Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trailors of the Dread: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

I never wanted to begin my post this way, but jeesh:

A CGI FREDDY COMING THROUGH THE WALL?!?!? WHAT?!!? How is this possible?! This is absolutely ridiculous to the point of being absurd!! Sorry folks, I just can't stand it any longer. I mean, seriously, how freakin difficult would it have been to build a wall similar to that of the original out of latex?! WHERE IS THE MAGIC PEOPLE!!! WHERE IS THE MOVIE MAGIC WE'VE ALL BEEN EXPECTING?! I must admit that I was semi excited about seeing this film but now after seeing this new trailer I'm just emasculated to be honest. And why the hell is his voice different in two different scenes?! His face looks different in several scenes as well. A lot of people bashed the voice from the first trailer but I definitely prefer that one to this new Christian Bale Batman era crud. Here's an idea, WHY CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE VOICE AT ALL? Why not keep it normal? If anything keep the effects to a minimum so he doesn't sound like someone who has a frog in his throat. I guess the new menacing little ditty these days is to deepen the voice using a little method I like to call CGA (Computer Generated Audio). Pretty soon we won't need actors anymore, just computers. Ahhhh, wouldn't that be the life?

I'm so tired of these movies. I'm tired my friends but yet...I still go and see them no matter what. Why? Because of faith. Faith that I might be proven wrong. Faith that what I see on screen will be pleasing, hilarious, gruesome and horrific. Faith that Michael Bay really DOES have a giant groin and isn't compensating for anything with his EPIC celluloid. Faith that someone will remake a movie like Carpenter did with THE THING or Adam Sandler with CLICK. Faith that the horror genre is moving in a completely different direction than it is now. Or just faith in general that somebody in Hollywood will hire some people who actually DO love horror movies. I'm sorry people, you just don't ask someone who has been directing music videos to remake A Nightmare on Elm Street; you just DON'T!

It's bed time now. All that I ask is for Robert Englund and Jackie Earl Haley to meet up with me for a crazy game of connect four. Maybe afterward we can build a bonfire and tell ghost stories together.

Sounds ideal to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Puppet Master: Axis of Evil Trailer

Well, hmmmmm. How do I feel about this movie? Uhhhh. Ermmmm. Meh? The music is spectacular, but that's not really saying much is it? Now, if there is an excessive amount of stop motion animation and a severe lack of CGI then I will be one satisfied fan. Puppet Master I, II, III, IV and V were EXCELLENT films (I personally love part III). Excellent I say! And whether you agree or disagree is beside the point because this latest installment is the bigger issue. Lets travel back in time here, shall well?

Do you remember the films of Full Moon Entertainment? Seriously, do you? Well, lets refreshify your memory:

You may remember enjoying or not enjoying, depending on what your preferences for B-movies are: Demonic Toys, Castle Freak, Subspecies, Dollman, Shrunken Heads, Lurking Fear, Head of the Family and all of the countless, "extra cheese please!" celluloid ever created in the movie industry (quite arguable I suppose). All I know is that I grew up with Full Moon so I can't help but reserve a soft spot for Charles Band and company in the darkest chambers of my heart. The slightest bit of excitement for their latest Puppet Master installment, no matter how horrible it may wind up being, is kind of comforting in a way that I can't really explain. Either way I'll give this one a handshake and a conversation. Let's just hope it's not that awkward first kiss that we all come to dread.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Forgotten Horrors #2: The People Under the Stairs

"In every neighborhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid."

Wes Craven wrote and directed this surrealistic horror-comedy, which was inspired by a true story of parents keeping their children locked in a basement for years. Fool (Brandon Adams), an African-American teen, breaks into the home of the wealthy landlords who evicted his family from a ghetto tenement. A fortune in gold coins is rumored to exist inside, but Fool discovers that the mansion is a chamber of horrors presided over by a pair of incestuous, serial killer siblings (Everett McGill and Wendy Robie). The twisted couple has also tried to raise a succession of kidnapped boys. Each botched effort is handled the same way -- the victim's eyes, ears and tongues are removed, and he's sent to live in the sealed-off basement, where a colony of similarly deformed "brothers" resides. Fool is able to avoid the evil lovers as he moves through the house's maze of hidden passageways. He discovers that the occupants have a daughter, Alice (A.J. Langer), who has survived their abuse, so he rescues her and they attempt to free the "people under the stairs."

We all remember those times in our youth when we went strolling around the 'ol neighborhood with our pals, chatting away about building forts, jumping over cracks so we wouldn't 'break our mother's backs', ducking behind bushes when cars would drive past, sneaking cigarettes or torn pages from someone's dad's skimpy magazines, and we definitely...most DEFINITELY took an alternate route past the Spooky House at the end of the block. Like the tagline of The People Under the Stairs states: there was a lot of avoidance when it came to dealings with the unknown.

"I wonder what He does to them?"


"Old Man Jones, dude!"

"W-w-ho is Old Man Jones?"

"You've GOT to be kidding me right? Old man Jones? He's only THE most infamous kidnapper in Mulberry Grove! They say he still lives up there, all alone, waiting for that one perfect moment to snag another child so he can cook him up and put him in his stew."

"Oh, Bologna. That story isn't true. It's just something your parents told you so you wouldn't go snooping around some old guys house. Let's go..."

And the rest is history. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I definitely had experiences like that growing up and I definitely made sure I was home before those streetlights turned on. The same applies to the first time you ever saw Stephen King's IT on television and never walked past another storm drain again. Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs is a perfect illustration of these apprehensions, but unfortunately never quite reaches its full potential to frighten the audience into sleepless nights and visits to the town psychologist.

More than likely, depending on what age you were when you first saw this film, you were either scared to death or you turned the VCR/DVD player off halfway through and called it a night. After reading a few reviews of the movie I gathered that the majority of the viewers who were disappointed didn't particularly care for the comedy aspect and I can understand that. I can also understand why some reviews stated that the film was "all over the place" and was very "cartoonish" at times. I on the other hand thought the comedy helped to balance the over-the-top behavior presented by Everett McGill and his delicious companion Wendy Robie. I mean, seriously, the guy gets his rocks off by dressing up in bondage gear while toting a shotgun around the house in search of the Thing in the walls (perfectly named Roach might I add). McGill's character is absolutely entertaining in this movie and his ramblings about religion and people "burning in hell" if they cross him is just too creepy and bizarre not to enjoy. There is an element of absurdity in the movie too which helps the viewer fully understand the total lunacy of McGill and Robie's characters. Whoever says that the bathtub scene when Robie throws A.J. Langer into the boiling hot water as punishment for getting her new dress bloody isn't horrifying then I must be off my rocker. Or what about the scene where we find McGill's character slicing off a piece of Spencer's flesh in the basement and slowly turning towards the camera, chewing relentlessly as Fool watches in terror. These are pretty horrific moments folks. Moments that a young viewer never forgets.

Either way you slice the cadaver it's still a great piece of entertainment and still has the ability to freak me the hell out. As my good bud Ron and I like to say:
"It certainly makes for a wonderful Saturday afternoon popcorn flick."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ink Tests 1: Victor and the Dog Walker

So, here we have our good friend Victor standing in front of the neighborhood cemetery awaiting a fresh meal. The ending of the strip is a bit G rated so those of you who were expecting a strong, bloody finish for our good pal Mr. Dog Walker are going to be let down. But don't fret! You will have plenty of gore drenched deaths in the comings weeks. It just felt appropriate to leave the ending to the readers imagination this time around. Let me know what you think. As the blog post states this is more of an ink test than anything. Now I shall leave you with our favorite zombie and infamous dog walker. Enjoy!

Forgotten Horrors #1: Howling V: The Re-Birth

Budapest, 1489 is where our film starts off. In a dark castle everyone inside has committed suicide for some unknown reason. Two survivors are in terror and decide to kill themselves after a baby is thought to have also been killed. After their death we hear the baby cry out. Now, fast foward a few hundred years.

Set in an isolated ancient Bulgarian castle, 10 people have won a competition to attend said castle's grand re-opening to the public. Their host, Count Veselin (played by British TV actor Philip Davis), informs them that they are the first people to look around inside the castle for over 5 centuries. No one else has dared venture near it through fear of the local superstitions about demonic wolves prowling the area. The guests begin to look around, but of course it's only a matter of time before they slowly but surely meet their doom. With an unexpected blizzard engulfing the surrounding countryside (how convenient right?), the remainder find themselves trapped in the castle, with an unseen killer on the prowl.

However, when the bodies of their friends start turning up with their necks ripped open (amongst other things), it becomes apparent that what they are dealing with is something not entirely human. Could the old legends about werewolves be true, and what dark secrets is the Count harbouring?

Howling V: The Re-Birth was originally released in 1989. I first saw this movie when I was in elementary school (1991-93) and it was one of the first werewolf movies I had seen. Aside from the title of the film I was absolutely clueless as to what in the hell these people were apprehensive about. Since you barely even SEE the werewolf throughout the film I just thought it was some horrific beast or creature from the netherworld slowly feasting upon the sweet flesh of overly excited tourists. Either way the film truly frightened me and induced intense paranoia; the ticking of clocks seemed like emaciated fingernails on decayed window sills while my snoring dog in the kitchen was really the monster in the film slowly working its way into the living room to devour me.

I know that I definitely enjoyed the film when I was 8 and I still love it today. In fact, it wasn't until 2004 that I rediscovered it (Movie Gallery was slowly phasing out their VHS tapes and it was on sale for 99 cents). I re-watched it around Christmas time and relived those precious, macabre moments all over again. I'm almost positive it will never happen but it would be so wonderful if they would release this movie with a proper treatment on DVD. The DVD that I picked up a couple of years ago has an awful transfer (though I'm quite biased when it comes to that scratchy, decayed analog aesthetic) and is coupled with Howling VI: The Freaks (another great film in the series though...I know several people who definitely disagree). I would love to see some bonus features or a "making of" featurette. I guess I should be thankful I own a copy period.

The thing I love about this film is its ambiance. The atmosphere is incredibly eerie and the score shadows Jerry Goldsmith's epic movements in THE OMEN. Another quality I love about this movie is the Sherlock Holmes/Scooby Doo inspired "Who done it?" factor. You see, these guests have all been summoned to the castle because they all have one thing in common: a birthmark. The Count has led them all to the castle to finish what should have been done many years prior to this event (remember the screaming baby at the beginning of the post?) which is to destroy the werewolf before he/she can do any more evil.

The Howling V: Re-Birth is not a perfect film and many who view it today will definitely be turned off by it's late 80's cheese and mediocre acting but it's a chance that many should take. The budget is so low that we have to suffer through the fact that the werewolf is pretty much never seen. We get a few close-ups of its teeth and a couple quick shots of it attacking but we never get a good eye on the creature. Like I said before the movie is definitely based more on atmosphere and imagination which is something those gore-lovers are going to be disappointed with (most of the death scenes are off screen and subverted with boisterous screams).

All in all it's a neat little film that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years and the entertainment value is high enough to deserve a late night viewing with a blanket and some popcorn. Just make sure to leave at least one light'll need it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stranger Than Your Grandmother's Closet...

I thought that I would take a terse moment to introduce my best friend/fellow collaborator, Rondal 'Strange Kid' Scott III, to you guys since he has been a very integral element to the Victor and Boris comic. I've been wanting to write a post about Ron's blog for some time now and now that I finally have a moment I figured I'd take advantage. Much like Mr. Scott stated on his blog we both met each other at Columbus State University while pursuing our degrees in Fine Art. The first time I actually spoke with this guy was when we were in a Paper Making and Book Arts course and I was telling him about the Rob Zombie concert I attended (I noticed in his cd case that he owned a Zombie album as well as a Coheed and Cambria LP as well). Not much evolved from that point until the end of the semester when he walked in on me painting a Clive Barker inspired composition and from that point on we did as much hell raising as we could together.

It was actually when we took a health course the spring of 2006 that our friendship blossomed and we both discovered our insatiable love for all things macabre and I would let him borrow old VHS tapes every Friday at the end of class. The rest my ghoulish they say...history.

Ron's work is very inspiring to me. His works are sui generis and speak volumes in their simplistic yet carefully crafted births. His sense of design is flawless and very architectural and his advice is always cherished when I'm hard at work on sketches or any type of artistic endeavor.

We began collaborating when I was living in Phenix City, AL and for a brief period took a stab at re-creating the Universal Monsters of the 30's and 40's (even our good friend Mr. Max Schreck from Nosferatu)for our now extinct (at least I think it is...) Creepseed site. The characters can still be found on Mr. Scott's blog if you would like to check them out.

Living off bottled nostalgia and the Saturday morning cartoon sugar rush of the late 80's/early 90's Mr. Scott has become a scholar of all things 'pop culture' and his blog is the perfect illustration of that fact. Whether you're in the mood to browse about current graphic designers, illustrators, web designers, musicians or that favorite childhood horror film, Strange Kids Club is the place to be. I warn you though...once you enter you will need a good day to spare because it's quite addicting.

Well, there you have it. What are you waiting for? Grab your popcorn balls and your candy worms folks. Strange Kids Club is where it's at, as Beck once said.

But I warn you, like the Lament Configuration, you might have to summon a few Cinebites in order to escape.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I decided to take a break from Victor and Boris to work on a mini-comic that is yet to be named. I'm not sure where it is going to be honest. I thought I'd post some sketches to show my progress. I should have some Victor and Boris stuff uploaded soon once I work out some of the details. The letter addressed to me is from my friend, Alex Overall, who gave me the sketchbook I am currently drawing in. I had back surgery in 2002 and the sketchbook was all I could really interact with since I was immobile for three weeks. Slowly Downward was the name of our first band.

Counting Down the Days

Until I get to see The Wolfman remake with Mr. Rondal 'Strange Kid' Scott. Whip out that candy corn and jiffy pop!