All posts by Bryan Wolford

The Midnight Drive-In: The Wizard & Little Monsters

You’re not going to believe this but we actually dive pretty deep into The Wizard and Little Monsters.  sure there is some nostalgia in there but we talk about the themes of loss, divorce, mental illness, and the love of siblings.  We weren’t expecting it either.  After that we chat about other stuff we watched like The Devil’s Candy, Summer Of Fear, The Babysitter, and 1922.

The Midnight Drive-In: Daddy’s Deadly Darling (aka PIGS) & Razorback

This week we’re talking about pork movies with Daddy’s Deadly Darling (aka PIGS) and Razorback! We weirdly start off the show talking about Kevin Spacey that then goes to Victor Silva and Corey Feldman.  After all that we actually have some listener mail, talk about such things as Happy Death Day (yes again), Stranger Things 2, and Jigsaw.

XXX: The Sinister Six

We finally get all the challengers eliminated down to the final 6.  Does #TeamHunny have a representative in the final?  Also we switch locations, an injury could take a finalist out of the race, and we place some sticks and stones.  Mainly just stones.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Rachel Shatto

Halloween is here tomorrow and this is our last Halloween Scavenger Hunt list.  I hope you’ve found something new and interesting to watch during your Halloween viewing because of these lists.  And doing this project has actually inspired a bigger project that is somewhat similar.  Keep your eyes peeled.  Now here is our list from Rachel Shatto!  She’s a podcast guru and a sometimes writer right here at Geek Nerdery.  Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

1. Absentia (2011) – This is the movie that made me a Mike Flanagan fan. Although he has since gone on to make a handful of consistently creepy films like Occulus, Hush, and most recently Gerald’s Game, it’s his first film, Absentia that really worked its way under my skin. The film follows two sisters, one who is finally ready to declare her missing husband dead in absentia and another who has attracted the interest of a creature lurking in a nearby tunnel. A pervading sense of dread, unique mythology, and unforgettable ending make this one to add to your October viewing list.

2. Love Object (2003) – I randomly stumbled onto Love Object while flipping through the channels late one night. It’s about a lonely man who is convinced his life-size sex doll is murdering people. With a description like that, how could I not watch it? I was expecting a low budget B-movie, but what I got was so much better. What could easily just be an absurd premise actually turns into alternately tragic, disturbing, and darkly funny psychological horror film, thanks to a chilling central performance by Desmond Harrington. I suggest pairing this with Pin for a double feature of… umm… anatomically correct killer doll movies.

3. Baby Blood (1990) – If you like your horror splattery and strange, find yourself an unrated copy of Baby Blood (aka The Evil Within). This movie is about a woman whose unborn baby has been taken over by a primordial creature that telepathically demands that she feed him blood so that he can be born, return to the sea, and take the world back from mankind. It’s all very Lovecraftian, but with loads more gore and nudity. It’s a French language film but I recommend the dubbed version so that you can enjoy the voice acting talents of Gary Oldman who inexplicably lends his voice to the killer fetus.

4. The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) – I adore Lovecraft and the universe he created (minus the racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia obviously). Unfortunately, most of the films based on his works are less thrilling. That’s not the case with The Whisperer in Darkness, which was produced by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and, as result, you can feel the absolute love and passion for the source material in every frame. The film is based on the story by the same name and is a largely faithful retelling, but with an extended third act (because Lovecraft, despite all his talent for creating eldritch horrors of cyclopean proportions, often had trouble sticking the landing). Anyway… this film, which was shot in “mythoscope” to invoke the look and feel of a ’30 era film, is just so much fun for fans of Lovecraft, classic sci-fi, and horror. I can’t recommend it enough.

5. Resolution (2012) – I love horror that doesn’t sacrifice character development, I love mysteries, and I love films that I’m still mentally unpacking for days after the credits roll. Resolution ticks all those boxes and then some. It’s about two friends, one of whom has spiraled into drug addiction and psychosis and another who, in a last ditch attempt to help his friend get clean, comes up with the brilliant idea to just chain him to the wall for a week so he’ll detox. So, yeah, that’s a bad plan, but what he’s also not counting on is that the cabin they are holed up in is located right he middle of a metaphysical nightmare. This film wouldn’t work so well if the fraying friendship at its core didn’t feel so authentic or if the breadcrumb trail of clues left for them weren’t so intriguing.

Rachel Shatto is a culture and sex writer for Elite Daily, life-long horror fanatic, and co-host of several podcasts including The Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast, Cold Case Cinema, and The Cast of Ka.

The Midnight Drive-In – Dark Night Of the Scarecrow & Satan’s Little Helper

We go completely off the rails at the beginning of the show as Noah brings up a John Wayne Bobbat reference and Bryan tries to find a more current reference to take it’s place.  After that we talk some horror films that take place on Halloween Night with Dark Night Of The Scarecrow and Satan’s Little Helper.  After that we talk some Happy Death Day, Better Watch Out, and a double feature of Night Of The Creeps and Slither.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – John Borowski

Today’s list comes from the awesome filmmaker John Borowski!  John taps into something I’ve been obsessed with for years.  Serial Killers.  What makes them do it?  Why?  When?  John covers all this. He probably won’t remember but I met John the first time at a horror convention years ago.  I saw he made HH Holmes and Albert Fish movies.  I was big on the Albert Fish story at the time so I immediately bought them up.  Since then when I see him at a convention I try to at least stop by and say hi.  Everyone should check out his work and also check out the movies on his list this week.

The horror movies on my list are from the 70’s and 80’s, which is a time period of cinema that reached its crescendo of exceptionally made films which pushed the cinematic boundaries of the groundwork laid by their predecessors.

10 RILLINGTON PLACE (1971) – An exceptional movie based on the true story of the U.K. serial killer John Christie. Having made films on serial killers, I can appreciate a great serial killer movie and this is my favorite. The atmosphere of this movie really places you inside the building where Christie murdered his victims. I find this movie absolutely terrified especially because it was based on a true story. John Hurt gives a great performance as the victim who inadvertently caused the abolishment of the death penalty in the U.K.

SISTERS (1972) – An early Brian De Palma movie, Sisters is one of my favorites of his works. Taking nods from Freaks and Psycho, De Palma creates a terrifying masterpiece of suspense with shock with Sisters.

THE CHANGELING (1980) – The Changeling starring George C. Scott is my favorite ghost story movie ever.  Everything about this movie is compelling. Best of all, it is the best made ghost movie ever. It doesn’t resort to cheap thrills, but rather exceptional storytelling. The use of sound is fantastic. The story unravels slowly and effectively. Creepy as hell!

IN A GLASS CAGE (1986) – When I first watched In A Glass Cage, I was so shocked and horrified that I did not pause the movie or get up from the couch for the entire time. Frightening and shocking in a true-life way, this movie is one a viewer will never forget.

RAWHEAD REX (1986) – From the genius imagination of author Clive Barker, Rawhead Rex is one of my favorite monster movies. Brutal and terrifying, this movie also has great makeup effects.

John Borowski is an award winning independent filmmaker and author whose film works have garnered international acclaim and are distributed internationally on dvd, television, and streaming. Borowski’s “historical horror” trilogy of documentary films focus on late nineteenth and early twentieth century serial killers. His latest book, Dahmer’s Confession, is available for pre-order.

John Borowski, producer/filmmaker

 

Waterfront Productions

FILMMAKER WEBSITE

Film Sites:

H.H. HOLMES

ALBERT FISH

CARL PANZRAM

SERIAL KILLER CULTURE & TV

Books:

The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes

Albert Fish: In His Own Words

The Ed Gein File

Facebook

Youtube Channel

Vimeo Channel

The Midnight Drive-In: Deranged & Three On A Meathook

This week we’re talking about some movies that take their inspiration from real life serial killer Ed Gein.  First up is the 1974 film Deranged.  Up until the self titled film Ed Gein was released Deranged was lauded as being the closest telling of the Ed Gein story.  We then follow that up with the 1972 film Three On A Meathook.  This movie has lots of nudity and musical interludes.  What’s not to like?  Well, you’ll find out.

Then we get into other stuff we’ve been watching.  Discussed is Brain Damage, Happy Death Day, and Friday The 13th.  This then gets us into a discussion of why VS movies didn’t take off after 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason.  After we reveal what next episodes movies are we then get into a discussion about why made for TV movies aren’t a thing anymore.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Lauren Gallo

We’re back with another Halloween Scavenger hunt list!  This time Lauren Gallo tells us some films we should be seeking out.  Lauren was (maybe still is?) a frequent contributor at Deadlantern.com when I was so our paths crossed many a time.  Then it turns out she is active in the anime and gaming convention circuit so we’ve almost run into each other literally through out the years but I’ve kept up the joke of trying to avoid her for years now so we’ve still never met in person.  Funny only to me I think.
1.  Opera – High opera. Murder. Heavy Metal. While Dario Argento tends to be more famously known for works like Suspiria, Profundo Rosso, and Bird with the Crystal Plumage, this lesser highlighted 1987 work of his feels a tad less giallo and more full-on slasher. A young opera ingenue becomes the obsessive focal point of a serial killer whose MO is to tied her up and tape sharp pins under her eyes so she must keep her eyes open while he murders victims in front of her, usually people she knows. Somehow, the killings have a connection to her late mother. My first exposure to this movie was through an amazing fan-created music video by the owner of the Twins of Evil horror movie blog, where clips of this movie were set to Portishead’s “We Carry On”. From that, I really wanted to watch it and basically I developed a weird love for this. It’s not as gorgeous looking and iconic as the crimson-stained Suspiria, but it’s also one of Argento’s more straight-forward narratives all centered around a brilliant concept of taking the frustration of movie-goers shutting their eyes during scary moments and making an allegoric response through the pins taped to the eyes. If there’s one critique I have of this, is that I don’t actually enjoy the heavy metal set to the murder scenes, to me it’s an odd tonal dissonance for a movie centered around an opera. But I digress, it’s still worth a viewing.
2. Black Sunday – Revenge. Dark magic. Beautiful Barbara Steele. A witch and her lover are captured and burned at the stake, a mask of Satan nailed to her face. The spite witch Princess Asa places a curse on her brother’s descendants before dying. Two centuries later, her lookalike descendant Princess Katia becomes embroiled in a dark plot to fully resurrect Asa when a professor and his assistant accidentally break the cross on Asa’s tomb and release her. This black and white film, shot by the incomparable Mario Bava, is a real testament to how incredibly well Bava could make a black and white film look in terms of shadow and light. The imagery is beautiful as much as the horror is palpable. This movie is an incredibly well done Italian horror film and would go on to be very influential to films like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.
3. The Devil Rides Out – Satanic cults. The English countryside. Christopher Lee. I love a good many Hammer Films, but The Devil Rides Out is my absolute favorite, and one where Christopher Lee gets to be the hero for once! Lee plays Nicholas, the Duc de Richleau, an English noble in the late 1920s who upon reunited with old friends is horrified to learn his young friend Simon has fallen in league with a Satanic cult. Nicholas, familiar with the mystical arts, tries to save Simon from a dark fate with the help of their more skeptical friend, Rex. In initially saving Simon they also save the young, pretty Tanith, who will be the unfortunate catalyst for potential tragedy. Christopher Lee has gone on record stating this as his favorite film he’s worked on and that he would have love to seen a remake with modern technology and him as an older Nicholas. This movie has great set pieces, great locations, and Lee is a fantastic, charismatic hero fighting against black magic to save his friend. It’s less on gore and goes more for the supernatural horror, though I feel it sits more comfortably as an action-thriller. It feels like the most polished of the 60s Hammer horror films, and a bit more sophisticated than ones like Vampire Circus and even Dracula. If there is only one thing I find lacking in this movie, it’s the lack of Peter Cushing also starring in it.
4. The Mummy (Hammer Films) – Ancient Egypt. Mummys. Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing Double Billing. Were there ever better classic horror BFFs like Lee and Cushing? I’m hard pressed to think there is. The two always starred on opposing forces in their joint ventures, and Hammer Films’ The Mummy is no exception. Cushing plays John Banning, an archeologist on an Egyptian exploration with his father and wife, Isobel. There they get mixed up in the accidentally bringing the mummified Kharis (Lee), High Priest to the Princess Ananka, back to life. Three years later, this occurrence comes back to haunt them. It doesn’t help matters that Isobel is an exact ringer for Princess Ananka. Fans of the 1999 The Mummy film will find this sounding pretty familiar. Taking a page from the Universal Studios Boris Karloff classic, Hammer’s Mummy seems to take a backseat to the 30s classic and the Brendan Fraser one, but I feel it’s a solid entry in the Mummy mythos with Cushing proving he’s a great horror hero. Sharp listeners will also notice this movie has a background music leitmotif at times that would later be mimicked by the 1999 version.
5. Dracula (1979) – Vampires. Bram Stroker’s classic put in a blender. OMG CANDLES. In the scheme of famous Draculas, you have Bela Lugosi as the forever iconic, Christopher Lee, but one of my faves is Frank Langella. This movie, sometimes affectionately (or not) known as “Disco Dracula”, is based on a broadway adaption of Stoker’s original novel, which also starred Langella. This version ups the romance more and puts it in an Edwardian setting, with Mina now becoming Van Helsing’s daughter and befalling the tragedy of Lucy in the original story, an Lucy is more of the Mina character, and also Dr. Seward’s daughter and Dracula’s love interest. I say this in the best way possible, this movie is an absolute romp and like watching the best, slightly crackish Dracula fanfiction onscreen. It’s super, super 70s right down to a floating, shadow puppet super technicolor love scene and Frank Langella’s epic bouffant. I feel like this movie had to have influenced Coppola’s Dracula, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Sadly, one of the newer cuts had the color slightly desaturated but regardless of this crime against coloring, this movie is a worthwhile viewing.
Lauren Gallo is a fledgling fiction writer and pop culture reviewer with a nerd streak as wide as the day is long. Her love affair with horror began through being exposed to slasher flicks as a child, like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th and was cemented by a 1993 viewing of a VHS rental of Army of Darkness, one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all day. You can find her (sporadically) on Twitter (@lgallowrites). 

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Patrick K. Walsh

Hey there Screamers (stolen from Patrick’s fantastic podcast Scream Queenz) we’re back for another Halloween Scavenger Hunt.  Being in the horror podcasting game for way too long you make a lot of friends with your listeners.  Then those listeners go off to make their own podcasts and you hardly ever hear from them again.  Patrick went from being a listener to starting his own podcast but never stopped being an awesome friend.  He’s proof you can always elevate the genre if you find your audience.  He has and it’s been great watching him surpass all of old horror podcasters.

MURDER PARTY – On Halloween Night, a bumbling oaf finds a random invitation to a “murder” blowing in the wind. Having nothing better to do, he accepts and finds himself captive of a gang on deranged artists who plan on using his death to fuel their next big project.

An early project from director Jeremy Saulnier (BLUE RUIN, GREEN ROOM) and his collective, MURDER PARTY is a masterpiece of blacker-than-black black humor mixed with over the top gore.
The movie manages to perfectly skewer the obnoxious pretensions of hipster culture, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the entire New York art scene  (Ride the L train once, and you’ll see that all these ridiculous characters are all too real, so there’s extra pleasure in watching them ax murder each other.)
Add to that a fantastically unconventional hero, a massive body count and a mean streak a mile long, and you’ve got a party for which you definitely want to be on the guest list.
“I didn’t sign up for a second-degree assault party.”
THE SCAREHOUSE – The ladies of Sigma Kappa Delta have been invited to the party to end all parties at The Scarehouse, the hottest haunted house attraction in town!  But the girls are about to discover that the most frightening thing in there is their past…and that revenge is a bitch.
While THE SCAREHOUSE, from Canadian director Gavin Michael Booth, occasionally teeters on torture porn, it never fully crosses the line and gets in the way of the wicked fun in store.
The deliciously rich performances of Sarah Booth and Kimberley-Sue Murray as our gleefully vengeful antiheroes are tinged with some real gravitas, especially when their pesky consciences try to interfere with the holy hell they reign down upon their former friends.
Will Corey and Elaina really go through with murdering the Sigma Kappas?   What did they do to incur this wrath anyway? Do they really deserve the horrific deaths in store for them?
Just know that if you visit The Scarehouse, you’ll never get out alive…
“A girl should always want to be thinner…”
GIRL NUMBER THREE – Maxine  is kidnapped on the way to a Halloween party by a Satanic cult who intend to sexually abuse and torture her (and eight other victims) in an abandoned warehouse as part of their Samhain rituals.  But Max isn’t going down without a fight.
Based on the graphic novel by Nathan Thomas Milliner, GIRL NUMBER THREE  is a microbudget production that for the most part manages to transcend its financial limits, mostly due to a keen visual eye and an increasingly engaging performance by our heroine, Julie Streble.
Yes, there are some very real pacing problems, particularly in a bogged down middle section…too many very long shots of people wandering around the warehouse, too much unnecessary babble from the cult members. But when the action gets going, the fun is infectious.
Even though rape is a key part of the story, director Herschel Zahnd somehow manages to prevent the action from getting sleazy, which I appreciated.  I never felt that the actresses were being exploited, which is rare in this kind of a scenario in a lower budget film like this.
But the movie rightly belongs to Julie Streble as Max whose journey from Gal Next Door to Savior to the embodiment of Rage is as endearing as it is ultimately quite frightening.
And as a gay man, her outfit is both iconic and quite fabulous.  If you think that some Halloween, I won’t be donning a blood-soaked French maid outfit, a paper mache fright mask and a very rusty ax….you would be totally wrong
“Are you a cop?”
“No….I’m an art major.”
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE –  Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) is in one for one Halloween shock when he discovers his loveable spinster aunties have been murdering their lodgers for years and burying them in the basement.
While this beloved classic isn’t anything remotely resembling horror, the comedy is as on-point as was in 1944, and the overall charm of the film is irresistible. The cast is pure perfection, particularly John Alexander as the utterly balmy Cousin Teddy.
Halloween doesn’t always have to be about buckets of blood and terrifying scares.
Making serial murder this adorable is a damned neat trick, and therefore, a suitable Halloween treat that you can enjoy with the whole family for a change.
“Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”
HELLBENT: Four friends attending the Los Angeles Halloween carnival find themselves stalked by a sickle-wielding figure in a devil costume who is as deadly as he is….well…hot. And heads will roll.
As the gay host of a gay podcast, I would be remiss not include the world’s first gay slasher movie.  Fortunately, it turns out to be quite a respectable entry, and not one I’m including just for personal politics.
Despite occasional lapses into complete goofiness and a rather wonky performance by our Final Guy, HELLBENT delivers where it counts.
I buy this foursome as friends.  I enjoyed their relationships with each other, and I was genuinely upset when they began to die.  This is such a rarity in horror movies of late, so I found it delightful to have characters I could route for instead of loathe.
The special effects are well-executed. The kills pack a wallop, and the carnival setting is seductively seedy.
And did I mention the killer is hot?
 
“He’s out for some head…”
Patrick K. Walsh is a New York-based actor as well as the producer and host of ScreamQueenz: The Podcast Where Horror Gets Gay.  ScreamQueenz has been featured on Best-Of lists in Entertainment Weekly, Rue Morgue Magazine and on Blumhouse.com. The show has also been received multiple nominations for the People’s Choice Best LGBTQ  Podcast Award.

The Midnight Drive In – Castle Freak & Dagon

This week at the drive in we’re talking some Lovecraft by way of Stuart Gordon.  We talk about Castle Freak and Dagon.  After that we talk some Blade Runner 2049, Kingsman, Amityville: The Awakening, and Noah’s love for the Toxic Avenger.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Jay Sorensen

Another list from a good friend of mine.  I met Jay a few years ago at an IndieHorror.TV event.  We rented some cabins up at a campsite in Wisconsin.  As I made the rounds introducing myself to people I hadn’t met yet Jay informed me that she made the trip from Africa.  My response was “Whaaaaaattttttt????”  Turns out she is a Foreign Service Officer working abroad.  But it still was shocking.  She’s one of the biggest horror fans I know.  Hope you find something fun here.

1. Joshua (2007) – Not enough humans have seen this film, even though it features Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, and Michael McKean (in a serious role with one devastatingly hilarious line of dialogue).  The movie combines one of my favorite tropes (evil kid) with one of my least favorite tropes (crazy mom), and still makes me oh so very happy.  It’s about a brilliant, sociopathic child who ruthlessly bends his environment to his will.  It’s also about post-partum depression (I guess?) and mixed marriages involving religiously devout grandparents who mess shit up for their kids.  It’s not as gory and violent as many wonderful horror movies, but it will make your soul creep.

2. Kidnapped (2010, Spain) –  If you’re a fan of Funny Games (2008), or, even better, Funny Games (1997), you might be one of those twisted people who need to see this movie.  You won’t enjoy it, probably, but it will earn your respect.  It’s a nasty Spanish-language portrayal of a home invasion, and the unflinching depiction of realistic violence can be hard to watch.  I’m a gorehound, and I find this film unsettling.  The New York Times called this film nihilistic and “gruesome tit-for-tat torture porn” – well, yeah, that’s why it’s good.  Have fun, kids.

3. Seconds (1966) – Technically science fiction, but that ending!  The plot is your basic Faustian deal with the devil, with Rock Hudson portraying the doomed rich man who believes that he’s entitled to anything money can buy, including eternal youth and a new hot body that used to belong to someone else.  It’s like a mean-spirited Twilight Zone episode, and the surgery scene isn’t all special effects – some of it’s from footage of a real plastic surgery procedure.  The gross-out factor is very high.  If you appreciate B&W films and a whole lot of irony, you’ll enjoy this one.

4. Them! (2006, France/Romania) – First, let me be clear:  This movie is not very good.  It’s about a French couple living in Romania (the wife’s a French teacher there) who are terrorized by home invaders.  But what it’s really about is how fricking scared France is of Eastern Europeans.  “Romanian street children will target and kill you; also, they’re all Gypsies, and Gypsies are the last minority on the planet that it’s cool to stereotype like crazy on film, because no one actually knows any Gypsies in person so we can all safely believe that Gypsies are subhuman monsters… it’s us against them, and GYPSIES ARE ‘THEM’!”  No, seriously, this is literally what the movie is about.  That said, it’s quick, tight, tense, well-acted, and often terrifying.  I used to live in Romania, and I found the film both fascinating and infuriating.  I’m listing it here because I’m curious to hear what others think of it.

5. A Distant Thunder (1978) – As a result of some childhood trauma, I have a secret fondness for the niche genre of evangelism porn.  A Distant Thunder is a Christian propaganda movie shot on a budget of $60,000 for the sole purpose of scaring little kids so badly at Vacation Bible School that they’ll be willing to make a public declaration of faith and ask Jesus into their hearts.  It is the single most frightening movie I’ve ever seen, mostly because I was nine or ten when I was duped into watching it.  It’s also terrible.  I strongly recommend that you watch it with a bunch of friends who survived deeply religious upbringings, and with a lot of alcohol.

Jay Sorensen is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Liberia.  A horror movie fan since childhood, she is proud of her complete collection of Fangoria magazines, which she carts around the world with her even though she’s 47 now.  She’s an avid supporter of indie films and first became a producer in 2011.  She encourages you to check out Adrian Tofei’s upcoming film We Put the World to Sleep, which is currently seeking investors; the Slasher Studios website, for great reviews and fun horror dvds; and Reel Splatter’s upcoming masterpiece, I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday (2017).

https://weputtheworldtosleep.com/

http://www.slasherstudios.com/

http://www.reelsplatter.com

Snowman Giveaway!

Coming out on Oct. 19th is the new Michael Fassbender serial killer film The Snowman.  They have offered for one lucky Geek Nerdery fan to win a Snowman Prize Pack.  Here are the details:

You Could Have Saved Her I Gave You All The Clues

The Snowman, a terrifying thriller based on the novel by Jo Nesbø is being released on Oct 19th. A sociopath who calls himself “The Snowman Killer” has targeted the one person for whom he wants to showoff his methodical, unthinkable skills: the lead investigator of an elite crime squad. With cunningly simplistic baits, he begs to have a worthy opponent to play his sick game.


The Snowman pack has:

1 – Limited Edition Snowman Plush Doll: This limited edition Snowman plush is only available via this promotion and has a run of 200 pieces worldwide. It is a replica of the killer’s Snowman and features a detachable head and the Snowman logo on the bottom.

1 – The Snowman Official Promo Shirt – An official promo T-Shirt featuring The Snowman logo on the front and the signature design on the back.

1 – Replica Snowman Killer Letter – A replica of the Snowman killer’s note, sealed.

 

So how do you win this awesome Snowman swag?  Easy.  Below in the comments section comment with what you think your serial killer name would be.  That’s it.  Comment and you’re entered.  We’ll be picking one random comment on Oct. 27th!

Also take this quiz to see if you know your serial killers.  How well would you do in the search for a serial killer?

Castle Rock – Make Your Own King Universe

King fans were super excited to finally get an actual trailer for the upcoming Castle Rock show on Hulu.  Do we have any idea what it’s going to be about?  No.  Are we any less excited?  No.  It’s full of King references we’re excited to see pay off in a weekly series and I personally and wishing the year would hurry up so we can get into 2018 and get closer to the premiere.

While we wait I have constructed a list below that makes it so we can sort of create our own Castle Rock universe with movies that are already available.  You’ve probably seen them all but may not have noticed that they are all actually connected accidentally just by adapting the source material that is connected.  So here is your list in viewing order.  And spoiler alert I’ll be giving a quick synopsis of the movies and also how it’s connected to the rest in the list and possibly the books they are based on.  Just be warned.

Stand By Me (1986)

One of the more sentimental Stephen King movies.  A group of boys go to find a dead body of one of their classmates and along the way each comes to terms with their place in the world.

This movie sort of sets the stage.  It’s summer in 1959 so we get to see a more quaint version of Castle Rock.  The town is only really our starting point and stopping point but all of our characters live there.  There’s not much crossover here for our movie universe other than this happened in our main setting for this viewing session.  In the book Kiefer Sutherland’s character Ace Merrill actually plays a big part in the book NEEDFUL THINGS as he gets out of jail and returns to Castle Rock just as things are starting to break down in Castle Rock.  But we’ll get to that in a bit.

The Dead Zone (1983)

One of my favorites on the list.  After getting into a car crash and being in a coma for 5 years Johnny Smith finds out he has a gift.  If he touches you he can see your future.  Good or bad.  Once he shakes the hand of Greg Stillson he sees a future filled with death.  What can he do to stop it?

Here we start to see the dark side of Castle Rock.  For part of the first half of the movie we see that a serial killer is stalking the streets attacking women.  Sheriff Bannerman (played awesomely by Tom Skerritt)  is at the end of his rope trying to find the killer so he turns to Johnny to see what he can find.  They find their killer and from there Johnny moves on to stop nuclear armageddon.  This section of the film though will feature heavily in our next movie.

Cujo (1983) –

Simple concept.  A woman and her son are trapped in their car at a lonesome farm by a rabid Saint Bernard.

Again we’re present in Castle Rock.  Here we find a pretty simple story.  Woman in the car with the dog right?  Well here’s where our connections come in.  In the beginning of the movie Tad is afraid of the monster in his closet.  In the book that monster he’s afraid of is the boogeyman that the serial killer from The Dead Zone had become around town.  People whispered about it and Frank Dodd has become sort of an urban legend around town.  So Tad is afraid of the killer from The Dead Zone.  And later in the book it’s sort of just thrown around (not seriously but Tad sort of thinks about it while trapped) that the evil that possessed Frank Dodd has now gone into Cujo.

The other big connection we have is that the sheriff that ends up out at the farm is none other than our friend Sheriff Bannerman (not awesomely played by Tom Skerritt).

The Dark Half (1993)

Thad Beaumont is a successful writer who’s pen name has just been outed.  He decides to publicly kill off his alter ego rather than paying a blackmailer.  Bad news is his alter ego doesn’t want to be dead.

In this George Romero directed movie Michael Rooker plays the sheriff Alan Pangborn (who is supposed to be a main character in the new Castle Rock series).  He’s Bannerman’s replacement.  He’s now in charge of the strange things that happen around Castle Rock.  Also we meet his deputy briefly Norris Ridgewick.

Needful Things (1993)

A new shop opens up in Castle Rock.  It claims to be able to give you whatever you desire . . . for a price.

Max Von Sydow plays the devil and has shown up to reek havoc in Castle Rock.  This time out our main character is Sheriff Alan Pangborn (this time played by Ed Harris).  He tries to keep Castle Rock from destroying itself but it’s a hard task.  Helping him is his trusty deputy Norris Ridgewick.  In the book we actually visit a lot of the famous locations from these previous movies/stories.  Some old characters come back.  Ace Merrill plays a big part.

 

So there you have it.  That’s your cinematic journey through Castle Rock.  I will say you could also do The Shawshank Redemption but it doesn’t feature in our journey here.  It does seem that it will play a part in the new Hulu series.

 

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Rory Abel

We’re back with another list of horror films we should add to our watch list this Halloween season.  This time we’re looking at a list by Rory Abel.  Rory has been a friend of mine for a long time and I’ve been happy to see him grow as a filmmaker and am excited to see how people take to his list.

1. Stir Of Echoes – Lost amid the hype over Sixth Sense this ghost story gem is often overlooked. It does have some similar elements as Sixth Sense, namely ghosts and a kind of creepy little kid that can see them, but they don’t dominate the film. Instead, Kevin Bacon stars as a man unsure if he’s seeing spirits or loosing his mind after undergoing hypnotism at a party. As the lead Bacon is the film’s secret weapon, bringing a working class Average Joe sensibility to the character, which grounds the film amid its more supernatural moments.

2. Dagon – There aren’t many good H.P. Lovecraft adaptions and what there are tend to be directed by Stuart Gordon. This holds true with his 2001 adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, ignore the Dagon title there are barely any similarities with that particular short story. The film follows closely to the beats of the original story but imbues them with a slightly more action movie perspective. Moving the location from New England to Spain is an inspired touch, giving the location a greater sense of isolation and alienation. Combined with some decent practical effects and some less than stellar CGI Gordon manages to still being Innsmouth and its fishy inhabitance to life. The opening scene is one of the best examples of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror in film (other than in movie directed by John Carptenter).

3. Slashers – An early entry in the Found Footage genre before its elements had been codified this fun flick tries something a little different from the norm. Rather than people filming themselves in a supernatural scenario it’s set in a Japanese Game Show with a professional camera crew filming everything. The conceit is simple, contestants must make their way through an obstacle course in order to win a cash prize. If that seems too simple, there are also Slasher characters hunting them and who will literally kill them given the chance. A word of caution, this is an exceedingly low budget entry with some amateurish acting. However, if you can get passed that be prepare to have a hell of a fun time watching it.

4. The Crazies – I am not a fan of the original Crazies. I always felt it was an unfocused retread of ideas Romero handled better elsewhere. So I was more than happy to give this film a fair shake and if you are too you’ll find much to enjoy in it. It’s brutal and scary but more so Timothy Olyphant brings a believable exasperation and frustration to his lead character, which you don’t often see in a films hero. How often does a main character snap at their wife while trying to escape from the bad guy? Almost never, but it’s something that feels real and authentic and as such really grounds the film no matter how crazy it gets. (That was not an intentional pun, I swear.)

5. Gut – This slow burn thriller is by turns unsettling and disgusting. Fair warning, for a certain find of horror fan it will be Kryptonite but for those who like their horror gradual and mixed in with the mundane of everyday life this is a gem waiting to be uncovered. It combines marital dissatisfaction, crumbling friendships with obsession and gut churning snuff films. (Jesus, I don’t know where these puns are coming from.)

Rory Abel has worked on a variety of projects from internet videos and independent films to public and cable television. He’s worked for companies such as iVillage, Lifetime Television, NBC Universal and A&E Networks. He’s currently employed by Us Weekly as a Senior Editor for their digital videos.

His feature horror film “Phobia” is available on DVD and streaming services from RLJ/Image Entertainment. His short horror films “Love Story” and “Apathy Breeds Contempt” have screened across the United States in numerous festivals. “Apathy Breeds Contempt” can currently be seen on the digital cable channel American Horrors. His most recent short horror film is currently still doing the festival circuit and was debuted by Ain’t It Cool New:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/77653

The Midnight Drive-In: Blankman & Meteor Man

We break away from our usual content to talk about 2 cult superhero movies from the 90s.  First up is the 1993 film Meteor Man starring Richard Townsend and a bunch of people you know.  Then after that it’s 1994s Blankman with a bunch of other people that you know. One thing binds these movies together and it’s probably not what you think.  After that we talk Cult Of Chucky, Gerald’s Game, and Rick & Morty.  Wubba lubba dub dub!

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Retro Girl Jeannie

We’re back with another fun list of horror films to seek out this Halloween season with Retro Girl!  Jeannie has been a friend  for a long time and I’m glad to be able to share some of her tastes around here.

I’ve chosen 5 Unknown/Underrated films, most imports. Most modern American horror sticks too closely to a formula. They target a teen audience, so that narrows their story telling and limits the possibilities of a interesting story. I think a good horror/monster film features a cast that you are interested in hanging out with even if something doesn’t happen. Good enough to be a drama on it’s own. So the monsters and jump scares are just gravy. We can’t care about the peril of the characters if we don’t care about the characters.
1. “Train to Busan”
“Train to Busan” is a South Korean apocalyptic zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. It’s a Zombie film, but more of a action thriller movie with some very touching and emotional moments.  In a world of zombies this one stands out. Kind of like “Snow Piercer” with Zombies. At it’s core, it’s a family picture. Just a Father and his Daughter on the train to see her Mother for her Birthday with a ton of fast moving zombies on board. The action scenes in this take me be back to films like “Die Hard” and “Speed”. The action keeps the viewer engaged and part of it. If you can’t focus on the action, you can’t appreciate it fully. YOU are on the ride. You feel every tense moment. Yes, take the “Train to Busan”.
2. “The Girl with All the Gifts”
“The Girl with All the Gifts” is adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Mike Carey. Also known to write comics for DC, Vertigo and Marvel.
Films about kids are great if the kids are good actors. This girl is talented and natural. Sennia Nanua holds your attention and never lets it go. Glenn Close plays a Very strong woman in this. She must have been impressed with this little movie and wonderful script to want to get involved. Glad she did. Like any Zombie film you need to put your own spin on it and this one does. They way it is spread makes it even more dangerous. Strong cast and concept. Interesting Zombie repellent used to keep them from getting too ‘bitey’.
3.  “Blood Glacier”
A Glacier in the Austrian Alps is covered in a strange Red liquid that has weird effects on the local wildlife. It pays homage to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, but very much it’s own movie. It must be watched with the English subtitles so you hear the voices of the actors. One actress in particular is hilarious and a American dub would never replicate the sound of her voice with her accent. Something is pounding the doors trying to get in as one lady hold up there is eating a banana while crying in fear. My favorite part is the other lady yells at her, “Stop eating that banana while you’re crying!” Love these odd moments in horror/sci fi films. It’s like that nervous laugh when something really bad is happening and they give us ‘carte blanche’ to crack up.
4. “The Pack”
“The Pack” is a Australian horror film about a pack of wild dogs that terrorize a family. I think some of the best horror is coming from other countries. They let a scene breath, let the camera run on a random moment. Not cut up like a music video. They let the surroundings reflect the film. A crow just walks up to a lamb and kicks it. Random and wonderful. That would be cut out of most American horror, and that’s too bad. These moments give it charm. Of the moment, but maybe gives a feeling that it is a tough country side, even the crows are badass! So yes, it’s just rabid wild dogs, not werewolves. The sound of those sharp claws walking on that family’s floor in their house is terrifying. I love a good werewolf movie, but when you see the creature still wearing torn pants it takes me out of it a bit. These dogs are not wearing pants.
5.  “The Burrowers”
“The Burrowers” is unique just being a horror/western, and it just gets more interesting from there. It would be good enough to just be a great Western, that it is. It is also a very Unique Monster Movie. Creepy as it crawls along in the high grasses. The high plains grass hides a hideous creature and before you know it, it’s too late. It paralyzes, buries you in shallow ground and comes back for you when you are decaying and easier to eat. Gross!! This monster knows it’s strengths and uses it surroundings. I have Loved watching Clancy Brown since he was Viking in “Bad Boys”. Who doesn’t love Clancy? He makes a perfect cowboy.
Jeannie Schwartz a.k.a. Retro Girl, friend to Drunken Zombie and Geek Nerdery. I’ve loved Monster movies since I was a kid. I read and collect comics and toys. I’ve written movie trivia for Midway Games and have done movie and wrestling reviews on the local radio station. I moderated a panel on Women in Comics. I like Butterscotch way more than I should. Sing in a band and I still get up early on Saturday (& Sunday) morning to watch cartoons!

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Sean Keller

For Halloween this year I decided to put together a sort of fun scavenger hunt for all of you.  I’ve asked some friends to put together a list of 5 films that they felt were unknown, under appreciated, or just deserved another look.  My hope is that during the month of October maybe we’ll seek out some horror films outside of our usual Halloween viewing.  First up is from the ever awesome Sean Keller.  Sean is a screenwriter out in LA and in his bio he was too modest to point out that he wrote the Sci Fi Channel (pre SyFy) classic Mammoth.  Here’s his list.  Enjoy.

1. WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (2013) – There are a lot of films out there trying to mimic the 80s aesthetic with varying degrees of authenticity and effectiveness, but this film is nostalgia perfected. The conceit of WNUF is that it’s a “videoptaped live broadcast” of a local independent station’s Halloween Special from Halloween night 1987 in which a tv personality hosts a séance from inside a supposedly haunted house. The story is thin, but it’s the attention to detail, specifically the low-budget local ads interspersed throughout the broadcast that ring true and make this piece really sing. Watching this for the first time last year was a revelation and I will be watching it on the night before Halloween for the rest of my life.

2. HAXAN (1922) – This “documentary” is a history of beliefs about witches and has the most witchy scenes ever committed to film (pair it with THE WITCH and LORDS OF SALEM for a perfect triple-bill of witchiness) Yes it it black & white, yes it’s a silent film, but there is a very cool shortened version of the film (and 1960’s re-release) narrated by the inimitable William S Burroughs that makes a great film somehow even greater and helps if you aren’t a silent movie fan.

3. TERROR IN THE AISLES (1984) – While not terribly “Halloweeny”, Terror on the Aisles is a very personal film for me. It played in heavy rotation on HBO in the mid 80s and was a real gateway film for me. It is essentially a clip-show of horror films (and inexplicably a ton of shots from the Stallone/Rutger Hauer crime thriller NIGHTHAWKS) set in a movie theater and hosted a deliciously over-the- top Donald Pleasance and Nancy Allen. The clips are spoiler-heavy and made me want to see every film they show. It’s a great bit of fun and a perfect film to leave on in the background during your Halloween party.

4. THE AMERICAN SCREAM (2012)  –  Another documentary? Fuck yeah, what about it? If you love the Halloween season (and if you don’t, why are you reading this?) you MUST watch The American Scream. This film is a sweet depiction of three families in the same small Massachusetts suburb who are all home haunters, meaning, they build ornate haunted house displays on their property every year for Halloween. This film hits me in my heart. I cry every time I watch it. If you ever feel like you’re becoming burnt out on the season, this flick is the perfect cure. The three families involved are so uncynically devoted to the glorification of the holiday that you cannot help but be infected with their enthusiasm. I highly recommend this one as an early October viewing to get you into the Halloween mood.

5. CANDYMAN (1992) – This is the most well-known title on my list, but I cannot give it enough love. If there was ever a film that begged to be included into the pantheon of Universal monsters, it’s this one. Tragic, terrifying, sexy, heroic, mythic and the most gothic urban horror ever made, Candyman climbs in my estimation with every viewing. Helen (Virginia Madsen) is doomed from the start and her descent into hell via folklore eventually fuses her soul into the
myth she is researching . Every shot is amazing and the score elevates the already wonderful film into true greatness.

Sean Keller is a horror screenwriter best known for his work with Dario Argento (GIALLO) and John Carpenter (THE WARD) and most recently wrote the book, lyrics, music and starred in the hit Slasher comedy musical SLASHED! The Musical.

The Midnight Drive-In: Island Of The Fishmen & Humanoids From The Deep

This week we take a look at what we didn’t realize was two Roger Corman related movies that deal with fishmen.  First up is the Island Of The Fishmen and then followed by Vic Morrow in Humanoids From The Deep.  Then we talk about a trip to the drive in by Bryan and Noah.  All this and more!

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A King’s Journey

Just about everyone that knows me knows how obsessed with Stephen King I am.  It’s not just that I enjoy his work but I obsess over it.  It probably came from the 4th Dark Tower book where we find out that everything he’s ever written is connected some how.

My mom was a big King fan back in the day.  She had a bookcase full of King books.  I’d pull them out and look at the covers.  I knew I’d always be too scared to read them, but they sat there and I’d stare at them.

It finally happened when I was 10.  The IT miniseries was on TV and even though it looked scary I still watched it.  I’m sure my parents regret that.  I couldn’t sleep without nightmares for awhile.  Then suddenly the urge came over me.  I had to read IT.  I needed to know more about this evil clown.  How I convinced anyone to let me buy a copy of IT I’ll never know but they let me.

I read it within 6 months.  I know but it’s over a thousand pages and I was 11.  Give me some slack.  From that point on I pretty much devoured every King book I could get my hands on.  My mom seemed encouraged by my interest and even let me borrow books from her collection.  Now the very books I used to get scared just looking at just the covers I was reading one after the other.

I give King credit for a lot of things with me.  I feel there is a point in every person’s life where they make the decision “do I keep reading for fun or do I just read because I have to for school and I move on to other things for fun?”  He kept me reading.  I would keep up to date on his current books.  Getting them for Christmas and Birthday presents from family members.  I read other authors  as well but nothing could bring me to a screaming halt like King.

Then I discovered within this collection of books The Dark Tower.  I had avoided it because I’m not really into fantasy novels.  But decided to give the first one a shot.  I enjoyed it enough I wanted to see where it would go so I got the second book.  Then the third.  After that the 4th book would change everything.

I was used to seeing references to other King works in his books. Castle Rock of course was a big nexus point but things like The Stand and some of his other short stories like The Mist (yes more a novella), The Jaunt, The Long Walk, etc. took place in worlds that there was no way could be in the same reality as Castle Rock.

In the 4th Dark Tower book a character whom I thought was a stand alone character told another character that he was trying to win over to his side “I once had a man that would pledge ‘My Life For You!'”  Everything changed.  Suddenly this quest for the Dark Tower now had resonance across every word King had every put to paper.  It all mattered.

I continued on the journey to the tower and was sad to say goodbye to the friends I had made in that world but never stopped making friends with his new characters.  Some books are better than others as that is with any story.  I never quit.  King has kept me reading and dreaming.  Most importantly King has kept me writing.

I had dreams of being a big novelist.  I also had dreams of being a big filmmakers.  Age has let me look at the realities of this world and I let myself be content to just write and make movies because I want to with no goal of hitting it big.  I’d actually like to avoid that if possible.  I just want to enjoy doing it.

This Friday I finally close a circle as I’ll be heading up to the Chicago area to see King and his son Owen talk about their new book Sleeping Beauties.  I’ve been holding out going to one of these because I always hoped there would be a chance to meet him at a signing so I could extend my hand and say “Thank you for everything you’ve given me.” It doesn’t look like he does many straight up signings anymore so this may be the only chance I’ll have to at least be in an event with him.  I’m going to take it and enjoy every minute I can of him and his son sitting on stage telling stories and talking about weaving stories together.  There are worse ways to spend a Friday.

The Midnight Drive-In: Robot Holocaust & The Bronx Warriors

We delve into some dystopian futures this week as we look at 1986’s Charles Band produced film Robot Holocaust and then take a trip to The Bronx to find a lawless society that is fighting against a fascist corporate regime in 1990: The Bronx Warriors.  Seems  a little too real now a days.  We delve into other stuff we’ve been watching which includes a review of IT, Noah’s trips to the cinema using Moviepass, and Bryan’s horror filled weekend.