Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blood Radio Episode 15, featuring DEATHSCRIBE 2009 part 1

Blood Radio Episode 15, featuring DEATHSCRIBE 2009 part 1, click here.

In episode #15, WildClaw Theatre is very proud to release part 1 of DEATHSCRIBE 2009, featuring 'The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,' written by Clint Sheffer, directed by Cecilie Keenan, and 'Bags of Blood,' written by Daniel Caffrey, directed by Don Hall.

Submissions are being accepted for DEATHSCRIBE 2010, which will be held at the Mayne Stage Theatre, Monday, December 6th.  Submission deadline is October 15th.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Exorcism Viral Campaign

Mr. Morlock will miss a movie-going party this weekend for The Last Exorcism on account of his being extremely busy and important, but he does quite enjoy this article about the movie's clever marketing on ChatRoulette.

This is Mr. Morlock most favoritest "Gob-smacked Perv Reaction Shot" compilation since that of Two Girls, One Cup.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Minneapolis Doesn't Like Zombies

Truly never thought Blood Radio would ever link to Perez Hilton's site, but here you go:

Nightmarish, yes? All that flashy pinkness. Somewhere between an 8 year old girl's bedroom and Shelby's wedding decorations.

Good lord, now I've referenced Perez Hilton AND Steel Magnolias? What the hell has happened to Mr. Morlock?

Aaah. That's better.

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #57

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!

Our last photo was from Siu-Tung Ching's A CHINESE GHOST STORY (1987). Considered one of the "101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die" and included in Steven J. Schneider's book of the same name, this is a stunning medley of genres (slapstick comedy, supernatural tale, kung fu action, romance) that culminate in a hugely enjoyable cinematic stir-fry from Hong Kong director Siu-Tung Ching. Performed with such “spirited” originality and panache that, while some elements are less successful than others, the sheer vitality of the presentation carries the day. The relationships between the human (Leslie Cheung) and inhuman (the luminous Joey Wang) characters are richly developed and the story is sparked along by plentiful eye-popping wire-work martial arts sequences. A brief musical interlude where a Taoist swordsman (Wo Ma) busts a move in the forest is a surreal highlight, and the heroes’ final confrontation with the dark forces - in Hell, no less - is among the more imaginative and energetic finales one is likely to find anywhere. Perhaps an acquired taste, but rewarding for the adventurous.

Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), 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!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bloody Finger Mail

Send someone special a nice, bloody message today!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cthulhu on the Tabletop

For the last several months, I've been getting together with friends on Friday nights to save the world from The Great Old Ones. We've been playing Fantasy Flight Games's Arkham Horror board game, and having a splendid time of it. It's a game that's steeped in Lovecraftiana. Students of Lovecraft will have a field day with it. The object of the game is to prevent whichever great old one is drawn at the beginning of the game from coming to Arkham and destroying the world. Simple, right? Well, not quite.

The game is not a competitive game, per se. You and your fellow players aren't playing against each other, but against the board. And let me tell you, the board, she is a cold-hearted bitch. Basically, game play goes like this: a gate to the other worlds opens in Arkham, the players can either jump through the gate to explore or they can visit various locations in Arkham looking for clues to the mystery and encountering the locals (including local horrors). The encounters sometimes result in the player gaining some vital advantage in the form of arcane objects, spells, or allies. More often, the player comes away from the encounter weaker or less sane than he or she was before. The more clues you have, the likelier it is that you'll close the gates. Close enough gates, and you win. Don't close enough gates and the big nasty wakes up and chances are, you're screwed. There are several expansions for the game that let the players explore beyond Arkham into Dunwich, Kingsport, and Innsmouth, or center the game around specific events like the opening of the play, The King In Yellow, or the activities of the Cult of the Thousand Young. In general, you shouldn't play with more than one of the expansions at a time, or at the very least, with one of the big expansions with one of the little expansions. Any more and you won't have room at the table, let alone time to prevent Nyarlahotep from destroying the universe. Even the basic game provides a near infinite number of gameplay variations, though.

On the whole, the game is terrific fun. It's a great excuse to get together with friends over beer and pretzels and it's a pleasant alternative to watching horror movies. It has three downsides: First, the rules are occasionally murky, often relying on clarifications on Fantasy Flight's web site. Second, the game has so many fiddly pieces that set-up and take-down can take a while; plus, it takes up a lot of space on your dining room table or where ever you choose to play it. Third, the dice that come with the game are not on strings, so when the game gets through raping you, there's no easy way to extract them from your ass. A word to the wise.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Start Writing Your Scary 10-Minute Play

There is still time to write your entry for DEATHSCRIBE 2010. The submission deadline is October 1st. Check out the rules.

You could be the next winner of the Bloody Axe. Write a scary 10-minute radio play, complete with sound effects and enter it in our 3rd Annual International Radio Horror Festival, DEATHSCRIBE 2010.

If selected your play will be performed live with the help of a marvelous band and a live foley artist in a magnificent theatre in front of hundreds of horror fans. Then podcast later on WildClaw's Blood Radio. If our celebrity judges pick your play as the festival winner, you will receive the adoration of thousands, the Bloody Axe (wiped clean of fingerprints), and a visit from the Elder Gods. Who wouldn't want that!

Start writing!

Friday, August 20, 2010

120 Years Ago...

...horror was given one of its greatest gifts with the birth of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the father of cosmic horror. He was the most influential horror author of the 20th century, no arguments allowed. If you don't agree, then may Cthulhu devour you slowly.

Hey guys, what's for dinner? Oh, yeah, you are.

There have been many attempts to translate Lovecraft to the big screen, but no one has been able to do any of his stories real justice. However, and this is a big however, there seems to be one director who has made a name for himself directing Lovecraft-inspired, completely outrageous horror films. That man is this man:

Are you gonna argue with that?

Stuart Gordon is the director of Re-Animator and From Beyond, not to mention a totally righteous dude*. These are two of the most entertaining movies ever put to film and also two attempts to bring Lovecraft to the screen. While neither film is an accurate or direct translation of their respective sources, both are completely unmissable for horror fans.

Lovecraft was also a mentor to Robert Bloch, who authored a book whose film adaptation is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Psycho. You might have heard of that one somewhere along the line.

So, many cheers to H.P. Lovecraft, whose influence still resonates in horror to this day.

*aside from stealing my seat at the Music Box Massacre last year. The jerk.**

**just kidding. He really is an all-around nice guy and an amazing director.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trouble Every Day (film review)

Directed by Claire Denis, written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau

Vincent Gallo as Shane Brown
Tricia Vessey as June Brown
Béatrice Dalle as Coré
Alex Descas as Léo

This French Horror film opens with a scene of two random lovebirds making out in a parked car. The camera shot is a bit shaky, and the view of the couple slowly wanders off and on full frame, as if to insinuate that we, the viewer, are watching something private - as if we are spying. Director Claire Denis carries this tone throughout the rest of the film, allowing the viewer to watch the story unfold through the equivalent of a hidden hole in the wall of a seedy No-Tell Motel. We are peeping Toms, of sorts, watching two people deal with their insatiable desires and inability to love.

And what we see is harrowing.

We are first introduced to beautiful Coré (Béatrice Dalle) who picks up a passing trucker by giving him the come-hither eye. Assuming that the two strangers have 'knocked boots' in the normal way that strangers do, it is quite a shock when we later see Coré huddling in the middle of a field with blood on her mouth. A black man driving a motorcycle (later determined to be Coré's husband, Dr. Leo Semeneau) finds her and the apparent aftermath of her sexual wrath - a bloody, beaten and bloated man who definitely has seen better days.

We are next introduced to American couple Shane Brown (Vincent Gallo) and his new bride June (Tricia Vessey) as they cuddle on a trans-Atlantic flight to Paris for their honeymoon.

Shane lovingly kisses his wife and speaks in a reticent, soft voice, which is in direct contrast to his hard and dramatic physical features. Reserved June, who has a fondness for monochromatic Jackie O outfits (sans the pill box hat), shows to be equally enamored by her new husband. All seems rosy, until Shane locks himself in the plane bathroom and daydreams about his bride covered from head-to-toe in fresh, vibrant blood. In this 'wet-dream,' she is sensually aware of the blood and even accepts it. In a few provocative poses, we see puddles of the life fluid collected on certain sexual areas (her buttocks) that exposes the connection between Shane's arousing predilection for blood and intimacy.

Coré and Shane are unusual horror villians because we feel sorry for their unsatisfied desire to love and be loved. Claire Denis uses sparse dialogue in this film, and instead relies on the kinetics of her characters to show how they are feeling inside. For example, we see Shane instensely staring at the chamber maid while she makes the hotel bed, and can almost feel the heat of his stare on her shoulders. The reliance on non-verbalization makes this film a bit of a chore for some regular horror film buff, who may be use to seeing violence and action at every turn. Instead of dulling the viewer with scene after scene of cannibalization and blood, however, Denis calmly unravels the story in a slow, Lynchian pace, lulling the viewer into a calm tenure. I think this is only to intensify the horrific nature of Coré and Shane's confrontations with the objects of their desires, with images so horrific they have been known to make people lose conciousness (in fact, it is reported that two people fainted while watching this film at its debut in Cannes).

Coré is unable to control her appetite for blood (probably because she throws away the medication that her Dr. husband gives her), and wants to be put out of her misery. Her husband locks her up in their house when he is gone, but she continually finds ways to get out and quench her thirst. The loving husband has to go out and find her, bring her back home, and bathe the gore off of her once more.

Coré is your typical Black Widow who wants to devour her lovers. One of the most disturbing scenes happens when two hoodlum teenagers break into the black widow's fortress, unaware of the danger they unleashed. The sound effects of the boy gurgling while his throat is being chewed into is disgustingly good.

Shane Brown also deals with this trouble every day - the trouble of wanting to satisfy his sexual urges, but not being able to turn off that carnivorous part of him that also wants to eat his lover during the act. This crux, which prevents him from consecrating his new marriage, leaves his Paris connubial bed dry. June is understandably confused and hurt, especially when Shane runs off to the bathroom to masturbate in order to 'take the edge off' in order to keep him from hurting his wife. He obviously loves her and wants to be cured, so that he can have a normal, sexual relationship with her - and their new marriage pressures him to look for that cure, fast. June is left wondering if she is to blame, and seems eager to please him. She even shows a bite mark on her shoulder and lip - perhaps from Shane's past failed attempts at making love with his wife without making dinner out of her?

Later on in the film, we discover that Shane's real motive in going to Paris was not to honeymoon (this was a cover), but to find the isolated biologist Dr. Leo Semeneau, the only person who can help him with his sick sexual urges, I think because he is also the cause of it. A snap shot of a research article reveals that Dr. Leo Semeneau had done extensive research that focused on "nervous diseases, pain, mental diseases and problems of libido"- and it is also later revealed that Shane and Coré were present during his libido experimentations and were most likely test subjects. Though the testing was to find a way to enhance one's libidos, Dr. Semeneau's tests ended up transforming Shane and Coré into tortured, repressed souls wanting to quench their thirst for blood whenever they became sexually aroused.

Shane is unable to find the doctor, but with the help of a fellow scientist he tracks down Coré. Shane finds Coré at the very moment she has given up on herself. This meeting seems a bit disjointed in the film, only because it is not clearly determined how Shane and Coré knew each other, or if they had any feelings for each other. Shane ends up killing Coré before she can do it herself, but it appears to be out of self-defense.

After seeing how low and hopeless Coré had gotten with her disease, Shane decides that he must satisfy this urge of his no matter what, probably in an effort to spare his wife. He turns on a chamber maid at the Paris hotel that he has had his eye on. This scene, which is near the end of the film, is very disturbing and shows the magnitude of his sexual frustration. The built up desire, lust and sexual obsession he releases is at horrifying level.

Overall, I think Claire Denis has made a beautiful, thought-provoking film. Perhaps the cannibalism here is a metaphorical statement on the depths at which people with go to connect physically with the other people and the objects of our obsession. Psychologists have long said that the act of cannibalism is a way to become one with their victims, and to inhabit their souls forever.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #56

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!

Our last photo was from 1981's GHOST STORY, a not-too-shabby adaptation of Peter Straub's hair-raising novel. While its four aged silver screen stars (Fred Astaire, John Houseman, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) were the headliners, it was the object of their affections - albeit many years prior - that horror fans remember most: the stunning and mysterious Alma Mobley, as portrayed by She Who Would Be The Borg Queen, Alice Krige. With John Irvin directing a script by Lawrence D. Cohen (who also adapted the 1976 big-screen version of Stephen King's Carrie) and makeup maestro Dick Smith performing some of his renowned latex wizardry, there are worse ways to spend a wintry afternoon...

Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), 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!

Netflix Roulette: Blackout

Shortly before his death, an interviewer asked William Faulkner what he was reading. Faulkner replied: "Charles Dickens and the Bible. At my age, I don't have time for anything but the good stuff."

I used to have a lot more patience for the crap that forms the largest part of the horror genre. In my youth, I could watch any given zero-budget slasher film or ridiculous creature feature and still have a good ol' time. Over the years, though, I kind of got burned out on it. In part, this was because I was watching a lot of amazing stuff outside the genre, which was giving me an appetite for "the good stuff." In part, it was because I had been over-fishing the waters for years. And, in part, it was because the market for low budget and direct to video horror had contracted to the point where I wasn't able to find the diamonds in the rough I was able to find in past years. It wasn't giving me return on investment. So I gave up, and the sub-strata of the horror genre plugged along without me. It's been over a decade since I regularly trolled this area of film. This is where Netflix comes in. A lot of the stuff that used to stock the horror aisle at chain video stores is beginning to find a home on Netflix's instant streaming service (I presume that the same thing is happening over at Blockbuster, but I won't do business with them). Somewhere along the line, I got the idea that I might play roulette with the movies on Netflix Instant as a way of putting me back in touch with my roots. Who knows, maybe there's a diamond in the rough waiting to be unearthed.

In any event, here are the rules: Netflix currently has 18 pages of Instant Watch horror movies, and each page has 24 movies on it, so I needed to come up with two random numbers: one between 1 and 18 and one between 1 and 24. I set up a function in an Excel spreadsheet to generate these and I was set. The first numbers that came up were 3 and 1, which corresponds to Blackout, a 2007 thriller starring Amber Tamblyn and directed by Rigoberto Castañeda. The premise of this movie, in which three people are trapped on an elevator and one of them is a serial killer, sounds more than a bit like Shyamalan's upcoming Devil, though on a much smaller scale.

The movie starts with a dead woman in a bathtub, then moves to a scene of her husband grieving for her in a cemetery with his young daughter. This the first of our trio of characters: Carl, a doctor, played with amiable sadness by Aiden Gillen. Then we meet Claudia (Tamblyn), an asthmatic who may or may not have been responsible for her grandmother's death. The final character is Tommy, played by Armie Hammer, a tough kid about to go on the lam with his girlfriend. The backstories of each of these characters is filled in at excruciating length in flashbacks cut into the scenes in the elevator. Frankly, they mostly feel like padding to avoid the point or, at the very least, bring the movie to feature length. That being the case, the last twenty minutes or so, once the masks have fallen from our trio of characters and the flashbacks have been abandoned and everyone knows exactly who everyone is, are actually pretty damned good. The movie sets up its suspense set-pieces with a Hitchcockian attention to significant objects (a lighter, an asthma inhaler) and pays off with a delightfully nasty denouement. In truth, I was kind of surprised that I liked this as much as I did, given how lackadaisical the first half of the movie seemed. Once it starts paying attention to its own little microcosm, it turns the screws tight. It does, however, point out the main flaw in the Netflix Instant service: it doesn't have a fast forward button.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Friday the 13th...

Not only is it the most superstitious day of the year, it would have been this chap's 111th birthday:

The most famous profile in cinema history and the man behind the camera on some of horror's favorite films, including The Birds and Psycho, also shares a birthday with this charming fellow:

So, does anyone want to go camping tonight? If it should rain, I know a great little motel we can stay at instead.

Southern Fried indie horror headed for MTV?

From Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

The made-in-Memphis MTV horror flick Savage County is likely to air on the MTV2 network this Halloween season. Originally slated to be shown as a series of 7-to-9-minute "webisodes" on MTV.com, in the manner of Craig Brewer's "$5 Cover" (which debuted online and on television in May 2009), Savage County has been repositioned as a made-for-TV "indie horror film," according to MTV Communications director Kurt Patat.

In a campaign being managed by Eventful.com (the company that helped turn the no-budget shocker Paranormal Activity into an Internet and box-office phenomenon), fans are asked to visit eventful.com/competitions and "demand" to see Savage County on MTV.

Written and directed by David Harris of MTV New Media, Savage County is the violent Tobe Hooper-esque tale of a group of Texas teenagers stalked by a family of vengeful rustics after a bloody prank-gone-wrong. Prior to its Music Television debut, Savage County likely will have its official world theatrical premiere during the Indie Memphis Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 21-22. For more info, click HERE

Visit http://eventful.com/competitions/savagecounty2010 to give the flick a (severed) thumbs up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

RIP, Peter Cushing (1913-1994)

Sixteen years ago today, the cinematic world lost one of its most distinguished actors when Peter Cushing lost his battle with prostate cancer. Not only was he the most recognizable face in many Hammer horror productions, he also played the great Doctor in two Doctor Who films, as well as making a memorable appearance in Star Wars (1977) as Grand Moff Tarkin and in Shock Waves as an aging Nazi commander.

One of Cushing's roles that has resonated with audiences over the years isn't a role in the horror genre, but rather a mystery, that of Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. However, there are many ties to horror within the film: it was produced by Hammer, co-starred Christopher Lee, and Baskerville Hall is widely recognizable as Dracula's castle from the 1958 Hammer version of Dracula (a.k.a. Horror of Dracula). Here below is the trailer for that film, also starring Lee as the titular vampire and Cushing in one of his most famous and beloved roles as Van Helsing.

Personally, I will be honoring Cushing today by watching a film that doesn't seem to have as many fans as many of the other Hammer Dracula pictures, Dracula A.D. 1972, which features Cushing as an aging descendant of Van Helsing. It isn't the greatest Drac film, but it's entertaining and definitely a product of its time, and as always Cushing absolutely lights up the screen any time he is on it.

RIP, Peter. In a time when horror seems to be focused more on the gross-out and the shock factor than real scares, your touch of gentlemanly class is sorely missed, now more than ever.

Zombie Dating

I found a date through zombie harmony - one of the best free dating sites for zombies
Created by Mingle2.com (Dating for non-zombies)

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #55

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!

Our last photo was a stumper. There were quite a few of you out there that thought it was Lamberto Bava's Demons, which was a good guess and from the right country. However, the shot is actually from the in-name only entry to Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI series, ZOMBIE 4: AFTER DEATH (1988). The director behind this wonderful piece of "cinema" is none other than Claudio Fragasso - That's right, the man who gave us Troll 2. And yes, that is an accurate indicator of the quality of Z4:AD.

Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), 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!

DEATHSCRIBE 2010 Submissions Open!

DEATHSCRIBE 2010 Submission Rules.

Deadline: October 1

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy 108th Birthday, Curt Siodmak!

WildClaw's Blood Radio would like to extend happy (what would have been) 108th birthday wishes to one of the best-known names in classic horror cinema, Curt Siodmak. While he was primarily known for authoring the screenplay to the beloved Universal monster film, The Wolf Man, he also wrote a host of other horror/sci-fi novels and films, including Donovan's Brain, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, I Walked With A Zombie, and The Beast With Five Fingers.

In honor of Mr. Siodmak's birthday, here is the trailer for one of my favorite films he wrote, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. Granted, it isn't the greatest film of all time, but it provides loads of entertainment and has Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's creature.

Happy 25th Birthday, Fright Night

Fright Night turned 25 last week. I didn't see anyone mark the anniversary, so I thought I'd raise my own glass. You don't look a day over 20.

Well, that's a lie, actually. Fright Night hasn't aged particularly well. The combination of eighties fashions, Spielbergian idiom (horror comes to suburbia), comedy relief, and gooey special effects is very much of its time. More than that, it's a kind of nostalgia piece in itself, one that pines for the late-night horror show and the classical horror movie (in reaction, I suspect, to the shasher films that were dominating the genre at the time of its release). All of that is receding in time.

Still, it has its pleasures. Prime among them is a barnstorming performance by Chris Sarandon as our urbane vampire, Jerry Dandridge. Is Dandridge the first movie vampire who's smart enough to lock his coffin from the inside? He might be. But he's still dumb enough to play the talking killer with poor hapless Charley Brewster. The rest of the cast isn't up to his screen presence, not even Roddy McDowell, playing a gentle homage to the old school Gothics of the 50s and 60s.

What Fright Night does well is update the vampire archetype into the idiom of the special effects film. Oh, vampires have always had some interesting effects--the resurrection of Dracula in Dracula: Prince of Darkness is particularly creative--but not to the extent of this film. The story is almost incidental, given that the last forty minutes or so are a carnival of prosthetic monsters. The actual action sometimes grinds to a stop in order to watch the effects play out. It's almost as if writer/director Tom Holland looked at a list of the legendary abilities of vampires and picked them a la carte for their effects potentials, then, having paid for the gags, made damn sure he got them on camera, whether it made logical sense or not. The most obvious instance of this is the disintegration of Dandridge's familiar, at which our heroes stand and gawp while Dandridge makes good his escape:

The end result of all this is that we get some pretty good monsters, including one of the movies' first really convincing vampires in monstrous bat form (which the movie emphasizes in its parody footage from one of Peter Vincent's movies depicting a toy rubber bat on a string), a terrific werewolf transformation, and the first real attempt to reconcile the various divergent cinematic images of vampires: the sexy, Byronic anti-hero and the foul ratlike creature of the night; between Dracula and Count Orlock, if you will. As an aside, a friend of mine really resents the fact that the werewolf effects in Fright Night are better than the werewolf effects in just about any actual werewolf movie made since Fright Night was in theaters.

This is also a strangely gay horror movie, not that it's overt about it. I mean, Dandridge and his familiar seem like a gay couple moving into an old home to gentrify it. Amanda Bearse was one of the first prominently "out" lesbians in Hollywood. And Stephen Geoffrey went on to a long career in gay porn. I suppose you can't really blame the film for the later careers of its actors, but the plot asks us to believe that our teen-aged hero is more interested in the two guys across the way than he is in his willing girlfriend. Mind you, I'm perfectly aware of the fact that this last element is cribbed from Hitchcock's Rear Window (which asks us to believe that James Stewart is more interested in his neighbors than he is in Grace Kelly, but I digress). None of it may be intentional, but it still trips the ol' gaydar.

In any event, my experience of Fright Night back in the day was that it was a nice change of pace--the other prominent vampire movies of the 1980s, The Lost Boys and Near Dark, were still two years in the future when Fright Night was released--and that it was a pretty good summer popcorn movie. It works best with an audience, I think, and as a first-time viewing experience, too. I just wish I didn't feel so old knowing that I saw this when it was first released. 25 years went by fast.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Haunted Paper Toys

It's August, and that means it's time to start thinking about Halloween (I'm half-kidding). Here are just some of the neato mosquito HAUNTED PAPER TOYS that can be found from the website http://ravensblight.com/papertoys.html

Oh - and they're free! Just follow the folding steps and enjoy.

Instructions include how to build:

a paper pinhole camera that takes eery, soft focus photos

an intricate haunted ghost house (perfect for halloween decor)

a splatterbot (somewhat reminiscent of the killbots in CHOPPING MALL)

a chess game of the undead

and lots, lots more. Check it out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Blood at Blood Radio

Howdy folks,

Those of you who have been paying close attention will have noticed a few new faces in the mix over the past week, some fresh blood at Blood Radio if you will. These folks all come with the Doc’s highest hand stamps (and wristbands) of approval – they are horror fans of the finest vintage, armed with wit, wisdom and a passion for the spooky, the splattery, the salacious and the silly. Two of them even contributed essays to 2007’s Rondo Award-nominated literary labor of love, HORROR 101. I’m greatly honored to have them join our merry band of bloggers. They are:

Doc Morbius (aka Christianne Benedict)

Dr. Morbius has pursued scandalous careers as an arms merchant, a gravedigger, an entrepreneur, a graphic designer, a cartoonist, and a dominatrix. She's also a transsexual and a political activist. Her first love was Godzilla. Her second was Boris Karloff. She currently spends her days wandering the Forbidden Zone in a fur bikini, dodging patrols of telepathic mutants and intelligent gorillas. No word yet on whether or not she's found her destiny.


Krisenthia currently resides in Austin, TX, where she studies criminal justice and forensic psychology. She just kicked a nasty Twizzlers habit, but still struggles with her propensity for taking way too many pics of her cat sleeping. She’s been a horror fan ever since her mom escorted her to the theater to see The Entity when she was 4 years old. (Now, that’s responsible parenting – “A film about a sexually voracious ghost? Sounds like perfect viewing for minors...”) Krisenthia is very excited about joining the WildClaw team and hopes to convey her sense of humor and overall wonder while writing about her favorite hobby – everything dark.

Anna Dynamite

Having embarked several trips to the Windy City, Anna Dynamite has tasted WildClaw goodness firsthand, even going so far as to assay on the role of Silence of the Lambs’ Buffalo Bill in a round of “Scary-aoke” at WildClaw’s first Zombie Bowling. Some of her illustrious titles include The Little Boss of That Area, Tha Patron Saint of Righteous Dudes Everywhere (Tha Church of WIN), and Founder of The Church of the Flying Weenie.

Welcome to the party, ladies! Keep Sharing the Scare and Bringing the Blood! We’ll take all you’ve got…

Happy Nuptials to Deathscribe and Wildclaw's Good Buddy...Mr. Hainsworth

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Effin Shark Week, Beaches! Part Deux

Until the world gets behind Cuttlefish week, I still have a couple of days to celebrate Shark Week. And even though sharks don't really scare me (unlike cuttlefish), they do often make me LOL.

I present to you my top 5 shark scenes in random order (possible spoilers below)





During a showing of this film in 2009, Brad Neely pointed out a scene that has now become one of my favorites. It's just laid out so perfectly. What's more hilar than 1 shirtless dude rockin' a hoodie? ...

For your Shark-viewing pleasure, I've compiled a list of movies, some must-see and some musty. ha. [all links are to IMDb]

12 Days of terror, 2004
Blue Demon, 2004
Blue Water, White Death, 1971
Creature, 1998 (bonus: written by Peter Benchley of Jaws)
Cyclone, 1978
Deep Blue Sea, 1999
Devil Fish, 1984 (bonus: directed by lamberto bava)
Great White, 1981
Jaws, 1975
Jaws 2, 1978
Jaws 3D, 1983 (bonus: you get to hear Louis Gossett Jr say "No JAWS is gonna bust up my Seaworld!")
Jaws 4: The Revenge, 1987
Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws, 1995
Jaws of Death, 1977
Malibu Shark Attack, 2009
Mega Shark v Giant Octopus, 2009
Night of the Sharks, 1988
Open Water, 2003
Open Water 2: Adrift, 2006
Raging Sharks, 2005
Red Water, 2003
Shark Attack, 1999
Shark Attack 2, 2001
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, 2002
Shark Attack in the Mediterranean aka Shark Alarm, 2004
Shark Hunter, 2001
Shark Kill, 1976
Shark Swarm, 2008
Shark Zone, 2003
Shark! aka Caine, 1969 (bonus?: starring burt reynolds)
Spring Break Shark Attack , 2005
The Deep, 1977
Tintorera, 1977

Vampire Knits Book...yummy

To keep your favorite sparkle-pire warm...
Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Danse Macabre Thirty Years Later

When Dr.AC asked me to contribute to this blog, he suggested the following approach:

"Beyond that, I like reading personal reflections on seminal films, books, TV, etc. that shaped you into the horror fan you are today."

Never let it be said that I don't aim to please. The seminal item in question for today's symposium is Stephen King's Danse Macabre, originally published in 1981. Technically, I'm a little bit early with this, but as it so happens there's a new edition this year for which King has added a new essay called "What's Scary," so this turns out to be topical. People have been calling for King to write a follow-up to Danse Macabre for years, given the explosion of the genre since its publication. I doubt that this new essay is going to quiet those demands.

In any event, Danse Macabre was kind of my Rosetta Stone for the genre for many years. My parents gave me a copy for Christmas in 1983 and it has rarely spent much time shelved with my other books. It's always lying around somewhere, having recently been used as a reference. I'm on my third copy now. I read the two before it to tatters.

My first copy looked about like this when I replaced it

I spent a good portion of my youth hunting down the movies and books King mentions in the body of the book and (especially) in his appendices, a quest that led me down surprising avenues. Not only was Danse Macabre my gateway drug into horror, it led me into world cinema and hardcore literature.

Two examples:

  • King describes the end of William Faulkner's Sanctuary, in which Popeye is hanged. King's account of it is pretty droll, enough so that I was able to approach Faulkner as fun reading rather than as "Literature" with a capital L. Having my footing with Faulkner (and King's own ideas of the Gothic novel) was useful when it came to reading Absalom, Absalom and The Sound and The Fury for class in college.

  • King includes on his list of seminal horror movies from the period between 1950 and 1980 some entries that might raise some eyebrows among some hardcore horror fans. Specifically: The Seventh Seal, The Hour of the Wolf, Throne of Blood, and The Exterminating Angel. I mean, I'm totally down with the notion that Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, and Luis Bunuel made horror movies, but the idea was surprising to the teen-age me. Pursuing these movies led me into the broader world of cinema, not least of which were the other films by these three filmmakers.

In other words, it's fair to say that Danse Macabre has enriched my life far beyond my obsession with horror, and even if I didn't like a single one of King's other books, the man would remain one of the genre's giants on the strength of Danse Macabre alone.

The downside for me, though, is that Danse Macabre puts the exclamation point on King's golden period. King's first decade as a novelist was primo. Everything after Danse Macabre is problematic. I get the feeling that in writing the book, King wound up dissecting the golden goose. He started actually thinking about things that he was doing unconsciously before (though it's also possible that he was derailed by his coke addiction). He hasn't been the same writer since.

Danse Macabre itself is the cornerstone of my horror reference library, one of four books I return to time after time. For the record, the others are Carlos Clarens' An Illustrated History of the Horror Film (later retitled, after much complaining from horror fans, I'm sure, as An Illustrated History Of Horror And Science-fiction Films), Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman (which picks up where Clarens leaves off), and The Monster Show by David Skal. I like Danse Macabre best, though, because it retains King's distinctive voice, that conversational tone that has made him one of the most popular writers ever.

As a side note, King's latest big doorstop of a novel, Under the Dome, is pretty good. It harken's back to King's golden period, which is when it was originally conceived. In spite of its length, it's all full-stop forward momentum, punctuated by memorably nasty scenes of violence. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO # 54

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!

Our last photo was from Joseph Ellison's 1980 shocker DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE, a psuedo-slasher flick about a killer who, rather than simply chopping his female victims up, torches them in his lead-lined basement lair. The resulting film is as mysogynistic and bleak as it sounds, but for a low budget flick the effects are startlingly effective and the performances capable enough to not be distracting. Pictured is a scene where maniac pyro Dan Grimaldi is haunted by visions of his charred victims - wicked stuff indeed. Within the barrage of "Don't" films that littered the drive-in and grindhouse landscape throughout the early 80s, this is one of the more notable. Check it out.

Send your guesses to: jon@kitleyskrypt.com

Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), 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!