Saturday, December 18, 2004

last X-mas down the way

Here it is, my holiday short story, a labor of love for all my blog readers. Some of you may hate this story. At times while writing it, I wondered if I hated this story. Read on, if you think you can stomach it.

Last X-mas Down the Way by Warren

"It's time for a new Christmas tradition" proclaimed James, to no one at all, as he sat alone in his kitchen eating a TV dinner. "Everyone is going to stop by here Christmas Eve! There will be presents for all, feasting, and maybe someone will even give me something listed on my letter to Santa", James smiled. He would be busy, Christmas was less than a week away, but it would all be worth it.

James lived on the outskirts of town on a road that led to nothing but the places that loggers used to go. He had plenty of trees on his land, and who could be sure where the edges of property were anyway? The Christmas tree James selected was not the first one he came by. No, he spent the better part of the morning sizing up each tree, looking at it from every angle, even smelling it, for the freshest pine smell. The tree he found was special.. A beautiful, bushy, and healthy white pine that stood out from the pack. It almost seemed a shame to chop it down, but Christmas came only once a year and the whole town would see it in all it's glory. James grabbed his ax and chopped away. He yelled "Timber!" and smiled. The tree did not come crashing down, he caught it with ease in his mitten-covered hand. He carried the tree with care back to his house, managing to slip it through the doorway without knocking off more than a few dozen needles.

James did not have many possessions, but he did have a box of holiday ornaments. They had been in his family for generations. There were golden glass balls and crimson balls and green balls too. There were small wool elves, with little hooks in their hats. There was the wooden candy cane his teacher had given him at school, back at the old one-room-school house. The Angel was his favorite, his grandmother had made it out of scraps when they were very poor, but it looked beautiful to him. Then there were the paper snowflakes he had made with his mother as a child using glue and glitter. He remembered that morning, sitting with in that very same room so many years ago. His father threw logs on the toasty fire and his mother stirred up another batch of tasty eggnog. Eggnog! Food! He needed these things for the feast.

James crossed his fingers. He opened his wallet and sighed. Only his lucky two dollar bill lay inside. You can't buy squat with two dollars these days, but there was an answer. Since he'd been a boy, James had kept piggy banks, as an insurance for hard times. Banks in the city were run by thieves, who can you trust but yourself, so said the teachings of his father. He was only on his third piggy bank ever, the other two were broken in emergencies. Once to pay a doctor who visited his dying parents, the other time to buy shingles when the roof caved in. Cracking the piggy bank was serious business, but Christmas was not just any day. James smashed the porcelain pig to smithereens with his hammer. Rivers of change poured out, and not just a few dollar bills. Years of savings, enough to feed the town, for one night.

A trip to town was a rare occasion and a fairly long walk too. The tractor was out of gas. The gas can was empty. The car had been on cinder blocks for quite some time. James whistled 'Joy To The World' as he made the trek on foot. Pops' general store was his destination, they would sell the vegetables and the meat that James would cook for the dinner. About half a mile from town, he saw the first flakes drifting down. He changed his tune to "White Christmas", this would be the perfect holiday.

"Hi Pops!" Pops didn't respond or even look up. Probably worried about his bills thought James, everyone has bad days. First things first, the turkey. In the back freezer were a number of them. James chose the largest, freshest, most expensive bird, though he supposed he could have made done with one that cost half as much. It's for everyone he thought. He filled two baskets with canned goods and one with breads and stuffings.

"Pops, do you have any powdered eggnog, it'd be a pretty long haul for me to carry a bunch of jugs back to my place. I'm buying a lot of..."

"Save your breath, ain't no such thing!". Pops was short with him. Perhaps he will be more polite when he comes to visit on Christmas Eve, James thought.

"Do you have any potato sacks, pops, I'm buying a lot of food."

"Yeah, I got some out back in the trash. Don't you make a mess out there though!"

"Ok Pops, I'll be careful." James said, handing over more money than he'd ever remembered spending in one place. Outside the snow was really coming down. "Thanks Pops, Merry Christmas." Again Pops said nothing.

By the time James got home, he was chilled to the bone. Still, he was undaunted. I feel like Santa with my sack, he thought. Soon he'd fill that sack with toys, his own toys from when he was a boy, they were stored in the attic. He'd look like Santa too. Santa wasn't real, but when his father dressed like Saint Nick, you'd really believe in him.

Up in the attic James found the Santa suit in a trunk with his father's clothes. He could still smell the cigar smoke on them. Wow, smells can really bring back memories. So can old toys. He could retell the stories to the children when they opened their gifts. Tell them about how his father made the choo choo train out of wood from this very forest, or how the race car came from a famous toy shop in the city. He could tell Pops, Officer Jones, and Mayor Sanders the stories of each and every ornament on his tree. Everyone could hear about the Christmases past, that had happened in this old house, so long ago.

James' family had been poor, they saved their old wrapping paper for use the next year. James used this same paper to wrap each gift for children this year. It took some time, he was a bit clumsy, but he figured they'd suffice when he emerged from the bedroom as Santa with presents in his sack. He'd take them out gift by gift and gently place them under the tree. He could already see the children holding their gifts to their chests. "Look what Santa brought me! Look what Santa brought me."

On the morning of December 24th, James began his cooking, based on hand written recipes his mother put on paper and tucked into the family cookbook. Perhaps he could even pass these on to some of the women from town. The traditions would live on. A smell of food drifted throughout James' cabin, he was doing an A+ job with the Christmas preparations. The food would be great, the tree was lit, and the house was spotless and ready for company. The guests would surely arrive soon.

At six o'clock James took the turkey out of the oven. Townspeople could sit at the table and eat, or mingle in the living room where the tree was. Either way, Christmas cheer would be spread throughout the house. By seven o'clock James concluded that people these days liked to be fashionably late, a shame because these magical Christmas hours should be not be wasted with formalities. At eight o'clock James became worried, perhaps their had been an accident on the road. Was everyone ok? Nine o'clock was the time that James had scheduled his appearance as Jolly Old Saint Nick. As long as everyone got here for their presents, Christmas served it's purpose. Ten o'clock came and James put on the Santa suit, though their was no one there to see him in it. He looked at the tree. It glowed. He picked up one of the presents and shook it, inside was a puzzle he'd put together hundreds of times as a boy. He'd never lost a single piece. James dipped a spoon into the cranberry sauce. His mother's recipe, there was not another cranberry sauce like it in the world. A tear dripped from his eye. Oh no, he'd get his Santa beard wet! It was eleven o'clock, and the guests would have been heading home at this time. Children needed to go to bed soon so their toys could be put under the tree unseen. Santa would be dropping in.

At midnight James was half way to town despite the snowfall. He was making good time, for a man in a Santa suit with a sack of toys over one shoulder and an ax over the other.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Silent Scream (1980)

I got this tape from a small box lot on ebay. The synopsis on the back was pretty vague and very brief. I could not tell if this was a slasher movie or a haunted house or a thriller or what. Only one way to find out. My girlfriend the Cub has had to put up with this many times. I'm referring to when I pass over a movie that is obviously good (has cannibals, or killer apes, or sexual deviants) for the ~mystery tape~. Here is what I say to Cub.

"I don't know what this is, can we just put it on and see."

"What kind of movie is it?"

"I don't know."

"How can you not know?"

"It doesn't say."

"Well did you look it up on the internet?"

"I did, but I forgot what they said... Let's just put it in and if you don't like it, we can change the tape..."

Often the movie sucks, but we suffer through the whole thing. My fault totally, especially when I use my other technique to get Cub to watch a ~mystery tape~.

"It's supposed to be good."

"Did it get a lot of stars?"

"Um no, but people said it was good."

"Who said?"

"I'm not sure, someone.."

So I ruin Cub's life by subjecting her to some bad movies, she won't stand for the ones shot on video anymore, but as long as the movie is from the seventies, she is a good sport. She even pays better attention than I do.

Anyway, I love Cub too much as you can see, but I'm not done talking about her. The movie Silent Scream has the actress Barbara Steele in it, the actress who most reminds me of my girlfriend. She first appeared in horror films in 1960, in dual roles as the female lead and the villain in Mario Bava's Black Sunday. By my calculations she must have been 23 at the time and so was 43 in Silent Scream. I'm not good at math, but I know she is still alive today. Rumor has it that my old roommate has her autograph. I only have autographs of Jay-Z, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Eminem, and Joe Strummer, but no horror stars. Actually, that's a lie, my Dad and I got Linda Blair's autograph one Halloween and presented it to my Mom on Christmas. This was strange because my Mom has no idea who Linda Blair is, but that is my Dad's sense of humor for you. I thought it was pretty funny. Next time I go home, and it's been 2 years plus since I've been there, I'll ask my Mom if she can find that autographed head shot we gave her maybe twleve years ago. It may be easier to find then my autograph collection which hopefully did not get thrown out with piles of ripped-up magazines that one of my pets shit all over. The Joe Strummer autograph, I gave that to my sister, since she liked the Clash more than I did. I asked Joe Strummer to draw a star on the paper and he seemed to think that was weird, but I had just seen him draw a star on another kid's 'Clash on Broadway' box set! I'm not making fun of Joe Strummer, he was a super nice guy, and perhaps the coolest celebrity to meet.

Anyway, Silent Scream is a slasher in a boarding house. The house has a secret stairway that leads to locked rooms where an unknown figure lurks. All the best action scenes and twists are in the last twenty minutes of the film. The weakest scene is a rip-off or tribute to the Psycho shower scene that takes place in a laundry room, with a clothesline as the famous shower curtain. I liked Silent Scream, and I think I'm smarter than I was before, for having seen it.

My tape looks the same as this, but it's blue, and from the Media label.

The Barbara Steele fan site, titled of all things, 'Silent Scream'. Yes it's named after this not-so-famous film.

Barbara Steele at

Saturday, December 11, 2004

misery of the indie rocker

This is my first work of fiction to be published in the blog. Thanks to Cub for proofreading.

misery of the indie rocker by Warren

Karen was back in town and Daniel was on his way over there. Though it had been a long semester since his last visit, there had been a time when a drive over to her house was a daily routine. That was two years ago. Then came college at two different schools, two different states. No promises to keep it together were made, but it still hit like a ton of bricks when she did not want to get back together over that first Thanksgiving break. Since then, just friends. It hurt to think about her with other boys in that other state, but if you don't ask a lot of questions, it's not so bad.

Karen's Dad opened the door. "Hey it's Daniel!" hey said with a smile and reached out to shake his hand. It still felt funny, shaking his hand like an equal. Daniel felt more like a boy then a man.

Karen was coming down the stairs behind her father. "Daniel!" she squeaked and trotted up to him. He was in an embrace before he knew it. "It's so cool that you are back, I thought my school was the only one to get out so soon."

"Yeah, I didn't expect you to be here when I called. I was just going to ask when you were getting back.". He felt okay, all the knots in his stomach from the ride over unwound in three or four seconds. It was always tough to see her at first, but he could literally feel the tension dissipate. Now Daniel was confident that he could play it cool, no, not just play it cool, but be cool. Karen's Dad was already headed back into the kitchen and they were on the way up to her room. Daniel thought about how many hours he must have spent in this house during the three years of high school that they went steady. He could handle Karen's stories, right now she was talking about her plane ride home, nothing bad in that tale, it was even a little boring. Yes, Daniel felt comfortable in this house, it was familiar, it could be trusted, Karen could be trusted.

Her room, it was not the same. The posters, the photos on the bulletin board, the clutter on the desk, all gone. Her room had never changed that much before, not even since they stopped dating. During each break and during the two summers, he would come and hang out, bring her CDs that he burned, and everything was familiar. It was the same room she'd had in high school, with the memories of a lifetime filling it. Tonight it looked barren by comparison. Well, that's not bad, he thought, it wouldn't remind him of the old times.

"So your parents are going to rent out your room?" he laughed. So did she.

"No... they did some cleaning when I was gone. They just need to keep busy. I was going through all the stuff they sorted for me when you called."

"Oh, so they didn't just put a dumpster under your window and toss everything out?" Daniel chuckled.

"No, so what did you do this semester, tell me a story."

"I got on radio station staff. Oh.. you're gonna be pissed. We got Jimmy Eat World to play our fall concert!"

"Really!.. That's cool, you must have been so happy. Were they as good as they used to be?"

"Well you know the new album is the best!"

"No" She looked at the ground "I haven't heard it."

"Well, I'll burn you a copy... and get you a new poster to replace the one your Mom threw away!" That was funny, at least she could smile at that one.

"Look, my Mom didn't throw anything away." Karen seemed kind of cold, but a moment later there was no tension at all. It could have even been his imagination. She let Daniel tell his stories about the school radio station. He wished she seemed a bit more interested, but it's cool, he realized he was talking a lot and she was being a good sport. When they were dating she had hung on his every word. He showed her the world, took her to her first show, burned copies of all his CDs for her. This was before indie rock, it was, you know, an emo time, and they did silly things. Now she probably had other things on her mind. You get serious about your major in junior year. Without Daniel, it could only be expected that Karen would not be following the same exact scene. Different states, different bands, who knows what's cool there.

"Karen, you should go with me to RPM Records tomorrow, I'll show you what new releases to pick up." Daniel offered. They used to always go to that record store. Even if you bought a CD once a week, you'd always find something that you need there the next week. If you hadn't bought a CD ALL SEMESTER, well, then you'd probably have to fill up a trash bag at that place.

"No, Daniel." She looked down again. "I've kind of got to save money for this semester."

"Oh whatever. Look, I'll buy you a CD. It's on me. No, two CDs, you can't argue with that and it's just the beginning of what you need...!" Daniel was smiling, already thinking in his head. Which two would be the best. So many essential albums came out this fall. The Garden State Soundtrack. The Killers CD. Maybe she didn't even have that. So much.

"Um, well.. actually my friend Troy is coming to visit tomorrow. He's gonna stay for the rest of break."

Bam! That brought Daniel back to the room. He instantly regretted what came out of his mouth in the voice of a grade school brat. "Who is that!?! Your boooy frienddd?" Oh my God that was stupid. He should not have said that.

"Um.. sort of. Yeah."

But no answer was necessary. Daniel did not storm out the room or burst into tears. "Oh that's cool." he said and changed the subject. The damage had been done. You win some, you lose some. He wrapped up the conversation, gave her a hug and said "see you next break". It wasn't funny, but they both laughed for a millisecond anyway.

On his way down the driveway he put it all in perspective and saw that it wouldn't be so bad. "This guy Troy, he may have her now, but I dated her for three years. We shared it all, I'll always have that, and so will she." That's the way to think. As he was getting out his car keys he noticed a pile of trash he'd paid no attention to when he showed up a little under an hour ago. So her Mom had thrown stuff out!? No, Karen had thrown stuff out. It was probably some baby junk and none of his business or interest. But why shouldn't he look, he was the one who dated Karen for three years, not some dork named Troy who probably is just an indie wannabe. Daniel was there first, he was on the fuckin radio station, he fuckin hung with Jimmy Eat World at their show, and if he wanted to dig through someone else's trash, is there a problem with that!?

His heart stopped when he saw the converse shoe box on top of the trash can Not because he it said "Converse" on the side, that's not really something to get emotional about, but because of what else it said, something written in sharpee on the top. "Daniel's Letterz". That box was the one she would he put his love notes in right after she read them. She even printed out his live journal entries about her and put them in there. "If Y3K ever happens.." she used to say "I'll still have this box."

So fuck'n what. She got a folder, a file cabinet, doesn't need a box. Well he was looking anyway. The box was still full of his letters.

"That's fucked up! That's fucked up!" Daniel was pounding on his steering wheel, driving home way too fast. He didn't even remember getting in the car. "I gotta go see. I gotta know."

Daniel was back on Karen's street. He was no longer driving fast. He pulled up slowly, normal. He was just going to see, you have to see sometimes and that's how it is. Daniel parked on the street, not in the driveway, got out, and calmly walked over to the pile of boxes. Underneath "Daniel's Letterz" were scattered CDs and scattered CD cases. They were not prerecorded, no, some person had taken the time to duplicate their own CDs, to write out track listings, to draw hearts and stars on them with a paint marker. Someone had made these CDs for a road trip together, for a birthday gift, for a rainy afternoon. Someone had taken the time to give these discs titles. "Music to Rock Our Socks To", "Songs that Remind Me of You" and "Daniel and Karen's Anniversary Mix".


The junk pile sat there for two more days until Wednesday, the day the trash truck comes around. Karen did not think about the pile during those two days. After all, her new boyfriend from school was there and that is pretty exciting. She would not think about the junk pile until a week later, when she ultimately heard the horrible news, and even then she wondered, if perhaps the pile had nothing to do with what happened at all.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Mangler 2 (2001)

The Mangler 2 stars Lance Henriksen, star of Alien and Pumpkinhead, perhaps someone who belonged on my top ten horror actors list. My paragraph about him would be similar to the one I wrote about Jeffrey Combs. "Was great in great movies, now stars in every shitty genre movie that comes out." That's not a quote from my list at all, I'm paraphrasing myself.

I am a fan of Lance Henriksen, but not of this movie. I'm not alone. This movie is universally ridiculed by the millions of unlucky viewers who rented it or caught the film on late night cable. It is so hated that it is in danger of becoming a cult classic. The reason we all laugh at this movie is because it's a teen comedy, that gets the teens all wrong. Some script writer out there is way out of touch with the youth of today. I would compare this movie to Bring It On Again, the embarrassing video sequel to the hit cheerleader movie. (both Mangler 2 and Bring It On Again star ugly chicks ...a cheap shot, but it's what I was thinking)

So I've got the DVD of this film. I got it with a box of videos I bought on ebay. Usually I don't bother with the extras and special features, but the I obviously hate myself enough to try them all out on this DVD. We've got interviews with the writer/director and his brother. They work as a team. Now I've never really said anything nasty in this blog. I've said stuff to raise eyebrows, stuff that's pretty harsh, but never have I pissed all over a movie or movie makers. Well I going to make a statement that is not nice. The guys who brought us Mangler 2 should never make a movie again. They will never make a movie that anyone will like. They are clueless and so, so, soooo uncool. They hype this shit up during the making of segment. They think it's going to be loved and hint that Mangler 3 and Mangler 4 are right around the corner. Not true, The Manger 2 made a big splash like a log landing in the porcelain bowl of the movie world. It rose to #3 on the imdb's worst movies of all time list. That's really something.

As for the rest of the special features? Unfunny out-takes (but in fairness, are they ever funny?) and a trailer that shows how the movie ends. (but in fairness, don't all trailers do that?) Then there are the rock videos that are both slicker looking than the film. The two videos and all the music in the movie come from the same band. A pop/industrial group who's songs range from awful to catchy. I used to hate this kind of music, but it's grown on me. I like the similar band Godhead. My girlfriend likes all those Metropolis records bands that are the rage right now. She was in the other room when I was watching the extras and told me to "turn off that horrible music". It must not be similar to the 'darkwave' bands she likes. More like the ear candy I go for and my taste in music is questionable, so I've been told. The new bands that I like always end up in the cutout-bin, so my favorite tune from Mangler 2, it was doomed from the start. Sorry guys, you won't be the next Stabbing Westward.

Here is the funniest thing about the DVD. I missed one of the kills because my DVD skipped. Well it turns out that every DVD skips that scene. The discs are all defective! I guess the Mangler virus got into them all. (Ha Ha, I bet every review makes that joke) Those douche bags who mad the movie tried to suggest that something mysterious was going down on the set. They experienced unexplained technical failures during filming. Well this DVD error is the worst thing that could happen, bet they aren't laughing at this fuck-up. Maybe they will talk about it on one of the extras on Mangler 3. Oh wait, no they won't, Mangler 3 is being made by someone else. Someone who is gonna forget that this Mangler ever happened and bring of back to the direction taken by the original.

Actually everything Mangler sucks including the original. Mangler 3 will be coming to use from the man responsible for the atrocious Rodentz, so don't get even a little excited.

this sucks and so will The Mangler 3

The scoop (of shit) on The Mangler 3

Trauma (1978)

This is not a review of Dario Argento's Trauma, rather an earlier giallo with the Italian name Enigma rosso. The term "schoolgirl giallo" is used to describe this film and two others that make up an unofficial trilogy. All of Italian horror movies have many names and I did not know exactly what film I was watching when I put this tape on. I did not do any research ahead of time and I was surprised to see a scene that I had heard about from other horror fans. A sex scene with the murder weapon being a large rubber penis, the type you can buy at a sex shop. It is repeatedly forced into the unwilling girl's reproductive cavity until she dies. Insertion is not shown, this is not a hardcore film, but we are treated to a shot from the vagina's point of view. The penis is thrust towards the camera in this shot that would be ideal for a 3-D movie. I wondered, could I be perhaps watching the extremely rare shocker, Porno Holocaust?

Trauma from 1978

No, internet research revealed to me that Porno Holocaust is a different film. The search is still on for that one. Trauma is notable though, mainly for the scene I just described and it's voyeuristic shots of showering school girls. It's hard to describe the locker room scene and convey exactly what about it will make must viewers uncomfortable. I assure you, you're going to think the shots are at least a bit fucked up and wrong. Words fail me, see it for yourself.

Shocks aside, the movie is pretty entertaining, with only a few lame moments. An interrogation on board a rollercoaster is laughable. The ending is either brilliant or ridiculous, depending on how much of giallo fan you are. A DVD of Trauma is not available anywhere that I have looked.

bloodbath news

It's been almost three months and I'm still writing in this blog, I'm very proud of myself. I can write whatever I want at any time, like now for example. I watching the news and writing an entry at the same time. I see that Peta is giving away fur coats to the homeless people in Seattle. They get fur coats donated to them from people who have decided to become more compassionate and not wear up to sixty dead animals on one garment. I guess Peta has a surplus. I know they used to use the coats as props and examples in demonstrations, why do they have more than they can use?

I'm going to draw conclusions and say that demonstrations aren't as popular as they used to be, animal rights is on the outs. I don't have any statistics to back up my statements, just observations I've made in California and in Boston before I left. The number of ex-vegans is through the roof. Why aren't these kids vegan anymore? I think it's because their favorite bands are not vegan anymore. We used to flyer at shows for demos, that's unthinkable know. Besides, does anyone want a bunch of brainless hardcore kids representing the movement.

And does anyone want me to represent the movement? I have not been to an animal rights demo in over two years. I'm gone too, but it's not a big loss. I fucked up a lot of things, I'm hardly presentable, and I can't put two words together when I'm on the mic. This stuff is best left to professionals.

The primate freedom tour was one of the high points in my animal rights career and they are doing it again. I've had dreams about this, like for real dreams when I'm sleeping. Each time, it's like a reunion tour, but instead of the massive bus used last time, it's little VW vans and just a handful of activists. I don't know what it will really be like, hopefully phenomenal. The last tour was great in many ways, though plagued with many punk rock and hardcore kids just along for the free ride. I was not perfect and am thankful for the experience and to the organizers for putting up me and others who meant well, but had not yet developed a strong work ethic.

Primate Freedom Tour 2005

Sometime during the last couple of years Peta discovered that lots of activists were spawned via the punk and hardcore scenes. Now they have a website about it. Too late guys, you missed the vegan straight edge boom of the late nineties, and the political crust punk movement as well. Now they're covering the music when it's all about sexy girls and hair styles and synthesizers and shit. Luckily, two or three of the kids who used to play hardcore did not start eating meat when they began their new garage rock bands. Peta2 has got a handful of people to interview.

Anyway, everything I'm writing is relevant to the directions this blog and my websites are going. Expect for me to clarify what this Horrorline concept is all about. I will express political views as well as look at others for fun. Don't worry, everything ties into horror.

Last, but not least, the nerds do it right. What can you learn about most on the internet? Nerd shit! Computers and video games! It blows my mind how the history of gaming has been preserved, recreated, and parodied, on the web. Everything a game nerd ever wanted is there being modified, dissected, and obsessed over on message boards. People are making new 8-bit games, mixing midi files of game music, and doing great stuff with design that looks straight out of the 80's. Nerds are way cool ...on-line.

Video game link - Remember Wizard Video? This video label put out tons of crazy horror tapes in the old style big boxes. A handful of the movies I reviewed here came out on Wizard Video. Well there was also Wizard Video Games. I had no idea. They made Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre cartridges for the Atari 2600. This site has background information, and if you click on the game artwork, you can see hi-res scans of the box art.

see the
Wizard Video Games

What to expect here in the future? I won't promise anything, but I've got a couple of lists planned. Top girls in horror and punk, but on one list. Yes, one superlist. Cub will help me, since she is a girl she can judge the girls. I though of doing lists about me, like the most common points that I make when I'm going off on a rant. People who know me will recognize a lot of the stories I use to back up my theories. I've got theories on trends and kids and the changing times. No, it's not as boring as it sounds. I also want to make a list of ten movie titles to drop if you wanna fake a conversation with a horror expert. Like, if you wanna talk to me about horror, and tell me something, you could let me know you had knowledge about some of these movies. I might respect your views. Now you want to know what those ten movies are. Well you have to wait.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

top ten horror actors ever

Several weeks in the making, my list of my ten favorite horror movie actors is about to be posted. I'll tell you right now that I like almost all the famous horror actors, but my favorites, and for example, a Fangoria top ten list, would be very different. Any fourteen year old kids list would have the funny Bruce Campbell at number one. Well I'm not fourteen. Here's the list.

Number 10 - Reggie Bannister

Now I've met very few horror stars, but I've met him, and he introduced himself to me at a horror convention. I was staring at his table gawking (I would not ordinarily even get close, but Cub pushed me forward) and he shook my hand and asked me my name. He said his name was 'Reggie' and of course I know that, I could not say how much I love the Phantasm movies. I was star-struck.

Horror Superstar #10 - nine more to go...


Number 9 - Patrick Magee

This guy has very little name recognition, but everyone loves him in A Clockwork Orange as the wheelchair-bound writer who tries to do in Alex. He is also in tons of Euro Horror movies, most of which neither I, nor many Americans, have seen. A great actor, the best role I've seen him play would be the cat's doomed owner in Lucio Fulchi's The Black Cat.

I scoured the web for strange pix of the horror stars on this list, there will be weird ones..

Number 8 - Phil Fondacaro

For years he was known to me as 'The Full Moon Midget' since I saw him in so many Charles Band movies including the pre-Full Moon Ghoulies II and Troll. I was just counting movies where I could see his face, but then it occurred to me that he could also have roles as small creatures. Not only was he in Troll as a human, he played the Troll! He also played a hooded creature in Phantasm II, a Garbage Pail Kid, an Ewok, and an Elf in the new computer movie The Polar Express (did not see that last one.) Polar Express aside, I hope that CGI crap does not prevent him from getting further roles as a little person. His role in Willow for example could now be played by computer-shrunken tall humans. Not only does CGI suck, by taking jobs from the little people, it's morally wrong!

Fondacaro as an Ewok

without a costume, still famous

Number 7 - Jeffrey Combs

Herbert West, Re-Animator. That's his most famous character. Combs is so good in that role that for that series alone he makes this list. See also From Beyond. Don't see The Attic Expeditions or Fear Dot Com. Combs has never been out of work, but he's chose some bad movies.

One time I heard two horror event planners talking about how they could not secure director Stuart Gordon for a screening of Re-Animator. Someone asked if they got Jeffrey Combs and they said 'oh no, he does no like being invited as a substitute for Stuart Gordon, you got to ask for him at the same time'. Well, I would have called him first.

Number 6 - Michael Berryman

A unique looking individual with a rare condition, one you've seen him, he remains recognizable in any other appearance. I first witnessed him as a silent patient in One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest when we watched it in high-school English class. Soon after I noticed Berryman on X-Files and Tales From the Crypt episodes. As I became a horror fanatic and eventually picked up every horror tape in the video store, I found drawings of him on the covers of The Hills Have Eyes movies. He steals the show in those movies and everything else that he is in. My favorite Berryman appearance is on The Gorgon Video Magazine that he hosts. He wears his Hills Have Eyes outfit and raves about horror like a pro wrestler cutting a promo before the main event. Michael Berryman works the convention circuit, my old roomate had an autographed photo of him in his bathroom.

The Hills Have Eyes

on the convention circuit

with hair?

Number 5 - David Hess

Hess will never be forgotten as the sleazy villain Krug in the rape/revenge Wes Craven shocker Last House on the Left. He played almost the same role in the even nastier Last House rip-off, House on the Edge of the Park. Craven used him again in Swamp Thing. David Hess plays that awful, awful, villain you love to hate, or hate to root for. He's in a lot more obscure films too, playing similar roles as that of the scumbag Krug.

I've got a tape of the one movie directed by David Hess, the Christmas horror film, To All a Good Night. I plan to watch it this holiday season.

his website

Number 4- Paul Naschy

Cub says that when I get older I'm going to look like this guy, so I hope you all believe that he is handsome. The women in his movies certainly seem to think so. Naschy is in a lot of Spanish movies and werewolf movies. Popular titles are The Hanging Women, Crimson, and The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Women.

Number 3 - Klaus Kinski

Klaus Kinski is Natasha Kinski's father. His most high-profile role would be that of Nosferatu in the Herzog 1974 remake. I first saw him on screen in the American Charles Band movie Crawlspace, directed by the guy who made all the Puppet Master movies. When I was renting the tape, the guy behind the counter at the hip Brookline video store commented on how Kinski was crazy and it was awesome to see someone renting one of his movies. I just smiled and nodded, I had not heard of Kinski at the time and was just renting what looked like another cool slasher.

Kinski's performance in the film as an ex-Nazi rigging homemade traps to kill his neighbors was awesome. Later I would pick up any tape I could find with Kinski's name on it.

a strange cartoon of Kinsky

Kinski in the Alien rip-off, Creature

Number 2 - John Carradine

John Carradine is credited as having acted in 251 movies according to the imdb website. In most of the movies I've seen him in, he is old. In some he is older and in others, the oldest man alive. That is a commitment to horror that cannot be topped and he is very like-able, sometimes his short bits are the only bright moments in otherwise dull, ultra-low-budget, films. My first introduction to him was in the horror anthology Monster Club where he and Vincent Price tell bad jokes in the wraparound story.

John Carradin at

Number 1 - Peter Cushing

My favorite horror actor of all time! This list, like some other lists I have written, had some people removed from it in order to make it fair to lesser known stars. Their is no Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, or Boris Karloff on the list even though horror would not be the same without them. However, even if I had put those three heavy weights on this list, Peter Cushing would still be number one. Off-screen he is know for being a gentleman and devoted husband. This guy screams of class.

Pick up any Hammer or Amicus film and he is likely to be in it. His most famous roles are those of Baron Frankenstein, but he often played a good guy in horror films, I think because of his like-ability. Anytime I've been to a midnight movie or screening of an old Cushing movie, the theater cheers when him name appears on the opening credits, and when he first appears on-screen. Peter Cushing is my favorite horror actor of all time and the greatest.

Peter Cushing in a movie I don't think I've seen

In Star Wars with Darth Vader

Peter Cushing Museum - warning, plays sounds

Tribute to Peter Cushing

As I'm finishing this list, Storm of The Century is playing on the Sci-Fi channel. It's just starting to get good. The movie Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys is going to air on Sci-Fi on December 18th.

The Adicts + The Dickies 10/2 Long Beach

That night I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, though of course it wasn't. We found a spot tucked away in the corner of the balcony where we could sit and still see the stage. A strong black light was right above me and my black Conflict t-shirt looked like it was covered in snow. I don't put my clothes in the dryer, they could get ruined, but a side effect of not drying is that all the little cotton pills stay on the clothes and they need a good lint rolling. I did not use the lint roller at all this time and the black light made me look ridiculous - I felt shitty for a second, but then common sense took over. Who cares if everyone knows that I'm a grub? All the worries of the day were lifted away right then and there. The Dickies were on stage, we got there in time to see them! Highlights included a gorilla mask for 'You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)', a guitar player in a bear suit, and for 'If Stuart Could Talk', a penis puppet. It was a good puppet, sure, but it comes in second to the four foot balloon penis I saw Tesco Vee wear at a Meatmen show when I was younger. Cub says that The Dickies singer is weird, he must be on drugs. Don't get the wrong idea, Cub is a big Dickies fan and wants me to buy Dickies CDs cause we can't play the cassettes in her car. Too bad, Cub, I'm not a billionaire. The Dickies set was short and The Adicts set was a bit shorter than the one I saw them play in L.A. earlier this year. The price was right. Thirty dollars for two tickets, no service charge what so ever. That beats Seventy-six dollars for The Damned at Disneyland a few months back. Fuck you Ticketmaster, or Clear Channel, or whoever is at fault these days.

Speaking of channels, Channel 3 was also booked on this show, but I did not get their in time. Too bad, cause I love them and have never caught them live. As for The Adicts, they were awesome. Props included popping streamers, silly string, glitter, ten huge rubber balls, and a massive bag full of bowler hats. These guys play California a lot, but word is that they don't get out to all the other states. The certainly draw big here. This venue probably held 600 enthusiastic fans and it was second or third show for the area on this tour plus that's the second tour this year.

The adicts and the dickies were great, especially the adicts. They put on a fun show full of silly string, confetti, and big bouncing balls, plus they dress up in clockwork attire and what could possibly be better than that. The songs are fun to sing to. Future aspiring punk rockers should look up to bands like the adicts, damned and misfits instead of shitty bands like good charlotte, blink, and Sum 41. What's the matter with kids these days?

The Adicts website

The Dickies

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Rue Morgue Massacres (1973)

Rue Morgue Massacres is a romantic and of course tragic horror film. Gotho the hunchback (Paul Naschy) wants nothing more than to pick flowers for his dying love, Ilsa. We are treated to 4 or 5 flower gathering scenes before and after Ilsa's death from illness. She was the only person who treated Gotho with care, others throw rocks and beat him, for no reason at all. I loved the first twenty minutes of this movie, because I knew that the scenes were setting the stage for one of the greatest themes in horror, revenge.

Rue Morgue Massacres in the big box

That's not all, the plot thickens as a manipulative Doctor Orla convinces Gotho that he will bring Ilsa back to life under the condition that he supply the lab with dead, and later living, bodies. Gotho remains fooled by the doctor even after Ilsa's body has been dropped in the acid bath. I don't want to give much more away, but I assure you there is lots of nastiness and gore and a fun set where the secret lab has been constructed in the hidden torture chambers of The Inquisition.

Unfortunately there is animal cruelty in this film. Most horror fans will be upset by this, even the most cynical horror fans don't like to see real harm come to animals. One of my favorite elements of horror is the creative ways that violence can be synthesized through prosthetics, costumes, and models. Even if you can clearly tell that the action is fake, it is not necessarily any less exciting or effective.

Not only is it morally wrong to use real violence, it's against the general premise of horror movie making, which I believe is to get a genuine reaction from people while producing a product that is not genuine or actually real at all. Horror is an illusion and a fantasy, not real shit like the news.

The only extended review of Rue Morgue Massacres that I found, at Exploitation Retrospect.