A little over a month to go until our favorite holiday and the Horror Guy is gearin' up for a great Halloween season. First, I'm gonna talk Cridafer into hittin' the Shanghai Tunnel bar sometime in the next week or two, maybe drag some friends along to sit in Portland's creepiest bar and sip some brews. Then there's the HP Lovecraft Film Festival here in Portland over the weekend of October 3rd-5th. I've also recently discovered the writings of Al Sarrantonio, who authors some of the best Halloween fiction you can find on the bookshelves. Then there's the HorrorFest movie party that Cridafer and I host every year, this time on October 25th. Watch for the line-up here soon and if you are in the Portland area and think you might want to make some new friends, hit me up for an invite.
And finally the holiday itself on October 31st; not only is it the most wonderful day of the year, it's also my & Cridafer's anniversary--7 years this year!
So what are you doing to celebrate this Halloween season?
Just got back from seeing CTHULHU a few hours ago and after having had a little time to digest it properly, I gotta say that it was....interesting. It is a low budget flick so I was not expecting intense special effects or a blockbuster soundtrack; I was hoping at minimum to get an entertaining story out of the deal. And I got one. I think. The flick kinda rambles at a snails pace but does its best to use this in conjunction with long, dark shots to try and build an aura of creepy paranoia which succeeds to an extent. I wouldn't say it's a really bad film, but it definitely sticks out as an early directoral effort. My main problem was that the focus seemed to be too much on trying to build the atmosphere and not enough on character development; I just didn't know enough about the protagonist to really care about the situation he finds himself stuck in. But whatever was going on with him, I was constantly creeped out by seeing what he was experiencing. And while I had little trouble understanding the concepts behind the plot, there were a couple of times that I found myself hopelessly lost as to where exactly we were in the story. There was quite a bit of wooden acting and there were a few scenes that really could have been trimmed down but despite the problems I had with the flick, I was still entertained by it. I believe if director Dan Gildark and writer Grant Cogswell continue to work and refine their skills, they have the potential to become 'big names' in creepy filmmaking.
The Day Job is now a thing of the past and the Horror Guy is taking some much needed time off from the rat race. Let's clean up pieces so I can get back to some rantin' on a regular basis...
...all this time off means I have time to set up my li'l personal space I like to call The Grimoire. It's coming along nicely and I'll soon have some shots up on my recently set-up flickr page.
...don't forget that HBO's new vampire drama True Blood debuts this evening. Set those DVRs!
...maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment in light of all the disastrous horror flick remakes going on these days, but I actually have high hopes for the upcoming remake/reimagining of the original Friday the 13th heading to theaters on February 13th, 2009.
...the HP Lovecraft Film Festival & Cthulhucon is comin' around again. If yer in the Portland area next month, the dates are October 3rd-5th.
...speakin' of film festivals, the Horror Guy's very own 8th Annual HorrorFest will be held on October 25th. Line-up and more info to come.
...Brian Keene's excellent zombie-themed short story The Ties That Bind is being adapted into a short film by the folks at Bamfer Productions. Check out the creepy lookin' trailer below.
I take a little time off from bloggin' to settle into a new job and you just let the pieces pile up everywhere! Help me sort thru these things would ya....?
...holy fuckin' ass-crackers, I love Powell's Books here in beautiful Portland! Their selection of new & used horror stuff is outta this world. While strolling thru their aisles yesterday I scored a copy of a UK import that collects all of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories in one huge volume. Appropriately titled Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of HP Lovecraft, this beauty is is gonna be perfect reading for this Horror Guy's upcoming week long vacation!
...gave George Romero's Diary of the Dead an initial viewing and it was pretty decent. Watching it again now durin' the morning treadmill run so I can write up a more detailed opinion of the flick a little later.
...NBC's Fear Itself has been solidly entertaining almost each and every week so far. There have been a couple of flops (I'm lookin' at you John Landis's In Sickness and In Health) but for the most part this is a definite 'must watch' TV show.
...just had to get up and shuffle my carcass into the living room to turn off Scary Movie 4 that Cridafer had left playing in there. Talk about an unbearable waste of everything it took to make that turd. Just can't top the original in this series, folks.
...there's a flood of really fantastic horror comics being published lately. Look for a Horror Guy spotlight on titles every horror fan should check out later this week.
...the new Brian Keene book is here! The new Brian Keene book is here! My copy of Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes from the End of the World showed up yesterday and I'm already well into it. The man still ain't lost his touch. This shit is creepy, exciting, touching and terrifying. Already eagerly anticipated Ghost Walk next month.
We've been back from Europe for a couple of weeks now, settled back into everyday life and now it's time to sort out the pieces...
...the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is next week right here in beautiful Portland! I missed it last year, so I'm really looking forward to attending this one.
...during the trip to Europe, I managed to finish up World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and also read Nightwatch, the first volume of Sergei Lukyanenko's horror/fantasy trilogy. The movie adaptation was exceptionally entertaining, but I was surprised to find that it is almost nothing like the books. The only real similarity is the characters themselves. Still, I recommend both the movie and the books as they are fantastic in their own ways. Look for a full review of the book trilogy once I finish off the other two in the series.
...it's almost October, the greatest month of the year! That means it's almost time for Horror Guy's annual HorrorFest, the yearly all day horror movie marathon that we put on for our friends and loved ones. If you are going to be in the Portland, OR area on October 13th, drop me a line if you'd like to try and wrangle an invite, but space is limited.
...checked out Perfect Creature this past weekend 'cause I'd heard it was a good vampire flick. Don't know who is spreading those lies 'cause this one is dull as dishwater. Bad acting, slow pacing and ridiculous plot. Steer clear unless you are suffering from insomnia.
...I just finished off the second season of Supernatural on DVD so I'm ready for the premiere of season three next week. This thing is still rockin'! I enjoyed season two even more than the first season. It is consistently better than 95% of the schlock that is pushed on us horror fans in the theaters these days. Highly recommended!
I'm actually taking someone else's advice for a change and starting a new blog dedicated solely to a topic I slavishly adore. After mulling over a few cutesy-weird names, I chose to settle on something simple; Horror Guy will do quite nicely.
This is the space where I will put down my rants, raves, critiques and crap I have say about any and everything I can find in the horror genre. To get this whole carcass up and shambling, how about a little bit about me?
The first movie that I can recall seeing and comprehending what was happening on that little TV screen is George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
I was four years old but the black and white images of a handful of
desperate individuals trying to survive a zombie holocaust were burned
into my brain. I won't even get into the discussion of what kind of
parents allow a four year old to watch such a gruesome spectacle;
suffice it to say that from that moment on, I had inherited my mother's
love of all things fun and terrifying. As much as I remember that
flick, I don't really remember being frightened by it as much as I was
just fascinated by the idea of dead people getting up and walking
around. The earliest film I can remember actually instilling terror in
my tiny little heart was the first movie my mom took me to see in a
theater when I was only six; Steven Spielberg's JAWS.
We were living in East Texas at the time, nowhere near a body of water
that held any danger of Great White encounters, but I was scared out of
my noggin....and loved it! It was around this time that I began
discovering the plethora of horror-themed material available, even in
the pre-Internet days, and I absorbed it all like a human-shaped
sponge. Every weekday at 3:30pm I would be parked in front of the
television for the "3:30 Movie", hoping beyond hope that I would be
presented with a good old-fashioned black and white "monster movie"
(whatever their subject material, all horror flicks were 'monster
movies' to this youngster), it didn't matter which one or what it was
about. Saturday afternoons were reserved for watching flicks presented
and commented on by Madame Macabre, a sort of post-Vampira, pre-Elvira goth movie host. Saturday nights were the best; that's when I would sit, waiting agonizingly for end credits of "Hee Haw!" to roll because immediately after was "Creature Feature"
hosted by the "cheapy creepy" Dr. Paul Bearer. Dr. Bearer would present
us with a different low-budget horror film every week and for some
reason, I remember enjoying those a lot more than the flicks shown on
the 3:30 Movie or hosted by Madame Macabre. One in particular that
stuck in my brain was a tale involving a possessed bar-b-que grill that
mutilated its victims by spewing hot charcoal on them.
By the time I was seven years old, I had begun reading the horror paperback novels that my mom had around lying around. Ghost House by Clare McNalley was the very first one and its story of a family being emotionally torn to shreds by a jealous spirit sticks with me to this day. At the ripe old age of eight, I discovered and read my first Stephen King novel, The Stand...and was hooked. I've been a King fan ever since and will probably be reading his stuff until I lay down for my own dirt nap.
As I grew older, my interest grew stronger, to the point where I was devouring everything horror-related that I could get my hands on; monster toys and models, wall posters, the writings of E.A Poe, HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, Fangoria magazine, books by John Saul, Peter Straub and others, academic studies of actual occult practices, horror comics from Marvel and DC, and even crappy community theater productions of Dracula. Nothing was too low budget or chintzy to be outside my interest.
Getting to go to the theater was a rare treat for me when I was younger and I had to wait and catch most of the flicks I wanted to see when they aired on network TV. So it was in 1980 on a dark Friday night in October that I curled up all alone in our living room to watch the final movie of my life (thus far) that would actually terrify me to the point that I still have nightmares about it: John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN. I'm sure that someone watching it for the first time today would find absolutely nothing scary about it, but bear in mind that back then there was no other movie of note that was anything like it. This was all before FRIDAY THE 13TH, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, SAW and all the other horror flicks that would become ingrained in the social consciousness. There was little plot and less acting talent, but the images of this faceless, emotionless madman stalking a group of teenagers and slaughtering them mercilessly, coupled with one of the most memorable horror movie music themes ever, was simply terrifying. What's more, this particular madman, Michael Myers by name, who seemed human by any other measure could not be stopped. Even taking a chestful of bullets from Donald Pleasence could do no more than slow him down. Fans of F13's Jason Voorhees would see this as nothing novel, but again, this was a few years before the summer camp slaughterer first donned his hockey mask. Multiple sequels would try to put a rhyme and reason to the machinations of Mr. Myers, but none of them would ever come close to the sheer fear invoked by the original film. This year, horror auteur Rob Zombie is remaking/re-imagining John Carpenter's classic with a promise that it will satisfy fans both new and old. I know this old fan is quite excited by the prospect.
And there you have it; the birth of horror guy. Gotta run now. Something creepy on the DVD shelf is calling to me.