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HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

10/10 – 1996: SCREAM/FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

1996…It was a draw for me; too tough to narrow down the list of all the great flicks I had to choose from. I finally managed to whittle it down to two: SCREAM, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. Both are as important and influential to the genre during this time, yet both are certainly unique: one redefined what fans had thought of the teen slasher genre, while the other took vampire lore to a whole new place unconsidered up to that point.

Legendary director WES CRAVEN had always been an innovator of modern horror, re-establishing himself in several sub-genres over the course of many decades. With LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, he’d done things that most directors in the field never achieve over the course of their entire careers. So when he was looking for the next big thing, he wasn’t even considering sticking with horror, when he crossed paths with a brilliantly subversive script by DAWSON’S CREEK scribe KEVIN WILLIAMSON; a nicely-nasty little number called “SCARY MOVIE”, which was soon to beretitled…SCREAM.

Snarky, self-reverential, almost to the point of being a bit too “nudge-winky” at times, nevertheless, SCREAM never once forgot to bring the laughs, the scares AND the gore in ample supply.  A slasher of teens begins to decimate the youth population of the little bedroom community of Woodsboro, but if that wasn’t bad enough, said killer seems to be every bit as smart as the “Scooby Gang wanna-be” group of horror-loving kids, who soon realize that their stalker not only knows the ‘rules of horror’ as well as – if not  better than they do, and he’s not only using the playbook to take them out one-by-one, but he (or she?) is even bending and changing the rules! Much like Williamson’s TV creation, the cast couldn’t have been more suited as an ensemble, even though the standout was DREW BARRYMORE, if only for the mere fact that she pulls a “Janet-Leigh-in-PSYCHO” on the audience in the first few moments of the film – a shock that has since become legendary, even though people still remember where the idea came from!

NEVE CAMPBELL, SKEET ULRICH, ROSE MCGOWAN, JAMIE KENNEDY, MATTHEW LILLARD, W. EARL BROWN, LIEV SCHREIBER, COURTNEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE (who married and divorced over the course of the franchise); JOSEPH WHIPP (who could’ve been playing the same character from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – and probably was!), plus unexpected cameos from LINDA BLAIR and HENRY WINKLER going way out-of-typecasting as an asshole of a principal…It didn’t get any better than this! Plus Craven’s direction, with tongue firmly-in-cheek the entire time, could have you rolling your eyes and chuckling one minute, and yes, SCREAMING the next! This film helped usher in a new age, where the movie and the characters were as smart – if not smarter than the audience that eagerly made SCREAM a box office smash!

Meanwhile, thanks to buddy and sometime collaborator QUENTIN TARANTINO, cinematic ‘one-man-band’ ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was having fun playing “Dr. Frankenstein”, by smashing two unexpected sub-genres together, if not three: serial killers, true crime…and vampires.  FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is the kind of film you never expect…until it bops you upside the head from seemingly out of nowhere!

The notorious Gecko brothers, handsome and sarcastic Seth (GEORGE CLOONEY) and ‘quiet, reserved’ Richard (no less than TARANTINO himself) are cutting a swath of robbery, assault and murder across the Southwest.  The “murder” part of their spree is owed mostly to Richard, who just can’t curb his impulses to kill and rape people. Well, to be a bit more specific, he kills and rapes womennot the men, let’s be clear on that (as Richard would probably say himself.)

Their antics – but especially Richard’s body count – has made it necessary to hotfoot it South of the Border, and maybe lay low somewhere in Mexico, until things die down…If they do. Along the way, as they change vehicles, they hijack an RV and the vacationing family inside it and skip town.

The intent was to just keep on going until they reached their objective, but all that changes when they make a fateful detour to a truck stop on the way.  But not just ANY truck stop: The “TITTY TWISTER.” A blood-and-guts dive that definitely lives up to its name…in more ways than one. And its hours of operation are…well, you know the title.

The bar has some of the most gorgeous dancing girls you ever saw, but they’re all woofers compared to the luscious, insanely beautiful main attraction, a hypnotic dancer who goes by the name of ‘SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM’.  No one into women could possibly resist her, and all men should, as Seth and Richard quickly discover, along with the rest of the hapless ‘Twister’ patrons, when the girls, the bouncers, the bartenders, everyone who ‘works’ there, finally reveal their true faces.  They’re all flesh-and-blood hungry vamps, and less the TWILIGHT variety than the FRIGHT NIGHT kind.

Rodriguez knew exactly what the fans wanted from Quentin’s script, and together, they sure gave it to us…stylish, sensual, sexy and soaked in red. And the Tarantino/Rodriguez combo attracted a cast that was instant boxoffice catnip, right down to the cameos: HARVEY KEITEL, JULIETTE LEWIS, FRED WILLIAMSON, TOM SAVINI; the stunning SALMA HAYEK as “SANTANICO”; everybody’s favorite badass, DANNY TREJO, plus CHEECH MARIN, MICHAEL PARKS, JOHN SAXON, KELLY PRESTON, MARC LAWRENCE; even a special appearance by Robert’s favorite “Hell House band”, TITO AND TARANTULA…Hell, you just knew that if he wasn’t already starring in it, Quentin would have probably directed this one, too!

The “Titty Twister” sequences – especially the gore-soaked fight scenes – are now a thing of legend, (check out Savini’s “special weapon” and the reason why his character’s nickname is “Sex Machine”!) and the closing shot is as breathtaking as any iconic final scene from the best and most unforgettable horror films, (I’d compare it for impact to the last shot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; in fact, DAWN’S final shot is probably a tad better.)

But for thrills, chills and maximum blood spills, whether you’ve seen these movies a hundred times or not even once…you can’t go wrong with these choices for a monumentally successful Halloween Night of Frights!


Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: Days of the Dead – Charlotte, NC – 2018

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Grade: A

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
History of Horror in January

History of Horror in January


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

January 1 - 7


1/1/1940 – Frank Langella (actor in Dracula (1979) and The Ninth Gate) born

19400101_Frank_Langella_Deauville_2012 / Image: Georges Biard



Cuba Gooding Jr. / Image: WireImage.com


1/2/1968 – Cuba Gooding Jr (actor in American Horror Story) born



1/2/2004 – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins released on DVD

20040102_tremors-4-the-legend-begins / Fair use doctrine.



19590105_Clancy Brown / Image: Frazer Harrison - © 2011 Getty Images

1/5/1959 – Clancy Brown (actor in many horror films) born



1/6/2006 – Hostel released theatrically

20060106_Hostel / Fair use doctrine.



20060106_BloodRayne / Fair use doctrine.

1/6/2006 – BloodRayne released theatrically



1/7/2005 – White Noise released theatrically

20050107_White Noise / Fair use doctrine.

January 8 - 14


19470108_David Bowie / Fair use doctrine.

1/8/1947 – David Bowie (actor in Labyrinth, The Hunger, and other horror movies) born



1/8/1988 – Return of the Living Dead Part II released on VHS

19880108_Return of the Living Dead Part II / Fair use doctrine.



20050111_Resident Evil 4 / Fair use doctrine.

1/11/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in North America



1/12/1940 – The Invisible Man Returns released theatrically

19400112_The Invisible Man Returns / Fair use doctrine.



19650112_Rob_Zombie_Comiccon / Image: Lindsey8417

1/12/1965 – Rob Zombie (musician, singer, artist, director of House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and Halloween (2007)) born



1/12/1990 – Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III released theatrically

19900112_leatherface_texas_chainsaw_massacre_3 / Fair use doctrine.



19390113_Son of Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.

1/13/1939 – Son of Frankenstein released theatrically



1/13/1974 – The Satanic Rites of Dracula released theatrically

19740113_ Satanic Rites of Dracula / Fair use doctrine.



19950113_demon-knight-title / Fair use doctrine.

1/13/1995 – Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight released theatrically



1/14/1981 – Scanners released theatrically

19810114_Scanners / Fair use doctrine.

January 15 - 21


19150115_Der Golem / Fair use doctrine.

1/15/1915 – Der Golem released theatrically



1/16/1948 – John Carpenter (director, screenwriter, producer, and composer of scores for many horror films) born

19480116_John Carpenter 2010-Nathan Hartley Maas / Image: Nathan Hartley Maas



19650116_the-outer-limits / Fair use doctrine.

1/16/1965 – The Outer Limits ends its run on television



1/17/1962 – Denis O’Hare (actor in American Horror Story) born

19620117_Denis O'Hare / Image: Alexander Berg - © 2006



20020118_Long-Time-Dead-Poster / Fair use doctrine.

1/18/2002 – Long Time Dead released theatrically in the United Kingdom



1/19/1809 – Edgar Allan Poe born (d. 1849)

18090119_Edgar_Allan_Poe;_a_centenary_tribute / Fair use doctrine.



19900119_tremors / Fair use doctrine.

1/19/1990 – Tremors released theatrically



1/19/1996 – From Dusk Till Dawn released theatrically

19960119_From Dusk Till Dawn / Fair use doctrine.



20020119_Dark Water (Japan) / Fair use doctrine.

1/19/2002 – Dark Water (2002) released theatrically in Japan



1/20/1970 – Skeet Ulrich (actor in Scream) born

19700120_Skeet_Ulrich_2010 / Image: Thomas Attila Lewis



19870120_Evan Peters / Image: Allen Berezovsky - © 2012 Getty Images

1/20/1987 – Evan Peters (actor in American Horror Story) born



1/20/2006 – Underworld: Evolution released theatrically

20060120_Underworld-Evolution-2006 / Fair use doctrine.



19560121_Geena Davis / Image: Steven D Starr - © gettyimages.com

1/21/1956 – Geena Davis (actor in Beetlejuice, The Fly) born



1/21/1998 – Resident Evil 2 released on the PlayStation in the United States

19980121_Resident_Evil_2 / Fair use doctrine.

January 22 - 28


19320122_Piper Laurie / Image: Theo Wargo - © WireImage.com

1/22/1932 – Piper Laurie (actor in Carrie) born



1/22/1959 – Linda Blair (actor in The Exorcist) born

19590122_Linda Blair. / Image: Rebecca Sapp - © WireImage.com



20000122_ring-0-birthday / Fair use doctrine.

1/22/2000 – Ring 0: Birthday released theatrically in Japan



1/23/1981 – Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror released theatrically

19810123_Burial Ground / Fair use doctrine.



20040123_the-butterfly-effect-original / Fair use doctrine.

1/23/2004 – The Butterfly Effect released theatrically



1/25/1926 – Ted White (Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) born

19260125_Ted White / Fair use doctrine.



19430125_Tobe Hooper_Cannes_2014 / Image: Dark Attsios

1/25/1943 – Tobe Hooper (director of numerous horror films) born



1/25/2000 – The Dead Hate the Living! released on DVD

20000125_Deadhatetheliving / Fair use doctrine.



20050125_All Souls Day / Fair use doctrine.

1/25/2005 – All Souls Day released on DVD



1/26/1999 – Castlevania 64 released on the Nintendo 64 in the United States

19990126_Castlevania_N64 / Fair use doctrine.



19400127_James Cromwell / Image: Ryan Rogers http://ryan-rogers.com/ - © Copyright 2011, Ryan Rogers Photography

1/27/1940 – James Cromwell (actor in many horror productions) born



1/27/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan

20050127_Resident Evil 4 (Japan) / Fair use doctrine.



20050128_Creep-2004 / Fair use doctrine.

1/28/2005 – Creep released theatrically



1/28/2005 – Hide and Seek released theatrically

20050128_Hide and Seek / Fair use doctrine.

January 29 - 31


19980129__Resident_Evil_2 / Fair use doctrine.

1/29/1998 – Resident Evil 2 released on the PlayStation in Japan



1/30/1976 – Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma released theatrically

19760130_Salo / Fair use doctrine.



19980131_ringu / Fair use doctrine.

1/31/1998 – Ringu released theatrically in Japan



1/31/1999 – Silent Hill released on the PlayStation in North America

19990131_Selent Hill PS1[ntsc][front] / Fair use doctrine.



20030131_final-destination / Fair use doctrine.

1/31/2003 – Final Destination released theatrically

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Exorcist (1973)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Exorcist (1973)

By Machete Von Kill

Exorcist Poster

Director: William Friedkin; Writer: William Peter Blatty; Stars: Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn; Rating: R; Run Time: 122 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 1973

When a teenage girl (Linda Blair) is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks the help of two priests (Max von Sydow and Jason Miller) to save her daughter. (Summary from IMDb.)

Saturday nights in 8th grade consisted of MTV's Headbanger's Ball, followed by whatever movie I happened to find on television. There were always a variety of B movies, Kung Fu or cheesy comedies on at that hour. Sometimes, I'd get lucky and find a great horror flick. In October, MTV, USA, and TBS all showed horror movies later at night. It was heaven! There was no internet or Netflix, and the only video rental place in town was in the local grocery store. Pickins were slim!

It was on one of those October Saturday nights when I happened upon The Exorcist for the very first time. I'm pretty sure it was on TBS, which of course meant editing for content. They were able to get away with a bit more at 3 am than they could during regular viewing hours, but a lot of the more graphic scenes were cut. Even so, it was enough to scare me and leave a permanent mark on my psyche.

I was raised Roman Catholic, and even though I left the Church and Christianity at the age of 13, some of the imagery and dogma still hangs around in the back of my head. The idea of demonic possession is terrifying! Being under the control of some other being that you can't see and can't defend yourself against...yeah screw that!

The wonderful makeup artistry of legends of the industry Dick Smith and Rick Baker, combined with years of catechism classes, and a well written story by William Peter Blatty created nightmare material for days! Eileen Dietz as the demonic face still creeps me out to this day. And poor Regan (Linda Blair) when she is fully possessed by Pazuzu...thank you Mr. Smith and Mr. Baker for makeup no one will ever forget! You provided nightmarish images for generations to come.

Even though the movie gave me nightmares that night (thanks Ms. Dietz!), I wasn't satisfied with just seeing the edited for content version of the film. A few days later, I mentioned seeing the movie to my mother. Thinking I'd probably get flack for staying up that late and for watching the Exorcist, I was beyond shocked when she responded with, "You need to see the WHOLE movie!" She actually took me to the video rental counter at Glen's Market and surprisingly enough, they had ONE VHS copy of The Exorcist. We took it home and watched it that day. MIND BLOWN! I had missed so much disturbing stuff watching it on basic cable. I experienced that mind blown sensation again several years later when the Director's Cut was released on DVD.

I went on to later read the novel by Blatty, that the movie is based on. And much later, the actual case that inspired the novel. I actually used it, and some creepy props, as a part of a visual display of the staff's favorite books when I worked at the local public library. And every October, without fail, I watch the Director's Cut. It just isn't Halloween without Regan, Captain Howdy and Pazuzu!

Final Verdict: 10 out of 10 "Powers of Christ compel you!"

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