Friday, June 8, 2018

Happy Death Day to You


It's been a while since I've updated this blog. I've been busy podcasting with Monster Men and the Final Guys.

Incredibly, the Final Guys podcast just celebrated our first anniversary. Where does the time go? It's been fun so far and it's only getting better. Recently we added movie and book reviews to the site and we are featuring articles by a variety of writers from the FG community.

Here's my first submission to get you started. Check it out.
Happy Death Day (2017)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My 13 Favorite Horror Movies of 2015

Here it is, my thirteen favorite horror movies of 2015. I’m happy to say, it was a really good year for horror. It was very hard to narrow down this list. I hope you walk away with a few new movies to check out and hopefully enjoy them as much as I did. Before we begin, let’s talk a little about how I made my selections.  

First I ask myself, "Would I ever watch it again?" If yes, that’s huge. Then I think about how I felt immediately after I watched the film. The bottom line? The better I felt about the money or time I invested in the watching film, the better it did on my list. 

So here we go. 

13. Hidden – I heard positive things about this movie about a family that is hiding in a bomb shelter after some sort of zombie-like breakout, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how good it is. This movie takes an unexpected turn that elevates it from good to great. I don’t want to give anything away. Just see it. 

12. GravyGravy is a horror-laced comedy directed by James Roday, best known as the star of Psych. On All Hallow's Eve, three quirky, cannibalistic, costumed misfits seize a Mexican cantina and the captured staff members end up on the menu. Hilarity and violence ensues. If you want to watch a cannibal movie from 2015, I’d pick Gravy over The Green Inferno. 

11. Creep – I know Mark Duplass from the TV shows The League and The Mindy Project, and he’s great in both. So when I saw he was starring in a found-footage horror movie that he co-wrote and produced, I was curious. I did not think of him in that light. Turns out, this is a heck of a movie, and as the title suggests, it’s genuinely creepy. Duplass gives an outstanding and courageous performance that carries the film. Creep is also one of the best executions of found-footage you’ll ever see. It’s a movie you have to see to believe, and you’ll probably say “WTF" a few dozen times throughout.  

10. Let Us Prey – This is a hell of a movie. And I mean HELL. It’s kind of like Assault on Precinct 13 meets Event Horizon. A mysterious stranger comes to a small town jail and all hell breaks loose, figuratively and literally. Good stuff.
9. Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead – This outrageous movie has been described as Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead. That’s a pretty good place to start, but there’s so much more to this wild, over-the-top film. It’s crazy. When I initially saw the trailer, I wanted nothing to do with it. It looked like a SyFy channel reject, but luckily the rave reviews I kept reading changed my mind. This movie is an action-packed, blood soaked romp with a ton of laughs. It goes places no other zombie movie goes, and that’s a good thing.  

8. Girl House – I probably have Girl House way higher on my list than most people, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. It reminded me of those old B slasher flicks I’d rent in the 80’s. Impossibly hot girls, a crazy masked killer and stylized kills throughout the film. What more do you need?   

7. Bone Tomahawk – I was not sure where to put this movie, because it’s really more of a western that has a secret horror movie surprise inside. But, when you factor in how great the cast is, how entertaining the movie is and just how awesome the horror parts are, you’ve got to put this right up with the best of the best. Plus, it’s got Kurt Russell, and he’s the man. The savages in this movie are terrifying and brutal. You’ll never forget them.   
6. The Voices The Voices is listed as a psychological horror comedy, but that might not be doing it justice.  This is a very smart movie, dressed up like a silly movie. Don’t be fooled and don’t miss out. Ryan Reynolds stars as Jerry, a simple, child-like fellow who lives with his the cat and dog. His pets also speak to him. You see, Jerry suffers from delusions and hallucinations. One night, after accidentally killing the co-worker he has a crush on, things start to go down a disturbing path. This movie can be light and funny, but has a dark side, and by dark, I mean pitch black. Bolstered by stellar performances by Reynolds, Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick, this is one of the most entertaining and thought provoking films of the year. 

5. He Never Died – This bloody horror comedy came to my attention at the very end of 2015 and was one of the last movies I saw before I finalized this list. It rides on the shoulders of Henry Rollins, who gives an amazing deadpan performance as a seemingly immortal loner with a taste for flesh and blood, who really just wants to be left alone. The writing in the movie is fantastic. There are so many terrific lines and quirky moments to savor in this film.  Plus tons of brutal action, violence and gore. This movie is a blast. 

4. Deathgasm – A heavy metal-fueled horror comedy that has elements Evil Dead, Dead Alive, Bill and Ted and maybe even a little Spinal Tap. It has some spectacularly funny moments along with a lot of crazy, frenetic violence and a lot of blood. Plus, this movie boasts a kill via a “sexual implement” that is one of the best scenes you’ll ever see in a horror flick. You really have to check this movie out. 

3. What We Do In the Shadows – This is the only movie on my list that I have bought, and it’s the one I will watch the most for years to come. What We Do In the Shadows is a hilarious horror-themed comedy about a group of vampires sharing a flat and trying to cope with modern life. It very cleverly takes on many of the tropes of the vampire mythos. I love Flight of the Conchords and I am a huge vampire fan, so it’s right up my alley. Plus, it has the best quote of the year; “We're Werewolves, not Swear-Wolves.”

2. Ex MachinaEx Machina is probably the best movie on this list, but I gave it the number two slot only because it’s more of a sci-fi movie with nice horror undertone to it. There are all kinds of classic horror themes floating around here, in the vein of Frankenstein and Blade Runner. It’s the whole “man playing God” thing. This movie boasts a killer cast and amazing writing. It grabs you from the first frame and never lets you go. It also has the best dance scene of the year, by far.  

1. It Follows – This gets the number one spot on my list, not because it’s necessarily the best movie, but because it is the most interesting and polarizing movie. (For the record, I really liked it.) The sexually transmitted curse is such an original concept; it could win on that premise alone, but this a movie that builds tension like few others. You never know when or where the killer will appear, or what it will look like. It’s also a love letter to John Carpenter. Like it or not, It Follows is the must see movie of the year.  

Click here check out my Monster Men partner Hunter Shea's list and see what his favorites were. Then watch for our new show where we compare our lists and discuss every film on both.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Seven Must See Dracula Movies

Good Evening.

Dracula lives forever... and not just because he's a vampire. He's a great character. Dracula has endured so long partially because he is constantly being reinterpreted by new actors and directors and new generations of fans. Like Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Batman, the Count is being reinvented by each generation and being taken to new and interesting places. 

That said, part of the fun is always debating who the was the best Dracula. Everyone has their own opinion, but in order to answer the question, you really should be familiar with some of the most significant players.  

Here are the seven interpretations of Dracula that I consider "must see" movies for fans of the Count and vampire aficionados in general. These movies vary in style and quality and some stay much truer to the book than others. 

For instance, Christopher Lee's first Dracula film, Horror of Dracula, is nothing like the book. Look for Count Dracula (1970) for a more faithful adaptation of Stoker's novel starring Lee. However, Horror of Dracula is arguably Lee's most definitive Dracula movie.  

Who your definitive Dracula is probably has to do with who played him when you first fell in love with the character. For me it's Christopher Lee, whose Hammer films kept me up many a night as a little kid. However, it's the 1977 BBC version that is my favorite interpretation of Stoker's book. 

The beauty of this list is that all but one of these movies can be seen on YouTube for free or a small rental fee. (You'll have to find the 1973 version somewhere else.) Keep in mind, these are "Dracula movies" and not just films with Dracula in it or vampire movies in general. We'll address those topics soon. (However, I will give a special mention to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which is really a great Dracula movie.)

So who is your favorite Dracula? Which of these movies have you not seen? What did I miss?

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins and Winona Ryder.

Dracula (1979)  Frank Langella, Sir Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasence.

Count Dracula (1977) – BBC - Louis Jourdan and Judy Bowker

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1973) – Jack Palance

Horror of Dracula (1958) Full Dracula Movie – Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Dracula (1931) - Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye.

Nosferatu – (1922) - Dracula Adaptation by F.W. Murnau. Starring Max Schreck. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vegetarian Werewolves, Blue Aliens, Evil Trees and Monster Men

I am way behind on posting Monster Men shows and we have had some great guest lately. We really cover a lot of the horror landscape with shows about horror for children, alien invasions and a cursed tree that drives people to murder. It's a ton of fun. Enjoy.

Monster Men Ep. 81: The Devil Tree w/ Keith Rommel and Lawrence Knorr

Monster Men Ep. 80: Aliens Invade Boom Town with Glenn Rolfe

Monster Men Ep. 79: Scary Stories for Kids- The Vegetarian Werewolf w/ Robert Holt

Saturday, March 28, 2015

10 Lovely Ladies Comfortably Shredding the Comfortably Numb Solo

The guitar work in Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb is spectacular, partially because of the emotion and drama that it conveys and partially because it's just plain an awesome song that was made for tearing up on a guitar. Here are ten talented female guitarists doing David Gilmour proud. We start with the amazing Emily Hastings and then we follow the YouTube links until we become numb… in a comfortable kind of way.

1.     Comfortably Numb solo Emily Hastings

2.     The Amazing Tina S. " Comfortably Numb " Solo  New artist showcase !

3.     Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd (cover by Juliette Valduriez)

4.     Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb Solos Cover (by Noelle dos Anjos)

5.     Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb solo cover by Zora

6.     Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd Last Solo Cover by Anastasia

7.     Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb solo cover (Sylwia Urban)

8.     Comfortably Numb Solo: by Juli Morgan

9.     Comfortably Numb Solo | Pink Floyd | Leticia Filizzola

10. Pink Floyd - Comfortable Numb (2nd solo cover)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Monster Men Ep. 78: The Horror Movies of IFC Midnight

A new Monster Men is up. If you are looking for a good horror movie to rent tonight, look up the films that IFC Midnight distribute. It's your horror TV Guide for the next year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Belly Up to the Bar

My Monster Men partner Hunter Shea and I both had the chance to join our pal Jason Brant on Drinking with Jason, his new video podcast. Jason is a horror author and was a great guest on two recent episodes of our our show.

The premise of Drinking with Jason is simple. Jason and his guests choose a beverage and then have a chat online over a few drinks.

Hunter went first and it's a great show. Listening to two horror authors discuss the writing process and the business of writing is interesting enough, but with these two it turns into a hilarious and engaging conversation. Plus, Hunter has a bunch of great ghost stories that you won't want to miss.

Then I took a turn tipping pints with Jason and I had a blast. We covered a lot of ground, including my writing and podcasting work over the years. Highlights include The Purple Goldfish Project, my 24 blog, Dark Dossier magazine and the birth of the Monster Men.  We also talk about a lot of horror movies and I tell a few stories about some of the ghostly places I have explored, including infamous Danvers State Hospital and Lunatic Asylum. It's a pretty funny conversation and I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks to Jason for having us on. Please check out Jason Brant's books and support his new show.