Oct 31, 2015

Monthly Movie Recap - October 2015

Hey, Halloween fiends! The night is finally here. Whether you're staying in, or staying up late, here's a few suggestions for something spooky to watch. If you can find Tales of Halloween on demand/streaming, you should definitely check it out tonight!

It might be the final night of the Countdown to Halloween, but I'm hoping to be back with some pics from Salem tonight. On with the flicks!

Splatter (2015, Netflix)
This isn't a movie, but a 3-part interactive series produced by Roger Corman and directed by Joe Dante. Don't have Netflix? You can watch the first episode free online. It's Corman at his finest (take that how you will) and will be interesting to see how it goes. There's a good write up of the ambitious series at Hero Complex.

R.L. Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls (2015, Netflix)
It might be RL Stine, but this very much feels like a Disney tween version of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. I think the Disney vibe is coming from lead Dove Cameron, who recently starred in Disney Channel's The Descendants, and the pop songs in the movie. I enjoyed it, but it you definitely need to be in a younger state of mind to do so. If you're able to watch other RL Stine shows and no be bothered with the "kiddie level" you should be fine.

Cool: Set around Halloween and a sinister carnival? I'm all in!
Lame: It's a little predictable but hey, I'm way older than the target audience
Rating: 6/10

Zombeavers (2015, Netflix)
Look, you should know from the title what you're getting into! If the SyFy Channel did better, R-rated original movies this is probably what they'd be like. Zombeavers knows what it is and goes for it, no apologies.

Rating: 7/10, campy fun

Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015, Netflix)
Back to the Tremors universe with Burt Gummer (Michael Gross)! It's pretty much an amusement park ride, I don't know it's quite a roller coaster but it's fun. For a direct to video release, the effects look really good and there's some good kills.

Rating: 6.5/10

Hellions (2015)
I'm still a little on the fence on this one. On one hand, it is a creepy, trippy, and beautiful looking movie and once the creepy starts it sucked me right in. On the other hand, once the chunky exposition drops it takes some of the fun and weirdness out of it.

Cool: Great visuals and atmosphere
Lame: Is she dreaming, hallucinating or just what the hell is going on?
Rating: 6 or 7/10

All Hallow's Eve 2 (2015)
An assortment of stories mostly set around Halloween. Some of them have more flavor than others and a couple of them barely have any story to them.

Cool: A good variety of tales
Lame: The bookends feel useless as opposed to the original where the villain appears throughout the segments. And when you stop to think about it, it's really odd that someone would have these segments on a VHS tape when they're definitely not in the found footage style.

Rating: 6/10

Tales of Halloween (2015)
Until we get an actual sequel to Trick R Treat, I think this will hold people over! 10 stories ranging from truly horrific to splat-stick comedy and plenty of cameos from some genre giants. I love the way the stories are sort of tied together and they avoid the anthology problem of bookend segments.
I can't recommend this enough to fellow Halloween fiends!

Rating: 8/10

Pay the Ghost (2015)
A lot of reviews nail this one to the wall but maybe I didn't have high expectations going in because of Nic Cage. It wasn't completely horrible but it does feel a bit Insidious-ish.

Cool: I actually like the backstory of the ghost
Lame: Way too much Cage chasing after visions of his kid

Rating: 5/10
It Follows (2015)
An interesting twist on the usual supernatural slasher movie. Is "It" something particular? There's plenty of room to interpret how you want. One of the things I love about this movie is how somewhat random it is. There's no real backstory or mythology to It and the overall feel is very different. I have to give them huge props for making what probably sounds like the worst movie on paper into something great. Probably my 3rd favorite horror movie I've seen this year.

Cool: The soundtrack! If you're into Carpenter-style music, this will delight you. It's also part of what makes the movie creepy and unnerving.

Rating: 8/10

*Shocker (1989)
After Wes Craven's passing I decided to revisit this one because I hadn't seen it since it was released. I had some fun memories of it. Unfortunately, those memories turn out to be the last 20 minutes of the movie. They rest of the movie is so-so but sometimes weirdly fun mainly due to Pinker.

Cool: Great soundtrack; Mitch Peliggi as a scenery chewing serial killer
Lame: For some reason the main character being psychic doesn't sit right with me but I see how why they did it. Could have been a bit shorter.

Rating: 5/10

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2011, Netflix)
I don't know why it took me so long to finally see this one but it is every bit of a riot as I was expecting! If you need something to pass the time tonight until Ash vs Evil Dead comes on, this is a good neighbor to that universe. It's got plenty of grisly, splatstick deaths.

Rating: 8/10, a real hoot!

Month Total
 New: 9  Rewatch:1

Year Total
 New: 66  Rewatch:4

Darn, if I only could have fit in 2 more rewatches...

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Tonight's the Night Samhain Returns

Oct 30, 2015

Halloween Web - George Berce

Today's Halloween Web interviewee has the distinction of being the first that
 I have actually met out in the "real world"!

Prepare yourselves for some amazing costumes...

For the people that may not know you, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is George Berce, I'm a horror nerd, 'Halloween is every day' kind of guy, and like to spend my free time dressing up as Tim Burton characters and sometimes drawing or creating digital art.

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

My early years were spent growing up in Allston, which is a neighborhood of Boston MA and not somewhere you should let your kids go out trick-or-treating alone. Because of this my mom would bring me to the mall every Halloween to trick-or-treat at the stores along with a ton of other kids. Eventually we moved into the suburbs and I got to experience legitimate trick-or-treating with my friends.

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween memory?

My favorite Halloween memory is October 31st 2000, the day my family moved into the house I currently live in. My two cousins came along to help with moving but as soon as we got to the house we began digging through boxes trying to find any sort of costume to throw on and as soon as the sun set we snuck out to trick-or-treat and explore my new neighborhood. We used pillow cases to hold our candy and by the time we headed home all three of our pillow cases were completely stuffed. There was no furniture yet so the three of sat on the floor of my new room to count and eat our precious candy. After a long day of hard work all three of us passed out on the floor next to our candy piles.

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

My first 'cool' costume was Freddy Krueger, when I was in 8th grade. I was obsessed with slasher films and Freddy was (and still is) my favorite slasher. Then after many years of being a vampire I finally decided to put effort into my costume and in 2012 I spent many many countless hours creating my Edward Scissorhands costume from duct tape and foam board. It was a huge hit in Salem that year. In 2013 I was Jack Skellington and 2014 I was Beetlejuice. This year I will continue the trend and be Sweeney Todd.

What do you do to celebrate now, out in the real world?

Every year I go to Salem MA on Halloween night, this year will be my tenth year in a row going. I attend the Jack-o-lantern Spectacular in Providence every year also and try to make it to one of the haunted house attractions such as Barrett's Haunted Mansion, Spookyworld, and Fright Kingdom.

Do you have any yearly rituals?

Horror movies, apple cider, and pumpkin carving. Also this is the fourth season in a row that I've done a daily countdown to Halloween on Instagram.

Trick 'r Treat! I restrict myself to watching it once a year to keep it special, usually on October 13th. Hocus Pocus is also a classic that needs to be watched. As for music I like listening to horrorpunk type stuff around this time: The Misfits, Blitzkid, Calabrese, Wednesday 13, Creature Feature, AFI “All Hallow's EP”.

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?

For some people it's just a part of who they are. I never take down my Halloween decorations, it's always around me. For everyone else I'm sure nostalgia has alot to do with it. Also it's the one night a year that it's social acceptable for everyone to change into whoever/whatever they want to be for the evening.
Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was...cookies or fruit, anything not prepackaged.

My favorite thing to get was...full size candy bars!

Where can folks find you online?

You can find me on Facebook or Instagram (Seriously, go check out his Instagram feed!)

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Paranoia Got the Best of Me

Oct 29, 2015

Audio Treat - Doctor Druid's Haunted Séance

Have you ever wanted to hold a séance in your very own home?
Doctor Druid is here to guide you in communicating with the spirit world!

Originally released on vinyl on 1973, Doctor Druid's Haunted Séance makes use of stereophonic sound. To get the full experience, you'll need to have left and right channel external speakers. Of course, you can always listen to it yourself with headphones but we all know what happens when you try to contact the spirit world by yourself, right?

Along with the audio are scans of the album sleeve which give you a few tricks and tips for getting the most out of your séance. I really like this album because in addition to being genuinely spooky with its atmosphere, it sort of gives you an idea into how people faked séances in the past.

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Kurse of the Killer Kovers

Oct 28, 2015

I Want Candy!

Halloween is almost here! 
Think you've got the ultimate strategy to get the most candy?

Bringing a bucket? That's only about 540 candies. 

You can't go wrong with a classic like a pillowcase, right? 
That's only around 3,700 mini candies!

Shari's Berries got a little carried away and decided to calculate how much candy would fit inside things such as The Great Pyramid of Giza, an average U.S. home, and even a Boeing 747-400. No matter how much candy you get this year, there's always room for more!

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Horrorbilly: Return from Hell

Oct 27, 2015

Halloween Web - Kevin Hellions

For the people that may not know you, tell us a little about yourself.

Hey guys.  Kevin "Hellions" Decent here.  You might remember me from TeamHellions.com and all over social media either @TeamHellions or @KevinHellions.  I discuss comics, wrestling and all sorts of geeky stuff.  Thousands of articles, dozens of publications and millions of hits later and I still get so excited for Halloween.  This year as part of the Countdown to Halloween I'm remembering my personal history with all things that go bump in the night.

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

I grew up in Watertown NY, about an hour north of Syracuse and 45 minutes south of the Canadian border.  That far north the weather can be all over the place.  There were many years when part of planning a Halloween costume involved accommodating a winter coat underneath.  Yet I still have that perfect feeling for Fall.  Anytime from September through November I will walk outside and smell the crisp air, the leaves on the ground and think it feels like a perfect day for Halloween.  Alas, there is only one day for Halloween.

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween memory?

I'm leading up to this post on my own site but here's a preview story.  Its about the last night I went out trick or treating.  My two best friends at the time were a year younger than me.  I was in 8th grade and they were in 7th (I'm pretty sure.  Its possible we need to add one.)  Up until that night I was all set to stay at home.  Watch some TV, go to bed early, call it a night.  But I neglected to tell anyone this.  So they show up to my house ready to go out and get some candy.  They had picked the easiest costumes as well and threw on some camoflague clothes to go as soldiers.  Easy.  I must have some camo.  Wrong.  So in a bit of desperation I took some extra pants that they had with a hole in the crotch.  We tore that hole open more so I could stick my head through and wear the legs as sleeves.  Some black shirt and pants later and I was the most pathetic saddest looking kid out that night.  You laugh and I would be embarrassed but dammit I had candy so I don't care.

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

I really wish I had pictures nearby.  I do remember going out one year as Buzz Off from Masters of the Universe.  Buzz Off.  The giant bee man.  It doesn't get more obscure.  I was THAT kid.  The kid that anyone who answers the door shakes their head and thinks "I don't even know these characters any more."

What do you do to celebrate now, out in the real world?

When I moved to the city I'm currently in with my now wife she brought me to one of her best friend's yearly Halloween party.  We try to have complimentary costumes and keep everything fun.  When that friend moved we took over the tradition.  Maybe 10 people at the most and we have some sort of game going just in case there's a pause in conversation.  Darts or Cards Against Humanity.  There are no winners just whoever is in the lead when the conversations get too fun to continue.
We are very close to having a little kid to take out trick or treating though.  He's probably still too young but I think next year will be the first of many fun times.

Do you have any yearly rituals?

Last year I ran a Halloween City store and I have added the store CD to my tradition.  Its a 3 CD set full of creepy songs and sounds.  I do plan on playing it during the aforementioned party.

My only must watch are the double bill of Peanuts and Garfield Halloween specials.  There's no forgetting that.  Even if its Halloween night I'll find the time to watch those.

There are so many great horror movies and shows that I've never seen I think its important to discover new things every year.  I have favorites, like everyone else but isn't it more fun to discover something every year?

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?

I think Halloween, while very adult and scary, also is a sort of innocence.  Put on a costume and be anything you want to be.  Watch scary things and know deep down inside its all fake.  There is too much real terror in the world.  When every day is spent expecting the next terrible act of human violence and praying its not in your town silly things like monsters and ghouls become welcome.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was...Mary Janes.  That being said I really want to buy some just to be sure about how bad they were/are.

My favorite thing to get was...Of course everyone wants to say full size candy bars but you know what was surprisingly good?  Mini Twizzlers.  Just the right amount and I dare say more chewy than the regular kind. 

Where can folks find you online?

Like Team Hellions on Facebook.  Follow @TeamHellions on Twitter, @KevinHellions on Instagram.  Subscribe to the Team Hellions blog and be sure to check out the other bloggers talking about Halloween.  We all depend on our readers. 

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Hell: The Second Rung

Oct 26, 2015

2015 Halloween Hot Wheels - What-4-2

Here we are with the final entry in the 2015 Halloween Hot Wheels series:

This one's pretty cool. It's got a kinda-sorta translucent green body with lightning effects. And if a V8 isn't enough horsepower for you, how about four of them?

But by far, the best feature on this What-4-2 is the grimacing ghoul on the hood!

Here's a couple of ghosts from past Halloweens. Unlike the ones from the past three weeks, these were not included in my birthday loot. The first one has been sitting on my desk for awhile and I don't think I ever mentioned it.

This is Cybertooth from 2004. It's got all kinds of crazy going on with the sabertooth tiger skull and a ghostly green translucent rider. If you look closely, you'll see the rider's skeleton! For some reason, it's just a skull and torso...no arms or legs.

I discovered by accident that the bone bits glow in the dark.

Remember the Matchbox Widow car from the first Halloween Hot Wheels post
No? Well, go back and read it!

Here is the black version of The Widow. I think it looks much better than the white version. I could totally see Marvel's Black Widow driving something like this if they ever made a Mego figure of her. If Spidey has his own car (and helicopter!) then, this isn't too far out.

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Foreign Frights

Oct 25, 2015

It's Not Halloween without Vincent Price

No Countdown to Halloween would be complete without mentioning Mr. Vincent Price. Today marks the 22nd anniversary of his passing. If you want to keep up with all things Price-related, head on over to VincentPrice.com and join the mailing list. You'll get a weekly email from his a daughter Victoria and she always includes some type of family photo.

She also has a blog titled the Daily Practice of Joy where she writes about her experiences traveling  and meeting her dad's fans. She has a great piece up today. It's long but absolutely worth the read. The world would be a better place if we all lived life like Vincent Price.

Here's a few clips

Price reads Poe's The Raven.

Kermit hosting the Tonight Show! Not only is Price here but Uncle Deadly makes a cameo. And it's classic Deadly, not the toned down version he is on The Muppets now.

Another winning duo. This clip is more Elvira (also very appropriate!) but Price's reactions also make it worth watching.

A montage of a clean-shaven Price riding roller coasters.

Take some time today to celebrate Vincent Price!
Watch one of his movies (Here's my Top 10)
Find one of many audio YouTube videos

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Fears of a Clown

Oct 24, 2015

Halloween Web - Retro Robot Review

For the people that may not know you, tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Corey and you can find my blog at www.RetroRobotReview.com. At RRR I like to take a look at everything from Toys, Games, Movies, Food, Art and creations and projects, and everything in between covering my life in the 80s to today, so stop on by and say hello.

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

Halloween was always a competition in my neck of the woods, growing up in Bismarck, ND and in a neighborhood that mainly consisted of boys my age, made it a free for all on any house in the neighborhood, and we'd all have the count-off at the end of the night to see who brought in the biggest hauls. We'd do anything we could to win, taking more from our own houses, multiple costumes to fool the neighbors, anything to win the pride of being King of the Candy Stack.

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween memory?

There was one Halloween around age 16 or so that my buddy and I were going to be watching scary movies with our girlfriends, and we decided to play a little prank on them and have a third friend come over dressed all up and do little things like tap on the windows, sneak through the bushes, and such. After doing this for a while, he snuck in the back of the house, and made a loud noise and hit the circuit breaker! Well I went back to see what the "noise" was and we ripped my shirt and threw Spaghetti O's on my chest and I went stumbling out into the hallway as they came out, and he came out screaming and chased them, they were both screaming to high hell, and running out the door leaving me and my buddy behind. We had to chase them down the street saying we were OK. They didn't let us live that down for a while, and needless to say there were more Disney movies in our viewing future for a while.

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

Well I have to say some of the ones from when I was younger were pretty great, from being a Cowboy as a child, Dracula, Superman, Gizmo, He-Man all using those classic plastic masks and smocks. As I got older I had a pretty great Jedi costume made by a friend's grandmother, and one of the best was going to the Ghetto K-Mart the night of Halloween and getting a plastic wig (like in the Primus videos) and a Kids Cop toy set, and my buddy got  the same but a criminal set and we had a blast going around to different parties all night long. As well I had a roommate in College that just had a Prop Box, where he kept it filled with fun things to just toss on and make it up as we go, so that was the inspiration for many a costume too.

What do you do to celebrate now, out in the real world?

Well now that I've aged a bit, I'm no longer going door to door for candy, as I have a job so I can buy all the candy I want, but the Mrs and I still go out to parties that friends are having. Last year I was The Lone Ranger and she was a brothel girl, we're still not sure for this year tho, as we have a 1 yr old boy that is going as a skeleton and will probably just be going to the homes of our family and friends to show him off, but next year they all better be ready for father/son trick or treat time, I'll have to show him how to TP a house or something, that's a good time to instill values into him isn't it?

Do you have any yearly rituals?

Every year we have to make a trip out to Minnesota's Largest Candy store, in Jordan, MN that is an old plane hangar converted into a store that has pretty much any candy you could want, homemade goods, pumpkin patch, and the largest selection of Root Beer around. We also like to do drives around the neighborhoods to see those that set up great displays, as well as do our own small ones at home.

I do have to listen to some classic Halloween albums I have with a great mix of songs, and Horror movies are a must, with Monster Squad and the original Dawn of the Dead being among the first that I pop in.

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?

A big thing is as we grow up and start to have kids of our own we get thinking about all the great times we had as kids running around the neighborhood with our pillow cases and McBoo Buckets in tow hoping to have an overflowing bag of goods, the friends, the parties, the tricks as much as the treats, and we want to live those days again. In my college years it was all about the parties and the slutty nurses and cats, that time was fun, but it's when you have another to pass on the traditions and fun, it brings you back to when Halloween was Halloween and not just another show for the masses.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was...Those black and orange taffy candies that every old person had on the block, and candy canes. We had this one person that gave them every year and we knew they were from the Christmas before and they were just lazy, sure they were still good, but come on go get a bag of Snickers or something, hell there was a guy that handed out quarters so we could just go to the store and buy what we wanted out of the nickle bins, and that was fine by us.

My favorite thing to get was...Fun Dip was huge cause that was a double whammy,with sugar powder and a candy stick, or Snickers as I mentioned above, my sister and dad would always take those from me, so I had to hide those and they made them more treasured as it was like I was eating the forbidden fruit that was wanted by the rest of the household.

Where can folks find you online?

If you'd like to see more into my mind I can also be seen on my blog page, Retro Robot Review, and of course I'm on Facebook under Retro Robot Review and Twitter.

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Nevermore, a Tribute to Poe

Oct 23, 2015

Trading Treat - Creature Feature (1973)

Man, it's amazing the things you find when you start moving coffins around in the crypt!

While the 70s might be more remembered as a scifi/space decade, it was also the tail end of the Golden Age of the Classic Monsters. In 1973, Topps released a sequel to their popular You'll Die Laughing illustrated monster trading cards called Creature Feature.

Because they kept the same card backs from the first series, it's also known as the 2nd series of You'll Die Laughing. To add to the confusion, in 1980 Topps released another set called Creature Feature!

5 cents for a wax pack of nothing but monsters! I'd say "Ah, the good ol' days." but during these days, I wasn't even old enough to walk to the corner store on my own, never mind be into these groovy ghoulies.

This 128 card set has movie monsters with witty captions on the front...

and grade school jokes on the back.

Another peculiar thing about this set: all of the non-monster actor faces were replaced with shots of Topps employees! Strange but true!

Say trick or treat and grab the whole digital set, fronts and backs
 to bask in their monstery goodness!

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Beware the Boogie Man!

Oct 22, 2015

Halloween Web - Dr. Jose

For the people that may not know you, tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Dr. Jose and I run the wildly mildly popular website Camera Viscera! Some people might know me from my contributions ("contributions" is a very generous way of putting it) to Nerd City. I also recently started contributing to Strange Kids Club, which I am most excited about! Lifelong gorehound who will talk anyone's ear off about any and all things horror, if they're willing to listen. Also: buy everything from the Camera Viscera shop so I can support my candy habit.

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

I spent my first few Halloweens in Chicago, but grew up primarily in Southern Illinois; lots of fields, forest, farmland -- the three F's. It was a sort of spread out college town. As a kid, I likened it to Haddonfield, Illinois from Halloween, especially the opening credits of Halloween 4. Those shots of the overcast farmland, the damp, weather-beaten farm implements -- all of that captured my own personal small town Halloween vibe perfectly. Of course, years later I found out Halloween was shot in California and Halloween 4 was shot in Utah. I digress.

But Halloween was always a fun time -- lots of little neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs to hit up for candy. The rich families (and therefore, better candy) were on the other side of town, so I didn't start hitting those until I got a little older and was allowed to venture off with friends sans parents. Trick or treating usually ended once all the porch lights were off; after that, it was head home and pour out my bounty on the living room floor and chow down while monster movie marathons played on the T.V.

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween memory?

One of my earliest Halloween memories -- if not the first -- was participating in a costume contest in an outdoor basketball court across the street from my parents apartment. This was when we still lived in Chicago; I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old. The reason it's so memorable to me is because of the outfit I wore, which consisted of this BIG paper-mâché Frankenstein's Monster head that my uncle had made by hand himself. He painted it up beautifully, and it ended up being this perfect mix of funny and scary. I had a little black blazer on, a red shirt, black pants, black blocky shoes -- my family made sure I was decked out. The only problem was, that head was so big and clunky on my little frame, and I couldn't see out of it very well, and it smelled terribly of paint. Being a little kid, I didn't want to wear it -- I wanted to go as something store bought, like a GI Joe with a plastic mask and vinyl jumpsuit. In my young brain, I felt like my costume wasn't as good as the store bought kind.

I remember my parents walking me over to the basketball court. As I waddled over, I could see through the chain-link fence at least 5 or 6 kids wearing hockey masks and carrying plastic machetes, but still dressed like normal kids otherwise: puffy winter coats, corduroy pants, velcro ROOS. Still, I remember feeling shame and thinking: "Those are cool costumes." I remember it being so cold, and we were all lined up there on the blacktop, and I just wanted to be far away from there.

I don't remember who ended up winning that contest, but my uncle still has that mask in his basement art studio -- and I think it's the greatest thing ever.

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

Besides the Frankie mask, one of my favorite costumes was when I went as a scarecrow. I was probably 11. For some reason I feel like it was my mom's idea more than mine just because of how into it she was. She did a really great job helping me with my costume. I mean, I really looked like a scarecrow: big droopy flannel shirt covered in patches, sack over my head with cut-out eyes and a red nose, straw hat, gloves, and straw sticking out of every conceivable opening. She also added something I'd never have thought of: mini pie tins strung from my arms. When I put my arms out, the pie tins dangled and bumped into each other, giving off a metallic clang. I participated in costume contest that year which was held at the mall, and I actually won! First place! My mom was probably more excited about that than I was.

What do you do to celebrate now, out in the real world?

My celebrating now consists of parties and get togethers with friends, fairly low key stuff. Also, if there are any theaters in my hood showing horror movies for the holiday, I'll usually go to those. I currently live in an apartment on the third floor of a building with a locking gate in front of it, so handing out candy is kind of out of the question.

I'd say Halloween is more of a month-long celebration for me now versus the one-day celebration it was as a kid. It was always my favorite time of year, and I loved all the imagery and ideas associated with it, but the freedom that comes along with adulthood really allows me to take advantage of the Halloween season in a major way.

Do you have any yearly rituals?

As trite as it sounds, it's not Halloween for me without watching John Carpenter's Halloween at least once during the month. So that could be considered a ritual. I definitely do my best to sample as many October beers as I can, and I've done that for the last several years -- so that's another one. Then there's the typical stuff: decorating, carving pumpkins, gorging myself on candy.

Another 'ritualistic' thing I do every year without even thinking: when September starts to come to an end, if I happen to be at the grocery store I just immediately bee line it to the seasonal section in hopes that they'll have their October stuff out. All the bags of candy, the decorations, the cheapo masks. Halloween specialty stores are great; they have everything. But for me, nothing beats some rinky-dink grocery store's seasonal section in October.

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?

Halloween fulfills so many little kid fantasies: you get to watch scary movies, stay out late, eat as much candy as you can stomach, and you get to dress up in crazy costumes. All these great things. But it's not that you're simply allowed to do all that stuff, you're encouraged! And as you get older, you're still interested in and want to act on those simple childhood fantasies -- but now you can tack on a few more activities to the list: parties, drinking, movie marathons. Who doesn't want to enjoy those things or feel the way they did when they were a kid forever? It's the ultimate "fun" holiday.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was...I've gotten toothpaste once or twice. What a total rip. I'd rather get vegetables -- you can at least eat those!  

My favorite thing to get was...It was rare occurrence, but I do recall getting a full sized candy bar in my bag/bucket/pillowcase. I mean, that's kinda like the quintessential get, right? And one final aside: I always felt sorry for those gullible, naive folks who left unattended candy bowls on their front porch, enacting some sort of honor system. Those poor, poor fools.

Where can folks find you online?

My site: Camera Viscera. I'm always updating my Facebook.
And when I'm feeling succinct, I post on Twitter.

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: New Wave Nightmare

Oct 21, 2015

Trick R Treat - Days of the Dead

From Amazon:

Days of the Dead takes readers on a journey through Halloween history with 4 chilling new Trick ‘r Treat tales. Discover old-world lovers whose romance takes a chilling turn and Western pioneers who discover the dark side of the frontier. Travel to 1950s Los Angeles for a tale of pure horror noir and into the heart of small-town America to see some pranksters taught a lesson they'll never forget.

Across centuries of Halloween horror, wherever fear lies, Sam will be waiting…

Trick R Treat: Days of the Dead is a 144 page graphic novel containing four stories and a few pages of extra treats. I was pretty excited when I heard we'd be getting a bit more Sam in our lives this October, even if it wouldn't be in movie form.

If you're a huge fan of the original movie, you may be a bit let down with this book. As you can see from the summary above, the stories are each set in their own time. Although there is no Pulp Fiction-esque crossover between them, I like the idea of visiting different time periods. Sam is barely present in some of the stories but he always pops up.

Like any good showman, they definitely saved the best for last. Of the four stories, Monster Mash is the one that most feels like it comes from the same world as the film. Being contemporary, it's the only one that reflects Halloween as we expect it and the art style just about perfectly captures the magic. It has a nice little twist at the end.

My next favorite was surprisingly Corn Maiden. I wasn't expecting a Halloween tale set in the Old West to grab me as much as this one did. It's a cool story and the artwork looks as if it came from animation. Like Monster Mash, this one fits in the Trick R Treat film world.

Seed, set in 1640 Ireland, is about a witch and her would-be persecutor falling in love. I liked this story because it sort of tells how Halloween came to the New World.

My least favorite by a mile, was Echoes. I had expected this to be my favorite being a 1950s noir tale. I was hoping for an interesting private eye/Halloween experience. However, the story has more of a supernatural vibe that's not necessarily tied to Halloween. The artwork in this segment is horrible and not what I'd expect from a 50s noir story at all.

But maybe the most thrilling thing about the book is the short introduction by Michael Dougherty. In it, he states a proper sequel is on the agenda after Krampus hits theaters this December. Good news indeed!

I'd say if you're a fan of Trick R Treat, definitely pick this up. You'll probably enjoy most of it and anything we can do to show there's a need for a move sequel is a good thing!

Trick R Treat: Days of the Dead is available on Amazon in print and for Kindle.
Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: The Works of Danny Elfman

Oct 20, 2015

Halloween Web - Deadpan Flook

For the people that may not know you, tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I've been taking part in the Countdown for the last few years so most people will probably know me from that...but I also pop up a lot in the British Retro-gaming community, posting as Deadpan666 or Flook666 at various different forums and occasionally in the pages of Retrogamer magazine! I'm really into my video-games, and have played literally thousands...hence the more obscure titles in my Gruesome Games lists!

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

Going out in to the freezing cold every year, wearing bizarre costumes and walking miles to get my hands on all that sweet candy! Over here in Scotland we never used to have Trick or Treat...we were called 'Guisers' and had to say a poem, sing, do a party trick or tell a joke to get our hands on the loot! Nowadays kids just say "Trick or Treat" though, and the entertainment is usually optional!

We used to stay in Farm cottages, where there was only another 5 houses...and the grumpier people often turned out their lights and hid from us...so my brother and I would end up walking with our older sister to the nearest village a few miles away to try our luck there! A spooky but extremely enjoyable trip in the dark for a monster-loving 5 year old! :)

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween memory?

A couple! There was one time I was going to a Halloween party at school, and my brother suggested I wrap myself in toilet paper, wear a hat and some dark glasses and go as The Invisible Man...a great idea in theory! But of course it rained as soon as I stepped out the door, and so the toilet paper came off and I was left with a hat and dark glasses, which just looked like I hadn't quite grasped the idea of Halloween...

One of the times we went to the village, we knocked on one the doors and were shocked to see someone who appeared to be naked hurriedly run past said door....then the girl who stayed there's boyfriend appeared and thrust  a lot of cash into our hands and told us to "just go" as if he was in a hurry to get back to something!? Hehe...

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

I used to always dress up as Skeletons due to having a cool bone-apron that I could throw on with different masks. The one with the hair is my favourite (above, left)...the vampire mask my brother is wearing (above, right) totally failed to scare my niece (also in the pic) who ended up biting the nose of the mask, leaving tooth marks in it! My favourite modern mask is my White Werewolf one.. (below)

What do you do to celebrate now, out in the real world?

I'll usually get together with friends and end up at someone's house for a party (that's me in the skeleton mask) or end up at one of the Horror-themed pubs in Edinburgh for drinks...but this is becoming less frequent these days as everyone is settling down with kids. Hopefully, I'll get to tag along as chaperon when their kids start Trick or Treating, although sadly there seems to be less and less kids going round at Halloween these days, and they're just having parties instead.

Do you have any yearly rituals?

Hehe..Well, I do the blog every year now! But other than that I usually try to find a spooky old film to watch or some old horror radio shows to listen to, turn down the lights and immerse myself in the creepiness! I usually end up hiding behind a curtain and playing spooky tunes for when we get Trick or Treaters coming round to the house too....

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?

Well, I can only speak for me personally, but it's just the joy of celebrating the spooky things I used to love as a kid..things that it's not normally okay to celebrate! And getting to dress up in silly costumes and parade around like that's normal is a load of fun too! I guess it's just the fact that for one day every year it's fine to be obsessed with freaky, horrible monsters and mope around dressed in black listening to Vincent Price! 

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was apples....there always seemed to be apples in amongst the loot, which was annoying when you'd already spent ages before coming out trying to grab apples with your teeth in a tub of water whilst 'dooking' (bobbing) for them..  

My favorite thing to get was...Sweeties! Or Candy to you American lot! Isn't that everybody's favourite thing to get at Halloween!?

Where can folks find you online?

So yeah, my blog is Deadpan Flook and the Blog of Stuff and you can find me on Twitter! Hope everyone has an awesome Halloween and enjoys reading all the blogs in the Countdown! :)

Thanks for letting me take part in the interviews! Have a happy Halloween!

Don't forget to grab today's audio mix: Freddy's Nightmare Hits

Oct 19, 2015

2015 Halloween Hot Wheels - Screamliner

Here's the third entry in this year's Kroger exclusive Halloween Hot Wheels:

It's got a sweet purple metalflake body, which hard to capture in these shots. But check out that flaming eyeball in the front wheel well!

And of course, there's "Smiley" with the Hot Wheels logo on the doors. I really like the design of this car, it's got a very Burton-esque Batman art deco thing going on.

And now for this week's blasts from the past...

First up is this not really Halloween Metrorail from the 2004 Scrapheads Series. What's funny is that it would also get released in he 2004 Halloween Highway series with a different paint job. You may be wondering how this earned it's honorary spot in the Halloween Garage...

Granted, the conquistador skull isn't terribly spooky or scary but sometimes just a skull matched with the right deco is enough to get a car admission.

Our final guest is a '59 Impala from the 2001 Monster Series. The sides have disembodied mummy arms reaching out and the hood features the mummy's head holding the Hot Wheels logo in its mouth.

Come back next week for the fourth and final 2015 Halloween Hot Wheels!

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, here is today's audio Trick or Treat mix: Zombies: Flesh Eating Frenzy