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The Bloody Benders of Kansas

The Truth Behind
The Bloody Benders

By Stephanie Roisland

b868d527241e449deb30c3924fd47df5

I touched on the story of the this morbid family a bit in my movie review for Slaughter, rumored to be loosely based on The Benders, also known as "The Bloody Benders". After watching Slaughter, I had to do a piece on the family, and I really enjoyed researching and writing about them. In 1870, the same year the Ingalls family left the Labette county area to move back to Michigan, the Bender family moved in. A handful of families moved to Labette County that year, but two of them left that same year. The families that remained were quiet and stayed to themselves, except the Benders.

The family was of a foreign religion to the Kansas homesteaders living in the area as they were spiritualists, and they were making their mark in the community. They settled near the Great Osage Trail, a trail innumerable people traveled on their way to settle in the west. The family consisted of John Bender "Pa", he made a 160 acre claim in the area, his son John Jr., sometimes referred to as "Thomas", who made a claim on a smaller land parcel that adjoined the family's but he never worked it, (Some neighbors said he was a half-wit and others say it was just a ruse.), Elvira Bender "Ma", and daughter Kate Bender. Ma and Pa were, as far as anyone knew, of German decent and mostly spoke in German. They did in fact know English, but it was so accented that it was almost completely indecipherable.

The family built a one bedroom house for their residence and business. They opened an inn and general store. A curtain divided the home into two areas: the front was the public inn and store, and the back was the living quarters. Often, travelers on the Osage Trail would stop to refresh themselves with rest, food, and water. They were also able to resupply their wagons with water, liquor, tobacco, horse feed, black powder, and other supplies from the Bender store. More often than not, travelers would stay the night.

Daughter Kate was the most outgoing of the Bender family. She often referred to herself as a fortune teller and healer. It was also rumored that Kate was a prostitute. The community was often overheard talking about Kate and Ma being witches and studying witchcraft. An attractive young woman, Kate drew extra business to the Bender place when she was around. More often than not, she could found traveling to spiritualism lectures and holding her own healing services.

It was discovered some time later that none of the members of the family were actually named Bender. As a matter of fact, only two members were even related, Ma and Kate. Pa was born John Flickinger around 1810 in the Netherlands or Germany. John Jr.'s real name was John Gebhart. Ma was born Almira Meik, and her first husband was Mr. Griffith, with whom she bore 12 children. Kate was born as Ma's 5th child and was named Eliza. In fact, Ma was married several times prior to marrying Pa, and every husband Ma had died of a head wound (surprise, surprise). It was said that Ma murdered her oldest three children because they were witnesses to her murdering her husband. It was also stated that John Jr. and Kate may have been married, and neighbors recall them actually being common law to one another.

l15crop

Hundreds of men passed through Kansas seeking their fortunes in the west and were never heard from again. In those times it was quite common for adventurers and travelers to be out of reach for some time or to be found dead. So it took a great while for the many disappearances to draw attention to the Labette County area. Over the years, more and more travelers dropped off the radar after passing through the area. Some were found dead, murdered in the area, but no one knew who could be responsible. In 1872, George Loncher and his infant daughter left Independence, Kansas to settle in Iowa after his wife, the child's mother, had passed away. After some time passed and Mr. Loncher never arrived in Iowa, Dr. William York, a close friend of Loncher's, went to seek him out. He followed the Osage trail all the way to Fort Scott questioning people about Mr. Loncher and his daughter. On his way back to Independence, Dr. York himself disappeared.

bloody-benders-knife

That's when the story takes a sinister turn.

Dr. York had two very powerful brothers who were hell bent on finding him, Colonel Ed York and Kansas Senator Alexander York. Colonel York led an investigation to Labette County. They questioned the Bender family because of the accusations made against Ma wherein a women claimed that Mrs. Bender had threatened her with a knife. The investigators held a township meeting at the schoolhouse and voted to search each and every homestead for evidence or any sign of murder. Colonel York and both Bender men were in attendance at the meeting. That night the weather turned, and it was several days before the individual home searches could be done. In the meantime, a neighboring family mentioned that the inn looked empty. The Benders had fled. Two days later, several hundred volunteers went to perform the search, among them was the Colonel. The Benders' wagon was gone, and it looked like they left quickly, taking only a minimal amount of belongings, mostly clothes and food. What the searcher find on the property is chilling. A trap door was located on the families side of the dividing curtain in the inn. It revealed a horrid smelling cellar, empty but covered in human blood. Their cabin was moved from the spot, and the ground was excavated to no avail.

Neighbors recalled that the garden on the property always seemed to be freshly plowed. The investigators then turned their main focus to that garden, working through the night and into the next day. What the volunteers and township uncovered was a heinous act of hate and rage.

bendersyard1

The first body uncovered was that of Dr. York. Seven more bodies were found that night and one the next day. The heads were bashed in and the throats cut, with the exception on Mr. Loncher's infant daughter, who was said to have been buried alive under her dead father. Another child's body was unearthed, she was estimated to be about 8 years olds and was badly mutilated. While only ten bodies were found at the farm, 21 murders have been tied to the Benders. (Imagine how many we aren't aware of and never will be.)

From what investigators can piece together, guests of the inn were persuaded into sitting in the seat of honor, strategically placed against the separating curtain. While eating, the guest was bludgeoned in the head with a hammer from behind, throat slit, and then dropped into the cellar. A Mr. Wetzell recalls his visit once at the inn, he declined to sit in the honor seat at which point Ma became very angry and abusive to him. When he saw the two male Benders appear from behind the curtain, he and his traveling companion left the inn. Mr. William Pickering told an almost parallel story to the investigators.

In all, it is estimated that the Benders only collected about $4,600 from the victims they murdered, but they also acquired a few livestock. News of the crime sent shockwaves through the newspapers and media, drawing much attention from curious people. The Benders' wagon was recovered many miles away, but there was no sign of the family. Eventually, twelve men were arrested for the receiving and selling of the stolen items. Senator York put up a reward of $1,000, and the Governor added another $2,000 for the apprehension of the family. The reward was never claimed. Many vigilante groups laid claim to the murder of the Benders, but no evidence was ever presented to confirm that. A railroad worker testified to seeing the two older Benders boarding a train to Humboldt, and the two younger members board a train to Texas or New Mexico.

Nobody ever discovered what happened to the Benders, but it was rumored that Ma murdered Pa over stolen property not long after they fled. It was also rumored that Pa committed suicide in Lake Michigan in 1884. After 145 years, it is likely that we will never know what truly happened to the Bender family. Their home was disassembled piece by piece and kept as souvenirs by the curious. Nothing remains today of the homestead to show the exact location of the crime. However, people claim you would know if you were in the right location, as the land is haunted by the murdered... The victims of the Bloody Benders.

Bloody-Benders

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in BRUTAL REALITY, 0 comments

Abnormal Musings and Freakish Facts #1

By Stephanie Roisland

Human head

 

Fact #1: The human head remains conscious for about 15-20 seconds after it has been decapitated.

 

 

France Hung a Pig

 

 

Fact #2: In 1386, a pig in France was executed by public hanging. It was accused for the murder of a small child.

 

 

Triskaidekaphobia

 

Fact #3: Triskaidekaphobia is the intense fear of the number 13.

 

 

Guillotine

 

 

Fact #4: France still used guillotines for executions in 1977. That same year in The United States, Star Wars: Episode IV was released.

 

 

 

Friday the 13th

Fact #5: Fidel Castro and master of psychological thrillers Alfred Hitchcock share the same birthday, on Friday August 13th. Hitchcock's being 27 years earlier in 1899, and Castro's in 1926.

 

 

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, 0 comments

Terrence Evans aka Uncle Monty Dies at 81

By Stephanie Roisland

Terrence Evans as Uncle Monty

Terrence Evans as Uncle Monty

Terrence Evans aka Uncle Monty from the 2003 version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the 2006 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, has died. He passed on August 7th, 2015 in Burbank at the age of 81. He was also well known for his roles in Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Terminator 2, and Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider.

Terrence Evans (Uncle Monty)

Born on June 20, 1934 in Los Angeles, California as Terrence Horace Evans, Evans stood 6'6" and began acting in 1970. His first role was as a postmaster in the TV movie The Young Country. Evans went on to act in such TV shows as Quincy, M.E., Hart to Hart, Little House on the Prairie, The Incredible Hulk, and The Greatest American Hero. To horror fans, however, Evans is best known for his role in the Texas Chainsaw films.

No known causes have yet been disclosed as to the reason he passed. He is survived by his wife Heidi, two children, two step-children and a grandson.

Terrence Evans was an icon to many and his talents will be missed by many, including the staff here at House of Tortured Souls.

Rest easy, Terrence.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Slaughter (2009)

8 Films To Die For: Slaughter

By Stephanie Roisland

Well, to start, here is a little history of the After Dark film series 8 Films to Die For for you. Hosted by After Dark Films, the Horror Fest was an annual horror film fest featuring eight independent horror films. It started on 11/17/2006 and completed its duration on 2/4/2011. In 2011 it was replaced with a series called After Dark Originals. This came as a true disappointment to fans. As bad and almost comical as some of the releases were, there were a handful of amazing creations that were brought into the daylight. The series is scheduled to return this Fall, in October, with a film called Re-Kill. It is to have a very limited theatrical release nationwide. The host After Dark Films has since established a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, I look forward to seeing the future products of the new-found relationship. Now on to my first review...

Slaughter

After Dark Horrorfest III and Lionsgate released in 2009

Slaughter

This movie is rumored to be loosely based on a 145-year-old true story of the Bender family from Kansas. In all actuality, the Ingalls family lived in their home, in the same area as the Benders for about a year before heading back to Wisconsin. Their Kansas home later became the basis for Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie book series. I guess Laura left out the part about being neighbors with one of the first documented families of serial killers!

Amy Shields plays Faith, a battered woman looking to escape an abusive relationship. Her best friend Cathy (Antonia Bernath) helps her move to another town to start over. While celebrating her newly found independence at a club that night, she rescues a young girl from her abusive date. That's when she meets Lola (Lucy Holt). After exchanging numbers and getting together on Lola's family farm, Faith decides to take Lola up on her offer for a roommate. "You know, every young girl should move to a rural country home where you don't know anyone or their history"!

As the days pass by, the family's slaughter house becomes a point of interest to Faith. She believes there is more to the building than what meets the eye. (This is a typical thought process for a character in a horror movie. Some people don't get it. Stay the fuck away from the Slaughter house!)

Every night the girls go out on the town, Lola's older, wealthy one night stands seem to disappear. (Did I mention Lola's character is a whore in this movie?!) Faith suspects the abusive, creepy Father (David Sterne) is doing away with the men, but that just isn't the case.

What unravels next is a sadistic story of rage, abuse, seduction, and, my personal favorite. slaughter! Faith is really a psychotic murderer who kills the men she fucks. Then the family butchers them and feeds them to the pigs. (We all know... pigs eat anything!)

Faith is up next, but it's Daddy this time trying to keep Lola's dirty little secret. He finds Faith snooping around the slaughter house, so he drugs, knocks out, and binds Faith. He then rolls her into the lake on the farm. Down under the water she gets a glimpse of the story in full. The graveyard of cars at the bottom of the lake, believe it or not, is larger than the number of Saw movies released! All of a sudden, when it looks like the end, it's Lola to Faith's rescue... or so she thinks.

Lola wants to start a new life - no family, no ties, no molars to trace. Lola wants to be Faith; that means Faith, has to be Lola, when they find her body. Lola must take out any and everyone in her path, especially her family... baby brother included. The bitch makes getting away with murder a severe understatement!

In Lola's mind there is nothing happening that a little planning, a shotgun, and a fire can't fix. So the moral of the story here folks is a family that slaughters together... all fucking die.

For me, this movie was a good watch but a little slow, and lacked detail. If you kill, I want to see it, not just the aftermath or a quick screen pan over the scene. It honestly could have used more blood in my opinion, but all in all, not a bad flick.

The characters were well cast, and I really enjoyed David Sterne's role as the father. He was creepy, stern, and quiet. His character was a bit abusive, but that's just because he was trying to protect his children. I would recommend giving it a watch.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars from me.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Manhunt (2003)

GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Manhunt (2003)

Manhunt:
A Game of Survival Through Execution

By John Roisland

Manhunt cover

Created by: Rockstar games

Released: 11/18/2003 for PS2 format and 04/20/2004 for Xbox and PC in the US.

Ever since I was a child, I have always had this same recurring dream. In my case, nightmare would be a better word. It is of me running through the dark city streets being chase by violent thugs. These nightmares lasted into my early 20s and then proceeded to fade away. One day, when I was about thirty two, I popped this game I had gotten into my old Xbox. I saw that my nightmares had virtually come to life in the video game Manhunt.

The basis of the game is that you are a prisoner on death row. At your execution you are heavily drugged instead of being given a lethal dose and are unconscious but not dead. You wake up in a dark room, thinking you were dead, as does the rest of the world. You are given instructions from a voice over a speaker on just exactly how you can regain your freedom. All you have to do is play a game,. All you have to do is survive.

You were purchased by an anonymous wealthy party to be used in a live action snuff survival game. The objective is to survive and make it through just a few abandoned city blocks. As you play, you will encounter different gangs in the city.

One thing I enjoyed about this game is that each gang was different, diverse. Some wore masks, and some were skin heads. There was even one wearing a pig's head as a mask. He reminded me of Leatherface - complete with a chainsaw.

You could play the game in a strategic manner by throwing a rock or a bottle in the distance. This would distract your opponents and you could escape confrontation free. Chances are there wil be at least one member far too smart for this maneuver, and you will have no choice but to fight and fight to the death.

The beatings were always brutal and the deaths were gruesome. Keep in mind the entire game is being videotaped by your purchaser. You will often hear the video "Director" talking or yelling for more action - he has to get his ratings.

The quality of the game is good, but the map of the game in its entirety is huge. There is a bit of grainy quality to the video when you are being taped, giving it a found footage kind of feel. At certain times when you sneak up to kill a person, then the surprise is on you. The video records the killing from the front, in slow motion, giving you a very raw video quality of the execution.

If you were to eat a copy of the film The Running Man, and follow that with a snack of The Purge 2, you would shit out the game Manhunt. The game in its earlier days, had been banned from most countries due to its high levels of violence. Just because it shows you hacking off a guy's head and then saving it in a duffel bag and use it later as a diversionary tactic... What's wrong with that?!

If you are lucky enough to get hold of this game and a format to play it on, do so. It is a blast. There are enough executions available that would make even Fred Vogel proud.

7 out of 10 stars, even with its age!

Posted by John Roisland in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

PRODUCT REVIEW: Trick ‘r Treat Sam Action Figure Collectible

By John Roisland

Trick 'r Treat Sam action figure collectible

Trick 'r Treat Sam Action Figure Collectible

Coming from a true horror fan of the Trick 'r Treat movie, this little guy has been sweeping through the horror community like a plague. Sam has been expertly crafted to perfectly reflect the enigmatic character from the movie.

I so enjoy the great detail taken with Sam's burlap, face and even in his eyes. It just makes me smile. These pieces are becoming more and more rare and expensive. So what can I say? If you can get your hands on one, do so. It would make a great addition to any horror collection.

For the uninitiated, Trick 'r Treat is a clever little horror film written and directed by Michael Dougherty and based on his 1996 animated short film Season's Greetings. Produced by Bryan Singer, Trick 'r Treat was not released until 2009 although it was previously scheduled for release in 2007 and 2008. Trick 'r Treat stars Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker with Quinn Lord as Sam. Trick 'r Treat was so well received that a sequel, Trick 'r Treat 2, is in the works. Trick 'r Treat 2 also will be written and directed by Michael Dougherty, but no other details are available at this time. IMDb lists the film as in production, and fans of the first film are eagerly waiting to see Sam in action again.

Made by Neca Toys. Trick 'r Treat Sam action figure collectible stands 3x2x7 inches and includes interchangeable heads, lollipop, candy bar, candy sack, display base, and two carved pumpkins.

Price is $160.00+ tax and well worth the investment. Trick 'r Treat Sam action figure collectible is worthy of being passed down through the years.

Posted by John Roisland in PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

2015 Convention Dates and Locations

By HoTS

These are the convention dates and locations we have assembled for the rest of 2015. If we missed anything, please feel free to let us know. If you would like us to include you in our 2016 list, feel free to let us know.

8/14 - 8/16 B Movie Celebration @ Nashville, IN

8/15 - 8/17 Motor City Comic Con @Novi, MI

8/20 - 8/23 Wizard World Chicago Comic Con @ Rosemont, IL

8/21 - 8/23 Crypticon @ Kansas City, MO

8/21 - 8/23 Carnival of Parahorror @ Buffalo, NY

8/22 - 8/23 Bruce Campbell's Horror Fest @ Rosemont, IL

8/27 - 8/30 Horrific Film Fest @ San Antonio, Tx

9/3 - 9/6 Fan Expo Canada @ Toronto, ON

9/4 - 9/6 Wizard World San Jose Comic Con @ San Jose, CA

9/4 - 9/7 Dragon Con @ Atlanta, GA

9/11 - 9/13 Scare-A-Con @ Verona, NY

9/11 - 9/13 Motor City Nightmares Halloween Horror Show Novi, MI

9/11 - 9/13 Scarefest Horror and Paranormal Con @ Lexington, KY

9/11 - 9/13 HorrorHound Weekend @ Indianapolis, IN

9/18 - 9/20 Wizard World Ohio Comic Con @ Columbus, OH

9/18 - 9/20 Son of Monsterpalooza @ Anaheim, CA

9/18 - 9/20 Shock-A-Con @ Charleston, WV

9/24 - 9/27 New Orleans Horror Film Fest @ New Orleans, LA

9/24 - 10/1 Fantastic Fest 2015 @ Austin, TX

9/25 - 9/27 Edmonton Comic Expo @ Edmonton, AB

9/26 - 9/27 Monster Con @ San Antonio, TX

10/1 - 10/4 Mile High Horror Film Festival @ Denver, CO

10/2 - 10/4 Monsterama @ Atlanta, GA

10/2 - 10/4 Wizard World Ft. Lauderdale Comic Con @ Ft. Lauderdale, FL

10/2 - 10/4 Monster Mania @ Hunt Valley, MD

10/2 - 10/4 Cinema Wasteland @ Strongsville, OH

10/3 Monster Fest @ Chesapeake, VA

10/8 - 10/11 New York Comic Con @ New York, NY

10/8 - 10/17 Spooky Movie @ Washington, D.C.

10/9 - 10/11 Sacramento Horror Film Fest, Sacramento, CA

10/9 - 10/11 Necronomicon @ Tampa,
FL

10/10 Fantom Fest @ San Antonio, TX

10/13 - 10/22 Screamfest Horror Film Festival @ Los Angeles, CA

10/15 - 10/18 Idaho Horror Film Fest @ Boise, ID

10/15 - 10/23 Toronto After Dark @ Toronto, ON

10/16 - 10/18 Rock and Shock @ Worcester, MA

10/16 - 10/18 Monster Bash @ Mars, PA

10/16 - 10/18 Telluride Horror Show @ Telluride, CO

10/16-10/18 Fear Fest @ Biloxi, MS

10/16 - 10/18 Eerie Horror Film Fest @ Erie, PA

10/16 - 10/18 Scream in the Dark Film Fest @ Omaha, NE

10/16 - 10/18 Bizarre A.C. @ Atlantic City, NJ

10/16 - 10/18 Sinister Creature Con @ Sacramento, CA

10/17 - 10/18 Horror- Rama @ Toronto, ON

10/17 - 10/18 Shock Around the Clock @ Columbus, OH

10/19 - 10/25 R.I. International Horror Film Festival @ Providence, RI

10/22-11/1 Twin Cities Horror Fest @ Minneapolis, MN

10/23 - 10/25 Crypticon @ Minneapolis, MN

10/23-10/25 Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con @ Tulsa, OK

10/23-10/25 Chiller Theatre @ Parsippany, NJ

10/23 - 10/25 Knoxville Horror Film Fest @ Knoxville, TN

10/23 - 10/28 Martinsville Horror Fest @ Martinsville, VA

10/30-10/31 Wizard World Austin Comic Con @ Austin, TX

10/30 - 11/1 Spooky Empire @ Orlando, FL

10/30 - 11/1 Walker Stalker Con @ Atlanta, GA

10/30 - 11/1 Colorado Horror Con @ Northglenn, CO

11/7 - 11/8 Don Con @ Burbank, CA

11/12 - 11/15 New York Horror Film Fest @ New York, NY

11/13 - 11/15 Housecore Horror Festival @ San Antonio, TX

11/13 - 11/15 Living Dead Horror Con @ Portland, OR

11/14 - 11/15 Buried Alive Film Fest @ Atlanta, GA

11/20 - 11/22 Days of The Dead @ Chicago, IL

Posted by John Roisland in EVENTS, 0 comments

PRODUCT REVIEW: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Action Figure Box Set

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Leatherface Action Figure

By John Roisland

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Leatherface action figure

Leatherface at work.

BEHOLD!!! This is the amazing Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Action Figure box set.

Made by Horror Neca Toys, item #42036.

The detail in this piece is absolutely incredible. It depicts a very gruesome scene from the 2006 movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman, who says, "I am absolutely in love with this piece, the scene tells a story, it isn't just a figure."

Includes 2 - 7 inch scale figures (1 Leatherface w/ tools & 1 victim) also includes butcher table base.

1.1 pound total weight

Average cost $145.00 + shipping

This is a beautiful piece that any horror fan with a toy collection would be proud to have on display!

Posted by John Roisland in PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Hell of the Living Dead (1980) & Rats (1984) – Double Feature

Hell of the Living Dead
&
Rats: Night of Terror

By Nick Durham

Hell of the Living Dead cover

Distributed by Blue Underground

Blue Underground has been behind some of my favorite DVD and Blu-ray releases over the past few years. Daughters of Darkness, Dead & Buried, Stagefright, and the Maniac Cop sequels are just a few of the home video releases that the company has poured a lot into in terms of picture restoration and extras, making them well worth adding to your collection. The films themselves tend to range in terms of overall quality, but it can usually be assured that you get your money’s worth in terms of overall content included. Anytime I hear of a film getting the release treatment from Blue Underground, I’m usually excited…even if said film is a pile of horse shit.

Which brings me to this double feature of Bruno Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead and Rats: Night of Terror. Two fairly terrible films from one of the biggest schlock-meisters to come out of Italy in the history of ever. How do they hold up given an HD treatment from the fine folks at Blue Underground? Well, to put it bluntly: you can put lipstick on a corpse and it’s still a festering sack of rotten flesh, but I digress.

Hell of the Living Dead is one of many cheap films to come out of Italy in the wake of the massive international success of George Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead. Right down to blatantly using the SAME EXACT FUCKING MUSIC SCORE from Romero’s beloved zombie opus, to featuring our crack team of gung-ho commandos dressed in the same uniforms as DOTD’s Ken Foree, Hell of the Living Dead is one of the biggest zombie film rip-off’s in cinematic history. I’m not kidding. I’m sure Romero would have sued but I’m also fairly certain the line to sue Mattei was backed up around a street corner somewhere (seriously, look up Mattei sometime, you’ll see what I mean).

Anyway, Hell of the Living Dead features many unintentionally hilarious moments, nonsensical plot threads, overdubbed stock footage, and some of the most cringe-inducing, yet ridiculously entertaining, dialogue I’ve ever heard in my whole life. That, and our female lead decides to get naked and paint herself up in order to “infiltrate” a tribe of natives…don’t ask why, just go with it, you’ll enjoy it all a lot better. That is the strange thing about Hell of the Living Dead; for as awful as it is, you can’t help but enjoy it despite its faults and overall cheap feel. It’s fun in spite of itself, and it features a hysterical climax that just might make you applaud its awfulness.

The second part of our double feature of shit is Rats: Night of Terror. Now this garbage features a crew of post-apocalyptic bikers running afoul of blood-thirsty rats when they decide to bed down in an abandoned village. If you thought Hell of the Living Dead was nonsensical, then Rats will really make you howl with laughter. It does feature some relatively gross effects work and at least a couple memorable characters, so it isn’t a total loss. The most miraculous thing about Rats is that, like Hell of the Living Dead, it manages to be somewhat entertaining despite its absurd amounts of overall badness. That, and the ending is a total fucking hoot.

In terms of special features and all that, each film features various interviews and trailers that had been seen before on previous releases for each film. It’s not surprising there’s nothing new here in terms of supplemental material, and in all honesty we should be glad we get anything at all for either of these films. The films themselves look pretty good in HD, which isn’t a surprise either considering that Blue Underground usually does a great job with picture quality, but there’s something about the sound quality that seems a little off, at least to me personally. I can’t quite put my finger, or rather my ears, on it necessarily. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, if you love older schlock by way of Italy, you really can’t go wrong with Hell of the Living Dead or Rats: Night of Terror. Both films are atrociously enjoyable, and having them together on the same disc is a nice little touch that aficionados of this horse shit (like me) will find plenty of enjoyment with. Just remember one thing kids: when it comes to movies like these, you can always do worse. Much…much…worse.

Overall rating: 3/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

INTERVIEW: Nathan Rumler Discusses His Directorial Debut – Fangboner

By Amy Lynes

Nathan RumlerEarlier this week a new trailer hit the scene for Nathan Rumler’s directorial debut, Fangboner. and I'm telling you, this film looks like a lot of fun! After seeing the trailer, I totally had to take advantage of the fact that I know Nathan personally, and naturally I had to ask him for an interview! Luckily for us here at The House of Tortured Souls, and YOU, our viewers, he willingly agreed.

Nathan has been into the Indie filmmaking scene for quite some time, helping other directors their films or lending a hand where needed, and now it's his turn to garner some spotlight action of his own. We, at House of Tortured Souls, are very pleased to give him a hand with that. So without further adieu, I give you Nathan Rumler...

House of Tortured Souls: I know you used to do a lot of videos for a lot of the local metal bands in Michigan. Is that how you got started in filmmaking or was that something you always knew was in the cards for you?

Nathan Rumler: The music videos were when I started to take things a little more seriously and I launched my YouTube channel that way. Like I think most anyone interested in movies growing up, I made lots of stupid short films with my friends throughout high school. Bought a camera when I was 18, started with the music videos, then ended up making my first serious attempt at a short film shortly after.

I started working behind-the-scenes on "real" movies (you know, beyond YouTube stuff) just by simply talking to local filmmakers at horror cons and then making further connections while on set. So if anyone is trying to start out in Indie horror, that's my biggest piece of advice. Go to conventions and talk to the local companies there. Almost everyone is looking for an extra set of hands. I worked on about a dozen films before trying to take on my first feature and that basically served as my "Film 101".

HoTS: With a title like Fangboner, you know people are wondering. Where the hell did the inspiration for the film come from?

NR: Well, the original title while I was in the writing process was "Crotch-Sucker!" (laughs). The idea for calling it Fangboner came from a road in Ohio that is literally called Fangboner Road. We would always see it on an overpass on our way to our favorite con (Cinema Wasteland) and it became a joke. I thought Fangboner would be a catchier name for it, although it both does and doesn't really have anything to do with the movie itself. But it fits.

 

HoTS: Now that the trailer has been unveiled, how long do we have to wait until it gets released? And speaking of which, will there be any sort of premiere?

NR: We are looking at a late August/early September premiere. DVDs will be first available there, then launched online shortly after. We are still currently looking for a theatre though. It was also submitted to this October's Cinema Wasteland, so fingers crossed that it screens there as well.

 

HoTS: I know that you did an open call for extras for a bar scene the night the film wrapped. How was the turn out for that? I was supposed to be there and I am incredibly bummed that I had to miss out on it!

Fangboner artwork
NR: I think the final count was around 35 people who showed up that night. It was a lot of fun, but also pretty challenging trying to corral a bunch of your drunk friends. Haha. I think the biggest surprise for me that night was my friend Mike Keltner who drove all the way up from Indianapolis to be there. I might be trailing off a little here, but when I drove all the way down to Indianapolis to be an extra in Brian Williams' Time to Kill, he called me on my drive down like "Dude, I can't believe you're driving all this way just to be an extra in my movie. This is so crazy." I really didn't understand it at the time. In my mind I'm like, "Why the hell wouldn't I?" Then Mike showed up on my set and I'm like "DUDE I CANT BELIEVE YOU DROVE ALL THIS WAY TO BE IN MY STUPID BONER MOVIE-oh my god I get it now."

 

HoTS: So what (if any) were some of the challenges you faced on your directorial debut? Were you ever at one point ready to call it quits?

NR: Oh yeah, on more than one occasion I was ready to give up. From the time I started writing until the time the film was completely wrapped took about three years. The longest and most challenging part of the process was trying to cast the thing and actually get it off the ground. Just the time in between finishing the script initially until the time the first scene was shot was about a year and a half in itself. I would think I had found someone to play a part, things would fall apart. I would think I was all set to shoot the first scene, things would fall apart. It can become very frustrating. So that's the second piece of advice I have for anyone trying to start out. Just don't give up. Take a break, pick yourself back up and try again. The filming itself, once I was finally able to find my cast, actually ran very smooth. We shot the bulk of the film from March until June whenever we could get everyone together on the same date. I ran into some stressful situations during post, but I would still say the most difficult part was getting it off the ground initially.

 

HoTS: Did you get hands on with the effects? And how creative did you have to get to stay under budget?

NR: I didn't really have a set budget for the film. I just paid for it out of pocket as we went. Originally thinking it was gonna cost me a couple thousand, I made Fangboner for an estimated $750. I was going to try my hand at effects in the beginning but decided I had no idea what the hell I was doing, so I contacted people who did. My friend Corella is close with Marcus Koch, who is an amazing make-up effects/gore artist, so I asked him to use all of his wonderful talents to make me some fake penises. Long story short, I met up with him at Horrorhound and he handed me a bag of dicks. Everything else in the film was handled by James Bell, who is another very talented effects artist and director (and who is also local). I got the idea to ask James after seeing his film Manuer and being completely blown away by the effects in it. He already had tons of props available for us to use, so that helped us cut costs for sure. He even let us use a set he built in his garage for his film Tantrum in a pinch. One of my actresses in the film came up from Indiana and we only had three days with her, so he very kindly let us use his set, so we didn't have to run around with our heads cut off trying to find or build something ourselves. He was a great help.

 

Fangboner behind the scenes still
HoTS: You had quite a memorable part in Chubbies, are you also in Fangboner? Any plans to continue with the acting?

NR: I am not in Fangboner at all, which is why the overall quality of acting is much higher in it. Haha. I have fun acting but I know I'm horrible at it. I don't think I'll ever be in any of my own films, but my friends always seem to ask me to be in their stuff which is very cool. Funny little side story here, I wasn't even supposed to be in Chubbies. I was down in Indianapolis still covered in blood after just being slaughtered by Ellie Church and her sexy machete, when I got a call from the lead actor/writer of Chubbies, Brian Papandrea (who actually plays about 37 characters in the film). He also happens to play the lead in Fangboner. Anyway, I was planning to drive back to Michigan that night to help out on set of the first night of Chubbies. Brian informed me that the other lead dropped just hours before they were about to shoot, so the person originally playing Wendel got bumped up, but then they had no one else to play Wendel. That's how I got the part in Chubbies. I was just like "Cool, well, I haven't read the script in two months so this should be interesting." I cleaned up, sped back into state, they slapped me in a gorilla suit, handed me a boombox and I started to contemplate what I was doing with my life.

HoTS: Most of the film I have known you to be involved with have been a riot. Any hopes for a more serious film someday or do you prefer to stick with the comedic route?

NR: I love horror but I also love making people laugh. On extremely low budget films like the ones I work on, I feel it's hard to make an actual scary film. It can be done, but I think it's definitely more of a challenge. I do have an idea in mind for a film that's definitely more serious in tone, but it still carries elements of dark humor in it. Maybe one day.

 

Nathan Rumler

HoTS: Any future projects in the works? What’s next?

NR: Right now I'm just focusing on getting Fangboner out there to conventions and what not. Maybe submitting it to a bunch of prestigious film fests just so I can frame the rejection letters. Haha. But yeah, I definitely want to keep writing and directing even though it can almost drive you insane at times. I have a script I wrote when I was about eighteen or nineteen that never got made that I've been thinking about. While Fangboner is like a sex-comedy with horror and gore elements thrown in, this one is straight comedy. And as I said previously, I have another project in mind that's way more horror than anything, but it would maintain some darkly comedic moments. I was actually explaining a death scene I have in mind for that one and my friend made me stop because it was making him sick thinking about it. Haha. But yeah, anyway, I do plan to keep getting other projects going. Thanks for having me, Amy! Hopefully I didn't blab on or get off topic too much.

 

HoTS: Not at all Nathan! House of Tortured Souls is happy to have had this opportunity to help spread the Fangboner word! Thank you and be sure to keep us informed of theatrical and DVD releases and keep us in the loop with any future projects you may have!

 

And there you have it Demons! I, for one, can't wait for this movie to be released it looks like a lot of laughs! Hell, I may even go to the premiere and you can guarantee a review will follow soon after!

To stay on top of what's happening with Fangboner, check out the Facebook page.

Posted by Alan Smithee in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MUSIC REVIEW: The Body and Blood of Ghost

MUSIC REVIEW: The Body and Blood of Ghost

By Amy Mead

When Swedish metal band Ghost first hit the scene, I was a bit behind the times and it took me a while to jump on the Ghost train. But when I finally did, I was legitimately blown away, making me wonder what the hell had taken me so damn long. And why had no one told me how fucking awesome they are?!

Almost immediately, I was hooked. Within a few days of my introduction to their music, I had the EP If You Have Ghost and both albums, Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam, in my ready and eager hands. I have never regretted the purchases, and I am anxiously and impatiently awaiting their latest offering Meliora, which is being released on August 21st.

ghost-bc-dave-grohlThere are very few bands that evoke such a wide range of emotions in me when I listen to them. Ghost is one of those bands. There are two songs in particular on the album Infestissumam, "Monstrance Clock" and "Year Zero", that literally give me goosebumps and the melodies often ring in my head for days after each listen. I listened to these CDs so much that even my family got in on the action, and we are now ALL Ghost fans. Even my ten year old!

Ghost_-_infestissumam_cover

Ghost has a variety of different sounds, which is one of the things I love about their music. Even with the heavy Satanic overtones and mockery of the Roman Catholic Church and The Holy Trinity being a constant theme in their music, every song is different from the last. The albums all sound quite different from each other. Their EP If You have Ghost has an amazing cover of Abba's "I'm a Marrionette" that I just love. Yes, I said it. There is no point where it gets repetitive or boring and I can listen to each one without skipping a single track. Often. There aren't many albums I can do that with. Listening to the them from start to finish has never been a problem for me at all. The same cannot be said even for some of my favorite bands.

Opus EponymousThough their music may not be considered very technically challenging by some, there is something about their sound that just does it for me. Sometimes melancholic yet somehow upbeat, the tempos and the pace are always changing. Each of their albums evokes a different response from me at different times. Each listen is a new experience for me and for me, personally, that is the true test of music. If it makes me feel something, I am all about it.

I'm not sure that I could choose a favorite from their body of work because there is plenty to love from each offering. However, I am strangely fond of the EP, which consists of mostly cover songs. I mean, who knew Abba could sound like that? That being said, Infestissumam is the one found in the CD player most often, but they are all equally badass and even the artwork for each album is fantastic! You can tell that Ghost consists of horror fans, which makes me like them even more.

Meloria

I listen to Ghost, any of it, and I begin to feel cleansed, purified, relaxed and often renewed in the process, which is kind of a nice change of pace for a metal girl such as myself. As someone who often uses squealing guitars, blast beats, and death metal vocals to calm down, it is somewhat refreshing to say the least. Sometimes a girl just needs to relax in a calm sort of manner and not be screamed at while she does it, ya know? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes a change up can be a good thing.

If you've not given Ghost a chance yet, I urge you to do so immediately. I can't promise you that you'll like them as much as I do, but I would feel somehow remiss if I didn't share the listening pleasure that is Ghost with all of you. I have found their entire body of work thus far incredible and I wish someone had turned me onto them sooner.

Overall I give Ghost a 9/10.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

FEATURED ARTIST: Sid Graves Cemetery Prints

Sid Graves: Cemetery Prints

By Stephanie Roisland

Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 001

My husband John and I met the Graves (Sid Graves and his wife Becky) in 2009 at the Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, FL. We all became instant friends, enjoying each others company a few times a year at Florida conventions.

I cant say enough about Sid and his work. He is an amazing talent and has an eye to see things emerge in his mind, and then manipulate them into his breathtaking art. We personally own some of Sid's pieces; they are the focal point of our living space: radiating dark and saddening images, with just enough beauty to make them unforgettable.

Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 002Sid Graves is a 44-year-old self taught photographer. With no formal training, he has never let that slow his ambitions. His mother, who regrettably passed last year, was a free lance photographer and, when Sid was a child, his mentor.

Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 003When asked how long he had been doing photography he stated, "44 Years".

He is inspired by the unique and forgotten, and he is known for saying, "To find beauty within the morbid". That is his true calling. His favorite location to photograph is an old cemetery called Bonaventure, located in Savannah, GA.

Other than his photography, Sid also creates one of kind, custom, hand crafted frames in all shapes and sizes. Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 004All Sid's photography prints and frames are available for sale on his website.

You can also find him on Facebook at Cemetery Prints Inc. or email him directly at cemeteryprints@hotmail.com.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTISTS, 3 comments

Another… Nightmare Reboot

nightmare-on-elm-street1

The first A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984, and in 2010 Samuel Bayer made the first reboot of the movie. Here it is 5 years later and yet another A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot is in on its way.

The script is, as we speak, in the hands of David Leslie Johnson, known for his 2009 movie Orphan. As it stands there is no info regarding the details of the movie (i.e. cast, plot, or release date). We are all eager to hear more in the matter, and we at House of Tortured Souls will keep you updated on the details as they become available.

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

VIDEO: A Message From Beefcake the Mighty!

A Message From Beefcake the Mighty
For All of You Tortured Souls out There!!

Fair use doctrine.
Beefcake the Mighty at Riot Fest 2014
House of Tortured Souls CEO John Roisland was lucky enough to meet Beefcake the Mighty when he attended the Scares That Care Weekend 2015, and he was nice enough to let John record a greeting for all those who visit our newly launched website! Please enjoy and don't forget to tell all your friends about House of Tortured Souls!

Posted by Alan Smithee in VIDEOS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Human Race (2013)

By Tracy Crockett

The Human Race
I ran across The Human Race one night on Netflix and from what I read over, it seemed fairly interesting so I dove in. The plot to The Human Race plays out as a large group of people are ripped out of their daily lives and all reappear in an undisclosed location. There are all sorts of people. The wealthy, the poor, black, white, all walks of life are present herein.

The rules to the race boom in their heads, in their own voice and language, laying out what will become a horrific race of terror. "If you are lapped twice, you die. If you step off the path, you die. If you touch the grass, you will die. It’s that simple, play along… or die."

That being said, you truly begin to feel for the players and forge ahead. The performances herein are solid enough and some of the relationships fit nicely together, especially between two veterans and a deaf couple. There are also a couple of nice scenes, notably with a pregnant woman and a cyclist and also with an old mariner and a veteran. At a certain point, several people somewhat form alliances and try to live as normal an existence as they can for what little time is left. Yet when one of the players loses his shit and begins to go backwards and crosses over the paths of those resting, thus killing them. The shit hits the fan and the film goes off from there.

The one thing I do have somewhat of a bitch about would be the ending, the reveal. I think it loses a lot of its flair and just kind of makes one wrinkle their brow and move on to the next offering of the evening. Does this have the luster and staying power to be memorable? Yes and no. Playing out much like Battle Royale we are shown how the human race reacts once backed against the wall. There are no more morals and each and every one of us would do whatever it takes to survive and be the victor.

I’m sort of on the fence about the way The Human Race ends but I will say I’d like to see a sequel with this ending as the plot, just to see what happens.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

DOC REVIEW: Doc of the Dead (2014)

Doc of the Dead

The Definitive Zombie Culture Documentary

By Machete Von Kill

Doc of the Dead Poster

Writers: Chad Herschberger and Alexandre O. Philippe

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe

Cast: Bruce Campbell, George A. Romero, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman, Simon Pegg, Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, Sid Haig, Howard Sherman, Matt Mogk and more.

Genre: Documentary Runtime: 1 hr 20 min

Rating: NR Release Date: 2014

Zombies are everywhere these days. Television, movies, books, video games, toys and even pornography. You name it and there is a zombie take on it. No matter which way you turn, zombies ARE everywhere. You can't escape. But do you really want to?

Doc of the Dead presents the history of the zombie in film. From it's earliest inception in 1932's White Zombie and the Haitian Voodoo lore, to 1968's Night of the Living Dead and George A. Romero's rewriting of zombie lore, to the modern zombie in films like Shaun of the Dead, World War Z and the highly successful television series The Walking Dead, Philippe covers them all.

Philippe uses film clips, zombie themed music (seriously, the soundtrack alone makes my zombie lovin' soul happy), hilariously cheesy segment introduction scenes and an impressive interview list to give us the history of the flesh eating undead. He also sets out to explain why they have become such a huge part of popular culture and answer some of the biggest questions about the zombie apocalypse: What is a zombie? What causes people to turn into zombies? Slow zombies versus fast zombies, can one survive the zombie apocalypse, and would you even want to survive?

Doc of the Dead is a MUST for anyone who loves the zombie genre. By no means is this the be all, end all Zombie Documentary, but rather a smart, funny, entertaining primer on all things Zombie.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty rad!

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments