*RIP George Romero*

george-Romero

Not really an easy way to start this one, and I honestly never really write any kind of ‘In Memorium‘ posts….but this is for George FUCKING Romero.  So if anyone deserves a little of my horror sympathy and respect, it’s this man.

Anybody who knows me knows that I have pretty much been living and breathing horror since I was about 8-years-old.  But how did it start?  The simple, yet obvious, answer: George Romero.  I remember sitting in my Grandmother’s kitchen flipping through the channels (literally turning the dial, which is what you had to do back then) on her black and white TV.  And I stumbled upon an airing of Night Of The Living Dead.  I remember how much it stuck with me.  Not just the look of it, the characters, and the music – but the fact that zombies were mesmerizing.  Shortly after watching it, I also remember being back at my house and looking out my living room window constantly……looking for zombies.  I had nightmares.  A lot of nightmares.  But you know what?  I loved it.

When I was old enough, I was able to finally watch Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead.  Equally blown away as I was by it’s predecessor, George Romero was not only iconic for the introduction of ‘his’ zombies – but also for the social commentary strewn throughout his movies.  He took risks, and had his finger on the pulse of what was going on in the world around the time of all of his films.  These weren’t just zombie movies with guts and gore (although that was much appreciated) – they were zombie movies that were actually saying something.  Casting minorities into leading roles wasn’t necessarily the norm back then, especially in horror movies.  George paved the way, and even has had influence on films as recent as Jordan Peele’s 2017 hit Get Out.

We have lost a good one, people.  Not just a horror icon, but an icon in general.  Romero was set to produce an upcoming film titled Road Of The Dead, which at this point is probably the final project he was involved in.  The Walking Dead is a huge mainstream success – and if and when you watch it, think about the influence of George Romero. True fact:  George hated the ‘fast zombie’ craze.  So kudos to The Walking Dead for staying true to his original zombie traits (even though he had spoken out against the show).  Aside from Romero’s zombie films, he also directed the underrated vampire film Martin.  And don’t forget about Creepshow (an all-time fav), The Crazies, Monkey Shines, and The Dark Half.  He will always be remembered as ‘The Godfather Of Zombies’ though, so do yourself a favor and honor his memory by watching any or all of his films this week.  A true horror legend is gone, but never forgotten.

Monday Bloody Monday: ‘Helicopter Zombie Kill’ From ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ (1978)

Sometimes you have to go back to the classics.  And for me, one of my personal horror classics is the original Dawn Of The Dead.  Forget all of the social commentary though, let’s talk zombie death scenes!

On this edition of Monday Bloody Monday, I want to take a minute to bow our heads (slight pun there) to remember one of my favorite zombies from Dawn Of The Dead:  The abandoned hangar zombie.  He wasn’t with us very long, but what a memorable time he gave us while he was here.  If you needed proof that zombies aren’t too smart after they’re resurrected, look no further than this poor bastard walking literally into his own death.  At least that death was swift and quick by the hands of some merciless helicopter propellor blades.  As a bonus in the clip, you get to watch Peter (Ken Foree) mow down some zombie kids with a machine gun to some rather hilarious music!

Whaaaat? George Romero Did A ‘Night Of The Living Steelers’ Mini-Doc For The NFL Network??

So, upon watching my usual Thursday Night Football game on the NFL Network last night I was a bit startled (in a good way) to see a promo for this:

Well, talk about an early Halloween treat!  It looks as though George Romero did a mini-documentary for The Timeline series on the NFL Network called ‘Night Of The Living Steelers’.  And it looks to show the connection and correlation between Night Of The Living Dead and the Pittsburgh Steelers around the time the film was made and released.  Just seeing Romero walk onto Heinz Field at a game in Pittsburgh from the trailer is enough to make me tune in.  ‘Night Of The Living Steelers’ will air on October 5th at 8PM EST on the NFL Network, so do yourself a favor along with me and check it out so you can see George waving that Terrible Towel!

Who Invited The Asshole? Starring: Harry Cooper From ‘Night Of The Living Dead’!

Oh, we all have the one friend who seems to always appear to be the asshole at a function or gathering.  I’m sure I’ve been labeled that in the past too.  Yep, I just called myself an asshole.  But is there anything worse than having an asshole around when you’re being harassed by a bunch of flesh-eating undead ghouls?  Yeah, kinda makes things worse.  Thanks, Harry Cooper.

harrycooperym4

For those living under a rock for the past 48 years, I’m talking about THE Harry Cooper from George A. Romero’s zombie classic Night Of The Living Dead played by actor Karl Hardman.  I actually just realized btw that the TV show ‘Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper‘ would have been better and way more interesting if Harry Cooper was the Cooper they were talking about.  Who cares about a basketball coach who subs as a school teacher when you could have Harry Cooper going off on random people with that mean scowl on his face?

Now when Harry Cooper wasn’t shouting at his wife to get in the basement, he was getting into a poorly choreographed fist fight with Ben.  Sure he put a few boards up to try and keep the zombies out, but other than that he was pretty much useless.  Which is why it was a real crowd-pleaser after Ben shoots him, that his own daughter gloriously munches on his bullet-riddled corpse.  The moral of this story?  If you’re an asshole, your zombified daughter will eat you.  And Harry Cooper…..you were a real asshole.  RIP.

17-La-notte-dei-morti-viventi

Ebay Find Of The Week: Authentic Bullet From ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ (1978)

If I could have any prop from George Romero’s 1978 flick Dawn Of The Dead, other than one of those delicious pies that were thrown in the faces of the zombies, it would have to be an actual bullet from a gun fired at one of those zombie faces.

$_57-1

Yeah!  Time to go buy a gun!  You know, just in case an actual zombie outbreak occurs.  But yes, up on Ebay right now is an actual bullet used in the filming of the original Dawn Of The Dead.  It’s certified by the Weapons Coordinator of the film, and also is signed by Clayton D. Hill who was an escalator zombie.  Not sure if that really sells the prop any faster, but hey – he was an escalator zombie!  Big plus for all of the escalator zombie enthusiasts out there.  Anyway, you can bid on the prop bullet HERE and it looks like you may be able to get it for a decent price since there are no bids yet.  I’ll still be waiting for one of those 37-year-old delicious pies to pop up for sale in the meantime.

Sunday Bloody Sunday: ‘Zombie Pie Fight’ From ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ (1978)

Every time I watch a new episode of The Walking Dead, I keep wondering when Rick and the crew are going to wise up and realize that whipped cream pies and seltzer water are the real weapons to use against zombies.  Swords and semi-automatic weapons are just for sissies.

On this week’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, I’m going back to a simpler time when zombies liked to hang out at shopping malls.  Yep, I’m talking about George Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead from the wonderful year of 1978.  Oh sure, it’s all fun and games at first for this biker gang led by make-up effects legend Tom Savini.  But these zombies can only take so many delicious sugary pies to the face before they make sure the bikers get their just desserts as well.  Bonus points there for my clever pun.  Enjoy the pre-biker gang slaughter below:

Does Ben From ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ Deserve A Better Collector’s Figure?

Easily one of my favorite and most influential horror movies of all time is George Romero’s 1968 undisputed zombie classic, Night Of The Living Dead.  And one of the reasons why I love it so much is because of the character of Ben, played by the late Duane Jones.  He doesn’t take any shit.  He punches Mr. Cooper.  He slaps the shit out of Barbara.  And he can board up a house like nobody’s business.

Now, I love collecting horror figures.  So imagine my excitement when I read that there was not one, but two figures built around one of my favorite horror characters of all time!  Before I unveil what the figures look like, here’s a refresher pic of Ben from the original Night Of The Living Dead:

scaled

Alright.  Now that you have that image fresh in your mind, let’s take a look at our first figure based around the character of Ben from Night Of The Living Dead:

review_ben_4

Funny….I didn’t know they had tanning beds back in the 60’s.  So, I guess I should be happy that they attempted to make this figure, but it probably would have been better if the figure was actually black.  Not to shock anybody or bring race into this, but Ben was black in the movie.  And this figure to me looks more like George Hamilton.  I’ve seen some great, accurate horror figures made over the years and unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.  But good news!  Because there’s one more from a different company that we can take a look at and see if they got it right:

notldben-1

Slight improvement!  At least the skin tone is on the right track.  Not sure what’s going on with that collar though because it’s kind of out of control.  This version is based off of the old school Mego Corporation figures, which I can appreciate.  But it’s still lacking that the detail and ‘wow factor’ that other horror figures have given us.  So unfortunately, it’s back to the drawing board for the Ben figure from Night Of The Living Dead.  I have faith though.  And I guess these two previously released attempts are good news for fans of George Hamilton and crazy out of control shirt collars.

Sunday Bloody Sunday: ‘The Death Of Private Rickles’ From ‘Day Of The Dead’ (1985)

One of the joys of watching a horror movie is when the asshole you’ve hated the whole time dies a slow, brutal, deserving death.  And in George Romero’s 1985 zombie gorefest, Day Of Dead, there were plenty of assholes to root for to exit in crowd cheering fashion.  So on this week’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, I want you to reminisce with me about one of those assholes:  Private Rickles.

Private Rickles is a bit of a bumbling idiot who likes to laugh a lot, even when things aren’t really that funny.  Case in point:  He laughs when a bunch of slow-moving zombies pounce on top of him and proceed to tear his face off and chew aggressively on his fingers.  Quite a character, isn’t he?  So join me in watching Private Rickles in his last giggly and gruesome moment from Day Of The Dead and feel free to give a standing ovation if you’d like.

Hip Hip Horroray! The Demise Of Barbara In ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ (1968)

They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”  If only they had come to get her ass sooner.  Quick fun fact:  Her name was misspelled as ‘Barbra’ in the closing credits .  But anyway, yes – I’m talking about none other than the character of Barbara from 1968’s, Night Of The Living Dead.  And when she was taken away from us towards the end of the movie, I think a few of you rejoiced with me and gave a high five or two.

notld1

To be fair, and before I start bashing her character in the movie, I need to let it be known that this is not a slam against actress Judith O’Dea.  She worked with what she was given.  And I also need to let it be known that I hold Night Of The Living Dead very high up on the pedestal of zombie movies and horror movies in general.  Ok, now that all of that’s out of the way, let’s start the character bashing.

I was fine with how Barbara escaped our lanky zombie friend in the cemetery after her brother Johnny got his head smashed in.  And I was even fine with how she went into shutdown mode at the farmhouse soon after our hero Ben arrived.  But my God!  The moping just went on and on and Barbara was pretty much useless for most of the black-and-white screen time.  Her face however, was not useless to Ben’s hand:

(uncomfortable silence)

So anyway – that happened.  And unfortunately, it barely snapped Barbara out of her funk.  Sure she helped board up some doors and windows, but that was far and between from her yelling about her brother Johnny and how she wanted to go outside and find him.  Give it up lady, he’s a walking corpse. Deal with it.  We all have, so why can’t you?  In the end, irony sets in and it’s indeed walking corpse Johnny that drags Barbara’s annoying ass away as Ben hightails it to the basement.  I felt a bit unfulfilled though because after Ben is dead and the credits roll, I wondered if Barbara would be an annoying zombie too?  Just one of many unanswered stupid questions that I’ll have to learn to live with.

barbara

Dario Argento’s ‘Dracula 3D’ Really Looks Like It…….Sucks

Couldn’t resist the Dracula pun in the title of the post.  Oh Dario Argento.  You gave me a movie (Suspiria) that makes it into my ‘Top 10 Horror Movies Of All Time‘.  And then you gave me some other movies that weren’t quite top 10 material (Opera, Deep Red, Inferno).  The greats can always redeem themselves though, but it’s been a tough road to climb for you, especially after recent non-gems like Giallo and Mother Of Tears.  But I continue to hold out faith for you Dario, because I do think that you have it in you to give us one more film that can stand next to some of your earlier films on my DVD shelf. On the other hand, maybe not, that is if we’re strictly judging from this poster for your new movie, Dracula 3D:

Oh boy.  Well not to rain down on the parade more than I am, but if you think that’s bad, then come on inside out of the rain and take a look at these NSFW clips that just came out for this “movie”.    Continue reading