Monday, June 25, 2012

Freddy In Space : Four Years Later

Today, June 25th, marks the four year anniversary of Freddy In Space, which means I have for four full years now devoted most of my free time to sitting here in my computer chair, pecking away at the keys and spewing my thoughts on the genre to anyone who will listen.  I'm not usually very proud of myself but when it comes to what I've accomplished in the blogging world I am pretty damn proud, proud not only that I've stuck with this for so long but proud also that there seems to be a whole lot of people who, for whatever reason, are listening to what little old me has to say. 

That's quite honestly something I never expected when I sat down and started Freddy In Space four years ago, less as an outlet for my voice to be heard and quite honestly more as just something to do to stave off boredom while I sat around jobless and feeling all around pretty useless.  Little did I realize that blogging would become a serious passion for me, one that would provide me with great friendships and an incredibly gratifying sense of belonging to a community and genre that I so love.  The fact that I've somehow become a voice in that community that people actually listen to is something I will likely never get used to.  It's something I cherish and it's truly one of the great joys of my life.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, Freddy In Space has turned into an entire community in and of itself, currently over 2,400 Facebook fans strong and with a total hit count that just recently surpassed the one million mark.  Hell, when I attend horror functions, I usually have people approach me and tell me how much they enjoy reading what I write, which just boggles my mind. 

I honestly don't know how it happened, but I know for sure that the only reason this little blog has become what it has become is because of each and every one of you out there who reads, comments on and shares the posts I pour so much of myself into.  So to everyone who is reading this right now, and everyone who isn't but has at some point in time read something I've written, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving meaning to my voice in the horror community.  There are so many other blogs out there that you could be reading, and I thank you so much for choosing to spend some of your internet time here in my neck of the woods.

The fact that I've gotten to a point where I not only get a steady flow of traffic every day but also get more interaction from those who read than I even have the time to respond to is something I will never ever take for granted.  That's something that doesn't come around for every blogger out there, no matter how many years they spend in the game, and I am so grateful that I've been able to experience all that love.  Again, I don't know why I've been so fortunate, or why people seem to be drawn to what I have to say, but this blog has truly provided me with more satisfaction and joy than anything else in my life.

Well, almost anything else.

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It's likely that I would've never started Freddy In Space without the encouragement from Jen, my partner in crime for four and a half years now.  Suffice to say, it's no coincidence that I started this whole thing shortly after meeting her.  Though my time spent blogging over the years has admittedly at many points interfered with Jen and I spending time together, she's always been incredibly supportive of me doing this, as she has been when it comes to everything I do or want to do.

The picture you see above is from this past Friday night, taken at our local courthouse.  Though it may not look like it, that's actually a 'You may now kiss the bride' picture.  After nearly five years of dating, Jennifer Carroll officially become Jennifer Squires this past weekend, and I officially became one lucky geek who somehow scored a wife that's as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  Much like with the whole blogging thing, I'm not sure how it happened, but I couldn't be happier that it did.

Soooo.  In celebration of not only the wedding and Freddy In Space's fourth birthday, but also my own birthday this coming Saturday, I have decided that I'm going to take a one week hiatus from the blogging world, beginning tonight.  Getting a bit burnt out is a natural side effect of doing something like this and since I've never taken a hiatus in the four years that I've been at it, I think I not only deserve it but I kinda need it too.  Gonna take that time to relax, spend time with my new wife and see what life is like without being consumed by the need to blog.  Should be interesting, to say the least!

It's likely that I will return next Monday, with a recap of the 2nd annual Syracuse Horror & Sci-Fi Garage Sale, which I will be attending this weekend.  With a little time off under my belt, I expect things to be more fun and exciting than ever around these parts come July!

So, I shall see you then.  In the meantime, I'm sure I'll still be active on the Freddy In Space Facebook page throughout the week, so you can find me over there!

Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter - Now This Is My Kinda History Lesson!

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Can I just say before we begin here how much I love the movies?  Where else can you see Hitler get shot repeatedly in the face by a vengeful Jew, JFK live out his final days as a black man in a rest home fending off an asshole sucking mummy (with Elvis as his partner in crime), and tag along with Abe Lincoln as he saves America from blood thirsty neck suckers?  Only in the movies can you see such awesomely ridiculous liberties taken with American history!

So then.  Is Honest Abe decapitating vampires with his trusty axe as awesome and as fun as it sounds?  Yea, it kinda is.  Oh and did I mention that his axe also doubles as a silver bullet spewing boomstick?  Yep, I rest my case!

The best way I can sum up Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter (which is based on a book I never read) is that watching it made me feel like a kid laying on the floor reading a comic book, anxiously awaiting the big colorful action filled splash pages and half paying attention to everything before and in between.  I say this because AL:VH is at its best when it's a big dumb visual feast, and at its worst when it's anything but.  The action scenes, AKA the ones where Lincoln is actually killing vampers, are incredibly breath taking to behold, so wildly over the top that you kinda can't help but love them, as your eyes struggle to decide whether they should be wide with excitement and awe or do the ole 'this is super corny' roll to the back of your head.  This is perhaps best personified in one particularly epic sequence, where Abe and his main fanged adversary are battling amongst a stampede of angry horses, jumping around on their backs and tossing the giant creatures around like rag dolls.  Whether it's sequences like that or Abe just plain old slicing and dicing vamps slo-mo Matrix style with his axe, the action scenes are always incredibly absurd and oftentimes wildly gory, exciting to behold and quite frankly, worth the price of admission alone, even if the creativity of the action peaks a bit early on.  I mean come on, what's not to love about watching a president kick some serious undead ass?!

But alas, there is a lot of downtime between action sequences, and that's when things get a little problematic with the film.  It's not that I wanted all story to be tossed aside in favor of action, but the main problem I had with the film is that it never seems to know whether it wants to be a big goofy summer action flick or a historical drama that takes itself seriously, and so much of the run-time is spent shifting back and forth between the two that things get a bit messy.  One minute you've got a vampire throwing a horse on top of Abe and the next you find yourself spending 10 minutes inside of what feels like a serious straight up Abe Lincoln biopic, and it's a bit jarring to watch the film waver between serious and B-movie camp.  It's ironic because one of the things this fictional version of Abe references several times throughout the film is the importance of having a contingency plan, because the film itself seems to have a back up plan of its own; if the comic book style action isn't working out then it's got the serious drama to fall back on, and vice versa.  I kinda wish the film had committed more fully to its B-movie premise, rather than trying to play in both playgrounds, as the whole thing could've been a bit more fun overall.

That said, I must say that by the end of the film, the mash-up of historical drama and wild action romp actually kinda worked for me.  Surprise surprise.  Without that serious stuff the film might as well have just been about a random dude killing vampires, so I guess it's a necessary evil to have that balance when you're mashing together two completely unrelated elements, especially when one of those elements is Abraham goddamn Lincoln.  A mash up has gotta have equal parts of both worlds to be a true mash up, right?  So I guess that's kinda the beauty of the whole oddball experience, rather than the negative flaw I admittedly was holding against it for much of the time that I was watching.  After all, Abe Lincoln killing vampires means nothing if you don't also have moments of Abe Lincoln being Abe Lincoln.  Maybe that's just me trying to justify the film's identity crisis because I had so much fun with the fun parts of it, but so be it.  Regardless, things do get a bit boring at times, a result of a fairly sloppy and rushed story that's not really all that compelling, which is why I say I could've used a bit more of that absurdity.

Ultimately though, any and all flaws the film has (CG'ed vamps/generic characters) are washed away by the joys of watching our 16th president defend the free world from evil monsters, a concept so strong and unique that it's hard not to love it.  Couple that with Timur Bekmambetov's remarkable talent for staging unforgettable and original action sequences and you've got yourself a pretty damn fun little roller coaster ride, a ridiculous spin on American history that's a joy to watch.  It may not be quite as fun as it perhaps could've been, but overall I had a total blast with this one.   Hell, if history had been told this way back in high school, I probably would've spent a whole lot more time with my head in the upright position!

I can safely say that if you go into Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter with the right mindset, expecting little more than a super fun visual feast, then you're gonna come out of the theater quite pleased.  Otherwise, you probably shouldn't have been in the theater in the first place.  You've gotta appreciate any movie that's so clear about its intentions that you could only come out of it disappointed if you went into it expecting something it never asked you to expect in the first place.  It'd be like buying a bottle of orange juice, taking a sip and being disappointed that it wasn't apple juice.  Let's be real here.  The movie is called Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter.  If you buy the ticket to take that ride, you probably know what kinda ride you're in store for!

By the way, holy shit does Benjamin Walker look dead on like a young Liam Neeson or what?!  Couldn't stop thinking about that while I was watching the movie, and I was not at all surprised to pop on IMDb afterwards and discover that his first movie role was in Kinsey, playing a young Liam Neeson.  Or that Neeson was Spielberg's original choice to play Lincoln in his upcoming biopic.  While Walker pulled off playing Lincoln both young and old pretty well, I can't help but think how awesome it would've been if they had brought Neeson in to play Lincoln in the latter portions of this film.  Liam Neeson kicking vampire ass as Abe Lincoln ... that totally would've put the film over the top on the awesomeness scales for me!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vintage Video Of The Week : Maximum Overdrive Original Theatrical Trailer!

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The year was 1986.  After over 10 of his books had been turned into hit horror movies, including Cujo, Christine, Pet Sematary, The Shining & Carrie, Stephen King decided to finally take matters into his own hands and do something pretty unique in the world of book to movie adaptations; direct a movie based on one of his own stories.  It was to be the first and last time King ever directed anything, an effort that resulted in a Golden Raspberry Award for worst director in 1987.

Nevertheless, us horror fans have over the years come to appreciate and love Maximum Overdrive, a pretty goddamn awesome export of the glorious 80's.  As awesome as the movie itself was the original theatrical trailer from back in '86, which featured the master of horror on screen, presenting a montage of clips from the film.  King has admitted in recent years that he was "coked out of his mind" during the time he was filming Overdrive, and that's quite clearly evident in the trailer, as King manically stares cross eyed into the camera and rants about how past adaptations of his books have essentially sucked, and how he's finally set to do Stephen King justice.  Yep, it's pretty much the greatest trailer of all time.

Hit the play button below to take a trip into the deepest darkest depths of Stephen King's drug addled brain, in this week's Vintage Video!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Toys That Never Saw The Light Of Day : Part 2!

As a follow up to last April's post 10 Horror Action Figures That Never Saw The Light Of Day!, here are a few more unproduced toys I've found in my recent travels, toys we will unfortunately never be able to own.  Of course, that makes them infinitely cooler than they would be if they were readily available to us.  After all, we always want most what we know we cannot have!

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A few years back toy company Gentle Giant went bust crazy, producing mini busts of everyone from Jason Voorhees to one of the vicious 'crawlers' from The Descent.  Though they did release a Leatherface TCM 2 bust, which is still readily available, the image you see above was the original design for the statuette, which was changed up quite a bit before it actually saw release.  So this is one of those situations where we got the toy, it just didn't look the same as it was originally supposed to.

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Also from Gentle Giant, this Chop Top bust was unveiled at the 2007 Comic Con, before being dropped from the company's release schedule the following year.  Though two slightly different variations of the bust had been glimpsed during the production stage, neither saw release.  It doesn't appear to have been anything personal against ole Choppy though, as the bust was one of many planned figures from the time that Gentle Giant decided to scrap, presumably as a way of saving money.  Thankfully, Mezco gave us a Chop Top action figure around the same time, part of their Cinema of Fear line.  The likeness isn't as amazing, but it'll have to do!

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Hey look, it's another Gentle Giant statue that was unveiled at Comic Con in 2007 but then was never seen or heard from again!  These are early prototypes that never made it past that stage.  Kudos to whoever took this picture, despite the warning against it.  If it weren't for that sneaky motherfucker, it's likely that there would've been no documentation of these ever even existing.  Meowwwww.

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Kenner wasn't the only toy company to dip their toes into the Aliens pool.  Galoob was all set to release this 'Outer World Station' playset, depicting the Xenomorph filled planet of LV-426, but the playset never made it to the market.  After putting out a few different Aliens inspired additions to their popular Micro Machines line, Galoob's license for the film apparently ran out, instantly making this one of the coolest toys never made. You can see more images over at AliensCollection.com.

Check out even more unproduced goodies HERE & HERE!

Awesome Art : Yours Truly As Freddy Krueger!

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My buddy Patrick Carson Sparrow tends to doodle on the packages he sends my way, and this is the drawing I found on a box I just received from him yesterday.  Yep, that's my bearded ass as Freddy Krueger.  I may be a little biased here, but is this not one of the coolest drawings ever?!  Love it.  So much.

Now go check out more of Pat's amazing art over in his Etsy shop, where he currently has up for grabs a They Live playset, including a mask, black sunglasses and even a few pieces of bubble gum ... everything you need to spot alien invaders, become one yourself and/or chew bubble gum when you're all done kicking some serious ass!  The likelihood of Pat supplying one of these bad boys for an upcoming giveaway here on Freddy In Space is pretty good, so keep those eyes peeled!

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It's time ... it's time ... it's INVADER TIME!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's Not Every Day You Find A Severed Finger In Your Mailbox!

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... but any day that you do is a damn fine day, if you're asking me!

Couple weeks back I got a Facebook message from a man by the name of Luke, who is the owner of an Australian based special makeup FX and custom prop company called LPFX.  An offshoot of that company is Creepy Collectables, created to bring those gruesome stylings into the homes of twisted folks like myself and my boy Jeff Dahmer, people who are completely comfortable with having human body parts laying around the house.  Luke wondered if I would be up for perhaps reviewing something from the Creepy Collectables collection, and he even gave me the choice of which item I wanted him to send me.  Long story short, there's now a framed severed finger hanging in my bathroom.  I look at it every time I pee.  And it makes me happy.

Before we take a look at this thing I just want to take a quick second here to convey how excited I was about the arrival of my severed finger.  For reasons I'm not even sure of, though I'll blame my horrible diet, I was fairly sick this past Saturday, and spent most of the day with my head buried in the toilet, puking up stomach bile.  As I was doing this, the mailman knocked on my door, a knock which went unanswered by me (after all, I was dropping mouth loads in the toilet).  A minute or so later I heard him driving away from my house, and it was then that I realized he was probably knocking on the door because my severed finger had arrived, and I had to sign for it.  I knew if I didn't chase him down, I'd have to wait until Monday for him to try again.  So I picked my head up out of the toilet and chased him down.  That's right, I ran down the street in my weakened state, held in a mouthful of vomit, and flagged down the mailman ... all so I wouldn't have to wait two more days to hang a severed human finger on my wall.

Yep, that was my weekend.

So, without further adieu, here's my newest prized possession, courtesy of Creepy Collectables!

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I don't know if pictures could ever do it complete justice but I gotta say, this thing is absolutely beautiful.  The finger itself looks incredibly lifelike, amazingly detailed right down to the hard nail and bloody stump.  The shadow box frame is but the icing on the cake, made of real nailed together wood, stained and beat up the way any frame that's playing host to a severed finger should be.  It's hard to see in the picture but against the backdrop is a little typed up rundown of the origins of the finger, which are stated as such... 

APPENDAGE : FINGER (INDEX)
METHOD : SEVERED (DULL BLADE)
INCIDENT : POINTING AT A TROLL

Further details about the finger are revealed in a tattered and charred note from 'The Krypt Creature' that is included with it ... 

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 This is a curious item The Krypt Creature obtained after meeting a young troll at a tavern deep within the black woods.
The Troll told The Krypt Creature, his grandfather had left them to him after he passed away (His grandfather had lost a bet to a goblin). The fingers were taken from their owners after they had pointed at the Troll. He preserved them in a secret concoction that has kept them in near new condition as though they had been severed this morning.
And remember pointing is fun but it might be best to use this finger next time you point at a Troll.

Now the coolest thing about the frame is that there is no glass panel between it and the finger, allowing you to reach in and touch the appendage.  I personally would've been kinda bummed if I couldn't touch it, and I'm happy to say its eerily rubbery and lifelike.  And yes, I totally puked upon touching it for the first time.  We can pretend that had nothing to do with the fact that I was already puking before getting it in the mail.  It's cooler that way.

The frame also comes complete with a hanger on the back, so it can be easily hung wherever you might want to hang it, but it also can stand on its own, if you'd prefer to toss it on a shelf or your nightstand.  How's that for versatility?

Like I said, mine currently hangs in the bathroom, in direct line of sight of anyone taking a whizz.  Well, any guy at least.  Girls sit down or something, don't they?  Weirdos.

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*CLICK FOR SUPER SIZE AND SUPER DETAIL*

In the past four years of blogging I've been sent a lot of handmade pieces and if I'm being honest, some of it just isn't very good.  Paint is sometimes sticky and things just aren't always very professionally presented.  It's just the nature of the handmade business, where you really don't know the quality of anything you're getting until you actually hold it in your own hands.  Let's just say that pictures online can be deceiving.  Kinda like the way McDonalds burgers look incredibly appetizing when you see them on TV, but are in actuality quite horrific in person.

Now the reason I say this is because I'm incredibly impressed by the quality and craftsmanship on display here from Creepy Collectables.  It's quite clear to me that Luke really goes out of his way to deliver something special to his customers, which is something I have endless amounts of appreciation for.  Too many companies out there are all too willing to take your hard earned money and send you a low quality hunk of junk in return. It's a sad truth.  What we've got here from Creepy Collectables though is a true piece of morbid art, which I am very happy and proud to have hanging up in my house for all to see.

Because of Luke's customer care and attention to quality, I've gotta go ahead and slap the incredibly prestigious (but not really) Freddy In Space Seal Of Approval on Creepy Collectables.  Based on this piece, I can pretty much assure you that anything ordered from there will be of the highest of quality, and well worth the cost.  That's really what I set out to determine by seeing one of these up close and in person.  The fact that I get to keep it is just an added bonus, one of the few real perks of being in the blogging game.  So thank you so very much, Luke!

Head over to the Creepy Collectables shop to browse their cryptic and creepy housewares, including everything from severed ears to mummified heads to badass demon bookends.  You can even get severed fingers that aren't confined to a frame, which I'd imagine you can have a whole lot of fun with.  Wink wink, you sick bastard.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Release Review : The Aggression Scale

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NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD, BLU-RAY & ON DEMAND!

The Aggression Scale is a film that caught my eye the minute the trailer for it came out back in February, for the sole reason that the premise sounded pretty damn awesome; bad guys invade the home of a family who they believe has money that belongs to their boss, bad guys get killed off one by one by the youngest member of the family, a pre-teen boy who, as their luck would have it, is the badass love child of MacGyver, John Rambo and Kevin McCallister.  In other words, just because his balls haven't yet dropped, doesn't mean he aint gonna cut yours off!  That totally should've been the tagline of the film ...

So yea.  If that premise sounds cool to you, then I think you're gonna enjoy this one, as I did tonight.

The Aggression Scale is pretty much exactly the movie I expected it to be; a fusion of home invasion and Home Alone that's thoroughly entertaining to just sit back and enjoy.  With a mere 85 minutes of running time, it's a quick in and out fast paced jolt of entertainment, starting with a solid and engaging build up and finishing off with a second half full of intensity and brutal practical effects fueled violence, much of it at the hands of our badass little mute hero.  While he at first appears to be a quiet Autistic boy who relies on his father to take care of him, we soon realize that this little kid named Owen is one evil ass kicking survivalist motherfucker, setting traps that would make both Kevin McCallister and John Kramer proud and turning grown men into his playthings.  Ya kinda can't help but get serious levels of enjoyment out of watching a little kid brutalize and beat up on adults, and watching him outwit and outlast the brutes is where the main joy of the film lies.

If there's any downside to this one it's that some of the acting is a bit shoddy, with a few actors never quite selling their roles or delivering their lines in a believable fashion.  These little acting issues pop up from time to time, and do admittedly hinder the overall impact of the film.  That said, some of the acting is solid, particularly from Ryan Hartwig as young Owen, Return Of The Living Dead 2's Dana Ashbrook as lead bad guy Lloyd and Derek Mears as one of his fellow henchmen.  Mears is the man who played Jason in the Friday The 13th remake and it's always awesome to see him get to act outside of a monster suit and makeup.  He was totally entertaining to watch, funny when he wanted to be and terrifying when he needed to be, and I can only hope that he gets more roles like this in the future.  Love that guy and I'm so glad he was in this movie, because him being in there definitely aided in my enjoyment of it.  Now go stalk him over on Facebook.  He likes to be stalked.  I promise.

But yea.  Couple that questionable acting from a few of the leads with a handful of sore thumb moments of somewhat cringe worthy corniness and The Aggression Scale is by no means a spectacular film, but it nevertheless rises past its shortcomings to be a pretty entertaining adult oriented take on Home Alone, one that is worth spending 85 minutes and a couple bucks on.  Bottom line being that the premise is strong enough to keep the film entertaining throughout and overall worth the watch.  So again I say, if that premise of kids defending their home and exacting bloody revenge on adults sounds cool to you, then I think you're gonna like this one.  I personally had a fun time with it, which is quite frankly all I was looking to get out of it.  It's fast food cinema at its finest; there's nothing of all that much substance in it, but it will fill ya up and make ya shit a lot afterwards.  Or, well, scratch that last part.  That had nothing to do with the movie.  I really need to start eating better.

To round out this quickie review, I must say that now that I've seen this movie, I am even more excited for director Steven C. Miller's Silent Night, Deadly Night remake, which is coming our way this holiday season.  He seems to dig practical effects and has a knack for making fun little movies, so that one should be a blast!

Vintage Print Advertisements : Reebok's Alien Fighter Shoes

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Remember those badass shoes Ripley wore in Aliens?  Well they were made by Reebok, who actually released limited quantities of replica pairs to the public back in 1986, in conjunction with the release of the film.  Above is the original print ad promoting the futuristic kicks!

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Touted as "Aliens Fighter Shoes" back then, the shoes have since been renamed Alien Stompers, and Reebok has throughout the years re-released them on the market, in various different colorways.  I don't know about you, but to me, blue and black versions just aint the same.

The closest you can get these days to screen accuracy are with these, which have a gray and red color scheme, as opposed to the white, gray and red Ripley kicked ass in all those years ago (or should I say, all those years in the future).  Aside from tracking down an actual pair from 1986 (good luck with that!), I'm afraid that's the best you're gonna be able to do.

Death Waltz Recording Company Lets The Right One SPIN!

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Pretty proud of that post title.  Gonna take a second here to pat myself on the back.

OK, I'm all set.
 
A few weeks back I made a post about a new project called Death Waltz Recording, a UK based company that specializes in high end vinyl releases of cult/horror soundtracks.  Their first release was Fabio Frizzi's iconic Zombi 2 soundtrack, and they're now heading from Italy to Sweden for their second release, which sees the haunting and beautiful Let The Right One In score hitting vinyl for the very first time.  Here's all the skinny on the release!
 
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Featuring exclusive cover art by Candice Tripp, the record is available on either black or limited edition white vinyl, with both selling for 20 British pounds (about $31).  The only difference between the two versions aside from the coloring of the vinyl is that the white edition comes with both a lithograph and poster of the cover art, while the standard black version comes with only the poster.  The package is rounded out with sleeve notes by composer Johan Sonderqvist and the aforementioned cover artist, Candice Tripp.

At the time of writing this, only 144 of the white version and a mere 85 of the black version remain.  Both will see release and begin shipping on July 25th, and can now be pre-ordered over at Death Waltz Recording Company!

I leave you with but a small sampling of the beauty that is contained within this incredible must own release!
 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Giveaway Time! Win The Book 'Director's Cut : The Art Of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter'!

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Any day where you get an e-mail from a major company asking if you want to host a giveaway pertaining to a big time upcoming theatrical release is a pretty damn good day, if you're asking me.  Today, is one of those days!

Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter hits theaters this Friday from 20th Century Fox, and will be followed on July 10th by a 128 page book called Director's Cut : The Art Of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which from what I gather is a storyboard and production art filled diary of the conceptualization and making of the film.  Why is it being touted as a 'Director's Cut'?  Because the book contains exclusive looks at the film director Timur Bekmambetov originally had in mind, which didn't entirely make its way onto the screen.  So this is essentially his cut of the film, in picture filled book form.  Cool?  Yea, I'd say so!

If you want to enter to win a copy of the book, all you've gotta do is leave me a comment below with your e-mail address and a little sentence or two about why you are excited to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, if you are indeed excited to see it.  If you're not, well, then you probably shouldn't be entering this giveaway anyway.  So be honest like Abe, and don't just enter so you can win a free book and then sell it as soon as you get it!

The entry period runs through next Monday, June 25th, and is open to all residents of the US & Canada, 18 and over.  Good luck!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter hits theaters this Friday, June 22nd, and you can learn more about the film over on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  You can also download a little free video game over in the iTunes App Store, which should tide you over until the theatrical release!

Vintage Video Of The Week : Dead Alive VHS Promo!

Back in the days of the VHS tape, screening copies of films were sent out not only for review, as they are now, but also for stock consideration at video rental shops.  A VHS screening copy often contained the film in question and also a little video pitch of sorts, to try and convince video shop owners to carry the film on their shelves. The screener copy of Vidmark's 1993 VHS release of Peter Jackson's gore classic Dead Alive is where this week's Vintage Video hails from!
 
In it you will see Vidmark's pitch to video shop owners, which contains snippets of vintage reviews, both from reputable sources as well as from super excited fans who appear to have just been fed happy pills and shown the movie (or, are those two things one in the same?), rare footage from a Dead Alive parade/party that took place in New York City to celebrate the release, and an added bonus of a Dead Alive screaming candy display, which was included with each purchase of three rental copies of the film.  Ah, the good old days, when companies actually cared about their releases!
 
Enjoy this blast from the past, from the glorious era of the VHS tape!

 
Man, to have been at that Dead Alive 'zombie party', eh?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Potentially Interesting Kickstarter Projects : Cryptotrip

(PRETEND THERE'S A COOL HEADER BANNER HERE ... IT'LL BE THERE NEXT TIME, I PROMISE)
 
I'll be the first to admit that Kickstarter can be pretty irritating, what with everyone and their mother begging you for money to make their movies and all.   Nevertheless, cool shit does from time to time result from Kickstarter funding and ya can't help but wonder what other gems are out there, unable to ever enter our lives without our help.

So I've decided to start a little recurring feature here where I shine a tiny little spotlight on any Kickstarter projects I come across that seem interesting to me.  These aren't going to be any projects that I'm personally connected to in any way, nor could I ever actually go ahead and recommend you spend your hard earned money to help them reach funding.  They're just projects I come across that sound appealing to me.  Plain and simple.  And who knows.  Maybe they'll appeal to you too.  And maybe you can help them get made.

Just don't get mad at me if you fund a project I mention on here that ends up being a huge steaming pile of shit.  Again I reiterate; these are projects that just sound good to me on paper, I have no idea if the people involved have any talent or will ever even follow through on their promises.  Thus, the long winded and skeptical feature title.  And I swear, that cool header banner will be there next time.

Now that that's established.

This first project is a documentary about the wild and whacky world of Cryptozoology, the study of mythical creatures and monsters like Bigfoot, Nessie and the ever popular Jersey Devil.  And no, I'm not talking about Snooki.  I have a serious personal interest in the various cryptids of the world, which would explain why I'm interested in this project.

Taking a road trip approach to the subject matter, Cryptotrip is a documentary exploring various different sightings of such creatures, through eyewitness stories as opposed to lame recreation footage or lamer hunts through the woods to find things that will never be found.  I dig this quite a bit, being that nearly every show or documentary on the subject is just sensationalized hogwash, rather than a real exploration of what people have seen or think they have seen.  Cryptotrip is mostly completed, and a mere $2,000 is needed to fund the filmmakers' trip to 'Bigfoot Country', to round out the film with my main man Sassy.

Check out the pitch video and learn more below!


Cryptotrip, from the director of The Death of Andy Kaufman,  is the first documentary of its kind.  Sure, there are countless programs and films about cryptozoology, but which of these gives the eyewitnesses more than a minute or two to speak before inundating the viewer with flashy B-roll, reenactments, and aimless hunts through the woods?  None.  That's how this film is different.  We've set out to travel across the United States, visiting people who have had incredible encounters with creatures they can't explain or identify, and giving them a chance to tell their stories.  Thousands of unexplained creature sightings are reported in this country each year.  What are people seeing?  How do these sightings impact the eyewitnesses?  What is our fascination with this topic?  Cryptotrip sets out to answer these questions and take a look at America in a whole new way.  So far, we've visited several different states and have edited together about an hour of more or less finished footage.  But what film about creature sightings would be complete without a trip to Bigfoot country?  We only have one journey left, and it's the most important one yet - a trip to the Pacific Northwest, where Bigfoot has been seen more times than anywhere else in America.  We just need a little more dough to get there...
 
Check out the complete project details over on Kickstarter!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Freddy In Space Exclusive Chat With Madballs Illustrator/Designer James Groman!!

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A few weeks back I made a post about a Madball I found at a local yard sale.  I've been a mega fan of Madballs since I was a kid and when I saw the reaction to that post, I realized that many of you share in that love for the little rubber gross out balls.  Armed with this knowledge, I wanted to do something really special for all of you out there who love these things as much as I.  Everything I do, I do it for you.

Soooo long story short, I ended up contacting a man by the name of James Groman, a toy designer who created many of the Madballs products, both during the early years as well as the revival run of 2006.  Contacting him on Facebook led to an interview and that interview led to this, one of the most awesome posts I've ever had the pleasure of posting.

Enjoy.  And you're welcome.

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- What's the origin story of the Madballs and how did you get involved?

I have always heard that the origin of the Madballs concept came from some designers working on a new version of 'Hot Potato', and one of the guys drew a face on a potato. That led to the creation of a line of balls with ugly faces on them. I was brought in as a freelancer to design some of the later series, as well as a number of the action figures with the 'pop-off' heads. I was soon hired full time at American Greetings and the rest is toy-design history...

- Were there any designs that either you or other artists pitched that American Greetings didn't go for?

Yes, some were deemed 'too gross' believe it or not. One was 'Bullet Brain', a gangster with a head full of bullet holes. Another was Maggot Mouth, a character actually barfing up a mouthfull of maggots. And there was another that was a bit of violence against terrorists that was just not very P.C.

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- You're being sent off to a deserted island and you can only take one Madball with you, as your only companion. Which one do you take, and why?

Hornhead or Blech Beard..because they are my favorite Madballs. Hornhead is based on the cyclops from 7th Voyage of Sinbad, (he lived on a desert island,...) and Blech Beard is a pirate, so he belongs on a desert island.

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- I've heard rumors that at one point a Madballs movie was planned. Do you remember anything of the sort ever being discussed?

Yes, we had a pretty cool script written and shopped it around to some studios. I had heard a rumor that Bruce Campbell was interested in doing it...but I actually ran into him at a convention once, and he knew nothing about it...

I hope that some day we get a chance to make a real fun, gross horror comedy with the Madballs...perhaps some day. What do you think, Sy Fy-Chiller?


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- At the 2008 Toy Fair, a toy called the 'Madballs Launcher' was unveiled, which was to be a gun that shot out eyeballs. To the best of my knowledge, it never actually made it to store shelves. Whatever happened with that?

We were working with a company called Basic Fun on that, and they decided not to do the launcher. They did some cool product for a short time, but they really did not seem to understand the marketing aspect of the property at all.

- Whenever I so much as mention Madballs on the blog, I get a ton of comments from readers sharing their fond memories of them. What do you think it is about these simple little rubber balls that has made them endure all these years?

The characters, and the fact that it was one of the very first 'Gross Toys' on the market back in the 1980's. Kind of started a trend. They were kind of rebellious in a way...carrying around something that got such a negative reaction from girls, teachers and most adults...made it like doing something naughty.

- It's been a few years since we've seen any new Madballs products hit the market. Can we expect more in the near future?

***James wasn't at liberty to say much about this, but you can rest assured that the Madballs will soon be back, and better than ever!!***

- Aside from the Madballs, what's your personal favorite gross out toy from the 80's?

No particular toy comes to mind...but I LOVED the 'Dinosaurs Attacks' line of collectors cards that Topps put out around the same time. AWESOME!

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- Are there any other toys us horror fans might've played with that you had a hand in designing?

Well, I did Madballs sister product line called 'Blurp Balls', I created and designed Barnyard Commandos, helped design Body Wars, My Pet Monster, Ring Raiders, Stretch Armstrong, Star Wars and Transformers toys. I sculpted model kits of Godzilla, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Sleepy Hollow, Star Wars Rancor monster and Tauntaun...and a whole bunch of other action figures and model kits...

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- What else are you up to these days? Where can we follow your latest and upcoming art projects?

Just did a 15 inch tall, zombie dinosaur sculpt for a company called Lullubell Toys that is currently at the factory. Any Madball fan is gonna LOVE IT! It is a rotting, mummified corpse of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, with skin, bones, muscle, slime and guts all hanging out. Oh, and did I mention he has an exposed stomach full of human skulls?

I am currently working on a comic book story to sell along with the toy. Have a couple other sculpts planned as well...so stay tuned!
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You heard it here first; all kinds of new Madballs goodies coming our way in 2013!!

Huge thanks to James for the awesome interview.  You can follow his life and projects over on his blog, which he totally should've shamelessly promoted but didn't.  And of course, you can keep track of all those nasty little Madballs over on the Madballs official website!

Cool Shit : Volkswagen Asks You To See Films Differently!

I often find myself waking up around three in the morning, a couple hours after I've gone to bed, stuffing my face with a Twinkie, taking a few swigs of water, and then hopping on the internet for 15 minutes or so, before returning back to my slumber.  It is in those brief time periods where I tend to just aimlessly wander around the internet, no one on Facebook to talk to and no new status updates to read.  Free of those distractions, I tend to find the coolest shit at those hours.
 
Case in point ...
 
Last night, I stumbled upon a series of commercials Volkswagen recently put out in the UK, not to shill cars but rather to show their support for independent film.  Their campaign is geared towards "seeing film differently" and the series of commercials present humorous and highly clever faux explanations for where the inspiration came from in regards to some of cinema's most iconic improvised lines.

Check out their Jaws & Silence Of The Lambs inspired commercials, which provide possible explanations as to what inspired the "bigger boat" line and Anthony Hopkins' terrifying line delivery during the infamous liver eating speech! 



Amazon Deals : Chronicle Blu-ray!

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THE GOODS : Chronicle Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Combo Pack, containing the theatrical and director's cuts of the film.


Considering this film is not only pretty damn awesome but also just came out about a month ago, I'd say this is a serious steal.  It's funny because the single disc DVD release is $17.57 on Amazon at the moment, which really shows that companies are trying to wean people off of DVD's entirely.  
 
"Do you want the movie on this outdated format?  Cause if so it's a lot more expensive.  Yea, that's what I thought."

Anyways.  Chronicle rocks, and there's no reason you shouldn't shell out $12.99 to make it a part of your collection, whether you've seen it yet or not!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2012 Halloween Offerings From Morbid Enterprises!

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Last year, a new company called Morbid Enterprises spit pea soup all over my Halloween radar, when they unveiled a pretty badass line of 2011 holiday wares that included all sorts of Exorcist themed goodies, including a Regan mask as well as a life size animated prop, of course featuring 360 degree head spinning action.  Morbid Enterprises is one of those companies that makes Halloween decorations to be sold to the masses at the online & brick and mortar Halloween shops that sprout up all over the country during the fall season, and their focus on officially licensed merchandise based on horror flicks has made them a must watch company for folks like us.

Well, their 2012 catalog is now available for browsing on their website, so tonight I wanted to take a look at just a few choice offerings that they've got for the upcoming haunting season.  Come along with me, won't you?!

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The folks who run Morbid are clearly Rob Zombie fans, as evidenced by last year's Captain Spaulding costume and even Rob Zombie mask.  This year they've got this 6 foot hanging Spaulding prop, which features light up eyes, poseable arms and a moving mouth that spouts movie dialogue.  As a dude who's always dreamed of having Sid Haig hanging around in his bedroom, I cannot thank Morbid enough for fulfilling such desires.

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This 6 foot tall inflatable Slimer joins Morbid's offering from last year, an 8.5 foot tall inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  I would like to say I'll be purchasing this but honestly, I've kinda given up on decorating the outside of my house.  Putting something this awesome on your lawn is essentially asking little shit kids to come slash it up or walk off with it, and that's a risk I'm just not willing to take.  I have giant inflatable Freddy and Jason decorations and I really don't even bother putting them out anymore.  It's a shame they make so much noise when plugged in, from a constantly pumping fan that keeps them inflatable, otherwise I'd just use them as indoor decorations.  But nope, there they sit, deflated and sad on my cricket ridden basement floor. Damn you, asshole kids.  Damn you all to hell.

How 'bout an inflatable firehouse or Ecto mobile next year, Morbid?!

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I'm a big fan of the life sized animated decorations but if I'm being honest, I never really have the money laying around to afford them.  Everyone from Regan to Myers, Freddy to Voorhees has been given the life size decoration treatment over the years, and due to my lack of funds, none of them currently reside in my household.  It's one of the great sadnesses of my life.   Someday, I will own them all, and baggy pants Nosferatu will most certainly be a part of my animated monster squad.  Just gotta keep playing that lotto...

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Though the mask is pretty lame, this is clearly a knockoff Silent Hill nurse costume.  You see this kind of stuff all the time around the Halloween season, where companies either don't want to pay for property rights or simply can't get a hold of them, so they just make costumes in the likenesses of movie villains that don't exactly make direct reference to the movie they're clearly cashing in on.  Thus, 'Hockey Masked Killer' and 'Burnt Christmas Sweater Dude' costumes creep onto the market, familiar enough to sell but obtuse enough to avoid legal troubles.  If you want to be a sexy Silent Hill nurse for Halloween, I'd recommend making your own costume, as Jen did last year.  Or at least, find a better mask than this one.

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Officially licensed Trick 'r Treat Halloween decorations ... now this is more like it!  I have such an obsession with Trick 'r Treat and its loveable little protector of Halloween that I pretty much cannot stop myself from buying absolutely anything Sam related, whether it's official merch or handmade swag.  Sam is one of the most marketable horror villains (if we can even call him that..) of all time, and I think it's so awesome that he's gonna be stocking the shelves of Halloween shops the world over.  The cool thing about this is that I can totally see people who don't even know what the hell Trick 'r Treat is embracing Sam, which makes me incredibly happy.  He's more than just a horror villain, he's a symbol of Halloween itself, which is why I love him so damn much.

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This looks to essentially be a Trick 'r Treat poster that lights up like a pumpkin with a candle shoved inside it.  Seems only fitting for such a movie.  Consider this one already bought by me too!  They've also got a lenticular Sam poster, which you can see in the online catalog.

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And finally, there's just something about these bottle cover monsters that I dig.  Really takes the whole decorating liquor bottles thing to a whole new level, far cooler than those lame 'Zombie Virus' and 'Liquid Poison' bottle stickers you normally see.  Granted, Morbid makes those too, but I must give them serious props (no pun intended) for coming up with the idea of pouring booze out of the mouth of a vicious killer animal beast.  Now that's my kinda party!

This is only the tip of the iceberg that is Morbid Enterprises' 2012 line, so head over to their website to browse the full catalog of twisted treats!

Awesome Art : Nathan Thomas Milliner's Monster Squad Comic Covers!

One of the most continually exciting artists in the horror game is Nathan Thomas Milliner, whose artwork you likely know from HorrorHound Magazine, even though you may not recognize his name.  And you will also likely soon find his art sitting on your DVD shelf, as he's the man who created the amazing cover arts for Scream Factory's upcoming Halloween 2 & 3 DVD & Blu-ray releases.  Atkins commentary FTW.
 
One of Milliner's latest creations is a set of four Monster Squad art prints, which will be available at his booth later this month at Kentucky's Fright Night Film Fest.  The prints, which envision a world where the film has been turned into a comic book series, will be 8"x10" and will be selling for a mere $5 a pop.

Check 'em out below!!

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You can see more of Nathan's art over at his official website, Rebel Rouser Art, as well as on his Facebook fan page, The Art Of Nathan Thomas Milliner.

If only Monster Squad truly did get the comic book treatment.  Sigh!

Trailer Trash : Flesh Eating Mothers (1988)

Dude, your mom's a man eater.  No, seriously man.  Enjoy this week's piece of Trailer Trash, 1988's Flesh Eating Mothers!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Halloween Costumes For 2012 : The Good, The Bad & The Weird!

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Want to hear something exciting?  We're just about four months away from Halloween.

Want to hear something even more exciting?  That means the costume and decoration manufacturers of the world are starting to unveil their 2012 product lines.  Which means, I get to start blogging about Halloween shit again.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

I spent a solid hour or so tonight drinking and perusing hundreds of new costumes for the year over at HalloweenCostumes.com, and I plucked out a few choice ones to share with you tonight, costumes that got my attention for one reason or another, be it because they're cool, shitty or just plain bizarre.

So let's take a look at some of this year's most interesting offerings!
 
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Walking Dead costumes started popping up last year, due to the enormous success of the AMC television show.   Rick Grimes in his deputy gear was the obvious choice, but this year we get this variation on the Grimes costume, depicting him as he looked in that one scene from that one episode where he covered himself in zombie blood and guts so that he would smell like an undead sack of shit and thus, not appear to be a filet mignon to the walkers.  Somewhat obscure, that much is true, but that was one hell of an awesome scene and I give props to whoever decided that people should attend Halloween costumes as Rick Grimes covered in zombie goop.  Just try not to shave your head like this guy did, or else you'll look more like Season 2 Shane dressed as Season 1 Rick, which is totally uncool on the geek scale.

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If hell freezes over, pigs sprout wings and Bill Murray finally decides to stop being a goddamn Scrooge and allow us the pleasure of a Ghostbusters 3, I promise to spend an entire day out in public with this thing strapped to my head.  I kinda want to anyway, so it's really a win-win for me.  I love the mid-life crisis melancholia shit, Bill, but please, for the love of all that is paranormal, do Ghostbusters 3 before one of you dies. Hate to be harsh, but time's a wastin'.
 
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Just another lame Voorhees kids costume, right?  At first glance, yes.  But take a closer look.  Do you see it?  Yes, the mask on this costume splits in two, ala Part 7, revealing Jason's hideous zombified face underneath.  Now that's pretty badass, a little touch I've never seen a Jason costume given before.  Sorry kids who slap generic plastic hockey masks onto your faces on Halloween night, but the game has just been stepped up.  Big time.
 
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Halloween costume?  I think not.  I see this for what it truly is.  And what it truly is, is a motherfucking Gizmo Snuggie.  And that is fucking awesome.   Something tells me this is gonna be keeping me warm this coming winter.  And by 'something' I mean the fact that I just pre-ordered one of these.  Hey, want to know how you know you've made cute asian chick wet?  Ah, never mind.

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Got nothing witty to say here, this is just plain cool.  They came out with the mask last year (which I gave away here on the blog), and I'm happy to see the costume now completed.  Though since mash-ups are in this year, I'm half tempted to toss away the outfit and just rock the mask with women's clothing.  Would you like some curry with that?

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I would've preferred a Stripe Snuggie instead, but there is admittedly something incredibly charming about the awfulness of this costume.  It's like Stripe grew up, got cancer and just wants to be loved.  And there's something totally endearing about those Doc Martens.  Precious.  Totally precious.

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Hey look kids, you can dress up as that shitty villain that was created by a guy who once upon a time made a name for himself by molesting the child star of one of his previous movies!  Complete with visible zipper up the back of the costume, just like in the movie!!

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Captain Lester, eh?  Is it just me or is this Captian Lester character a dead ringer for Big Ben from House?  I'm sure the likeness is purely coincidental, but that makes this mask pretty cool regardless.  Grab one of those Skeleton Zombie costumes, modify it a bit, and you've got yourself a pretty badass House costume.  Now all you need is William Katt to complete the look. And I'm sure for less than the cost of the whole costume you can get him to join you on Halloween night.  I kid, I kid.

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Gotta give this costume credit for versatility; one year you can be The Gimp from Pulp Fiction, the next you can be that scary rubber suit dude from American Horror Story, and all year round you can use it to live out your twisted sadomasochist fantasies.  The husband bulge this dude is sporting leads me to believe he's not wearing the costume because he's a Pulp Fiction or American Horror Story fan, I'll tell ya that much.  That bulge absolutely screams 'piss on me while I suck your high heel, master.'
 
And on that note, I think we've had enough Halloween fun for the night!