Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To ALL!!!

Well, it's that time again! Christmas is only a few hours away. A great time of the year where we celebrate the birth of Christ and exchange presents. What's that you say? You didn't get anything for that horror fan in your life? For shame! Well, that's ok! I have a few suggestions for you...


First, our great friends over at Fright Rags have designed a beautiful Silent Night Deadly Night t-shirt and poster.The poster is absolutely beautiful featuring Ricky, the main antagonist of the movie in action. These bad mama jammas are limited to only 225, so once they're gone THEY ARE GONE! Another bonus: These posters will be signed and numbered by legendary scream queen Linnea Quigley, who appeared in the movie in a minor role. And what if posters aren't your thing? That's ok! The art was also turned into a t-shirt. displaying the same image below...



Another option is of course dvds. Throughout the years many holiday related horror has been released. Of course "Halloween" comes to mind automatically. "My Bloody Valentine", "April Fools Day", "Happy Birthday To Me", and on and on...it seems all the holidays are covered. However, a movie I have yet to see is a killer Easter bunny played by , which I'm sure is on it's way somewhere.

So what movies would I recommend on dvd? There's quite a few movies I would suggest you picking up. My top pick would no doubt be Christmas Evil. A fairly forgotten classic a disturbed, single young man who see's his father dressed as Santa giving his wife a "special Christmas present" (NOTE: You'll have to forgive me for not going into details. I would prefer to keep this blog rather clean). Growing up, he becomes obsessed with Santa and goes on an eventual murderous rampage. The acting isn't top notch, but it's worth a viewing. I actually have two versions of this movie. One on vhs and on dvd. FearNet is known to play it around this time time of year, but if you're looking to watch all year round you can pick up a used or new copy on Amazon. Look for Patricia Richardson who would go on to much fame as "Jill Taylor" on the wildly popular 90s sitcom Home Improvement in a minor role as a very frustrated mother of a problem child.



Another fantastic Christmas related film is obviously Black Christmas which was released in 1974. This particular slasher film revolves around a sorority house that is terrorized by a crazy man who sneaks through attic and...well...you guess the rest. This film was remade in 2006 to not so kind reception. The original however, is a classic. Both can be picked up on Amazon.com or perhaps that local used dvd joint in your neck of the woods.




For some reason I'd be amiss if I didn't bring two of my least favorite Christmas-related horror. One is a legit horror movie, the other is just terrifying to watch. Now as a huge pro-wrestling fan since a very young age I've noticed that so many pro wrestling stars try to take their act to Hollywood. Perhaps no one tries harder and fails harder than one...Hulk Hogan.While not the greatest wrestler(or even a very good one at that) in the world, Hulk Hogan is one of the most famous people int he world. If you don't watch wrestling or even know anything about wrestling you know Hulk Hogan. Be it his sad family affairs or his even more sad choices of acting. Which brings me to:


To be fair, this movie should never be made. I'm not ever going to waste the time to give the synopsis of this movie. I'd sooner give you a review of the Hulkster's match against the Outlaw Ron Bass. This movie is bad, bad, bad...like Wicker-Man remake bad. Well, not that bad...but along those lines. If you wish to purchase this monstrosity, go dumpster diving. Or if that doesn't work, again try amazon. Although I'd worry for your mental health if you wish to subject yourself to anything starring Hulk Hogan.

Another pro wrestler who gave Hollywood the old college try was one Bill Goldberg. Bill Goldberg was a hot commodity in the late 90s with WCW. Unfortunately, after that company folded in 2001 he never achieved the same greatness. Much later he would star in the popular show "Bullrun". But before hosting a show about stupid looking cars that make noise, Goldberg made a pit stop in horror...I give you Santa's Slay...


Now I previously said "least favorite" but Santa's Slay is quite entertaining. And unlike Santa With Muscles, this pick is more of a fun selection. The actors in this movie are comprised of "C Level" comedic actors including Chris Kattan, Robert Culp, Dave Thomas, James Caan and Fran Drescher. Interesting note, without going too much into a review Tommy "Tiny" Lister also appears similar to his character "Deebo" and while known for his menacing bully character "Deebo" in the famous Friday films, longtime wrestling fans will(perhaps not fondly) remember him as "Zeus" in the movie No Holds Barred starring Hulk Hogan and even headlined Summerslam with Randy Savage against Hulk Hogan and Brutus the Barber Beefcake which brings us full circle back to Hulk Hogan. See how that worked?

So back to the film. This movie isn't going to be remembered as a trip down Elm Street and Crystal Lake. This movie is more of a tongue in cheek film. Many references to Goldberg's wrestling career including his famous catchphrase "Who's Next?" and Goldberg using his famous "spear". If you sit down to watch this movie with the thought that it could be the next big hit, than you're fooling yourself. However, if your in the mood to watch a silly horror film that doesn't take itself all that serious than head over to Best Buy and pick this up.

So, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays folks! And be careful who you let down that chimney...you never know who could show up...


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dig All Of Those Obscure Faves Out Of That "Shallow Grave"!

Hello everyone! Hope the season is treating you well. This cold weather sure is a lot to handle, huh? Yeah, the next thing you know it will be snowing and we all know what that means...we'll be locked in our homes with nothing to do! But I've got a great solution how to kill time...

...A movie marathon! yep! Grab some classics and spend the day nestled in bed while watching some great horror!

Wait a minute! Something's off! There's something that doesn't belong in that photo. Hellraiser is a classic, Night of the Living Dead is no doubt a groundbreaker and Halloween is the one that many proclaim started the slasher genre. But what's that other one? Shallow Grave?!?! No, not the UK film starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccelston. This is about four college girls heading to spring break and encounter a police officer killing a woman. Insanity ensues and the girls are killed one by one.It's essentially you're normal "backwoods officer gone wrong" movie from the mid 80s.

Well, maybe it doesn't belong in the "Classics" genre, but it should belong in a collection! Why, you ask? Allow me to explain! Shallow Grave is one of those great forgotten low(very low at that) budget features that were only made because the company needed to throw some cash around for a weekend in Idaho. We've all seen them. These are the movies that would be found in the "pre-viewed movies for a dollar" rack of those mom and pop stores that go out of business. These movies aren't hits or cult classics. In fact the common movie fan would rather dip their hand in a tank filled with rabid wolverines than watch these movies. They are the movies that your crazy best friend would go in the back yard and try to film with a knockoff Jason mask while running around throwing sticks at his sister, all the while proclaiming to his dog the thought that he will be the next Dario Argento. These are the movies that only the bravest can stomach. But after watching true classics like Saw and Hostel, I think you can take on the mission of watching movies like Shallow Grave.

Of course, there are better examples than Shallow Grave. I could list off hundreds upon hundreds of movies worst than Shallow Grave, but I won't. I'm just trying to drive a point home. Horror fans are very loyal to the genre. They don't take themselves too seriously and these movies are a testament to that. Most, if not ALL horror fans have a special place in their hearts for these crummy movies. Myself included. I have a collection of horror on vhs that is 75 percent garbage! And why not? Sometimes the good horror movies are a little too intense, that at times we need to get a god laugh. And why not go with a crummy classic on vhs! I suppose these films would be the equivalent to watching one of those "sports bloopers" tapes. So...here's a small example of a few of horrors low budget "bloopers".



Above is just a tiny selection of my vhs collection. These films are some good examples of that obscure low budget crap that you can find easily at a Goodwill, video store closing sale, flea market or even eBay. The movies I selected are not considered great moments in cinema, but they are highly entertaining(maybe for the wrong reasons too). Some of the time you will encounter a good low budget film that was released as an afterthought but thrown in the shuffle of "ehhh...no one famous is in it and it looks like crap" by fans. The Pit and The Baby(Seen above) are two examples of that. Sometimes you will encounter those rare gems. They usually will take you by surprise, and most likely you will fall in love with them. Many of your fellow horror fans most likely share love for the same silly shlock that you do. It's the fun in the cheesiness in these movies that make it so enjoyable. Even the packaging screams "buy me!". Look at the cover for Shock Chamber. The cover is indeed  a great attention grabber and makes you question what's on the tape you're about to watch. Sadly, that is not one of the best examples of an "enjoyable" low budget film.

Forgotten vhs have become a treasured collectible to horror fans. These movies have essentially run their course by the time they were unwrapped the first time. Even if they were only watched for 20 minutes(that's usually the test for most fans. If you can get through 20 minutes and not want to bang your head on your desk, than it's a safe bet you'll get through the rest of the movie.) these movies served their purpose. Most of these movies will find their way to the Goodwill and snatched up by someone like me who does have a deep love for them. Many of my friends have stacks and stacks and stacks of these on their video shelf, sometimes exclusively as bragging rights. The biggest crime of these, sometimes depending on the film, are that they will never see a release on dvd or blu-ray. Maybe a few will be released on a triple feature budget dvd and you'd be able to find it at Big Lots. Years ago, Anchor Bay released a slew of shlock in their fantastic "Drive In Double Features". You could find them at Kmart and Best Buy. They were all movies that normally wouldn't have a chance anywhere else on the dvd shelf. Here's a prime example:






The Pit matched up with Hellgate! Yep, thar she blows! Two great obscure hits for the price of one. How can you go wrong? It's a true shame that Anchor Bay stopped releasing these. Currently, one quick look on Amazon.com, you'll find these garner higher prices than their vhs counterparts! So, until you can find these gems on dvd or blu-ray for a lower price, I'd go for the beat up copy of The Pit on vhs for a few bucks.



Troma Films specializes in making low budget movies, and have been for the past 35 years. But the difference is, they know what they're doing. Would you pick up a copy of Toxic Avenger and say "Wow. I bet this sucks!"? Yes! But that's the point of it. Too see the humor in the silliness. They know what horror fans want and they know that we don't take ourselves seriously. We won't shlock! And lot's of it! Another perfect example is Mystery Science Theater 3000. They take movies that are shlock and tear them apart. I also know many people who turn these into party games trying to parrot what they heard on MST3K.

Another fun in these movies are sometimes discovering those big-name actors in their first roles. Sure we've all seen and loved Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny and the Wrestler...but did you know that she had a role in the first Toxic Avenger(of course that scene ended up on the cutting room floor, but can be seen on the dvd release). The spirit of these movies live on to this day. Ever go to Best Buy with 15 bucks burning a hole in your pocket and need a quick fix? How many of those direct to dvd features catch your eye? Those are essentially the same movies, except with features and probably a bigger budget.


So, if you have a dollar and have the need to watch something different, head over to the Goodwill or Salvation Army or even a flea market and maybe you'll find something. Who knows...maybe it will be a "classic"!

On another note: In my last entry I made the error of listing my first Chiller Theatre as "May 2004" when in fact it was April 2004. Thank you to my Phil for pointing that out. And the photos have been replaced as well.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chiller 2004...an eye opening experience!

I've been doing all sorts of conventions since 1994. Comics, wrestling, toys, and yes...even anime. Now, as much as I hated it, my best friend managed to drag me to those anime shows on what seemed like a monthly basis. My anime days, while they are way behind me, took up a good chunk of my life and I don't suggest anyone to suffer through those. In the tail end of my anime days, a few friends and I formed a fan group named "The Lou World Order", which obviously was a reference to the popular wrestling group "The nWo" and at the same time a tribute to the head of Filmation, Lou Scheimer. We were different from the others. We didn't follow the same rules. We didn't act the same as everybody else. We didn't dress like morons and run down the halls screaming "squeeeee!". No, we did what we wanted, where we wanted. Eventually, we got burnt out on crappy anime and decided to move on and call the end of an era in 2005.

But before we moved on entirely, we took a break in 2004 to attend the world famous "Chiller Theatre". Chiller Theatre is a world-renowned horror show that now seems to focus exclusively on big names and stars from 60s and 70s. It's been about 5 years now since I've attended a Chiller show, but I have a lot of friends who tell me "oh yeah, it sucks" or "it's unorganized and extremely expensive".


To be fair as much as I do talk smack about Chiller, it does hold a soft spot for me. After all, the April 2004 show was my first step into the world of horror conventions. And I've never closed that door either. I was so elated to see people enjoying themselves and having fun. I was so used to seeing people at those anime shows acting so elitist and snobby. But horror fans, seemed to welcome each other and wanted to have fun as they shared stories of their favorite horror movies and such. I immediately knew which path to follow. I had to do everything I could to be a part of this scene. And over the span of a few years I did. It took a while, and I had to take breaks, but I got there. And to celebrate my new blog, I thought I would go back in my old "LWO Archives" and dig out the report I once wrote. Keep in mind back then I payed zero attention to how I wrote, or spelled and that it WAS written in 2004, not 2010. I tried to clean it up the best I could, but for the most part it is crap. Enjoy this flashback to 2004!



CHILLER THEATRE> EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY> APRIL 23-25 2004>
Friday:
After getting off work, I head over to Ryan's humble abode, where we pass the time by watching glorious Filmation. I also recieve an original Battle Armor Skeletor MOC from 1983!!! This con starts out well enough. So we head out at 6:00 and after having the worst Roy Rogers burger ever, we leave in the soaking rain and get to the hotel about 12 midnight. So we get in and get ready for our biggest con ever...But, before we find a....White Castle. yes. so happy.
Saturday:
I wake up pretty early, which is weird, considering I usually need about 10 hours of sleep. Ryan gets up at his usual "Wake me up in fifteen minutes, which drags out for 3 hours untill we go. We register 2 hours later at 12 noon. We start some stuff with Mad Max Guy, who must be a Chiller Theatre regular, cuz, I didn't know who he was. So, after registering, we head up to the dealers room, which is waaaay more insane than something like Ohayocon. They had a plethora of fantastic items, including bootleg dvds(NOW IN 2010 KNOWN AS "GREY MARKET DVDS"), great selection of unique action figures and poster and of course: COMICS, COMICS, COMICS!!!
Anyway, We finally get ourselves into the celebrity tent. I'm standing close to the beginning of the line, when all of a sudden, The Icon himself Rowdy Roddy Piper comes out. I scream "RODDY YOU ROCK!!!!" and he waves back with his signature hand motion. We head back to the room, where I get on my Jim Morrison shirt, which is basically the only shirt I ever wear at cons, much like Ryan and his Buffy shirt. We come back and the line is snaked all the way over into a good 1/2 mile, from my standpoint. Probably not though, it was long. So, Ryan decided to go and wait the line out, which was a bigger mistake. It just got longer. We talked to a lot of great people. Bummed some smokes.
After that we finally headed back to the tent, where Ryan and I get very excited to meet our favorite celebrities. We get into the tent an hour and a half later, and finally meet the one, the only...the ICON!


The Icon in our life, the Hot Rod, Rowdy...RODDY...PIPER!!!
We talked about Billy Blanks, our hatred for Hogan, and presented him as the Lou World Order World Heavyweight Champion of the Galaxy...He may have not been nWo, but he sure was LWO...I got him to sign a promo picture, a video cassette case, and I bought a Hot Rod! shirt, I've wanted since I was a little kid. 

So then we wandered over to the biggest line...the Batman cast line. First we met Adam West. His assitant kept messign with Frank Gorshin and Haji. It was funny to watch...But back to Adam...We asked him what his favorite Simpson line was and he said "Pure West". I did it for him, and he had a good laugh. I got him to sign a picture for Andrew (Ronuss) and myself.







Next, we met Julie Newmar, who was probably the bets looking woman at the whole con. Which I find very funny. Ryan asked her to sign his "My Living Doll" video tape which she was very flattered to sign. I got her to sign two pics, one of Catwoman and a modeling shot from the 60's where she's sporting fishnets! Eat your heart out Zatanna!






Next up, the Riddler himself, Frank Gorshin. We we're hoping to get him to do a Paul Lynde impression to counter Ryan's. He told us that his throat was hurting. I told Frank Ryan does a killer Paul Lynde, and he encouraged Ryan to do it! He failed and Frank just laughed. I got him to sign one photo.


After Ryan embarrassed himself and disgraced pual Lynde, we met Richard Hatch from TV's Battlestar Galactica. Ryan and him had a great conversation, and Richard complimented Ryan. "Your a guy that thinks, and I appreciate that". And he really dug my Jim Morrison shirt, which rocked! He was a great guy to talk to about tv and a guy that really loves his fans. Ryan purchased 1 photo


Our last celebrity encounter was our most dissapointed. Lou Ferrigno was only interested in signing and getting his money. I waved to him earlier, and he said hi, but when it came time to meet him, I'm sure he was really tired, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
So after walking around for three hours in the tent, we head out for a smoke. Ryan goes into his bed and I go up to the dealer room. I go into a different one, thank goodness, and find G.I. JOES!!!! HOO-RAH! I buy a Crimson Guard and a Fridge that I can finally play with and keep the other one in the mail-in bag. I run back to the hotel and tell Ryan about my find, and that they had DVD's and he buys the Best of She-Ra and I buy a Crimson Guard Python Patrol. I registered my alliance with the Horror Channel. Before we left the con finally, I went to the Troma room, and got my picture taken with Team Troma and Toxie!!! I would've liked to meeet Lloyd Kaufman, though.


After that, we were off to WHITE CASTLE. We got lost in the worst part of Jersey, and we headed back to our room. At 10:10 We went to go see the movie Ladykillers, starring Tom Hanks, which was funny, the only issue was I fell asleep in the theatre and snored for about 5 minutes, untill Ryan woke me up. We headed back at 12:00 midnight and went to sleep.
Sunday:
I really don't think I can qualify Sunday as a con expierence, because we really only registered for Saturday. We bid fairwell, and headed back to Maryland.






Ok, so not so bad, eh? We pretty much lived it up for our first horror show. Ryan would later throw that She-Ra dvd out by the way. According to him it was "Horrendous quality. It's like someone took a crap on a dvd". Well, either way it was a terrific time. Maybe 2011 will see my return to Chiller. I've been wanting to go for the past few years but something always stops me. In the meantime Monster Mania is the true horror show. In my mind at least. Is there another horror show that YOU love? What are your most fond experiences? Feel free to share and post them here!

Introductions are in order...

Hello, folks! Welcome to my blog. My name is Chad E. Young and I have been a horror fan since the age of 4. This blog was created so I can share my thoughts and experiences in horror. I have been very, very fortunate to have been able to meet my favorite horror stars, attend many conventions, and the best part: make a lot of great friends through my love of this fantastic(and maybe sick?) world we call horror. I've even met my beautiful girlfriend, Laurie at a horror convention. All in all, horror has been very good to me! I should point out, I am not associated with any website, publication, or organization. I am not a professional writer or journalist. Just a fan with an opinion.

My first exposure to horror was when I was at my babysitter's house and her young nephew was watching a movie called Creepshow. At age 4, it was quite the sight to see. I was used to watching cartoons, so to see decapitations and seaweed creatures coming to life was a new experience. But unlike some other kids, I wasn't frightened or scared of the craziness of the film. No. I was enthralled, intrigued and very fascinated. For some reason I couldn't stop watching this movie and at age three it did something to me. It presented a whole new world to me that I would live in for the next 24 years. Throughout those 24 years I would become obsessed. Loyal to the gore and fun of this great genre and never look back.

By age 5, my father and I would make regular visits to the video store on a weekly basis. VidMark Video was one of those local mom and pop stores located in a shopping center next to a barber shop and a Chinese take out place. But sadly, much like many of it's mom-and-pop bretehren, VidMark sadly went out of business in 1998. My dad was a big movie fan and he'd often pick up stuff to watch and also let me pick out one video for myself. I usually picked up a He-Man or GI Joe tape. One day in the video store while my father was checking out, a new poster caught my eye...


For some reason, this image caught my eye. The movie is "Hello Mary Lou Prom Night 2", the second in the four part Prom Night series(although this film had nothing to do with the first Prom Night starring the late great Leslie Neilsen and star of a small film called "Halloween" Jamie Lee Curtis). For some reason, again like Creepshow, I stood there for what felt like hours just looking at it. Questions swirled through my head."What is that?", "Who is she?", "Why is she on fire?", "What's a prom?" and "I wonder if dad will let me rent that?". Well, sadly he wouldn't let me rent that and quite frankly I didn't get to see this b-movie until 2001 when I found it at my local video store. It was worth the wait. This proved to be more entertaining than the relatively dull first Prom Night.

And then years later, it happened...



In the 80s, no villain was hotter than the pizza-faced maniac you see above. For those who are either new to horror or just woke up out of a coma, the man up there is Freddy Krueger. Played in 8 movies(including 2003s Freddy vs. Jason and a shortlived tv series called "Freddy's Nightmares" that was very similar to The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt where Freddy would be the host of the show, and very seldom have anything else to do with the show, save for a few episodes) by Mr. Robert Englund, Freddy was the worst of the worst. A child molestor. A killer. A real bad dude. After the neighborhood burned him alive, Freddy vowed to seek revenge on the families that killed him. How is he going to that, you ask? He went after their children in their dreams, the one place the parents were unable to stop him. Freddy took the teenagers most ardent desires and fears and turned it into one bad nightmare(get it now?). For 7 movies in the actual series, we saw him claw his way into their minds and kept his word.

But, what was it about him that made him so cool? Was it his demeanor? His catchphrases? That awesome razor-glove? Who knows, but he no doubt worked his magic and by the 5th movie, Freddy was a legend. He was on par with many other villains such as Darth Vader, The Joker and Rowdy Roddy Piper as a cult figure. Freddy had us in the palm of his rusty bladed hand.

So how did Freddy enter my life? Simple! Saturday morning syndication in 1990. Every Saturday a local television station would show a block of at least 2 or 3 horror movies under the "Creature Features". Of course they were heavily edited for afternoon tv airing. Well the first time I caught Creature Features, Nightmare on Elm Street was being shown. I was, again, enthralled. Most of the fun stuff was taken out but I saw everything I needed too. Freddy was entertaining and a lot like a live action comic book villain. The deaths were pretty silly, but that was ok. All I knew from that moment was

  1. Freddy was pretty cool.
  2. That glove is so rad. I must have it. Maybe I can scare my older brother.
  3. The chicks in it were pretty hot. Specifically Nancy who looked like my newest babysitter at the time.

 So, from that moment on I became incredibly loyal to Freddy. More so than any other horror character or franchise out there to this day. I've amassed a pretty nice(and always growing) Elm Street collection. I've met so many of the stars, including Mr. Krueger himself, Robert Englund! It's been a joy to be able to sit back and enjoy these films. Heck, I have the infamous "Freddy's Greatest Hits" on my iPod! And most recently, going out for dinner and drinks with two guest stars of Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Joe "Mark Gray" Seely and Lisa "Alice Johnson" Wilcox at a convention in New Jersey, made me a very lucky fan!

Freddy has been an escape for me. I can sit back and relax with a big bowl of popcorn, get a few laughs and maybe a few scares by watching my favorite villain take on these little brats is a lot of fun. Fun that's never lost it's luster after 20 years. The scariest part is when the day comes I lose interest in horror. tThat may be the biggest nightmare!


So please join me in the future as I review my convention experiences, blab about my favorite movies and my general whining. I'll be happy to have you to come and visit!