Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! Short Film: Don't Feed the Scarecrow

Whew! What an exhausting month, huh, guys?'s Halloween, and before you set up for your spooky party, your haunted house, your trick or treating adventure...why don't you settle down, relax, grab a bowl of popcorn...and enjoy my little slice of silver screen horror...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Featured Kickstarter: Black Dog Devil

In a quaint 1950s town in rural Indiana, a witches coven was interrupted at the height of evil, and a curse was born. For 25 years, the curse was all but forgotten, until a Stranger walked in out of the rain one October night, and this once-sleepy town will never be the same...

- Dusty Crosley

Horror is an ever-evolving monster (pun aside), and one can't help but think how well the genre suits just about every format, from print, to screen, to art, projection, radio, music, etcetera. I don't think there has ever been a time when the genre had so much innovation or incredible variety as we're seeing today. When I found this kickstarter, my breath was taken away by the eery beauty of the pictures in the video above. Frankly, I think you would be doing your self a disservice by not checking this project out.

Interested? Swing on over to the kickstarter page and help bring the first issue this gorgeous graphic series to life. Or, is that 'unlife'?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Featured Fear: Thanatophobia (Fear of Death)

In this world, where the fortunate find themselves boxed away from reality, Thanatophobia (fear of death) is all too commonly nurtured, to the point that many people find themselves knocking on wood, tying every act to superstition, every fearful thought to the knowledge that some day we all become worm's meat.

Death is inescapable. Of the many great phobias out there, it is the one that will always capture you in the end, and for many, the very thought is so disturbing that often it seems to usher itself in that much quicker with the stress and obsession it seems to create in the victim. Nothing so typifies this fear being realized in such a literal sense as the knight's eternal struggle with death in Bergman's classic film, 'The Seventh Seal.' A brave man encountering death, denying his fears and at the same time meeting them head on with something as mundane as a game of chess. Bravery, in fact, is the best way to face any fear, isn't it?

The desire for immortality, the modern beautification and idealization of the vampire, our cultural obsession with an upcoming zombie apocalypse, the fact that if you ever bring death up in a general conversation you are pretty much guaranteeing that you're the buzzkill of the year. We are all afraid of death, to some degree. Even for those who deny it, those who obsess with it, those who pursue it. Instinct itself demands that this fear shall always and ever be a constant until the very last man or woman takes his or her very last breath.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Odd Monsters

Bored with the bogeyman? Not finding the clown thing too funny anymore? Are vampires in your nightmares just sucking you dry? Well, not to worry, there's plenty of 'wonderful' creatures out there to ensure that your psyche stays freshly traumatized for years to come. Keeping the Japanese one to just one, because their mythology is so broad with yokai and spirits, that you can't possibly cover them all in one go.

Katawaguruma/Katawa Guruma

Origin: Japanese

The female counterpart to the Wa nyūdō, this creature appears in the shape of a woman (usually naked) burning in eternal torment with the lower portions, or attached to, an ox cart wheel. The causes bad luck, ill fortune, and misery to those who encounter her, what's more...the bad luck doesn't just stop at one person, it can spread through the entire community associated with anyone who has met her. She also harvests the souls of the 'impure', the cruel, the sinful, etcetera, etcetera.


Origin: Slavic

Embodying a tall woman with black, messy hair, Likhoradka will spread  horrible calamities and plague wherever she goes, and to whomever she encounters. She can also possess anyone she chooses.

Black Annis/Agnes

Origin: British

Save your jokes, this lady is not someone you want to mess with. Absolutely hideous creature, a wizened crone with gnarly black claws, sharp teeth, one eye, and mottled blue skin. Some say her claws are made of iron, some say they're just...particularly strong, I suppose. Residing around Leicestershire, Agnes spends most of her free time tearing travelers to pieces, redecorating her cave with the flayed skin of small children, and generally just being a terrible neighbor. Meg Mucklebones, anyone?


Origin: Iriquois

Say what you will about Native American mythology, it seems to me that they really take the cake for the creepiest monsters out there. As much as I adore the Windigo, I felt like maybe delving into something a little less popular. Varying in size from miniscule to massive, the Kanontsistonties are essentially flying skulls with bat wings and a desperate craving guessed it...human flesh. They are the product of two possibilities, victims of murder by beheading, or...they used to be cannibals in life, and decided they just couldn't kick the habit in death either. They can't stop, as they have no stomachs, so they're pretty much doomed to eternal hunger.

Cheval Mallet

Origin: French

Horses. You can't trust them. I had a horse step on my foot once. I didn't like it. So when I learned of the Cheval Mallet, it came as no surprise that it turned out to be an evil horse. Well, that and the fact that I took French in high school, so the connection wasn't too hard to make. Essentially, it appears at night as a beautiful horse, tricks you into riding it...and that's it, for the rest of your life (and onwards), you're trapped for eternity riding a beautiful horse. A beautiful evil horse. Or it drowns you. They like doing that, too.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Vintage Comics - Skeleton Hand, Issue 1 : Sea of Retribution, Chill Chatter, Death For Hire, Monster of the Deep, The Corpse Under the Carpet (Pg. 12 - end)

This time around, I decided to celebrate the season you guys deserved a larger portion of the comic at once, so here's the rest of the first issue of Skeleton Hand. There's nothing better than a story about a man getting his just desserts, which is altogether my favorite sort of horror. Well, that and the kind that has you really cheering for the innocent victims to get out of whatever grisly mess they've ended up in. The first story also happens to be educational as well. I had no idea John Paul Jones founded the American navy! Actually, that's simplifying what he did, but this isn't a history lesson, it's a pre-code comic, so give me a break.

Chill Chatter is an editors' note, but I thought it was charming enough to be included. Honestly though, some of these stories in this issue are actually a little more gruesome than most of the fare I've shared with you guys, and despite the condition, this one quickly became one of my favorites, too. Plus, a zombie named 'Cracker'?! Who can resist a story like that?

The last two one-off stories are...actually a little funnier than you'd expect, and I think only one of them may have been on purpose.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book of the week - Lenore: Wedgies, by Roman Dirge

Back when I was in junior high, the webcomic world was blossoming for the first time across the internet. Aside from my Archie comics, which my mom bought me on every bi-weekly grocery trip, I hadn't gotten the opportunity to really delve into others until then. So, I decided I wanted to use my extra cash from household chores to buy something special. I went to a comic store for the first time, and I found...Lenore, by Roman Dirge (a fun artist who also happens to be pretty close friends with Jhonen Vasquez of 'Invader Zim' fame.) This was the first issue I bought, and I instantly fell in love with the creepy little dead girl who didn't really comprehend the idea of mortality, and thus many of her poor pets had to suffer from her unwittingly dangerous affection.

My Lenore obsession burnt out by the time I was in high school and really exploring other, slightly more mature comics, but this book will always hold a place in my heart, and even to this day when I pick it up, a quick look at a page or two always elicits a soft chuckle. Don't let your possibly bitter memories of the overly marketed Hot Topic prevent you from reading these comics. You'd be missing out on something pretty good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Horror Flick of the Week: Blood and Lace (1971)

Drive-in fodder, 'American Yellow' pictures, stuff that's just stylized enough to maybe hint that the creators may have occasionally watched something Italian. This movie matches those descriptions all too well. Blood and Lace is a movie that you may only watch once very late at night, but there's just enough quiet tension in it, and just enough of a bizarre mystery as well as a combination of strangely mixed plot basically make this movie stick like glue to the back of your skull for years to come.

I first saw this movie when I was about 12, and I can honestly say...I still love the opening POV camera style for the poor protagonist as she has to relive a nightmare of watching her mother being murdered again, and again, and again...not only that...but in the dream, she actually sees it from the killer's perspective.

Plus, y'know...gotta love that late 60s/early 70s 'do. I wonder how much of the ozone was eroded from the hairspray used on the women in this film alone? There are definitely some bizarre twists in this movie, which is why it's the flick of the week, just in time for Halloween too!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Skeleton Art

I've always been fascinated by skeletons. Human ones in particular. Why? Because, as I've established, I was a very strange child. In honor of this interest, today I'd like to share a few artistic works with skeletons as their feature, along with links to information about the incredible artists who made these creations possible.

Laura Ferguson

Maskull Lasserre

Isaac Cordal
Jose Guadalupe Posada

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Grim History: Gilles de Rais

Blood was flowing – in Bluebeard’s house, in the abattoirs, in the circuses where God had set his seal to whiten the windows. Blood and Milk flowed together.” - Arthur Rimbaud

It is said that you can divide fairy tales into two categories, stories based on general fears and thoughts at the time, or apocryphal adaptations of historic fact. What can one say about the story of Bluebeard? A rich man who took many wives, locked them in his house when he left, and left them with a key and an egg just to make sure he could trust them not to discover all of the dead wives he'd slaughtered countless times before. Frankly, I don't see why people Bluebeard could be associates with Gilles de Rais, but that's what many people believe. Odd, considering a vast majority of the children he was purported to have slaughtered, if not all, were little boys...

Gilles was born in 1404-05, depending on your sources, precocious, titled, disgustingly rich, and destined to become orphaned at the age of 10. From then on, under the guardianship of his maternal grandfather grandfather, Jean de Craon, who was without a doubt one of the more interesting and dastardly schemers you may read about in history. The man desperately wanted to be the richest in all of France, and as any respectable person of his time would do, endeavored to earn this by wedding Gilles off to a toddler. He tried, anyway. The whole mess got immediately rejected by the Parisian Parliament, so he settled for kidnapping Gilles' cousin, Catherine de Thouars instead.

But this isn't Game of Craon, this is the history of Gilles himself. Ultimately, he ended up supporting the Dauphin in the Hundred Years War. He did quite well for himself, reckless, brave, just about everything you could imagine any model aristocratic soldier being. When Joan of Arc came to court, Gilles was to be her military advisor.

Following several successful battles, Gilles became Marshall of France.

Things were looking up for our hero. Then, after a series of unfortunate events, not the least of which being the burning of Joan, and the death of his grandfather (who decided to leave the family title and respect to Gilles' younger brother),  Gilles decided he'd had enough of being the typical good guy. Some believe the death of Joan may have been the major domino in his gruesome path later on, but really...a lost friend, or perhaps even unrequited love, does not account for psychopathic behavior. Otherwise the world would be far worse than it already is.

Gilles had one daughter with his wife, then it's purported that he swore off women altogether. The man had spent a good deal of money investing in chapels, the church, and all things holy...suddenly decided to make a complete polar opposite shift in how he lived his life...

In 1432, the year after Joan of Arc's death, Gilles killed his fist victim. His first documented one, anyway. A boy his cousin had sent to deliver a letter to him. Gilles, essentially went absolutely insane. He started to spend his fortune at an astonishing rate, to the point of having to sell of portions of the family lands and estate to support his activities. What's more, his parties didn't stop with boozing and debauchery. There are many claims that insist he raped, tortured, and cremated up to 200 small children by 1440. A majority of the murders took place in 1438-1439. These children were gathered for him by his closest servants, and there are even wild accounts Gilles himself described in his confessions at court of satanic rituals he would perform, very likely involving the remains of these children as well.

His brother finally forbade Gilles from selling off anything else, and the family lands were kept intact by a court order, while the man practically threw money at his favored 'magician', an Italian man  who had once been a priest, named Antonio Prelati. Gilles' ultimate goal was to restore the money he had squandered, and he spent it like water just to find out if he could somehow transform common elements into gold. He actually thought murdering the children would somehow aid in this, and it's clear by the sheer number that no cost was too high for Gilles to maintain his wealth.

Arguably, what ultimately did him in, was the kidnapping of a cleric. Though many people suspected Gilles of murder, kidnapping, and all sorts of crime, his military history and standing with the king had given him a great deal of protection from any persecution...the church, however, was just a little too powerful for him to get away from (at the time.) He was finally brought to trial, and after several witnesses (his own servants who had actually aided him in many of his crimes) spilled the beans.

Gilles at first insisted he was innocent, but quickly caved, and described in detail many of the horrible rituals he committed with Prelati, to the point of even trying to summon Satan himself. Gilles was put to death, but because of his standing he was allowed to be strangled/hanged (some accounts differ) before his brief burning, and even so, given a Christian burial on church grounds.

It is said that many testimonies given by witnesses and Gilles himself of the crimes he committed against his victims were so terrible, that they were stricken from the record so people could be spared ever learning of the horrid details.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Featured Fear: Hypnophobia (fear of sleep)

It would be so obvious to start this off with a rhyme from my favorite horror franchise, but I know you may already be thinking of it and humming along in your head without even meaning to. While water is pretty much inescapable, we all know we can just pretend it's not in any other drink, or act as if adding flavoring to it suddenly changes the nature of that fear altogether...but sleep?
Without sleep, which can't be disguised as anything'd die. In fact, without sleep, you'd end up doing the 'bigger' sleep. As Poe once said, 'ah, sleep, those little slices of death. How I loathe them.'
Actually, there's no real evidence he ever said that, but it's a fun line. Plenty of people hate sleep. They see it as a waste of time, something that somehow hinders them from doing anything valuable with the hours they have no control over...and sleep does make you vulnerable. In fact, when you're sleeping, you're at your way to defend yourself, little if any awareness of your surroundings. The more I think about it, the more I think...maybe I should have another cup of coffee?

Everyone sleeps. Everyone dreams. I'd say half of the fear of sleep owes to the fact that we dream, actually. Not only are you vulnerable to the world around you, but you're vulnerable to your own subconscious at well. It is the ultimate assault on one's will and body, and the same time...sleep does make us stronger. I suppose that's because it doesn't kill you, if you're lucky.

Since I didn't use a rhyme, I think today I'll leave you with a poem instead. For what indeed is more poetic than sleep?

To Sleep

By John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Cocktails

As the end of the month grows closer, and you're panicking about exactly which recipe to choose for that perfect punch, or how on earth you're going to figure out ways to incorporate as much variety as you can into some spooky delights, have no fear. These awesome youtubers are there to help you out.

And by the way, if you're under can still make some awesome spooky drinks without liquor. In fact, some of them actually tend to taste better that way, anyway. IF you're still absolutely convinced you need that flavor in some of your drinks, talk to your parents about rum extract for the cocktails involving rum. It will impart the same taste without the side effects. Cheers, and as always...Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vintage Comics - Skeleton Hand, Issue 1 : Deathless Mortal, The Ghost of Company C (Cover - Pg. 11)

One of the slightly more beat-up comics I've come upon, I simply couldn't resist that cover. Monsters. Skeletons. Even what appears to be a vampire...but they have nothing to do with the first story, alas. Still...can you ever get anything better for Halloween than a group of ghouls just having a good time? I don't think so.

The first story is a nicely dark twist, which seems to be fairly uncommon in many of the stories, as rarely do we tend to see more than the occasional gruesome ghost...I rather liked these old man-goblins in their odd little way. The second one is a little reminiscent of the a simple little 30s or 40s farce you'd watch in-between movies.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book of the Week: Varney The Vampire: Or "The Feast Of Blood" by Thomas Preskett Prest

With Dracula, many romantic images are conceived in today's readers minds. They attribute a good deal of the mythos to that particular novel, and for good was pretty popular, but did you know this one came pretty much half a century before, and was the true progenitor of many of the tropes we still use today in vampire stories?

There's plenty of awesome 'penny dreadfuls' out there worth browsing through if you like yourself something a little campy, a little gory, and perhaps a little tasteless...but few so long, and rarely do they receive much attention today ('The String of Pearls' aside, which you may know by the name 'Sweeney Todd'.)

Essentially it's a soap opera. In fact, fans of Dark Shadows might even consider Varney awfully similar to Barnabas Collins in his journey, at times sympathetic, and other times absolutely despicable. Anyway, it's a fun romp, and an important mile stone in Gothic literature, well worth the read (over perhaps several dozen sittings.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horror Flick of the Week: 'Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)'

I feel like maybe a lot of people would disagree about this, but honestly...I enjoyed this movie a lot more than Creepshow. Don't get me wrong, Creepshow is awesome, and the framing structure with the animations were pretty freaking cool. a kid...Creepshow didn't put me through the roller coaster ride of emotions this movie did. Each story really does have its own awesome appeal, the cast is great, the writers are awesome...

The fact that the framing story to this is a Hansel and Gretel-esque tale with a witch preparing to cook a little boy to serve at her supper party makes this an absolutely delicious watch for the Halloween season, and I think it does the series it's associated more than justice (in fact, it's actually considered a spiritual successor to Creepshow, too.) I can't praise this movie enough. For the love of god, if you haven't seen it yet, watch it this year as soon as humanly possible.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Filming Day: Don't Feed the Scarecrow

You may be wondering 'hey, where's the flick of the week? It's October! You've got a blog-a-thon to be doing!'

Well, I just got done filming for my Halloween short I'll be posting on none other than Halloween called 'Don't Feed the Scarecrow', and I just couldn't resist sharing some clips and pictures with you, my awesome readers. So...look forward to this very silly short, coming on Halloween to a blog entry near you!