Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blood Radio Episode 17, DEATHSCRIBE 2009 part 3

We are pleased to release Blood Radio Episode 17, featuring DEATHSCRIBE 2009 part 3.

Click here to listen.

In episode #17, we proudly present part 3 of DEATHSCRIBE 2009, featuring ‘Remembrance,' written by Christopher Hainsworth and directed by Nic Dimond, a reading from Quirk Publishing’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS, plus a special guest performance by Pat Smillie singing Monster Mash.

We remind everyone that submissions are still being accepted for DEATHSCRIBE 2010, which will be held at the Mayne Stage Theatre, Monday, December 6th. Submission deadline is October 15th. Check out for more details.

Help Dr. AC fight AIDS with SCARE-A-THON 2010

WildClaw's own Dr. AC is up to...good. Come see how easy it is to go from blood-loving horror fan to full-on philanthropist without breaking a sweat.

From the H101 blog:

Howdy folks,

If the calendar is to be believed, tomorrow is October 1. For the past few years, I have engaged in an annual tradition called the October Horror Movie Challenge. The rules of the Challenge are fairly simple: Watch at least 31 horror films during October, 16 of which must be first time views. (Last year was my highest mark yet, with 78 films.)

However, this October, while celebrating silver screen screams, I also hope to strike a blow against real-life horrors. In the spirit of a read-a-thon or a walk-a-thon, I plan to embark on SCARE-A-THON 2010 and I am asking for your help.

Season of Concern is Chicago-based organization that provides direct-care support for people living with HIV and AIDS. ( My request is simple: For every movie I watch, I am asking folks to donate one dime. Yes, a mere ten cents per scream. My goal is to watch somewhere between 60 and 80 films next month, which means that you would only be asked to contribute $6 -$8 – the price of a restaurant burger. However, if this is too steep, you could donate $0.05 or even $0.01 per film. Or you could even make a straightforward donation of whatever amount you deem viable. Every little bit helps and many hands make for light work. Together, we can make a big difference for someone out there who needs our help...

To read the full post, click **HERE**

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"The Great God Pan" opens in Australia this week

Originally produced by WildClaw Theatre in 2008, this adaptation of Arthur Machen's "The Great God Pan" opens at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in Australia. Produced by The Pit and the Pendulum Theatre, it runs until the 9th of October.

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #62

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 a film rated PG - quite possible the most skeevy, debauched PG-rated film ever screened. We're talking about BLOOD AND LACE (1971), in which we've got prostitution, murder, child torture, child abuse, child murder, dead child bodies dragged out of freezers to pose as live bodies, claw hammer killings and incest. Oh, yeah, family viewing at its finest. The whack-a-mole cast includes fading screen siren Gloria Grahame, Vic Tayback (TV's Alice), Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away) and Len Lesser(Seinfeld 's Uncle Leo).

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 (, 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, September 27, 2010

Exorcist III: Legion (film review)

I consider this the only true sequel to the first masterpiece. Exorcist ends with Father Dyer looking down the formidable flight of stairs (the same stairs that took his best friend Father Karras’ life – he even reads him his Last rites). The beginning of Exorcist III begins in Georgetown in 1990 with Father Dyer looking down those same stairs 15 years later to the day (probably after midnight).

The eery opening of the movie, filled with imagery of creepy Christ statues, fog and rushing wind, encapulates the tone for the rest of the movie. There is something ominous lurking in the darkness. The beginning viewpoint of the camera is set through the eyes of the killer, slowly creeping through the muggy streets to the first victim of the movie – a black boy holding a rose. The next morning, we see Det. Bill Kinderman (a very loud George C. Scott) hovering over the body of the dead boy with the boy’s mother sobbing to the side. The victim is later identified as Thomas Kintry, who belonged to the Police Boys club.

Later on, during a lunch with his best friend Father Dyer, Kinderman describes what happened to the young boy:

"The killer drove an ingot into each of his eyes, then cut off his head…in place of his head was the head from a statue of Christ all done up in blackface, like a minstrel show, you know, the eyes and mouth painted white. …The boy had been crucified on a pair of rowing oars."

Kinderman is a run-down, hardened detective who has seen his share of vice and murder, and he is no stranger to death and despair of the city. A seasoned cop who has already accepted that “the world is a homicide victim,” these recent murders (and their extremely violent nature) jolt and remind him of the heinous nature in which he lost his best friend Father Karras. In the beginning of the film, we see him at his desk holding up a picture of him and Father Karras. They were the best of friends, but their friendship ended abruptly when Karras jumped out of Regan’s window and fell down the flight of stairs. He is now best friends with Father Dyer, most likely because they were both very close to Father Karras and have bonded through their strife.

The next victim is a Father Kanavan, who thinks he is absolving an old lady of her sins (whose voice is very reminiscent of Mercedes McCambridge!) but what she says in the confessional booth is not the run of the mill sin-talk.

Old Lady: “I have a…a scrupulous conscience, Father, this need to confess so many things. If I step on two straws in the shape of a cross, I feel that I have to confess it. It torments me."

Father Kanavan: “We’ll try to make a good confession, and remember, Christ forgives us all our sins.”

Old lady: “Only little things. Nothing. Seventeen of them, Father. The first was that waitress near Candlestick Park, I cut her throat and watched her bleed. She bled a great deal. It’s a problem that I’m working on, Father…All this bleeding. Heh Heh Heh!”

Father Kanavan is then viciously murdered in his own confessional booth.

The 3rd victim hits Kinderman close to home: his own buddy Father Dyer is murdered while lying in his hospital bed (he was there for some health tests I believe). Dyer is decapitated, and his entire blood supply is in several jars next to his bed, although some blood was used to write a little message above his bed.

Later on in the movie, Kinderman figures out that the murders are all interconnected. He first picks up on the killer’s modus operandi of which he is very familiar with – the Gemini Killings that took place in 1974 (not to be confused with the real life Zodiac Killer). The calling cards from the Gemini Killings are very close to the murders here: all the victims' names (first, middle or last) begin with the letter ‘K.’ Also, the killer cuts off the index finger of the right hand and carves the sign of the Gemini in the left palm. Twenty-one year old James Venamun (Brad Dourif) was put to death in the electric chair for these crimes, so this baffles the detective. Are these copy cat killings? Or has the killer come back from the dead?

Kinderman also figures out that the 3 victims all have the Regan MacNeil exorcism in common.

Thomas Kintry (the first victim) was the son of Mrs. Kintry who was sent a tape by Damien Karras that had the voice of a possessed Regan on it. She was the linguists expert that figured out the language was in fact English in reverse.

Father Kanavan is the one who gave Father Karras permission to investigate the MacNeil case in the first place, and Father Dyer is of course the one who mentioned Father Karras to Chris MacNeil at the party and probably the one that nudged her to seek him out for help with Regan.

Kinderman is then led by a soppy Dr. Temple who leads him to the "disturbed" wing of Georgetown General Hospital. Residing there in the dark, musty room is a Patient X who insists that he is the Gemini Killer. When Detective Kinderman meets the man in room, he cannot believe his eyes. Before him sits Father Karras, his best friend, a man he regards as a saint. Even though Karras has been ‘dead’ for 15 years, it is his body that sits before him; only it is James Venamun’s voice that comes out of Karras’ mouth.

Venamun tell Det. Kinderman that when his soul was slipping out of his body in the electric chair, Father Karras was supposively dying on the base of the infamous flight of stairs. ‘The Master,’ in an effort to wage revenge on all those involved in exorcising the demons out of Regan’s body, slips Venamun’s soul into Karras as his was slipping out. He was then picked up wondering the C&O Canal by authorities, and was stowed away in the Georgetown General Hospital disturbed ward for 15 years, of which he was catatonic with little activity. Only recently, he has awaken and carrying out ‘The Masters’ plan of revenge by possessing catatonics in order to continue the Gemini Killer’s dirty work.

"Oh, yes, their names began with a ‘K.’ That little modicum at least I was able to insist upon. … “I was obliged to settle the score on behalf of…well…a friend."

Venamun kills the Kintry boy, Father Kanavan, and Father Joseph K. Dyer in order to get in good with his ‘friend on the other side,’ in order to given a break when he is finally delivered in hell after his duties are carried through.

Because Det. Kinderman refuses to tell the press that Venamun is in fact the Gemini Killer, Venamun keeps punishing Kinderman by killing more and more in an effort to prove to him that he is in fact the Gemini. He is thrown ‘a bone’ from the master and is given a victim that is not connected with the Regan exorcism – nurse Amy Keating. Her murder is perhaps one of the most startling I’ve ever seen - the way that Blatty builds the tension is unparalleled.

Kinderman is still as staunch as ever and will not tell the press that Venamun is the Gemini Killer, and so he goes after Kinderman’s daughter by possessing a catatonic to go to his house, posing as a nurse. Kinderman arrives just in time to save her.

Meanwhile, a Father Morning (who has previously performed exorcisms in the Phillippines) comes to Venamun’s room and begins to try and rid Karras of the demons that possess him. He is somewhat unsuccessful at the time. Kinderman comes back to Venamun’s room after saving his daughter and has a showdown with Venamun/demons. He gives an ‘I believe’ speech that rivals any horror movie soliloquy to date:

Venamun: “Have I helped your unbelief?”

Det. Kinderman: “Oh yes. Yes – I believe. I believe in death, I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity and torture and anger and hate. I believe in murder, and I believe in pain. I believe in cruelty and infidelity! I believe in slime and stink! And in every crawling putrid thing, every possible ugliness and corruption! You son of a b!tch! I believe…in you

Then Father Morning regenerates in the corner and grabs Venamun’s attention, begging the inner-Karras spirit to fight. This works, and for a split second Karras is able to drive out the demons at which point he implores Kinderman to shoot now! Shoot now! Kinderman shoots his best friend, and Karras dies and is able to finally rest in peace.


Lt. William ‘Bill’ Kinderman(George C. Scott)

We are first introduced to Kinderman in Exorcist (played by Lee J. Cobb), sitting on the bleachers waiting for Karras to finish his jog around the Georgetown Univ. track. He meets Karras while investigating Burke Denning’s strange death at the bottom of those infamous stairs. He is connecting a church desecration with Denning’s death (whose head was twisted completely around) and is wondering if there aren’t any crazy priests with a spite against the church running about. Karras may know because he is the resident Jesuit psychiatrist who is privy to any information about disturbed priests. A friendship evolves (mostly off-screen). They have a friendly banter that hints at a developing close bond.

In Exorcist III, Kinderman now has that same close relationship with Father Dyer, who also carries a witty rapport with the detective. Dyer is Kinderman’s shoulder and a sounding board whenever Kinderman needs to blow off some steam or talk about his cases. He is a rundown man who has seen too much, and you can see the experiences etched in his weathered face.

Father Joseph Kevin Dyer (Ed Flanders)

We first see him as a young priest at the MacNeil’s party in the first movie. He is also the one playing the piano for the small group that is lucky enough to witness Regan’s first sympton of possession, in the form of peeing on the floor.
His rapport with Det. Kinderman is perfect. It is a subdued comedy – you have to listen for it, like you would on an episode of the West Wing.

The Gemini Killer/James Venamun (Brad Dourif)

The Gemini Killer is James Venamun, a twenty-one year old that murdered about seventeen people before he was sentenced to die in the electric chair in 1974. He possesses Father Karras’ old body and is kept in the disturbed ward at the Georgetown General Hospital.
Brad Dourif is amazing in this role and I think he carries the film to a whole other sphere.

Nurse Allerton (Nancy Fish)

Nurse Allerton is seen escorting a possessed catatonic to the confessional booth where Father Kanavan dies. Later on she helps Det. Kinderman in his investigation regarding Father Dyer’s murder. Not sure if she was possessed when she escorted the catatonic, but there is no hint that she is further involved in the murders after Kanavan gets it.

Dr. Temple (Scott Wilson)

Dr. Temple is a chain-smoking doormat of a man who is threatened by Venamun into bringing Det. Kinderman to him. He commits suicide later on out of fear of Venamun.

***Final Thoughts***

1. In this movie, Det. Kinderman and Karras are best friends, but there is a bit of controversy surrounding this idea – mainly because the first movie only has the two men meeting once before Karras jumps out of Regan’s window and meets his death. I've always wondered when they had time to become the best of buddies?

2. Some people have regarded the dream sequence (before Father Dyer dies) as a cheesefest that almost ruins the whole movie. There are cameos from Fabio, Patrick Ewing, and Samuel L. Jackson. I'm curious to hear any opinions on this dream sequence, and significance.

3. I think the scene where Nurse Amy Keating dies is one of the most startling moments in underrated cinema. I defy anyone to name another death sequence that has as much tension and scare factor as this one.

4. It has been said that Blatty was forced to film an exorcism at the end of this movie because the movie title had the word ‘Exorcist’ in it, and it had to have the word ‘Exorcist’ instead of just ‘Legion’ in order to bait movie-goers into seeing a sequel. Do you think this compromised the quality and intention of the movie. Did we really need Father Morning at the end? What would have been a better ending to this movie?

5. I have two favorite moments in the film: when Dr. Temple is rehearsing his lines and chain-smoking in his office. When I first saw this, I thought it was just showing a man who had extremely low self-confidence and was rehearsing what he was going to say to Kinderman in order to impress him. I thought this was unique and original. Later on I learned that he was just rehearsing what Venamun told him to tell Kinderman.
Another favorite part is when Kinderman is telling Father Dyer the carp story after watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ The beginning of the movie is light-hearted and interspersed with subdued comedy, especially in the carp-banter between Kinderman and Dyer. It later takes a moody turn when Dyer dies – you can feel the shift in the tone of the movie.

6. I feel Blatty did an amazing job of directing his first film, and considering he wrote the book as well, it's impressive that he was able to focus and turn out such a masterpiece. Certain scenes in the movie are shot with pure creativeness and genius. For example, when Kinderman first begins talking with patient X, and only sees his friend Damien Karras sitting across from him – and we see Karras as well. Then suddenly, he turns into Venamun (Dourif) and says “Look at me! Look at me, and tell me what you see!” Kinderman’s reaction doesn’t change, and we can tell that Kinderman still sees Karras’ body. The viewer, however, sees the Gemini Killer – we have the inside track while Kinderman is still in the dark. Venamun then says “if you looked with the eyes of faith, you’d see me….”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Horror for Your Fashion Dolls...

Some of you are saying...huh?  But this is cool.  I swear.  And creepy...and that's the point isn't it?  Angelic Dreamz has a line of horror fashions and accessories for 16" fashion dolls coming out.  And they are pretty darn edgy.  These are made specifically for their JamieShow line of extremely high-quality resin couture fashion dolls...but these fashions and masks should work for most 16" vinyl and resin female dolls and 17" male dolls made by Tonner and the like.  The shoes may or may not work though...and I am damn tempted to get those cheetah boots to make, well, a Cheetah doll (a Wonder Woman's villainess). Getting the whole shebang is UBER-pricey..the bulk of the expense coming from the I recommend getting the masks because they are really spectacular...and those cheetah boots for me.

If you want them, you need to pre-order them ASAP in order to get them by Halloween.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #61

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, for those of you who spent the late '80s glued to the television screen watching MTV for hours on end, should have been an easy one, since it featured one of the more memorable video vixens of the era. Yes, the woman with the axe and skinny tie would a few years later be found wantonly cavorting atop David Coverdale's automobile (and Mr. Coverdale, for that matter) in numerous Whitesnake videos. Yes, true believers, it's Tawny Kitaen, which means that the movie must be WITCHBOARD (1986). Kevin S. Tenney, who would go on to direct Night of the Demons (1988), made his feature debut with this not-bad bit of supernatural hocus-pocus involving a ouija board and a mass murderer possessing folks from beyond the grave.

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 (, 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!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

As the year winds down...

...Kitley's Army Challenge is also getting near its end, and it has been a wild and wooly journey through sixteen (so far) first-time horror views (FTVs). Jon Kitley, of Kitley's Krypt fame, is running a year-long challenge to watch two FTVs each month, each month having a different theme. From 1930s horror to slashers, Jon's done an outstanding job choosing a wide range of sub-genres, so kudos to him.

June's objective was to watch two films from either (or both) of horror's gore kings, H.G. Lewis and Lucio Fulci. I chose to watch one from each director: A Cat in the Brain for Fulci, and Two Thousand Maniacs! for Lewis. Neither film is what you would call outstanding cinema, but they have their charms. What stood out for me with Maniacs! in particular was the supernatural ending and the tamer tone than his previous offering, Blood Feast; Lewis's other films were more in line with crazy people in the real world hacking and slashing through their victims to some twisted end. The fact that Pleasant Valley was an apparition as well as a (true) local legend puts the film into a different realm. When the sheriff doubts the main characters, it opens the door for us to doubt them as well.

Lewis, like many horror directors, claims that his films have no deeper meaning and should be taken at face value. He was primarily a businessman and considered himself as such. But like Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Maniacs! is completely a product of its time regardless of what the director says, and there is certainly the possibility that on a subconscious level the fears and tensions of the time seeped into the film without the directors' knowledge.

Or perhaps they are just being coy.

I had the chance to watch Maniacs! again, on a bigger screen, tonight at Bowling Green State University's Gish Theatre. It's definitely a film that deserves to be seen with a crowd, like so many other so-bad-they're-good movies. Whatever you make of it, Two Thousand Maniacs! also deserves to be watched, or rewatched as the case may be. Enjoy, and save room for the barbecue.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Netflix Roulette: The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

Welcome to another installment of Netflix Roulette. This time, our random number generator comes up 19 and 14, which corresponds to Stuart Gordon's 1991 version of The Pit and the Pendulum.

The Pit and the Pendulum reassembles Gordon's frequent collaborators Dennis Paoli and Jeffrey Combs for a Gothic romp through Poe. This film marks the beginning of Gordon's long exile in Spain, which lends the film a certain European feeling appropriate to the story. The film is dominated by Lance Henriksen's lead performance as Grand Inquisitor Torquemada. It's animated by an antic gallows humor. But all of these elements are in the service of a cheapjack Full Moon production. It's an uneasy mix, which keeps it from being as iconic a horror movie as, say, Corman's version. The movie languished on home video, where it was originally released. I'm not entirely sure it deserves its obscurity, but it certainly goes out of its way to earn it.

The opening of the film is magnificent, though, in which Henriksen's Toquemada exhumes a body in order to condemn it as a heretic. He promptly has the skeletal remains flogged. That right there is the movie in a nutshell and if the movie consisted only of its pre-credit sequence, or if the rest were worthy of it, it would be very good indeed. Hell, if the movie let Henriksen hold the screen for most of its runtime, it would be very good. But it doesn't. The movie is populated with a supporting cast who execute the film's comedy with all the panache of a sitcom. This, unfortunately, includes Combs as the twitchy inquisitorial clerk and Stephen Lee as the lead turnkey in the dungeons. The movie also tends to eschew mood; it's entirely too well-lit for being set in a dungeon. There's also some supernatural hugger mugger that seems wholly out of place, but that's a matter of taste, I guess.

Still, there's a lot to recommend. Henriksen is THAT good as a version of Torquemada who is inspired by Victor Hugo's Frollo. The plot of the movie concerns his lust for a young baker's wife (Rona De Ricci), who haunts his dreams. The baker plunges into the dungeons of the inquisition and winds up faced with the title horror. The film takes a few detours along the way, including the mystical education of the baker's wife at the hands of a chatty witch and a short excursion into "The Cask of Amontillado," with Oliver Reed in role of Fortunato. This last reminds me of the Corman films, actually, because they often included secondary stories to pad their length. Some of the small touches are good, too, like the hourglass that has sand made from ground up human bones and Torquemada's choice of bedroom decor (he sleeps under a sword of Damocles). The film's best line comes after Torquemada has cut out Maria's tongue: Combs disclaims the act with "How can they confess if they don't have tongues?" The film's best moment comes when Esmerelda the Witch, having ingested a bunch of gunpowder, explodes on the stake. I also appreciate the inclusion of Poe's solution to escaping from the pit. Love the rats.

So a mixed bag, all told, and pretty good as Full Moon productions go. It's certainly fun in fits and starts. But it's disappointing from the man who directed Re-Animator. It should be so much better than it is.

Friday, September 17, 2010

28 days left to SUBMIT to DEATHSCRIBE 2010

Joe Janes, besides keeping busy with 365 Sketches, Robots VS Dinosaurs, and teaching at various institutions around town, is working up a script for DEATHSCRIBE 2010.

I'm also writing an original piece for Wildclaw Theater's Deathscribe. This is something I've wanted to do since its inception. The goal is to write a ten-minute horror piece for radio. A tough task that I look forward to wrangling with. I think comedy and horror have a lot in common. It's about building and releasing tension.

Are you? Submissions are still being accepted. For 28 more days, we are willing to read ALL of your nightmares. For more info, go to Perhaps this year YOU will bring home the BLOODY AXE.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Episode 16, featuring DEATHSCRIBE 2009 part 2

Blood Radio Episode 16, featuring DEATHSCRIBE 2009 part 2, click to listen.

In episode #16, we proudly present part 2 of DEATHSCRIBE 2009, featuring ‘The Death Gods of Dr. Gaul,' written by Jude Mire, directed by Robert Breuler, a reading from Quirk Publishing’s bestselling PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES plus special guest performances.

We remind everyone that submissions are still being accepted for DEATHSCRIBE 2010, which will be held at the Mayne Stage Theatre, Monday, December 6th. Submission deadline is October 15th. Check for more details.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #60

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 Don Sharp's awesomely weird and wacky 1972 flick, PSYCHOMANIA. The leader of a motorcycle gang (Nicky Henderson) learns the secret of immortality: He kills himself and his fellow gang members (dubbed The Living Dead) place him in a grave on his bike...which miraculously brings him back to life! Soon, he's convincing the rest of the free-wheelers to off themselves all over the place, only to return and terrorize the whole of London. In-saaaaaane! Sharp directed a number of interesting genre pics, including Hammer's Kiss of the Vampire and Curse of the Fly. George Sanders, who appears as a aging devil worshiper, committed suicide after filming completed. Rumors of his having returned on a motorcycle remain unsubstantiated.

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 (, 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!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scott T. Barsotti's JET BLACK CHEVROLET now running at the Prop Thtr

Scott T. Barsotti, WildClaw company member and author of THE REVENANTS, has a new creepy psychological drama on stage for your theatre-viewing pleasure. Insomnia, paranoia, agoraphobia. What's not to like?

The show is JET BLACK CHEVROLET, and it's pay-what-you-can. PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN! Be careful or you might get your eye gouged.

Curious Theatre Branch presents
JET BLACK CHEVROLET, Written by Scott T. Barsotti, Directed by Jeffrey Bivens
THE FLOWERS ARE DEAD, Written and Directed by Matt Rieger
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm
Through October 9, 2010
Prop Thtr, 3502 N Elston Ave, Chicago
$15 or pay-what-you-can

Monday, September 13, 2010

R.I.P. Kevin McCarthy

Actor Kevin McCarthy passed away over the weekend at the age of 96. McCarthy was best known to horror fans as the star of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (he had a cameo in the first remake, as well), but he was also a regular for Joe Dante. His turn as the mad scientist in Dante's Piranha was particularly memorable. Other credits for Dante included The Howling, Innerspace, and Matinee. The IMDB lists over 200 credits for the actor, many of them television spots.

Fare thee well, Mr. McCarthy. You can sleep at last.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wait! Lloyd Kaufman Went to Yale?

Our favorite mogul from Troma dishes about the recurrent finding of human feet in the Pacific Northwest and George Bush's college days in a pretty funny interview from The Amateur Scientist Podcast. Plus 30 Rock's Scott Adsit and racist beer. Surcease of sorrow, true, but also lots of salty sailor talk in this one, so probably not safe for work. Check it out here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Today's Horror Birthdays of the Day!

Today we honor two horror icons with birthday greetings: Robert Wise, director of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Haunting; and Fay Wray, THE Scream Queen and star of King Kong, The Mystery of the Wax Museum and Doctor X (which comes highly recommended, by the way). How best to celebrate this day? Scream "Klaatu Barada Nikto" at the top of your lungs, of course.

Personally, I have a soft spot for one of Wise's lesser-known and lesser-appreciated films, The Andromeda Strain. Not a horror film by any account, but still fairly chilling, it's based on one of Michael Crichton's slightly more accessible books. Here is a trailer, hosted by Wise himself, for the film:

Hollywood Palms screening The Fly w/ David Hedison

Are you ready for some Football? The Horror!!!! The Agony!!!

Gosh I love football.  Sunday the Bears will begin breaking our tender hearts again...perhaps your own team will decide to rip your still beating heart from it's chest and devour it before your eyes.  I have seen it happen.  Year after year...

Horror Anthology Submissions

The following is from our friend and DEATHSCRIBE 2008 celebrity judge, Mort Castle. We highly recommend finishing your DS 10 submissions before tackling this:


I am reading for ALL AMERICAN HORROR OF THE 21ST CENTURY: The First Decade. This will be an anthology of reprint stories originally published between October of 1999 and December of 2010. The tentative release date is spring of 2011.

Payment will be on a par with the reprint fees paid by most of the “Best of” anthologies and will be an advance against a pro rata share of royalties. I am particularly eager to see stories under 5,000 words, although I might consider exceptional stories of greater length, which have been published in venues which I might not have come across; this could include college literary magazines, pro and semi-pro genre magazines, and websites ...

Confession: Although I recognize some webzines do publish quality, I don’t spend days reading fiction on the internet; it’s this thing about my eyes going granulated.

And proclamation: Those who know me are already aware that I strive for quality in my own writing and admire the achievement thereof in the work of others. That means if a horror story is the literary equivalent of Ipecac and might well act in the same emetic way, it probably ain’t for me.

The book’s publisher, Wicker Park Press was established in 2002. Titles include Becky Thatcher’s AMAZON GIRL’S HANDBOOK; Leigh Hunt’s THE REBELLION OF THE BEASTS; Gene Logsdon’s THE LORDS OF FOLLY, and, forthcoming, CAVAFY’S STONE AND OTHER VILLAGE TALES, by National Book Award nominee Harry Mark Petrakis. Wicker Park Press is headed by Eric Lincoln Miller, a veteran 'book guy' and the current president of the National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives. The Wicker Park Press website:

For more information about submissions or anything else, please write to me at:

Looking forward to seeing great stuff.

Mort Castle

PS. You can get my additional thoughts on what is / isn’t “American Horror” by reading my online Storytellers Unplugged column for September 8.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hachet 2

Fall. Have I mentioned how much I love fall? Football, leaves changing colors, and movies. Like, this one, coming out October 1st.

I am sincerely hoping that this one is a big huge hit, for I am not a fan of the PG-13 Horror movie. While there have been one or two which have been pretty good, most are, in my opinion, crap. Hatchet II going to be released unrated, the widest release of an unrated film in 25 years. And perhaps, if it does well...perhaps we will be able to see a trend away from making horror movies suitable for children, and towards seeing horror movies in the theater the way their creators intended.

Stephen King's The Dark Tower series coming to a theatre near you, and your television.

Our good friend and newly christened Lifeline Theatre Company Member, pop culture expert Chris Hainsworth (whom WildClaw fans surely remember as Sheriff Raven from 'Dreams in the Witch House'), recently brought this to our attention.

Universal's unprecedented plans for Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower.'

Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have closed a deal to turn Stephen King’s mammoth novel series The Dark Tower into a feature film trilogy and a network TV series, both of which will be creatively steered by the Oscar-winning team behind A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code.

Thoughts? Excitement? Trepidations?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #59

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 one of Hammer's non-Gothic "thrillers," DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! (aka Fanatic) (1965), and as you can see, it's a vibrant diversion from their stark black and white efforts in hue, but just as compelling in execution. The story focuses on a young woman being terrorized by her fiance's demented mother...who blames her for her son's death. Not only does it feature screen legend Tallulah Bankhead in her final theatrical role (although she did lend her voice to 1966's Rankin/Bass animated The Daydreamer, as well as a turn on TV's Batman as "Black Widow"), it co-stars the comely Stefanie Powers and an up-and-coming Donald Sutherland as a dullard handyman. The Bava-esque color scheme comes courtesy of Canadian-born director Silvio Narizzano (Georgy Girl).

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 (, 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, September 6, 2010

Vampyros Lesbos: A rich man’s borderline lesby soft porn, a poor man’s Lemora (film review)

Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos is a slow, dreamy, almost surreal 'vampire' tale of a performance artist woman (Nadine - played by the mouth-watering Soledad Miranda) who mesmerizes a blonde audience member (Linda), and hypnotizes her into becoming her lesbian love-slave. There are a few other characters in the background, like Linda's concerned boyfriend, a psychiatrist, a random serial killer, etc., but the main story is about Nadine's hold over Linda.

I've only seen one other Jess Franco film ("Marquis De Sade: Justine" 1968), and for me, this film rates lower - mainly because of the lack of vampy horror, the over-the-top 60s soundtrack (which is definitely an acquired taste), and the soggy direction of the movie. Distracting the viewer from these drawbacks are countless boobies, crotch-shots, and girl-on-girl action.

Lesbians watching this film may recognize the underlying message of the story (that Nadine's lesbionic desires towards Linda were viewed as a 'disease,' like a vampire infecting her prey). Men (and women), in turn, may simply salivate with visions of Soledad's naked 60s performance art dancing around a live female mannequin woman. And straight women looking for a horror movie may feel the urge to fall asleep due to the slowness of the film, only to be jolted awake by the 'Spoink!' and 'Clink!' of the soundtrack and unashamed close-ups of countless, dimpled asses.

I will say that I was constantly comparing this film to "Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural" in my mind. If you happen to be left dry by this movie, I recommend seeing Lemora. The surrealism is done to perfection, it actually has vampires, and the lesbian tension between the two main characters is palpable, honest-to-Ellen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Crafty Halloween...start early!

I picked up my beloved Martha Stewart Halloween issue today...wait...was that I scoff I heard?  Seriously...Martha delivers some awesome Halloween ideas that will satisfy even the hard core folks out there...or at least the horror hard core crafters like myself.

Behold the blood spattered cupcake papers or this killer Gray Lady Ghost costume...

See...give it up for Martha.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #58

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 a pretty obscure flick, but Mssr. Kitley we wanted to throw it out there anyway to see if anyone took the bait. Yea, I know...bad fish analogy. But see, that fits, since our selection is from one of the best bad fish movies out there. The shot is from ZAAT (1975), also known by numerous alternate titles, including The Blood Waters of Dr. Z, Hydra, Attack of the Swamp Creatures, and others. This half-man/half-catfish/all-megalomaniac movie has even been featured on MST3K, with Mike and the 'bots giving it their best jibes. Yes, it is a bad movie, but it's one of those pretty damn entertaining ones...the kind that we like to bust out come Turkey Day!. (for a list of other gloriously bad flicks as well as a retrospective of this annual tradition, visit

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 (, 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!

A Woman in Trouble: Mad Cowgirl (film review)

Gregory Hatanka's film Mad Cowgirl (2006) is an iconoclastic, absurd, hilarious and touching story of a woman's mental deterioration.

'The woman in trouble,' is the beautiful and quirky Therese (played brilliantly by Sarah Lassez) - in one of my favorite themes in movies, especially in horror genres. For my money, it just doesn't get any better than when you have a woman who has a gorgeous exterior, but is obsessed, mentally unstable or just a bit psycho in the interior - because a woman who has let go of conventional worries and day-to-day requirements is completely free in her actions. Watching a crazy, carpe diem woman is uplifting, in a way.

Therese's plight involves a brain tumor that is quickly altering her perceptions in the world. As a meatpacking inspector, she is aware of the 'mad cow disease' that is emerging in Britain. This news, which is oft in the background of the movie, is not the reason for her despondent behavior, but is continually offered up as a red herring as the cause for her problems. Dying of a brain disorder is not 'funny.' But a meat inspector who is given tainted meat from her incestuous brother and is then convinced that she has the brain-wasting disease IS funny. This belief sets her off on a wild journey of pastor-banging, eating steak, brother-banging, eating more steak, girl-on-girl action, late nite kung-fu TV show obsession, eating raw steak, and, oh, a murder spree.

The overt campiness of some the shots are reminiscent of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. The character portrayal, however, is strongly set on Therese with minor distractions, so her anguish and loneliness came through despite the wild and crazy situations she would find herself in, namely boning Commandar Chekov of Star Trek (the pastor), which is a heartache in itself. Her inappropriate relationship with her brother is also overwhelmingly sad, because the viewer knows he's the only one that could save her from herself.

The beginning of the film (after the some minute cow interlude) there is a news brief from Japan that is explaining the dangers of eating cow, for fear of contracting the 'mad cow disease' that forms holes in your brain tissue. The brief offers an alternative lifestyle that will keep you healthy - a vegan lifestyle. Seeing as how the rest of the movie is absolutely littered with shots of (troubled) people devouring steaks like beasts, I'm convinced the director is making a statement on the carnivore diet. I could be wrong, and it's probably my vegetarianism coming through, but wouldn’t it be delicious if this movie was one giant propaganda tool to get people to lay off the beef? It's as if the director is saying 'Therese brought her problems upon herself.' You are what you eat: ingesting a mad-cow steak will make you into a Mad CowGirl... with a thunderbolt kick!