Author Archive

Invasion of the SUPER MASKS has begun

by on Feb.28, 2021, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Blood Curdling Blog of Monster Masks | Go to Original Post

 

Hey Creeps! It’s time for some quick shameless self-promotion. This weekend saw the launch of Rock Bottom Novelties, and with it, the birth of a new line of masks, the likes of which have never been witnessed before… SUPER MASKS.

Rock Bottom Novelties (named in part as an homage to Topstone) is the partnership of veteran mask makers Aaron Lewis, and Pete Infelise. The premiere release of Super Masks featured the SUPER SPACE SLIME MONSTER designed and sculpted by Aaron Lewis, and the SUPER ZOMBIE designed by SKINNER and sculpted by Pete Infelise.

SUPER MASKS are produced by the legendary Zagone Studios and are limited to 100 copies each. SUPER MASKS also feature the most epic header cards to ever be stapled on the top of a plastic bag. Check them out at the Rock Bottom Novelties website and shop, and get your claws on what is sure to become an instant collector item. 

 

 

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Best Horror Films of 2020

by on Dec.29, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

While 2020 will go down as the worst year ever, at least it has been a great year for horror movies. Here are my picks for the best of the best with everything from grim trauma to lighthearted comedy to visual sci-fi madness. I normally pick 13 favorite movies but this year deserves a bonus 7, plus plenty of honorable mentions to round out the list. 
1. The Dark and the Wicked – bleak, grim and terrifying haunted house film
2. Relic – family tragedy that is well-acted with an unexpected ending
3. His House – chilling haunted house tale with a unique refugee setting
4. Color Out of Space – bizarre Lovecraftian nightmare
5. Extra Ordinary – hilarious, goofy fun abroad with ghost busters
6. Gretel & Hansel – the classic story gets a beautiful and dark artistic makeover
7. Host – a surprisingly effective and timely ghost story
8. La Llorona – urgent storytelling with deeply resonate themes
9. The Invisible Man – big budget thrills done right with a great lead performance
10. Anything for Jackson – quirky and scary film of elderly couple going satanic
11. Impetigore – dense Indonesian folklore masterpiece
12. Love and Monsters – upbeat apocalypse with giant bugs and affable lead
13. She Dies Tomorrow – quirky, thought-provoking and darkly humorous 
14. The Mortuary Collection – fun, classic horror with an anthology format
15. The Platform – morality tale with a stark, visionary approach
16. The Beach House – disorienting hopelessness imbues this apocalyptic tale
17. Amulet – a victim’s story with mystery, mythology and surreal flair
18. Blood Machines – visually striking sci-fi that’s evocative and obscure
19. Scare Me – absorbing performances, funny and an ultimately dark indie
20. The Lodge – bleak holiday-set film that tackles religion and mental stability

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Bliss
Butt Boy
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part 3 (Tv Series)
Come to Daddy
Cursed Films (Documentary Series)
Devs (Tv Series)
The Haunting of Bly Manor (Tv Series)
The Hunt
Lovecraft Country (Tv Series)
The Outsider (Tv Series)
Possessor
Save Yourselves!
Scream, Queen (Documentary)
Shirley
Swallow
Tread (Documentary)
Underwater
The Vast of Night
We We Do in the Shadows, Season 2 (Tv Series)
Why Don’t You Just Die
The Wretched
Yummy
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Krampusnacht is Upon Us

by on Dec.04, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Before there was light, there was dark and thus begins the folklore of Krampus celebrated throughout Central Europe and now spreading throughout America’s horror-obsessed fandom. It’s simple. If you are good, Saint Nicholas will reward you with gifts. If you are bad, Krampus will come and take you away. 

Some anthropologists date the horned half-man, half-goat demon to pre-Christian times, and like-visages appeared in various cultural holidays alongside the then-emerging Saint Nicholas figure. As Christianity spread, chains appeared on Krampus as a way to bind the devil. He was a fearsome symbol of warning, made more humorous over time and completely absent from America’s holiday celebrations, represented now only by the coal Santa leaves to misbehaved children.

Krampusnacht is celebrated on the night of December 5, prior to the Feast of Saint Nicholas which is celebrated in several European countries on December 6. In modern times, citizens dress up in the furry Krampus costumes, noisy bells, and parade through town looking for the mischievous, carrying a bundle of Birch sticks for whipping, and a basket on their backs to load up the bad children which are taken back to the underworld for munching on later. 

Image by strichpunkt from Pixabay
Photo by Matthias Kabel

The beast was brought to America’s attention with the 2015 feature Krampus, directed by Michael Dougherty, who happened to also create the iconic Halloween movie, Trick ‘r Treat. There have been many Krampus movies since then but none really measure up to the darkly whimsical take that Dougherty perfected. 

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Quick Takes: Mortuary Collection, Scare Me, Spiral, 32 Malasana St., Cleansing Hour

by on Nov.11, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Most of movie watching time is spent on SHUDDER, the horror movie streaming channel by AMC that has finally found the right mix of rotating catalog classics, fun original programming, exclusive movies, and adequate corporate support to ensure it doesn’t collapse like Fearnet or Chiller (R.I.P.). With the continued growth, they’ve been able to but better and more interesting horror movies, many of which are international and indie films you’d otherwise never see. The following five films are all Shudder originals. 

The Mortuary Collection is one bad-ass movie and probably the most fun I’ve had with horror movies all year. It’s tone is all over the place, at times wickedly whimsical & humorous and then gory & horribly fiendish – but it all works. The acting and storytelling is exceptional. An almost unrecognizable Clancy Brown, as Mr. Dark, delivers his witty lines with a deeply resonate droll that reminded me of all the best TV horror hosts: “This house was built with all the modern conveniences…(pauses to acknowledge a clunky freight elevator)…for 1825.” The production design is exemplary with dusty old gothic sets that establish the macabre tone for the wraparound story. This turns out to be rather twisted tale but is somewhat over stays its welcome. Nonetheless, all segments pay off in one way or another, which is surprising for an anthology. This is a true, dark delight for Halloween 2020.

Scare Me is a horror comedy with a unique blend of elements. It’s funny enough and yet maintains an edge for the few moments of suspense. It succeeds mainly because of the incredibly likable and committed cast that pull off the impossible: they tell the story, rather than show it. It’s a brilliant move for a low-budget film to have the sound design flesh out the storytelling. It’s also a good glimpse at the screenwriting process where motives and character development lead the scenes rather than an implausible plot where characters are put in odd positions to move the film along. When the horror finally arrives, I was a bit sad to leave the fun time behind but this movie has a job to do. This is a very smart and entertaining, if slight film.


Spiral revolves around familiar cult/victim horror territory but centers the story on a mixed race gay couple with a teenage daughter. Representation matters so kudos for this. It’s well shot, has great sound design & good performances but so much energy is spent on the journey that the destination is completely overlooked and unsatisfying. It’s all portent and no payoff.



32 Malasana Street is a spooky Spanish period piece, well shot, with all the haunted house fixings and a committed cast that sells the anguish. The scares are effectively staged although they are all very familiar. Then comes the problematic clairvoyant and final reveal that are perhaps trying to address social issues and not exploit them but the result is really cringeworthy. Using freaks, as the film puts it, as fodder for horror is extremely passé in 2020 even when the movie is set in 1974. While I enjoyed much of the film, this alone makes me pass on recommending it.

The Cleansing Hour takes on the possession sub-genre and tries to alleviate its predictable confines. The demon is revealed early on and the action plays out over a live, real-time television broadcast. This adds both a new level of urgency as we see the time ticking away, and commentary on the consumption of media and self-absorbed personalities at the center. It’s not a very frightening film, but there’s some suspense in waiting to see what the demon does next. Even with this unique angle the plot wanes into a repetitive cycle. Then we get to that ending with one wacky reveal and a sinister finish that plays out over the credits. Did it jump the shark or did they bet the house on a risky, mind-blowing ending? I admire the verve.

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Quick Takes: Mortuary Collection, Scare Me, Spiral, 32 Malasana St., Cleansing Hour

by on Nov.11, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Most of movie watching time is spent on SHUDDER, the horror movie streaming channel by AMC that has finally found the right mix of rotating catalog classics, fun original programming, exclusive movies, and adequate corporate support to ensure it doesn’t collapse like Fearnet or Chiller (R.I.P.). With the continued growth, they’ve been able to but better and more interesting horror movies, many of which are international and indie films you’d otherwise never see. The following five films are all Shudder originals. 

The Mortuary Collection is one bad-ass movie and probably the most fun I’ve had with horror movies all year. It’s tone is all over the place, at times wickedly whimsical & humorous and then gory & horribly fiendish – but it all works. The acting and storytelling is exceptional. An almost unrecognizable Clancy Brown, as Mr. Dark, delivers his witty lines with a deeply resonate droll that reminded me of all the best TV horror hosts: “This house was built with all the modern conveniences…(pauses to acknowledge a clunky freight elevator)…for 1825.” The production design is exemplary with dusty old gothic sets that establish the macabre tone for the wraparound story. This turns out to be rather twisted tale but is somewhat over stays its welcome. Nonetheless, all segments pay off in one way or another, which is surprising for an anthology. This is a true, dark delight for Halloween 2020.

Scare Me is a horror comedy with a unique blend of elements. It’s funny enough and yet maintains an edge for the few moments of suspense. It succeeds mainly because of the incredibly likable and committed cast that pull off the impossible: they tell the story, rather than show it. It’s a brilliant move for a low-budget film to have the sound design flesh out the storytelling. It’s also a good glimpse at the screenwriting process where motives and character development lead the scenes rather than an implausible plot where characters are put in odd positions to move the film along. When the horror finally arrives, I was a bit sad to leave the fun time behind but this movie has a job to do. This is a very smart and entertaining, if slight film.


Spiral revolves around familiar cult/victim horror territory but centers the story on a mixed race gay couple with a teenage daughter. Representation matters so kudos for this. It’s well shot, has great sound design & good performances but so much energy is spent on the journey that the destination is completely overlooked and unsatisfying. It’s all portent and no payoff.



32 Malasana Street is a spooky Spanish period piece, well shot, with all the haunted house fixings and a committed cast that sells the anguish. The scares are effectively staged although they are all very familiar. Then comes the problematic clairvoyant and final reveal that are perhaps trying to address social issues and not exploit them but the result is really cringeworthy. Using freaks, as the film puts it, as fodder for horror is extremely passé in 2020 even when the movie is set in 1974. While I enjoyed much of the film, this alone makes me pass on recommending it.

The Cleansing Hour takes on the possession sub-genre and tries to alleviate its predictable confines. The demon is revealed early on and the action plays out over a live, real-time television broadcast. This adds both a new level of urgency as we see the time ticking away, and commentary on the consumption of media and self-absorbed personalities at the center. It’s not a very frightening film, but there’s some suspense in waiting to see what the demon does next. Even with this unique angle the plot wanes into a repetitive cycle. Then we get to that ending with one wacky reveal and a sinister finish that plays out over the credits. Did it jump the shark or did they bet the house on a risky, mind-blowing ending? I admire the verve.

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Sam Saves Halloween!

by on Oct.31, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Happy Halloween! What a long, long road to get to the darkest night of the year. This time of year certainly helps raise my spirits and this was especially needed now. Very few people decorated this year and my best guess is that they didn’t want to invite little hands to their front door. But we refused to go dark. Halloween is more than just candy and trick ‘r treating, and we wanted to ensure that our neighborhood had at least one gleaming house of horror. 

After debating how to hand out candy safely, all the experts said to avoid it. I made the brutal decision to declare: Sorry, No Candy. While this benefits our own household safety, it was really more for the kids and families that congregate in-front of our house every year. Last year we handed out candy to 423 trick ‘r treaters, and each was accompanied by at least 2 parents or friends with each trick ‘r treater so we estimated at least 1200 people on our driveway Halloween night. Even if we get a fraction of those this year, it’s still too many people to try to socially distance and ensure they wear masks. We have to think of everyone’s safety so we put up signs all month long. 

Our theme this year was “Sam Saves Halloween.” Sam is the little trickster demon from the movie Trick ‘r Treat who ensures that the rules of Halloween are obeyed – with deadly force if necessary. He has come to our house to unpack Halloween storage boxes and help Halloween come alive at our house. Take a look at some of my pictures and find more on my Halloween site: SenorScaryHalloween.com.

I hope you have a scary and SAFE Halloween!

P.S. Midday on Friday, October 30 while I as giving a presentation on Dia de los Muertos, I received notice that I won the “Most Original” prize for the City of Santa Clara’s Halloween Home Decorating contest! Woohoo! I’m so excited and honored to be recognized for my passion project, and grateful to the Santa Clara Cultural Committee. It will be a happy Halloween indeed.

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A BOO from Me to You

by on Oct.30, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

We are here at the best times Halloween (on Saturday, with an extra hour for many of us due to daylight savings ending, and with a full moon) and the worst of times (pandemic, shelter in place). The darkest night of the year goes on anyway so celebrate it to the fullest. Here’s a BOO from me to you:

The video features a clip from Sam Haynes brilliant new album, Groovy Murder Disco, available now everywhere (click the player below to listen now). Sam Haynes is an instrumental horror wave synth artist with some of the creepy-fun Halloween music. Find the complete catalog here: https://samhaynes1.bandcamp.com

Sam Haynes "Groovy Murder Disco" album cover

Groovy Murder Disco – Music for Halloween 2020 – Bandcamp Deluxe Edition by Sam Haynes

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A Night on Magnolia Avenue

by on Oct.28, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

I’m currently a film studies student and my latest class explored filmmaking by actually making a film to explore the technical aspects from the inside. It’s been a nightmare with COVID and don’t have access to the fancy lab equipment, so I ended up postponing this class for later. But, I continued my own self-study using the book from class as well as various online learning tools. 

I asked the Eerie Elegance Scream Team to help me shoot a short at their fancy-spooky Victorian mansion. This worked out since Britta wanted a promo video for Halloween. In one week, Britta wrote the shooting script, we filmed it over 14 hours one Saturday, and then I edited it over the week. Just like that we had a  silly spooky short, learn a lot, and had fun making it. 

This was meant to be an educational experience and there was definitely a learning curve. I understand the need for a full crew as we all wore too many hats. I have a newfound respect for the industry and have seen first hand what it could be like “on set” with script problems, lack of equipment, working with passionate actors, and managing well-meaning producers. For my next amateur project, I will need to remember my biggest takeaways from this project:

  1. Polish the script before shooting and write in all possible actions, sounds, effects. 
  2. Storyboard all action and plan your shots.
  3. Block & rehearse well ahead of shooting to let actors work out their process.
  4. Shoot over several days & don’t exhaust the talent.
  5. Sound is key – use a boom mic & hire person dedicated just to sound.
  6. Learn video editing software well and feel comfortable with the basics.
  7. Slow down and get it right – you cannot fix it in post!
Without further ado, here is my first short: A Night on Magnolia Avenue.

https://vimeo.com/471809192

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