Sunday, December 30, 2012

Texas Chainsaw Massacre : In Memoriam

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With the latest installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre saga hitting theaters this coming Friday, I wanted to do something special to commemorate and honor Chainsaw films past.  Much like I did with the Friday The 13th franchise, when the remake was gearing up for release back in 2009, I've decided to pay tribute to the actors and actresses who helped bring the Chainsaw films to life, and who are sadly no longer with us.
 
So before we head out to the theater to see Leatherface rev up that chainsaw once more, let's talk a look back at all the familiar faces who are forever immortalized in the four films in the original Chainsaw franchise.  Without these men and women, no matter how small some of their roles, these movies would not be what they are today.
 
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PAUL ALAN PARTAIN - FRANKLIN HARDESTY, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

MAY 3RD, 1946 - JANUARY 27TH, 2005

Born in Austin, Texas, Paul Partain began acting at a very young age, a career which was put on hold when he was shipped off to Vietnam during the war, serving in the United States Navy.  When he returned to the states, Partain took a job working at an electronics manufacturing plant, but when he was laid off in 1972, he was able to devote more of his time to acting.  Around this time, Partain landed roles in Sidney Lumet's Lovin' Molly, Race With The Devil, and Rolling Thunder, the latter of which was his last film before he very briefly appeared many years later in Texas Chainsaw Massacre : The Next Generation, in a small cameo as a hospital orderly.  In that downtime from acting, Partain worked as the regional sales manager for Zenith Electronics.  Diagnosed with cancer in 2003, Partain lost his battle in 2005, at the age of 58.
 
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JOHN HENRY FAULK - 'STORYTELLER', TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

AUGUST 21ST, 1913 - APRIL 9TH, 1990

Though he doesn't have many acting roles to his credit, John Henry Faulk has left behind perhaps the biggest legacy of anyone else involved with Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  While a medic in World War 2, Faulk began a career in radio, which led to him hosting his own show, beginning after his discharge in 1946.  In 1955, Faulk became second vice president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and his success in radio led to him landing a few film and television roles.  In the late '50s, his radio career was ended after he was deemed a Communist, allegations that were false but nevertheless resulted in him being blacklisted from radio.  Faulk won a lawsuit against the blacklisting organization, and wrote a book about his experience called Fear On Trial, which was turned into an Emmy winning TV movie in 1975.  Faulk died of cancer in Austin, Texas, at the age of 76.  In 2005, Austin's Central Library was renamed the John Henry Faulk Public Library, in his honor.

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ROBERT COURTIN  - 'WINDOW WASHER', TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

JULY 22ND, 1948 - JULY 11TH, 1985

Unfortunately, not all that much is known about Robert Courtin, who played the window washing gas station attendant in the original Chainsaw.  According to his IMDb page, he was born in Minnesota, and worked at a camera rental firm in Los Angeles from 1979 up until his death in 1985.  If anyone out there knows anything more about Robert, I'd love to update this post, so please do drop me a message.

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JIM SIEDOW - DRAYTON SAWYER, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 1 & 2

JUNE 12TH, 1920 - NOVEMBER 20TH, 2003

The only actor to appear in both the first and second Chainsaw films, Jim Siedow was an accomplished stage director in Texas, and a veteran of World War 2, serving in the Army Air Corps.  Siedow created one of Houston's very first community theaters, and directed many plays, before embarking on a brief film career.  His last role was in a 1987 episode of the TV show Amazing Stories.  Siedow passed away due to complications from emphysema, at the age of 83.

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DENNIS HOPPER - LEFTY ENRIGHT, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

MAY 17TH, 1936 - MAY 29TH, 2010

The dual chainsaw weilding Lefty Enright is of course only one of the many memorable characters Dennis Hopper brought to life throughout his legendary 50 plus year career.  Still can't believe he's no longer with us, and he will forever be missed.  I think it's safe to say that everyone reading this is familiar with the man and his work, so I probably don't need to say any more than that.  A true Hollywood legend, forever more.

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LOU PERRYMAN - L.G. MCPETERS, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

AUGUST 15TH, 1941 - APRIL 1ST, 2009

In the early 1960's, while on leave from the US Army, Lou Perryman became involved in the film business, which soon thereafter led to him being the first assistant director on Tobe Hooper's very first film, 1969's Eggshells.  Interestingly enough, Perryman was also an assistant camera operator on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which resulted in him landing a role in Poltergeist and then the Chainsaw sequel, the latter of which he became most known for.  Perryman also had small roles in Blues Brothers (and performed on the soundtrack) as well as Boys Don't Cry, eventually retiring from acting in 2003.  In 2009, at the age of 67, Perryman was killed in his home in Austin, Texas, by a 26 year old man who had recently been released from prison for aggravated assault.  According to reports, the man attacked his mother's roommate and then walked to Perryman's home, killing him with an axe.  He pleaded guilty to the murder, and was sentenced to life in prison.

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JAMES NELSON HARRELL - CUT-RITE MANAGER, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

SEPTEMBER 3RD, 1918 - FEBRUARY 1ST, 2000

A few decades after serving in the United States Army, for four years during World War 2, James Harrell went on to rack up a pretty impressive resume as an actor, a career that spanned 30 years, and included big time films like Paper Moon, JFK and Varsity Blues.  James held a Master's Degree in Drama, and he taught acting for 24 years at the Southwest Texas State University, before retiring in 1994.  He passed away at the age of 81, after suffering a heart attack in San Marcos, Texas.

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HARLAN JORDAN - 'PATROLMAN', TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

JANUARY 1ST, 1939 - NOVEMBER 3RD, 2001

Harlan Jordan began his acting career in 1977, with a small role in the TV movie The Trial Of Lee Harvey Oswald, alongside aforementioned fellow TCM 2 alum James Harrell.  His career spanned the next 20 years, with appearances in films such as Square Dance, Talk Radio and Johnny Be Good, and the TV shows Dallas and Walker, Texas Ranger.  Jordan died of a heart attack in Terrell, Texas, at 62 years old.

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KEN EVERT - GRANDPA SAWYER, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

JULY 18TH, 1951 - APRIL 1ST, 2008

Ken Evert was the man behind the Grandpa makeup in the Chainsaw sequel, a role originally played by John Dugan.  Because of exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam, Evert suffered many health issues, and he lost his battle with cancer in 2008, at the age of 56.  Chainsaw 2 was Evert's only acting role, and he was hand selected for the job by Tom Savini, due to his thin face and sunken eyes.  I've heard that Evert was homeless for a while after the filming of the movie, but that he had more recently in life been introduced to the world of horror conventions, thanks to the kindness of a fan.

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MIRIAM BYRD-NETHERY - MAMA, LEATHERFACE : THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3

MAY 17TH, 1929 - JANUARY 6TH, 2003

Miriam Byrd-Nethery was the wife of Return of the Living Dead's Clu Gulager, from 1952 to the time of her death.  Together they had two sons, Tom and John, the latter of whom was the director of the Feast trilogy, as well as Piranha 3DD.  Her own career began in 1976, with a small one shot role on Starsky & Hutch, and she continued acting mostly throughout the '70s and '80s, appearing in Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie's Angels, and the film Stepfather 2.  1990's Chainsaw 3 was one of her last film roles, and she died at the age of 73, the result of a brain tumor.

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ROBERT JACKS - LEATHERFACE, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE : THE NEXT GENERATION

AUGUST 9TH, 1959 - AUGUST 8TH, 2001

Robert Nick Jacks was born in Monterey, California, and grew up in Germany and Texas.  While in Texas, Jacks became a fixture in Austin's music and theater scenes, writing and performing in a handful of plays.  In addition to portraying the cross dressing Leatherface in The Next Generation, he also produced a song for the film's soundtrack, titled Der Einziger Weg (The Only Way), a duet between himself and Blondie's Debbie Harry.  Just a day shy of his 42nd birthday, Jacks died of an abdominal aneurysm, the same thing that killed his father when he was a child.

MAY YOU ALL REST IN PEACE.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012 : Hot Toys Joker!

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Any self respecting toy geek is undoubtedly familiar with the name Hot Toys, the cream of the crop when it comes to high end pop culture based toys.  Hot Toys puts out the most deluxe and screen accurate toys on the market today, but they're also some of the most expensive (justifiably so), which is why I've never actually owned a single one.  That is, until now!
 
 My brother and his girlfriend bought me my very first Hot Toy for Christmas this year, in the form of The Joker, the 1989 Jack Nicholson movie version.  This is the first time I've actually held one of these toys in my hands, and my god, blown away doesn't even begin to describe it.  Hell, to even call this thing a toy doesn't feel right, because it's so much more than that.

The detail on this is absolutely phenomenal, to the point that the 1/6th scale toy looks dead on like a mini version of Jack Nicholson, so much so that it's actually fairly creepy to look at.  I can honestly say that I have never in my life seen a toy that is this detailed and exceptionally crafted, and again I am completely blown away by the way this thing looks in person.

There's simply no way pictures could ever do it justice, especially ones taken by me, but I just had a little photo shoot with Jack, which hopefully will somewhat convey how incredible this toy looks.  Hate to have to shrink these photos down to size to fit here on the blog, so click the link below each one to see the full size picture, in all its glory!
 
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In addition to all the little accessories and interchangeable hands (8 in total), the Hot Toys Joker includes a heavy duty base with a Batman logo on it, which lights up once you put batteries in it.  Inside the packaging is also a little disc with the comic book Joker's face on it.  When you shine a flashlight onto the disc, and turn off the lights, it projects the image into the sky, or onto a wall.  The whole package is completely stunning, and it's easy to see why these things cost so much money, now that I've actually seen one up close and personal.  You are certainly getting your money's worth when you buy from Hot Toys, that much I can assure you.

Oh and did I mention that when you pop off Joker's head, there's a little mechanism in there that allows you to move his eyeballs around, so they reflect the particular pose you want to put him in at any given moment?  It truly is like having a mini Jack on your shelf, which is both creepy and totally awesome.

Hopefully this is my first of many future Hot Toys!

Christmas 2012 : The Ken Sagoes Incident

Nobody quite does Christmas like my family does Christmas, which was perhaps never more evident than this year's gathering.  We all kinda go a little over the top and get each other way too much stuff, but that's just the way we've always done it.  If anyone deserves to be spoiled on Christmas, it's my family, so I really don't mind being in debt the first few months of every new year, in exchange for giving them one hell of a memorable day.  Can't put a price tag on that.
 
My family got me so much cool stuff this past Christmas, and I wanted to show some of it off here on the blog.  Rather than making one mega post, which seems far too daunting at the moment, I figured I'd split some choice gifts up into a few separate posts, so I can really focus on each individual gift.  So expect a handful of these posts throughout this weekend, and perhaps even into next.  Some other smaller stuff will be popping up on the Freddy In Space Facebook page, too.
 
This first gift needs a little backstory...
 
My brother Chris and I are huge fans of Dream Master, the Elm Street film that we both have the fondest childhood memories of.  We must've rented the VHS tape at least a dozen times from our local Blockbuster when we were kids, because I remember watching this one fairly frequently during my formative years.  Gee, I wonder why I ended up starting a horror blog, with Freddy's name in the title!
 
In more recent years, Chris and I have developed a serious infatuation with Ken Sagoes, who played the hilarious and charming Roland Kincaid in both Dream Warriors & Dream Master.  Our love of that character has become somewhat of a running joke over the years, and not a get together goes by where we don't bring him up at least a few times.  In particular, the thing we talk about most is the moment in Dream Warriors where Kincaid calls Freddy a "burnt faced pussy", which is probably the single greatest line, with the single greatest delivery, in horror history.
 
So this Christmas, as a very special gift for my brother, I decided to contact Ken Sagoes on Facebook, and see if I could get him to autograph a Dream Master poster for my brother, with the words "Merry Christmas, ya burnt faced pussy!" on it.  Ken was more than happy to oblige my request, and about a month ago I sent off a Dream Master poster for him, which I received back a few weeks later, signed exactly as I had requested it.  I was over the moon excited about the gift, and I knew my brother would feel the same way on Christmas morning.
 
Cut to Christmas Eve (aka the scariest damn night of the year)...

Since Chris' girlfriend, Jess, was going to be with her family on Christmas morning, we decided that we'd exchange gifts with her on Christmas Eve; Jen and I would give her the gifts we got for her, and they'd give us a few things that they got for the both of us.

There was one gift under the tree that my brother was going to give me on Christmas morning, but decided to let me crack open on Christmas Eve.  I ripped apart the wrapping paper, and I couldn't believe what was lying underneath it ...

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Yep, a personalized autograph from Ken Sagoes, wishing me a Merry Christmas, and calling me a 'beard faced pussy', a fitting twist on our favorite line from Dream Warriors

At first, my mind could not even process what I was seeing, and I was fairly certain that a practical joke was being played on me.  I wondered if Jen had for some reason told my brother about the gift I got him, so they decided to trick me by pretending he got the same gift for me.  I just couldn't believe that we had both contacted Ken, around the same time, and requested the same thing from him.  Truth of the matter was, that's exactly what happened, and Jen knew about both of the gifts, but couldn't tell either of us that we were both doing the same thing for one another!

On Christmas morning, the first gift I handed my brother was the poster I had Ken sign for him, and he opened it up and had the same feeling that he was being pranked.  As you can imagine, we had one hell of a laugh over all this.

I can't help but wonder what was going through Ken's mind, when I messaged him asking him to call my brother a burnt faced pussy, and my brother messaged him, asking him to call me a beard faced pussy.  He must think that there's something highly wrong with us, and I'm thinking he might be right in thinking that.  Gonna have to drop him a message, and get some insight as to what was going through his head, when he received both of these requests!

Ken was such an awesome dude about all this and I just want to give a shout out to his charity the Giving Back Corporation, for his troubles.  Ken never asked for any money from either of us for the autographs, as he told both of us that he'd prefer we donate to the charity, which is focused on education for children.  Shows how much of an awesome dude he is, and we of course both did donate to the charity, and show our support.  So thank you, Ken.

Needless to say, Ken Sagoes/Roland Kincaid has become even more legendary amongst my brother and I!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Fun Fact : 12/28/12

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Remember this jacked up cadaver from Re-Animator, who Herbert West brings back to life and then dispatches with a bone saw?  Credited as 'Melvin the re-animated', the role was played by Peter Kent, who since the mid '80s has been Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double.  He doubled for Arnold beginning with Terminator, and continued to do so straight through 1996's Jingle All The Way.  So whenever you saw Arnie doing badass stunts in films like Commando, Predator, and Total Recall, that was the work of the muscular corpse from Re-Animator!

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In 2009, Kent was inducted into the Hollywood Stuntmen Hall of Fame, though these days he is focusing more on acting than stunt work, after a near fatal accident on the set of Eraser made him rethink his career choice.  He has recently appeared in small roles on shows like Alcatraz, Psych and Smallville, and runs a stunt school in Canada called Peter Kent's School of Hard Knocks.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Open Up The Freddy In Space Christmas 2012 Animated Greeting Card!!

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About a week ago, I was sitting on the computer, minding my own business, when an idea popped into my head.  The idea was for a Christmas themed animated short film, and I pretty much saw the whole thing play out in my head, right then and there.  I thought to myself that it'd be a pretty awesome little thing to whip up and post here on Freddy In Space on Christmas, as a special holiday treat, but knowing absolutely nothing about animation, I figured it'd be one of those ideas that stays within the confines of my brain.  There are a lot of them in there, and most of them don't know how to get out.
 
But since I was so in love with this little idea, I decided to try and get it out there.  After having the thought, I made a post on the Freddy In Space Facebook page, asking if anyone out there had any 2D animation skills.  Not expecting any replies, I was quite delighted when I got a comment from a reader by the name of Elliot McHugh, who I've chatted with in the past.  Elliot asked me to send him my idea, and after a few quick Facebook exchanges back and forth, the ball actually began rolling on making this thing a reality.
 
Just over a week later, here we are, and Elliot has completely finished the animated short, dedicating hours of his own time over the course of the past week ensuring that it was done by today.  For that, I could not possibly ever thank him enough.  Elliot has kept me in the loop this past week, texting me progress pictures nearly every day, and I've been excitedly looking forward to being able to share this with you.  I always was more into giving, than receiving!
 
So click play to enjoy this very special Christmas 2012 animated short from Elliot McHugh and yours truly.  And may you and yours have the merriest of Christmases, or whatever it is that you celebrate!!

**Be sure to watch in 1080p, for optimum quality!**


 
Check out Elliot's blog, Awkward Posture, to see more of his art.  And if you like what you see here, then you'll be happy to know that this isn't the last of my animated collaborations with Elliot.  I see endless potential for awesomeness here, and I hope I speak for both Elliot and myself when I say that the next Freddy In Space animated short can't come soon enough!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NES DREAM GAMES : SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT

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When artist Frank Browning and I launched our NES Dream Games feature here on Freddy In Space last month, I just knew that we simply had to give Silent Night, Deadly Night the Dream Games treatment, before Christmas came and went.  If there's any movie that I wish was turned into a video game back in the day, it's probably Silent Night, and Frank was able to make that happen for me.  And for you.

So let's pop this cartridge into our Nintendo system, and start punishing the naughty ... 8-bit style!!

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Hmm ... why isn't the start screen coming up?  Let me try blowing on the cartridge.  That always worked, when I was a kid...

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Ah, there we go.  Never fails!

Now, we select a mode.  According to the instruction booklet, the so called 'Normal Mode' is where you get to play as a cop, on the hunt for Billy, while in 'Punish Mode' you get to play as Billy, and punish the naughty.  Punish Mode sounds a whole lot more fun to me, but for the sake of showing off the game in all its glory, let's check out Normal Mode first.

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Well crap, this isn't going to be as easy as I thought it was gonna be.  With so many people dressed up as Santa Claus, I've found myself in quite in dilemma.  My gun is loaded, my 'stache is dy-no-mite, but which goddamn Santa do I shoot?!  I don't want to kill an innocent dude!

Hm.  I don't know, that Santa on the top left looks pretty devious.  Almost like he's about to jump on top of me, and punish me to death.  I can't let that happen.  So here goes nothing.

Ready ... aim .... fire!!

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Oh.  Balls.  Sorry, innocent Santa!

That's enough of that.  Let's get to the good stuff ... it's time for PUNISH MODE!!!

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See now this is more my style.  Going around town, dispatching the naughty with my trusty axe ... life is good.  If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna enjoy chopping folks up and hanging them on antlers, so I'll be back in a little bit!

**ONE HOUR LATER**

Alright, I'm back.  And guess what?  In just about an hour of game play, I've made it all the way to the final level, and it's time for the final boss battle of the game.  Are you ready for an epic showdown between Billy and Mother Superior, in front of Ira's Toys!?  Wish me luck!

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 BOOM!  Bitch went down!  One well placed shot with the axe and Mother Superior is no more.  She shot me, this is true, but have no fear.  My health meter is plenty full enough that it didn't do too much damage.  As for her, well, it looks like she's on empty.  Guess it was Billy who was superior on this night, huh bitch!?

Well that was fun.  Big time thanks to Frank Browning for making the magic that just happened possible.  Something tells me Santa is gonna be good to Frank this year.  He damn sure deserves it!!

Vintage Video Of The Week : Entertainment Tonight Talks Silent Night, Deadly Night!

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When Silent Night, Deadly Night was initially released in theaters, in 1984, the film was famously condemned by both parents and film critics alike.  Parents picketed theaters showing the film and Siskel & Ebert ripped it apart on their television program, going so far as to say that all involved should be ashamed of themselves, for making a movie about a killer Santa Claus.  Of course, SNDN wasn't the first movie about a killer Santa, and all the negative publicity only served to forever solidify it as a genre classic.  So shame on you, Siskel & Ebert.  And thank you.
 
Though Silent Night, Deadly Night was pulled from theaters amidst all this controversy, it was re-released in May of 1985, by a different distributor.  On the second go around, the advertising campaign removed the killer Santa imagery, and played up the controversy that plagued the film a year prior.  On the heels of this re-release, Entertainment Tonight ran a news story about the film, and the controversy surrounding it.
 
That news story is what we're here to watch tonight, in this special holiday edition of Vintage Video Of The Week.  This little gem contains the only footage I've ever seen of the picketing that went on at theaters playing the movie, which quite frankly warms the cockles of my heart.
 
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!


 
I also managed to dig up a vintage news story from People Magazine, which was originally published in December of 1984.  As a special added little bonus, you'll find that below.  It's got in it some great quotes from parents who were outraged at the time of Silent Night's release, and even has a comment from Robert Brian Wilson (Billy), which is the only account of anything he has said about the movie that I have ever been able to find.  So this right here is a true vintage treasure!
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It is Christmas Eve. A small boy watches a madman dressed as Santa Claus shoot his father between the eyes, then slice his mother's throat with a switchblade. And that's just the beginning of Silent Night, Deadly Night, a grisly horror flick, made all the more grotesque by the psychopathic killer's pose as Santa. Currently playing in almost 400 theaters in the East and Midwest, the movie has touched off a tempest, with furious parents rallying to boycott it.

As the screen scenario unfolds, the abandoned child is being raised in a grim Catholic orphanage by a frosty Mother Superior, until at age 18 he snaps when asked to play Santa on Christmas Eve. After dark, with ax in hand, he gets started on his chopping list. The eight victims of Santa's slay ride do not meet mundane deaths: One is strangled with a cord of blinking Christmas lights, another is impaled on a pair of reindeer antlers.

Known in Hollywood's trade talk as a splatter movie, Silent Night recouped its low production cost ($1 million) within days. Yet it might have vanished after its scheduled two-week run were it not for a sensationalist TV ad campaign depicting the crazed Santa swinging his bloodstained ax. That outraged parents like Denise Giordano, 31, of the Bronx, N.Y. "I have a very impressionable 3-year-old child," she says. "On Christmas he expects Santa to come down the chimney with gifts. In this ad a man in a Santa suit comes with an ax. I can't imagine a child seeing that and not being frightened." Giordano and her cousin, Judy Fiametta, 37, called upon various civic leaders, PTA members and parish priests to join their crusade to stop the film from being shown. The two women (whose husbands are partners in a funeral home) dispatched petitions, enlisted enough volunteers to collect 700 signatures and fashioned 30 placards. "We had some great slogans," says Giordano, "like Deck the Halls with Holly, Not Bodies!" Some 100 carol-singing protesters picketed a Bronx theater that was hosting Silent Night, and six days after the movie opened, it closed.

The dark vision of a mad, bad Santa was filmed for Tri-Star Pictures by Ira Barmak, 48, a physician-turned-actor-turned-producer. "I'm not a horror buff. I've never made a horror film and I probably never will again," says Barmak, who won an Emmy for a daytime TV special, The Girl Who Couldn't Lose, which he produced in 1975. Ironically, Silent Night, which was shot in Utah, was directed by Charles Sellier Jr., whose credits include such quality family fare as Grizzly Adams, Chariots of the Gods and Mark Twain's America, which he produced. "We're not sleazy, cigar-chewing profiteers," says Barmak, who sympathizes with parents distressed by the ads that ran in the early evening. "Those promos were made to run late. It was a mistake to air them sooner," he says. "I wanted the movie advertised on rock radio and on MTV." The ads ran for one week and were canceled before the movie's opening. "I am sorry people are upset," he says.

Barmak is not, however, apologizing for making the bloodbath movie. "People have taken offense at Santa being used in a scary context," he argues. "Santa Claus is not a religious figure, he's a mythic character. I didn't deliberately ride roughshod over that sensitivity and I didn't anticipate the objection to it."

More offensive, says Barmak, are general-audience films that he believes are meant to be taken seriously. "The Omen shocked me profoundly," he says. "I was horrified by the violence in A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining scared the living hoo-hoo out of me."

Barmak bought the Silent Night, Deadly Night screenplay after one reading. "The premise, God forgive me, struck me as funny," he says. "I thought it could really work with the right balance of humor and fright. Our target audience is teenagers over 17 and young adults who go to these pictures like they go on roller coasters. They aren't looking for a believable story; they go to be startled, to yell back at the screen."

Although the movie drew an R rating, meaning that children under 17 are not admitted without parental supervision, the angry parents consider that inadequate protection. "You can't stop older children from talking about it," says Denise Giordano, "and what's to stop some unstable person from imitating the movie?"

Those concerns sparked other protests in Brooklyn, Chicago and Milwaukee, where two nuns appeared outside a theater in Santa and Mrs. Santa Claus costumes, announcing that they had come from the North Pole to protest the film. "Horrified" by the television promos, local housewives Karen Knowles, 23, and Kathy Eberhardt, 32, started a kitchen campaign that made the network news. "I want people to stop making movies of this sort," says Knowles. "The world has enough graphic violence. Little children trust Santa Claus."

Even Robert Brian Wilson, 23, who made his screen debut as the maniacal Santa, has some qualms. "I don't feel I have to justify my playing the part," he says. "It was an opportunity to work, but," he adds, "I depersonalized the character to the max." Wilson was surprised by the final product. "They pushed the story out the door and replaced it with gore," he observes. "I told friends and family with kids not to go see it."

Despite all the furor, Tri-Star plans to continue releasing the film as scheduled. Though the movie is no longer playing at her local theater, Denise Giordano is still upset: "It made me so mad. This kind of thing robs children of their innocence. Nothing is sacred anymore." 

Two Last Minute Additions To The 2012 Stocking!

To say I've been approving a lot of comments this weekend would be a massive understatement.  In just a couple days, the 2012 Christmas stocking has pulled in over 120 entries, making it the most successful giveaway I've ever posted here on the blog.  To show my appreciation for your support, here are two last minute additions to the stocking!

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This first one was actually supposed to be included in the stocking from the get go, but I somehow totally forgot to insert it into the post.  With so much stuff in there, I was bound to forget something!

This awesome Bride of Frankenberry print was donated by artist Krystal Fancey Beck, who runs the art company The Zombified.  It measures 8.5"x14", and imagines a world where a bride was created for cereal monster Frankenberry.  Krystal showed me this piece while it was still in progress and I absolutely fell in love with it.  She surprised me earlier in the week by dropping two of the prints into my PO Box; one for the stocking, and one for my wall ... which is exactly where mine now proudly hangs.  If there's one thing I can't get enough of, it's cereal monsters fan art, especially when artists create entirely new characters.

Can't help but wonder why the hell General Mills never gave Frankenberry a bride!
 
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And then we've got this snazzy Leslie Vernon action figure, which was made by and donated by Neil DeConte of DeConte Figures & Collectibles.  I've blogged about this figure in the past, and how much I love it, so I was absolutely delighted when Neil messaged me the day after I posted the stocking giveaway, and told me he wanted in on it.  I own one of these and it's definitely one of my favorite things that's been put out in this past year.  I mean come on ... a Leslie Vernon action figure ... who would've ever thought we'd get to play with one of those?!
 
Be sure to follow DeConte Figures & Collectibles on Facebook to keep up to date with all their awesome new projects.  They've currently got a Kane Hodder toy in the works, which you can see pictures of over there!

Thank you Krystal and Neil for the last minute donations!  And if anyone has yet to enter the giveaway, you've still got through Christmas Eve to do so, so head over to the giveaway post and get your comment in!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday Fun Fact : 12/21/12

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Hey, wait a second ... it's Saturday.  Yea yea, I know.  It's the most stressful time of the year, and I'm running around like a madman trying to make sure everything goes smoothly come Christmas morning.  So you'll have to excuse me!
 
On to the Fun Fact for the week...
 
Did you know that the original plan for Return of the Living Dead was far different than the finished product we ended up getting?  The movie started its life as a novel, written by Night of the Living Dead co-writer John Russo, which served as a direct sequel to Night.  Tobe Hooper was attached to direct the film, and the plan was for it to be in 3-D, which was pretty popular at the time.
 
Around the same time the late Dan O'Bannon was brought in to touch up the script, Hooper left the project to make Lifeforce, and O'Bannon was offered the chance to both re-write and direct the film.  O'Bannon's script was completely different than Russo's, and removed all correlation between it and Night of the Living Dead.  It also replaced the serious tone of the novel with a more campy and comical one.

And thus, we ended up with the film that we all know and love.  Thank god for that, am I right?!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The 2012 Freddy In Space Christmas Stocking Has Been Stuffed ... Win It Now!!

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Last year began an annual tradition here on Freddy In Space, where I jam pack a Christmas stocking with all sorts of awesome little goodies, and give it away to one of you lucky readers.  The tradition continues this year, and tonight's the night!
 
Happy to say that this year, the stocking has gotten a pretty serious upgrade, courtesy of some very generous folks.  While last year the stocking was filled entirely with stuff I had lying around the house, this year I received many donations from readers, who either had cool stuff lying around their own houses that they sent my way, or who run horror themed businesses, and were awesome enough to donate some of their handmade wares to the cause.  
 
So I of course must give a huge blanket thank you to all who went out of their way to contribute to this year's stocking giveaway.  Without you guys and gals, this thing wouldn't be nearly as jam packed with awesome as it is.  And let me tell you, it's so jam packed that over 50% of the contents don't even fit inside the damn thing ... now that's how you fill a stocking proper!

So then, would you like to take a look at everything that's stuffed inside, and outside, of the second annual Freddy In Space Christmas stocking?  Well of course you would, so let's take a peek!!

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This pillow was handmade and donated by my friend Jennifer Hall, who runs the company Freaky Deekys.  She had previously made a larger size Sam pillow (which I proudly own!), and this is the mini version of that one.  Aint he cute?!

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We've got not one but two masks here in the 2012 stocking.  The Maniac Cop one was hand drawn and handmade by artist Patrick Carson Sparrow, while the Leslie Vernon mask was custom made by yours truly, from a cheapo plastic Halloween mask I found at K-Mart.  Can you tell why I'm a writer, and Pat's an artist?

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Hey, look!  It's the Army of Darkness and Hellraiser holiday specials!  Just bought these comics on eBay last week, so that I could talk about them on the blog.  Now that I've done that, I'm happy to pass them along and toss them into the stocking!

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Now this is something really special.  Artist Bob Burke specializes in glow in the dark paintings, and he whipped up this Silent Night, Deadly Night inspired one exclusively for this giveaway.  The artwork is painted onto an 8"x10" canvas, and the whole thing actually glows in the dark!  How cool is that?!  Check out Bob's Facebook page (linked to above!) to see more of his glow art!

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The folks who publish the 'zine Exploitation Retrospect sent me issue #51 to toss into the stocking, which includes a retrospective on the career of Barbara Steele, as well as a look at Ozploitation films.  Believe it or not, Exploitation Retrospect has been running since 1986, the year of my birth!!

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Next up we've got Happy Helladays on DVD, the holiday horror classic from 1987.  Okay, so it's really a new movie that was made to look like it's from the '80s, but that doesn't make it any less awesome.  Released by Warlock Home Video, Happy Helladays is about a killer Santa stalking the sexy young ladies of a sorority house.  The blood flows like eggnog in this tribute to shot on video slashers!

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S.L.U.G Zombies are one of my favorite new toys of the year, and I picked up a pack to include in the stocking.  Yep, that is indeed a zombified Hulk Hogan knockoff on the left there.  See why I love these things!?

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These were sent to me by David Bruno, who worked on the X-Box Live Madballs arcade game.  American Greetings sent over a bunch of Madballs to David to help promote the game, and he was awesome enough to send some my way for the stocking.  Did I ever mention that I have the coolest readers on the internet?  Because I damn sure do!

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Nathan Hamilton, who runs the horror blog Son of Celluloid, donated this promotional Holliston hat. I reluctantly included it in the stocking, because I want it for myself!

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Here we have a Return of the Living Dead can koozy, courtesy of online horror shop Goblinhaus.  If you dig it, head over there to see some others they've got for sale.  They've also got all sorts of other little goodies, from DVDs to action figures!

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Autumn Hawley sent me a couple of these handmade notebooks earlier in the year, and when she heard that I was doing another stocking giveaway, she didn't hesitate to contribute.  Autumn makes these by using old VHS boxes, which pretty much makes them the coolest notebooks you'll ever have the pleasure of writing in.

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Speaking of VHS tapes, Jason West of Vultra Video sent over one of Vultra's limited edition VHS re-release tapes of 1997's Necro Files, which is numbered 34/50.  Also included, but not pictured, is a Necro Files poster.  Let's hear it for colored VHS tapes!!

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These two books are donations from my personal collection.  The Return Man was an advanced reader copy I was sent earlier this year, which I proceeded to never read, and Shock Value I quite enjoyed and reviewed last Summer.
 
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This is artist Cody Schibi's holiday 2012 print, which is signed, numbered, and limited to 25 pieces.  Cody's selling them in his online shop for 16 bucks a pop, and he's been kind enough to send one over for the stocking, free of charge.  The print measures 17"x11", and is called 'Monstress With a Flower'.  Love it!

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These two goodies are the work of artist Robert "Nix" Nixon, whose art you can see over on his Facebook fan page.  The buttons are a limited edition Halloween release, just in case you didn't already think they were cool enough!

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Remember those awesome vintage style Halloween costumes Frank Browning and I whipped up back in October?  Well this is the first series of those, made into magnets.  Devin Connors is the man responsible for magnetizing Frank's art.  Got a set of these stuck to my fridge, and I smile whenever I look at 'em!
 
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Speaking of October.  This is the Freddy In Space exclusive Halloween 3 art print Patrick Carson Sparrow whipped up back in October, which was sold in the Facebook shop.  A couple of the 10 that I printed up did not sell, and I've decided to be generous and include one in the stocking.  We're talking a $30 value here, so don't mind if I pat myself on the back for my generosity!

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This Hostel action figure was also in last year's stocking giveaway, and the reason for that is because I bought a whole case of them for super cheap many years back, and still have a bunch sitting in my closet.  Would rather hand them out to people who will appreciate them, than have them collect dust in my room!
 
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 This New Blood poster comes courtesy of Quiltface Studios' Chris Garofalo, an awesome dude who sent one along to help sweeten the pot.  This 18"x24" 'Stagnant Decay Edition' is limited to only 40 prints, and comes signed and numbered by Chris.  Because he's super cool like that.

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How about a mini box of Cereal Killers trading cards, with an assortment of cards and an eyeball gumball inside?!  Love these things!

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Jen picked me up one of these Bat Boy books for Christmas a couple years back, and when I saw another one on clearance for a couple bucks at Borders, I snatched it up to give away.  And then it proceeded to sit in my closet for over a year.  So how about we give it away now?!

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This is but a small piece of a giant print that was sent to me by Roger Barr, who runs one of my favorite sites, I-Mockery.  The 8-bit art was whipped up for Gallery 1988's 'Crazy 4 Cult' show, and was subsequently sold on I-Mockery, as a Halloween special.  To see the highly impressive complete piece, which is pretty damn epic, CLICK HERE!  How many movies can you name?!
 
*If you're worried about any of the art being stuffed into the stocking and damaged, have no fear.  The posters will all be shipped to you separately, protected in a poster tube!*

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And last but most certainly not least is a very special piece of art, hand drawn by yours truly.  If that image looks familiar to you, it's because it's a replica of the drawing young Billy drew in Silent Night, Deadly Night, before he grew up and became a killer Santa Claus.  You won't often find me being artistic, but since my art skills are pretty much akin to that of an 8 year old's, I figured I'd be able to pull such a drawing off.  And if I do say so myself, it came out pretty damn good.  This piece is numbered 1 of 1, and is hand signed by Billy himself.  And when I say Billy, I of course mean me ... channeling my inner 8 year old.  Only for you guys!!
 
Just like last year, getting in on this one is incredibly simple and won't take you more than a couple minutes.  All you've gotta do is leave me a comment below, and tell me which Freddy In Space blog post from this past year was your favorite.  Also be sure to include your e-mail address, so I can contact you if you win.  Oh and I don't discriminate, so feel free to enter even if you don't celebrate Christmas!

The deadline for entries is at the end of the night on Christmas Eve, so be sure to get your comments in by then.  The winner will be announced on Christmas day, over on the Freddy In Space Facebook page!

Good luck to all, Merry Christmas to all, and again thank you to all who helped overflow this year's stocking with goodies!!  
 
I'm thinking next year ....

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