Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Horror 2014 Halloween Extra movie 03

The Beast Within
Source-MGM Midnite Movies Double Feature DVD

As far as I know this is the only horror film set in North Mississippi and filmed in North Mississippi. Starring Ronny Cox,no relation, and with an early role for the late Meshach Taylor. This is the story about an 18 year old young man. Who finds out his mother was raped by some half man half beast creature. His parents take him to the small town this happened in. And he starts changing into a similar creature.

It feels like most of the non-main cast is made up of people from the area they filmed in. Growing up and spending 95% of my life in the deep south I can usually tell when someone is doing a fake southern accent. No one in this film seems to be doing that. The FX work is great. Lots of well done bladder effects. And the acting is really good.I really enjoy Meshach as the town deputy. He perfectly captures the more laid back feel that the cops I know in small southern towns have. I also like how they show the townfolks fear of outsiders. I have run into this in many small southern towns.Where if you didn't grow up there and/or haven't lived there for at least 10 years people are leery of you.I want to find the novel by Edward Levy the film is based on.

This Midnite Movie Double Feature edition has no extras. But the film looks and sounds great. Now all these MGM Midnite Movie DVDs are technically out of print. But I see them brand new for sale in stores like Family Dollar and Dollar General. It was at a Family Dollar 2 months ago I found this and 5 other of the double features. With them being $3.The Beast Within gets a B-.

31 Days of Horror Halloween Day Extra Top 5 movies that actually scare me

My love of the horror genre is well known. What I don't think is as well known is that most horror films,tv shows,books or comics do not scare me. Films like the Exorcist are considered one of the scariest films ever. But even seeing it as a young kid it didn't scare me. So here is a quick list of the top 5 horror films that scared me.

05.Candyman-Since the first time I saw this,the film has scared me. I already have a weird phobia. Where I can't be in a dark room,turn on the lights and be facing a mirror. Yeah I know I am strange. And Candyman hasn't lost its ability to scare me. I can not pinpoint exactly what it is in the film that frightens me so much. It might be the over all mood. Who knows.

04.Red State-The newest film on my list. I think what scares me the most about this film is there is plenty of people like the family in the movie. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the many churches in my area is similar to the church in the film. Believe me or not,but I have no real issue with anyone that is religious. It is when they try to force their views on me. Or want to pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow.

03.Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974-The first movie and first horror movie I ever saw. And the young age of 3 at a drive in on the MS Gulf Coast. Almost 40 years later and this film still shocks me. I got a friend that ever since she saw this movie as a child she can't even hear the sound of a chainsaw with out tensing up. What makes the film so scary to me is it could really happen. The bit at the beginning about it being based on a real incident is bullshit. But the entire 10 years I lived in Southeast Texas I ran into so many people that not only claimed it was real. But that at a prison rodeo they got to see the person Leatherface is based on. Tobe Hooper did use small bits from a real life cannibal to inspire Texas Chainsaw. But that was Ed Gein and it happened in Wisconsin. Doesn't matter this movie still scares me even now after having had seen it at least 100 times.

02.Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer-Based loosely on Henry Lee Lucas and his killing spree with Otis Towe,Henry is a hard film to watch. It's bleak vision of what Lucas' life was like is so sleazy that after watching this film you feel unclean. Like it has left a black mark on you unconsciousness.Like with Texas Chainsaw this movie is scary because it could happen. We will never really know how many people Lucas killed. But even with the film being a fictionalized accounting of the events,it doesn't lose any of it's shock value. There has been quite a few times I was showing this movie to someone and they had me turn it off before the end. The mood and overall feel of the film was too intense for them to handle.

01.Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door-Based on the Sylvia Likens case,this story of madness in the 60s era suburbs is one brutal gut wrenching film.I saw the film without reading up on the true crime case it is based on. And before I read the Ketchum novel. Right near the end there is a scene involving a blowtorch that caused me to turn the film off. I was so shaken by what I had seen that I ended up going out for a walk to clear my mind. During the walk I kept thinking about the movie and wondering if I was going to finish it. I did finish it and since then I have watched it 3 or 4 times. One of those times I showed it to my father. Who after watching it had nightmares for over a week. Then I read up on the Likens case. After seeing how Jack Ketchum toned down the real events I figured nothing about this film or the novel would get to me. I was so wrong. I finally got the novel. Once I was home I settled down in my bed to read it. I read lots of horror fiction. From the common mainstream horror stuff like Stephen King and Dean Koontz to the more underground stuff like Ed Lee's Header or Wrath James White's Succulent Prey. But so far only one novel has gotten under my skin and caused me to put book down. While reading The Girl Next Door I ended up sitting it down 3 times. Each time I just couldn't handle how graphic the book was. And would wait a day or so before starting to read it again.

Well I hope yall enjoyed this list. Unless I calculate it wrong,when this appears by magic on my blog I should be out enjoying a fun Halloween. Have a safe and happy holiday everyone.

31 Days of Horror 2014 Halloween Night Extra 02

I learned how to read when I was 4. And since then it is rare to see me when I don't have something to read with me. Yeah I am the guy you will see in Waffle House at 1am reading a book while I eat my hashbrowns.

And with my love of horror it should come as no surprise that I read lots of horror fiction. Now most people have heard of what I call the big four horror fiction writers. IE Stephen King,Clive Barker,Anne Rice and Dean Koontz. Of the four I enjoy King. Think Barker is amazing. Rice has a few decent books,but the rest don't appeal to me. And Koontz,well he feels like a watered down King.

About 8 years ago I discovered there was a kind of underground of horror authors. People like Edward Lee,Brian Keene,Tim Lebbon,Richard Laymon RIP,Wrath James White and Jack Ketchum.

So I thought what the hell how about I do a post on all the Jack Ketchum books I have read.

Jack Ketchum is the pen name of Dallas Mayer. Born back in the late 40s,Ketchum is finally getting the attention he deserves. I think it is mostly because in the past decade 5 films have been made based on his novels.

I first heard about him thanks to the AVmaniacs forum.This was around the time that Jack Ketchum's The Girl next door film adaptation was coming out. This film sounded great so I made a note to purchase it when it came out. About a week later I was at the used bookstore in town. And saw The Lost by Jack Ketchum on the shelf. I grabbed it. The next night while at work I started reading it and was hooked. Normally when I would get off work at 8am I would drive home and go right to sleep. Not this time, I got home and laid in bed reading for 3 hours.Since that time I have been buying any Ketchum book I find.

The Girl Next door-Based on the Slyvia Likens case,this is one of few books that got under my skin so much I had to put it down. Meg and her crippled sister are sent to live with their Aunt. At first everything seems to be great. The Aunt has a bunch of sons. And her house is where all the neighborhood kids hang out. But quickly we find out that the Aunt doesn't like Meg. She ends up tying Meg up in the basement. And gets her sons and then most of the neighborhoods kids to torture Meg.David is the next door neighbor's son. And the book is told from his point of view. There is one chapter that is only a paragraph. With David saying "There is no way I can begin to describe what I just saw. But it will haunt me for the rest of my life." So far this is the most shocking of Ketchum's novels. And the only one I haven't re-read. Not because it is a bad book. But because it gets to me so much.

The Lost-This was the first Ketchum novel I read. Set back in the late 60s,it is the story of Ray Pie. He is in his early 20s and a total sociopath. We start off with him and two friends way out in the woods drinking cheap beer and smoking pot. He wanders off to a bathroom,and comes upon a naked lady leaving the outhouse. He follows her back to her campsite. Sees her with a female friend,assumes they are lesbians. And shoots them both. One of them dies quickly,the other hangs on for over 2 years. When the second one dies it causes a detective to try his best to bring Ray down. I love how the novel gets into Ray's mind and tries to explain why he is the way he is. Like The Girl Next Door there is a film of this. And it is really well done. With the final 20 minutes being mega intense.

Off Season-The first of what is now a three novel series. Set on the coasts of Maine. It is about a "family" of cannibals.  If you are going to read this novel,make sure to pick up the edition published by Leisure fiction. It is the first time the book was published uncut. The original printing was severely cut.

Offspring-Set not that long after the first book.We are once again with our family of cannibals. But we introduced to an abusive husband that in my eyes is more evil than the cannibals. A few years ago this novel was made into a film. That is seems like most people didn't like it. I love it and watch it at least once a year.

The Woman-Set again not that long after the last novel,but this time the book was written by Jack Ketchum and Luck Mckee. The leader of the cannibals escaped and is found out in the woods by a hunter. He captures her,brings her home and ties her up in his root cellar. Where he plans on having his family civilize her. And again Ketchum seems to be asking the reader who is more evil,the cannibal woman or the father who is abusive to his family and is hiding some dark secrets.

She Wakes-So far this is the only novel from Jack that has supernatural elements. And is my least favorite book from him. Set in Greece and involving Greek gods. While it is a well written book,I found it lacking that Ketchum charm.

Old Flames-The version I have of this is two stories. First off is Old Flames. Which is the story of a woman tracking down an old boyfriend. When I was reading it I kept thinking how much it felt like a Lifetime Original Movie. I found out that it was originally a script for a movie that Ketchum adapted into a novel. It is decent but nothing special. After Old Flames we get the novella Right to Life. Where a woman is kidnapped from a abortion clinic and held captive in some nutjobs basement. Now this is full of the normal Ketchum brutality. And made up for how blah Old Flames was.

Weed Species-This very short story was first published as a very limited print run chapbook. I couldn't afford it. Then found out the Leisure Fiction printing of Joyride has Weed Species in it. It is based on the infamous  Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka murders. Like Girl Next Door this short story got to me so much I had to put it down and wait awhile before finishing it.

Peaceable Kingdom-Is a collection of short stories and novellas. And it includes three that won Bram Stoker awards. I really loved this collection. There isn't a bad story in it.

Sheep Meadow Story-This novella was included in the Triage collection. The idea behind Triage is three authors were given a short premise. A man walks into a place of business armed with a gun and starts shooting. Out of the three in Triage,Jack's the my least favorite. But it is still worth reading.

What makes Ketchum stand out to me from all the other horror authors is most of his stuff is based on real life events. And it is really rare that any supernatural elements in his fiction.

I really wish Jack Ketchum was better known. But his style of horror isn't for everyone. I had a close friend 2 years ago keep talking about how scary Stephen King's books are. So I loaned her Peaceable Kingdom. She gave up after 3 stories. Saying the first story caused her to have nightmares for a few days. But if you are looking for a new horror author to read and don't have a weak stomach check out Jack Ketchum.

31 Days of Horror Halloween Night Extra 01 Texas Chainsaw Massacre the comics

To anyone that reads this blog or knows me fairly well it is no secret that my favorite film,not just horror film,is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I have told the story here at my blog and on my podcast about how when I was 3 my father took me and my 13 year old cousin to see TCM at the drive in that was in Gautier Mississippi.

By the summer of 92 I was almost out of comics. Sure I was still reading maybe 5 titles. But I wasn't going to the comic shop that often and when I did go I would just go in and get the stuff off my pull list. During the summer of that year I was at the Singing River Mall. They had a collectibles show going on. One dealer had lots of comics. Besides the normal hot comics of the time he had almost 10 longboxes filled with cheap comics. It was all overstock he wanted to get rid of,so he was selling them for 50 cents each or 10 cents each if you spent at least 10 bucks. I was digging through the boxes,determined to find at least 10 bucks worth of comics  I was willing to pay a dime each for. It was in the 3rd or 4th box when I found a comic series I had no idea was coming out.

From Northstar comics,who in the early 90s were shaping up to be a great horror comic publisher,I found issues 2 and 4 of their 4 issue Leatherface TCM 3 comic adaptation.Based on the first draft of the David J Schrow script,the 4 issue mini series was plagued with delays and low distribution.I liked the painted look to the covers and art on the inside. And since this was before I got a copy of the Leatherface workprint ,these 2 comics were the only way for me to "see" all the stuff that got cut out thanks to the asshats at the MPAA.

Fast forward to 1998,I had moved near Houston TX. And the owner of my local comic shop was gearing up to goto a convention in Austin. He was asking me if there was any comics I was looking for. I mentioned that I needed issues 1 and 3 of the Leatherface mini. And since in issue 4 there was an ad for a upcoming comic adaptation of the original TCM I asked him to look for those also. The next week when I stopped by the shop for my weekly dosage of comics he said he had something for me. He had found a dealer with issues 1 and 3. "Now Newt I understand if you don't want to pay what I have to ask for these issues. Turns out they are kind of hard to find. The guy charged me $20 for the two of them. Do you mind giving me $25 for them? Also found out that the TCM series was never published." I gladly handed him $25 bucks and rushed home to read the entire mini series for the first time.

I wish some company would get the rights to this mini and put it out as a trade.Because since I got my set it has become even harder to find these issues for under 10 bucks each. The covers all got great art. The interior art is overall decent. Leatherface TCM 3 comic gets a B.

In 2007,around the same time Wildstorm published their first Friday the 13th comics,put out a six issue Texas Chainsaw Massacre mini series Titled Americarnivore,the 6 issues are written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. With Wes Craig doing the pencils and inks.

This is a direct sequel to the TCM remake that starred Jessica Biel. It wasn't until early this month that I got all 6 issues. With TCM being my favorite horror franchise I sat right down,poured myself a big glass of drink and started reading them. What a horrible comic. It sadly falls into a trap lots of comics from 2000 to present do. There is enough story for 2 or 3 issues,but it is padded out to 6 issues so it would make a nice trade. The art is nice,with the covers being better than anything on the inside. The best part of the series is the various characters are named stuff like Hooper,Henkel,Burns and other names of cast and crew from the 1974 cinema masterpiece.

We get a group of FBI agents that come to the town the Hewitt family lives in, have I ever mentioned how much I hate that they changed the family name from Sawyer to Hewitt? Where they quickly learn that the entire town is nuts. Throw in a airhead "Inside Edition" like "reporter". And you get a story that is not only boring but drags in so many places. Texas Chainsaw Massacre Americarivore gets a D-.

31 Days of Horror 2014 Halloween Day Extra Movie 02

Source-Lionsgate 4 pack

I bought this 4 pack hell 2 or 3 years ago. It was $5 and I had heard good things about Creep. But for some unknown reason I ended up watching the other 3 films on the set but not Creep. 2 of the other three were good,Drive Thru and Tamara. Both of them I reviewed in one of the previous 31 days of Horror.

Set in Modern day UK. Creep is about a German woman,she is at a party and heads off to another because she heard George Clooney is going to be there. She ends up locked in the underground,that is what the subway system is called in the UK. A train comes to the station she is locked in and she quickly jumps onto it. Turns out a coked up asshole is also on the train. She knows him from somewhere. And he gets killed by some unseen killer. Our heroine gets off the train and tries to hide.

While hiding she meets up with a couple of homeless 20 somethings. The male of the group offers to help her out. But he quickly meets his maker. Kate,our lead,ends up down in the sewers where she meets the malformed titular Creep.

Normally I find most UK horror films to be a bit dry and kind of slow paced. This is not one of those films. The pacing is well done. I never once got bored or bothered to check and see how much time the film had left.Franka Pontente is good as our heroine Kate. She seems to really be scared. Which is something I have noticed lots of people in indy horror have trouble conveying.

The FX work looks to be mostly practical effects. If it is CGI it is very well done CGI. As far as the story,it isn't the most original. I kind of remember an early 80s UK horror called something like Raw Meat about killers in the underground system. Then there is the classic short story "Midnight Meat Train" which has been adapted into a pretty good film. Now that I think about it the few killers in the subway movies I have seen are all UK based.

I do wish the DVD version I own had say a behind the scenes featurette or even better a commentary with the director,actors and/or writer.  If you find the pack it is in,which has Drive Thru,Boy Eats Girl,Tamara and Creep grab it. Creep alone is worth the $5 I see it selling for. With Tamara and Drive Thru also being worth watching.Creep gets a B+.

31 Days of Horror Halloween Day extra 01 Halloween Cartoons and TV specials

As a kid I looked forward to Halloween each year. Not just for the dressing up and trick or treating. And not just because it meant the 5 channels we got would start showing lots of horror movies. And not because it being October my uncle would be taking me to a horror film every week. What I looked forward to the most was all the animated Halloween cartoons the big 3 networks would show.

I have noticed over the past decade that fewer and fewer of these specials get aired each year. And we aren't getting many new ones. So I thought it would be fun to talk about a few of my favorites.

Garfield's Halloween Adventure AKA Garfield in Disguise

This classic special from my childhood first aired in 1985 on CBS. And I watched it every year until sometime in the mid 90s. I even had it recorded on a Betamax tape for awhile.Garfield and Odie go out trick or treating dressed up as pirates. They end up in a boat going down and a river and thanks to a mis-communication end up beached on an island with a creepy mansion. Where they get attacked by pirate ghosts.

Sure currently Garfield has been stuck in a rut for 20 years. But back in the mid 80s he was at his peak. I am pretty sure this special was the first of many Garfield specials. And it became one I had to see each year.

In the mid 2000s I realized I had not seen it air in years. Did some research and while it has gotten a DVD release, This release is edited. So I searched for years for an unedited copy. And just a few weeks back I found a rip of someone's recording from the mid 80s.

My friends asked me to gather together some movies,holiday specials and cartoons for us to watch today. So this one was quickly added to the viewing list. Garfield's Halloween Adventure gets a B.

Beavis and Butthead Halloween special

This special first aired in October 1995 on MTV. By this time my cable company had dropped MTV and replaced it with VH1.Thankfully one of my best friends lived in another part of Moss Point and still got MTV. So the night this aired we all gathered together,drank way too much beer and laughed so damn hard.

It is Halloween and Beavis and Butthead want to go trick or treating. Beavis puts a pair of briefs on his head. And says he is dressed up as a nad. Butthead dumps liquid cheese all over himself and says he is nachos. We get your typical Beavis and Butthead hyjinx. And lots of the videos played during the episode have a horror or Halloween theme. The Beavis and Butthead Halloween Special gets a A-.

Claymation Comedy of Horrors

First airing on CBS,I think it was CBS,in 1991 this special is from Will Vinton studios. Who are best known for their California Raisins specials. And the classic Will Vinton Studios X-mas Special. Honestly I do not think I saw this special until about a week ago. While watching it I remembered nothing about it. And by 91  I was more worried about what parties I was going to at Halloween than watching holiday specials.

The animation is the excellent stuff we saw in the Raisin commercials and their classic X-mas special. And as with everything else from Will Vinton the humor is really good. With stuff that works for the kids that are watching. And other jokes that will fly over the kids heads but get the adults to laugh.Claymation Comedy of Horrors gets a B.


I love the Roseanne sitcom. And almost every year the best episode was the Halloween one. The Connors reminded me of a family that lived near me when I was younger. They were working class and didn't have much extra cash. But they saved up year round so they would have extra money to spend on costumes and for decorations for their home for Halloween. I looked forward each year to seeing what the Connors dressed up as.And how they decorated their home.

Two of the Halloween episodes stand out in my memory. The first one has Roseanne just not feeling Halloween that year. So instead of going to the lodge Halloween party she stays at home. Falls asleep on the couch and gets visited by the Ghosts of Halloween Past,Present and Future. And like in the previous and future Halloween Roseanne episodes she has a great prank planned. My favorite part of the episode is when we got the past. And get to see Roseanne in High school at a Halloween dance. She dresses up as Ginger from Gilligan's Island,"You know if they had never made it to the island."It wasn't until re-watching it last year that I realized teenage Roseanne is played by a young Sara Rue.

The other episode I really love is a much later one. Jackie is married to Fred now. And Jackie and Dan are  trying to pull a great prank on Roseanne. My memory might be bad but I seem to remember they have placed a bet. And if they can prank Roseanne they win something. After many attempts,it looks like Dan and Jackie have given up. Then Roseanne walks into her bedroom and catches Dan in bed with Fred.

I know Anchor Bay and now Mill Creek have put out dvds that have all the Roseanne Halloween episodes. Usually in October I see this DVD selling for $5.Which it is totally worth. The Roseanne Halloween episodes get a B- overall. With the two I mentioned above getting A's.

It's the Great Pumpkin,Charlie Brown

First airing October 27th 1966 on CBS,this is the first Halloween special I remember seeing. And besides for 1 year in the mid 90s,I have watched it each October.

I got a good feeling that everyone reading this has seen it. So instead of explaining the plot in my trademarked halfass way, I will just focus on the things and moments in the special that stand out for me.

The picture above shows the main Peanuts gang in their Halloween costumes. I love how each costume is a white sheet with either holes cut out to see through or a mask. The one kid with the Davy Crockett hat on top of the sheet is my favorite. Now I have seen plenty of Halloween costumes. But never seen in person someone use an old sheet to be a ghost. Another standout moment is when Snoopy is day dreaming. And he is engaged in some dogfights ,while using his doghouse as a plane. Plus as is normal with the early Charlie Brown Holiday specials the music in this one is a great jazzy sounding mixture.It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown gets a perfect A+.

It was last year in October when I was lamenting how there hadn't been a new Halloween cartoon special on any of the broadcast networks in years.Then I was reading a blog and saw that ABC had aired a new one. "Toy Story of Terror" is the next entry in Pixar's Toy Story franchise. I quickly found a copy and reviewed it last year. Toy Story of Terror review . The toys are with their new owner,this is set after Toy Story 3,and are on a vacation. They are all in the trunk of the car watching some old horror film on a portable dvd player. The car blows a tire and the family quickly pulls over at a roadside motel.Where creepy things start happening. I love how a Pez is included in this special.

Toy Story of Terror gets a A.

So I got a favor to ask anyone reading this. In the comments below tell me what your favorite Halloween special is.

31 Days of Horror 2014 Halloween TV show Extra 01

Tales from the Darkside Season 1 DVD Set
Source-Paramount DVD

Right before X-mas in 1984 I saw my first episode of Tales from the Darkside. Airing Saturday nights at 11pm on ABC,this 30 minute syndicated horror anthology show was pretty much Creepshow the tv series.

The first episode I saw was "A Bad Case of the Stubborns". Starring a teenage looking Christian Slater and a pre Star Trek Next Gen and Night Court Brent Spiner,this is a well done dark humor tale. Christian plays a teen who lives in a small rural town with his mother and his grandfather. One day the grandfather dies. But before the local mortician can come get the body,Grandpa sits up and goes down stairs. He doesn't believe he is dead. Even after confronted what lots of proof. So after a few weeks,in which Grandpa has started to rot and smell,the mother sends Christian to see the town witch. The witch gives the young man a powder. Tells him to put in in Grandpa's napkin and it will solve their issues. Like most episodes of Darkside we get a well done humorous ending.

In this first season there is a few other episodes that stand out for me. Like "Word Processor of the Gods", This episode is based on a Stephen King short story that was first published in Playboy magazine,see people there really is decent stuff to read in Playboy. And then later on published in the King short story collection Skeleton Crew. Our lead is married to a horrible wife. And has a hellion of a son. His brother on the other hand is married to a great woman and has a smart and caring son. Sadly the brother and his family all die in a tragic car accident. After their funeral our lead finds out that his now dead nephew was making him a present. This was back in the early 80s. When people used word processors instead of computers. So the nephew has Macguyvered together a word processor for his favorite Uncle. The Uncle doubts it will even work. By looking at it he can tell some of its parts come from a Lionel Train set,btw I never got the train set I asked Santa for when I was 5. He turns it on and is surprised that it does indeed work. After messing around with it for a bit he learns that it quickly overheats. So he turns it off. It isn't until later that he learns it has special powers. When every you use the insert button it causes whatever you inserted to become true. So he types something about their being a bag of gold on the floor near him. He hits insert and the bag appears. Of course he wonders if the opposite will work, Do he deletes his message about the bag of gold. Which causes it to disappear. Once again the machine overheats and he shuts it off. All this time his wife and son are treating him horrible. He wonders if maybe he can use this so called word processor of the Gods to replace his horrible wife and kid with his dead brother's wife and kid. And in one of the rare occasions we get a happy ending to an episode.

The first season has 24 twenty odd minute episodes divided over 3 dvds. I heard reviews when this set came out about how bad the picture is. It might just be my eyes,but watching these episodes they look decent to me. I am pretty sure this series was filmed on video. So there is only so much cleaning up they can do. The only extra on the set is a commentary from the Godfather of the modern Zombie movie George Romero. He talks about the first episode which he directed. It would be nice if there was more extras. And when this came out it was kind of expensive. That and the reviews talking about how bad the picture is are the reasons why I didn't buy it until I found it for $10 back in 2008. Tales from the Darkside Season 1 DVD set gets a B-.

31 Days of Horror 2014 Halloween Day Extra Movie 01

Svengoolie's airing of Abbot and Costello meet Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde
Source-DVD-r of the original airing with all the original commercials

When I was a kid WPMI Channel 15 outta Mobile Alabama was the best channel around. Saturdays it showed all kinds of great cartoons from the Golden Age of animation. Then around 11am the movies would start.I noticed quickly that they showed movies in blocks. Like for a month or so the movie would be martial art movies or those old b/w movies based on the Blondie comic strip. Well one Saturday I looked in the newspaper and the movie was going to be Abbot and Costello meet Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. My dad seemed really excited for this. All that morning he kept telling me how funny Abbot and Costello are and explaining who Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde were to me.

Now I have no idea if this was the first episode of the Sgt Graves horror host show or not. But it was the first I saw,and the only time I remember him airing during the day. Normally he started at 10:30pm Saturday night and lasted 4 hours. He would show 2 films. At 11am I hear this weird music coming out of the TV. Then I see a zombie dressed up in a Confederate Army uniform. He said his name was Sgt Graves then spent about 5 minutes explaining a bit of history of the Abbot and Costello meet the Universal monster series of films.

Since I can not find anyone with any Sgt Graves shows,when I found a torrent of Svengoolie's showing of the movie on MEtv I grabbed it. I had seen 2 or 3 episodes of Sven before this. About a week ago my back was hurting me pretty badly. I need to buy a new mattress. When ever my back is hurting real bad I end up sleeping on the spare bed in the spare bedroom. I had brought a table and my laptop back there. So I could fall asleep while watching/listening to something I had on my HD. I saw I had this episode. Turned it on expecting to fall asleep fast. But I got wrapped up in the film and ended up watching all of it.

Abbot and Costello are in the UK. Part of a police exchange program.After some wacky stuff they run into Boris Karloff. Thinking back on it this film was only the second time I had seen Karloff. About 2 years before I saw this movie for the first time I got to see Frankenstein with Karloff. Karloff is of course Dr Jekyl. And through the rest of the film our bumbling duo are trying to capture the evil Mr Hyde.

I know some fans of the classic Universal horrors hate the Abbot and Costello Meets series of films. I can see their point of view,about how the films reduced these once terrifying creatures into jokes,but I don't totally agree with it. I have noticed that with people of my generation lots of the time we first got into the Universal Monsters because of the various Abbot and Costello films.I enjoy most of the A&C meets films,

I guess I should talk a bit about Svengoolie. I mentioned him in passing kind of in my piece on Horror Hosts. And currently he is one of the few that has a nationwide tv show. He has a cheeseball sense of humor that works with these older films. And I love how each show ends with him telling horrible jokes while people off the camera chuck rubber chickens at him. If I got MEtv,and I am working on a way to get it, I would record his show each week. Even if it is a film I don't like or have seen too many times.

Just the film Abbot and Costello Meet Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde gets a B. It isn't the best of the series but is far from the worse. The blend of comedy and horror in this one works most of the time. Svengoolie's airing of the movie gets a A-. The host bits are all well done and make me laugh.

Keep checking back here on the blog all day until midnight central time. I got some surprises coming up today. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

31 days of Horror Day 31 The Willies

The Willies
Echo Bridge 10 movie pack DVD

I never heard of this made for kids horror anthology. Then in the late 90s I was at my local Hastings,looking for something to rent. I saw the cover and took a chance.

Really not much stands out from this film. It is like they wanted to make an all ages version of Creepshow. The FX work is decent. The acting is pretty good. The only people in the film I had heard of were,Sean Astin,James Karin.Doug Bensen and Michael "Donkey Lips" Bower.

We get a bunch of kids in a backyard camping. And telling each other spooky stories trying to scare each other. The one story that sticks in my memory is the one with Donkeylips. He plays a kid that captures and kills flies and we get your typical short horror story/film O.Henry like twist at the end.

The Willies gets a C.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 30 Curse of Chucky

Curse of Chucky
Universal Blu Ray

A return to the feel of the original Child's Play,part 6 turned out to be way better than I expected. When I heard it was going straight to VOD and disc I was worried.. I got this and sat on it for almost a year.

The film starts with a very pretty young lady,who is in a wheelchair,getting a package in the mail. It is of course Chucky.She lives in this old mansion with her mother. But the Mom dies.

So her sister shows up. Along with her husband,daughter and Nanny.They want to sell the house and have the handicapped sister move into a assisted care home. When asked why they want to sell the house so quick the rich sister answers with "We are almost broke. Our daughter might end up having to goto public school!" Which of course made me laugh and strongly dislike the rich sister.

For the first 30 minutes of the film we keep gettign hints that the father and the attractive nanny have something going on. Then we learn that it is the mother and nanny that got something going on.

Of course Chucky starts killing people. And I keep wondering why Chucky was mailed to this young lady. I see no connection to Andy from the first 3 or really any connection to parts 4 and 5. But before the end all is revealed.

One last thing,like what happens with lots of modern film we get a scene during the credits. And it is totally worth saying around to see.

Curse of Chucky gets a A-.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 29 A Lure Teen fight club

A Lure Teen Fight Club
Echo Bridge 20 pack DVD

With these Echo Bridge 20 packs most of the time I pick out what film to watch by 2 things. One is the title of the film. The other is who is in the cast. Well this film a interesting title. But there is no one in the cast I had heard of.

A reporter goes undercover at a high school. Where lots of members of the girls lacrosse team keep disappearing.She quickly gets in with the popular crowd. And then learns why the girls are vanishing.

This is barely a horror film. What is happening is the rich people in the town gather at this old barn. Where the kidnapped girls are forced to fight each other. The reporter is put into the ring with what appears to be a 8 foot tall Asian lady. Reporter lady manages to defeat her. But once the Asian woman is laying down on the mat you can tell she is barely over 5 foot.

What surprised me is I went in expecting some cheesy kills and a bunch of nudity. I got neither of them.

A Lure Teen Fight Club gets a F.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 28 Friday the 13th comic books

Over the years 3 companies have published comics based on the popular Friday the 13th series of slasher films.

This is the first Friday the 13th comic book. Published by Topps comics in July,August and September of 1993, it is based on an early draft of the script. There is a few  scenes that are different from the theatrical and uncut versions. I got these when they first came out. With the glow in the dark cover on issue 1 being one that I hung on my bedroom wall years. The artwork isn't that great. But I have seen much worse.  For years I found this and the next series I will talk about in the cheap bins. Then sometime in the early 2000s the prices started going up. I must assume that this and the other Jason comic Topps put out didn't have huge print runs. Unless you are a Jason completest I would say to skip this series. Jason Goes to Hell mini series gets a C+.

Coming out two years later,Jason Vs Leatherface from what I can remember was a total bomb. My comic shop was ordering 2 copies of each issue. One copy for me,and one to put on the rack. Splatterpunk author Nancy A Collins writes the story and Jeff Butler handles the interior artwork. The covers are by Simon Bisley,I wish he had also did the interiors. Not that Butler's artwork is bad.

The story seems to start sometime after either Friday the 13th part 6 or 7. With Jason stranded in the bottom of Crystal Lake. Some big corp drains the lake and through some fluke accidents Jason ends up on a train bound to Mexico. He gets out in Texas and meets up with the Sawyer family. Where him and Leatherface quickly bond. By the last issue we get what we have been waiting on, a huge fight between Jason and Leatherface.

Out of the two Jason series from Topps this is the hardest to find. Since getting my copies as they were coming out in the fall of 1995 and early 1996,I have only seen  6 copies in person. Both times it was at a con. And both times the dealers were selling them as a set. IIRC the sets were going for $40. Jason VS Leatherface gets a B.

About a decade after  Topps published there two Jason mini series Avatar took over the license. For those that don't know Avatar is a company known for publishing very gory and violent comics.So  a Jason comic from them seems like a natural fit.

Friday the 13th Jason VS Jason X is a direct sequel to the Jason X movie. Written and drawn by Mike Wolfer this 2 issue series has the nanobots rebuilding Jason's body.And he ends up on Earth 2 fighting Jason X. The story is good for what it is. And the art is not bad. The best part about this series is since it is a comic and it is coming from a company that likes to push the boundries,we get a gorefest.

I have no idea how hard it would be to find these 2 issues. But I doubt you would have to pay more than cover price. One thing Avatar does is puts out lots of covers for each comic. I put the wraparound covers above. Friday the 13th Jason VS Jason X gets a B-.

While Avatar published more Jason comics none of them stand out to me. So on to the next company that got the Jason/Friday the 13th license.

In 2007 Wildstorm,which by then was a sub imprint of DC comics,got the Jason license. And they put out a bunch of Jason comics. The first one I want to talk about is also the best from them I have read so far.

This 2 issue series is written by Marc Andreyko with Shawn Moll handling the art chores.Remember the scene in the original Friday the 13th where a hitchhiker is picked up by Ms Voorhies. We find out in this series that while the hitchhiker is in the Jeep,Ms Voorhies is telling her ,her life story. We get to find out lots of Ms Voorhies and Jason's backstory. I am kind of surprised there hasn't been a film in the franchise that filled in all this backstory.

Since this came out from Wildstorm it is really easy to find. I think it and another of the Jason series from Wildstorm have been combined into a trade. But I see back issues of this all the time at cons or in comic shops. And they are always at cover price or under.This is my favorite Jason comic so far. And I really love the cover artwork. Which reminds me of the art on all the issues of Fables. Friday the 13th Pamela's Tale gets an A.

This 2 issue mini is penned by Jason Aaron. With Adam Archer doing the pencils. Once again the summer camp at Crystal Lake is reopened. One the first page we are introduced to a young pre-teen. He suffers from a disfiguring disease,that will cause him to die before he hits 18. Since he doesn't look normal all the other kids,and some of the asshole counselors pick on him and bully him. But then Jason shows up. Kills the bullies and assholes and takes our poor disfigured outcast with him.

I love the idea of Jason,like he did in Jason VS Leatherface,bonding with another outcast. Jason Aaron is a writer that I just started reading his stuff this year, And everything has been great. The art by Archer is serviceable. Friday the 13th How I spent my Summer Vacation gets a B.

Currently no comic company has the rights to make Jason comics. I wish someone had them. There is so much they can do in the comics that are cost prohibitive in films.If any of these series sounded interesting I would suggest checking for more information. The Wildstorm stuff was put out in trade paperbacks. Which your local library should be able to get in for you using Inter Library Loan. One last thing before I end this. Since these are comics and not under the eye of the MPAA the violence level and gore level are fairly high. With all these series if they had been made into films they would have had to been cut to get an R rating. So if you have kids that are into horror and comics you might want to thumb through these first to see if they are too violent and gory for your children,

Monday, October 27, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 27 Horror Hosts

Last year for 31 days of Horror I reviewed a documentary about American horror hosts.

American Scary a documentary about Horror Hosts

The first horror host I saw was Sgt Graves.He was a zombie of a Confederate Army soldier. He was on the air for at least 5 years. Airing at 10:30pm Saturday nights. He would show two films. Most of the time I could manage to stay awake for the first film. But would have to record the second one. I can find no info on him on the internet. Even talking to people from the area that are my age,only one of them remembers Sgt Graves. If you are reading this and remember him please leave a comment at the bottom.

The next Horror host I saw,has to be the most famous of the modern era. Elvira,it was Halloween night. I got home around 9pm from trick or treating. While I was sitting on the floor going through all my candy,my father saw that on WPMI Channel 15 Night of the living dead was showing. I had never seen it. So he said I could stay up past my bedtime to watch it. I think I was 7 or maybe 8 at the time. We flipped the channel and I got to see Elvira for the first time. During this time she had her syndicated show Elvira's Movie Macabre. I do not think what I saw that night was part of movie macabre. But she was showing the colorized version of the original NotlD. And I sat on the floor,not moving,not talking,totally engrossed in the film. After the end of the film,Elvira came back on and said she was going to show the Vincent Price classic House on Haunted Hill next. My dad was nice enough to let me stay up to watch it also. So I got to stay up to 1am and watch another great horror film. After this I didn't see Elvira again until the "Elvira Mistress of the dark" movie came out.

Thankfully when she revived Movie Macabre my local CW network picked it up. At first it was airing at 10:30pm Saturday nights. But after a month or so she got moved to midnight. Then to 1am. Using my set top DVD recorder I recorded all but 2 of the episodes. The only thing that sucked about the new Movie Macabre was she only showed Public domain films. Since the original show,the tv rights to lots of the types of films she would show had gone sky high. Sadly after one season Movie Macabre was cancelled. Elvira is back on HULU now. She is showing mostly Full Moon Studio films. But they are free. Plus I hear she is showing NotLD again. I might have to watch that one again.

Right after Thanksgiving 1990 cable tv finally made it's way to the super rural community I lived in. Instead of offering HBO or Cinemax like every other cable company,Rural Cablevision only offered Showtime and TMC. Being the movie nut I am I offered to pay the monthly fee for both. The first weekend we had cable I was flipping channels and saw Job Bob Briggs for the first time. Joe Bob got his start reviewing the films he saw at various Texas drive ins in a newspaper. Then sometime in the 80s TMC offered him a weekly show. Each Saturday he would show a film. I made it a point every weekend to either watch the show or record it. The only of these recordings I still have is when every weeknight at 10pm on Showtime Joe Bob would show a different Emanuelle movie.

I guess not many people saw this show,because when I mention Joe Bob to most people they talk about his TNT show Monstervision. Which I never cared for. Mostly because since it aired on TNT all the films were edited for content. Earlier this year I got a dvd that is a Joe Bob's Drive in theater episode where he shows the Night of the Living Dead remake. And before and after the film he has most of the cast of the original on the show for a Q&A segment.

Once I got online in the mid 90s I started looking up stuff on horror hosts. By the early 2000s I had found a horror host website. But it had no info on Sgt Graves. And no one I talked to remembered there every being a horror host in MS. And until March of 2010 I thought MS had never had a horror host. I went to Coastcon. Saw in the programming guide that Saturday at 3pm they were screening Night of the Living Dead. I figured what the hell I will go watch it before going out to eat with some friends. I get there and find out it is an episode of what I think is the only horror host in MS history.

Margali hosted a show on a station out of Jackosn MS for a good number of years. The episode with NotlD never aired. She was already at Coastcon that year to help judge the costume contest. And for the first time ever her NotLD episode was shown. After the screening I got to meet and talk to Margali. She was really nice. And she told me she still had all her episodes. "Newt if you are willing to pay for postage I will make you copies of all my episodes." I gave her my email address and asked her to email me once she got the copies made. With my plan being to pay her postage and a bit more for them. I guess she forgot cause I never heard back from her. But at least now I know that Mississippi had it's own horror host. And it was fairly recent.

The horror host website Margali told me about had a huge section on Count Gore De Vol. He is based in the Washington DC area. And was the first horror host to go over to the internet. Almost every week he has up an new episode, Sometimes it is a movie,with most movies he divides them into 3 or 4 parts. Or it is a short film. But even when the films are total shit ,the Count's host segments are entertaining.

Count Gore De Vol's website

Back in March one of the torrent sites I visit got a new uploader. He was uploading episodes of Svengoulie off MeTV. Sven has been around for since 1979. And is the second actor to play Sven. He seems to have a deal to show lots of Universal horror films. Since March I have gotten ahold of over 20 episodes of his show from the MeTV airings. Each episode besides giving us some back history on the film,he reads the mail. Then in the final segment answers the door of his crypt. Tells some bad jokes and each show ends with him going to his casket as people off the screen throw rubber chickens at him. Just the other night I watched Sven's airing of Abbot and Costello meet Jekyl and Hyde. Then 2 days ago I watched Murders in the Rue Morgue episode.

I hope everyone enjoyed me blathering on about Horror hosts.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 26 Pandemonium


Found a copy of this on Youtube and grabbed it. Hadn't seen it but once years ago on vhs. But all I could remember was Paul Reubens and Tom Smothers. We get a very early 80s parody of horror films.

Set at a cheerleader school,where two of the students are Judge Reinhold and Carol Kane,we find out that years prior there was a series of killings happening.Of course being a mystery we get piles of red herrings.

So we get a horror/comedy/murder mystery. Which is damn entertaining. I am really surprised this hasn't gotten a DVD release so far.

Pandemonium gets a C+.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 25 Venom

Echo Bridge 20 Pack DVD

Another of those hey it's 20 films for $5 packs. Venom caught my eye cause of the setting.Set in the bayous of Louisiana,Venom is a fairly fun and well done voodoo movie.

A woman has a suitcase full of snakes. That are possessed. One of them attacks and possesses the driver of a tow truck. And he hunts down a group of young adults.

The FX work is really good. The story and acting are well done. I really have no idea why this film isn't better known.Maybe it is because the only "name" in the cast was Bijou Philips.

I have always been interested in films dealing with voodoo. And this film doesn't disappoint.Plus with it being in a 20 pack of films that cost me $5. I only paid a quarter for the film. I wouldn't mind a DTV sequel to this film. But it has been what 10 years since this came out and we haven't gotten one yet.

Venom gets an A-.

Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 24 Child's Play

Child's Play
Chucky's 20th Birthday Edition MGM DVD

Finally after years I got a copy of the first of the long running Child's Play series. Years back I bought the one collection that had the 2nd,3rd,4th and 5th film. I looked for the first film,but the only copies I found were always full frame. Then I got Curse of Chucky. Well around the beginning of October I was grabbing my groceries and saw this 20th birthday edition for $5. I grabbed it as soon as I saw it was widescreen.

One I got home I looked and it is loaded with extras. Three commentaries,yeah I know I am a commentary addict.And a handful of entertaining featurettes.

The film is about a single mother. And her son who really wants a Good Guy doll for X-mas. But like the mid 80s Cabbage Patch Doll craze they are next to impossible to find. A serial killer's soul ends up in a Good Guy doll. And through a journey young Andy ends up with the doll.

Out of all the Chucky films this is the best. With Curse of Chucky being almost as good. What makes those two stand out is they are actually scary. Child's Play stands out of a packed field of 80s horror because of the good acting and well done doll effects.

Child's Play gets a B+

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 23 Tales of the Dead Grim Stories of curses,horror and gore

Tales of the Dead
Freakshow Cinema 12 movie pack from Mill Creek Entertainment

5 long time friends gather on Halloween to tell scary stories. I have always had a fondness for horror anthology films. Much like I love collections of horror novellas and short stories. From listening to the various accents I must assume the cast is mostly from the UK .

The first story is about a middle age woman that is unhappy with her body. She goes to see a plastic surgeon who tells her can not do the surgery she wants. At the end we find out she wants her limbs removed. And now has found someone to do it. We see someone armed with a saw cutting her legs off. Not bad really. Wasn't too short,wasn't too long.

The second story is about a teenager that daydreams a bunch. Once funny scene has him in the shower thinking he is getting attacked Psycho style. And it is just his mom handing him a bottle of shampoo.

The rest of the stories are very forgettable.Really I just finished watching it and can't remember shit about them. If my math is right,and since I went to Mississippi public schools I doubt it is,this film cost me around 44 cents.

Tales of the Dead gets a F+.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days of Horror Day 22 Afterlife with Archie

Afterlife with Archie issues 1-5
Archie Comics

Yeah I am cheating. This isn't a review of a film. It is ,as it should be obvious,a review of a handful of comics.

I heard all the hype about Afterlife with Archie last year. And thought "meh Archie plus zombies doesn't sound that fun." So I skipped it.

Then about a week ago I was loaned the first 6 issues to read. After one issue I was hooked.

The first issue starts off with Jughead rushing to see Sabrina. Someone has hit Hotdog with a car and killed him. So Jughead begs Sabrina to use her magic to bring him back to life. She tells him she can't. But later that night she steals a powerful spell book from her Aunts. And uses it to bring Hotdog back.

But of course shit hits the fan. Hotdog comes back as a zombie dog. He bites Jughead. And Zombie Jughead attacks the Riverdale High School Halloween dance. Where we get a very emotional scene as Jughead bites Big Ethel.

Thanks to Archie and Betty most of the teens escape and end up in the Lodge Mansion. All seems to be ok. There is plenty of food and water. The mansion has amazing security. But Archie is worried about his parents. So he sneaks out. He is at his house when he runs into Hotdog. And in a scene that caused me to almost tear up,we get to see Archie's loyal dog Vegas save him from Hotdog. After having to fight off his now zombified father Archie and his mother make it back to the Lodge mansion.

Where we find out that Moose's longtime girlfriend Midge has been scratched by Jughead. So she turns. Also we see that Jughead is leading a herd of zombies to the mansion. Issue 5,which is the last issue of what is called book 1,ends with Archie and what is left of the teens escaping into the woods.

Now I love Archie comics. Been reading them for decades now. And I know that over the past 4 or 5 years Archie has been making strides into becoming more current. Like introducing to the main cast the first openly gay character in Riverdale. With Afterlife with Archie they do lots of stuff they haven't done before. Like how this is the first Archie series to be rated for teens. Mostly for the violence. But for a few other things. Like how we find out that two the females in the series are in a secret relationship. And there is one scene where Kevin Keller,the previous mentioned gay character,strongly hints that Reggie is in the closet.

One other thing I loved with these five issues is after the main story we get black and white reprints of pre-code horror comics that MJL published. MJL is what the company now known as Archie Comics was called.

My only nitpick with the series so far is that it looks like this isn't a monthly series. There was a few month gap between the first and second issue.One very minor complaint I have is that the variant covers,one of which is at the top of this post,are much better than the normal covers. But both of those are minor.

Afterlife with Archie has great art combined with amazing moody coloring. Add in the compelling storyline. Which after 2 issues had me more invested in the main cast than The Walking Dead has done in 100 issues. I have no idea how long this is suppose to run. I do plan on buying the trades of the series.

Afterlife with Archie gets a solid A.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 days of Horror Day 21 Shaded Places

Shaded Places AKA The Giving Tree
Echo Bridge 20 film dvd pack

Got this pack for $5 last year. Was looking for something to watch and saw this had Christina Applegate and Molly Ringwold.The cover and description make this out to be a horror film. But instead we got a bad rip off of the Big Chill.

A group of high school friends reunite one weekend at a house out in the middle of nowhere. The first night there Applegate kills herself. And the rest try to figure out why.

It took me 4 tries to watch this movie. It is so dull I keep falling asleep. Thankfully the 20 movie pack only cost me $5. So I paid what a quarter for this piece of shit.

Shaded Places AKA The Giving Tree gets a F+.