Friday, October 31, 2014

Podcast, Ep. 8: Happy Halloween!

Joyous day of days, the time of year is upon us when the dead return from the graves to get drunk and eat candy. Yes, my friends. It is finally Halloween, and with Halloween (of course) comes the latest Hallowholics Anonymous podcast. This one was a doozy to get made, and unfortunately Julianne and Chris were unavailable this week. But where there's a will, Maddy got her mom to join her for this special episode dedicated to the perfect Halloween marathon. A selection of 5 films to watch this Halloween, the topic of the marathon being campy classics. We also have a special introduction and conclusion with another future co-host, Jazlaan. So sit back, relax, and listen until your heart gives out. There are also some wig care and costume tips.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat Safely

Tomorrow not only marks my grandmother's birthday, but also that wonderful time of the year celebrating all that is horrific and spooky. Yes, my friends, tomorrow is finally...Halloween. It's also a Friday, which could mean much more traffic and safety issues for those of you with little ones Trick -or-Treating. So the following list has been composed from CDC advice and a few other sources (as well as personal experience) so what should be a fun night doesn't turn bad.

1. If you aren't walking your children door-to-door, try to at least keep them safely in sight from your vehicle or otherwise.

2. Bring the kids in before it gets too dark. If you decide it's still safe to continue the candy crusade when the sun goes down, at least make sure there are proper reflectors on both costume and goody bucket. Bright orange and glow-in-the dark tape can be useful for this. Fridays are drinking days, and if you combine that with one of the biggest party nights of the year, you can't be too cautious.

3. A flashlight can be both fun for a child, and serve as an extra way for them to make drivers aware of their presence when crossing the street.

4. If possible, pick a well-lit neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating. These places are usually much safer.

5. Remind your kids that if they don't know the person handing out their candy, they should stay safely outside on the doorstep or porch.

6. Make sure costumes aren't too baggy or loose.

7. Don't drink and drive. Don't ever do this, no matter what night it is. Even if you don't have kids or family, it's very selfish to endanger the lives of others just so you can have a buzz on the way home.

8. Most residential areas in the US require a max speed of 30 MPH when driving through them. On Halloween, be careful to drive slower. There is usually much higher pedestrian traffic, and kids can be unpredictable about their own safety crossing the street.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Horror Flick of the Week: Fido (2006)

When this movie first came out in '06, I saw plenty of people talking about it all over the net. 2 years after Shaun of the Dead, it seemed like there was finally going to be a new renaissance of horror comedy. There really wasn't much of one, but that is an entirely different topic for another day. Fido kind of fell to the wayside after a bit, though, in the shadow of Shaun.

But you want to know something? It shouldn't have. It's really a great little film, worth it's own merit. The only thing it shares in common with the more famous zombie comedy is the fact that it IS a zombie comedy, and they run with the idea of having the creatures as pets after we've managed to 'tame them'.

Imagine if the 50s wasn't about the fear of communism or nuclear war, but zombies. You pretty much have Fido, but there's really more to it. The main character, Fido, has more behind the facade of a drooling and brain-crazy slave to his nuclear family. Billy Connolly is...incredible in this. I honestly didn't even realize he was Billy Connolly at first, without the eccentric beard and long hair. Everyone is really amazing in this movie. I can't express enough how great Fido is, as a horror comedy fan. If you take your horror too seriously, avoid it. IF you have a sense of humor, I'd definitely suggest 'Fido' for a Halloween viewing this year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Playlist 2014

Digging in the digital closet for a few tunes to liven up an otherwise dead party? Well, don't worry. The 2014 playlist is finally ready, with 13 tracks old and new. Spooky and fun enough to get the bones rattling.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book(s) of the Week: Ghost Mansion

Another little novel I found floating around at a library book sale, this story was an enjoyable read. Perhaps enjoyable isn't the right word. It was a disturbing spiral leading the reader witness to an unstoppable descent into death and madness. So that's why it's the book of the week.

The especially intriguing part is how the 'ghosts' in this book are approached. Unique. Disturbing. Unlike anything I have personally read before, and shouldn't think would be allowed on the modern theatrical screen (no matter how modern it gets.) I won't go into any extra details about these gruesome specters, but suffice it to say I'd rather encounter Pezuzu on a bender before I stepped foot into this house. No matter how pretty the interiors are.

This is a book for a couple of quiet and lonely evenings with nothing but a small lamp (or perhaps candle) to illuminate the words. It's a good thing, too, because you're got 5 days until Halloween to go grab this little gem from an obscure backwoods book store.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vintage Comics: Monster, Issue #1: The Monster, The Mirror (Cover - Pg. 14)

Don't let the Burt Reynolds-esque Hulk on the cover deceive you. The monster in this comic looks nothing like that. In this first comic, I didn't have so much fun with the actual story as just admiring the style. I love the heavy shadows and expressions the artist employs with all of the characters in this comic. The second story was equally impressive with it's own flare of style and femme fatales. I honestly just wish the second one could have been a bit longer and the first a bit shorter.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Good Kitty

While I prepare for the podcast today, here's some pictures of Peter Lorre and Vincent Price with cats.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Fear: Hemophobia (fear of blood)

This is an odd one, though certainly not as odd as anatadaephobia (fear of being watched by a duck) or something along those lines. Hemophobia is strange, because it isn't usually single. This means people with the fear of blood are usually afraid of something else, like needles or other various pointy things.

Now if you break it down, hemophobia becomes a perfectly reasonable condition. Most often when a person is first introduced to the sight of blood in childhood, it is their own. I suppose this can cause one to associate blood with pain...and it can kind of just get worse from there. This is when it is purely psychological, of course, which hemophobia usually isn't.

When a person is exposed to the sight of blood, the body's reaction is to generally have a small drop in blood pressure. This is instinctual. Because when blood pressure drops, one is less likely to bleed or clot as much if injured. If your blood pressure drops TOO much, you faint. Sooooo...since fainting is usually pretty inconvenient, it can at times be another cause for hemophobia.

Most phobias are treated by desensitization. Hemophobia is too,'s also treated in another very unique way. Training one's body to raise their blood pressure, either through tensing muscles or engaging in vigorous activity.

So now that you've read a little bit about hemophobia, here's a short video from a personal favorite show of mine, to ease you into...some kind of...pun using the word vein. I'm not always on my A game here, folks. Much less my B or O game either...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bad Omens and Superstitions on Halloween

I think we all know Halloween is a pretty dangerous night, so to protect the wiser amongst you from evil spirits...I have the following suggestions.

Disclaimer: I do not actually believe in any of this. Take it with a grain/circle of salt.

- When you are passing a cemetery, be sure to refrain from breathing. If you do, an evil spirit may possess your body.

- Be sure to keep your house surrounded by wind chimes with bells on them. This will ward away demons and ensure that plenty of angels get new sets of wings.

- Evil witches are color conscious...and they also hate jewelry. Combine their fears by wearing a blue bead on your person so they'll stay away from you.

- Plant ivy around your house to keep even more evil witches away, if the blue bead trick didn't work.

- Wearing a bridal veil will ward off evil spirits and people who place curses on you. I don't think this is gender specific, so if you're a man you might as well wear it too for good measure.

- When a snake crosses your path, it will bring bad luck. Kill it to negate the bad luck. If this is your roommate's pet corn snake, don't worry. They can buy a new one.

- Never throw a dinner party with 13 people unless you plan to stick around. The first person who leaves will die first. I guess it's like the opposite of catching the bouquet at a wedding.

- Don't kill robins, sparrows, ravens, crows, or albatrosses. Robins and sparrows carry the souls of the dead, ravens carry the soul of king Arthur, crows are death incarnate, and if you kill an albatross then you'll be lost at sea and have to recite a really long poem to redeem yourself later.

- People born on Halloween can see/hear evil spirits. This confirms my suspicions about my grandmother.

- If you visit a graveyard with someone and they ask 'where is blankety-blank's grave?' Don't point it out to them, because they're trying to trick you. If you do this, your finger will rot off.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Horror Flick of the Week: Nightbreed (1990)

As Halloween approaches, I'm reminded of a film I watched all the time as a kid. Despite some massive butchering and very confusing cuts as a result, I always had plenty of fun watching all of the weird underground mutant people acting crazy as shit (as they tend to in any Clive Barker story.)

Imagine Hellraiser if the protagonist WANTED to become a Cenobyte, and if there wasn't a puzzle box but instead a weird cult dynamic. That's pretty much Nightbreed in the form that I've seen. Now on the 28th (6 days from now as I'm posting this little feature) Scream Factory is releasing a special Blu-ray/DVD with the cut we're all familiar with AND a director's cut. Apparently that one is incredible, and I personally can not wait to see it. But you've got to admire a movie that somehow manages to be entertaining, even if it loses a massive amount of relevant plot points after a massacre in the cutting room.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Fear: Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)

“For the rest of her life Arachne was to hang from a thread and to be a great weaver and the descendents of Arachne still weave their magic webs all over the earth today. ”   - The Story of Arachne

So goes a classic myth of (arguably) the most disturbing creatures in the world, equally beautiful and deadly. Though, not always. Much like snakes, there are plenty of breeds of harmless spiders. Still, I'm hard-pressed to remember a time I saw a spider in a public setting and the next nearest person didn't break into a shrieking fit before sentencing poor little thing to a squishy death.

As a small child, I dug through my recently deceased great grandfather's things, and in the very back of his closet I found a strange leather container with a black strap. I pulled it out and looked inside, but it was too dark to see what the recesses of the case held. I reached inside and recoiled in pain. A little black spider crawled out over my arm and skittered down to the ground before disappearing back into the closet. But you know what? I still wasn't afraid of spiders. Then again, the bite didn't turn out to be poisonous.

Perhaps it's the way they walk with their many legs, disturbingly fast and far in such short spaces of time. Perhaps it's the invisible silks they weave from over-hanging branches which catch in the hair of innocent passersby. Or even the tendency of the humble spider to select locations that are already pretty creepy...dark places. Disused places...porch swings...They make for sufficiently creepy nightmare bait.

Desensitization seems to be the only real cure for this phobia, which I find a little difficult. How often do people take trips to spider-filled caves and basements? Luckily I found a music video that might help those of you with arachnophobia issues...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vintage Comics - Beware, Issue. 1: His Brother's Keeper, Wish For the Dead, Keeper of the Ghosts(16 - END)

Our first story in this section of the vintage comic 'Beware' deals with two brothers who have mental telepathy. Man if I had a dime for every time I had to deal with my own brother summoning dark spirits from beyond and possessing his body...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Drive-in Trailers: Giallo-ous Much?

I have no jokes for this entry, gang, sorry. I just have a note which kind of helps clarify why I like Giallo movies and yet at the same time despise most of the splatter-trash that came out of the 70s. Giallo films tended to be a bit better in film quality, though there were plenty of god-awful attempts...there always are...but they also really made the female deaths pretty. I mean when women had to be nude onscreen, it was less vulgar and more...artistic with splashes of blood? As a heterosexual woman, this made the rampant female nudity a bit more pardonable in the genre. For me, at least. The point I'm trying to make here is that Giallo films are awesome. So here's a few trailers!

Warning: Some trailers, especially the foreign language ones, may have explicit material unsuitable for children.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book(s) of the Week: “The Screwtape Letters”

For those of you familiar with the 'Chronicles of Narnia', but nothing else of C.S. are missing out. This particular work is of a much darker fare than a Jesus Allegory. Quite an interesting little read you can probably get through in less than a day if you're in a reading mood, this book is...something that has stuck with me for many years.

It's the story (or really the letters) written by an older demon to his nephew advising him how best to corrupt a man and lead the soul to hell. Not to reveal the end, but it's quite an interesting little perspective on the concept of demons and human damnation. A little dark, but not so heavy-handed that it would give one nightmares. A good read or perhaps...initiation into the world of horror or epistolary works.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spooky Coloring Pages

Something for the kiddies today, just to remind you all 'tis the season and such. Scavenged from the dark recesses of Google are just a few of my favorite coloring pages featuring the subject of things that go bump in the night. I claim no credit for these images whatsoever.

...Yes, I may have a skeleton issue. I CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Featured Fear: Coulrophobia (Fear of Clowns)

Did you hear that? There was a squeaky sound. I just heard it. No, I'm not making it up. I'm telling you, there's A CLOWN IN THIS ROOM!, that was just my chair, false alarm.

A surprisingly large number of people have a creeping fear of these pancake-covered children's entertainers, with their large shoes and red noses. The suffix 'coulro' doesn't translate to clown, though. Apparently it means stilt-walker. I can't really say who decided that would be appropriate...possibly because it sounds a little silly.

Many an unprofessional actor is responsible for this fear, believe it or not. I know more than a handful of people who caught a clown on a bad day when they were children and got screamed at or even shoved. Unfortunately, there are always going to be people who give one job a bad name. It's just a shame that children's entertainers aren't exempt from having bad moods.

Still more people just feel uncomfortable with the exagerated behavior of a clown. The intense colors of their clothes. The crazy hair. They are rather wild-looking, when you think about it.

I close this entry about clowns with a gentle reminder that maybe...just maybe...if clowns come from space, those are the ones you'll really want to avoid.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Horror Flick of the Week: Company of Wolves (1984)

Little Red Riding Hood. A story told in a dozen different ways, exploring everything from the loss of innocence to the dangers of trusting strange man-wolves. 'Company of Wolves' is the single best film adaptation of this story that I have ever seen, and likely will ever see. It can not be remade, because it is one of those few magical reels of celluloid which captures the true darkness of fairy tales in the most incredible way.

Starring Sarah Patterson in one of her few roles, this is a magnificent movie. It's beautiful. Dark. Disturbing. Intriguing. It is an incredible movie, and that is why it is this week's selection.