Florida

DEADLIEST BREW:  The Coffee Shop of Horrors

DEADLIEST BREW: The Coffee Shop of Horrors

By John Roisland

So you're doing the family thing. You've packed your bermuda shorts and your newest Harley Davidson t-shirt, threw the kids into the family truckster, and headed down I-95 to Disney and or Universal Studios. You've made it into Orlando, O-town, the wife is nagging, the kids are already screaming they're bored, and all you want to do is wake up or kill someone cause you just spent the last 11-13 hours behind the wheel for a family vacation! Well, last I checked, murdering someone IS still illegal, but there is a way to wake you up!

Head on over to The Coffee Shop of Horrors. If you're looking for a good cup of joe to start your day or even just calm you down from the road, this is the place! Located at 16937 Lakeside Dr, in Montverde, Florida, since 2007, The Coffee Shop of Horrors offers you nothing but the best and freshest coffees - always ground fresh per order - and a wide variety of flavors. But why shouldn't you just go to "FourBucks", uh, Starbucks? That's easy to answer: The Coffee Shop of Horrors isn't corporate, they're an independent business, locally owned and putting their all into their dream! They make the kind of coffee they would want to buy. Shop local applies to food and COFFEE, too!

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Not only do these fine baristas offer you a wide variety of only the freshest flavors, they also offer you delicious pastries and other snacks to enjoy with your coffee. Still not sold on why to go here? Hmmm... Did I mention The Coffee Shop of Horrors is also a horror-based establishment? The name, taken from The Little Shop of Horrors, does not lie - the establishment is a horror fan's dream.

From horror-themed decor to t-shirts, they also bag and sell their own brand of flavored coffees and all with horror related names, such as Burial Grounds, a dark roast named in honor of Cemetery Prints, a horror-themed photographer (Sid Graves) from Fort Lauderdale. At certain times of the year, even their pastries are horror-themed, and who wouldn't like a dozen little wolfman cupcakes?

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The atmosphere is comfortable, and there is plenty of space to unwind and relax. They even have a coffee table that looks like something out of a GWAR video. (I must have that table!) While you're there, be sure to check out the hand-crafted work from local artists/horror fans Freakshow Designs. Trust me when I say that you will be sorry if you miss out on their work!

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Matt Allen of FREAKSHOW DESIGN

The Coffee Shop of Horrors can also be found at charity events as well as a vendor at Spooky Empire, Florida's largest horror convention.

Now, don't worry if you live in BFE, and this is to much of a travel for you. This is the age of technology, so The Coffee Shop of Horrors is online and ready to ship their products to your door! After you place your order, head on over to their Facebook page and give 'em a like.

So the next time you're in family vacation hell... or just looking for a great cup of coffee, with fellow horror family, be sure stop in at The Coffee Shop of Horrors.

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 2 comments
WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH: P.J. SOLES

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH: P.J. SOLES

P.J. Soles

P.J. Soles

By John Roisland

Before the month gets away from us, I must take a moment to cast my vote for Women  in Horror Month: the lovely P.J. Soles. This hasn't been an easy choice with so much great talent in the industry!

From Scream Queen legends Jamie Lee Curtis and Danielle Harris to academy award winning make up  artist Vee Neill to the twisted minds behind the camera -Sylvia and Jen Soska, there are legions of talented women in horror. In fact, there are too many names to list here, but P.J., for me, comes with a personal reason.

P.J. Soles, born in 1950 in Frankfurt, Germany, got her first major part in the 1976 Brian De Palma film Carrie, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. As Norma, the ballcap wearing and wisecracking pigtailed cutie, P.J. won the hearts of many...I was 4. Since then, P.J. went on to many other roles, such as John Carpenter's Halloween and Stripes, and all with her trademark pigtails. She was at the convention supporting her role in Rob Zombie's The Devils Rejects, and as I mentioned, mine comes with a story.

P.J. as Lynda van der Klok in the 1978 classic John Carpenter's Halloween.

P.J. as Lynda van der Klok in the 1978 classic John Carpenter's Halloween.

A few years ago, my wife Stephanie and I were living in Florida and attended Spooky Empire, an incredible horror convention in Orlando. P.J. was on the celebrity guest list. After wandering around and taking everything in, we headed into the celebrity room on a mission to meet P.J. Just as we got thru the threshold of the ballroom door, I literally bump into her, look at her, and say "Oh hi. You're leaving?" She gave me a worried, almost brokenhearted look, like a mom whose kid wanted to hang out with her as she was leaving for work, and said, "Honey, I'm just running out to grab a sandwich for lunch. Come see me in an hour...PROMISE ME?!" She laughed, gave me a hug, and off she went, disappearing in the ocean of fans that filled the halls.

P.J. as Susan with Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects.

P.J. as Susan with Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects.

We wander around for a while, and about an hour or so later we made our way back to P.J.'s table. As we did, she saw us, stood up and said "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!" With a big smile on her face, she came around the table and gave us huge hugs. We talked for a good 40 minutes, the room at this time wasn't busy, or I wouldn't have taken up so much time. But since we were the only ones there at the moment, and we were all really enjoying ourselves, why not?!

She talked with excitement in her eyes. We talked about her family, John Carpenter, Bill Murray, Rob Zombie and sandwiches...she likes a good sandwich. We took a few pictures, hugged, shook hands, thanked her for her time, and asked kindly how much we owed her for her time. She smiled and simply said, "Go enjoy the show, and stop by or wave if you come back through." And that we did. Every time we were in the area, and she just smiled and waved as if we were family.

Not charging us is not the reason that I put P.J Soles at the top of my list. I put her there because of her heart, how she treated us, and how she made us feel. She took the time to make a difference with the fans.

I've met a good number of celebrities, some nicer than others, but none have ever treated me quite like this - like a person, not rushing through with a fake smile and quick to collect your money. P.J. was genuinely appreciative. Let me just add that John Carpenter was the headlining guest at this show and his table was also next to P.J.'s table. Those of you who know me know that Carpenter is my favorite. He was a bucket list for me.

We went and met with the legendary John Carpenter, but we went back to the always lovely, P.J. Soles.

Congratulations P.J. Soles, on this well deserved recognition for Women In Horror Month.

Keep it Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
LOCAL HAUNTS

LOCAL HAUNTS

TAMPA FLORIDA

By Margeaux DeMott

 

Have you ever wondered if the places around you are haunted? Most of the posts you see are usually the most haunted in the world or in a certain state. How frustrating! Not everyone can travel that much, and have the extra time in the day to research what's haunted around them. Well, that's okay because I am here to do some research for you. My goal is to bring you at least five haunted places, one city at a time. The first in this series will be of the town I live in: Tampa Florida.

Tampa Theater

Tampa 8
The Tampa Theater was built in 1926 and was designed the architect John Eberson. His inspiration for the theater came from the gardens of Italy, and France with Persian shrines and Spanish patios mixed in. It is a breath taking theater complete with a ceiling that mimics the sky.  It is absolutely gorgeous. I fully recommend going, and going early so you can take in the design without distracting you from the movie/play/concert.
Reports
If you ask anyone who works for the Tampa Theater they will tell you it is haunted. There has been reports of cold spots, ghostly figures, the sounds of doors opening and closing, hearing footsteps, and the sounds of doors opening and closing. One of the ghostly figures that has been seen is of a woman. It is believed that she died before the theater was built and that she is waiting for her fiance. There are also reports of seeing Foster Fink Finley in the projection room when no one else is around. Foster Fink Finley was the projectionist for the Tampa Theater from 1930 to 1965. His final day on the job was also his final day alive. He collapsed in the projection room and died that day of a heart attack. During an investigation paranormal researcher reported seeing someone in an old Tampa Theater uniform. It is believed that it might be Robert Lanier, Sr. Robert Lanier, Sr was a ticket taker employed at the Tampa Theater and had the only known death on the property. On May 29th, 1959 he was found near the box office on the marble tile. His skull was crushed and it is still unknown if he was murdered or if he fell down the stairs.

 

University of Tampa Plant Hall

Hall
Originally Plant Hall was the Tampa Bay Hotel. Henry Plant opened the hotel in 1891 and it boasted 500 rooms within 5 stories. The hotel was built to be the best and most lavish hotel of the time. If you ask me, they nailed it. It is a beautiful ornate Victorian style building with Moorish minarets. It is eye catching to say the least. The hotel closed in 1930, but in late 1933 Tampa Bay Junior College moved in and later became the University of Tampa.
Reports
Plant Hall has a variety of haunted experiences. People have reported seeing a man in a three piece brown suit with red eyes. In one event when the witness turned a fled from him he reappeared in the next room drinking tea. There have been reports of seeing Victorian era servants still carrying out their duties. On professor reported seeing a mist that had a figure like shape to it that moved through the wall as soon as he began to pay attention to it. Many have heard whispers, chatter, and dice rolling. Students have reported having the lights shut off on them while studying alone. Even if people don't see or hear anything a lot of people have reported the feeling of being watched.

 

Britton Cinema 8

Britton 8
Britton Cinema 8 is situated in a shopping plaza that was built in 1956. It has changed hands a number of times through out the years.
Reports
Employees of Britton Cinema 8 have heard their names being called and voices inside of empty theaters. One guest reported the chairs next to her creaking as if someone was pushing the seat down to sit next to her. Another guest said that as he was enjoying a movie inside of an empty theater he started to notice people appearing in the seats in front of him. The women's restroom has it's own resident ghost. People have heard stall doors close and lock on their own as well as toilets flush. However, I couldn't find reports of the water being run. Gross ghosts; wash your hands.

 

Crown Colony House [Busch Gardens]

Crown Colony House
Located inside of Busch Gardens the Crown Colony House was originally called The Old Swiss House. The Old Swiss House was built in 1964 and was a replica of a Swiss restaurant. In 1982 it was shut down and used by the entertainment department for rehearsals and auditions. It was later renovated and opened back up in 1990 as the Crown Colony House.
Reports
Employees of the Crown Colony House have encountered a mist in the dining room that they believe to be an eight year old girl named Wendy. She's also said to stop the elevator between floors. During closing employees have reported hearing voices, laughing, and children playing inside of building. Guests and employees have said to have seen an elderly bartender and some have also caught a glimpse of a pianist sitting at the piano before he vanishes. A full apparition of a woman wearing a white night gown has also been seen by employees. Many have experienced flickering lights and unexplained cold spots.

 

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine skyway bridge
The original Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built in 1954. It had a vertical clearance of 150 feet and sported only two lanes. In 1971 they added a southbound span. However, tragedy struck twice in 1980. On January 28th, 1980 USCGC Blackthorn [a buoy tender] collided with Capricorn [a tanker] while trying to pass underneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Twenty-three servicemen died in the collision. On May 9th, 1980 MV Summit Venture [a freighter] was passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge when it hit one of the support columns. The bridge collapsed taking 8 vehicles with it. One of the vehicles was a greyhound bus that was taking a group of college kids to Miami. Thirty-five people died in that incident; there were only two survivors. One man swam to shore and the other was able to stop his car 14 inches before the collapsed area of the bridge. A new bridge was built and opened in 1987. Sunshine Skyway Bridge has 4 lanes of traffic and a vertical clearance of 197 feet. There have been upwards of 200 suicides from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In an attempt to counteract the high rate of jumpers the state has put in six crisis hotline phones along the center span in 1999 and began 24-hour patrols.
Reports
In the 60's and 70's people started reporting to police of potential jumpers on the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Sometimes when the officers went out to help they could find no evidence of someone being their search for a body would turn up nothing. These reports are ongoing. Some drivers have stopped to pick up a you woman hitch hiking on the bridge, but the closer they get to the summit the more upset she gets. When the person turns to console her she is gone. There has also been reports of her making it all the way to the end of the bridge only to have disappeared leaving a wet spot on the seat. Parts of the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge are now used a piers and are a popular fishing spot. On the tenth anniversary of the bridge collapse people reported seeing an old style grey hound bus filled with young people that were just staring ahead. People also report hearing screams and squealing breaks early in the morning on the pier. A paranormal dive team went to investigate under the bridge and found a strange unexplained light phenomenon. Some have seen a pioneer woman wearing a grey dress and hovering over the water underneath the bridge. Witnesses say she has a sullen look to her and she never interacts or notices them. No one is sure where she came from or what happened to her in her life.

 

Do you have a city that you would like to see featured? Let us know in the comments.

Posted by Alan Smithee in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments

EDITORIAL: Remembering Mr. Hansen

By John Roisland

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Early this morning, my wife Stephanie woke me up to tell me of the heart breaking news of the passing of Mr. Hansen. As most or many of you know, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my personal favorite horror film, and at that, Leatherface is my favorite horror character. Mr. Hansen, to me, IS Leatherface. There are others who have played the role, but, I'm sorry, none compare to Mr. Hansen's portrayal.

Now, I, as many of you have, had the chance to meet him. Mine was at Spooky Empire in Orlando in 2007. I was there with a group of friends from Florida, and this was my very first convention. It's kind of funny. It was about six on a Friday evening, and the convention was rapidly filling up. I was getting tattooed by my good friend Kelly Rogers, who owns and works at Gearhead Tattoo out of Cape Coral and we were all taking a smoke break outside. While out in the hallway, here comes Mr. Hansen, a mountain of a man, headed my way. I can still remember yelling OH SHIIIIT!!!! as I ran back into the the tattoo room, literally diving over the vending table, knocking all kinds of shit over, digging through my backpack to get my camera. I made it back to the corridor just in time as he had just got to where I was.

Out of breath I said said his name, he stopped, turned and looked down at me, "Yes?" was all he said. I kindly explained what I had just done, and asked if I could trouble him for a moment of his time . He agreed, the photo was taken, I said, “Thank you, and it was an honor to meet you, sir”. He looked down and stared at me for a second with that deep look of his, and disappeared into the crowd.
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Was I a bit star struck? Yeah I guess I was, but also know that Mr. Hansen was the first celebrity that I had met at the convention...I also know that I could have honestly gone home after that. It couldn't have gotten any better. And yes, I did go and actually visit Mr.Hansen at his table later during the convention, spoke with him, and had apologized if I had made a spectacle of myself earlier. He just smiled and we shook hands. I don't think I will ever forget meeting him, nor will I ever forget Mr. Hansen.

Feeling broken by this news...

You are deeply missed, sir.

Stay Evil

Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments