One of my fondest memories of Halloween (besides the time that a crazy neighbor threw chocolate-covered grasshoppers at me and my friends) was getting home from a night of trick-or-treating and dumping my candy out on the kitchen table to gaze at my sugary prizes. Oh it was exciting. I would take my bucket…..lift the bucket high over my head…..and then see:
Sonofabitch. It’s those damned dreaded Peanut Butter Kisses!! (smoke comes out nostrils and ears) Do you ever want to know what a stomach ache tastes like? Eat some Peanut Butter Kisses. Now look, I get it – adults in the neighborhood didn’t want to spend a lot on Halloween candy, so they would opt for the ‘cheaper’ options to try and get by. And yes, I also get that the colors of the wrapping are festive for Halloween. So it should be a ‘win-win’ situation, right? Nope.
But alas, there is a bit of charm associated with Peanut Butter Kisses because they DO symbolize Halloween and yes……some people even (gulp) like them. So maybe I’ve been too harsh in the past on these acquired taste (only if you have any true taste) candies, and I should embrace them for what they are: Terrible tasting peanut butter flavored taffy candy that still makes me smile because they scream ‘Halloween’. And sometimes, that’s all that matters, right? Yay, Halloween!
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!
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??
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!
Ah……The Conjuring Universe. It might not be as cool or hip as the Marvel Universe – but it’s still a thing. I dug the first two entries of The Conjuring. Did not dig Annabelle, but I have an unmistakable love for Annabelle: Creation. And so now in the world of horror spin-offs, we have The Nun aka Valak – who first terrified us in The Conjuring 2 and now gets the spotlight for her first movie focusing solely on the Valak character. So is she just as terrifying here as she was in The Conjuring 2? Ummm. No. Let us pray…….
I’m going to do something different with this review. I’m not going to get into the specifics of the storyline (dark shadows, creepy nuns, bad jump scares….rinse, repeat) – I’m going to rant about how they fucked this up so badly. You have a creeeeeepy character in Valak (god bless actress Bonnie Aarons for doing her best with what she was given here) and you choose to focus more on an exorcised kid and other nuns not named Valak. Adding insult to injury, Valak gets a terrible backstory involving Jesus’ blood (and an equally terrible ‘Holy shit’ joke) and the biggest sin: she’s barely given any screen time until almost the end of the movie (with a part in the middle involving Taissa Farmiga running from Valak being the effective exception).
Everything that should be spooky, creepy, frightening is stripped away here and dumbed down with non-effective jump scares. There are multiple moments in The Nun when you think a scene is going to pay off, and then as soon as it should………we cut to another scene and never revisit the previous. Oy. See, but here’s the thing – The Nun made over 50 million at the box office this weekend. So, I would imagine that a sequel will be on the way (after another Conjuring movie, and an Annabelle one, and another spin-off for The Crooked Man). You see…..money talks. And unfortunately at times (if not all of the time), that’s what matters to the studio. The Nun and the Valak character in general deserved way better than this. Perhaps the real creepiness of the character will be resurrected in the inevitable sequel. But until then…….Jesus wept.
If I’m every talking about ‘guilty pleasure’ horror films, there’s no way that I won’t bring up the blood-soaked bonkers flick from 1983, The Deadly Spawn. I still remember seeing this movie on a Saturday afternoon on regular TV when I was about 10……completely unedited, which blew my little adolescent mind (when I said blood-soaked earlier btw, I wasn’t kidding). Aside from the red stuff, the creature fx done by John Dods were actually top notch – considering the film’s overall lower budget feel. And now, there is a Kickstarter going on where you can pick up some newly sculpted figures that pay homage to Dods’ earlier work from The Deadly Spawn!
This project, started by Justin Ishmael, will feature a variety of options to choose from as far as what your pleasure is. James Groman (of Madballs fame) is sculpting the new tiny versions of The Deadly Spawn creatures, and you can get them either painted or unpainted. The goal is $20k, to be reached by September 27th. Right now, it’s at about $13k, so…..looking good! You can get plenty of more details HERE and place an order for your figure too! And if you haven’t seen The Deadly Spawn……what the hell are you waiting for???
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 →
Dr. Herbert West from Re-Animator! Oh – look at the determination in his bulging eyes. Don’t fret. You can break him. Just don’t break any pencils out of frustration. Stay focused. Think about the fact that Bride of Re-Animator is a pretty good sequel. Wait. What are you doing?!? Don’t look away! Oh – I see. Barbara Crampton just walked into your field of vision while not wearing a bra. Dammit, Herbert West! You win this round!! Now you have nothing left to do but go get a job at a sideshow.
Sometimes I like to just gaze upon poster art for 80’s horror movies. And a lot of times, that poster art is better than the actual movie. So, let’s see……I wonder if the 1983 movie Mausoleum is all poster art and ‘no bite’, as far as the actual movie goes. I’ll get to the latter in a minute, as I recently re-visited Mausoleum on Amazon Prime. But first……the poster!
Well damn. Isn’t she a beauty. The ‘dripping blood’ font in the title….the predictable, but clever tagline (Centuries of evil have just awakened)….and the rather cool looking skeleton gripping the mausoleum. All signs point to the poster art being better than the movie! But seriously folks – how fun were the 80’s when it came to horror?
Speaking of fun – did you know that none other than Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son (LaWanda Page) is in this movie??? Oh – and her scene is soooooo Aunt Esther. But anyway – like I said, I recently watched Mausoleum again and……it stinks. But in a good 80’s horror stinky way. Like some aged cheese. The poster art still gives me a horror boner, but if you have time and want a good time – seek out Mausoleum and embrace the 80’s madness!
One of my favorite conventions to go to, especially before the Halloween season gets into full swing, is Son Of Monsterpalooza! With the yearly favorite Monsterpalooza giving birth to this spawn a few years back – it gives the crowd another chance to witness some of the best in makeup fx, horrifyingly awesome costumes and cosplay, and your favorite celebrities from the past and present!
This year’s Son Of Monsterpalooza is shaping up to be a doozy – whether it’s the 30th Anniversary presentation of Killer Klowns From Outer Space on Friday night or the appearance of actress Kathy Najimy who will be on-hand to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Hocus Pocus throughout the weekend! That’s just a taste, with more celebrities and panels to be announced for the 3-day weekend of frightful festivities. So, if you’re in the LA area and want to see what all of the fuss is about, head on over HERE for more details on tickets and announcements. Stay spooky and get ready for Son Of Monsterpalooza!
Oh, Puppet Master franchise……how I love and loathe you all at the same time. I can remember renting the first in your series in 1989 from my local Mom & Pop video store. It was a devious and delicious surprise that introduced me to some of my now favorite tiny little terrors: Blade, Pinhead, and Tunneler to name a few. And I kind of developed a crush on Leech Woman. Don’t judge. But anyway, for me – the franchise took a steep nosedive when the sequels starting getting lazily churned out by Full Moon Features. A few new snazzy puppets were introduced along the way (Torch, Six-Shooter) – but overall the sequels were consistently a snoozefest. But now…..could the Puppet Master franchise be reborn??
Enter into the ring, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich!! I will admit – when I first heard about this new sequel, I lazily rolled my eyes. Then I saw that S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl In Cell Block 99) wrote it, and my interest began to sway the other way. Early word started to roll in that this movie pushed the boundaries as far as gore and ‘tastefulness’, not just in regards to the Puppet Master franchise – but for horror movies in general. And because of that, my interest started swaying even more! Then……the ‘red band’ trailer just recently dropped. Check it out below, now!
Sold. Sold. Sold. I’m so sold, that I’ll be going to the LA premiere on August 14th – so stay tuned for my review. I can pretty much already tell this is in my wheelhouse. Gore, gore, gore? Check. Things I probably shouldn’t be laughing at that could send me to hell? Check. Thomas Lennon is in this for some reason? Check. For those who can’t go to the LA premiere, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich will be hitting select theaters and VOD on August 17th. Killer puppet lovers of the world unite!!!
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!
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.
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!