Friday, March 27, 2015

Spooky Board Games: Creepy Hand

I love movie magic. The ability of someone with a few camera angles and quick cuts to make something simple seem that much more intriguing. This is a UK game, so was never easily available to us over here in the states. However, the beauty of the internet makes things that once were impossible to get a hold of...quite easy.

There really isn't too much to say about Creepy Hand, because it's a simple premise. A battery-operated hand crawls around and points a finger at the person who has to pick the card. Kind of like 'Would You Rather', with a bit of an Addams Family twist. Honestly, I think I would have preferred if they'd just had Thing in a box, have it spin around inside, and flip open to point at someone...

Oh well. It's a cute Halloween game for kids. Not rocket science. Much like 'Ask Zandar', the main prop is still pretty cool, even if the game isn't absolutely amazing. There's only so much you can do with a board game.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Drive-in Trailers: Bad Moon, Surprising?

I love werewolves. You love werewolves. We all love werewolves. Anybody who says they don't are either evil incarnate, or dirty little liars. Whether that mysteriously re-occurring midnight shadow is just in our minds or a much more serious issue, lycanthropy is without a doubt one of the most disturbing...yet enjoyable...horror devices out there. In fact, there are so many...this is very likely to be one of multiple future entries featuring these delightfully hairy monsters.

On a side-note, I'd definitely advise against visiting London on the full moon. Just in case...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

80s Horror Posters

Today I decided to share some pretty graphics, and what better decade for interesting horror posters and movie covers than the golden age of camp? The 80s!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book(s) of the Week: The Devil's Storybook

Back in middle school, our library had a hidden room. Well, not so much hidden as restricted, but I like to imagine there was a bookcase in front of the door, blocking the secrets no 5th-6th grader should ever find themselves privy to. I was a pretty avid reader at the time, and still am, so the librarian let me sneak into the room one day and pick out any book I wanted to read.

There were so many to pick, so many delightful books with thick and embossed binding. Most of them were just kept in that room because the reading level was too high, or the copies were too valuable to let kids touch. I was one of the lucky few, the chosen ones, and I knew I had to pick the perfect book. I was told this would be my only I took a good half hour to find something I would never regret reading...

Tucked on one of the bottom shelves, with an orange-ish red binding, and looking practically new...I found it. A part of me thought this book wasn't supposed to be there, that some evil (and magical) force had conjured it into being. After all, a middle school library with a book about the DEVIL? It was unbelievable! So I pulled it out and flipped it open, examining some of the amusing illustrations of a trickster devil often finding himself the fool of his own pranks. With some trepidation, I took the book to the front desk and asked to check it out.

She didn't even look at the title. That same voice telling me this was not supposed to be here told me she must be seeing something altogether different than one I was. Perhaps to her a picture of a bunny rabbit snuggling a teddy bear was on the cover, or maybe a battalion of unicorns. No matter. I checked the book out, and I read it that very night. I read it once. Then the next day I read it again. And the following week or so I kept re-reading it until I had to check the book back in.

I was right, you know. Not about the book being really wasn't. In fact, many of the stories were charming little fairy tales with a somewhat less than intimidating version of Lucifer often being made to look like an idiot. But she never did let me back into that room...part of me suspects it's because she actually read the cover when I checked the book back in.

I'm sorry this was such a long story just for a 'book of the week' article, but I didn't know how else to tell you how wonderful this little book is, and how much it deserves to be discovered again and again by anyone who's willing to take a chance...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vintage Comics: Horrific, Issue #1: Hangman's Holiday & The Refugee From a Locked Cabin (Cover - Pg. 15 )

A pretty short-running series in the early 50s, horrific has some intriguing art, and even more intriguing elements pointing out exactly the sort of thing that made horror comics so devious that parents had to protect their children from being polluted with such evils. For instance...evidence of psychological a child! The first story, Hangman's Holiday, reminds me an awful lot of the first episode of Tales From the Crypt, a series that saw it's birth in the comic format as well, released around the same period as Horrific. Our second story touches on one of my favorite subjects...revenge from beyond the crave. Honestly, this is some of the higher quality vintage horror I've read, and though not absolutely original (there's no such thing as a unique story), it has the right amount make you grip at your sheets when the lights go down at night.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Horror Flick of the Week: They Live (1988)

Often, when I want to judge whether or not someone would be the perfect movie buddy, I ask them how to finish this line: 'I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...' If their immediate response is not 'and I'm all out of bubblegum', then we've got some serious issues and they've got some serious self-reflection to do.

Namely, they should ask themselves why the HELL they haven't seen one of the campiest of the campy classics, 'They Live'?!

In order to perhaps prevent others from an awkward moment such as this in the future, when seeking movie buddies for horror nights, I suggest anybody who hasn't seen 'They Live' to immediately buy a pair of sunglasses and a copy of this movie. Also, any fan of classic wrestling I guess...because Rowdy Roddy Piper.

I guess I might as well give you a quick summary too, because it can't all be gushing and criticism towards the unwashed masses, you've got to know what you're walking in to. So, straight from IMDB, here's the basic story: A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.

Simple, fun, and oh so deliciously campy...

The political subtext behind this film about poverty and brainwashing of the masses is so thick, it frankly isn't subtext at all. But when you talk to other people about it, as with any pretentious horror buff, you've got to bring up the 'subtext.' You just have to. Not to mention...greatest street fight scene of all time? I think so.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Podcast, Episode 13 - Comedy Horror

I don't know if you guys have gathered yet, but there's one thing Julianne/Maddy/Chris all have in common. They like funny stuff. With that in mind, we all agreed horror comedies would be an awesome topic this episode. The movies we tackle this episode are three incredible classics: Young Frankenstein, Club Dread, and Tucker & Dale Vs Evil.

Finally, in the interest of independent films, we've also got a treat for the web-series fans out there. A trailer of a new show called 'Low Spirits', and it looks pretty awesome to me! (Hallow-holics are in no way associated with Low Spirits or the production of it, we just think it looks cool.)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Drive-in Trailers: Weird Science

Plastic tubes and pots and pans, bits and pieces and magic from the hand...yadda yadda yadda. Let's be honest, nobody understands the misunderstood genius. That's why they end up wreaking havoc on villagers and/or countrysides with their creations. Well, they also tend to be evil. There's that too. Whether it's a gold bikini or a disembodied head, though...I think we can all agree mad scientists are pretty creepy. Yes, Woody Allen isn't a horror director, but you really can't forget the mad scientist in that one...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book(s) of the Week: The Juggler

The Juggler, Written by John Morressy

Perhaps I should have touched on this in our devil podcast, but it hadn't sprung to mind at the time. Focusing on one of my favorite tropes, Faustian deals, 'The Juggler' is the story of a young boy who becomes enchanted when he sees a man juggling. Deciding he wants to become the greatest juggler in the world, he eventually meets the devil and makes a deal. What's more, he has nothing to lose besides his soul, because in the very beginning everyone he knew or loved was murdered in a horrible raid on his village.

The Juggler is unique in one major aspect. You didn't want the protagonist to lose. I actually found myself genuinely liking him as a person, and in a way this book reminded me of 'Little Big Man'. He meets all manner of characters, many of them are men who perhaps made their own deals with the devil and meet pretty miserable fates before their relationship with The Juggler comes to an end. It's a pretty scary little read, and beyond that, a beautiful story of redemption. A very loose interpretation of what the life of 'Le Jongleur de Notre Dame' with a grim twist. I would even go so far as to say this is probably one of the best Faustian stories I've ever read, and a very easy read cover to cover.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Axeman of New Orleans

Jazz. Fast and slick, the expression of vivacious joy and dance. That's what I always think of when I hear a good jazz song. Well, that and the Axeman of New Orleans...of course.

He was as hot as fresh griddlecakes, a temporary celebrity in Mardi Gras city. Unfortunately, when he paid you a visit, you were usually left with a splitting headache. Now that I've convinced you all I'm the Cryptkeeper, let's move on to the actual meat of the story. The killings began in 1918...

March 1919, a letter arrives at the office of the Times-Picayune, apparently it's from the Axeman. A jerk who went around breaking into people's houses and butchering them guessed axe.  Mostly Italian-Americans seemed to be his focus, but I guess we'll never know his real motives. He was never caught.

The letter read as follows,

Esteemed Mortal:

They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a fell demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.

When I see fit, I shall come again and claim other victims. I alone know who they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with the blood and brains of him whom I have sent below to keep me company.

If you wish you may tell the police not to rile me. Of course I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigation in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to amuse not only me but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don’t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.

Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship to the Angel of Death.

Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to visit New Orleans again. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a proposition to you people. Here it is:

I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of those people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.

Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and as it is about time that I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, and that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fantasy.

The Axeman

Obviously we had ourselves a pretentious nut-job on our hands. But he'd gotten his message across pretty thoroughly, because people were rushing to fill the city with music. Dance halls and clubs were jam-packed as many people as they could humanly fit, and anybody who couldn't go to one of those desperately tried to hire a musician or two to pump some of those sweet tunes into their own homes. Jazz flowed freely that night, and it doesn't seem anybody was murdered.

But the killings didn't stop that night. They continued. One woman in particular seemed pretty strange after she found her husband dead in their room, lying in a pool of blood. Her name was Esther Albano, and she claimed to have gotten a glimpse of 2 murderers fleeing from her house. Strangely calm, Esther seemed to be in a state of shock. About a year later, though, she allegedly shot a man named Momphre. She had gotten a gun and waited for him to show, then delivered her own little slice of justice. Some information about the man seemed to match when the axe murderer would have gone about his grisly business, but there was no official evidence to have sentenced him. Esther was sentenced to a decade in prison, but only served about 3 before disappearing.

I wish I could say that last story was absolutely true, but I have no idea. There's no official written evidence of it, and court records prior to computer filing systems could often times be misplaced or lost. But...the killings did stop, coincidentally.

You'd think the night New Orleans played a record amount of jazz music across the city would be the only other odd claim to fame our friend had. But he was also immortalized by John Davilla with a song...The Mysterious Azman's Jazz. So here it is, just to remind you how easily a few hot tunes can save your life.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Horror Flick of the Week: What We Do in the Shadows

It is incredibly rare for me to feature a new release on the blog, but this one was just too good not to recommend. What We Do in the Shadows took a premise which I don't tend to be too receptive to...mockumentaries (I generally find them quite boring), combined it with Jemaine Clement and a bit of Rhys Darby, and lots of vampires. Also some werewolves and zombies. It's about the lives of 4 vampire flatmates, their new (reluctant) fledgling friend, and mostly just jokes ragging on everything about vampire movies.

This movie was so fun, I didn't regret driving 2+ hours to Austin to see it, because god forbid anything even remotely independent or foreign gets decent distribution in general American theatres. Honestly, even the cgi was pretty decent (for the most part), which is no small praise from me. If you get the chance to see this in theates, do not pass it up.