Review: ‘Son Of Monsterpalooza’ Convention (Burbank, CA) 2018

Ok.  Now I’m officially ready for the Halloween season.  And why, you ask?  Because the latest Son Of Monsterpalooza convention got me in the mood (insert sexy horror music here).  I was lucky enough to be there most of the weekend, and once again – this convention didn’t disappoint!

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The thing that I love about Son Of Monsterpalooza (and it’s father, Monsterpalooza) – is that it focuses on the literal art of makeup FX.  You can see numerous booths set up with actual live makeup and prosthetics being applied to models as you walk around the convention, adding to the overall atmosphere.  Aside from that, celebrities were in attendance as well (Kathy Najimy, Piper Laurie, Lance Henriksen, etc) – and it’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane while you have them sign some of your favorite memorabilia.  Did I mention that Tony Todd was among the celebs there doing a free poster signing for his new movie, Hell Fest??

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Probably my favorite part of this year’s Son Of Monsterpalooza were the Son Of Conjoined rooms that were filled with some amazing art and sculptures (not to mention it was super cool in there if you needed relief from the heat).  I found myself going through each more than once, with a nice touch at the end of one of the rooms being a creepy display for The Nun (with a little live actor surprise involved).   All in all, Son Of Monsterpalooza once again delivered in every way possible.  Now, bring on Monsterpalooza early next year!

Review: Puppet Master – The Littlest Reich (2018)

Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter.  And in the case of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, it’s definitely true!  Oh how I’ve missed seeing little puppets slice and dice up unsuspecting and suspecting victims on the small screen (and big screen if you’re lucky to catch this one).  But wait – a twist comes with this reboot of sorts of the Full Moon/Charles Band helmed Puppet Master franchise.  Instead of the puppets killing Nazis in previous movies…….they ARE the Nazis in this new incarnation (or at least Nazi sympathizers)!  And boy – they really don’t have a tolerance for much.  Continue reading

Review: Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival 2018 (Long Beach, CA)

Yessssss!  It’s finally time for the Halloween convention season, and what better way to kick it off this year than with a trip to the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival in downtown Long Beach, California!

This was my third year going to Midsummer Scream, and it keeps getting bigger and better every year.  And unfortunately more crowded.  It’s a gift and a curse.  But yes, everything that made last year’s convention stand out was back this year:  The Hall Of Shadows (individual mini haunted houses in a darkly lit massive area), The Black Cat Lounge (where you can pet and play with a bunch of adorable kittens in a creepy circus environment), and of course……all of the creepy costume-goers who roam about the area eagerly awaiting your arrival to give you a good fright.  Oh my god – here comes one now!

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Nothing gets me more into the ‘spirit’ of Halloween than a good convention, and specifically Midsummer Scream.  Focusing on the haunts and everything that is Halloween – there were also tons of vendors selling their ghoulish goodies, a picture and meet & greet opportunity with Elvira herself (Cassandra Peterson), and you could even get a hot pretzel with cheese sauce!  Ok, the last thing was not impressive – but everything else this year was.  Except the aforementioned size of the crowd, which keeps getting bigger each go around.  If they can find a way to make it a little less claustrophobic in the vending aisles, then I feel that would make a big difference.

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Other than that one little negative, Midsummer Scream was frightfully good this year and they’ve already announced next year’s dates of August 3rd & 4th!  Plenty of time to think and prepare a good costume and plenty of time to think about an escape plan if you get too scared in The Hall Of Shadows.  Spooooooooky.  Thanks again to Midsummer Scream for another BOOtiful convention!

Review: Terrifier (2018)

Coulrophobia.  I can say that I somewhat suffer from it.  And no, it’s not a fear of mayonnaise (although that is a crippling fear for me).  Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. It’s not uncommon.  And with the triumphant return of Pennywise the Clown last year in the IT remake, clowns are even more the rage now.  But while Pennywise relies vocally to get his point across, my good friend Art the Clown from the new throwback gore-fest Terrifier relies heavy on facial expressions and sawing bodies in half to get HIS across.    Continue reading

Review: Burn The Priest ‘Legion: XX’ (2018)

It’s always good to remember where you came from.  And luckily, long-time metal powerhouse Lamb Of God have done just that.  For those who don’t know – before frontman Randy Blythe joined the group, Lamb Of God was known as Burn The Priest. Shortly after Blythe put his stamp on the crew, they changed their name and went on to form a metal legacy that continues on today.  But as I stated at the start, you should never forget where you came from – so Burn The Priest has reformed 20 years later to deliver a brand new album full of covers called Legion: XX, featuring tracks that influenced them when they were starting out!

The album kicks open the front door with a cover of ‘Inherit The Earth‘ by 80’s thrash band The Accused.  It’s a different vocal style you may be accustomed to hearing from Blythe, but one that will grab you by the balls and not let go (don’t worry, it won’t feel too uncomfortable).  Mark Morton’s guitar is the co-star of ‘Inherit the Earth‘, ripping and shredding it’s way through the track – which by the way, when it ends…..you want more. Up next is a cover of ‘Honey Bucket‘, one of my favorite songs from The Melvins.  From there, Burn The Priest put their personal  touch on tracks from Bad Brains, Ministry, Agnostic Front, S.O.D., and more.

Even if you’re not necessarily a Lamb Of God fan, you will find something on Legion: XX to sink your metal teeth into.  I personally gave the album the ‘road trip’ test last weekend. I was never bored, and it helped me deal with the aggression that was building up from the idiotic California drivers while on my journey.  Case in point:  I fully support this new Burn The Priest project, even if it is just a project of 10 cover songs.  It’s a bit of a tease, but the good kind of tease.  Slap it in, hit play, and let it go…….you won’t be disappointed.

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(4 Out Of 5)

Review: Revenge (2018)

I never really wanted or felt the need to eat peyote.  That is, until I just watched the new revenge-based movie appropriately titled Revenge.  Because now – I realize that if I have a tree branch sticking out of my stomach, I can just take a healthy dose of peyote and everything will work itself out!  Ok, this isn’t a review for peyote…..this is a review for one of the best (and most brutal) revenge movies I’ve ever seen.  Nope, I’m not hallucinating while I type that.  It’s true.  And I’m going to get into why it’s true right about now.   Continue reading

Review: Mom and Dad (2018)

If you are easily offended and do not like to see children in movies be killed by their parents after having their minds taken over by a static transmission from the TV, then you should probably stay away from the horror/comedy Mom and Dad.  However, if you want to see Nicolas Cage go completely bonkers like only Nicolas Cage can and get chased around the house by an equally bonkers Lance Henriksen……then you need to watch Mom and Dad.  It’s a crapshoot.    Continue reading

Dirty Horror’s Rapid Reviews: ‘The Ritual’ & ‘Verónica’

What do a best friend hiking trip in Sweden and a bad Ouija board experience during a solar eclipse have in common?  Well, nothing actually – but they are both the premises of two recent horror movies that hit the wonderful world of Netflix.  Let’s start with these poor bastards that did some hiking in Sweden:

The Ritual (2018)

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This one took me by surprise.  A British horror film (directed by David Bruckner) set in Sweden that follows four friends who keep a pact to go on a hiking expedition after another one of their friends was killed six months prior.  Now of course, when you have people hiking in some creepy woods in a horror movie then bad shit’s going to happen.  The rub with The Ritual is that it’s pretty unpredictable.  A hybrid of The Blair Witch Project and The Wicker Man with a little monster action thrown in, this movie is beautifully shot and packs the emotional punch lacking in a lot of horror movies.  It also packs a pretty great literal punch towards the climax.  And The Ritual is creepy.  Did I mention it’s creepy?  Yeah.  Go watch it.

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(4 Out Of 5)

Verónica (2018)

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There have been some decent Ouija board related horror movies throughout the years (Witchboard, Ouija: Origin Of Evil), but none that have really hit me where it hurts like this new offering titled Verónica.  A spanish horror film directed by Paco Plaza (who gave us the impressive Rec franchise) that manages to take the somewhat tired ‘possession’ storyline to new creepy and emotional levels.  The plot is fairly standard (a girl and her friends attempt to use a Ouija board to speak to her dead father during a solar eclipse), but manages to still be riveting.  The acting is superb (especially Sandra Escacena playing Verónica) and Paco Plaza has a knack for utilizing the camera so well, especially during those ‘wait, did I just see something in the background?‘ shots.  I felt it could have been trimmed by about 10 minutes or so, but that’s a minor complaint for a movie like Verónica.  Go watch it!

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(4 Out Of 5)

Review: Insidious – The Last Key (2018)

I have a rule of thumb for any movie in a horror franchise that has the word ‘LAST’ in it’s title.  That rule would be that it should be the last entry into that particular franchise.  Done. Finished. Finito.  Such is very much the case with Insidious: The Last Key, a desperate attempt to keep the Insidious series going with yet another prequel and even worse…..without any true scares.  Let’s tiptoe into the review and get started.

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Review: Better Watch Out (2017)

What says Christmas more than a 12-year-old boy that has a crush on his 17-year-old babysitter?  Actually, that has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas – but in the new holiday horror movie Better Watch Out, it sure does!

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