Thursday, November 21, 2013

Freddy In Space: A New Beginning


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Not that it should come as a surprise to anyone who’s a regular reader of this blog, given the fact that my lack of updates have most likely clued you into what’s going on, but after 5+ years I think it’s time to officially announce that Freddy In Space – as a blog – is no more.

When I started blogging over five years ago, my plan was never to make a career or a living out of doing it.  And the only reason that was never the plan was because I never in a million years thought that I’d ever be able to make a living writing about horror movies.  It just wasn’t something I ever even fathomed.

And then, back in July, I lost my job.  While I’d love to spin some exciting tale about quitting or getting fired, the reality is that I worked at a small family run independent pharmacy, which became yet another victim of the big guys right at the start of the busiest time of the year; the summer.  The writing was on the walls for the better part of a year, so the clearance sales and eventual locked doors were far from unexpected or shocking.  But finding yourself without a job, when you’ve got bills to pay, is not exactly a good thing.

Thankfully, my panic was quickly washed away by a friend of mine – a fellow employee of the pharmacy who wisely jumped ship to a fancy furniture store a couple months before we sunk like the Titanic.  Right at the tail end of the pharmacy’s run, he graciously put in a good word with his boss and helped me get an interview at the furniture store, which I totally nailed.  Happy ending, right?  Well, not exactly.  Because though I impressed myself with my interview skills, and though the job offered more money than I made at the pharmacy, I knew before I even went in for the interview that the job just wasn’t for me.

I’m the kind of guy who wears the same flannel shirt and pair of jeans every single day of his life.  The kind of guy who at the end of the day isn’t exactly a high class individual.  I think I’m a pretty good person, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not the type to be shopping in a fancy furniture store, much less working in one.  I just knew the position wasn’t for me, and though I gave it my best shot, I realized by the end of only the first day that I needed to get out.

Even if it meant not having a job for a while, and being forced to look for something else, the $600 dessert spoons made of bone went against everything I stand for and I just knew I couldn’t go on working there.  The money was good, but it wasn’t about the money for me.  It was about doing what was best for my soul (I really need to stop watching Dr. Phil).  And what was best was fleeing that place like it was a goddamn crime scene.  Don't pass go.  Don't collect 200 dollars.  Just get.  The fuck.  Out.

And so there I found myself yet again, jobless and worrying about my future.  Just as I was getting ready to throw in the towel on my writing-for-the-hell-of-it career, and start focusing on devoting my time to a career that would actually pay the bills and keep a roof over my head and food in my cheeks, a handful of different opportunities presented themselves – opportunities that suggested that maybe, just maybe, I would be able to make my hobby my job.

They say everything happens for a reason, and I’ve seen no better example of that in my own life than in the moment these opportunities sprung up, mere days after losing my job and finding myself totally lost in regards to what to do next.  Goddamn.. could it be that everything really does happen for a reason?  Because I always thought that was just a bullshit slogan designed to make you feel better when life slams you right in the nuts.

Four months later, my hobby has indeed become my career, and I am in fact doing what I never in a million years thought I’d be able to do; I’m making a pretty decent living writing.  Nothing else.  Just writing.  Believe me when I say that I can hardly believe it myself.  I pinch myself every morning.  And I don’t know how long it’ll last.  But for right now, I’m living the dream, and it feels pretty damn good.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to this.  And that downside is that I simply do not have the time to run my own blog anymore.  It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s not that I’m ‘selling out,’ and it’s sure as hell not that I’ve lost interest in Freddy In Space.   As much as it pains me to see five years of consistent daily work turn into yet another horror blog that’s taking up space on the web and no longer bringing anything new to the table, the fact is that it’s impossible for me to make a living writing for several sites AND run my own.  Every minute I spend writing a post on here is taking away a minute I could be spending making money freelance writing for others, and if I’m not putting my all into making a living doing what I love then I just won’t be able to continue making a living doing what I love.  That’s the unavoidable truth.

The upside?  I’ve been fortunate enough to land gigs with horror sites that I’m personally a huge fan of, which has kept me from trying to take on freelance gigs that consist of writing about topics that I know nothing about, or couldn’t care less about – truthfully, I’d rather work 9-5 at the grocery store than write about sports or vacation spots.  Essentially, I’m getting to do the same thing I did here on Freddy In Space every day, just on sites that reach a wider audience than this one ever could've.  And that, is pretty awesome.

It’s a dream come true, to say the least, and I can with 100% confidence say that none of this would’ve been possible without the 5+ years that I spent pecking away at the keys and building up a reputation through this blog.  Mind you, I didn’t know that’s what I was doing – I thought I was just having fun! – but that’s what ended up happening and I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you reading this right now, for supporting me and helping to make Freddy In Space what it ended up becoming.

It’s just time to move on, is all.
                                                                                                 
Now the reason I titled this post The New Beginning, rather than The Final Chapter, is because I’m not actually going anywhere.  True, Freddy In Space: The Blog won’t be getting updated anymore.  But Freddy In Space: The Facebook Page most definitely will.  The Facebook page is pretty much going to take the place of the blog from this point on, serving as a place where I can share content I write for other sites and also talk about the same sorts of things I always have here on the blog – from thoughts on movies to personal stories and tales of drunken adventures.  And of course, I’ll also continue tweeting on the Freddy In Space account, likely for as long as I live.  Or least until I’m around 40.  I think that’s the cutoff for tweeting.  Unless you’re a celebrity.  And I’m not.

So really, I’m not going anywhere, and neither is Freddy In Space. 
 
In addition to the continued social media presence of the blog, there are a handful of sites that I contribute regularly to, which I’ll give you a rundown of below.  These are the places where you can find my writing on pretty much a daily basis, sites that I hope to continue contributing to for years to come.  If any changes are ever made, or additions added to the mix, I’ll be sure to update this post to reflect that…

FEARnet – You’ll find fun daily stories from me over on FEARnet, along with Top 10 lists and things of that nature peppered in throughout the week.  The website’s VP of Digital Content, Lawrence Raffel, has given me incredible freedom in the kinds of content I post on the site, and for that I am extremely grateful to him.

Dread Central – News is the name of the game over on Dread, and I churn out a handful of news stories every day of the week for my man Uncle Creepy.  Pretty cool, considering Dread Central is the one site I’ve always gone to for my horror news.  It still is, but now I’m helping to write it!

iHorror – A fairly new site, iHorror has got some incredibly talented writers attached, and we’re all working hard to make sure the site becomes a daily visit for all horror fans.  I contribute news stories, new release movie reviews and whatever else the site’s owner Anthony will graciously allow me to write about, at the rate of a few per week.  If you’re looking for my thoughts on new horror movies, that’s probably where you’ll find them.

Kumbuya’s Friday the 13th Community – As I’ve mentioned in the recent past, I was approached a few months back about moderating the official Warner Bros. Friday the 13th community over on new social media platform Kumbuya.  There you’ll find daily Friday the 13th related content from yours truly and other fans, along with exciting giveaways and exclusives, on a regular basis.  If you’re a fan of the series – and who the hell isn’t?! – I encourage you to sign up and come talk Jason with me.  I’m always there, so stop in and say hello!

I hope you’ll continue to follow me as I inject myself into as many different places around the web as I can, and I thank each and every one you from the bottom of my heart for all of the incredible support and love you’ve shown me throughout the years.  Without all of you, I’d probably be bagging groceries right now instead of typing this, and please know that I appreciate you for that.  Every second you’ve spent reading the things I write means the absolute world to me.  Sincerely.

Remember; this isn’t The Final Chapter, it’s an exciting New Beginning… except, I’m not going to be replaced by a paramedic with a dead son.  Take comfort in that!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Freddy In Space's Vintage Halloween Costumes: Series 5!

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Last Halloween season, Freddy In Space's resident artist Frank Browning and myself spent a whole lot of time on a recurring art project wherein we gave our favorite horror characters the vintage-style Halloween costume treatment, whipping out four series' of faux costumes throughout the course of September and October.
 
Since the images were a big hit around the web, we promised ourselves that the art project would be something we'd return to every year - an annual Halloween tradition, if you will.
 
Unfortunately, Frank and I both found ourselves with a whole lot less time this year than we had last year, both of us swamped with other projects/work/life to the point that we barely even had a chance to talk in the past month.  
 
But that's the bad news.  The good news?  We've held true to last year's promise, and managed to churn out one more series of vintage costumes that I'm damn proud of.  We hoped to do a whole lot more than this, but given how busy we both were, I'd say it's a Halloween miracle that we were even able to bang out what we didWell, truthfully, it's less of a Halloween miracle and more of a testament to Frank's commitment to getting shit done, at all costs!
 
So if you missed the past four series', head back in time and check those out.  And enjoy this year's brand new fifth series below!!
 
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Be sure to head over to the Freddy In Space Facebook page, where you'll find full size images of all of these, for easy sharing with your friends!
 
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Freddy In Space/Horror Decor Cereal Monsters Pillow - Available TONIGHT!

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 Just in case you don't follow the page on Facebook - where I'm a whole lot more active nowadays than I am on here - I wanted to let you know that the third offering in my line of nostalgia-themed pillows with Horror Decor goes up for grabs tonight.  First we tackled My Pet Monster.  And then the Madballs.  And now it's time to give those tasty Cereal Monsters some lovin'!
 
I think it's safe to say that there was no bigger source of excitement in the horror community this Halloween season than the return of fallen cereal monsters Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute, who hadn't been seen or heard from in decades.  In a move that not even God himself could've possibly predicted, General Mills brought the two fruit-flavored cereals back for a limited time - for the first time in the history of cereal making all five of their monstrous offerings available at the very same time.
 
With that announcement, the internet exploded with excitement... and rightfully so.  It seems that everyone and their mother has been caught up in cereal monster fever this Halloween season, and it's pretty much gotten to the point where you've been rendered totally uncool if you haven't been sharing in the excitement.  Over 40 years after the monster cereals were first introduced to the world, Boo, Frank, Count, Yummy and the Brute are now more popular than ever - and when I say that's a beautiful thing, I trust you'll agree with me.
 
This latest pillow offering from myself, Horror Decor and artist Patrick Carson Sparrow celebrates the return of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute, as well as the union of all five of the monsters.  Patrick put his own unique spin on each of the monsters, keeping them fun and cartoony while at the same time making them a bit more horrific looking than we're used to them being.  They are monsters, after all!
 
Measuring 16"x16" - the same size as August's Limited Edition Madballs offering - the pillow will be available TONIGHT, and they'll be selling for $25 each.  In an effort to allow more people to get their hands on one, we've bumped up the production run, and will be selling 50 of these bad boys, rather than the usual 25.  They go on sale at 7pm EST, and once they're gone, they're gone for good!
 
You'll be able to grab yours exclusively over on Horror Decor!
 
Speaking of which...
 
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The individual HorrorBalls pillows that we've been selling for the last couple months on Horror Decor will be going away soon.  At the end of the day next Monday, November 4th, those pillows will no longer be available, and we're holding a special clearance sale that will allow you to get your hands on your favorites for cheaper than ever before.

Starting tonight at 7pm EST - the same time the Cereal Monsters design goes up for grabs - the individual HorrorBalls pillows will be available for $12 each, reduced from their original price of $20.  All seven horror icons are still available, but only through next Monday night.  So if you've been holding off on ordering one, now's the time.  And keep in mind that your shipping cost will be reduced, if you buy one in conjunction with the Cereal Monsters pillow.
 
You'll find those over in the Freddy In Space section of Horror Decor's website!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Giveaway Time! Win A Walking Dead Art Print, Signed By Reedus & Rooker!!

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Remember how I said that I was going to be giving away several exciting goodies this month, leading up to Halloween?  Well I wasn't lying about that.  While you've still got a week left to enter to win a handmade deluxe Jason Voorhees mask (of your choosing!) from Cryptkeeper9 Productions, it's time already to launch another giveaway.  Because I may not have much time these days to keep Freddy In Space active, but that doesn't mean I don't have time to hook you guys up with cool free shit!!
 
Just in time for this past Sunday night's return of The Walking Dead, an artist by the name of Charles Moran has donated an art print he whipped up after the show's first season, which is long sold out in his online shop.  Measuring 18"x24", only 40 of these screen printed bad boys were made, and this one is more special than any of the others, because Charles got it signed by both of the Dixon brothers; Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker.  While this is the kind of thing most people would probably prefer to keep for themselves, Charles doesn't want to do that.  Instead, as a way of properly celebrating the return of the show, he wants YOU to have it.

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 All you've gotta do to enter is drop me a comment below and let me know one thing you'd like to see happen in this fourth season of The Walking Dead.  Whether you want to see Daryl and Carol have a hot make-out session or The Governor get his ass handed to him by Carl, post it below along with your e-mail address, and you'll be entered into the giveaway.  Deadline for all entries is next Monday, October 21st, so be sure to get your comments in before the end of the day on that date!
 
To see more of Charles Moran's art, check out his blog ZOMIC, and browse around the ZOMIC web store to purchase select pieces!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Enter The Freddy In Space Halloween Costume Contest: Win A Handmade Jason Mask From Cryptkeeper9 Productions!

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All month long I'm going be giving away cool shit here on Freddy In Space, leading up to the annual Halloween prize pack that will be jam packed with all sorts of goodies.  As I work on filling that bad boy with as many tricks and treats as I can possibly conjure up, it's time to kick-start the fun with the first of several standalone giveaways!
 
If you follow Freddy In Space on Facebook you by now already know about this, what with my incessant posting about it and all.  But just in case anyone missed those posts, here's everything you need to know!
 
This particular Halloween giveaway is being hosted over in the official Friday the 13th Kumbuya community, which I've been moderating for the last couple months.  The goal is to make that place the be-all end-all place for Friday fans to hang out and talk about the franchise, and thus far we've built up a community that's 400 fans strong... and growing every day.
 
Over the course of the next couple weeks, leading up to Halloween, I'm hosting a Halloween Costume Contest over there - with a prize at stake that's quite frankly to die for...
 
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There are many companies here on the internet that specialize in high quality replica Jason masks, but my favorite of those companies is Cryptkeeper9 Productions, run by artist Tim Shultz.  Tim has over 20 different Jason masks available on the site, both replicas of ones seen in all of the films as well as unique creations that you won't find anywhere else.  His company is quite frankly the cream of the crop of Jason masks, and I figured there couldn't possibly be a better prize to give away right before Halloween, in a Friday the 13th community, than one of the best Jason masks on the market.
 
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And so, one of those masks is indeed the prize for this very special costume contest - a prize that's valued at over $100.  Best of all, it is YOU who gets to choose which of Tim's masks will be sent your way, in the event that you do in fact win!
 
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In order to enter, all you've gotta do is head over to the Friday the 13th Kumbuya community, sign up (if you haven't already) and post a picture of yourself wearing a Halloween costume, within the community.  To do so, you simply click the 'Add Content' button, on the left side of the page.  The costume does not have to be in any way related to Friday the 13th and it doesn't have to be from this year - any costume, from any year, will do.

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You are also free to post as many different costume pictures as you want, with each costume serving as one entry.  In other words, there's no limit to how many entries you can get into the giveaway.  Oh and sharing the images you post onto Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest will also nab you additional entries, which you can do by clicking the little icons right below the images, after they've been posted!
 
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The contest is open to EVERYONE, and will run through October 21st, this way we can ensure that the winner will get their mask in time for Halloween.  If you do win, you will be contacted the next day, which is when you can tell us which mask you want to be sent.  So be sure to browse through the Cryptkeeper9 collection and ready yourself for your win by picking out your favorite!

Good luck to all.  I look forward to seeing your costumes!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Crystal Lake Memories: My Thoughts, My Cameo, My Giveaway!

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To say that I spent a lot of time on the couch throughout the course of this week would be a massive understatement.  It's not that I was being lazy, or catching up on episodes of Breaking Bad - in fact, I must admit that I've still never seen a single episode of the show.  No, the reason for my couch potato status was that something came in the mail earlier this week.  Something huge.  Something long.

Get your mind out of the gutter, will ya?  It was Crystal Lake Memories, of course.  My copy of Crystal Lake Memories came in the mail early this week, and needless to say there wasn't much time between the mailman dropping it off and me sliding it into my Playstation 3.  Seven hours later, I shambled off to bed, exhausted from watching what is without question the most impressive and comprehensive documentary the world of horror has ever seen.

Crystal Lake Memories is quite frankly a film that's pointless to even review, because the bottom line is that it's just plain awesome, and you'd be doing yourself a huge disservice by not owing it.  That's really all you need to know.  But if you do want to know more, and would like to learn some of the things I personally learned from the documentary, I wrote up a post about that over on iHorror earlier this week.  It's called '10 Things I Learned From Crystal Lake Memories', and I quite frankly could've added another 0 to the end of the number 10 and would've had no problem filling out the list.  Truth.
 
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One of the coolest things about the documentary, for me personally, is that director Daniel Farrands threw in a quick little shout-out to one of the Ben & Jerry's Horror Flavors artist Frank Browning and I whipped up earlier this year; the Camp Crystal Cake flavor, from Series 3 of the collaboration.  That's really what I'm here to talk about today, since I'm all giddy about it.

To make a long story short, Farrands contacted Frank a few months back, when the documentary was pretty much 100% completed.  He came upon the artwork and wanted to include it at the end of the documentary, when the legacy of the Friday the 13th franchise is being discussed.  Just in time, Farrands managed to sneak it in, and the image is indeed briefly flashed on the screen at the 2:42:20 mark on disc 2 of the documentary - along with special thanks to both Frank and I in the end credits.
 
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Ultimately it's not a huge deal, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a real kick out of this.  Frank and I have gotten a ton of positive reaction from the various things we've done together, but as he pointed out when I was talking to him about this, a lot of the attention that's been brought on this stuff has come without any actual credit to us.  Many people have cropped out our copyright info on the images, so that they can share them on their pages and pretend they created them, so it's really awesome to see our work get out there in such a big way - and for the two of us to get the proper credit.

Truth be told, this particular image is pretty much 100% Frank's creation.  While I typically come up with the ideas and he brings them to life, Frank's the one who thought up the name and incredibly clever flavor description of this one (Ch-Ch-Cherries & Ah-Ah-Almonds) - I'm just the dude who shared it with the world!

So I've gotta thank both Frank for creating the art and Daniel for working it into the documentary.  Definitely a highlight of my blogging career, even if the image gets less screen time than that creepy Pazuzu face did in The Exorcist.  It's the little things in life, as that one dude from that zombie movie said.

One last thing I want to mention is that I'm giving away a free Blu-ray copy of Crystal Lake Memories, over in the Friday the 13th Kumbuya community that I moderate.  All you've gotta do is post a piece of content within the community (an image/a video/whatever), with each piece of content posted serving as one entry.  If you want 50 entries, to pretty much ensure you'll win, then post 50 pieces of content - there's no limit to how many entries you can get!

Just make sure to get the content posted before the end of this weekend, because the giveaway ends when the clock strikes midnight on Monday morning.  
 
Good luck, and expect a big time Halloween giveaway to launch within the community next week, where we'll be offering up a high quality replica Jason mask of your choosing - a prize worth over $100.  Full details next week!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Times Scare: A Recap That May Or May Not Involve Getting Kicked Out Of Times Scare

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 It's been nearly two weeks since I've made a post here on Freddy In Space, and that quite frankly bums me out something fierce.  The one massively depressing side effect of starting to write for a living, and contributing to several different websites in an effort to be able to do so, is that I don't really have the time any longer to contribute to my own blog.  Here I find myself with more time than ever to devote to writing and yet my own corner of the blogosophere is lying dormant, which admittedly makes me so depressed that I often don't even want to look at it and see when the last time I posted was.
 
For five straight years, a span of more than a few days never went by without me posting something here on Freddy In Space, and it feels very unusual now that the cobwebs are starting to form.  Especially during the Halloween season, which was always the most active month or so of blogging for me, it just feels very wrong and I feel incredibly guilty (though the cobwebs are quite festive, you must admit).  But believe me when I say that it's not laziness or a loss of interest that's been the result of me not posting around here.  It's just that I need to devote most if not all of my writing time to these other gigs I've got going on, or else I'm pulling no income in and it's back to the unemployment line or a job at the grocery store for me.  Gotta just deal with those trade-offs in life, sometimes.
 
That said, you can always find me over on the Freddy In Space Facebook page, which I will keep as active as possible, no matter how inactive the blog itself is.  That page pretty much serves as my blog now, a place to not only share quick posts but also links to all the other stuff I'm writing for different websites.  So even if I go a few weeks without a post on here, don't give up on the Facebook page!
 
There's also going to be plenty of content that comes up that quite frankly isn't fit for publishing on any of the sites I write for, and that stuff will be posted on here whenever I get around to it.  Personal recaps of events and things of that nature only really make sense to write on my personal blog, so that'll give me something to do around here from time to time.  I don't think FEARnet cares to post a recap of my pumpkin picking adventures with my wife, is what I'm getting at.  Nor do I blame them!
 
And hey, guess what?  I went to an event this past weekend.  And now I'm going to recap the event.  So let's clear those cobwebs off the screen and inject a big ole dose of Herbert West's reagent into the blog, shall we?!
 
Before we even get to the recap though, I just want to give a quick rundown of the players involved.  Pictures of said players will not be included, because I don't know if said players want me posting pictures of them...
 
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- Matt from Dinosaur Dracula (and Mrs. Dinosaur Dracula). I've been a reader and follower of Matt's work for far too long now.  Though he nowadays runs the site Dinosaur Dracula, he used to run a site called X-Entertainment, which a large portion of you are probably familiar with.  It kinda sounds like I'm sucking up to say it now that we're friends, but X-Entertainment is in fact the site that inspired me to start my own site, many moons ago.  Matt has clearly served as that same inspiration for many other budding bloggers, and though a handful of people try to do what he does, nobody does it better than Matt.  He's like the CM Punk of reviewing old food products from the 80s; the best in the world. 
 
 As for Mrs. Dino Drac, her and my wife have been getting along better than I've ever seen my wife get along with anyone, which is pretty wonderful.  It's kind of eerie how similar the four of us are, individually and as couples.  Jen and I have always kind of preferred to just hang out with ourselves, so it's pretty nice to finally have friends that are essentially alternate versions of ourselves.  Not that we love ourselves or anything, we just find ourselves more tolerable than other peoples' selves.
 
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- Jay from The Sexy Armpit.  After a series of brief Monster Mania encounters, and even a totally unexpected run-in at this year's Wrestlemania, I finally got to hang out with Jay for an extended period of time at last month's Monster Mania, spending the majority of that Saturday night drinking tequila and talking about blogging with both he and Matt.  Jay runs the New Jersey-themed blog The Sexy Armpit and quickly went from a guy who has a lot of the same friends as I do to a guy that's now a personal friend of mine.  Needless to say, it's not hard to figure out why he has so many friends within the blogging community, because he's a really cool dude.
 
After having so much fun together at the aforementioned August Monster Mania, the five of us have been trying to plan out some kind of fun Halloweeny get together for several weeks now, and we ultimately ended up deciding on meeting in New York City, this past weekend.  Once that decision was made, our destination became clear.  And our destination was not Times Square.  It was Times Scare.
 
I'm not sure when Times Scare opened up, but it's basically a year-round haunted attraction/restaurant, in the heart of Times Square.  But let me back up a bit, because we'll get to all that fun stuff in a minute.
 
 Jen and I got into the city a couple hours before Matt, Mrs. Dino Drac and Jay were able to, so after spending nearly half of that time trying to find a parking garage that wouldn't rape us too badly, we headed over to Heartland Brewery, which has a few locations in the city.  We had been to one of those locations in the past and had a few glasses of their pumpkin beer, a treat that was sounding pretty good after the always stressful adventure into the city.
 
Though my full intention was to order a pint of pumpkin beer, the woman who was sitting at the stool next to me at the bar leaned over as she was leaving and told me to go for something much stronger, so that I'd get more bang for my buck.  She was right, and who was I to disregard her words of wisdom?  So I ordered the beer with the highest alcohol content on the menu, figuring her drunken words of advice could be some sign from God that I was supposed to be getting really drunk.  I don't know about you, but when God tells me to get drunk, I listen.
 
As for Jen, she ordered something called the Jack O'Lantern, a half pumpkin beer/half hard cider mixture that quite frankly made me wish I didn't listen to drunk lady/God, and had ordered the same.  Goddamn was that thing good, and I predict I'll be making a few of those at home this Halloween season.
 
I took the liberty of assuming you cared what we drank and I'm probably pushing it to assume you also care about what we ate, but we had cheese fries.  And on that note, I'm hearing crickets chirping, so I'll hit the fast forward button, and even bypass the bit where I stepped in a puddle of urine in Heartland's bathroom.
 
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After suckling the last bit of cheese sauce off our fingers, I got a text from Matt saying that they had arrived, and we headed over to Times Square to meet up.  At this point it was around 5:30 and they were pretty hungry, but we were able to stall a bit and digest some of those gobs of melted cheese by making a pit stop in the Times Square Toys R Us, which I can only assume is the biggest and most extravagant Toys R Us in the world.  There's a goddamn ferris wheel in the center, for Christ's sake.  And a T-Rex.  An actual T-Rex.
 
After snapping a few pictures in there to fill out our respective blog posts with, and make it look like we had more fun than we did, we found our way over to a bar, to grab a few drinks before taking part in our touristy fun.  I don't even remember what I had, but it was in a fancy glass and it tasted like beer, so I was happy.
 
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From there, it was over to Times Scare, where the real fun was supposed to begin.  Truth be told, having been to so many touristy haunted houses in the past, I was looking more forward to the attraction's restaurant, The Crypt Cafe, than I was the attraction itself.  Cleverly named cocktails and entrees filled out the menu, and I figured if we got drunk enough and had a good enough time in the so-called Crypt Cafe, it wouldn't even matter how shitty the attraction was.  We'd be pretty easy to please at that point, we all figured.
 
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 There are a few different package deals available at Times Scare, the one we all went for giving us each a meal, a ticket inside the haunted house, and even an absinthe tasting, for $55.  Not too shabby of a deal, especially considering that's about the price you pay for a beer and a burger inside most wallet-sucking Times Square restaurants.
 
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Though it lost a lot of cool points by being so empty and having such an unexciting atmosphere (aside from the decor), the Crypt Cafe is a pretty cool little place, the tables lining the walls made to look like drawers at the morgue that have been pulled out (sans corpses).  The tables in the center have that same hospital/morgue quality to them, and there was even a black and white version of The Shining playing on the TV at the bar.  When it comes to stuff like this I again say that all parties involved are easily pleased, and I think I speak for us all when I say that we were totally pleased with the ambiance of the Crypt Cafe.
 
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I think I also speak for us all when I say we spent as much time in there as possible, because we knew the attraction itself was going to be far less enjoyable.  As promised, we each got a meal and a series of three different glasses of absinthe, the first of which was given the full fiery sugar cube presentation.  The drinks were as vile tasting as absinthe by all means should be, and the food about as good as you'd expect food from a haunted house to be.  In other words, the meals weren't exactly gourmet, and tasted more like the frozen TV dinners I've had far too many of, than food you'd typically pay more than $3 for.  But hey, it's a restaurant inside of a haunted house we're dealing with here, so it wasn't exactly shocking that my taste buds weren't doing happy dances inside my mouth.
 
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It was at this point in the night, right when we finished eating and drinking and asked for the bill, that a series of unfortunate events was set into motion.  Since we all got the $55 package deal, everything that we ate and drank while in the restaurant was supposed to be included in that, except for a couple beers and hard ciders we had on top of that.  The food, the absinthe, the tickets; it was all already paid for, in advance.  And yet, the bill was exorbitantly high, about as high as you'd expect the bill to be if we hadn't already paid for the food and absinthe.
 
We summoned over the waitress, confident that a mistake was made, and she informed us that no such errors had taken place.  A 30% fee is for whatever reason added to each item on the restaurant bill, essentially forcing you to again pay for all the stuff you already paid for.  I've seen this kind of bullshit at other tourist traps in the city, but I totally didn't expect it from this place, given the fact that we each invested in a package deal that promised to cover everything.  Not much you can do after you've already eaten the food and drank the drinks, but it would've been nice to have been told this prior.
 
While everyone went off to the bathroom, I decide to try and erase the sour taste that had been left in all of our mouths by buying us all 'Embryo Shots' at the bar, which a friend of mine had told me about prior to going.  I'm not even sure what's in the shot but it's some kind of mixture of liquors that they pour something on top of, which creates this ooey, gooey embryo-looking grossness that drips down into the shot.  I had seen pictures of the thing and it looked pretty awesome, but the douchey bartender totally botched its creation.
 
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Rather than making each shot in a small shot glass, which would allow for us to really see how gross the thing looked, he made them all in much bigger glasses, to the point that the liquid was barely visible in the bottom of the glass.  Kinda killed the presentation, which was a pretty serious bummer after spending so much money in the place.  And the shots weren't cheap either, so the least he could've done was make them look cool for us.  In any event, they tasted pretty good, and the consistency was very true to the consistency of actual embryos.  I know this because I eat embryos.
 
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$500 later, we were finally granted access inside the actual Times Scare haunted attraction, having more than paid our dues and by this point going into it just a tad bit annoyed with the whole place.  Things started off on a sour note when the ticket taker was pretty rude and yelled at us for asking if we could take pictures of him, and then the night took a complete turn for the toilet when the walk-through ended about 60 seconds after it began.  I couldn't believe how short the whole thing was, and I soon realized why it was so short.
 
We were escorted out prematurely, booted from the attraction.
 
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Turns out, Matt had taken a picture inside the attraction, and as a result they kicked all five of us out.  Mind you, we were never told we couldn't take pictures inside there, and I had snapped a few pictures myself (which you'll see above and below this paragraph).  But I guess they saw Matt's flash go off, and decided we were all far too much of a threat to be in there.
 
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Now believe me when I say that none of us were looking to break any rules or cause any problems.  If we had been told to not take any pictures before going in or were asked to put our cameras away after they saw the flash go off, we all would've complied.  But to not be told about their stance on cameras and then get kicked out after the first offense, that was just plain messed up, especially considering how much money we had sunk into the place.

 Feeling like we got robbed, we had a long talk with management, explained the whole situation, and about an hour later we were able to each get $30 back.  The whole ordeal was just a total bummer, considering we really did nothing wrong and were just looking to have a good time and use the pictures we took as positive press for the place, on our individual blogs.  Even if the attraction was total shit we all probably would've written glowing reviews of the experience, our drunken selves easily pleased by bloody props and dangling skeletons.  But now I've unfortunately been left with no choice but to warn everyone away from the place. 
 
We were treated like total derelict criminals for taking a couple silly little pictures, and even the $30 we got back wasn't much of a compensation, considering the only reason we spent so much money to eat there was because of the attraction that we never even got to go through.  We could've spent hundreds of dollars less at a restaurant that didn't double the bill for no good reason, which was the real stinger of it all.
 
 My advice?  If you find yourself in the city, get drunk at a dive bar and then find a cool haunted attraction that's not called Times Scare.  Or just stay in the dive bar getting drunk all night.  The concept is cool, and I love the idea of the Crypt Cafe, but the place is ultimately nothing more than a tourist trap, designed to suck as much money out of your wallet as possible.  That's what the entirety of Times Square is all about, if we're being truthful.  So I guess ya can't really fault the place too much.
 
You would think that after this horrible experience we'd get as far away from Times Square as possible, and stop being gullible tourists, but after leaving there we headed straight for Dave and Buster's, which is basically Chuck E. Cheese's with alcohol.  The night only got worse from the moment we stepped foot inside there.  As soon as I walked up to the bar to order an overpriced drink, I began getting yelled at by a large woman and her young child, who were absolutely furious that I was 'invading their personal space.'  They were sitting at a table right by the bar and the mother was incredibly upset by the fact that I was standing by the bar, which I guess she had claimed as her own personal bubble.
 
Mind you, I was just waiting for a drink and there was literally nowhere for me to stand while waiting for a drink than by the table that she was sitting at, a table that was mere inches away from the bar.  We went back and forth a bit and her 5 year old son started poking me with an umbrella and telling me to leave his mom alone, a ridiculous spat that quickly escalated and resulted in security getting involved.  Of course, the security guard just told me to go stand on the other side of the bar, even though he knew she was being out of control.  So thanks for that, sir.
 
The whole situation was utterly ridiculous, and I couldn't believe that I had found myself in yet another nightmarish ordeal.  Jen and I never have problems with anyone when we go out, so to have two back to back situations like these left me feeling that we should probably just get the hell out of the city and never return.  In a desperate bid to restore some good karma to our night, I ended up tracking the woman down after we played some games, and gave all my ticket winnings to her son.  Despite the fact that she was the one who was out of line, I apologized to her and her son, an apology which they both accepted.  I'm not sure she deserved my apology, but I figured I'd take the high road and maybe teach her some sort of lesson.  I'm not sure what that lesson is, and I'm sure she didn't learn it, but I felt good about making amends with the little kid, if only so I didn't feel like a total heel.
 
Needless to say, we hightailed it out of there and did what we probably should've done at the beginning of the night; found a hole in the wall Mexican bar, and spent the remainder of our stay there.  Chips, salsa, beer that didn't cost $20 a glass and a bartender that actually liked us; it's just what we needed at that moment, the perfect way to end the night on somewhat of a positive note.  Well actually, the night really ended with a half hour walk back to our car in the pouring rain, at 3am, followed by a treacherous drive home that I still can't believe we survived.  But the Corona fueled nightcap restored some of my faith in humanity, and made me realize that one really needs to stay away from the tourist traps, to have fun in New York City.
 
Despite the fact that we encountered several nightmarish situations, and never even got to experience what we went to the city to experience, I had a hell of a good time just hanging out with Matt, Mrs. Dino Drac, Jay and my wife, which taught me yet another valuable lesson; when you're hanging out with people whose company you enjoy, it doesn't even really matter what you're doing.  I kinda felt that for us to all get together we'd have to plan the hangout around some kind of event, being that we don't exactly all live within a stone's throw of each other, but I now realize that the events aren't what makes hanging out with our new friends fun.  It's the hanging out with them part that's fun.  So thanks for the $500 lesson, Times Scare.
 
Our next adventure together will be to Six Flags' Fright Fest.  Here's to hoping we don't get kicked out!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Join Me This Friday Night For The Final Chapter Live Chat-Along!

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This Friday is of course Friday the 13th, and I've been working hard all week to make my own contributions to the festivities, on my various writing outlets across the web.  Tomorrow over on FEARnet I'm taking a look at all of the women who played Mrs. Voorhees in various installments in the franchise, and on Friday the Friday the 13th edition of my feature 'Top 10 Must-Own Toys' will drop over there.  So keep your eyes peeled for those!

Over on iHorror, the 2,000 word post I wrote in defense of the 2009 Friday the 13th remake was just posted earlier today, and I encourage you to give that a read if you find yourself with some time to kill.  Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the post, letting me know if you agree or disagree with my assessment of the film!
 
Since I didn't feel it was celebration enough to simply write up a few posts, I've also decided to host a Final Chapter live chat-along session, which I hope you'll join me for.  It will be held in the official Friday the 13th community that I moderate over on Kumbuya, which makes the most sense considering the community has its own built-in chat feature.  You'll see it in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, when you're on the community page.

Final Chapter is my personal favorite installment in the franchise, and the idea is that we all gather together in the chat, hit the play button on the DVD/Blu-ray at the same time, watch the movie together and chat along as we do.  I'm assuming that most of you who will be interested in taking part do in fact own a copy of the movie, but even if you don't, I invite you to pop in, have some drinks and shoot the shit.

The fun kicks off at 8pm EST this Friday night, over in the Friday the 13th Kumbuya community.  Stay for the duration or just stop by for a couple minutes, either way I'd love to see you in there.

And in case you weren't aware, I'm giving away a copy of the Friday the 13th Complete Collection Blu-ray set in the community, and you'll still got through next Friday, the 20th, to enter.  So head over there now to find out how you can score yourself three entries into the giveaway.

See ya Friday...hopefully!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Riddick : Back To Black. Pitch Black.

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Earlier this week I came up with the idea of doing a post for FEARnet about Riddick's top 10 most badass moments from his first two outings (which should be up this weekend!), and I'm incredibly glad I did because it forced me to re-watch Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick, both of which I hadn't seen in many years.  Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever saw the entirety of Chronicles until the other night.
 
Not that spending 4 hours on my couch watching those two movies was the most pleasurable experience of my week, but I'm glad I did it because doing so allows me to pad out my review of this latest installment in the franchise with some preliminary thoughts on the first two.  Because talking Riddick without first talking Pitch Black and Chronicles would make me a bad blogger, and that's just not kosher with me.
 
 So then.  Pitch Black.  Released in 2000, the year that we were all supposed to die because of that minor computer glitch that had no impact on us whatsoever.  Watching the movie nowadays, the CG effects are pretty dated and awful, and the movie is full of flaws, but I still found myself digging it quite a bit.  Pitch Black is a cool little sci-fi/horror hybrid, totally deserving of the cult status and box office/home video success that came its way.  It introduced us to a badass antihero and pitted him against vicious alien beasts...what's not to love?!

Four years later we got Chronicles of Riddick, which was to kick off a trilogy of new tales centered around a brutal religious group known as the Necromongers.  Though I appreciate the effort of infusing Riddick into a bigger and more epic story than his previous outing, I quite frankly don't care for Chronicles one bit.  It's just a big dumb action movie and totally doesn't feel like it even belongs in the same franchise as Pitch Black.  Gone are the monsters.  Gone is the gore.  And gone is the R rating.  In other words, gone is pretty much everything I dug about Pitch Black, except for the main character.  It's like an Alien sequel, with Ripley battling crazy religious zealots rather than the Xenomorphs....who wants to see that?!
 
 I hate to celebrate the failure of any movie, but I'm actually quite glad that I'm not alone in not digging Chronicles, because it's the box office failure of that movie that directly led to the creation of Riddick.  If it did well at the box office and caught on with audiences, that would've meant more sequels like it, chronicling Riddick's further adventures with the Necromongers.  But because it didn't do so well, writer/director David Twohy decided instead to abandon the original idea of continuing that story and instead go back to the basics, in an effort to bring the franchise back on track.
 
Though the film does make an effort to continue the storylines from the previous two installments, Riddick is more or less a bigger budget, more polished reboot of Pitch Black, designed to tap into what the fans enjoyed so much about that movie.  What worked in 2000 was the simple story of Riddick battling alien creatures, and that's precisely where the focus is placed in this new installment.
 
Riddick once again finds himself stranded on a monster-inhabited planet, hunted down by humans who are too stupid to realize that he should be the least of their worries.  Shit hits the fan when darkness falls, and they're all forced to band together to try and survive the night.  Just as that simple formula worked in 2000, it works again in 2013.  Go figure!
 
In fact, I'm going to have to say that the formula works even better nowadays than it did back then, advancements in technology and improvements over some of the other shortcomings of Pitch Black serving to make Riddick the character's most entertaining adventure to date.  The CG creature effects are light years ahead of those on display in Pitch Black, and Riddick manages to deliver everything that I only wish Chronicles was able to deliver back in 2004; over the top rated R gore and a whole lot of monster action.  That's all I was looking for, and that's precisely what I got.
 
Despite the fact that it is at the end of the day a big dumb popcorn flick, rife with generic characters and situations that anyone who's ever seen an action movie is all too familiar with, Riddick is nevertheless a whole lot of fun and it feels like a breath of fresh air for the franchise, even if it's cut from very much the same cloth as Pitch Black was.  It runs a bit long, with more of a focus on bounty hunters arguing with each other and trying to find Riddick than I personally needed, but it totally gets the job done and successfully reboots the franchise in a way that effectively erases Chronicles from the mind and makes you remember why you fell in love with the character in the first place.  What more can ya really ask for?

On the gore front, Riddick is pretty damn impressive, with a few sequences that quite frankly wouldn't be out of place in one of the Hatchet movies.  The R rating allowed for Twohy to really go for it, and Riddick is a whole lot gorier than either of the previous two installments were.  To have a movie with such a badass killer as the hero be rated PG-13 is quite frankly sacrilegious, so the amped up gore was an incredibly welcome change from the watered down Chronicles.  Riddick spouts a line early on in the film about rediscovering that animal side in himself, which he felt he had lost in the span of time between Chronicles and this film.  That line pretty much sums up the entire movie, the franchise re-uniting with its brutal animalistic side, right along with the character.
 
I've gotta go ahead and applaud David Twohy for putting aside the bigger story he wanted to tell and instead catering directly to fan desires and bringing the franchise back to its simple origins of pitting a badass dude against badass monsters.  While the decision was of course money motivated, it's nevertheless incredibly fulfilling to see the fans get exactly what they want, and to know that it was in fact the fans that are responsible for the series going back to the start, rather than progressing down the path it was supposed to head down.  Nice to know that some filmmakers care about what the fans want to see, and are paying attention to what they're saying.
 
As Chronicles proved and Riddick further solidifies, these movies are at their best when Riddick is fighting monsters, and it was quite a pleasure to be able to sit back in the theater with a bucket of popcorn and get to see that action again.  In many ways Riddick feels like an apology for Chronicles, and it's an apology I wholeheartedly accept.
 
Now let's just hope Twohy sticks to what works and doesn't try to get all ambitious again, with Riddick's next outing.  Keep it simple, keep it gory and keep it fun, and I'll keep coming back to the theater.  I promise.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Giveaway Time : Win The Friday The 13th Complete Collection Blu-ray Set!!

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A week and a half from now will be the first Friday the 13th of 2013, a date which is all the more exciting this year because on that date Warner Bros. is releasing the entire Friday franchise onto Blu-ray, for the very first time.  Housed inside of a nice tin case, the set includes all ten films in the original franchise as well as Freddy vs Jason and the 2009 remake.  Also included are a few bonus goodies, including a 40-page book, 3D glasses and even an embroidered Camp Crystal Lake counselor patch.
 
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Needless to say, it's a must own set for all fans of the franchise, especially considering the majority of the films have never before been released onto Blu-ray.  Which is why it's so exciting to me personally that I managed to get my hands on a copy.  But I'm not going to open it.  You know why?  Because it's not for me.  It's for you.
 
That's right.  I've got on my hands on one copy of the complete collection, and I want YOU to have it.  So listen up and follow the rules, and it could soon be yours!

To enter, all you've gotta do is head over to the official Friday the 13th community that I moderate, over on Kumbuya.  I know I've kinda beaten this community into your heads in the last few weeks, but it's something I'm very excited to be a part of, and I'm really working hard to get as many people over there and interacting with the community as possible.  Without interaction from other horror fans it's just me posting content on there, and that's quite frankly no fun at all.  So I want you guys to come on over, join up and help build the community with me.

So if you want entry into this awesome giveaway, sign up with the community (if you haven't yet) and leave a comment on the giveaway post that I made over there, which will be pinned to the top of the community for the duration of the contest.  You won't have any trouble finding it, but if you want to head straight to that post, CLICK HERE to do that.  All you need to do is comment with your favorite scene from the franchise, and you've got yourself an entry.

If you would like an additional entry, to increase your chances of winning, simply share the giveaway post that I just linked to on your Facebook page.  You can do so by clicking the little 'f' icon that appears under the picture.
 
The deadline for all entries is at midnight on Friday, September 20th, so be sure to get your comments in and shares shared before that time passes!
 
Good luck to all!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Ice Cream Man Drops Off SERIES 4 Of The Horror Popsicles!

Now that summer is winding down, so too are the fun ice cream collaborations between myself and artist Frank Browning.  We banged out four series' of the Ben & Jerry's flavors and with this fourth series of the popsicles, we're quite frankly pooped on the concepts.  You can only come up with so many horror movie themed ice cream ideas before your brain melts and you're ready to move on to something else.  And I think I speak for both Frank and myself when I say we're ready.
 
So until next summer, enjoy the fourth and final series of the horror popsicles, and I would again like to offer up a huge thank you to everyone who shared these images around and made them such massive successes on the various social media platforms.  Without all the love, I can guarantee you that we never would've had the motivation to keep on banging these out!

 
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As always, you will find full size images of these and all past series' on the Freddy In Space Facebook page, for easy sharing with your friends.  Please do share them around, if you dig 'em!