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Spooky Empire Convention Orlando, Florida- House Of Tortured Souls

Spooky Empire Convention Orlando, Florida- House Of Tortured Souls

Over Halloween weekend I had the priveledge to travel to my first Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, FL and after my experience, it will be my last. Normally I do my best to let small quirks of a convention be swept under the rug since all conventions can’t be perfect, but this time I feel like it could of been handled better. 

Lets start with day 1. To park, it was over a man built ramp and parking directly at a lake, I wish I was exaggerating. To get into the building, I personally ordered my tickets back in July, and to have to wait in a will call line for 2 hours (some convention goers waited longer than that) to get my wristband only to walk back out of the doors to wait in another line to get in, was pure ridiculous in my opinion. The convention had a start time of 12 for VIP attendees and 1pm for general admission. In the main room it had every vendor and every guest, to which you can cover the vendors in an hour and unfortunately could not meet any of the guests until 5pm (which on a Friday is exceptional since most start at 5pm).

While walking in the building, there was already a line full of attendees waiting on the exclusive Elvira funko pop which was a disaster in itself (as told in Crypt Keeper Clint’s article). The funko line ran into Cassandra Peterson’s (Elvira’s) photo op line which resulted in an over crowded hallway making it unsafe and unbearable to get through. My first night I spent almost 4 hours waiting on a photo op which usually runs smooth and takes about 5-10 mins per person. The staff members were no where to be seen and the ones we could find did not seem to know much on what was happening. Communication was not on point all weekend long. 

Now comes Day 2. Parking was still the same situation, parking long distances and being carted by a golf cart only to have to wait in a very long line to get into the building. The only thing that they did correctly, was allow the ones who had a photo op and signing at 11 (which is when it opened for general admission) for The X Files cast go to the front of the line. Having autograph tickets and photo ops for Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny sell prior to the show was very smart on their behalf, however it was still very crowded in the halls and in the main room with waits still last for hours, which means they over sold it. The Q&A panels were more organized by having those wanting to attend wait in a taped line and then had us go as soon as each panel cleared out. 

Day 3, the final day, I wish to say that it was finally organized with it coming to an end but it was not. The only thing that finally had order to it was the Elvira funko pop line. They kept it hush hush and limited to how many each person were to have (2 a person) and there were a few volunteers in place to keep the line from getting out of hand, a system which actually went smoothly. Upon leaving early, there was nothing else that could be covered on Sunday.

The highlight of the con for me personally would consist of  The Sleepaway Camp girls photo op and seeing The Soska Twins and their never-ending hugs and passionate outpour of their gratitude to their fans. Usually at conventions I never have a chance to attend many panels, so attending Kathy Najimy’s (Hocus Pocus, Sister Act) and The Sleepaway Camp girls panel really was a highlight for me. It was also amazing to see how the chemistry between the Sleepaway Camp girls were for not seeing each other in 35 years. Katherine Kamhi(Meg) made her first con appearance and hopefully this will not be her last. The guests were great and were very grateful to each of their fans who were local and not local.

I have heard from various Spooky attendees that this is not how every con has been in the years, while that maybe true, this will be a last for me. 

Overall Grade: D-

 


Posted by Sarah Gregory in Categories, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MIDI’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2018

MIDI’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2018

Each year I Countdown to Halloween and explore 31 Horror films that examine a variety of sub genres. I combine films both new and old. I explore the mainstream and indie. And I select from purely the good, bad and ugly (yes there are some truly awful films available to fans for laughs).

This year  I will be explaining each film for the House of Tortured Souls as I countdown to Halloween. Be warned that some of the small pieces on each film, are based on a sub genre and may in fact provide a spoiler or two.
OCTOBER 1
First sub genre I had set myself is to find a film with a Child Vampire. I chose  30 Days of Night  which has a scene involving a young girl vampire, in a pack that has over run the town of Barrow, Alaska.  Obvious other choices were Interview With A Vampire and Near Dark.
OCTOBER 2
On day two I was exploring films with people who could be considered Freaks so this time I selected The Abominable Dr Phibes
starring Vincent Price, as a mutant mourning his beloved.
Although Freaks by Tod Browning is my fave film in this vein, Phibes was the first horror film I saw when I was 3. It will forever be imbedded in my memory.
OCTOBER 3
Taking it to another level on day three, I wanted to find a film involving the strangest or most unique Horror Parents . This led me to select  It’s Alive (movie)for obvious reasons . Let’s face it , that kid had a face only a mother could love! A mutated baby literally is born and goes on the run leaving a wake of murderous terror. Not only is this film awesome fun, it also spawned 2 sequels and a remake!!
OCTOBER 4
I investigated the infamous adoration for films with that ultimate Twist Ending, selecting the Summer Camp Classic Sleepaway Camp
This of course was one of many options but discovering what is “wrong with Angela” is always great. Other possibilities are films like The Perfect Getaway (in which the twist is revealed midway through the film, yet doesn’t ruin the pace). Also included could be The Sixth Sense, And Switchblade Romance (aka Haute Tension).
OCTOBER 5

For my selective viewing for an impressive Indie horror film was Phil Stevens Flowers.The film is silent. It has such

Hereditary

strong visual imagery and features the demise of a group of beautiful women (the flowers themselves). Stevens is currently in production on Flowers 2.

OCTOBER 6
Was the sub genre of crime as told through the True Story narrative, I chose the film Dear Mr. Gacy. This film is inspired by the Jason Moss’ book The Last Victim. Moss discusses a relationship he created with the serial killer as he studied him in college. It is also sad to know that Moss was so affected, by the stranglehold Gacy ended up having on his life.  His psyche was fractured and in 2006 Moss committed suicide. I highly recommend the book as well as this film. It proves the power of those with such depraved impulses as Gacy.
OCTOBER 7
I was was trying to avoid the usually popular picks for the sub genre of Sea Creatures. I wanted to avoid The Deep, Jaws and Orca. Instead I landed on the highly memorable and classic Universal icon the Creature from the Black Lagoon
OCTOBER 8
A simple sub genre in which of course A LOT of possibilities popped up, to view limbs replaced with weapons. For me this is a film I enjoy, in its true GrindHouse style. It has a strong female lead, that pulled me in. With the teaming of Tarantino and Rodriguez , I had to go with the machine gun leg of Rose McGowan in Planet Terror
OCTOBER 9

The selection as a huge foreign film fan was tricky, and I had to find one Asian Horror film. In the past I have enjoyed the likes of Ringu, JuOn, Phone, The Red Shoes, One Missed Call and Shutter. However I felt a revisit to the

Train To Busan

surprise runaway Zombie hit  Train To Busan was a good idea- and having only seen it once upon release, I wanted to see if it still was as enjoyable (which it is).

OCTOBER 10
This day was Lloyd Kaufman’s empire known affectionately as Troma films, I had to try and find one that I loved to watch as my choice from their stock. This was easy as I love the campy cheesy quality of a good Troma film , from Poultrygeist to Tromeo and Juliet. I decided on One of Troma’s most lucrative franchises with the lovable film  The Toxic Avenger
OCTOBER 11
I realised some franchises have MORE than their fair share. From Nightmare on Elm St (9 films), Friday the 13th (12 films) , or even Halloween ( 11 films) many sequels were imaginable, but for me my taste was drawn to the Children of the Corn Franchise (which has 10 films with the release of Runaway in recent months). Out of those sequels (and a remake) I chose Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return, because it is the first film after the original to reintroduce Isaac – one of the horror film worlds most messed up child preachers in history.
OCTOBER 12
For European horror my mind raced straight to  Mörderische Ferien (aka Flashback:A Murderous Vacation), a quirky German teen horror film, that featured campy gags, a psycho on the loose, bumbling cops and some fun kills. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a diamond in the rough and I liken it’s cheekiness to the original Scream film by Wes Craven.
OCTOBER 13
I was tasked with finding a horror movie starring Robert England, but It had to be anything but his role as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. With options like 2001 Maniacs and Urban Legends available I recalled The Mangler and viewed that. A film based on a short story from Stephen Kings  collection, that has since inspired two sequels.
OCTOBER 14
Horror Creatures dominated the day, so I thought long and hard about all sorts and settled on  Zombeavers. A simple comical romp with manic beavers at a lake side cabin, and a group of foolish college kids.
OCTOBER 15

Pinnochios Revenge

I decided on a film for my ghostly theme, with a classic spooky story featuring George.C.Scott called The Changeling .

This was my favourite pick for the ghastly ghost genre and although I enjoy films like the original version of The Haunting, Rose Red an others with various paranormal entities, The Changeling is an atmospheric joy to rewatch.
OCTOBER 16
An obvious choice for day 16’s infamous horror hotel themed entry , was to go with the mother loving Norman Bates insanity of Alfred Hitchcock’s PsychoPsycho epitomizes the horror hotel themes, with the “mother” of all memorable moments, but I will give shout outs to other possibilities such as Horror Hotel, Motel Hell, And Room 1408 ( which has actually been picked for another sub genre day in this challenge).
OCTOBER 17
Re examining the Psychotic Hitchhiker sub genre for day 17, I decided against the classic Hitchhiker films or even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and went with a modern Ozploitation thriller called Gone (aka Middle of Nowhere). The film starred Scott Mechlowicz , Amelia Warner and Shaun Evans and followed an American and two British tourists backpacking in Australia with deadly consequences.
OCTOBER 18
The 18th choice calls for me to watch  a 2017 Film and I thought this was a perfect chance for me to re explore one that had a dismal run cinematically upon its release. I found it to be an entertaining and seemingly good film, but The Dark Tower  was a far cry from the nature of the original source material developed over many books by Stephen King.
OCTOBER 19
My 19th watch is a film released in 2018, so I thought I would take this opportunity to return to Hereditary. Originally when I saw this film it was such a slow build intro I lost interest and was unable to finish it so I hope as I do so I will complete it today.
OCTOBER 20
I will turn to Horror with a number in the title. With many options open to me I looked at 2001 Maniacs, Germany’s 666: In Bed With The Devil And found Stephen Kings Room 1408. An interesting and twisted story of a hotel room from Hell, this is a great little film with a strong cast.
OCTOBER 21
I needed  a film with a strong female killer. I will be avoiding  Switchblade Romance, Mothers Day, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Fatal Attraction. Instead I feel that Guillermo Del Toros psychotic sister in his film Crimson Peak was a great choice – and I am a huge fan of this film and it’s themes throughout.
OCTOBER 22
The 22nd for me is the most fun sub genre and one of the lesser appreciated, Disney Horror! Yes these films actually were made , exist and are awesome fun to horror fans. You can go for the slightly thrilling or the fun and goofy kids fodder. I went with the latter . My favourite Disney Horror is actually Something Wicked This Way Comes, that starred  freakishly awesome Johnathan Pryce in the role as Mr Dark. However I wanted a calmer, shorter film for my viewing and went with Richard Masur (best known as Adult Stanley Uris in the 1990 IT miniseries) in the film Mr Boogedy. It also has a sequel ,as they were hugely popular films during my childhood.
OCTOBER 23
Joyfully I found my 23rd film choice at this years Sydney Film Festival, when I attended a screening for the Supernatural New Zealand film The Changeover. With a young fresh cast and some more familiar faces (Timothy Spall and Melanie Lynskey), it is a strange and yet engaging story of a girl coming into her powers and using them to save her family from an evil force.
OCTOBER 24
I attended the premiere screening of my 24th film in Sydney at MonsterFests Travelling Sideshow. And it was such a powerfully musical film I had to use it for Best Soundtrack. The Strangers 2: Prey At Night didn’t have to try too hard to impress, with the delightful antics of our insane trio on screen being played out to 80s hits with gusto!
OCTOBER 25
On the 25th I will avoid the predictability of Dolls, Chucky, Annabelle , Puppetmaster or Demonic Toys for the Doll/toy Horror film. Instead I am returning to view an oldie that I have enjoyed before, called The Pinocchio Syndrome (aka Pinnochios Revenge). It’s about an evil Pinocchio puppet that once you cut his strings becomes a killer.
OCTOBER 26
My usual pick for the Worst Horror film for day 26 is abysmal
Dracula 3000 ,and if you have seen it you’d understand. This year I thought I would go with one, that I often refer to as the BEST film for drinking games. It is called Grim Weekend (aka S.I.C.K). Grim Weekend and follows a hopeless bunch, who venture off on a mini break and are beseeched by a psychotic clown. Sounds fun right? Sadly this film has a score that is cheesy, effects that are lame and a cast so utterly annoying it is only good for games. Have the shots ready and let’s play.
OCTOBER 27
On the 27th I will inspect the aspect of Horror Tv Episodes with We All Scream for Ice Cream (Masters of Horror episode). It is an impresssive part of a large collection done by talented directors. This anthology series has some intriguing storyline’s and very colourful characters.
OCTOBER 28
For the 28th I needed to focus on choosing a film that had Great Poster Art. I couldn’t ignore the awesome screaming, burning human on the cover of David Croenenbergs 1981 supernatural horror film Scanners. Any artistic eye can see the beauty in that image, as much as any other.
OCTOBER 29
My least enjoyed sub genre is the Found Footage one. So on the 29th having to pick one from the few I enjoy was taxing. Being able to sift through some good ones I like, such as Afflicted and Cannibal Holocaust, I remembered the immensely impressive  The Poughkeepsie Tapes.
OCTOBER 30
Being the youngest of three children obviously for horror siblings, my immediate thought was my brothers (just kidding and yes they know I love them dearly). No instead I selected the classic black and white film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starring feuding actresses (and on screen sisters) Bette Davis And Joan Crawford.
OCTOBER 31
To round out my viewing pleasure this month, I will end on a more jovial note with a horror musical. I put aside my usual fun choices of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, Repo: A Genetic Opera or even Little Shop Of Horrors. Instead I opted for 2014’s Stage Fright.
I always encourage others to explore a variety of films when embarking on creating a watchlist. Watch as much of the things you don’t get to. Watch new films. Watch old films. Watch films from various parts of the world. And always include the good,the bad and the ugly.
And have a Happy Halloween!
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in Categories, EDITORIALS, HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Trailer for Extremity (2018) Delivers Extreme Potential

Trailer for Extremity (2018) Delivers Extreme Potential

Extremity (2018) / Image: Dark Elegy FilmsI saw the trailer for Extremity (2018) on my phone while I was out shopping for Halloween stuff. I thought, ‘Oh wow, this is cool, and I’m digging it’. This isn’t so much me saying this just because it’s a horror movie about haunted attractions, either. The trailer really struck a chord with me, so there had to be a way to see this on a bigger screen. Heading home, I rushed to my television and go on YouTube to find the trailer. I lucked out as it was online and ready to be viewed. I sat down with the lights off and saw the trailer in beautiful 1080 HD. The way it was meant to be. The film is called Extremity and was directed by Anthony Diblasi who has done some great horror films such as The Last Shift (2014), Most Likely to Die (2015), and Dread (2009). Extremity is about a young woman who puts herself through an extreme haunt attraction to face her fears and conquer a tragic past that has consumed her.

So, let’s break this down.

Extremity (2018) / Image: Dark Elegy FilmsThe movie looks extremely promising, not hokey or cheesy, but actually a really great horror film with amazing scenery, cinematography, and great acting. In the trailer below, you’ll see some familiar faces, such as Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp (1983) and Tiffany Shepis of Tales of Halloween (2015) and Victory Crowley (2017). Extremity shows a lot of promise in that it will rely on great fx and an engaging story without the use of clichés or over the top sets that detract from the gore and terror. What’s especially great is that the “victims” in this movie aren’t trapped or kidnapped; they wholeheartedly sign waivers saying they’re doing this of their own free will and allow the haunters to do whatever they want. Something like this is ten times better because they’re not trying to escape or fight for their lives. They knew the risk and they accepted this place, appropriately named “Perdition”.

It’s interesting to see how long in the film this event will take place or how extreme it will be. From the trailer looks like we’ll see simple acts of drowning, bugs, and body limbs being cut apart along with a difficult task of a “victim” actually killing someone. I say “Victim” because will they survive and if they do how will their mindset be afterward?

Extremity (2018) / Image: Dark Elegy Films

Extremity will be released on VOD services 28 September 2018, followed by a Blu-ray release on 2 October 2018. Watch The Last Shift and Dread to get ready for this release. This will be a movie that House of Tortured Souls will for sure be reviewing.

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
WiHM: Felissa Rose

WiHM: Felissa Rose

Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersten in Sleepaway Camp (1983)Outside of the horror world, most people won’t know the name Felissa Rose, but in 1983, a 13-year-old girl playing the role of Angela introduced herself to the genre. What’s extremely impressive about Felissa’s role in the now cult classic Sleepaway Camp is that she was so memorable while hardly speaking. The character Angela rarely spoke throughout the film and sucked viewers into the story with her facial expressions. She makes you really feel for the character until you find out that young Angela is actually Peter, Angela’s brother, who was “killed” in a boating accident 8 years prior. 2018 celebrates the 35th anniversary of this iconic film and the launch of a brilliant career.

Christopher Collet and Felissa Rose in Sleepaway Camp (1983)Felissa has been a mainstay in the horror genre over the past three and a half decades. She has also been a frequent guest at various horror conventions around the US. Known for her bubbly personality, posing making the “Sleepaway Camp Face”, and her ability to remember names and past interactions with her fans, Felissa is very popular at these shows and leaves her fans old and new with memorable experiences.

Felissa Rose in Terror Tales (2016)

The last calendar year has been one of – if not the – best year yet for this iconic actress. Felissa has several new films that have been released in the last month or will be in the coming weeks to include No Solicitors (a film shot in 2015, but released last month on DVD, where she also served as Producer) where she plays ill-fated Pricilla. Victor Crowley (the surprise fourth installment of the Hatchet series), she plays the role of Kathleen. And in the upcoming film Death House (theatrical release of February 23rd), Felissa plays the role of Dr. Angela Freeman (and also filling the role of Associate Producer). Felissa has been certainly busy over the past several months as these are three of the nearly two dozen projects she has already or is in the process of completing.

Felissa Rose - Shears

Felissa’s next convention appearance will be next weekend in the Queen City of Charlotte, NC, for Mad Monster Party Carolina.  She is celebrating both the 35th Anniversary of Sleepaway Camp and the newly released Victor Crowley.  She is also promoting the upcoming release of Death House, which some of us lucky fans were privileged to see during convention viewings last year.  Thousands more are eagerly awaiting to see the film on February 23, 2018.

So please join me in congratulating this amazing woman on her accomplishments both past and those yet to come.

You can check out what Felissa is working on next by visiting her on the Internet at:

Let’s wish Felissa Rose a very HAPPY Women in Horror Month!

Felissa Rose Official Site Welcome

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments