Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Release Review : The ABCs Of Death

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One of the most anticipated horror films of 2013, The ABCs of Death, hit On Demand services today, before its limited theatrical release come March.  A collaboration between artists from all around the world, ABCs is an anthology of a whopping 26 short films, each based on one of the letters of the alphabet.  26 different filmmakers were each given a letter, and their goal was to come up with a word starting with that letter, and make a short film based on that word, dealing with the overall topic of the big D; DEATH.  Each filmmaker was given $5,000 and full creative freedom to do whatever the hell they wanted, as long as they depicted death in some way, shape or form.
 
Pretty cool idea for an anthology?  That's for damn sure!
 
But a cool concept doesn't always make for a good film, as last year's anthology V/H/S proved (oooh, low blow!).  Does ABCs live up to the awesomeness of its concept?  I plopped down my hard earned $9.99 on VUDU tonight, to find out!

ABCs of Death runs just about two hours long, and the shorts are presented in alphabetical order, each one somewhere in the ballpark of around three minutes a piece, with the names of the directors and titles of each short being shown at the end of each one.  This way, you get to play a fun little guessing game, to try and figure out what word is gonna come up at the end.

As you'd probably expect, the 26 short films range from good to bad, ugly to downright way too fucking weird for words.  Though I never in my wildest dreams expected every single short film included in here to be of a high quality, my main hope for ABCs was that the good would outweigh the bad.

So does it?  Or is the other way around?

Well, I separated a sheet of paper into two columns, Good and Bad, and I kept a running tally as I was watching the film; the ones I enjoyed, on any level, went in the Good column, while the ones that didn't do anything for me were relegated to the Bad column.

The results?
 
11 slashes in the Good column, 15 slashes in the Bad column.
 
(And if I'm being honest, looking back, I was a bit generous with at least a few of those slash marks)
 
The fact of the matter is that more than half of ABCs of Death just isn't very good.  And though there are a few standouts, and a few others that can at least be appreciated for either their creativity or downright weirdness and/or depravity, the bad shorts outweigh the good ones in this anthology, which is pretty much the worst quality any given anthology could possibly possess.  But even though they are out numbered, ABCs is not without its worthwhile installments.
 
Now I'm not gonna sit here and review all 26 short films, nor do I care to sit here and bash all the ones I didn't like.  Rather, I figured I'd focus on my favorites of the bunch.  Yea, let's go with that.

My hands down favorite of them all was XXL, directed by Xavier Gens.  Gens won me over a few years back with Frontier(s), a brutal French film that I quite enjoyed.  XXL is about a fat chick that's constantly teased about her weight, and bombarded at every turn with images of beautiful looking, thin women.  So she decides to take matters into her own hands, and perform her own highly crude form of liposuction on herself.  XXL is both the grossest of all the shorts in the anthology and, in my opinion, the best.  Now that's a solid short film, with a nice tight beginning, middle and end.
 
My second favorite was Libido, directed by Timo Tjahjanto, a filmmaker that I am not at all familiar with.  Libido is without question the most disturbing short in here, about a sick twisted game of torture where two men are strapped down to a chair, and forced to masturbate to increasingly twisted images, playing out live in front of them.  Whoever gets off first moves to the next round, and the other person gets a spike driven through their ass and out their mouth, Cannibal Holocaust style.  Libido traverses into some insanely dark territory, and is very uncomfortable to watch, in the most intended of ways.
 
Coming in at a close third is Marcel Sarmiento's Dogfight.  Sarmiento co-directed a recent horror film that I'm a big fan of, Deadgirl, and Dogfight is another win for him.  An insanely stylish criticism of dog fighting, Dogfight pits a man and a dog against one another, in a Fight Club style battle to the death.  Completely devoid of dialogue, and driven by music and incredible visuals, Dogfight is the segment that will likely stick with me as time goes on, more than any other one in here.  And goddamn, is the dog in it one damn fine actor!
 
Those are really the main three that stick out to me, but I also enjoyed the entries for the letters P, Q, S & T.  Simon Rumley's Pressure shows the dark depths a mother will go to provide for her children, while Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett's Quack takes a more humorous route.  Wingard and Barrett play themselves in their meta installment, as they try and figure out what the hell to do with the letter Q.  The results are pretty humorous, and much more enjoyable and clever than a similarly meta installment that comes later on, with the letter W.
 
Jake West's Speed is a pretty interesting depiction of drug abuse, with probably the most stylish overall depiction of death in all the shorts.  As for T, which in this case stands for Toilet, that one was directed by Lee Hardcastle, who was brought on board after winning a contest, designed to find a 26th director.  Toilet is a super gory claymation short, about a killer toilet, and it's definitely one of the most entertaining of the pack.  So job well done on that, Mr. Hardcastle!

Also gotta give shout outs to Thomas Malling's Hydro-Electric Diffusion, Srdjan Spasojevic's Removed, Jason Eisener's Young Buck, and Yoshihiro Nishimura's Zetsumetsu, all for being so fucking off the wall crazy, that they're actually enjoyable to watch.  I'm really not sure what was happening in any of them, and I wouldn't exactly consider them all 'good', but there's just something about Nazi fox women, dudes with skin made out of film cells, little kids wearing severed deer heads and girls with giant dicks that have swords in their urethrae that just kinda works for me.  Call me crazy!

The most downright disappointing of them all was Ti West's Miscarriage, which is pretty surprising given West is probably the most well known and respected filmmaker whose work is on display here.  Miscarriage is the shortest short of the bunch, and it's also the laziest, which I'd have to say makes it my least favorite segment.  While everyone else at least put forth some effort, it seems like West just didn't even give a shit, and took the easiest way out that he could've possibly taken.  Shame, because I typically love the stuff he does.

Also shame on Adrian Garcia Bogliano for making a short called Bigfoot, that had nothing to do with Bigfoot.  Should've just called it Betrayed, because that's damn sure how I felt!

So yea.  Any of the shorts that I didn't mention just really did nothing for me, either good or bad, so that about covers my overall thoughts on everything in there.  I will say that Kaare Andrews' Vagitus is the best candidate for a feature length expansion, and Nacho Vigalondo's Apocalypse has some quality gore, if that counts for anything.  Mhmm.

Though there are more bad short films in ABCs of Death than there are good ones, I certainly can't call the film a total failure, given a few of the filmmakers really did a hell of a good job on their shorts.  If nothing else, ABCs is at least completely original and totally unique, two factors that probably make it worth the price of admission alone.  Given there's so much going on in it, and so many different styles on display, there's sure to be a little something for everyone.

Do I recommend you check it out?  Yea, sure, why not.  It's nothing incredibly special, but it's worth a watch, and I can almost guarantee you'll come out of the whole experience happy that you at least saw a few of the short films on display here.  It's kinda like attending a short film festival, really.  You're gonna love some, you're gonna hate some.  You're gonna enjoy some, you're not gonna care for others.  Just gotta sit through the boring ones, to get to the good ones!

Rest In Peace, Michael

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One of the best things that has come out of me starting this blog is the fact that I've met so many awesome people through it, some who I've only spoken to online, and others who have become real friends of mine, outside of the confines of the keyboard and computer screen.  I've found myself with a massive network of friends, who love the same things I love, and for that I am incredibly thankful.

Unfortunately, I found out the sad news that one of those friends recently passed away.  As a tribute to one of my fallen horror buddies, I just wanted to tell a little story about him, since I do in fact have a nice little story to tell.
 
As most of you probably know, Jamie Lee Curtis made her very first horror convention appearance this past November, at Indiana's HorrorHound Weekend.  Pretty much every horror fan in the country immediately began scrambling to buy tickets after hearing the news, not only because it was her first show, but also because she announced that it would in fact be her only convention appearance, ever.  It was a once in a lifetime event, that instantly rose to the top of the collective horror fan bucket list.

The night before the convention, I got a message from a reader named Matt Crozier, who made me an incredibly generous offer.  He bought a $300 VIP pass to meet Jamie Lee at the show (which also included a weekend pass), but found himself unable to actually attend the convention, a result of some personal issues.  So Matt offered to give away the VIP pass on Freddy In Space, in the event that any of my readers were attending the show, and were not able to snag the pass required to meet Jamie Lee, which as you can imagine sold out pretty damn fast.
 
So I made a little post on the Freddy In Space Facebook page about all this, asking if any of my readers were in fact attending HorrorHound, and were interested in the pass.  I ended up getting a reply from a reader named Michael, who told me that he was going to HorrorHound, and really wanted to meet Jamie Lee, but was unable to afford the special ticket upgrade needed to meet her.  Bingo.  I had found my guy.
 
And so, I put Matt in contact with Michael, and a few days later, received a message from Michael, thanking me and telling me about his encounter with Jamie Lee Curtis, which I couldn't have been happier about playing some small part in bringing about.

Tonight, I wanted to share that message with you guys, which Michael gave me the go ahead to post about way back in November, though I just never got around to doing so.  Since the message was very personal, Michael asked me to not mention his last name in the post, and it seems only right to honor that wish.

Here's the message that Michael sent to myself and Matt, shortly after getting home from HorrorHound...
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Hey, guys. Sorry it took me a week to get back to you, but as you can guess it's been a busy one. I really wanted the chance to sit down and accurately paint a picture of what you guys did for me. I'll warn you now this may drift into too-much-information territory at times, but the devil is in the details. 

SO, I heard about Jamie Lee Curtis coming to town when it was first announced months ago (Thanks Freddy In Space!). I was stoked that such a badass was coming to lowly Indianapolis and would be about a mile away, no less. I always knew that when I got my first tattoo it would have to be something really special. This was it.

Of course, between then and now, life happened. Long story short, I drink too much and people have been telling me to check myself into some kind of center for YEARS. This thing has taken me to some BAD places, far more frightening than some old horror flick. It got worse and worse and halfway through October I signed myself up for a nice little 12-step vacation. I went voluntarily and ponied up the cash myself. Let me tell you, this fucker was not cheap. Those 4 weeks weren't exactly fun, but they weren't as bad as I dreaded. 

I got out and returned to real life on November 14th. My mom asked me if I was going to the convention to meet Jamie Lee Curtis and I dejectedly just said "OH, I don't know". Not only was I unsure about doing damage to my already-bruised bank account, but let's face it, these conventions are fantastic places to get loaded. I had already missed Halloween, the best holiday ever, this year, and had pretty much resigned myself to put it all behind me and hope for the best for next year. 

SO, the day after I got out. I saw the post on Facebook, answered it, and heard back from John that night. This was way too good to be true.

I've long been a fan of Mrs. Curtis. A Fish Called Wanda was one of my favorite movies growing up. Halloween, of course, creeps me out every single time and remains not only one of my favorite horror films but one of my favorite films of all time. Hell, I even bought the action figure of her in Virus even though I've never seen that movie. It may seem corny but my respect for her is magnified by the fact that she is an outspoken sober person. I would never 'out' somebody for this, but I think if she can go on The View and tell Barbara Walters that getting sober was the greatest accomplishment of her adult life, then I can mention it here. Kind of puts those scenes of her boozing in H20 in perspective, huh? 

I got to the convention armed with just Matt's email to me printed out and figured I would have to do some pretty good convincing to the event staff to let me in. Not at all, they were super friendly and helpful every step of the way. The people who work for these conventions have an undeniable and palpable appreciation for the genre. 

The photo op was brief and seemed like a blur, but the autograph session was awesome. The guy in front of me had this painted mural with movie scenes with all the celebrities at the con. Jamie Lee in Halloween, Tom Atkins in Halloween III, young Michael Myers in the clown mask, etc. He had brought his own pen. She said the painting was neat but kept making jokes about the pen.

 "Oh, this pen smells great. You guys should really invest in these. This is one of those pens you could put in a sack and...(pantomimed someone huffing)." 

Then, I shit you not, she looked dead at me and said "Better get this pen away from me, before I need to call my sponsor!" I couldn't believe that after everything I had just went through she looked at me and cracked an AA joke. 

My turn came and she shook my hand and signed the photo I had of her. 

"I actually have a special request..", I said. 


"What's up?" 


"I'd like your help getting my first tattoo."


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She slapped the table "Alright, put whatever it is, right here." She grabbed my leg with both hands and said where do you want it and how big? She signed it, thanked me for coming, and said she hoped it didn't hurt too much. I figured one sly AA reference deserved another so I said "hey, thank YOU..and keep coming back" to which she smiled and made this little pointing gesture.


So, all in all, pretty fucking rad experience and I just wanted to let you guys know how much it meant to me. I picked up 2 fridge magnets of Laura Palmer and Suspiria, an original poster for the weird-ass Disney film The Black Hole, and a Blu-ray of A Serbian Film (yuk). This tattoo beats them all and I'll remember this for the rest of my life.
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In a later message, Michael mentioned to me that he was feeling like this whole experience falling into his lap, right after getting out of rehab, felt like more than mere circumstance.  I think I'm gonna have to agree with him on that.

Michael, I'm so very glad that our paths crossed, and it was a pleasure to get to know you, even just a tiny little bit.  Rest In Peace, buddy.





Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Keep Warm This Winter, With Inked Up Merch's Horror Movie Beanies!

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I don't know how the weather is wherever it is you call home, but here in New York, it feels like winter has only just begun.  After getting through the majority of both December and January with fairly warm weather, mother nature has been hitting us hard in this last week or so with ample doses of the cold stuff, the kind of bitter cold that seeps into your bones and quickly depletes your home heating oil.
 
I can't help ya with the oil part (sorry!), but I can help ya out when it comes to keeping yourself warm.  Check out these awesome horror movie beanies from a company called Inked Up Merch, who specialize in unique embroidered and silk screened goods.  Can't say I've ever in my life seen beanies like these, with horror movie logos on them, so these are pretty damn cool, and they're guaranteed to keep ya pretty damn warm!
 
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Each of these and others can be purchased for only $12, from Inked Up Merch's Etsy shop.  Grab one today, so you don't turn into a horror nerd-sicle this winter!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Love Practical Effects? Hate CGI? Meet The Millennium Bug!

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While most horror fans sit back in their computer chairs and hate on the ever present and destructive force of computer generated imagery in modern day horror films, filmmaker Kenneth Cran recently decided to take matters into his own hands, and actually do something about it.  Since he really hasn't been happy with the lack of practical effects on display in the horror films being made nowadays, Cran figured why not just make his own monster movie, the way monster movies used to be made; without the help of a computer.  Ah, what a novel idea!
 
Thus, The Millennium Bug was born, an old school monster movie that just hit DVD this past December.  The very first feature film release from the production company No CGI Films (and in fact, Cran's debut feature as well), Millennium Bug indeed has not a single ounce of computer generated imagery in its 90 minute run time, an impressive feat that has resulted in it being a much talked about film in the horror community, a community full of fans who for the most part, are as sick of the destructive force of CGI in horror films as Mr. Cran is.
 
And there's nobody who's more fed up with rampant horror movie CGI than yours truly.  As far as I'm concerned, bad/excessive CGI is enemy #1 of the modern day horror movie, and I honestly don't know how much longer I can continue watching horror films, if this disturbing trend continues.  It was practical effects that are largely responsible for making me fall in love with horror movies, and it's shitty looking computer generated effects that are quite frankly responsible for diminishing that love, over the years.  Hate to say it, but it's true.

AND IT NEEDS TO STOP.  NOW.

But this here post tonight is not an angry rant about CGI, and how much I hate it.  Rather, it's a celebration of the much nicer looking other side of the coin; practical effects.  And that's precisely what The Millennium Bug is; a balls to the wall, blood soaked, creature filled celebration of the dying art of the practical effect.  It's a love letter to the glory days of the old school B-grade monster movie, and for that, I can't help but love it.  A whooole lot.
 
But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
 
What is The Millennium Bug about, you ask?  Well, the film mostly takes place in the early morning hours of January 1st, 2000, when the world was supposed to be crippled by that whole Y2K mumbo jumbo, where a computer glitch was supposedly going to result in the whole world essentially imploding.  This glitch was referred to as 'The Millennium Bug', which is where the film derives its title from.
 
So a few hours before the ball drops, this dude drives his young daughter and his new wife (not the daughter's mother, who passed away many years prior to the events of the film) out into the woods, to an old abandoned ghost town.  He's taking no chances with the 'Millennium Bug', and he figures his family will be safe out there, being so far removed from technology and all.

Of course, the clock strikes midnight and nothing that was supposedly going to happen to the world actually happens.  No, something far worse happens.  The man has accidentally brought his family to the one place in the world where an actual monster sized bug is about to be born, an event that takes place once every thousand years.  And so, in an effort to escape "the millennium bug", the man and his family come face to face with THE MOTHERFUCKIN' MILLENNIUM BUG.  Oh, the irony!
 
Oh yea and lest I forget.  There's also a big time sub-plot in there about a hillbilly inbred family, who are living out there in the woods.  They've apparently fled the set of Wrong Turn 7, and they're looking for a normal looking young girl to impregnate, so their family can finally start getting themselves on the right track.  And not be all mutated and gross and shit.
 
Nice little family, meet inbred mutant family.  Both families, meet ... THE MILLENNIUM BUG!
 
 Now I'm not gonna let the practical effects that run gloriously rampant in this film cloud my judgement and reduce me to a blubbering fanboy; the fact of the matter is, as a movie, The Millennium Bug is essentially Syfy fare, with writing and acting that you'd find on any given Saturday night, on that channel.  Rather, the strong suit of The Millennium Bug is the aspect of it that brought the film to my attention, and got me so excited to see it; the practical effects, which indeed do run rampant throughout much of the film, gloriously so.  The best way I can sum it up is that this movie shows how much fun your run of the mill Syfy film could be, if only all the CGI in those films was replaced by competently executed practical effects.  Sure would be nice, wouldn't it?!

So is it a great horror movie?  No, it's really not.  But the awesome practical effects alone make it worth cuddling up on the couch and spending some time with, and it's sure to entertain and bring a big ole nostalgic smile to the face of anyone who, like me, is sick and tired of CGI, and wants a nice little slice of throwback monster madness, to remind themselves why they fell in love with horror films in the first place.  That's really what Millennium Bug is all about, and if you just let yourself have fun with it, you're likely to have a blast watching this movie.

Even before the titular creature is birthed onto the screen, Millennium Bug is chock full of incredible creature and gore effects, whether a deformed hillbilly baby is being birthed right before our very eyes (in close up!), or we're seeing the after effects of a dude getting a bullet to the face.  It all looks spectacular, in that somewhat cheesy '80s sort of way.  Gotta love it.

When the so called Millennium Bug does enter the picture, that's when things get real fun.  The bug is absolutely MASSIVE, the kind of creature that you'd think would never be able to come to life, on the screen, without the use of CGI.  Somehow, despite the film's small budget, Cran and his team made it happen, entirely practically.  In some shots, the bug is played by a guy in a rubber suit, and in other shots, a giant marionette of the creature is being puppeted around, with forced perspective shots and miniature sets bringing it to life, in all its massive glory.  Let me tell you, it's been a loooooong damn time since I've seen a monster of this size that wasn't created on the computer, and again, for that alone, this film is worth seeing and supporting.  So damn impressive.
 
No, the new millennium didn't bring along with it destruction at the hands of technology, but it did usher in a whole different kind of destruction, on a much smaller scale; the replacement of true makeup effects artists, on movie sets, by that technology.  The Millennium Bug admirably combats that CGI revolution, and harkens back to the glory days, when real people were creating real creatures, right before our very eyes.  Millennium Bug is a true do it yourself effort, like so few horror movies of this millennium have been, and that's something to be admired and appreciated.  Though I do kinda wish those awesome effects were given some better material to play around in, I still can't help but have a whole lot of love for The Millennium Bug, and I hope that it's only the beginning of Kenneth Cran and No CGI Films' efforts to keep the art of practical effects alive.
 
This movie really shows the importance of practical effects in horror movies, and how they can make even not so great horror movies a real blast to kick back with a beer and watch.  I mean really, if ya think about it, the reason we love most of the old school slasher films that we do so love is largely because of the awesome gore effects on display in them, am I right?  Take that away, and a lot of those '80s gems wouldn't really even be worth sitting through.  Makes me happy to see that there are still filmmakers out there who understand the importance of effects, and who are looking to entertain fellow fans the same way those films from back in the day did, and continue to do.  So kudos to everyone involved in this project for that.  I can only hope that other horror filmmakers of the future learn from you folks.

If you hate CGI, and you love practical effects, I strongly recommend you pick up Millennium Bug, and give it a watch.  You won't find too many horror films out there these days that tap into the old school DIY spirit that this film successfully does, and I promise you're gonna have a blast spending some time with the creatures, monsters and over the top gore effects on display here.  So wash some of that bad CGI taste out of your mouth, and cuddle up with The Millennium Bug as soon as possible!

VIVA LA PRACTICAL EFFECTS!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Latest eBay Win : The Ice Cream Man Promotional Ice Cream Scoop!

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If you read this blog with any regularity, you've surely by now realized that I am the world's biggest fan of the 1995 cult classic Ice Cream Man, which stars Clint Howard as a killer ... ice cream man.  It's undoubtedly my favorite 'best worst movie' ever made, and my love for the film quite frankly knows no bounds.  I have a VHS copy signed by Clint Howard (thanks Kristy!), several one of a kind art pieces inspired by the film, and I've even spoken personally with Clint on the phone about the movie ... need I say more?
 
So the other day I was prowling around eBay, when I stumbled upon something Ice Cream Man related that I had previously never even knew existed.  Funny enough, I wasn't even searching for Ice Cream Man swag (of which there isn't much!), but rather I was doing one of my weekly searches for old promotional items, which I both collect and am endlessly fascinated by.

So there I was, innocently searching for promo goodies, when what to my wandering eyes should appear ... 
 
AN ICE CREAM SCOOP, PROMOTING THE VHS RELEASE OF ICE CREAM MAN?!?!? 
 
NO FUCKING WAY!!!
 
Yes.  Fucking way.
 
I couldn't believe my eyes, and I of course knew that I was not going to let anyone win the auction but myself.  Not that anyone else would really want to win the auction, but still, it was one of those things that I just knew I was going to have to shell out the money for, even though I promised myself to cut back my spending on collectibles, and use what little money I make for more important stuff, like rent and food.  But come on, man.  If any collectible is an exception to that rule, IT'S A GODDAMN ICE CREAM MAN ICE CREAM SCOOP!!

The catch?  The auction had a Buy It Now price of a whopping $75. Eeeeekk.

Now here's the thing with promotional items like this one.  The only real value they have is whatever any given fan is willing to pay for them.  In other words, though they're rare, and you don't see them floating around all that often, they're really not worth much of anything, unless there's a diehard fan out there who will spend whatever he's got to spend, to get any given item.
 
Which is why you will often see older promotional items with incredibly high starting prices on eBay, and you'll usually see those same auctions listed on the site for extended periods of time, just waiting for that one dude who's willing to spend way more than he should be spending, simply because he can't live without a Leprechaun bendy toy or an Amityville Horror night light.  Sometimes, the seller finds that person, other times, the auction just sits there on eBay, collecting dust.

Now if anyone on this planet is gonna spend $80 on an Ice Cream Man ice cream scoop, it's me.  But even I'm not that crazy.  I knew the seller was asking way too much for the item, simply because he had never seen one listed on the site before, and knew it was pretty hard to come by, but there was no way I was about to drop nearly 100 bucks on a plastic ice cream scoop.  Sorry Clint, but my love for the film does have bounds, contrary to what I may have typed above.

Lucky for me, the auction had a 'Make An Offer' option attached to it, and I knew that as long as I made a decent offer, the seller probably wouldn't be able to pass it up.  It's not like Ice Cream Man stuff is all that in demand, so I knew he was likely gonna jump at the first offer he received. 

I believe my first offer was $20, which the seller countered with an offer of his own, of $55.  Utilizing the skills I learned from too many hours spent on the couch watching Pawn Stars, I knew that the smart thing to do from there would be to meet somewhere in the middle, and exclaim that my new offer was "as high as I could possibly go."  So I made a final offer for $35, told the seller it was as high as I could go, and voila, it worked like gangbusters.  Sold to the biggest Ice Cream Man nerd on the planet Earth, for $35.  I told my wife I only spent 20 on it, so I hope she doesn't read this.

Behold, the Ice Cream Man ice cream scoop ... MY Ice Cream Man ice cream scoop!!
 
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Now I realize that I probably shouldn't be all that proud of this win, considering I still spent $35 on a plastic ice cream scoop that would likely snap in half if you ever stuck it into a carton of ice cream and tried to scoop some out, but to me, this is the kind of thing that you really can't put a price tag on.  Sometimes, ya just need to splurge on stupid little things that you know you shouldn't splurge on, but that nevertheless bring joy into your life.  This is most definitely one of those things, and it makes me pretty damn happy to know that I'm likely one of the only people in the world who has one of these proudly displayed in their collection.  Hopefully I'll meet Clint someday, and get him to sign it.  Would love to see the look on his cute little face when I slap this bad boy down on his table.

No idea if these were affixed to copies of the Ice Cream Man VHS or if they were just sent out to video stores or what.  I doubt anyone out there knows anything more about these, but if anyone does, please do get in touch with me and feed me your knowledge!

Giveaway Time! Win VHS Mixtape 'Party Levitation', The Freddy In Space Edition (Numbered 1 of 1), From King Of The Witches!!

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I realize that the above title may not make all that much sense to ya, at the moment, but if you're as hardcore into the undead art of the VHS tape as I am, then you're gonna want to read this post, and enter this giveaway.  Trust me.  So read on, video-vores!!

Back in September of last year, I teamed up with a relatively new on the scene company called The Uneasy Archive, who specialize in limited edition VHS releases of the sort of cult films that are a bit, shall we say, uncomfortable, to watch.  In September they put out their 7th release, Donald Farmer's pseudo I Spit On Your Grave sequel, Savage Vengeance, and they were awesome enough to whip up a very special Freddy In Space exclusive edition of the tape, which was numbered 1 of 1 and featured art different from the official release, and was housed inside of a special green clamshell case.  They even put the Freddy In Space logo on the back of the case, thereby making the tape one of the coolest things I've ever had the pleasure of giving away here on the blog.

(Interestingly enough, I just heard the other day that several people are currently trying to buy the tape from the winner of the giveaway, for upwards of a few hundred bucks!!!)

I recently received a message from Earl Summerfield, the man behind Uneasy Archive, who informed me that he just started another smaller company, called King of the Witches.  In his own words, King of the Witches is "a throwback to the beginning of super DIY VHS companies like Film Threat", and their very first release just recently went on sale, and soon thereafter sold out.  As in, you can't get it anymore.

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Well guess what?  Earl and his team have given that debut release, called Party Levitation, the Freddy In Space exclusive edition treatment, and that's precisely what we're here to give away to one of you lucky readers tonight.   What is Party Levitation, you ask?  Well I'm glad you asked!

Party Levitation is a 90 minute mixtape that Earl cut together, which is comprised of "scenes from golden era porn, foreign medical footage, and gory snippets from obscure horror movies, all set to metal and hardcore music."  The tape was limited to just 30 pieces and again, is sold out and out of print, at this point.

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The Freddy In Space edition of Party Levitation, which you're playing for here tonight, is housed inside of a slime green clamshell case, as opposed to the standard black case the tape was officially available in.  Much like the Savage Vengeance tape, this edition is limited to only one single piece, which is pictured above, and will NEVER ... EVER ... be made again.  It was created for this giveaway, and only for this giveaway.

So then, how do you go about getting your hands on this one of a kind collector's item?  All you've gotta do is head over to the King of the Witches Facebook page, give it a LIKE, and then come on back here and leave a comment at the bottom of this post, letting me know you did that.  Also be sure to include your e-mail address, so I can contact you if you should happen to win.  I will be accepting entries through next Monday, February 4th.

Though not necessary in order to enter the giveaway, I'd also encourage you to join the Uneasy Archive Facebook group, so you can keep up to date with all of the upcoming VHS releases from that company.  I can promise you that you haven't seen the last of the collaborations between Uneasy and Freddy In Space, not by a long shot!!

Also, before we go, here's a 12 minute long trailer for King of the Witches' second mixtape release, which will be going on sale real soon.  Should give you an idea of what you can expect from Party Levitation, which you're hopefully soon going to be able to slide into your VCR.  Best of luck to ya!!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vintage Video Of The Week : Bill Paxton & His Near Dark/Aliens Co-Stars Rock Out!

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Got something a little different for ya this week, and I think you're gonna like it!

Back in 1982, my man Bill Paxton linked up with Andrew Todd Rosenthal to form Martini Ranch, a new wave band that played throughout the '80s.  The band can be heard playing over the end credits of the 1990 horror film Brain Dead, which of course starred Paxton.

In 1988, a video was filmed for Martini Ranch's single Reach, which was directed by none other than James Cameron.  It's still to this day the only music video Cameron ever directed, and it featured several cameos from the stars of Aliens and Near Dark, two late '80s horror classics that shared several cast members, including Paxton, Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein, all of whom reunited for the video.  It also featured brief appearances from Near Dark director Kathryn Bigelow (who was dating Cameron at the time, thus why the two films had similar casts), as well as Adrian Pasdar, who played Caleb in Near Dark.

If all this sounds too awesome to be true, well, then this week's Vintage Video is proof that some things that are too good to be true, are in fact true.

We now pack into the Freddy In Space time machine and head back to 1988, to watch Martini Ranch's music video for their single Reach.  I can promise you, this will be the greatest thing you've seen all week.

Enjoy!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Awesome Art : Jason Edmiston's 25th Anniversary Killer Klowns Poster!

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One of my personal favorite artists, Jason Edmiston, teamed up with limited edition cult decor website Skuzzles to whip up this incredible Killer Klowns From Outer Space poster, in honor of the film's 25th anniversary.  The officially licensed silk screened poster measures a massive 24"x36" and is limited to only 165 pieces.
 
Skuzzles just put the posters up for sale yesterday, and they're going very very quick.  In fact, there was a variant of the poster available, which was limited to only 75 pieces, and that one is already completely sold out.

So if you want this very special poster, I'd suggest you get on that before it too goes away, forever.  You can snatch one up for $45, over on Skuzzles!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five New Shirts, From Rotten Cotton & Fright Rags!

My two favorite horror shirt companies collectively released five brand spankin' new tees this week, which in my eyes makes this past week one hell of an awesome week.

First, let's see the new wares Rotten Cotton's got to offer!
 
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This right here is no doubt my favorite shirt of the year, thus far.   I have many fond memories of both watching and playing with the Toxic Crusaders when I was a kid, and I'm so happy to see that there are others out there who are still keeping the spirit of that show alive.  This particular shirt is a pre-order, and will ship the week of February 24th.  It's available in adult sizes, youth sizes and even on girls tank tops, so no one out there has any excuse to not have it in their closet!
 
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Phantom Of The Paradise, on the other hand, I have absolutely zero experiences with.  I've never even seen the movie, but after just watching the trailer, I'm thinking I should probably change that.  That said, I would rock this shirt with pride, without even seeing the movie!
 
And now, we move on to Fright Rags!
 
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Who could ever forget the iconic and totally brutal hobbling scene from Misery, where Annie Wilkes smashes Paul Sheldon's ankles with a big ole sledgehammer?  Fright Rags captures that moment with this new Misery shirt, which is in fact the very first shirt I've ever seen, based on the movie.  Ouch!

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Scream Factory made the Blu-ray collections of Terror Train fans very happy last year, and now Fright Rags makes the closets of those same fans equally as happy.  Now all we need is some Terror Train toys, am I right?!

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Sooo, remember when I said that Rotten Cotton's Toxic Crusaders shirt is my favorite shirt of 2013, thus far?   Well, I'm not taking back that statement, but it does have some pretty stellar competition, particularly with this totally unique Home Alone inspired shirt, the likes of which you could only get from Fright Rags.  Last year they put out a Christmas Vacation shirt, playing up the moment in the film where Clark wields a chainsaw, and it makes me so happy to see that Home Alone has now been given the horror treatment.  Quite fitting too, given the fact that the scary old dude with the shovel gave me more nightmares as a kid than any horror villain ever did! 

...and when I got older and realized the old dude was played by the same guy (Roberts Blossom) who played Ed Gein (aka Ezra Cobb) in Deranged, that only served to make him even more frightening!

So there ya have it.  Five new shirts to blow your paycheck on.  You're welcome.

Friday Fun Fact : 1/25/13

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Did you know...

Stephen King almost wrote an episode of The X-Files, which was to be an homage to Night of the Living Dead?  Furthermore, George Romero was set to direct the episode!

Though the idea generated interested amongst the X-Files staff, the idea never came to fruition.  In its place, we got the Season 7 episode Millenium, which dealt with re-animated corpses and saw Mulder uttering the line "Shoot them in the head, it seems to stop them", a line lifted almost directly from Night of the Living Dead!

Still pretty cool, but only a remnant of the sheer awesomeness we almost had on our hands!

**the art at the top of this post comes courtesy of Len Peralta**

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Whatever Happened To ... Grim Night?

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Back in 2011, the teaser trailer for an upcoming horror film called Grim Night hit the net, which was supposedly going to be directed by Bryan Bertino, who wrote and directed one of my personal favorite horror movies in recent years, The Strangers.  That teaser trailer really caught my attention, and I waited for more information about the movie ... which never came.

Over a year later, and I still haven't heard a peep about Grim Night, so I decided to do some digging and see what the hell was going on with the project.

But first, here's the teaser trailer for Grim Night, which popped up on all the big horror news sites back in October of 2011.  The only information given about the film is that it's set in a world where creatures called Grims come out to take souls one night out of every year, forcing everyone to lock themselves inside, for fear of being added to the ever growing list of casualties.  Sounds creepy?  Well it LOOKS even creepier!!


From what I've heard, this footage was shot by Bertino, and the idea was to generate interest in the concept.  And, well, it worked.  Shortly after the teaser was put out there, Universal purchased the rights to the spec script, for somewhere in the department of one million dollars, and just this past August they hired a German filmmaker by the name of Dennis Gansel to direct the feature length film.  Bertino is also on board, as a producer.  According to IMDb, Grim Night is set to be released in 2014.

As of this moment, that's all the information that exists about the film.

Though it's obviously way too early to tell how the finished product will turn out, I'm completely on board with this totally original concept, and if the teaser is any indication, we could all be in store for something really special here.  This is precisely the kind of originality the genre desperately needs.

Very excited to hear this project is still moving forward, and very much looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

Alex Pardee Unleashes 75 New Monsters!!

As a fun little tie-in with this year's Sundance Film Festival, art collective Zero Friends put on a little show this past Friday night called ScumDance, an exhibit in celebration of the 'villainous scum of the silver screen.'  Over 100 new pieces of art were debuted at Salt Lake City's Blonde Grizzly Gallery, and all of the art is now available for viewing online.

The head of Zero Friends is Alex Pardee, who is one of my personal favorite artists.  In fact, I'm staring at a few of his pieces on my wall, as I sit here typing this.  Pardee has for the last three years been working on a series which he calls Doppelgangers (formerly known as My Favorite Monsters), comprised of quickie watercolor renditions of his favorite movie monsters, done in his own unique one of a kind style.  You're probably by now familiar with those, since I've posted about them a whole bunch of times in the past!
 
Since ScumDance was all about movie bad guys, Pardee decided to whip up a whopping 75 brand new Doppelgangers pieces for the show.  Again, you can see them all over on Blonde Grizzly's website, but I wanted to share just some of my favorites here with ya tonight.  Well, truth be told, if I was choosing favorites I'd post all 75 of them, but I picked out just a quick 20 to show off to ya, before you head over to Blonde Grizzly to see the rest.  There's also a bunch of other awesome art on there from ScumDance, so definitely check it out!

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Prints of only a couple of these new Doppelgangers are available in the Zero Friends online shop, though I'd imagine they will all be up there real soon.  Coolest of all, Pardee announced the other day that he will be putting out a book featuring all the Doppelgangers art, which is set to come out sometime later this year.

Will of course keep ya posted about all that!