Wicked Art Wednesdays

This is a special Halloween edition of Wicked Art Wednesdays, honoring the incredible mind-blowing classic monster art of three legendary world-renowned artists and creators. These gentlemen are the genius masters of art, who inspire all others to follow in their footsteps.

Artist: Basil Gogos
Company/Studio: Basil Gogos Estate
Where to Purchase Goods:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fantaco/the-monster-art-of-basil-gogos
Website:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Gogos
Social Media:  https://twitter.com/basil_gogos

Artist: Rick Baker
Company/Studio: Rick Baker
Where to Purchase Goods: Online shop, special events, specialty stores, etc.
Website:  https://www.instagram.com/therickbaker/?hl=en
Social Media: https://twitter.com/therickbaker?lang=en

 

Artist: Daniel Horne
Company/Studio: Daniel Horne Studios
Where to Purchase Goods: Online shop, special events, specialty stores, etc.
Website:  https://www.danielhornestudios.com/
Social Media:  fourhorne@comcast.net

The Ten Creepiest Urban Legends

Urban legends are stories that are meant to scare us and typically serve as a warning or have some type of moral lesson attached. Every state has their own urban legends, some states even share legends, changing the details to fit their locale or whichever narrative is needed, but the core plot stay the same.  The ones I have chosen for this list are the creepiest found in the USA, and some of them are based on real-life true stories! Can you figure out which ones?

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  1. Turn on the Light

After partying most of the night, a co-ed decides to spend the night with a boy she met at the party.  She returns to dorm room to retrieve her keys, careful not to wake her roommate. In the dark room she can hear the sleeping roommate’s heavy breathing and assumes she’s got a cold. When she returns the next day, she finds her roommate’s dead body and the note written in blood on the wall, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”

This story is sometimes told with the co-ed being more studious and returning to retrieve a book for an all-night study session, but the end-result is always the same. This legend has been around 50 years or more and most likely was started by a parent worried about their college-bound kid.

Moral of the Story:     Screw your roommate’s feelings, always turn on the damn light.

  1. Licked Hand

One night, a woman who lives alone with her nice little dog, hears on the radio that an escaped lunatic is on the loose in her town. She locks up the house tight and goes to bed with her faithful canine companion, who stays close by her bedside all night. When the woman wakes the next morning, she finds her pooch slaughtered and note written in blood on the bathroom mirror, “Humans can lick too.”

Some variations of this legend feature an old woman and sometimes, a young girl. Sometimes she wakes in the middle of the night, hearing a dripping sound, and sometimes, the pet is alive and well at the end. Like the ‘Turn on the Light’ legend, the killer rubs the survivor’s nose in the fact that they barely escaped death.

Moral of the Story:     You’re never going to be in control of your own death and maybe you should get a cat.

Continue reading “The Ten Creepiest Urban Legends”

15 Scariest Black/White Horror Classics

Decades after their release, we still enjoy watching scary classic horror films. Some movies on my list are considered to be pillars of the horror genre, created sub-genres of their own and set the bar for generations of filmmakers to come.

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15. House on Haunted Hill (1959) Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart

An eccentric millionaire offers five strangers $10,000 if they can spend one whole night with him and his estranged 4th wife in a haunted house.

colorized house on haunted hill 1959 full movie Elegant Boys and Ghouls

Some actually consider this film comical or fun, but taking into account that audiences were not as knowledgeable about horror films gimmicks, as they are today, this movie was quite scary for its time. Director Williams Castle used camera tricks, shadows, ugly witches and skeletons to create the quintessential haunted house movie.

14. The Body Snatcher (1945) Boris Karloff, Henry Daniell

A ruthless doctor and his young student get into trouble with their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

body snatcher

Based on the short story of Robert Louis Stevenson, a fictional account of the real life surgeon Robert Knox and the murderous exploits of his corpse suppliers, Burke & Hare, this film was dark, disturbing and featured some fine acting from Boris Karloff. Some people even consider Karloff’s role as the Cabman and grave robber John Gray  better than his turn as Frankenstein’s monster. This was the last movie that Karloff and Lugosi would appear in together.

13. Nosferatu (1922) Max Schrek, Greta Schroder

An ancient vampire named Count Orlock leaves his home in Carpathian mountains by ship, terrorizes the crew, and eventually settles in the little town of Wisborg, where he sets his sights on the beautiful wife of his real estate agent.

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Unlike Dracula, Max Schrek’s vampire wasn’t suave or sexy. No, this creature was more like animal that prowled around in the dark before pouncing on victims. Like other German Expressionist films, this is a silent film, however, not original, as the filmmakers were almost sued out of existence by the Stoker estate for ripping off the Dracula story.

Continue reading “15 Scariest Black/White Horror Classics”

Top 10 Back to School Horror Films

It’s that time again. Time for all the kiddos to go back to school. Hollywood has long picked on teens to sell their worst nightmares to the delight of horror fans all over the world. Just when you thought there was nothing scarier than teenage angst and rampant acne, here’s ten Back to School thrillers that will make you glad that you’ve already graduated.

Prom Night (1980)

Chance of being killed is absolutely a good reason to skip the prom.

Four high schoolers, who made a pact in grade school never to reveal their involvement in the accidental death of a friend, are stalked by a masked killer on Prom Night, the anniversary of the death.

prom night

Unless you’re a diehard Idris Elba fan (which I am), I suggest watching original over the 2008 version. With Halloween and The Fog under her belt, star Jamie Lee Curtis secured the title of Scream Queen with Prom Night. The movie’s disco soundtrack became more popular with fans than the movie itself, but a copyright lawsuit killed its chances of US release. Original soundtrack was only released in Japan, making it a rarity among collectors but bootlegs are easily found these days.

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

No one sleeps through the night in this neighborhood.

Four teenagers are stalked through their dreams by the vengeful spirit of a janitor, and alleged child murderer, who was killed by the teen’s parents, years ago.

nightmare on elm st

This film gave birth to one of horror’s most iconic killers, Freddy Krueger, played by the charismatic Robert Englund, and superstar Johnny Depp, in his film debut; and, it also saved New Line Cinema from bankruptcy, when the film made a killing at the box office. The screech of Krueger’s clawed glove is second most hair-raising sound in horror, the first being, the infamous chainsaw.

Continue reading “Top 10 Back to School Horror Films”

Best Summer Horror Movies

Summer camp, beach vacations, cook-outs, pool parties, lemonade, fireflies, hot temps and endless sand, these are the things that make summer memorable. Halloween may be right around the corner, but summer is still in full swing. So, if you’re stuck inside during the heatwave, here are 10 great summer horror flicks to watch.

It Follows (2014)

There’s no mention of summer in this movie. It just feels like summer. Boredom often leads to casual sex, which leads to fear and paranoia, and eventually, leads to the suffering of life-long consequences. One of the creepiest things about this movie is watching the mundane life of Michigan teens.  Writer/director David Robert Mitchell never really explains the origins of it is but whatever it is, it’s hella scary.

it follows

Summer Camp (2015)

Taking jobs in exotic locations is all the rage during summer. Four Americans sign up to be camp counselors in Spain for the summer but a rage-inducing virus turn the young compadres into blood-thirsty fiends. From the teams that made the mega-hit The Conjuring, and Rec, the wildly successful Spanish zombie films, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill zombie film. No spoilers, but let’s just say, these aren’t your typical “undead” folk.

summer camp

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Who doesn’t love a good summer by the water? When teens return to the scene of the crime from the previous summer, they are haunted (or hunted) by a mysterious stranger. This by-the-book slasher film starred all the biggest 90s super teen queens and heartthrobs of the time. Besides that, nothing special here unless you like watching snobby teenagers get their comeuppance.

i know what you did

Piranha (1978)

Just when you thought it was safe to go tubing down the river… genetically altered piranhas attack summer resort residents. After the success of Jaws, 1970s Hollywood cranked out a slew of numerous man v. nature horror films. This Roger Corman production was a direct rip-off but not quite as spectacular as Jaws. It did, however, help cement the hungry little fishies’ legacy as devilish man-eaters. The movie spawned a sequel and two remakes including the 2010 all-star gorefest, Piranha 3D, which is porn stars, piranhas and Elizabeth Shue, no seriously.

piranha 78

The Lost Boys (1987)

Sleep all day, party all night, never grow old and never die, sounds like a great summer motto, right? Two teens move to Santa Clara, the murder capitol of the world and find vampires. This movie made two Coreys famous and solidified Kiefer Sutherland’s villainous David as one of pop culture’s greatest vamps. Director Joel Schumacher hired acting heavyweights Dianne Wiest, Ed Herrmann and Bernard Hughes to offset the movie’s camp. Horror movies really shouldn’t be this fun. Now what was that main character’s name again?

lost boys

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Going away for the summer takes on a whole new meaning. After witnessing a tragic accident, Angela goes to live with her crazy aunt, who eventually sends her off to a summer camp being stalked by a serial killer. After Friday the 13th hit it big in 1980, a slew of low-budget slasher camp-themed movies followed. This is probably the best of the bunch. This cult classic’s cringe-worthy kills still pack a punch and a shocking twist ending, on par with Hitchcock’s Psycho.

sleepaway camp

Tremors (1990)

Summers are hot and dry like a desert. A small town is terrorized by bloodthirsty sand creatures. Tremors is fantastic homage to the old Sci-fi monster movies of the 50s and 60s. The charismatic pairing of Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward lead an all-star cast in a perfect blend of action and comedy. None of 5 sequels that spawned afterwards quite live up to the originality of the first one, but they’re all still good b-movie camp.

tremors

Friday the 13th (1980)

Camp counselors, the unsung heroes of summer, and horror films. Cursed Camp Crystal Lake enlists the help of several young adults to prepare for the opening of summer camp but brutal killer arrives first. Jason Vorhees, the iconic killer drives the first film’s plot but his actual appearance doesn’t happen until the very end. No matter, he gets plenty of screen time in the other eleven movies following. It’s the second highest grossing horror franchise at $773.4 million, following behind The Exorcist. Rumor is the film series will end at lucky 13. Fans shouldn’t hold their breath while waiting for legalities over film rights to get sorted first.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Sometimes, summer is an unbearable scorching hell. In August 1973, after picking up a bizarre hitchhiker, a van full of young people stumble upon a house of terror. Considered a horror masterpiece, it was shot in Texas, during summer, in 115-degree heat, so the sweat dripping off the actor’s faces is real. The killer and several of the film’s details were based loosely on real life cannibal Ed Gein, but that’s as true as it gets. Writer and director Tobe Hooper did manage to coax some the authentic acting and screaming from its unknown cast. It’s the only movie on this list to be banned in several countries around the world (reasons vary, everything from the graphic violence to use of power tools in the title). Leatherface went on to become a horror icon and the mere sound of a chainsaw revving up, still sends chills up the spine.

texas

Jaws (1975)

“You’ll never go in the water again.”  Summer of fear. A giant great white shark terrorizes the beach community of Amity Island over 4th of July holiday. Based on Peter Benchley’s novel, Hollywood’s first known summer blockbuster, Jaws is more a study in fear than it is about a man-eating shark. It’s about personal fear, communal fears, societal fears, mass hysteria, imagined fear, projected fear, and of course, fear of sharks. It’s nearly the perfect thriller that continually builds suspense throughout the whole movie. Amity Island’s colorful characters jump to life, thanks to excellent casting choices and the brilliant script has snappy dialogue, including one of the greatest monologues ever written for film, performed by the mesmerizing Robert Shaw.  It’s all backed by John Williams’ unforgettable score, which is now burned into the mind of every filmgoer who puts a toe in the water. Many people claim their fear of sharks and swimming in the ocean was born after their viewing of Jaws. No other film in history of cinema has had the impact on our society in the way that Jaws has. It is the ultimate summer horror film.

jaws

 

Honorable Mentions:
The Burning  – Another summer slasher camp movie with Cropsey (yes, that Cropsey)
Blood Beach – Beach blanket bingo with monsters
The Hills Have Eyes – Don’t break down in the desert
Turistas – Don’t break down in a foreign country
Club Dread – Don’t let serial killers stop your party

 

 

What’s Your Halloween Style?

ani pumpkin line

A recent bout with illness gave me plenty of time to surf the web, where I came across a debate over how to celebrate Halloween. Sounds silly, since the beauty of Halloween is that it can be celebrated by anyone, in absolutely any way. It got me thinking though, do you have a Halloween style? It’s totally okay not to. It’s fascinating how all the different cultures and types of people come together and form this global Halloween convergence, that only grows with more and more ideas as Halloween moves into the mainstream consciousness. So, I thought, let’s have some fun discussing Halloween styles and see what people identify with.

Sweet ‘r Vintage
This is the barely scary, family friendly, vintage loving, zero gore Halloween. Their costumes are cute, their jack o’lanterns are cuter, and they never miss an airing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This crowd is into Beistle vintage repros and genuine antiques. They spend a lot of time preserving the history and innocent traditions of Halloween, and I suspect there’s a lot of baking going on.

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Halloween Collection ©Beistle

Classic and Spooky
These are the people who want a little more bite to their Halloween, but they are no gore hounds. They celebrate in the most typical of fashion, i.e., costume parties, parades, haunted mazes, theme parks, and midnight showings of classic monster movies. Every box is checked on the Halloween bucket list. They’re fine with the fact that Halloween only comes once a year, even though they’ll spend all year preparing for it. Say what you want about the consumerism, but these are the true Halloween traditionalists.

Grim & Goth
Halloween macabre. Vampire mystique. Red velvet. Dark eyeliner. Hearse rides around Forest Lawn. Candles. Candles. Candles. Tattoos and latex outfits are optional, but the devil-may-care attitude is a must.  I look at Halloween goths as classic traditionalists who have a deeper appreciation for the darker, supernatural, more grim side to Halloween.

 

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Scary ‘n Gory
Do you turn your own backyard into a terrain of terror every Halloween because you like the sound of people screaming? Have you ever had the cops called on you over a gruesome yard display? Have you ever petitioned the Academy to take another look at the artistic merits of the movie Hostel? If you answered yes to any of these questions, and are patiently waiting for the Saw series reboot, this could be your Halloween style.

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Heads on Spikes ©DapperCavader.com Los Angeles

$exy / #Trendy
Yes, this gets its own category because, candy corn Jello shots! Controversial masks and slutty Halloween costumes are not going away anytime soon, so long as frat parties are still around, but, here’s the thing, college kids always grow up. Whether or not, they stay Halloween fans and pass on appreciation for the holiday to their own children, depends on how they were embraced by the Halloween community. So stop being so judgmental, and let people wear what they want. Instead of bullying, urge people to respect each other, be kind, drink responsibly, and be safe on Halloween night.

harley by darcy delia
Harley Quinn costume ©Darcy Delia

Your Halloween style doesn’t and shouldn’t define you, but instead, allows you to connect to people who you normally wouldn’t. If you match one thing or two things or all things on this list, great! And, if you don’t, but you still love Halloween, well, there’s a style for that too.

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12 Great Ghost Flicks

Best thing about ghost movies is you can watch them any time of the year. Ghosts and haunts will never go out of style and you do get extra points for watching in the dark, alone. Below is a list of my faves.  Let me know some of your favorite ghost thrillers are in the comment section.

12. The Haunting

Based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, this is the original haunted house movie that set the bar for all others. Directed by Robert Wise of West Side Story and Sound of Music fame, Mr. Wise made good use of camera tricks and special effect devices to achieve the claustrophobic feel and distort images.  Truthfully, this should be number one, but it’s always on all the top ten lists of favorite horror films. Just trying to mix it up today.

the haunting

11. Lady in White

Lukas Haas plays a bullied new kid in school who accidentally witnesses a ghostly murder of a little girl, who haunts him until he helps her solve the mystery of who killed her.  This classic ghost story is based on a real urban ghost myth of the Lady in White in Rochester New York. Perfect for Halloween time.

lady in white

  1. The Orphanage

Guillermo del Toro helped produce this creepy tale about ghost children haunting a woman after her own child disappears in her old childhood home. Lights out, subtitles on, trust me you’ll be hiding under the blanket.

orphanage

  1. Paranormal Activity

Take one yuppie couple, one yuppie California track home, one yuppie camcorder, and mix in a bad spirit, it’s scary goodness for those who don’t watch Ghost Hunters on a weekly basis. There are a few genuine freak-you-out moments that will stay with you long after the movie is over.

paranormal activity

  1. The Devil’s Backbone

Another brilliant Spanish language thriller from Guillermo del Toro. This isn’t necessarily a horror story so much as it is a drama with horror elements. Set after the Spanish Civil War, the film has lush cinematography, great acting and a unique story about greed, lust and revenge, topped off with things that go bump in the night.

devils backbone

  1. Stir of Echoes

Even the undead can be connected to Kevin Bacon, who plays a man haunted by the ghost of a young woman after being hypnotized by his sister-in-law. Instead of asking to be re-hypnotized to forget everything, like normal people, this guy decides to go in search of the mystery that is plaguing his mind. Careful what you ask for. This story will scare the pants off anyone, but mostly homeowners.

stir of echoes

  1. The Others

Nicole Kidman hides her photo-sensitive kids in the dark while waiting for her husband to return home from WWII off the coast of England. Strange noises and occurrences are only the beginning of their troubles. This is a classic ghost story with brilliant cinematography and a unique twist. Ms. Kidman even garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.

the others

  1. Poltergeist

Not as scary as the others on the list, this blockbuster directed by Tobe Hopper and produced by Steven Spielberg, lays down the classic laws of all house hauntings and manages to send a strong socio-political message as well. Don’t f*** with Native American burial grounds. The tragic untimely deaths of several of film’s young stars in years following its release, only cemented Poltergeist’s spooky legacy.

poltergeist

  1. The Sixth Sense

This movie put M. Night Shyamalan and his trademark plot twists on the map. By now, everyone knows the twist of this one and that’s a shame, because it’s a damn fine ghost story if you overlook the gimmicks and allow yourself to be invested in the relationship between the characters. Seeing dead people has never not been scary.

sixth sense

  1. Session 9

Remember all the movies David Caruso made after leaving his brilliant-on-fire TV career? Neither do we. He did make one hidden gem, however, and this is it. Abandoned mental institutions are not places to screw around with. They’re filled with otherworldly rage, sadness, violence and pain. If you decide to take job pulling out the asbestos in one, make sure you’re in good mental health, or you never know what else you might pull out.

session 9

  1. Ju-on a.k.a. The Grudge

This might be my favorite on the list. Ju-on or ‘curse grudge’ is basically the belief that when a person dies with a deep and powerful rage inside them, a curse is born. The curse doesn’t stay in one place, instead it spreads by killing anyone who encounters it. That’s right, a never-ending ghost story. You can watch either Ju-on, the Japanese version, which is told out of chronological order and might be slightly confusing, or the American version, The Grudge, with Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar. Both are equally terrifying because filmmakers brilliantly decided to use the same actors to play the vengeful spirits in both films. There are sequels and such, but only the first movie lives up to the hype.

Ju-on

  1. The Shining

What evil weird things happen in creepy hotels, stay in creepy hotels—for like, an eternity. This is perhaps the greatest movie to show that there’s a fine line between the supernatural and insanity. It’s very, very thin line. Luckily, if your kid has a psychic gift, a.k.a., the Shining, you’ll know when to bail on room service before you get checked out for good. From the lush cinematography to its wildly metaphorically indulgent story, Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece is my pick for the scariest ghost story ever presented on celluloid. Good to watch with friends or all by yourself, if you dare. It’s a MUST watch in the dark.

the shining

Notable Mentions:
Blair Witch Project – Before there was paranormal activity in the suburbs, there was paranormal activity in the woods.
Audrey Rose – Marsha Mason, Anthony Hopkins and reincarnated children. Creepy.
The Changeling – George C. Scott and an old spooky haunted house. Nuff said.
The Entity – Barbara Hershey can’t escape this sadistic ghost, based on real events.
Trick ‘r Treat – Trick r’ treat demon reminds us of the real spirit of Halloween, which includes of course, a lesson in not messing with the dead.
The Eye – The reason against reusing other people’s perfectly nice organs. The original Japanese version is much better than the American version.
1408 – Another haunted hotel, this time with fancy special effects and the always dependable John Cusack & Samuel L. Jackson.
Ghostbusters – Not scary, but totally funny and it does have lotsa ghosts. A real fun time.
Thirteen Ghosts – If you like ghosts who cut victims in half, this is the movie for you.