something I did for fun, either for myself or friends. I made an extreme pair of heels for a Halloween costume in 2011. People loved them and began asking for pairs of their own. Shortly after I opened my Etsy store and the internet sort of ran with it!

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: Why horror, and what are some of your favorite horror movies?
KS: I’ve loved horror since about age 6. I grew up on the ’70s and ’80s horror so the fascination was always there. Favorites would be The Shining, Black Christmas (original), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Halloween, most anything from the ’70s. I’m also a fan of Rob Zombie’s films.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: Saw that another of your influences is punk, what are some of your favorite bands?
KS: Misfits, Rancid, Dropkick are a few favorites. Outside of punk, I find heavy artistic influence from Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie.

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: What is it you like about Kawaii (in the context of Japanese popular culture: cute) culture?
KS: I’ve never really worn any Kawaii items personally. But it’s something I love to look at. I think it reminds me of youth and nostalgia from growing up in the ‘90s.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: How did you come up with the name Zombie Peepshow for your brand?
KS: I had a very brief run at roller derby in my early 20s, Zombie Peepshow was my derby name. I liked that it was a perfect dichotomy of gore and girly, which suits my designs.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: What materials do you use for the sculpture?
KS: We use all industrial-strength epoxies and materials to bond the shoes. I’m constantly experimenting with new compounds for sculpting. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of cosplay materials and mixtures I’ve created.
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: Who are the celebrities wearing your work?
KS: We’ve been fortunate enough to make shoes for people all over the world. Whoopie Goldberg has purchased a few, along with YouTube star Trisha Paytas. Many models, musicians, and other artists have pairs as well.

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: Did you have fine art/fashion training?
KS: I don’t have any formal artistic training. My background is mostly science and mathematics, so this venture was definitely something new. I quickly realized that this creative outlet was what I longed for. It’s what I’m supposed to do. ?
Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow
HoTS: Do you have a favorite pair?
KS: Probably a few that I haven’t released yet. There is one in particular that I hope to launch Fall 2018 and I believe it’s my best design yet. If I had to choose one from my store I would say The Texas Chainsaw design. It was our first sound producing a pair, so that was exciting.
HoTS: How much does a commission cost? Any plans or is there already one of Sammy from Trick R Treat (my fave along with Carpenter’s Halloween-?)
KS: Trick R Treat would be amazing! Custom pieces usually start around $175 and increase based on the level of detail (led lights, extreme pieces, etc.)

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

HoTS: And my boss wanted to ask about men’s boots and if so he is willing to model.
KS: We do make men’s items often! My husband has a tendency to hoard most of the men’s items I create, but we have orders for them every month.
HoTS: Any haunted houses? Our site is called the House of Tortured Souls. ?
KS: We’re big fans of haunted houses. Good friends from our hometown in West Texas run a huge haunt called A Nightmare on 19th Street. One of them is also in the process of building the largest haunt Austin has seen. We love them!

Kayla Stojek Zombie Peepshow

I just want to thank Kayla so much for taking the time to answer my questions because I know how extremely busy she is with the success of her shoes! We here at the House of Tortured Souls are big fans of her work and because I am a huge cheeseball I am reminded of the lyrics from Megadeaths cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic:
These boots are made for walking
That’s just what they’ll do
And one of these days these boots
Are gonna stomp all over you
So get a pair of Kayla’s boots and get stomping and look fabulous doing it!
Posted by Alan Smithee in ART AND VENDORS, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTISTS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

Short, Comedy, Horror:
Interview With Clarissa Jacobson

Hello everyone, this is the Horrormadam here with the second in my series celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women In Film. I was honored to interview the brilliant Clarissa Jacobson on her new short film Lunch Ladies which she wrote and produced. To say I enjoyed this short would be a gross understatement, I loved it! So well written, so well acted, so well directed. The only thing I want out of it…is more! But before we get into that, a quick tease to wet your appetites!

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you the extraordinary premise in Clarissa’s own words.

Clarissa: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? To all of those naysayers out there that say there are no new ideas, I say that you aren’t thinking outside the box. Clarissa’s clever story is outside the box, maybe even outside of leftfield and that is what makes it so surprising and refreshing.

Let’s see what else Clarissa had to say about Lunch Ladies and filmmaking:

Clarissa: When we first started out it was a bit disheartening, the first director said that no one would want to see this movie because no one wants to see two middle-aged female leads. Clarissa and I discussed this for a little while, especially how one of the nice things about the horror genre, is that horror does not discriminate. Young, old, beautiful, different looking, black, white, gay straight-in horror films we embrace them all.

Clarissa went on to discuss people thoughts on her influences:

Clarissa: I have heard John Waters (Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, Hairspray), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and I grew up on them and I love them. They’re saying that and its funny how it just seeps in and it is the biggest compliment.
Clarissa: This was my first time producing a movie and I had so much luck drawing the right people to me. The first set designer we had dropped out like one week before shooting and I was like don’t worry about it, just go with the flow. Then brought in this husband and wife couple, Ray and Alicia Ho that were one hundred times better. What happened is I just totally stepped out of the way and the most amazing people helped me and worked on it. They were all at the top of their game and everybody brought what they brought, everyone did their job and when we finished it was everything that I wanted. Exactly what I imagined in my head, even better.

I said to her how amazing that was that she was able to get what she wrote, everything that was in her head to fruition.

Clarissa: It really was magical. My writing mentor, he was a tap dancer on Broadway when he was younger. He came on as a producer also and he did the dancing scene in the cafeteria. What I had written was rhythmic and he said he had this crazy idea, how about we do a mash-up? We will have ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, and tap dancers and I was like Joe, I have no idea what is inside your head but you are the most talented person I know so do what you want.

I was also honored to speak to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Bratcher who has been acting since 1976 in some really great shows like All In The Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Rockford Files, and in films like The Howling and Coma. He also runs The Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, the longest running screenwriting classes in Los Angeles. He told me how hard Clarissa had been working and how much he loved working with her and what a great person she is. He also backed up the story Clarissa had just told me by saying that she really went to bat for him with the director. She really wanted him to create his vision for the cafeteria scene because she knew it would work.

Clarissa: The director was awesome, but that’s how everybody was, they all brought really creative shit to it. The director J.M. Logan is an award-winning filmmaker and who has filled nearly every position in the business over twenty-five years. Out of hundreds, credits include Kidnap, Manson Family Vacation, The Circle, The End Of The Tour, Stoker & Annabelle. He said his goal is to be as close to the script as possible. At one point he was like there is this scene at the beginning, it was gonna be expensive to do and I was concerned what might happen, it might not work. I was like you know we can just cut that and we can just do the scene in front of the school than we don’t need to get a car. And Josh was like NO! That is whats written in the script and that’s what we’re gonna do. And the car scene I mean the car scene is so great for starting out the movie, he was so adamant, he and everybody came up with great ideas, like the whole concept with the Russian posters, so inventive I just loved it.
Clarissa: I also had a hard time finding a location. I called like a hundred schools. This one place is like we read the script and we’ll never let you film your movie here! They acted like I had written a porn! But I wanted a John Hughes type of school kind of upper-class. Josh the director had a friend that was like call these two Catholic schools and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a location. So I called these two schools and they both said I could film there. The only thing was that they had really big kitchens and we needed it to look run down so we just filled it with all this stuff. And then Josh had the idea to use these eastern block like posters which along with the lunch trays were the only real punches of color. We filmed over two weekends, four days with twenty thousand dollars. It was really great and everyone was really fun but the last day was the hardest, we didn’t get out of there till four a.m. We had one hundred and thirty people working on it and everyone is coming back to do the feature which is already written.

I asked her then, it is winning so many awards you would think someone would just jump on it? Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2017 (winner: Best writer/producer and Best Director), Nightmares Film Festival 2017 (best writer/producer, director), and the South African Horrorfest 2017 (Best writer/producer and director).

Clarissa: Well its still new so a lot could happen in the next couple of months. We started our run in August which went great and we had nothing in September, but we had a lot in October because it is Halloween. So we have only been on the film festival route for about four months and it goes on for a year and a half. The majority of competitions and stuff aren’t until next year. So we are just working our asses off to get it noticed. And I definitely want to give a shout out to the horror community. I LOVE the horror community, they are my kind of people! I didn’t start out writing horror, I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it on the screen I couldn’t believe that came out of my head! All I could think was, where did that come from and what was wrong with me? I have always been a closet horror fan, I love The Exorcist, Let The Right One In and The Shining. One time I was writing a Gothic horror story and as I went dark, I realized the dark side is the most creative place to be. In it, you can do anything.


I want to thank Clarissa Jacobson again for taking the time to talk to me at the
House of Tortured Souls and also thank her for writing such a unique horror/comedy short. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough readers. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I know that you will not be disappointed when you see it. All I am waiting for now is the full-length feature to be made so I can enjoy the further escapades of the Lunch Ladies! And from now on I may even find myself asking as I go through life…WWJD?

Clarissa also wanted to say a big thank you to Fire The Animal who wrote and performed the song Bury My Body, courtesy of Couch Guys Records and Antoni M. March who did the score.

And, like I said before, I don’t want to give any spoilers but some fun trivia: Lunch Ladies used 10 gallons of blood, 10 gallons of slime/goo, 15 gallons of “food,” 40 pounds of potatoes (200 pounds brought to set) and 13 pounds of ground meat. And Clarissa told me the meat had been left out and smelled like hell and they had to have the school back together for when the kids came in on Monday and she had to Febreeze everything to death (pun intended).

Before I send you on to the link so you can check out some more fun information on the Lunch Ladies I wanted to tell you the name of said ladies who are more Gifted Heroines of Horror. Donna Pieroni at Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne. These women were so wonderful and entertaining, so looking forward to much more from them!

Posted by Alan Smithee in FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 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 Alan Smithee 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
SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

It is a great honor for me to introduce next HoTS ‘In the Spotlight’ Artist: our own Justin Schock!
Justin has done a tremendous amount in the background for House of Tortured Souls this year, so he well deserves this title – and much more! As with many artists, his talent spills over in more than one genre. He records metal music!
Here is a brief bio of Justin “Schock” Terrell:
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jackolanterns-300x300Schock was a nickname given as a stage name in the early 2000s and kind of just stuck with me all these years… I was born in 1982. I was born and grew up in Anderson, IN. I still live nearby but try to disassociate with the town. Haha! I have one kid, a daughter, who is 9 years old and acts like she’s 14. Kids… I’ll tell ya. Currently, my normal day job is the Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohl’s in Anderson, IN.
House of Tortured Souls: When did you start drawing?
Justin “Schock” Terrell: I started drawing at a young age, like stupid young. I can remember drawing at 3 years old or so.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-beardskull-300x300

HoTS: What was the first picture you remember doing?
Schock: When I was younger, I would draw comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts while attempting to mock the style. I then moved on around, 4 or 5 years old, drawing Spiderman and Wolverine mostly before developing my own techniques.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jason-300x300

HoTS: Who inspired you when you began?
Schock: I just started drawing things always utilizing pencil only. I use to not care for markers and such. The traditional look of pencil appealed to me. I honestly can’t say if I had anyone influence. There were, of course, comic books and cartoons, but I never got the names of the artists. My uncle, Mike Ball is an amazing traditional artist. I mean he doesn’t use computers. He was always showing me tricks as a kid, and I admired a lot of the work he did.
HoTS: Who do you follow now?
Schock: Now that I’m older and pay attention to things, some of my favorite artists are James Rowe, Alex Ross, Nikki Bruin, and Scott Anderson. Then there is this one dude, not sure of his real name, but his store is called Electric Zombie. And Ghoulish Gary is hands down amazing, as is Jason Edmiston. Really, there are a lot of insane artists out there.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite creep?
Schock: Favorite creep…hmm well I’m always all over the monsters. It’s hard to pick, ya know? Ever go shopping and you see Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein stuff everywhere, but then there’s that one off Leatherface item, so you’re torn? Do I pick up the traditional monster thing? Or get the slasher? I’m a horror fan, and it’s just too hard to pick.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lollipop-300x300

HoTS: What is your most prized piece?
Schock: I have a couple pieces that are prized. One is a full pencil/colored pencil piece I did of Reagen from The Exorcist, and the other is a non-horror pencil drawing of ballerina legs/shoes. Both of those are amazing to me because I didn’t know I could produce such work.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-ballerina-300x300

HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor markets?
Schock: I have never done any of the cons or markets namely because it takes a lot of money to get started and I totally do not have that kind of loot. But one day, I will be all over it. I have never done an art show. The art world is a cruel mistress. Fun fact about my region of the world, er, the city: I was told by an artist collective here I was not allowed to join their little club of artists because of my work being mainly horror-influenced. And I went from traditional pencil and paint to almost all exclusively digital coloring, even using Wacom pens to draw without paper. Very snobby artists here. So art shows would only happen, again, if I had the money for it, and if I was more well known.
HoTS: Are you working on something now?
Schock: As of now, I am working on some watercolor paintings, the annual Drawlloween pictures which I am doing all pencil this year, images for HoTS. As well as working on my next record. I make hardcore/metal music also. All written and recorded by myself called xSCHOCKx, which can be found here: xschockx.bandcamp.com I jump around mediums, drawing, painting, music and even writing. Working on a collection of short stories with a friend. No title yet, but its very X-rated and scary all at once.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-regan-300x300

HoTS: Do you do commission work?
Schock: I do, indeed, do commission work. I’m always open to anything graphic design in advertising, drawings, logo design, the list goes on and on. A list of services and prices can be found on my site (listed below), and it does not have to be limited to horror works. That’s just my thing. I’ve done stuff for the MS people, Diabetic Youth Foundation, and even random churches. A good artist doesn’t limit his focus.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
Schock: I am all over the social media and Internet. Heres a list:
Damn that’s a lot. Nah, but I do a lot of different things artistically and sometimes they blend together. I use my nickname for both my artistic and musical endeavors, so that it’s easy to promote both.
Folks, be on the lookout for more of Justin. He is amazing, and we here at HoTS plan on keeping him around for many moons to come.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lady-300x300

Posted by Alan Smithee in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTISTS, FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
WiHM: Jamie Lee Curtis

WiHM: Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis was my first (and still my top go to) Scream Queen. She was 19 when she played the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween.
And boy did she play the hell out of the role!! The horrified faces she made, the shaky hand with the butcher knife, and that scream! She would later play that role three more times in Halloween II, Halloween H2O, and Halloween: Resurrection and had a voice role in Halloween III.
Jamie held on to the audience after Halloween with her banging body, which she took full advantage of in Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, and the infamous hotel scene from True Lies.
I mean isn't the perfect damsel in distress look?
Her ability to play any type of role amazed watchers and added even more to her fans list!!Jamie is one of the incredibly talented actresses that can go from horror to family movie (Freaky Friday), back to horror, and onto your 'typical housewife' in a dramatic adventure.
The show Scream Queens was conceived based on her, and she, of course, has a role in it to freak the audience once more. 🙂
Posted by Alan Smithee in FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The History of Krampus

The History of Krampus

By Tammie Parker


Fans of horror like to think of another guy in a fur coat this time of the year: Krampus. He has been around for centuries now, and is growing more popular in these times. Krampus originated in the Alpines region. He is said to be part goat, part man, and all demon. krampus-red He walks upright on goat hind legs, is covered in fur, has goat horns, and sports a long curling pointed tongue. Krampus is Deutsch (German) and derives from the word krampen, meaning claw. Now doesn't he sound like a rootie pacutie!

In some regions of Europe ,Krampus is one of the Companions of Saint Nick. Knecht Ruprecht, Belsnickel, and Zwarte Piet are the others. Krampus and St. Nicholas are often seen together in books, and on Christmas cards. Krampus has been featured on cards since the 1800s in Europe.

krampusstnick krampussaintnicholas

Krampus comes the night before The Feast of Saint Nicholas. This night is called Krampusnacht. He carries a sack full of switches and goes into every house to find the misbehaving children. With eyes rolling all directions, tongue lashing in and out, krampus-sledtotheunderworldstumping with one goat hoof and one man foot (I imagine that is from versions blending together), he would sniff out the bad ones. Krampus would whip them, throw the naughty child into his sack and take them back to the Underworld, where they would be lost forever.

Then, with all the rotten children gone, St. Nicholas could come. Saint Nick only deals with good children.

In other versions, Krampus would just leave lumps of coal instead of presents. But who wants to hear about that when we have claws, fur, and an underworld?

Nothing like the good ole days and demons to scar a child for life huh! Maybe if this snot-nosed heathens now had some demons to fear they wouldn't be so disrespectful. Hell, maybe we could get some shirts tucked in!

In Germany, it used to be popular to pass around holiday cards with Krampus decorating the front. Just look how lovely these are.

krampus-childreninbasket2 krampus-childreninbasket

Until Krampus was outlawed in 1923. OUTLAWED! Craziness! Luckily, in the 60s, he started to appear again. Many cities in the Alpines have parades today, where they dress up as Krampus.

krampus-parade2 krampus-parade4

It's called Krampuslauf (Krampus run) Where drunk men dressed as krampus run around the streets. It's pretty much *St.Patty's day meets Mardi Gras meets Christmas*, and it is certainly time for America to embrace Krampuslauf!!!!



Merry Krampuslauf!

Posted by Alan Smithee in FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR HISTORY, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 0 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 2)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 2)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

My Top 5 MUST WATCH for October

By Tammie Parker

#5: Halloween (1978) & (2007)

Okay. HOOOW can you NOT watch Halloween in October?

Halloween / Image: Compass International Pictures
And for me, I absolutely must watch both the original and Rob Zombie's revamp! Speaking of Rob, how many of y'all have House of 1,000 Corpses on your list? I mean, when I hear that piano I feel like I just made it home after a 5 year journey!! My cocoon bursts wide open when that music starts playing! HELL, I want to thank the landscape artist that kept that hedge trimmed so perfectly for Michael to peep around. I want to thank Mother Nature for blowing a few crunchy leaves around from time to time so that I mentally teleport to that street. Yes, it only takes one leaf for me to get the feel of the place. I can even hear that big ol' Ford LTD right now! And I have that long cleaver hanging on my kitchen wall, just waiting for a long lost brother that I didn't even know about to pop up. BRING IT ON, MICHAEL! See I'll know exactly when to run for it... I'd know that piano theme music if I was nearly deaf! (heehee)

#4 Friday the 13th (films) (1980-present)

Friday the 13th / Image: Paramount Pictures / Warner Bros.
My second MUST would be all of the Friday the 13th (films)! (Okay, not Manhattan.)

I mean, Jason just has a way with the women, right? And so many of the deaths were so damn unique for the time! And think about how Friday the 13th opened the gate for other horror movies, and how many soon-to-be horror directors learned so much from these movies! Horror authors were born by the dozens! Those deaths seeded — NO demanded — fresh new twists on freakish murder. How many stopped sending their kids to summer camp after this? How many had a sort of horrific epiphany because of these movies? How many 'Oh my God, we're not going camping, fishing, or hiking any more'? How many 'Welp, no more premarital sex for me'? No more, I'm not sleeping in another damn bed that has the possibility of some jackass crawling under! No more weed smoking for me! No more hanging the sheets outside! How many?

#3 Young Frankenstein (1974)

My third would be Young Frankenstein. This year more than usual!! Gene played the hell out of this role!

Young Frankenstein / Image: Gruskoff/Venture Films
"IT'S PRONOUNCED FRONK–EN–STEEEEEN! These one has so many YES! moments in it for me. The look of a classic Universal horror movie, humor, rolls in the hay, and the freshly dead. How eye drawing was the cinematography? And they must of have one hell of a choreographer? Did you see that tapping jig for 'Putting on the Ritz? This one just has such a nice feel!

#2 The Ring (2002)

The Ring / Image: DreamWorks SKG
Fourth? The Ring.

When this movie originally came out, it was soooo different than anything any of us had seen before. How many times did you ask yourself 'What was that?' when the video was rolling? It screwed with your mind! The music and sound effects were spot on and intensified every move. The suspense was like no other, and this new grey cinematography was so crisp! And the master-minds behind it. This was a pretty low budget film, and look at what it did. Just don't ever comb your hair around me if it's long...I am scarred forever, and whatever is nearby will be thrown at your head!

#1 The Exorcist (1973)

Last but not least-- The Exorcist! DUH! It's a classic for us Generation Xers.

The Exorcist / Image: Warner Bros.
It came out the year I was born, so I'm not talking I was at the theater when it was released lol. I first saw it when I was about 12 and I cannot believe — looking back now — how terrified I was of the special effects in this one! Good stuff.

With that being said, let the marathons begin!

Posted by Alan Smithee in HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
SPOTLIGHT: Spirit Halloween

SPOTLIGHT: Spirit Halloween

By Woofer McWooferson

Fall Means Halloween

As anyone who loves Halloween in North America knows, Spirit Halloween stores as much a seasonal tradition as trick-or-treating. For those who don't know,

Spirit Halloween (spirithalloween.com) is the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country with more than 1,200 locations in strip centers and malls across North America. Celebrating 33 years of business, Spirit is the authority on all things Halloween, offering one-stop shopping for everything from costumes to decor and party goods to accessories. In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, 'tweens, teens, and adults along with exclusive décor you won't find anywhere else.

For a lover of Halloween and things spooky, a trip to a Spirit Halloween store is like walking through the Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Workshop to those who favor Christmas. Being able to browse their wares in person is a real treat

Spirit Halloween retail locations feature larger-than-life, nightmare-inducing animatronic displays for the home. Those tempted to walk around the spine-chilling “Clock Tower” will be frightened by the motion-activated Howling Werewolf, a life-size Swinging Scarecrow, a crazed three headed dog Cerberus, and back by popular demand, the evil Lil Skelly Bones. Brave shoppers can also experience the “Haunted Hotel” where Floating Ghost Girl surprises from above with demonic laughter and a haunting cry followed by the Electrified Corpse, which hangs upside down, shaking and glowing from LED lights and equipped with screaming, moaning, popping and zapping sounds.

For those planning a party but still undecided on a theme,

Spirit’s wide selection of new Ouija-themed items allows the stylish hostess to match a Ouija dress and scarf with Ouija candles, pint glasses, shot glasses and more. With themed décor such as Spirit’s Haunted Séance Board, spooky Ghost Writing Book, motion-activated Spider Portrait and Whirl-A-Motion LED projection spotlights, it’s never been easier to transform a home into the neighborhood’s most talked about haunted house.

Costumes and Costuming

The most anticipated items are the costumes. What has hit Spirit Halloween for the season? Spirit Halloween offers a variety of costumes to satisfy all ages and costuming desire. This year’s top picks and can’t-go-wrong selections range from presidential candidates to superheroes and villains to animation and games. From their latest press release, here are the top ten costumes/categories for 2016:


Anti-heroes

2016 is all about the anti-heroes. And doesn’t it feel so good to be bad! Harley Quinn, the Joker and Deadpool all combine the daring and mischievous traits of a villain with the heart of a hero.
Images: Spirit Halloween







Girl Power

Who runs the world? Girls. Fierce, fearless females remain popular this year, with super heroines Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman (who celebrates her 75th super hero-versary in 2016!) as well as real-life heroes: doctors, police officers and firefighters. Daughters will be thrilled to coordinate with moms in costumes for all sizes.
Images: Spirit Halloween




Election 2016

America’s top candidates for president are the most controversial to date. Spirit Halloween has both realistic and humorous candidate masks and wigs for a creative political statement. Accessorize your candidate to show their sexy side, devilish demeanor or even what they’d look like behind bars.
Images: Spirit Halloween






Gaming

Level-up with the phenomenon that took the world by storm this year: Pokémon. Other fan-favorite gamer costumes for 2016 include Fallout, Assassin’s Creed and Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Images: Spirit Halloween




Anime

This Japanese cultural icon has crossed the Pacific! Hone battle skills and dress the part of a Dragon Ball Z warrior, an Attack On Titan cadet or a Naruto ninja in anime-inspired costumes.
Images: Spirit Halloween






Crayola

Color outside the lines with new Crayola costumes. Collaborate with friends to bring a rainbow of Crayola crayons to life. An easy last-minute costume for shoppers of every age, and perfect for teachers celebrating Halloween and creativity in the classroom.
Images: Spirit Halloween




Trending Tykes

Let the little ones’ imaginations soar as they transform into today’s most-loved cartoon friends, including official styles you won’t find anywhere else from PJ Masks, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.
Images: Spirit Halloween






Pop Culture

Go viral with looks from the most talked about topics of the year from FX’s smash hit “American Horror Story” to musical legends Prince and David Bowie.
Images: Spirit Halloween




#TBT

Throw it back to iconic characters of Halloweens past for a #trendingcostume. From horror classics to beloved characters Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & 2 and TMNT, these costumes are a guaranteed high five.
Images: Spirit Halloween







DIY

Express individuality with a large selection of basics and beyond in every color to elevate a do-it-yourself look. Take a Spirit Halloween costume over the top with key accessories that strut your style, such as colorful wigs, bright eyelashes, bold makeup, statement-making suspenders, masks or hats of all shapes and sizes.
Images: Spirit Halloween


The Heart of Spirit Halloween

At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children (spiritofchildren.com), a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since its inception in 2006, Spirit of Children has raised over $29 million for the Child Life department at hospitals across the country. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100% of funds going toward a child’s life. For the 2016 Halloween season, Spirit of Children will be supporting 139 hospitals across the country, with a goal to raise $7.8 million. Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child's life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram by using #SpiritofChildren in their photos.

How to Find Spirit Halloween

  • Online and search for one near you: SpiritHalloween.com
  • Facebook: For discounts and the inside scoop on all things Halloween, “Like” us if you dare on Facebook Facebook.com/SpiritHalloween
  • Instagram: @SpiritHalloween
  • Twitter: @SpiritHalloween
  • Pinterest: Pinterest.com/SpiritHalloween
  • YouTube: youtube.com/SpiritHalloween
  • Upload your spooky Spirit Halloween shopping experience by tagging photos with #SpiritHalloween on your social media channels.
  • Posted by Alan Smithee in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    SPOTLIGHT: Eli Roth – The Busiest Man in Hollywood

    SPOTLIGHT: Eli Roth – The Busiest Man in Hollywood

    By Tammie Parker

    Do you remember when Eli Roth appeared as The Stoner in his own movie Cabin Fever? OH? You didn't realize that was him? Yeah, insane, huh? And to go from this scrawny, Shaggy looking fellow in this bonfire scene from Cabin Fever...

    ...to this muscular giant with the appropriate title the Bear Jew in Inglorious Basterds...

    ...is quite the transformation!

    Eli has his hands in so much at the moment, I don't know how he has time to sneeze!

    Last year alone he produced:

    • Knock Knock
    • The Man with the Iron Fists 2
    • This Forgotten Day in Fright
    • Chainsaw
    • 33 episodes of Hemlock Grove
    • 15 episodes of #15SecondScare
    • 11 episodes of 1 Minute Horror
    • 8 episodes of South of Hell
    • 15 episodes of Real Scares

    In addition, The Green Inferno was also (finally!) released.

    Already this year he remade one of his first movies Cabin Fever, and just last month the USA was gifted with Clown.

    Currently Eli is working on a big film with none other than Jim Carrey. This movie, Aleister Arcane, is based on the horror novel written by Steve Niles (which comic book geeks and horror fans alike know his work!). The story has an interesting twist, Aleister Green (a retired newsman) returns to his home town and hosts a TV horror show titled Aleister Arcane. The township doesn't like it, and puts an end to the show. Aleister soon passes after the end of his show. But he's not finished with this town.

    Just recently Eli took a break from filming to play with sharks during Shark Week:

    I fell in love with Eli Roth's mind when I watched Hostel and Hostel II.

    Eli Roth - HostelEli Roth - Hostel

    Eli Roth - Hostel 2I caught interest in Hostelwhen I saw his name and remembered him from Cabin Fever. I thought to myself "OH, this well be interesting!" Boy, was I in for a shock. Aside from pushing the limit with the level and intensity of the gore, the story itself was frighteningly plausible. It freaked me the frack out! I started thinking how possible this could be. I honestly enjoyed Hostel II even more than the first. GIRL POWER!

    Eli Roth - Gorgeous
    On top of everything else, he certainly is easy on the eyes!

    Thanks, Eli Roth! We can’t wait for your next film.

    Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 1 comment
    SPOTLIGHT: Robert LaSardo

    SPOTLIGHT: Robert LaSardo

    By John Roisland

    Robert LaSardo

    Robert LaSardo. When you say the name Robert LaSardo, many people respond, “Oh, yeah I know him. He's the actor with all the tattoos.” But that's barely scratching the surface of who he is. I had the privilege of meeting Robert LaSardo last July at the Scares That Care charity weekend convention, and he agreed to call me and arrange an interview when he returned from filming in Europe. Although we had not yet officially launched www.HouseofTorturedSouls.com, he, nevertheless, said he would call.

    Robert LaSardo Photo by Justice Howard

    Photo by Justice Howard

    Not to disparage Mr. LaSardo, but I never really expected my phone to ring because, as I said, we had not officially launched. One evening, however, it did and displayed a Los Angeles phone number. I looked at my phone and then let it go to voicemail since I don't know anybody in LA. About 10 minutes later, the same phone number called again, and again I let it go to voicemail, but this time he left a message. After listening to the voicemail, I was grinning from ear to ear; Robert LaSardo had just called my phone. I called him back, and, by the end of the call, he told me to call him Rob.

    Unlike many actors might do, Robert reached out to me as a person. We talked a few times and built a rapport and a friendship. When I told him I wanted to do an article on the real Robert LaSardo, not just the actor, he liked the idea and agreed to an interview in mid-September of 2015... So I’ve been sitting on it staring at it for almost a year now! I wasn’t sure how to do it – and him - justice. With House of Tortured Souls’s one year anniversary upon us, however, I decided to turn the spotlight on Robert LaSardo and give the rest of the world a look at the man behind the tattoos.

    Robert LaSardo was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 20, 1963, and currently resides on the West Coast in California with his loving family. But what about in between?

    At a very young age, he became quite the aspiring actor. I asked him about this. Had he dreamed of growing up to be an actor when he was a young boy? “No,” he said. “I used to watch the trains, watching them leave town and wishing I was on one of them.” This is not surprising. Robert had a hard life growing up. He lived on the street sometimes, in cars at other times, and sometimes with friends. However, there was one bright spot: Robert was accepted to a high school for the performing arts where he received critical acclaim for his work. In spite of this, Robert was in and out of gangs and even had a few run ins with the law. He could’ve stayed on the streets at this point, but he was smart enough to realize that was a dead end. So he walked away from it and into the US Navy after high school.

    Robert LaSardo in Bleach

    Robert LaSardo in Bleach

    When he returned, he redoubled his efforts to become an actor and flesh out his talent. At first he received small parts here and there, but he found himself stereotyped by his appearance. This did not deter him, and he continued to seek various types of characters. Eventually, the combination of his talent, determination, and self discipline paid off. Not only did Robert LaSardo gain recognition in the tattoo industry, but he has also become a versatile, well-established actor with a lengthy list of credits ranging from China Beach to General Hospital to Strangeland to The Human Centipede III and encompassing a variety of roles from thugs to tattoo artists to priests.

    Robert LaSardo left an impact on me like not many others have. He's a man of few words but who always chooses them wisely, so when he speaks, people listen. He often portrays tough guys, perhaps because he demands - and earns – respect from those with whom he works. Indeed, while he isn't the biggest guy in the room, he does give the impression of the one who will kick your ass the hardest. I'm not saying that's not true (or that it is true); what I am saying is that he has a presence and is not the type of person who can be ignored. I'm honored to have gotten to know the real person, the man behind the tattoos. He is grateful for what he has and passionate about what he does and it shows. In addition to being a prolific actor with over 118 credits to his name – and more in production, he is also a published author, having penned. Life Sentence: A True Story About Love, Lunacy, and Fame and Playing With Fire.

    Though we did not get to speak often or for long, I always looked forward to our next chat and not because it was Robert LaSardo the actor calling, but because it was Rob the awesome person calling. He was always very honest and direct, and I have the utmost respect for him.

    Robert LaSardoAt the end of my interview with Rob, he said to me,

    Life can be really hard, but never give up. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. Never forget that there are always people that are going to try to bring you down, and thats when you have to pull together everything you have and make it work, to not only prove them wrong, but to prove it to yourself.

    Robert LaSardo is proof that dreams can be realized.

    Robert LaSardo, I look forward to seeing and speaking with you again soon.

    Take care, my friend, and thank you.

    Keep It Evil.

    Posted by John Roisland in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    Creeped Out By Dolls, Part 1!

    Creeped Out By Dolls, Part 1!

    Dolls, Part 1

    Creepy Things?
    Or the Creepiest Things Ever?

    By Tammie Parker

    For years now screenplay writers, and producers have been scaring the shit out of us with these wimpy little floppy TERRORS! Yeah, those things made out of porcelain, plastic, wood, or cloth and stuffed with a thousand screams!

    Have you heard of Isla de las Munecas - The Island of the Dolls? Such a place actually exists? Oh, yes, and it's just as creepy as you imagine.

    Island of Dolls 01

    Island of Dolls... Not creepy at all.

    The story goes like this:
    The caretaker of the floating garden Don Julian Santana Barrera found a little girl drowned. Shortly thereafter, Julian saw a doll floating near the canals. Believing the doll belonged to the little girl, he retrieved it and hung it from a tree as a way of showing respect for and support of the spirit of the girl.

    Julian believed he was haunted by the spirit of the girl and started hanging more dolls in an attempt to please her spirit. After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead, drowned in the same spot where the girl had.

    Island of Dolls 02

    Island of Dolls - Not even a little creepy.

    After Julian’s death in 2001, it has become a tourist attraction where visitors bring more dolls. The island has been featured on many shows now. including one of my favorite shows Ghost Adventures. (Can you hear Zac snapping, "Stop running!" now?)

    Ghost Adventures - Island of Dolls

    Island of Dolls - Who am I kidding? This is creepy as all get out!

    Dolls - Poltergeist - clown doll

    Poltergeist - I'm pretty sure the clown doll was behind everything.

    Who could forget the freakish clown doll (seriously, why was that even in the house?) in the original Poltergeist! Good Lord, that horrible ear to ear grin on his glass face was enough for me! Then it's going to run and hide under the bed? NOPE! I was done at the point! The whole grabbing him and holding him hostage was completely uncalled for! (LOL) Who else threw out all the dolls in their house at the end of the movie?

    While we are on the subject of little boys, did you know there was a boy's doll called My Buddy that's the size of (and dressed similar to) Chucky?

    Check out this creepy video!

    I remember the doll coming out before the movie, and just finding out  that My Buddy was a partial inspiration for Chucky! Tom Holland told the doll's creator (Kevin Yagher)to make a cross between My Buddy and Raggedy Andy! Here're pictures of all three dolls. What do you think?

    Dolls - Raggedy Andy, My Buddy, Good Guy Chucky

    How about ventriloquist's dummies, huh? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Have you seen the old ones? Have you seen a Howdy Doody? It's very easy to make a horror movie based on those things with their freakish, 'follow you everywhere' eyes. I'd be out of there at the first creak of wood! The movie Dead Silence made my skin crawl, so keep an eye out here. I'm going to do an entire article on that one!

    Another freakish doll movie is The Boy (2016) (not to be confused with the 2015 film The Boy). The Boy definitely messes with your head!The boy is actually a doll...or is he? I don't even want to envision the thoughts floating around in writer Stacey Menear's mind.

     

    Dolls - Lorraine Warren and Annabelle

    Lorraine Warren and Annabelle

    Let's not leave out the girl, though! Which girl? Annabelle, of course! I have to give props to Annabelle for being scary as hell!! The real doll is a Raggedy Ann, but I understand why the producers used a nightmarish porcelain doll for the movie. The porcelain doll's looks alone freak me out just writing about her. HOWEVER, I confess that I was equally as freaked out when I first learned about Annabelle being a Raggedy Ann seeing as how I had a Raggedy Ann and a Raggedy Andy as a child!

    The real Annabelle is locked away in Ed and Lorraine Warren's museum -The Warrens' Occult Musuem in Monroe, CT. You may have heard of Ed and Lorraine since they were the first investigators in the Amityville house!! Ed has passed on, but Lorraine still runs the museum and gives tours (certainly on my bucket-list). Getting back to Annabelle, though... If I had her, the first time that doll appeared to be in a different position than I left her, I'd be fully aware from then on out. If the doll was in a different location than where I left her, that would be a wrap, scene, and fin! Her ass would be ripped to shreds and the pieces scattered between every dump and landfill in the tri-statel And if I lived by the sea or a lake, I'd rip her up, burn the pieces, hop in a boat, go 5 miles out if by the sea or the middle of the lake, and dump the ashes.

    howboutno

    Which doll do you think is creepiest? Have a doll you'd like to see covered? Let House of Tortured Souls know below!

    Posted by Alan Smithee in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
    My IDOL George Romero Finally Gets a Hollywood Star!

    My IDOL George Romero Finally Gets a Hollywood Star!

    They're Coming for You, George...
    (And it's about time!)

    Star of the Dead

    By Tammie Parker

    George Romero - Night of the Living DeadGeorge Romero made zombies famous in Night of the Living Dead and redefined the genre while doing so. But not only did he direct the movie, he also helped write it. The man is a zombie genius! Almost all of us learned how zombies walk, move, moan, and what they look like (Hint: Not so good.)  from this movie. How real the movie looked (especially for the time period) made it truly disturbing to many viewers, and the concept of using radio broadcasting to report on what was happening was beyond creative. Lest we forget, Romero also encouraged the actors to perform with conviction, to bring realism to the drama, as evidenced with Barbara's nervousness and getting the shakes and Ben's slap to bring her back to reality, or the doomed family in the basement who, nevertheless, remain steadfast in their resolve to remain n the basement and to keep the others out, He made us feel for these people, and that made it all the more frightening.

     

    Dawn George RomeroGeorge later blessed us with more to the story - Dawn of the Dead (1978),

     

     

     George RomeroDay of the Dead (1985),

     

     

     

    zombies-georgeromaro-landofthedeadLand of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009), and a work in progress Origins (a prequel). Thanks, George!

     

    This, of course, has made so many zombie fans (myself included) obsessed with Mr. Romero!

    Zombies with George Romero

     George RomeroHell, look here! Even the zombies love him!

     

     

     

    zombies-georgeromaro-blackopsSome big fans include the creators of Call of Duty: Black Ops- Zombie map, Call of the Dead

     

    horrormovies-silenceofthelambs-georgeromarocameoAnd director Jonathon Demme gave him a cameo in Silence of the Lambs!!Did you notice him?

     

    Crazies George RomeroBy no means is Romero just for the zombie lover of course, He loves horror in general. He directed the original The Crazies, and the cult vampire movie Martin, and how about the Monkey Shines, huh? Pretty weird stuff, George! He even directed the commercial for the video game Resident Evil 2

    George has also worked with Stephen King.

    Stephen King and George RomeroThey created the comic book throwback movie Creepshow.

     

     

     

    horrormovie-thedarkhalfAnd Romero also directed The Dark Half - boy, were the sparrows flying.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    During his 50 years in the film industry, he has written, produced, and directed many films and even had a television show called Tales from the Darkside (Rumor has it that Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, will be working on a new version of Tales... yet another King tie). So why did it take so long for him to get a star?

    zombies-georgeromaro-creepyglow

     

     

    Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HEROES, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments