Thursday, December 31, 2009


For mauled lang syne, my dears,
For mauled lang syne.
We'll drain a festering abscess yet
For mauled lang syne.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vampire Makeup Lesson

Now that we have done the year of the zombie to death in 2009, it looks like the vampire may regain its power back from the Twilight crowd. (See: shows like, Daybreakers)

So, to get you ready for that next party, here are some professional make-up tips from Michelle Phan to help you become the vampire you always knew was in you.

No, really. We don't have a stake in this. That would bite.

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #27

Another week, another MYSTERY PHOTO!

Jon Kitley, pillar of the Chicago Horror Community and head honcho over at KITLEY'S KRYPT, wants to challenge your horror knowledge. Week in, week out, he posts a Mystery Photo - sometimes from an obscure horror title, sometimes just an unusual shot from a well-known classic. We figured our faithful Claw readers would enjoy the challenge!

Last week's photo was from one of Hammer's finer black-and-white efforts, PARANOIAC (1963). Interspersed with their classic Gothic outings (for which they are most famously remembered), the "Studio that Dripped Blood" also turned out a fair number of Psycho-inspired thrillers based in a modern, realistic settings. This one stars Janette Scott and Oliver Reed, with the always capable Freddie Francis directing Jimmy Sangster's quality script.

Let's see how well you fare with this week's offering:

Send your guesses to:

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (, along with a new photo. Even if you don't know the answer, we welcome any sorta-kinda educated guess! So, send in your emails today and good luck!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Sell The Dead

On March 30th, look for the Hi-Def DVD/BluRay versions of "I Sell The Dead" to arrive on our shores. The Slamdance award-winning horror film looks to be a winner in more ways than one.

What's it about?
"18th Century England, a young graverobber (Dominic Monaghan) finds himself condemned to death for his crimes, with only a priest (Ron Perlman) for company for his last night before the gallows. A hilarious tale is told of a life spent digging up and selling supernatural corpses, including vampires and zombies, and the many shenanigans involved!"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, David F. Friedman (producer of BLOOD FEAST and 2000 MANIACS!)

Happy birthday to the man who, alongside director Herschell Gordon Lewis, gave the world its first explicit gore film in 1963 with BLOOD FEAST, followed quickly by TWO THOUSAND MANIACS and COLOR ME BLOOD RED.

Good times, my friends. Good times.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #26

Another week, another MYSTERY PHOTO!

Jon Kitley, pillar of the Chicago Horror Community and head honcho over at KITLEY'S KRYPT, wants to challenge your horror knowledge. Week in, week out, he posts a Mystery Photo - sometimes from an obscure horror title, sometimes just an unusual shot from a well-known classic. We figured our faithful Claw readers would enjoy the challenge!

Last week's photo was from the first of writer/director Amando de Ossorio's haunting Spanish zombie flicks, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971). While not everyone’s cup of tea, the imagery in this film is so overwhelming in its thick gloomy atmosphere that one cannot help but admire de Ossorio for his sheer confidence and audacity. (The slow-motion scenes of the recently revived devil-worshipping Templar Knights riding horseback are particularly inspired.) The success of this light-gore-and-nudity import spawned three more films in the series: Return of the Blind Dead, The Ghost Galleon, and Night of the Seagulls.

Let's see how well you fare with this week's offering:

Send your guesses to:

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (, along with a new photo. Even if you don't know the answer, we welcome any sorta-kinda educated guess! So, send in your emails today and good luck!

Holiday Horrors - GREMLINS (1984)

Hope everyone's having a grand final slide into Santaland! Here's a childhood fave that 25 years later still has me howling with fear and joy...


Joe Dante’s instant classic features the cute fuzzy Mogwai, who must be kept away from water, out of the sunlight and never, ever fed after midnight.

When these rules are inevitably broken, they multiply and become the malevolent reptilian “Gremlins” who set about bringing Zach Galligan’s small town to its knees, cackling all the while.

Terrific creature design (Chris Walas, who would win an Oscar for David Cronenberg’s THE FLY in two years) combined with Chris Columbus’ razor sharp black comic script make this one for the ages.

Phoebe Cates’ chimney monologue haunts us still.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

We take our horror seriously here at WildClaw, but we also have a sense of humor. I'm here to recommend at fun witty tale from Gail Carriger that has werewolves, vampires and OCTOPI in a Victorian steampunk setting. Its a Publisher's Weekly Best Books of 2009 pick and an inventive take on the supernatural.

"Soulless is a character-driven romp with great world-building and delicious rapier wit that recalls Austen and P.G. Wodehouse." ~ io9

(This recommendation is based on the personal book collection of Charlie Athanas. No freebies were used in the writing of this blog entry.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Vampira! (aka Maila Nurmi)

On this date in 1921, the first television Horror Host, the one and only "Vampira," a.k.a. Maila Nurmi was born.

It was director Howard Hawks, of all people, who discovered Maila while she was performing in Michael Todd's Grand Guignol midnight show "Spook Scandals." Hawks escorted the lovely blonde beauty to Hollywood with the hopes of grooming her into the next Lauren Bacall. Cast in the film version of the Russian novel Dreadful Hollow, the project was put on hold so many times that Maila walked out of her contract in frustration. She became a cheesecake model and an Earl Carroll dancer for several years in his revues, sharing a chorus line at one time with future burlesque stripper Lili St. Cyr.

Married at the time to child actor-turned-screenwriter Dean Riesner, she came up with the idea of "Vampira" at a masquerade contest where she based her costume on Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. Heavily painted up with long fingernails, a mane of raven-colored hair, and slim-waisted black attire, the Morticia gimmick won the best costume award that night...and more. She caught the attention of local TV and was placed under contract to Channel 7 in Hollywood to see if she could encourage late night viewers to stay up and watch its regular programming of cheapjack horror schlock. The macabre madam was a genuine hit (for one season, at least, in 1954-1955), adding a sexy nuance and silly double entendres to her campy horror set. She earned an Emmy nomination in 1954 for "Most Outstanding Female Personality." Fan clubs sprouted up all over the world. She appeared in Life, TV Guide and Newsweek magazine articles, and could be seen around and about town and in Las Vegas judging contests and making variety special appearances. Songs were written about the "Queen of Horror" by such notables as Bobby Bare and The Misfits.

She even appeared with arms outstretched and ghoulishly attired in the worst cinematic turkey of all time, Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), as Bela Lugosi's zombie-like mate, for which she is infamously associated. Lugosi actually was a fan of hers and had always wanted to work with her. Wood shot some footage of her years later as a tribute to Lugosi (he died in 1956 during filming) and added it before the film's release.

Nurmi passed away on January 10, 2008 in Los Angeles of natural causes.

IMDb Mini Biography courtesy of Gary Brumburgh

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great Unknown Horror Novels Vol. 1 - The Delicate Dependency

Michael Talbot's 1982 "Novel of the Vampire Life" is an example of a fantastic horror novel which few people know about. It's author passed away at the age of 38 in 1992 and he was apparently more known for a book called The Holographic Universe, which explores the notion that the universe is a hologram. I discovered The Delicate Dependency in a used bookstore in the 80's when I was very much into vampire mythology and thought it was a terrific addition to the subject. I've since lost the book, and will have to fork out quite a bit of money to get a used copy, but it is well worth it. Anyone out there read it?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

THE STAND (My first Love Affair with Horror)

One of the questions I have to answer for an upcoming interview is "When did you fall in love with horror?"

I was 22 years old and I was up in Cape Cod for a summer doing mediocre theatre by night and sharing a house with a middle - aged married couple by day and I had no car to take me where the cool kids were hanging out, so my only option for entertainment was to get immersed into a world other than my own. I stopped by a used book store on my way to rehearsal, and when I told the owner I need a book that is going to get me through an extremely boring summer, he offered up Stephen King's uncut version of THE STAND.

To this day, no movie, play, or any other kind of visual or electronic entertainment has ever taken me so much for a ride, has made me love and fear characters so much, has made me think about my own life more than the uncut version of THE STAND. It was technically my first love affair with horror, and ANYONE who tells me that they can't take the horror genre seriously, I tell them to read this story.

So... Stephen King... where ever you are... THANK YOU.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let's Play Six Degrees of...Brad Dourif!

Brad Dourif is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest character actors alive in the world today.

This spring, in WildClaw’s production of LEGION, I have the daunting honor of playing on stage the role Mr. Dourif originated on film (in tandem with Jason Miller) in 1990’s The Exorcist III.

So...just how many degrees from Brad Dourif am I? Let’s take a peek:

I’ve worked several times this past year with Randy Steinmeyer...

Who was in Public Enemies (2009) with Johnny Depp...

Who was in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with Robert Englund...

Who was in Urban Legend (1998) with Brad Dourif.

4 degrees. Not too shabby! The horror thread is a nice touch too. And in case you were wondering...Brad Dourif was in Murder in the First (1995) with Kevin Bacon.

Count it.

Dan O'Bannon - RIP

The scariest movie-going experience happened to me in a Texas strip mall at an advanced screening of a little film called ALIEN. I had read about it in American Film magazine and was already prepared to have the shit scared out of me when Veronica Cartwright got a hose full of blood and offal shot all over her. I just didn't know when it would happen in the film. Most other people in line were speculating that it was another outer space movie , like that Star Wars one that had come out. I have never been to a screening where the screams got louder and more genuine and grown men left the theater in fear. (This is Texas, damn it. Men just don't do that sort of thing.)

All of this was courtesy of Ridley Scott, an amazing film crew and cast, H. R. Giger, and some guy named Dan O'Bannon. I had seen Dark Star. I was not prepared for Alien. And I thank Dan for that.

Harry Knowles has written a nice obituary for Mr. O'Bannon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Author: Storm Constantine

Once in awhile, we here at WildClaw like to introduce artists and authors that have crossed our paths that we think you should know about. Our individual tastes are quite different so you should probably know whose making the recommendation. Today, Charlie Athanas, WildClaw poster artist, would like to suggest the work of author, Storm Constantine, as someone you should check out.

Constantine is best known for her expansive Wraeththu trilogy. My favorites involve her Andrew Collins-inspired works about the Grigori, a race of fallen angels. The stories are atmospheric, sexually-charged, filled with angel mythos and end of the world paranoia. She has been described by others as gothic horror. I would say she is a cross between Clive Barker and Sharon Shinn.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ultraman Kaiju Thriller

Thanks to Coilhouse (one of the coolest magazines in the world - CA) here is yet another version of Michael Jackson's Thriller, courtesy of the world of Ultraman.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Psycho Changes The World

Fifty years ago this week, Alfred Hitchcock filmed the shower scene in Psycho and changed movies forever.



The nights are silent...and getting silenter. Hope you're enjoying the Doc's Chrismas Carnage thus far. But wait, there's more...

P2 (2007)

When workaholic Rachel Nichols is trapped inside her office car park late on Christmas Eve, she finds herself terrorized by unhinged security guard Wes Bentley.

Freshman director Franck Khalfoun (working from a script developed by himself, Gregory Levasseur and Alexandre Aja) succeeds in developing a laudably suspenseful yarn – cleverly subverting the presumed safety of the modern office environment while exploiting the shadowy, echoing eeriness of a deserted parking garage.

Bentley makes for an amusingly over-the-top psycho, peppering his “seductive” M.O. with limb-flinging tantrums, while Nichols does well in her transition from babe-in-peril to resourceful heroine.

There are also a couple of surprisingly nasty and gory set-pieces that bump this TV-movie thriller up a notch into full R-rated territory.

If you keep your expectations low and your spirits high, this turns out to be a rather satisfying, slick and silly exercise in holiday horror. Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Clive Barker's Zazzle Store

That's right, Clive now has a Zazzle store full of good stuff that monster are made of.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hobo Junction's HORRIBLE - A Horrific Love Story

Well friends, just saw a show produced by Hobo Junction called HORRIBLE which is playing at The Apollo Studio in Chicago. I loved it! The play (written by Hobo Junction company member Josh Zagoren) is wonderfully splattered with dark humor, great comedic timing, and bare bones story telling - the set is literally two moveable screens. The production showcases great Chicago talent putting on a "horrific" comedy with no fancy shmancy staging - truly a treat!
The show runs until December 19th (Friday and Saturdays @ 8 p.m.) so get your tickets now!
If you are looking for a fun holiday alternative, go see this show!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sweet Spooky Couture for the Holidays at Target!

Awesome fashion designers Rodarte have a great little collection coming to Target on December 20th which has a spectacular sequin ribcage mini dress that would be perfect for the horror fashionista! Go get it...or even wait in line for it...I might!

Holiday Horrors - SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)

Continuing with our month-long celebration of decking the halls with bowels and squalor...


The film’s notorious ad campaign is the stuff of legend. The movie itself? 's actually pretty good by slasher standards, with director Charles E. Sellier and screenwriter Michael Hickey providing plenty of gore, gratuitous nudity and even a nifty plot twist or two.

After his parents are murdered by crook in a St. Nick outfit, young tormented teenager Robert Brian Wilson is sent to stay at an orphanage where he is mercilessly abused by Mother Superior Lilyan Chauvin.

Ultimately, he goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, claiming “naughty” victims right and left. In one of the most memorable sequences, oft-topless scream queen Linnea Quigley shows off her bountiful assets before being impaled on a set of antlers.

(made you look closer, didn't I?)

Followed by four sequels, only the first two of which carry on the Killer Santy storyline in any fashion whatsoever. The first follow-up, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987), utilizes an exorbitant amount of flashback footage from the original - nearly half its running time!

Special note: This Saturday (yes, TOMORROW!), as part of their Holiday of Horrors film fest at the Portage Theater, the cool cats at Horror Society will be screening Silent Night Deadly Night from a 35mm print! Don't miss a rare opportunity to see this holiday classic on the big screen surrounded by like-minded folks who like a little terror with their tinsel...

Visit for more details

Possession, Part I: What Is Gained?

When asked to name itself, the demon inside Emily Rose (from The Exorcism of Emily Rose) declares , in several languages, that it is not one demon but six.

1. I am the one who dwells within Cain.
2. I am one who dwelt within Nero.
3. I dwelt within Judas.
4. I am with Legion.
5. I am Belial.
6. And I am Lucifer, The Devil in the flesh!

WildClaw’s upcoming production of William Peter Blatty’s LEGION has us all thinking about possession. Demonic possession, bodily possession, material possessions, worldly possessions, you name it. If it’s possessed (or possessive), we’ve got it on our minds.

Let’s look at the word. From the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition



pos•sessed, pos•sess•ing, pos•sess•es


Middle English possessen, from Old French possesser, from Latin possid re, possess- : pos-, as master; see poti- in Indo-European roots + sed re, to sit; see sed- in Indo-European roots

1. To have as property; own.
2. To have as a quality, characteristic, or other attribute: possessed great tact.
3. To acquire mastery of or have knowledge of: possess valuable data.
4. a. To gain or exert influence or control over; dominate: Fury possessed me.
b. To control or maintain (one's nature) in a particular condition: I possessed my temper despite the insult.
5. To cause to own, hold, or master something, such as property or knowledge: She possessed herself of the unclaimed goods.
6. To cause to be influenced or controlled, as by an idea or emotion: The thought of getting rich possessed him.
7. Obsolete To gain or seize.

To possess supposes ownership or dominion. Words like 'control' are important in these definitions, or 'mastery.' But I like the idea that possession is not limited to Demons and Spirits but also extends to possession by ideas or emotional extremes. These aren’t as fun as supernatural applications (we’ll take a good demon any night of the week), but it is a fascinating psychological conceit. When we’re not possessed of our faculties, we’re possessed by something else. Naturally.

But that 7th definition…that’s the one that sticks with me most. To gain. I’d like to challenge the “obsolescence” of this definition, because not only do I think it’s extremely applicable to horror, but it’s also deliciously vague. When one is possessed, what is truly gained by the possessor? I agree, there must be a gain, but is it a tangible gain we’re talking about, or something else? A “gain,” the way I think of it, is strategic. Gaining ground in a war. Gaining a foothold in an argument. Gaining leverage in a negotiation, or in the workplace. Gaining evidence to support a theory. Gaining the upper hand.

Material gain is boring, as are material possessions. Demons know this, which is why when they possess you, they’re looking to gain something else. The question of what it is PRECISELY they wish to gain has always been pretty fucking scary to me (not why they do what they do, but what it is exactly they GAIN). Your soul? Maybe, but what does that actually do for them? I assume they aren’t just trophies on the walls of their lairs, objectified. “Souls Gained.” So is it part of a greater strategy? Or just a desire to unleash chaos and make us lowly mortals despair? It is as impossible to know what happens to you when you die as it is to know what demons and evil spirits hope/wish/want/need to gain. They are beyond us. Their true intentions are unknowable, as are their ultimate aims.

Are there many demons competing for supremacy in the void? Or is there indeed only one demon, and all of evil simply the strategic gains of his odyssey?

He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. Remember that - do not listen. ~ Father Merrin, The Exorcist

What is the endgame?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Natalie Portman to Produce/Star in PP&Z Movie

HOT BREAKING NEWS! This just in 30 seconds ago from Seth Grahame-Smith:

"Well, it's official...Natalie Portman is set to produce and star in the PPZ movie!"

That's right kids, Natalie Portman as zombie-killing Elizabeth Bennett.

New WildClaw Legion Tees Available!

We just added a new t-shirt to our WildClaw Red Bubble store. It is the graphic to LEGION, our world premiere stage adaptation of William Peter Blatty's sequel to his novel, The Exorcist. The show will open at the Viaduct Theatre Mainstage on March 15th, 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crap or Class - Building a Horror Library ( and why Zombie Strippers doesn't suck )

Waiting out the traffic after work today, stopped at Half-Price Books. Again. Seriously addicted to that place. Had to face a moral decision that's been prodding my half-rotted brain for a while.

As I stood with "The Descent" in one hand and "Freddy Vs. Jason" in the other, asked myself, "who's this for?" Are my tapes and vids a library to which I turn on cold, lonely winter nights, or is it a collection that I proudly display on those happy occasions I entertain guests in my hovel?

Not that "The Descent" is a super-classy, show-my-encyclopaedic-knowledge-of-the-genre film like, say, "The Ninth Configuration" might be, but it does shows that the guy who proudly displays all three Jurassic Park films on VHS on his shelf might have a little something going on.

So does one build one's vid library for those sweat-pants, nursing-a-beer nights? Or does one stock it with crowd-pleasers and lady-killers, like "Zombie Strippers" and "Cemetery Man?"

Wait, are those guilty pleasures or cool display pieces for the house guests? Hmm. Perhaps I'm looking to solve the wrong problem.

Perhaps I should not be filtering my movie buying habits, but instead instead should be filtering my house guests. Invite only those friends who consider "Martin" and "Roger Rabbit" as signs of good taste, and "The Hunger" and "Cemetery Man" as signs of immanent foreplay. I like those kind of friends.

Mr. Morlock will have to ponder this further. As he lounges in sweat pants, nurses a beer, and watches... "The Descent." Slightly classy, and dead sexy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Horrors - CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)

Continuing the Doc's month-long celebration of Christmas-themed fright flicks, we next turn to...

CHRISTMAS EVIL (aka You Better Watch Out) (1980)

Dubbed by John Waters as "the greatest Christmas movie ever made," writer/director Lewis Jackson’s low budget holiday card to the masses features Brandon Maggart (singer Fiona Apple’s dad!) as a mentally unstable toy factory worker who loves Christmas so much, he keeps tags on the neighborhood children, logging them in his “Naughty and Nice” book.

As the Yuletide season draws nigh, the superficiality and callousness of his fellow man pushes him over the edge, leading him to don a suit of red and paint the town the same color. (A novel twist: unlike most holiday-themed horror flicks, it’s only the deserving baddies who get the axe here.)

Highly underrated satire is well-anchored by Maggart’s captivating lead performance, a bounty of offbeat touches (suburban villagers with torches, anyone?) and a supremely audacious final shot that will have you picking your jaw off the floor and smiling ear to ear.

Popular character actor Jeffrey DeMunn (The Green Mile, The Mist) appears in an early role as the overprotective brother and both the Synapse and Troma DVD releases feature a wealth of extras, including an informative and engaging commentary shared by Jackson and Maggart.

Special note: This Saturday, as part of their Holiday of Horrors film fest at the Portage Theater, the cool cats at Horror Society will be screening Christmas Evil with writer/director Lewis Jackson in person! Don't miss a rare opportunity to see this holiday classic on the big screen surrounded by like-minded folks who like a little terror with their tinsel...

Visit for more details