Matt Goes To The Movies 2015

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015 Screen Logo

This past year was pretty solid for the movies as fans of all genres had something to look forward to with three of the top choices being The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Jurassic World and Star Wars: Force Awakens! But while many movie goers were waiting for those three films, I was silently waiting for the new Mad Max, Rocky and Terminator sequels as well as all of the horror films that were released last year. This time, I didn’t just see movies at my favorite theater Cinemark at the Greene but also watched flicks at Regal, Cinemark Dayton South and Cranberry Cinema and watched films along side the likes of Juliet Fromholt, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt, Stephen Alexander II, Anne Rotolante, Patrick Steele and my brother Bryan and his family! I ate many bags of popcorn and drank many Icee’s and loved the cinema experiences…well for the most part! This year was flooded with lots of other moviegoers who brought rowdy kids to the films, morons on cell phones and of course the loud talkers, but even these pesky people couldn’t bring down the mood and feel of the cinema. The ones who annoyed me the most were the loud talkers and kids during horror films, as their behavior took away from the atmosphere of films like Woman In Black 2, Green Inferno and Insidious Chapter 3! But let’s not waste too much time on cell phone zombies and talkers; let’s get to the Rotten Ink Theater and discuss the films I saw! Be sure to read on with caution as some write ups might have spoilers!

MMMMMM Popcorn

As always, we are going to take out the trash first as I present to you the worst films of the year…and oddly enough, I didn’t see too many bad films this year.  Only one film has made the list and while it was not terrible, I found it to be a major letdown.  So let’s get to the worst!

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# 1

Vacation 2015 poster

Rusty Griswald decides to take his family on a trip, not to Europe, but to Wally World, the same place his father Clark took him to so many years back. So Rusty hits the road with his wife and two sons, and along the way, they run into all types of crazy and crude adventures till they reach their goal of Wally World.  Throw in cameos from Clark and Ellen Griswald, and you have Vacation. The things that work for the film is some moments will make you flash back to the other films in the series, the downside are the moments that reminded me of the crude humor of American Pie and The Hangover. While I didn’t hate this film, I was just very much disappointed with it as I was really looking forward to a true National Lapoon’s Vacation sequel, not a crude humor cash in. The film did just okay for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in a total off $58,863,141.00 on a $31 Million Dollar budget. Again, if you have not seen this yet, skip it and just pop in the DVD of the original and enjoy a comedy classic.

So now that the stinky worst film has been taken out, let’s take a look at action…and oddly enough, this year I didn’t see too many action films and that’s a shame as it’s a genre I enjoy seeing in the theater! I missed the new Fast And The Furious film as well as several others, but here is the list of the ones I did get to see! I even added a sports drama in the action section to help add depth.

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# 2

No Escape (2015) Poster

No Escape” was a fun action thrill ride that has Owen Wilson playing a father who took a job overseas in the water service and soon finds that who he works for forced themselves into the market.  Now a group of rebels have risen up and are killing anyone who they think is ruining their county.  So Wilson has to save his wife and two daughters and get them to safety before they become victims in a bloodbath of anger. This was a fun edge of your seat movie that had many moments that made you wonder how the family was going to survive this riot uprising! The film also adds in Pierce Bronson as a man who is trying to help the family out but also has his own reasons for being there.  Really, this was a good action flick that mixed in just the right amount of a thriller to make it work. The film did pretty good for the Weinstein Company and brought in $27,079,507.00 just in the US Box Office on a $5 million dollar budget. Well worth the watch in the theater, even if the person I went with was Josh Weinberg and he kept texting throughout it!

# 1

Creed Poster

Creed was hands down one of the best films of the year for me and was one that I was most looking forward to as I have been a fan of the Rocky franchise since I was a youngster.  This movie lived up to everything I wanted from it, from drama to sports action, it had it all. Adonis Johnson-Creed is the son of Apollo Creed from a woman he had an affair with.  He fought his whole life to prove something to himself and thanks to the guidance of Rocky Balboa, he stands a chance at becoming a famed fighter like his father. Adonis must learn not only to fight as a trained boxer but also balance his life with his mom (Apollo’s wife), girlfriend Bianca and learning that Rocky is sick. I don’t want to spoil too much of the film’s plot nor the ending but fans of Rocky and Rocky II will eat it up. Sylvester Stallone is fantastic as the aging Rocky and gave the performance of a lifetime, and Michael B. Jordan is amazing and makes Adonis Creed a likable character and delivers the “Rocky” of this generation. The film had a great showing for Warner Brothers bringing in a total in the U.S of $98,756,653 on a $35 million dollar budget as of Dec 30th 2015. Again, I can’t stress enough how great this film is and when seeing it in the theater with my girl Juliet, she teared up at moments of well written and acted drama.  Do yourself a favor, and check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Yeah, I really was slacking in the action department.  I mean I had to add a sports drama film to the list, but it counts because it has Sylvester Stallone and boxing action in it, right? But what I did not slack on is science fiction and fantasy films that had some major heavyweights duking it out, not just at the box office but also for my # 1 spot! So let’s take an epic journey and see who won the pick to be the best 2015 had to offer.

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# 8

Pixels Poster

Aliens have sent Earth a challenge and are using our classic video game characters like Frogger, Pac-Man and Space Invaders as their warriors to battle our top arcade players of the past in a best of three match that pits the humans against real life pixel characters. This film got a lot of hate for no reason and many judged it because it starred Adam Sandler who for some reason is now the kiss of death for a film.  But while it’s no masterpiece of cinema, it is a fun space invader comedy film with cool retro video game characters like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders & Q*Bert and some fun chuckles. Pixels failed at the US Box Office only bringing in $66,412,189.00 for Columbia Pictures on a $88 million production budget. If you watch this film on DVD or Blu-Ray, go in with a clear mind and all the pre-online hate washed from your brain.  You might find yourself having a good time.

# 7

seventh son poster

The evil witch Mother Malkin has escaped and is causing death and terror.  The only hope is Master Gregory, a monster hunter who captured her many years back.  But when his ward dies in battle, he must find a new one who has to be the seventh son of a seventh son and finds him in a young farmer named Tom who he trains to become a killer of witches. Things get tricky when Tom falls in love with a witch and Malkin has called some of the top generals in the world of supernatural.  Gregory must face massive odds to save the world as we all know it. This is a cool fantasy film set in the age of knights that has many monsters and over the top battles that are sure to please most fantasy film viewers. The film was panned by critics, and sadly it tanked at the box office.  I feel like this is yet another of those films that got unfairly judged due to all the delays this production was plagued with. With that said, though the film does have some goofy moments like the over the top accent Jeff Bridges uses while playing Master Gregory, but for the stuff like that there is a dragon, attractive women and a foul troll like monster to make up for it. The film only grossed in $17,223,265.00 at the US Box Office for Universal on a $95 million dollar budget, but luckily it did a little better overseas.

# 6

jupiter ascending poster

Jupiter Ascending is one of those films I think was unfairly judged before it even opened in the theaters, due to delays, and the so called internet “press” before it came out was very negative.  Many moviegoers listened to these “critics” who said it was no good before even seeing it…this is what I call The Lone Ranger Effect. Juliet and I happened to enjoy this sci-fi flick that seemed like a mixture of many genre classics of the past thrown together. It felt like Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Masters Of The Universe had a child that was filled with lots of explosions and air chases. The story follows a young woman named Jupiter who works as a maid for a cleaning service run by her family, but she soon finds out she is much more as she has the soul of a reincarnated galaxy queen in her genes.  The Queen’s two sons and daughter want to manipulate and kill her to retain all she left them when she died in the past! But one lone bounty hunter along with his allies want to keep her safe and allow her to rule without the harm of her children’s greed. How can one woman change the fate of the world, and how will a simple maid deal with all the power and drama? This film’s plot has so much more to it but I don’t want to spoil too much as I think it’s worth a watch for sure. The film stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Sean Bean, and all of them do a good job pulling off their characters.  The film was directed by The Wachowski’s who are known for The Matrix films. It did poorly for Warner Brother only bringing in $47,387,723.00 at the US Box Office, but while it did poorly in theaters I can see this film gaining a cult following on the home video market.

# 5

Cinderella Poster

Disney has been doing a great job of making live action versions of their classic cartoon films, and Cinderella, much like Maleficent, is a perfect example of that. The story follows Ella, the daughter of a traveling merchant who sadly loses both her parents but not before her father remarries and she has to take care of her stepmom and two step sisters. They treat her not as a family member but more like a slave as they make her cook, clean and wait on them hand and foot. Poor Ella is even made fun of, and they start calling her Cinderella as they tease her looks after she cleaned the fireplaces and had ashes on her. The Prince of the kingdom is having a ball and with the help of her fairy godmother, she is able to attend and steals the Prince’s heart.  After she leaves before the magic of her glamorous life runs out, she leaves behind a glass slipper that is used in finding her. The classic story has never looked this good on the big screen, and I really liked all the actors casted as Lily James is perfect as Cinderella and Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as The Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett is sinisterly good as the Step Mother. The film did pretty well for Disney at the U.S boxoffice bringing in a total of $200,025,513.00 proving that the classic stories never go out of style.

# 4

Terminator Genisys poster

The fifth film in the Terminator series was one of the films I was looking forward to this year as I heard that it was a film that would change the series timeline as we know it.  After viewing it, the film lived up to what I wanted it to be. In the future John Conner sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah, but when he gets there he finds things are not like they should be as Sarah alongside a Terminator she calls Pops are hunting down and killing every attempt that’s made by Skynet to take her life! They travel through time and soon find out that John Connor himself has been compromised by Skynet and he is the ultimate Terminator! Can Sarah, Kyle and Pops stop the coming of judgement day or is all hope really lost for mankind? The film has lots of action and some cool twists that made it a solid sci-fi action adventure, and while Juliet and I both liked it, it appears that the moviegoers in America were not as hip to the idea of a 5th Terminator film and would rather have spent money on such classic 2015 films like “50 Shades Of Grey”, “Get Hard”, “Spy” and “Trainwreck”! The film did very poorly at the US Box Office, only bringing in $89,760,956.00 on a $155 million dollar budget. While this film was suppose to be the lead in to another trilogy of films, it appears Paramount has pulled the plug on that idea ending the threat of Skynet once and for all…or until they remake it…ugh!

# 3

jurassic world poster

Finally, after 14 years of being closed, Jurassic Park reopens with the fourth film in the series called Jurassic World, and it was amazing and well worth the wait! The film is packed with the charm of the original series but also brings in a touch of horror to make the dinosaurs a little more scary. The plot has the park opening and becoming a huge attraction for families around the world to come and see living dinosaurs, but like all big business comes the want and need to bring in more visitors.  So in come genetic hybrid dinos, but they make a mistake with one that becomes the ultimate killing machine and worse it escapes and is on a killing warpath! Throw into the mix a park big wig and her nephews as well as a trainer who has bonded with a pack of raptors, and you have one fun rampage film! The film stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt and B.D. Wong, who fans of this series will know as Henry Wu. The film was a mega hit all over the world and brought in $651,519,326.00 for Universal at the U.S. Box Office, and by doing so, left itself open for many sequels in the coming years.

# 2

Star Wars The Force Awakens Poster

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records and washed the bitter taste of the prequels out of the mouths of fans with a solid and well done sequel directed by J.J Abrams, the man who also rebuilt the Star Trek movie franchise. The story has Luke Skywalker missing and in the shadow of the Empire arose The First Order who is also trying their best for galaxy domination! Scavenger Rey alongside one time stormtrooper Finn must deliver a droid called BB-8 to the rebels lead by Leia Organa and get help from some familiar faces, namely Han Solo and Chewbacca! Throw in a new sith named Kylo Ren and add in some drama, action and heartbreaking moments and you have one hell of a great space war movie! Plus the new characters of Rey and Finn are likeable and great additions to the Star Wars universe. I saw this in IMAX 3-D opening weekend, and the place was packed.  It was amazing seeing how many grown men and women cried during this movie and how many got swept up in nostalgia when the opening credits popped up or when Han and Chewie first appeared. The score was fantastic and done by John Williams once more, and I can’t stress how amazing after all these years it was for me to see iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, C3PO and R2D2 on the big screen again. The film is doing fantastic for Disney bringing in an amazing $629,034,583.00 as of the day this update went up just at the US Box Office! If you enjoy Star Wars movies, video games, comics, novels, cartoons or toys then check this out for sure as major things happen, some that just leave you stunned and heartbroken.  It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray when released.

# 1

Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road was one of the films that I was the most hyped for in 2015, and it lived up to everything I wanted and more! The film follows Max who is kidnapped by a group of wasteland warriors known as War Boys and is used as a human blood bag for their ill warriors. Furiosa is a driver for the War Boys and their leader Immortan Joe.  On a run to get gas, she steals some things that mean a lot to Joe, and he will do whatever it takes to get them back! Max ends up free and tags along for a wild and furious ride with Furiosa that pits them against Immortan Joe and his War Boys! This movie is filled with lots of amazing car action and lives up to what a Mad Max fan would want from a new film in the series. While I did miss Mel Gibson as Mad Max, Tom Hardy does a pretty good job filling his boots. Immortan Joe who is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toe Cutter in the first Mad Max film, is fantastic and is one screwed up false idol! The film is not so much about gas as it’s about the shortage of water and how one crazy person/company in the future could control it all…cough: Nestle. The film also stars Charlize Theron as Furiosa who has become a very popular character and is a cool strong female character. The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Warner Brothers as it brought in $153,636,354.00. Here is hoping that this film did well enough to make another sequel as I am ready to travel in that wasteland again in my favorite local theater.

There were so many sci-fi and fantasy films this year and to boot, so many great ones! But sorry, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, while you both were great, you’re just no match for Mad Max on the Fury Road! Next up, we move to the topic of comic books as we once more were treated to many super hero films in 2015.  So grab your cape and let’s take a wild ride to see what hero took the # 1 spot for me!

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# 3

Fantastic Four Poster

Fantastic Four was another movie that suffered from being judged before it even hit theaters, all based on a poorly put together trailer and the fact they changed the Human Torch Johnny Storm’s race.  Like Pixels, I think people were way too hard on this movie. Now I must say that this film does have lots of flaws and at times it felt as if the actors had no real direction or motive to put in a powerful performance. The film’s plot has Reed Richards being offered college tuition as he has mastered sending objects to another realm and along with Victor Doom and brother and sister Sue and Johnny Storm, they make a machine to send humans to that dimension.  An accident leaves them all with super powers and turns them into freaks of nature, even his best friend Ben Grimm is suckered in to this mess and transformed. Reed gets the power to stretch his body, Sue can turn invisible and create forcefields, Johnny can turn into a walking talking fireball, Ben turns into a living rock creature and Doom becomes something more and builds a godlike complex that leave the four having to battle Doom in the other dimension to stop his takeover of Earth. The film is silly, and the characters at time seem lost or as if they are bored, but over all I had fun seeing it at the theater. The film did poorly for Fox and is considered one of the biggest bombs of the year as it only brought in $56,117.548.00 at the US Box Office on a budget of $120 million! Love it or hate it, the film entertained me so it did its job.

# 2

avengers age of ultron poster

The Avengers came swinging back into action in 2015 and was an entertaining summer popcorn film that combined two of my favorite things: movies and comics. Iron Man wants to save the world, and by accident, he creates a living robotic being named Ultron who wants to clean the world of humans and start over! Tensions mount as The Avengers are defeated for the first time by Ultron and his two new mutant helpers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! But in the end, the team comes back stronger than ever and gets the help of the twinsas well as a clone of Ultron named Vision who all soon learn Ultron is a menace.  Together they save the Earth and defeat the robot armageddon. The film was a lot of fun, but I didn’t feel as it was as strongly as the first film and some subplots seemed out of place and were too Wheadon “Buffy” for me as now Black Widow and Bruce Banner have a forbidden love..silly. With this said, I enjoyed this superhero mega budget action movie and am looking forward to Avengers 3! Avengers 2 did amazing for Disney bringing in a total of $459,005,868.00 at the US box office showing that these heroes still pack a punch for movie watchers.

# 1

Antman Poster

When I first heard they were making a movie based on Ant-Man, I chuckled and thought who is going to play Hank Pym! Then when I heard Hank Pym was being played my Michael Douglas and he was not the focus of being Ant-Man as that was going to Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd, I thought Marvel had lost their minds putting an actor who’s been in a bunch of cheesy comedies as the title hero. But when I saw the trailer, all those doubts flew out the window and I became even more hyped to see this film based on a B-grade Marvel Comic character. The plot has Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, having to trust a master cat burglar named Scott in order to stop his one time company from getting the shrinking human technology.  So Scott becomes Ant-Man, and along side Hank and his daughter Hope, must stop this from happening as well as defeat the sinister Yellowjacket! This film is not only a superhero one but also part heist with a dash of comedy. Paul Rudd surprised me and turned in a great performance, and everything from the acting to the soundtrack worked. In my opinion, hands down this was the best superhero film of the year! The film did well for Diseny at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $178,780,134.00 on a budget of $130 million and at the foreign Box Office add on another $275,900,000.00! Say what you will, but Ant-Man packed a big punch for movie fans.

Never in my life would I think a film about Ant-Man would beat out a film that had Captain America and Hulk in it.  Crazy, but it did and took my # 1 spot! Up next is my favorite genre of films and one I look most forward to writing about for this Best Of update, horror! Once more this year was filled with lots of ghost and possession films as Hollywood thinks that’s all we horror fans want to see at the theater, but I think they are starting to learn as many of these titles did good but not great at the box office. Give me Slashers and classic monsters back and keep the ghost films away for awhile.  I would like to see more Halloween, Friday The 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre films in the theaters. But let’s waste no more time and jump into my top 15 list of horror films I saw in the theater this year!

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# 15

The Boy Next Door Poster

Jennifer Lopez looks fantastic in this horror thriller that has her playing a single mom who is a high school teacher that is trying to move on past her ex-husband who is trying everything in his power to get her back! Her neighbor is a sick old man whose nephew has come to live with them after his parents died in an accident.  This young man befriends J-Lo’s son. After a bad date and a few glasses of wine, she is seduced by the young man next door and they have sex.  This starts her downward spiral as the young man is unstable and becomes so obsessed with her that it leads to possibilities of losing her job, her husband and possibly her life! This film was a fun cheesy thriller that has some moments of suspense and even violence that help it along to be entertaining.  While the plot is mostly predictable, it was still very much worth watching. I saw the film with Josh Weinberg, and he also thought the film was okay. The film at the US Box office has brought in $35,423,380.00 for Universal on a lower budget making it a good solid hit for them.

# 14

the lazarus effect poster

Is there a afterlife? And what if science could find away to bring you back after death? This is the plot for The Lazarus Effect. Zoe is the leader of a research team that includes her fiancee Frank.  They are being filmed by a student as they embark on using a serum they created to bring the dead back to life and have success in bringing back a dog. But things go wrong when the college pulls funding and their research becomes property of a major drug company! Zoe and her crew sneak into the lab for one last test, and an accident leaves Zoe dead and her team using the drug on her.  But when she comes back, something is different, and their beloved co-worker is now an evil killer who is out for blood and can’t get past the major sin of her past. The film was a fun watch, and on the day we saw it, Juliet and I were the only people in the theater watching. The film has some cool yet cliched spooky moments, and Olivia Wilde who plays Zoe does a great job of being the sweet doctor who turns into a black eyed demon.  But the film does have some major plot flaws and characters who make some of the dumbest decisions in any movie I have seen this year, with Frank being one of the most annoying characters I have seen in a long time who seems to be as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the fact his mate is not his sweet girl anymore. The film was not a huge hit at the US Box Office but did well for Relativity bringing in $25,784,902.00.  While not a great film, it was worth watching for sure.

# 13

The Gallows Poster

The Gallows was one of those lower budget horror films that when I heard about it piqued my interest and was one that I wanted to see if it could be the next franchise in the genre.  Sadly, while I had a good time watching it in the theater, it was a letdown for the most part. When I saw the name New Line Cinema attached and the trailer dropped the names of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees and compared them to this film’s villain, named Charlie, I thought for sure we would get a supernatural slasher film, but instead we got another Paranormal Activity clone with a killer that is hardly seen. The film is about a young man who is hanged by accident during a play in 1983, and in 2013, the school is trying the play again.  A group of teens get trapped in the school at night and are hunted down by the ghost of the dead actor who wears an executioner’s mask and carries a noose. The film is bloodless and is of the found footage nature, making for lots of moments of shaky camera work and jump scares but has no really bloody moments. The film’s main attraction for me was actress Pfeifer Brown, who plays the character Pfeifer, the queen of the drama department who was easy on the eyes, as well as the setting of an old creepy school at night which worked in spots. The film did okay for its low budget for New Line and brought in a total of $22,764,410.00 for them at the US Box Office. It could have been better and could have been worse.  This is a film I might watch one more time when it hits DVD to see if I missed anything that might have made this scary.

# 12

Unfriended Poster

Laura Barns was a girl in high school who was filmed passed out at a party after she had an “accident.”  Someone posted the video to Youtube, and so Laura’s harassment and bullying began, which leads to Laura killing herself. On the anniversary of her death, a group of friends meet up for a Skype chat that is hijacked by the account of the dead Laura wanting answers about who posted the video, and if it doesn’t get the real answers people begin to die! One by one the friends drop off but not before each person’s dirty little secrets are shared.  In the end does the spirit of Laura get the answers she seeks? Check out this horror film that takes place almost solely from the view of a computer screen.  While silly in parts, it at least tries to have a message about thinking before you put something on the world wide web that could be hurtful to others. The film’s murders are a little cheesy and amateurish, but they at least get an A for effort in having the guts to murder someone with a curling iron. The only major downside to the film is the ending that felt tacked on and takes away from a more powerful ending that it could have had by having one of the characters have to live with her mistake and secrets out in the world, but instead they went the route of spooky ghost coming to get you. The film made some money for Universal bringing in a total of $32,482,090.00 at the US Box Office. While not a fantastic horror film by any means, I still was entertained by this modern digital way to showcase horror by adding in social media and the cruel nature of high school drama.

# 11

poltergeist poster

This is one of those cases when you look at a film that been remade by Hollywood and ask yourself why would they do that? The original Poltergeist is a perfect rated-PG horror film that scared kids and parents alike and was a team up between Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg that was just a good scary flick. Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures decided that they needed to remake it, and while they believed in their remake, moviegoers didn’t as the film performed very poorly at the theater. The film follows the Bowen family who are down on their luck and must move into a house in a not so nice neighborhood that seems to have some odd issues with the lighting and static electricity. After they learn that the house was built on top of a graveyard, their young daughter Maddy is taken away by spirits, and the family along with paranormal investigators must find a way to save her before it’s too late! The film adds some changes that help make it different from the original, and by all accounts Raimi should have made a sequel and not a remake.  Over all it was okay and was a nice summer popcorn film. The film only brought in $47,425,125.00 for MGM and shows that maybe movie goers are getting tired of remakes of classic horror films. I should also note that I am not a fan of kid actors, but the ones in this film do a good job!

# 10

The Green Inferno Poster

The Cannibal gerne was alive and well in 2015 thanks to Eli Roth, the director of Hostel and Cabin Fever. The film follows Justine, a young college girl who gets wrapped up in helping an activism group try and stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.  After they help slow it down, their small plane crashes and they become captives of a tribe of cannibals who kill not only to eat but also for ritual. Justine must muster up the inner strength to make it out alive.  This really gives a new meaning to who will survive and what will be left of them! The film is brutal, but not as brutal as one would think of when watching a cannibal film of the 70’s as only one scene really pushes the envelope on the splatter. Lorenza Izzo plays Justine and is fantastic as she is likeable and you find that you don’t want her to end up as dinner for the tribe. The film was supposed to be released last year but was pushed to this year and made High Top Releasing $7,105,595.00 on a $5 million dollar budget in the US.  So while this leaves itself open for a sequel, it was by no means a hit at the box office.

# 9

krampus poster

The Engel family have gathered for Christmas but when young Max looses faith in Santa Claus, he unleashes the sinister Krampus and his helpers who are out to ruin his Christmas or is that save it? One by one Max watches as his family disapear by the hands of Krampus and his minions.  As they fight back, the odds seem grim.  Can Max take back his Christmas and save his family…watch and find out! This film is one part horror and one part comedy and is brought to you by Michael Dougherty, who also did the holiday themed film “Trick r Treat” and made for a fun watch in early December when it was released in theaters. The film had a good atmosphere as the family is stuck at home with their neighborhood deserted during a freak snow storm with no power and no cellphone reception, and one pissed off shadow of Santa Claus looking for some new souls to take! The creature effects are pretty cool with twisted elves wearing human masks being the most freaky and killer gingerbread men being the silliest and dumbest.  Over all the film was okay and nothing too special. I found other Christmas themed horror films like the original Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night to be way better to chill the holiday season. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in this far $41,333,325.00. If you like Christmas themed horror films or are looking for a fun watch, check it out.

# 8

goosebumps poster

Goosebumps was a popular book series and TV show when I was a youngster, and it’s still popular with today’s youth.  When I heard a film was being made I was pretty hyped, but when I heard Jack Black was in it playing the series creator R.L. Stine, I lost some steam on wanting to see it. But all that changed when I saw the first trailer and all the classic Goosebump monsters on the prowl – I was sold on the idea of seeing it! The film follows a young man who is new in town and in next door to a strange man and his daughter.  You soon find out the man is R.L Stine and that when one of his Goosebumps manuscripts is opened, it frees the monster from within its pages.  Worse, the books are in the hands of that evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy all thanks to the young man accidentally opened one and caused a panic. Can R.L. and the teens stop this monster invasion of their town or will they end up being the monster capital of the world! This is “The Monster Squad” for this generation and was lots of fun, even for me at the age of 36.  It’s well worth seeing in the theater and was a nice change of pace to see a family friendly horror film in the theater! The film made $78,121,323.00 at the US Box Office for Sony, making it not as big of a hit as they were hoping but still one heck of a fun watch for those who wanted to see zombies, a yeti, a werewolf, gnomes and so many others ghouls and monsters at their local theaters.

# 7

Crimson Peak Poster

Edith Cushing is the daughter of a wealthy New York businessman who can see the souls of the dead.  As a child she gets a visit from her mother, who had passed away, warning her to stay away from Crimson Peak. Grown up and after the death of her father, Edith moves away to England with Sir Thomas and his sister Lucille and soon finds that their crumbling mansion is filled with not just red clay but also ghosts, all disfigured and haunting.  Once Edith figures out she is at Crimson Peak, can she not only survive but also solve the mystery of this dreaded family and their home? This film is a gothic romantic horror film that embraces the ghost genre but also tries to add its own charm and atmosphere the way only director Guillermo del Toro can. The film has lots of twists and some surprises that sadly I could see coming 5 miles away.  While this did make the movie slightly less enjoyable for me, it did not take me out of it and I will not spoil the surprises and twists for you here. What kept this movie entertaining for me was not only the set designs and the gruesome ghost effects, but the acting that was top notch with Mia Wasikowska who played Edith being the stand out.  She is fantastic, and I found myself cheering for her to escape Crimson Peak! The film was not a US Box Office winner, only bringing in $31,090,320.00 for Universal on a $55 million dollar budget. While this is not del Toro’s best horror film, it was at least entertaining and had some great moments mixed in with the predictable ones.  It’s worth checking out if you like gothic horror.

# 6

insidious chapter 3 poster

Insidious Chapter 3 is not so much a sequel as it’s a prequel to this new popular horror series. Quinn is a young woman who lost her mother to cancer and wants to have one last chat with her.  She goes to talk to a retired Elise, a former medium who had to give it up after her husband died and an evil spirt tries to attack her whenever she now does a reading.  Her mistake is that she tries to do one for Quinn and by doing so, has a spirit called The Man Who Can Not Breath (an old looking ghost with a oxygen mask on) start to follow Quinn! A bad accident happens that leaves Quinn in a wheel chair with broken bones and even had her flatline in the hospital.  The spirit claims half of her soul when this happens, and it’s up to Elise and Quinn’s father to save her from its evil grips! The film once more is filled with pop up frights as well as a cameo from the series original evil ghost The Black Bride, and adds more to this series back story and shows that while a horror film is slow, it can still back many good scares as Juliet, who I saw this with, jumped out of her seat many times! The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Focus Features, bringing in a total of $52,218,558.00. The film ends with a possibility of an Insidious Chapter 4, and it will be interesting to see what they did with the new spirit thats introduced at the end.

# 5

The Woman In Black 2 Poster

Hammer Horror has cranking out films about ghosts and possession since their comeback and don’t skip a beat with this sequel to The Woman In Black. The film takes place in England during World War II and follows a group of children and their teachers leaving the city for the safety of the country.  One little boy is targeted by the spirit of a vengeful mother who is The Woman in Black, and she wants him to die like her child did so many years back. It’s up to one brave school teacher and an air force pilot to save the child and find out the secret of this evil spirit. The film has some great atmosphere with the old house and ocean scenery and a chilling soundtrack but is plagued with cheap loud jump scares and a predictable story. Over all The Woman In Black 2 is a fun PG-13 rated horror film that was a nice way to kick off the horror films of 2015 as it was the first to be released to theaters. The film brought in $26,501,323.00 for Relativity and sadly was not a big money maker, but will hopefully do so on home media and digital.

# 4

The Visit Poster

Paula has been at odds with her parents for years after a big blow up causing them never to meet their grandchildren until one weekend that has Rebecca and Tyler meeting them and staying with them after a train ride. Rebecca brings along some cameras and wants to make a documentary for her mother about the trip, but what seems like a fun time with the grandparents turns into a bizarre creepy one as they act odd, complete with good old Grandma running around the house like a wild woman late at nights! This film has a twist ending like all M. Night Shyamalan films, and this one works better than most. The film is not a blood bath and has none of the red stuff flowing.  What it does pack is spooky elements and creepy old people doing odd things that makes you as the viewer uneasy. I don’t want to spoil the ending and twist so I will just say check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray and have a creepy good time with a film set out in the middle of nowhere! The film did okay for Universal and brought in $63,882.720.00 at the US Box Office on a small $5 million dollar budget! Check it out if you want to see a cool film with great atmosphere.

# 3

Victor Frankenstein Poster

Victor Frankenstein suffered from bad marketing and a trailer that made it look more like a dark comedy than a sci-fi, horror drama film that it really is. The film follows Victor Frankenstein and his assistant who he names Igor after rescuing him from a life of being a hunched back clown for the circus and their scientific journey into creating life! The pair build a primate creature, and this leads to the main goal of bringing a man back to life.  Along the journey Igor wins the heart of his dream girl and the pair do business with a rich cut throat scientist and must dodge a police officer who is obsessed with stopping them from messing with God’s nature. This was a fun classic monster film that showed that done right the classics will never go out of style…well at least for fans of the classic monsters. The acting is well done with James McAvoy playing Victor and Daniel Radcliffe playing Igor.  The pair blend the horror, sci-fi, comedy and drama elements perfectly together, and they make the characters seem like legit friends. The moving going public once more did not come out and support this film making it a bomb for Fox and bringing in a very small $5,747,301.00 in at the US Box Office, showing that Americans would rather spend their money at the theater seeing Kevin Hart or Melissa McCarthy play the same roles over and over again. The Frankenstein Monster shows up at the end of the film and is a pretty cool design and the action that takes place in the final battle is pretty fun and packed with fantasy epic moments. Do yourself a favor, and check this film out when it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray.

# 2

Sinister 2 Poster

Sinister II is yet another film this year that I feel was unfairly judged by critics and fans that caused it to strike out at the box office when it was a solid follow up to the original that was packed with creepy moments and some brutal deaths. The film follows Courtney Collins and her two sons Dylan and Zach who live in a old farmhouse hiding out from their father who is abusive.  Meanwhile Deputy So & So is on the hunt to figure out who has been killing families that leaves one child always missing. But we all know that Mr. Boogie and his ghost kids are to blame, and when one of the kids is targeted to watch 8mm films of brutal deaths the cycle continues! This film was lots of fun and have some really disturbing deaths as well as some jump scare moments, I for one really like the Mr. Boogie character and would like to see a part 3 sometime in the future. This film does not just rely on gruesome deaths to chill the bones of the viewer it also uses lots of cult and paranormal elements to add more shivers. The film has some great surprises and elements that are sure to shock and scare. The film didn’t do that well at the US Box Office for Focus Features only bringing in $27, 714,992.00, sadly not sure if this will ger a sequel but here is hopping it does as it was the closest thing I got to a Slasher film this year overrun by films about ghosts and possessions.

# 1

IT Follows Poster

It Follows is one of those independent horror films that shakes up the world of horror and shows that not every film this generation needs to be a ghost or possession story. The film is about Jay, a college co-ed who goes on a date with a young man.  After they make love, he knocks her out and when she awakens, she is tied up and he tells her that she will now be followed by It, a shapeshifting walking thing that if she is touched by she will die! The only way to save yourself is to sleep with someone else and pass it along. The film follows Jay as she comes to terms with a thing that follows that her friends cannot see, just so desperately want to help defeat. The movie is filled with surprises and twists that will sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. I saw this film at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek with Jeremy Hoyt, and we both agreed that this was a top notch thriller with an original and entertaining plot and is worth watching for sure. While this was a hit at filmm festivals and art house theaters when it opened wide, it brought in only $14,674,076.00 in the US for Radius, and thats a shame as I would have hoped horror fans would have went to the theater and supported this great film.

It was a great year for movies at the cinema, and it was made better by all my friends and family that came with me to the theater. It was amazing seeing sequels to films like Star Wars, Mad Max, Terimator, Rocky, Jurassic Park, Sinister and others that didn’t take the cheesy remake or reboot route. The Horror Films of the year did a pretty good job of scaring viewers when they were suppose to. This year is also filled wall to wall with great films and will be another year of films that will make me nerd out! So up next we are going to take a look at the mini comic based on the Atari 2600 game called YARS’ REVENGE so all you old school gamers and comic readers make sure to come back for that one! In the comments below make sure to let me know what you favorite film of 2015 was as I would love to see what you my friends and readers are enjoying these days. So until then watch a movie or two and support your local movie theater.

Yars Reveng top of game logo

Halloween With The Magnetic Tape Undead

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And welcome back to Rotten Ink’s annual All Hallows Eve update  I am sure you are as hyped as I am to find out what custom comic Eric made for me to read and review just for this update.  Will it be Night Of The Demon? How about Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates? Or even Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell? Well, it was none of the above as my artist friend delivered something more fun that would for sure make a great comic for this special update that only comes but once a year! So what film did he choose to make into a comic for me? I had to wait for about a year and did not know until October 26 2015 so you can wait a little longer, but while you wait, we will cover lots more great and spooky stuff including a visit to a haunted location in Ohio, 5 Questions with a Horror Host, a Creepypasta, a real life horror and other random spooky goodness! So light your Jack O’ Lantern and dim the lights, it’s time to have a spooky and creepy time with Rotten Ink…BOO! I got you this time right?….Right?

Creepy Halloween Night

A Creepypasta that has recently caught my eye is one called “Abandoned By Disney,” a great story that could send shivers down the spines of those who live around abandoned amusement parks. A young man remembers a Disney amusement park in North Carolina called Mowgli’s Palace, based around The Jungle Book that was made sometime in the late 1990’s and was met with hostile reactions from the locals. Disney is said to have put lots of money into the park and spread flyers and advertisements in the local paper to try and get locals to come. The main attraction was the palace itself as people could stay at the park and enjoy its jungle nature and theme. The story goes that a young man decided to do some research on Mowgli’s Palace as he remembers all the drama it caused, and armed with a promotional map he got sent when he was a kid, he heads to the park and is greeted by a overgrown area with tall wooden gates that had a hand painted sign that read “Abandoned By Disney.”  Upon entering he noticed that inside was also over grown, and it was clear time and the weather had not been good to the place.  Vandals had taken down many of the small buildings and spray paint was present on walls with the phrase “Abandoned By Disney” on the Palace walls. He also noticed a large statue of the character Baloo outside it what used to be the courtyard that was now just overgrown with weeds and mushrooms. Entering the palace, he noticed that it was a shell of its former glory as people had stolen much of the inside and also noticed that it smelled of pee and heard faint voices in the hallways coming from the guest rooms.  But he got a good scare when he found a 8 foot python that he thought was fake move and slither away into the near by woods.  He is in shock and thinks that Disney had set all the animals free in that very park! While sitting on some metal stairs to catch his breath he notices a metal sign that once more has the phrase “Abandoned By Disney” on it.  He also notices a door for mascot staff only that is locked with a pad lock and decides to break the lock and enter the area. Once inside he notices that the hallways still had dim lights and finds a break room area with a time clock and cards filled out by employees.  He thought he hit a jackpot for pictures when he got to a door that read Character Prep, but the door would not open with force and then seemed to slowly open on its own! Once inside he saw the twisted remains of mascot costumes like a Mickey Mouse that was rotten on the floor, its colors off as it seemed like a photo negative in color, a sight that made him feel very uneasy. As he picked up the head of the Donald Duck costume he claims he got the shock of his life as a human skull fell out of it to his feet.  He starts to leave the room when he says the Mickey Mouse Costume sat up on it’s own and began to look at him and stand up and said in a hushed creepy Mickey voice “Hey…wanna see my head come off” and Mickey began to rip his head off, the sounds he said was that of flesh and cloth ripping and yellow thick blood began coming from the wound it was making around its own neck and pop…his head came off! The young man says he seen a message scratched into the metal in the room that read “Abandoned By God” he got so scared he ran from Mowgli’s Palace and claims that he never developed the photos and knows now that Disney didn’t want that twisted Mickey to ever get out! This is a cool story and while it’s 99% fake for sure, I would say the idea of a theme park in the USA that Disney just let rot away that houses a demon-like twisted version of a Mickey Mouse that’s a walk around costume is a cool and creepy thing to imagine. If you want to hear the whole story in grand detail make sure to look it up on Youtube as the story is read by user CreepsMcPasta is a good way to really learn the story. It’s cool to think that Creepypasta stories are this generation’s campfire tales. So next time you go to Disney World, if you see a strange colored Mickey Mouse coming your way you better run, run for your life!

abandoned by disney

Imagine sitting in your backyard here in America with a cup of coffee in your hand enjoying the break from a rain storm that came down heavy when off in a distance you spot something big moving around.  You strain your eyes to see what it is, and to your horror and shock, what you see in a young male African lion! A situation like this happened in Milwaukee on July 20th 2015 when Bill & Annie Nolen spotted a lion in their neighbor’s backyard wandering around.  Lucky for them, they were able to get proof thanks to their daughter who captured it on cellphone video! The local cops as well as rangers went on a hunt for the beast but came up empty handed.  More reports came in claiming to see a lion roaming around the streets, but the animal has not been captured as of yet! Many theories have been suggested on what and where the lion came from that include an escaped pet, a ghost cat and even that it escaped the zoo or circus but none have been proven yet to be the cause of the lion’s laid back rampage yet. But one thing’s for sure, if you live in Milwaukee, please be safe as a predator large cat could be around any corner.

Milwaukee Lion

Another real life creepy thing from 2015 is happening in North Carolina around a local playground and apartment complex called Hudson Woods. A black-cloaked figure with pale white skin is walking around in the woods and near the playground, leaving bags of raw meat and disappearing back into the woods from which they came. At this point no one knows if the hooded figure is male or female, why they are dressed that way and more importantly why they leave raw meat at locations. What is known is that photos of the cloaked figure taken at the apartment complex were posted to social media on August 24, 2015 and news outlets and the police began looking into it but have not found the person as of yet.  The police are looking at this as being a possible hoax or prank being played by locals, and those who live in the apartment complex with kids are a little on edge as they are not sure what the motives are of this person with the raw meat and odd way of acting. Rumors of who this person is are all over the board from being a witch/warlock all the way to being a nerd playing a role playing game with friends, but one thing’s for sure, they are out there in the woods with raw meat and wanting to share with you!

North Carolina Cloaked Figure

I wanted to do something creepy for this update so I called on my cousin Stephen and my friend Josh to look into the legend of Candlewood Park in Kettering Ohio! The story of this park is that the ghost of a young boy who was depressed and hung himself in the restroom can be seen roaming around the park and you can hear the screams of three youngsters who were murdered.  The ghost of their killer is said to roam around as well. The first thing I should point out is that this park is kind of a pain to find as no location can be pinpointed on Google Maps, and it seems as if the park is so small that it does not even have its own website or Facebook. Also before we went to investigate this location, none of us had ever heard the legends and only stumbled upon it when looking up locations we could visit for this update making us all question the truth of this haunted location.  Upon doing more research on the location and supposed hauntings, we came to the conclusion that it was all fake and not worth out time to investigate. With the last update being about Mr. Hyde, we decided to look at a Crybaby Bridge in Yellow Springs that is on Hyde Road.  The legend goes that a mother killed her baby and herself on the bridge at midnight, and if you park your car footprints can be found on your hood from the ghost mother trying to get in! We picked Friday September 4th 2015 to be the night we looked into this legend, and we all met up at Game Swap in Kettering and got ourselves a good meal from Applebee’s before hitting the ghost-hunting trail. We arrived on Hyde Road at about 10:00pm, and we noticed that the area is surrounded by woods, fields and some houses.  The light rain, lightning and fog made for a great mood as we drove on the bridge.  The first impression from all of us was that the bridge was very cool, but none of us got a haunted vibe from it. We made a u-turn down the road and parked near some mail boxes and got out to take some pictures.  The digital camera we brought did a terrible job, but our iPhones took some half way decent pictures. The one cool thing I noticed and really liked about the bridge is that above it is a sign that read “Hyde Road” and had the date 2014, the year it was rebuilt after being torn down due to poor support beams. While standing there looking at the bridge as well as the woods that were at my back, the image of Mr. Hyde roaming this road out night crept into my head and made me smile. We hung around the bridge for a few minutes and then hit the road to drive around and see what awaited us at the other end of the road. Below are some pictures of the inside of the bridge as well as a really dark one I took on my phone of the front of the bridge.

Hyde Road Bridge At NightMore Inside Hyde Road BridgeHyde Road Bridge Inside

As we drove down the road, we hit the end of the street, and the air started to smell of rotten eggs.  It was strong and burned your nostrils, and we joked about it being Bigfoot watching us but we soon found out the smell was coming from the water treatment planet a little distance away down the side road. As we continued our quest of waiting for midnight, we drove around Yellow Springs and took in the small town at night.  We even drove past WYSO and great comic/book store Dark Star Comics. We drove down near John Bryan State Park, hoping to catch a peek at The Twilight Man, but we didn’t see a soul besides lots of people walking dogs really late at night. One funny “Twilight Zone” type moment is many times just driving around we would end back up at Hyde Road! Stephen made the joke that “All Roads Lead to Hyde” and we all chuckled about how right he was as we kept ending up at the haunted bridge. While on Hyde near a horse training farm, a giant owl dropped from the sky and caused Stephen to have to swerve to avoid hitting it.  Needless to say it, was very odd and a little creepy as the owl was very large and gave Josh, Stephen and I a good scare. As the midnight hour drew closer, we noticed on Hyde Road near the wood, an SUV was parked at the side of the road with no lights on and no one inside it.  We all thought this was odd because the car was parked where there was nothing around for a person to be doing besides being out in the woods. As we drove past it, we all really did get a weird vibe from it, but we continued to the end of Hyde Road and made a U-Turn and headed back down Hyde as it was very close to midnight and we wanted to be at the bridge to see if we could hear the ghost baby’s cries and if the mother’s hand prints would be on the car…but as we drove to the bridge, we had to pass that SUV again but this time they had their headlights on high beams and would not dim them even as we drove by them.  As we drove past them we all got a even more creepy vibe from it but shook it off as we had a date at midnight with a ghost mother…but this was not to be as the SUV made a quick u-turn and was speeding up to catch up with us! As Stephen drove he took a quick turn off a small road just before the bridge as the SUV flew past us and stopped and waited for us to drive through the bridge from the other side….and once more they turned off their lights and was trying to rope a dope us into being trapped by them…dealing with this creeper in the SUV, we missed the stroke of midnight as we did not fall for this set up. As we left we all kept an eye behind us to make sure this SUV didn’t follow us and so began the talks of what this person was up to! Many theories on the way home were thrown out by the three of us as the situation just didn’t feel right, things like Twilight Man being behind the wheel all the way to a killer like the Phantom Killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown all were talked about and dissected. So while we didn’t get to sit on the bridge at midnight, we were stalked by a dark SUV driven by an unknown driver.  One day Josh, Stephen and I will venture back and see if we can spot this SUV again as who or what it was gave us a good creepy moment in early September gearing us up for Halloween. Below is a cool picture of the Bridge Stephen took that night, and I should also say beware if you get the nerve to drive that road at night as owls and an SUV with unknown intentions might just be waiting for you!

Hyde Road Bridge 0

On September 27th 2015 I held a Horror Movie Marathon over at my cousin Stephen Alexander’s house and invited the likes of Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane, Todd The Fox, Queen Victoria, Jason Young, Maurice Smith, Jeremy Hoyt, Mike Ritchie, and Juliet Fromholt all over to enjoy some films to gear up for the coming Halloween season. As always, we had lots of good sodas, snacks and beer for everyone to enjoy and just like always Stephen, Josh, Garrison and I had a pre-show on the 26th where we watched such films as “Visions of Horror” that was some short films hosted by Tiffany Shepis, “Dead of Knight” about a evil spirit of a crusader knight returning for revenge and the Independent B Movie bad movie classic “The Vampire Peeper Of Greene County”. The next Morning Stephen, Jason and myself were ready for the day of horror at 7am, and as the day went on, more and more horror fan friends poured into the house and enjoyed the terrors on the TV Screen. The first film was “The Mole People,” a Universal Sci-Fi classic that follows a group who becomes trapped deep inside the world that’s ruled by a race of sun hating people. The 2nd film was “New Years Evil” about a new wave VJ who is being called while on the air by a killer who is audio recording his murders! The 3rd twisted feature was “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” about some youths breaking into a wax museum that is owned by a relative of Dr. Frankenstein. “Frankenfish” swam its way into the 4th film time slot and was about giant mutated fish killing in the bayou. The fifth film was the Matt Hoffman’s classic shot on video werewolf film “The Wolf Hunter”! The sinister 6th film was a Paul Naschy crime/horror film called “Crimson” about a group of thieves whose leader is shot in the head and his only way of recovering is taking part of his rival’s brain! “Toolbox Murders 2” was the 7th film and followed a poor young woman who is captured by the TBK. The 8th film was “100 Tears” and was about a killer clown and his giant meat cleaver killing any and all that got in his way, all the while some tabloid reporters are trying to crack the case. Another killer clown followed in the 9th spot called “Stitches” about a clown returning from the dead and trying to get revenge on the kids who lead to his death. “Skull Heads” by Full Moon Entertainment shocked as it followed a strange family with a sinister secret and was the 10th horror flick. “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” was the 11th film and it was about a cop on the hunt for Krampus who is kidnapping evil kids on orders from Santa Claus. The 12th film was “Redwood Massacre” a slasher film about a hooded killer who kill anyone who stumbles on the ruins of his old home that he murdered his family at. Unlucky number 13 was a film called “Aunt Rose” about a sick old witch woman who protects her family from a bunch of home invasion thugs. The final film of the night and number 14 was the remake of “Evil Night” done by Chris Seaver about a nerd who gains powers and gets revenge on all those who tormented him. This all day fun time was packed with good friends, great food from Sub House and Pizza Factory, tons of snack foods, the new Baron’s Brew Beer made by horror host Baron Von Porkchop and a total of 4 films that feature slashers from the upcoming comic We Kill The Dead! Besides myself, the man who made it from start to finish was Stephen so on this one we both picked out top three films as well as our worst of the night aka The Golden Turkey! I’ll go first as I am the veteran of the event and my # 1 film of the night goes to Evil Night. This remake was a fun goofy slasher filled with some great humor and cheesy backyard kills! # 2 is Stitches, another fun horror comedy that mixed horror and humor really well.  The start of the film and what leads to the accidental death of Stiches is funny as hell! My # 3 spot was a tough one as I enjoyed many films that night but I would have to go with 100 Tears.  This film is a splatter film with a cool killer clown and effects that are over the top and in your face! Crimson and New Years Evil almost made my # 3 spot as I also enjoyed them quite a bit. My Golden Turkey of the night was Krampus as it was just boring and poorly scripted, but Tool Box Murders 2 almost made that spot for me as it was a huge disappointment and was a gore film with no story or direction. Stephen’s top three go as follows # 1 Stitches, # 2 The Mole People and # 3 Evil Night! His Golden Turkey as well went to Krampus. Another horror movie marathon in the history books and here is hoping that many more will be coming my way in 2016!

The Mole People DVDNew Years Evil DVDFrankenstein's Hungry Dead DVDFrankenfish DVDthe wolf-hunter-dvdCrimson DVDTool Box Murders 2 DVD100 Tears DVDStitches DVDSkull Heads DVDKrampus The Christmas Devil DVDRedwood Massacre DVDAunt Rose DVDEvil Night Remake DVD

Speaking of horror films, one movie that I really think should have been a comic and in fact is a comic in the movie is Cellar Dweller! Come on, you know you love that title Cellar Dweller; it just rolls off the tongue and is a great title for a cheesy film and comic. The film was directed by John Carl Buechler for Empire Pictures and stars Yvonne De Carlo, Jeffrey Combs and Debrah Mullowney.  It’s about a comic artist who dies when his own comic creations kill him in the 1950’s and then in the 80’s an artist tries to bring the comic series back and unleashes Cellar Dweller once more. When I was teen, I owned Cellar Dweller on VHS and can remember watching it many times and having fun cheering on the title monster, a big werewolf/troll/bigfoot pentagram carved in chest beast who enjoys a good kill. If this was to be a comic book series, I would like to see it set during modern times and feature a small comic company who wants to make an impact in the battle for retail space at comic shops so they decide to bring back the comic series Cellar Dweller amongst all the controversy of the past.  This is a terrible mistake as they unleash him in their office and he is killing the staff one by one as well as those around the building and even those connected to them. The only hope they have is a bounty hunter who’s son was killed back in the 80’s by Cellar Dweller, and now he wants revenge and thinks he has the key to send him back to Hell forever. The artist who gets the task of redoing the Cellar Dweller comic should also be a major focus as he should be a veteran in the comic industry who can’t get work from the major companies because they feel he is too old to keep up with what kids want now in the digital age.  He should be a good spirited man who loves to draw even when his peers say his style is outdated. The comic could be filled with extreme gore as Cellar Dweller rips humans apart and goes on a rampage! I would see it only being a mini series, and it could have fit in perfect with IDW’s MGM Midnight Movies line as MGM is the film’s rights owner.  So my pick would be IDW or Action Lab, who are now doing comics based on Full Moon Entertainment movies, and if one of my friends made it I would pick Justin Wasson or Bruce O’Hughes as their styles would fit this twisted comic tale! While not a super popular movie that doesn’t even really have cult status, I still stick by the idea that it would make one killer comic mini series. For those who want to see this film, you can find it on VHS as well as on DVD and now Blu-Ray thanks to Shout Factory.

Cellar Dweller 1Cellar Dweller VHSCellar Dweller 2

Halloween is a time that is filled with tricks and treats, and also is the time for kids to be scared by the ghouls and ghosts of the night as parents worry about stranger danger and the safety of the treats their kids are eating. An urban legend that every kid I knew at the school playground heard was that evil people were trying to kill kids with objects placed in the candy like razors and needles. Even the film Halloween II had a scene of a kid who ate an apple that was given to him that had a razor blade in it as did Night Of The Demons that had a old man character who was placing razors in apples to hand out. Scenes like these in films fueled the fire for this to scare parents into thinking that people in the world were out to get their kids. When I was growing up, my Mom would always tell me and my brother Bryan to check the candy for staples, razor blades and needles because the local news would sell the fear of this happening to kids. I always wondered as an adult about how this legend started and thanks to a cool documentary called “Killer Legends” by Joshua Zeman, I found out about the case that this legend was born from. In Deer Park, Texas in 1974 on Halloween night, 8 year old Timothy O’Bryan died from eating a pixy stix that was laced with poison.  His father Ronald tried his best to save his son, but it was too late as the young man passed away that night. They pinpointed that the child was poisoned by the pixy stix, and scary enough, Ronald’s daughter as well as two other kids had the poison candy but were lucky and did not eat them! Ronald pointed the finger at a neighbor claiming he thinks he got them from his house.  The police investigated and found that to be untrue as he was at work that night and was not home handing out candy. The police ended up finding who did poison the candy, and it turned out to be Ronald.  That sick son of a gun killed his own child for insurance money and tried to murder three others to cover his tracks and build his story of some crazed person handing out poisoned treats. Ronald was dubbed The Candyman by the press and was credited for killing the spirit of Halloween with his selfish terrible deed, that he claimed he did not do even though the evidence was stacked against him. Ronald was convicted for murder as well as attempted murder and was sentenced to death by a jury that only took 46 minutes to reach his fate. On March 31st 1984 just after midnight Ronald “Candyman” O’Bryan was executed by lethal injection, ending his life and grip on Halloween. So if you have any young kids who are trick or treating do as my Mom did and check the treats, as being safe is better than being sorry. But I also want to say, whatever you do don’t take the fun out of Halloween for the kids as it should be a very magical and fun time of the year for them!

Ronald Clark O'Bryanpixie stixsThe Candyman had haters

So that is depressing, so let’s move onto something fun and horror host related! Growing up I watched a lot of public access and was into horror hosts.  At a young age I discovered A. Ghastlee Ghoul, who hosted A. Ghastlee Movie Show on MVCC and became hooked, catching it every time it aired.  I even found myself setting my VCR to record it! Many years later I am proud to call A. Ghastlee Ghoul a friend as well as my second Dad as he has been a great influence on me as a media maker, and I even played his fake son on a episode of the show when I was 18! Ghastlee is a icon of Dayton horror hosting and while his show has been inactive for many years, he still can been seen touring around with his band Spattertude as well as heard on his radio show, Wackadoo Wax Radio on Oldies 97.3 FM. So it’s my honor to bring to you readers this Halloween update 5 Questions with the one and only A. Ghastlee Ghoul.

A Ghastlee Ghoul (Bob Hinton)

Me: Welcome, Ghastlee, to Rotten Ink! Tell my readers about your show The Ghastlee Movie Show as well as your band Splattertude.

Ghastlee: Well, the TV show has really been out of production for a few years, other than the occasional special. Twenty-two years was a good run, I think. Of course I still do live stage shows and hostings, as well as cohosting the weekly Wackadoo Wax Radio, which can be heard on Dayton’s Oldies 97.3FM and online at daytonoldies.org, with Comrade X Munson. The shows are also archived, albeit slowly, at mixcloud.com/wackadoowax. The band is still cranking right along! We’ve been playing some fun shows and are gearing up to make some new recordings. We have tons of new material that needs to get out there.

Me: From TV all the way to radio, Ghastlee, you never fail to amaze and entertain! So what horror hosts of the past have influenced you as a host?

Ghastlee: Oh wow. That’s a big question because I have so many friends who are also hosts and have touched my life in different ways. The hosts I grew up with though were Dr. Creep, Baron Von Wolfstein and The Cool Ghoul (from Cinci). There are aspects of all three in Ghastlee, as well as a little Count Floyd. Though not exactly a horror host, I always loved Cincinnati all-night-movie host Bob Shreve too.

Me: All classic horror hosts, and I owe it all to you for getting to meet and become friends with Baron Von Wolfstein! So being an undead Ghastlee Ghoul, do you ever get urges to eat human flesh or brains?

Ghastlee: That’s actually a common mistake. Zombies are undead and dig on brains. Ghouls eat the flesh of the dead. So, yeah, I have gotten the munchies on occasion while watching Romero films.

Me: Glad to hear human flesh is not on your list for lunch! Baron Von Porkchop as well said he does not crave eating humans so that will make Horrorhound Weekends much safer! So you have been to quite a few conventions, during these travels, what celebrity were you most happy to meet? As well as what other horror host?

Ghastlee: I’d have to say the ones who I can call friends. Tom Sullivan, Kyra Schon, Sid Haig. Bill Forsythe is a really cool cat. Always fun seeing him. As far as hosts, again, so many are great friends of mine. Outside that group though, John Zacherley, Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs were all fun to meet and talk with.

Me: Haig and Forsythe have always been fantastic people to chat with and that’s awesome you can call all those people friends. Joe Bob Briggs was for sure on my list of horror hosts I was most happy to meet. What horror themed comics do you enjoy reading?

Ghastlee: It’s honestly been years since I’ve sat down and read comics of any kind, but if I did it would be old EC books, The Witching Hour, Vault of Evil, stuff like that. I still have all mine from when I was a wee Ghoul!

Me: Classic EC Comics are always great, and I have great memories of reading my brother Bryan’s Gladstone Reprints of Tales From The Crypt when I was a youngster. Thanks Ghastlee for taking your time to talk to me and my readers and letting us take a peek at what makes Ghastlee ghastly.

Ghastlee: Thank you! I always enjoy reading your work! Happy Halloween everyone!

As always, it’s a great time chatting with A. Ghastlee Ghoul as he is unpredictable and is always guaranteed to entertain! Make sure to check out his radio show and catch some of his classic episodes of Ghastlee Movie show on DATV and on the online horror host station The Kreepy Kastle. Thanks again Ghastlee, your friendship means a lot to me and thanks for always believing in me.

The Amazing A Ghastlee Ghoul

Speaking of horror hosts, Baron Von Porkchop is gearing up for his 5th Halloween Special! It’s crazy to think that Baron has been on a total of 5 Halloween adventures after this year’s, and more are planned for the years to come! This year Baron has found the Halloween spirit again after losing it as the result of many past mishaps from Headless Horsemen to The Sadness Killer. This year he has created a club called The Midnight Halloween Society that includes Melvin, Susie The DJ, Stephen Frankenstein and Duke The Wolf Hunter, and they sit around a campfire and exchange spooky stories! The stories will be short films from such directors as Andy Copp, Chris Seaver, John D. Leonard and Henrique Couto! So if you live in the Dayton, Ohio area tune into DATV or MVCC or watch via online stream at www.datv.org! I really do love filming the Baron Halloween specials as they are super fun to not only write but also plan out.  This year’s will be a lead in to next year’s so make sure to tune in. Below is the soon to be released DVD cover art by Damien Brunk.

Halloween5

Now I should talk a little about my friend and artist for the mystery Halloween update comic, Eric Shonborn.  I met Eric many years back while working for Mavericks Cards And Comics when he used to come into the shop with Bruce O’Hughes.  After chatting with them and getting their pull files, I soon found out that they were comic book creators and had a company called NoBody Comics.  This added to the already cool factor of both of these guys as I found them both to be friendly and interesting people. Also around this time, I moved out of an apartment I was sharing with Patrick Neeley and moved in with Jason Young, Doogie and Zippy.  This is when I became even closer friends with Eric as he would come over to hang out with Jason for what they called “Drawing Night” that had them staying up late listening to music or a podcast and drawing comics and pictures.  During this time Eric and I found out we had a lot in common, and a great friendship was born. Plus getting to see his art firsthand made me a fan of his work and to this day I highly respect that man’s talents. Over the years, Eric has worked on DVD covers for not only Independent B Movie films like Werewolf of Ohio and Vampire Peeper Of Greene County but also has done several for Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre! And over the years I have been asked to be a guest on his podcast Gutter Trash that he does alongside Jason Young that covers topics like movies, comics and life. Eric is also a weekly guest at my work as he comes in and chats it up with not only me but also my co-workers about all types of fun stuff.  Recently we had a big store talk about Superman films and comics, and it was so much fun! Eric is a friend for life, and I am glad that I know him.  If you have not checked out his website, you should at this link www.shonborn.net and see his wonderful work and maybe even hire him to do a commission or two! So once more thanks, Eric, for making this Halloween update special.  Below is some artwork by Eric including a self portrait.

Eric Shonborn Art 1Eric ShonbornEric Shonborn Art 2

So are you ready to find out what Eric Shonborn has chosen to make into a custom comic just for this Halloween Day blog update? I gave him a long list with over 20 horror movies to choose from, each of the films on the list didn’t have a comic series about it all ready making this a first! After looking the list over for many months, he made his choice and began to work on it.  It wasn’t until late October did I find out what he picked, and I must say I was very pleased upon seeing the finished printed comic in my hand! That’s one thing I will say about my friends, they are all cool talented people and Eric took the reigns and became the first to make a comic just for me and you, the readers, to enjoy on one of the best holidays! So let me present what we will be taking a look at on this special update……..

The Video Dead Logo

I first saw The Video Dead when I was a youngster on USA Network as part of USA Saturday Nightmares late at night with my brother Bryan.  The film was one that I remembered over the years, and for some reason I can remember that this horror film mixed with dark comedy scared me a little as the woods from the film reminded me of the woods that were right by our house in Waynesville and visions of the Video Dead stalking them looking for fresh victims filled my imagination. The Zombie Bride was always the most creepy to me, and her image gave me nightmares and also fueled ideas for short horror stories I was writing. As I grew up and began collecting horror films on VHS, I can remember being so hyped when I found of copy of The Video Dead on the shelf at a local secondhand store called Second Time Around and it was proudly displayed alongside so many other B-movie classics. The funny thing is that like a goof when DVD first came out, I traded in most of my VHS thinking that I would upgrade them all to this new disc based format, and to my shock Video Dead was not released on DVD till 2013 when Shout Factory released it on a double feature with Terrorvision.  However, at Game Swap this very month that I am bringing you this review, we had Video Dead traded in on VHS and I of course had to buy it…it had to be fate as this was also the film Eric chose to turn into a comic! The Video Dead was directed/produced/written by Robert Clark in 1987 and was a direct-to-video film that was released by Embassy Home Entertainment. Robert Clark only ever directed one other film called Ratdog in 1990 that has very little information about it out in the world. The film’s plot is about a cursed TV Set that is sent to a writer by a unknown person that unleashes an army of zombies who all come out of the TV from a movie called “Zombie Blood Nightmare.”  They brutally murder him and go into the woods near the home. Months later Zoe and her younger brother Jeff are at the house that’s been bought by their parents sight unseen as they are overseas, and the kids are trying to make the home ready for their comeback. But when Jeff finds the TV and makes friends with the girl next door, April, all hell breaks loose as the zombies are on a rampage and only Jeff, Zoe and a Texan named Joshua Daniels can put a stop to the madness. In order to kill the zombies, you first must use mirrors and even cover the TV set with a mirror, trap them in a small space and pray they kill each other when they become bored! The film ends with a twist and left itself open for a Video Dead 2 that sadly never came. This film is crazy, goofy, scary and just plain fun! The acting is over the top, and the oneliners and cheesy dialogue flow like spray canned cheese.  It stars Roxanna Augesen as Zoe Blair, Rocky Duvall as Jeff Blair, Sam David McClelland as Joshua Daniels and Vickie Bastel as April Ellison. The looks of the zombies in the film are well done, and there are a total of four styles of them that each look different and each have their own twisted personalities, and oddly enough some even have a sense of humor! The film is by no means a bloodbath, but the effects are well done and watching a zombie pop out of a TV Screen is pretty cool stuff. If you have not seen The Video Dead and like B-movies and are a fan of zombie films, give it a watch as it will surely entertain you with some good gore and zombie special effects as well as the zombie who looks like singer David Bowie!

Video Dead Movie 1The Video Dead VHSVideo Dead Movie 2

The Video Dead left itself open for a sequel, and while a movie version has never seen the light of the moon, a comic one has on this day as Eric decided not to do a comic adaptation of the film but to make his own version of a sequel.  I am sure I will be in store for not only horror but also a few laughs. I can’t wait to see if he used the zombies from the movie or if he created his own new ones or even if there will be a mix of old and new! I also can’t wait to see who the lead character is and how he or she stumbled onto the cursed TV set! And I can’t wait to see the blood and gore if any presents itself in his story! But I also must remind all of you that I will not be grading this comic on my 1 to 4 scale as the comic was made for me to share with you here at Rotten Ink and to make all our Halloween a little better off. I want to thank once more Eric Shonborn for making this all possible and even coming through with this after having a rough year.  He is truly a good friend who is super talented and super cool. So if you’re ready grab a mirror and let’s turn on the TV and see what undead ghouls pop out as we take a look at Bloodline Comics Presents The Video Dead!

Revenge Of The Video Dead 1

Revenge Of The Video Dead # 1
Created in 2015    Cover Price $0.00    Bloodline Comics    # 1 of 1

Darla is a young girl who is watching as her family is being killed by zombies that have popped out of an old TV that her brother bought to use in a project.  Just as the undead turn to get her, a mirror and a machete come down, and they are taken down. Darla’s savior is Zoe Blair, who is decked out with all things needed to fight The Video Dead! Zoe tapes a mirror to the TV and escorts Darla from the house and gives her a ride to the site where she is disposing of the TV.  In the van they chat, and Darla spots a severed Video Dead head that Zoe keeps as an alarm to warn her when others are around! Zoe opens up to Darla who has no place to go and speaks of her brother Jeff who made the mistake of turning on the TV and unleashing these zombies into their neighborhood, and how she learned ways to fight them from Joshua.  She also speaks of how Jeff and Joshua died and she alone had to trick The Video Dead back into the TV. The pair pull into the woods and bury the TV, and Zoe tells Darla that after her brother died and she had to face The Video Dead, she was locked up in an asylum.  Her parents brought her a TV and zombies dragged her into their world where she was saved by a man named The Garbageman who trained her in self defense and ways to kill the dead. She also tells of how Garbageman was finally caught and eaten by The Video Dead and that she escaped their world one day via a TV Portal is spending her life hunting down all 113 cursed TV sets to rid the world of this plague. Darla decides to join Zoe on her mission to Televonstar, the company making these cursed TV’s and finds that the owner of the company has found a way to not only tap into the world of “Zombie Blood Nightmare” but many more sinister worlds and he can hide them under the guise of cheesy horror films allowing all types of monsters into our world! Zoe and Darla fight off a horde of monsters; the Owner shoots and kills Darla with a single bullet to her head and explains that their next move it to make streaming services that will allow these portals to not only open on TVs but also cellphones, tablets and computers.  This enrages Zoe who kills the Owner and makes a promise to shoot every portal…and our story ends!

Eric did a fantastic job of making a comic sequel to The Video Dead and mixed new folklore with the classic stuff of the movie! The plot is very simple and very well thought out as Zoe is now a one woman zombie killing machine as she wants to stop every Video Dead as well as bust all the TVs that are being used to bring them to our world! Throw in a young female sidekick, some zombies and a big business suit type, and you have one great comic based around the universe of this B-movie classic. The use of characters like Zoe Blair and The Garbageman from the film gave this comic a “cult classic” feel and made me want to see how the story would unfold. It was very cool to see that Zoe is now the Garbageman as the story needed a strong hero who the reader could get behind, and she is 100% it. Zoe Blair in this comic has changed a lot from her movie counterpart as she is no longer a scared young woman and is now a short haired badass who has no fear of the unknown. I was really glad to see her as the main character as she deserves to stomp some undead ass. Darla is a poor young teenage girl who gets caught up in the video dead thanks to her brother who bought a cursed TV from a flea market.  With no place to go and no loved ones left, it’s only natural that Zoe takes her under her wing as a sidekick. Her death is shocking and well played as I figured that in the end Zoe and Darla would have been the last two standing. The Televonstar Owner is slimy and is the perfect example of a sleazy guy who would want to bring down the world, not to mention the way he wants to no longer use old TVs as the gateways and pushes for the new hip streaming is perfect to further the plot and bring new life to this story. The Garbageman is a character who appears in the film for one scene when he kills a blonde woman (who’s a Video Dead) who comes from the TV to seduce Jeff.  He tries his best to warn Jeff and tells him to place a mirror over the TV so that no more zombies can escape. In the comic Garbageman comes to the rescue of Zoe who’s been pulled into their world and trains her into becoming a female Rambo! He has very cool cameo and serves a great purpose in the overall story. The Video Dead are not over used and pop up when needed to add that horror element to the comic.  Like in the film, they shuffle around and look for people to murder in cold blood. Their looks are all unique and while none from the film 100% appear, you still get the feeling that they are the same ones that appear in the background of the film “Zombie Blood Nightmare” that plays in the film. This comic is pretty gory as Zoe uses her trusty machete to chop up zombies, monsters and that scumbag Televonstar Owner, adding in the blood factor and help feeding the horror action element. Eric, who wrote the story as well as did the art, did a fantastic job of bringing this into modern times and tying in modern technology as well as adding more dimensions with more monsters and even threw in a werewolf as he knows that’s my favorite classic monster! The art is fun and has a 90’s independent horror comic look and feel to it.  When needed, the zombies and characters have detail; when more details is not needed, the use of shadows is well done. The comic also has some pinups done by Bruce O’Hughes, Pat Kain and Jason Young, the latter of which drew a picture of that creepy Bride Zombie from the film! Over all, this was an amazing fun custom comic that added so much creepy, and action to my Halloween and I hoped it added to yours as well! Below is some art from this comic to show you the style of the issue.

Revenge Of The Video Dead Art 1Revenge Of The Video Dead Art 2Revenge Of The Video Dead Art 3

The Video Dead might not be a household name when it comes to cult horror films like The Evil Dead, Phantasm or Silent Night Deadly Night, but for me it was always one of the coolest, most memorable ones. While those woods in Waynesville are no longer there as they made room for houses and kids that live on Royston Drive will never have to wonder if The Video Dead stalk them after seeing this film, one things for sure, those memories will live with me forever. I must say that I do really wish those woods were still around as I would have loved to have read this comic in them! I hope you enjoyed this spooky update.  I was really happy to share another one with you all. If you’re going out to Trick Or Treat or to a Halloween party, I want you all to stay safe as who knows what ghouls or ghosts are roaming this night. Our next update will take a look at a Marvel character known as 3-D Man, so make sure to come back for that one. Once more a big thanks to Eric Shonborn for making this one of a kind comic sequel – really cool work, my friend. So Happy Halloween, and as always, watch a horror film or two, support your local horror host and read a horror comic or three….BOO!

3D man logo

Return Of The Living Monster Bash Vacation (2015)

Juliet and I headed back to Mars to once more attend the Monster Bash Convention for another adventure filled with monster movies, podcasts and landmarks from George Romero zombie films! This time around we started our quest on Saturday June 20th missing a day of Monster Bash due to her work having a big event on Friday. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to these vacations in Pittsburgh and Monster Bash all year long. It’s always a fun time hanging out with Juliet with no work worries and knowing that I have time to relax and spend time with all the things I love: my gal and horror films! This year’s theme was The Mummy as one of the guests was Ron Chaney, grandson of Lon Chaney Jr. who played the Mummy Kharis for Universal in the films The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse not to mention he played a Mummy in Face of the Screaming Werewolf! Valerie Leon who was in Hammer’s Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb was also a guest along with Liesl Ehardt who is an actress who’s second cousin is Zita Johann who played Helen Grosvenor in Universal’s 1932 shocker The Mummy! Other guests included Conrad Brooks from Plan 9 From Outer Space and other Ed Wood films, Tom Savini the master of gore FX, composer Kevin Slick, The Blob – yep the movie prop that was the jelly alien, Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria Price and Night of the Living Dead alumni John Russo, George Kosana and Chilly Billy Cardille who also was a long time horror host in Pittsburgh as he hosted the show Chiller Theatre and is also the father of Laurie Cardille who played Sara in Romero’s Day of the Dead. Other horror hosts who attended were Son of Ghoul, Mr. Lobo, The Patient Creatures and the cast of Ghoul A Go-Go! And I must not forget the no budget film maker David “The Rock” Nelson among many other book writers, historians and comedy tribute groups. So pack a bag and come along on our journey as we return to Monster Bash!

Lobby Card Bash June 2015

Friday (June 20th 2015) before the trip I worked a full shift at work, and Juliet put in a super long day working her job as they had a big station reunion party going on. After work, my cousin Stephen Alexander II and one of my best friends Josh Weinberg got some chicken wings from Frickers and headed to my parents house where we watched Bellator MMA 138 with my dad. The event was a fun one as we all took sides on who was going to win the main event fight between Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice. My dad and Stephen had Kimbo, while Josh and I picked Shamrock.  They won as Ken was knocked out in the first round just over two minutes into the fight.  While Ken put up a good fight, the stone hands of Kimbo were just too heavy for him. Juliet picked me up a little later, and when we got home, she went to bed and I decided to stay up and pop in a DVD of The Toxic Avenger Part II and have a Troma good time as I drifted into slumber.  I was a little bummed we missed the first day of Monster Bash but was really looking forward to the next day’s trip and the official start of my vacation! Plus spending time with my Dad as well as Josh and Stephen was a really good time and helped wash away the missing the convention’s first day blues.

Frickers LogoBellator-138-posterToxic Avenger Part II dvd

So bright and early on Saturday June 21st 2015 Juliet and I hit the road to start our trip to Monsterbash.  The sky was grey and lots of rain fell from the sky as we made a quick stop to Ghostlight Coffee before setting out on this epic fun trip.  My drink of choice was an Italian soda as I felt the need to have a rush of sugar as we left very early in the morning. The first thing we listened to was the first chapter of an audio book called “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” written by Sean Howe and read by Stephen Hoye.  This was fantastic as Juliet and I enjoyed the look at the early days of Marvel and how Stan Lee got his job with the company and rose to power. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but old school comic fans should check this out as it’s very enjoyable and shows just how much of a goofball Lee is! We then listened to The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana as he spoke with one of the best big men in the business Vader! While I wished Vader would have spoken more about his time with WWE and WCW, it was still nice to hear him talk about his career in Japan. After Art of Wrestling we listened to the second chapter of Marvel Comics The Untold Story, and Juliet and I had a fun time talking about the stories we heard about comic legends like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood. We ate lunch at Max & Ermas and talked about comics and what this trip has in store for us. That’s one fun thing I really enjoy, talking comics with Juliet as I think her love for the funny books burns as bright as mine. The drive up was smooth minus the rain and the countryside of hills, cows and horses is pleasing on the eyes and makes me miss growing up in a small town. But let’s get to the Bash and all the wonders the first day of this convention had in store for us.

ghostlight-coffeeMarvel Comics Untold Story LogoArt of Wrestling 2

On the first day of Monster Bash I was hyped to relax with classic monsters and to see what statues they had set up this year as I figured the theme would have to have a Mummy. I was right as they had one that looked like Lon Chaney’s Kharis character and it was fantastic.  They also had one of a female ghost, Forest J. Ackerman as the Frankenstein Monster, Boris Karloff from the film The Raven and the show stealer was the Christopher Lee Dracula, a touching tribute to the late actor. These statues rank among the highlights of the con for me as I always look forward to what they will be from year to year. While walking around, we saw lots of friendly faces and many of the guests like Tom Savini and Chilly Billy seemed in great moods as they spoke to fans. I got so hyped when we found The Blob as it was open and on display and they were allowing people to take pictures of it! I was second in line and after the guy in front of me who took forever to take his picture, I was able to set up my shot and take a picture of one of the worlds greatest monsters from outer space! We shopped and had a good time just looking at all the cool things that vendors had for sale.  One thing I really wanted was an action figure of Paul Naschy as the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky, but the $100.00 price tag scared me away from it.  I saw horror hosts Mr. Lobo and Gruesome Graves wandering around, and while I wanted to chat with them, they both were busy and I didn’t want to be that guy who interrupts a conversation. I had a great time walking around for a while, and once we were done for they day Juliet and I headed back to the hotel to relax and plan dinner and the next days’ plans.

Monster Bash MummyMonster Bash LeeMonster Bash The RavenThe Blob (Real)

This first night’s dinner had to come from the great Eat’N Park as I truly think whenever Juliet and I are in this area, we have to have this cool diner’s food. This night I felt like an old man as I ordered the liver and onions with mashed potatoes and gravy as well as garden rice.  For some reason I get cravings for liver…maybe I have an iron deficiency or maybe I was just getting into the mood of zombies, I mean I am in Pittsburgh. My meal came with a roll that was almost like a sticky cinnamon bun and a sugar cookie that still reminds me of the old Monster Candy sticks. Juliet had a buffalo chicken wrap and a chocolate pretzel cookie, and as always we enjoyed the food and had a good time hanging out and chatting. Yeah, I know lots of you are sick of friends posting pictures of food on their Facebook, Blog or Instagram so I will say sorry ahead of time as this blog will have a few of these sections.

Day 1 Food 2015

So I am sure your wondering what the first day goodies had in store for me.  Well, it was a pretty good shopping day as I was able to find some cool stuff from VHS to comics! I got a VHS of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 hosting the film I Accuse My Parents for $5.00 as well as a MST3K Magnet for $3.25 that showcases Joel and the bots! I got The Tomb Of Dracula issues 39, 51, 52, 56 as well as the My Name Is Bruce one shot comic all for $10.00! I also picked up a comic based on the cheesy kids’ horror film The Willies for $5.00 as well as a comic based on the Van Damme film Cyborg for only a $1.00, both comics I never even knew they existed.  Look for both of these on a future Rotten Ink update! I also found the Mondo Macabro DVD of Mystics In Bali for $10.00, as well as DVDs for $10.00 each of Horror Hostess Vampira on the George Cobel Show from 1955, Elvira Mistress of the Dark hosting MTV and Weird Al hosting the 1984 ABC Saturday Morning Preview Pack. I got a DVD of the Son of Ghoul hosting Dick Tracy for $20.00 and the Marvel Comic of Man-Thing # 5 for $7.00! All the stuff for the first day was pretty cool but I think I am most hyped for The Willies comic as I look forward to reading it and sharing my thoughts here on Rotten Ink!

Day One Goods

Sunday June 22nd 2015 was our second and last day of Monster Bash, and we began our morning eating a hearty breakfast from Einstein Bros.  As I ate my sausage, egg and cheese sandwich I popped in the DVD of Son of Ghoul hosting Dick Tracy and had a few chuckles.  As I finished up my meal, we headed down to the convention! Today they had a specialty car out front, a weird Ghostbusters car that looked nothing like the Ecto-One but at least the people who made the car were getting into the spirit of fun monsters as they wore the busting suits and had big smiles on their faces. This morning was a little slow but made it so much easier to look at all the vendor tables and go shopping. As we walked around we saw no budget filmmaker David “The Rock” Nelson filming himself holding his giant toy rubber ant he calls The Devil Ant attacking The Blob.  This put a huge smile on both my and Juliet’s face as this was the first time she got to see the man work the crowd. I was going to buy some more shows from The Son of Ghoul but sadly he was not at his table. I looked around for Gruesome Graves but could not find him, but shopping was a lot of fun and just the vibe of this convention is so good as fans talk to each other and almost everyone seems happy! I will say that the rooms this year were a little hot, and I am sure both celebrities and vendors felt at times like they were being steamed like vegetables as it was muggy. After shopping for about two hours, we headed back to the room for a bit to relax and chat about what the rest of the day would hold, as well as watched some TV. We traveled back to Monster Bash for a while and then decided to hit to road and see what was around our location. I must say I really love Monster Bash, and this is one of my favorite conventions to go to every year and I look forward to coming back next year! This year the vendors seemed to be very heavy on DVD, Blu-Ray and posters, and while some places had comics and toys they were not as all stocked, really bummer was the lack of old horror host shows as I was really looking forward to finding old shows of Morgus, Chilly Billy and Sammy Terry but didn’t even find a one, but here is hoping I will next year.

Wolfman BannerFrankenForestThe Frankenstein Monster 2015Monster Bash Poster

The last day of the convention I found a few good treasures as I loaded up on comics and DVDs! On this day I was able to find many Marvel Comics I needed for my collection that included Incredible Hulk # 205 for $5.00, Son of Satan # 6 for $4.00, Master of Kung Fu # 46 for $3.00 and Frankenstein Monster # 17 for only $2.00! I also got a full set of Ultraman comics for $5.00.  This is one set that should be a fun read and make for a great update sometime in the future. I got the low budget film Tales Of Dracula for $10.00 and this one peaked my interests as it has not only has Count Dracula in it but also a werewolf and Frankenstein’s Monster and it’s said to be a tribute of the Universal Horror Pictures. I also found the Paul Naschy flick Werewolf in The Amazon for $15.00, I can never pass on a Naschy film I have not seen! I then also picked up two DVD’s of Horror Host Mr. Lobo and his show Cinema Insomnia; one was his Haunted House Special and for the other he hosted the cheesy classic The Atomic Brain and they were $15.00 each. The one from this batch I am most hyped for is watching Mr.Lobo host Atomic Brain as I am sure it will be a fun late night watch.

Day two goodsFor lunch, Juliet and I drove around for a little while and found the locations of some areas that we want to visit in the coming days. We decided to eat lunch at Moe’s once again, and I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy this burrito place and how I miss it being around the Dayton area.  While Hothead is good, I still would rather eat Moe’s. I had a steak burrito, and it was fantastic as the steak was cooked to perfection and it had an amazing flavor and the chips and queso added to the very good meal. One thing me and Juliet noticed and laughed about is that every woman in there and working was attractive and lovely in their own way, must be in the water we teased. We then went to Target to get bottled water and some snacks and found that the target was even amazing and had a big selection of music, movies and books and every person we came across seemed happy and friendly, making me really love this town! We came back to the hotel and I worked on this update as Juliet played iPad games and read her book.  All the while we had Bar Rescue on the TV for background noise. I also read The Incredible Hulk # 205 and found it to be a very great issue. We decided that tonight we were going to watch a movie and eat some local chicken wings, but we will get to that later.

Moes Sign 2Moes FoodIncredible hulk 205

We decided that we wanted to have wings for dinner, and we picked a place called Wing Kings, a local restaurant to order from.  We tried to order the food at 7:30 and the phone was busy for several minutes as we tried to call in our order.  So Juliet decided at 8pm to just drive to it and order, and she found out the place was closed, and oddly enough it seemed they closed way early as they were suppose to be open till 9pm.  For a place voted Best Wings in the Cranberry Journal, this was not a good first impression for us! So we decided on Buffalo Wild Wings instead as they were open and were happy to take our order and money. The food was good, and after eating the relaxing was re-refreshing and helped charge my brain battery that was running low. I also felt the creative bug back inside my soul and many ideas for Baron Von Porkchop episodes as well as comic book issues filled my mind. Over all this second day was a fun one and being around Juliet is always a blast, the only major strike out was Wing Kings failing to rule the last day of Monster Bash.

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Monday June 23rd 2015 we started our day off going to the Cranberry Cinema, a locally owned theater to see Jurassic World, and when walking into this theater I was amazed and fell in love with it just by entering the lobby.  When we ordered our tickets from the friendly staff and ordered our drinks, they gave us two free small popcorns..yeah what theater in Dayton offers that? When entering the theater they had classic red seats and the atmosphere was top notch and was super clean, and it shows the owners and employees care about this place. The other cool part of the theater is that it had multiple screens and the hallways were filled with upcoming posters for movies as well as cardboard cutouts. Over all this could be my favorite independent movie theater chain as it was an amazing experience that Juliet and I both enjoyed, and next year we will definitely be back to see a movie. Our next stop was New Dimension Comics, a very cool comic shop that is right down the street from our hotel, and just like Cranberry Cinema this comic shop impressed me big time. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by both friendly workers. I noticed many long boxes of old comics for $3.00 each, and I was in Rotten Ink Heaven as I flipped through many comics and finding gems from Marvel, Dell and Gold Key, it was like a overload of superheroes. After buying tons of issues I started to get light headed and we ate something small at Burger King and went back to the Hotel so that I could take a nap. But man I am very impressed with Cranberry Cinema and New Dimension Comics as both of them helped add a layer of greatness to this vacation this year.

Cranberry CinemaNew Dimension Comics  lootNew Dimension Comics

On Tuesday June 24th 2015 we started our day by eating another breakfast from Einstein Bros.  This time I tried the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, and then we decided it was time to visit the Evans City Cemetery as the weather outside was cloudy and rain was on its way as it was near 80 degrees.  When we got to the cemetery we were the only people there as we pulled to the very back and got out to walk around. The sky was grey with thunder echoing off from the distance as sounds of birds, frogs and insects filled the air that smelled like fresh rain. As I walked around I kept thinking about how George Romero and his crew made horror film history in the very spots I was walking around. I thought about Bill Hinzman as the Cemetery Zombie shuffling around trying to capture Judieth O’Deh, and this was inspiring to a one time no budget filmmaker like myself to know that if your heart is into your project you can make some fine horror art. The walk around was super pleasant and the view from the cemetery of trees and farmland was stunning and really made you feel that if indeed the undead would rise it would take you some time to get to shelter. After walking for some time we drove up to the old chapel and peeked inside to see a bare floor with some rotten spots. As we left, I felt like Evans City Cemetery is a place that I would love to be laid to rest in and that any aspiring horror filmmaker should visit this location and just walk around for awhile and allow the peaceful atmosphere inspire you. After we left we stopped back by New Dimension Comics, and I picked up a few more $3.00 Marvel horror comic issues, and we stopped to eat at Moe’s once more.  During this time there was also a major thunderstorm with flash floods, downpours and lots of lightning so we headed back to the hotel for a bit.

Evans City Cemetery Old SignEvans City Cemetery Graves 2015Evans City Cemetery The View

Later in the day Juliet and I traveled to Portersville to a place called The Snowman, a shaved ice parlor that is a giant fiberglass snowman! We learned about this place thanks to Cranberry Cinema as a commercial for it aired during First Look, and we both knew we had to check it out as the said they had a milkshake called The Yeti. The place was about 22 minutes away from our hotel and upon arriving at this roadside attraction it was really cool to find that The Snow Man was in the middle of a farm and surrounded by land with three horses behind fences eating.  The place was not super packed but a mother and her kids seemed to be enjoying the treats, and the weather that was now in the lower 80’s and sunny. Juliet ordered some shaved ice in the flavor of yellow cake batter, and I got a Yeti Shake that was blue raspberry shaved ice mixed with vanilla ice cream with whip cream and must say it was a very tasty shake. The place was fun to just sit at one of the tables watching the horses and soaking up the farmland around you. Juliet, before we left, went and got t-shirts of the Yeti character, and we both left that place very happy and will go back again when we come to town. On the drive back we found an NPR station with the same frequency 91.3 as WYSO that was called WYEP that sparked fun talk of radio and music in general. As we headed back to the hotel we decided that tonight we would have a movie night in the room and give Wing Kings one last chance not to be closed and be a no show for this year’s vacation. Below are some pics of The Snow Man and all that is in its flurry embrace.

The Show ManThe Horses of The Snow ManYeti Milkshake

So that night we selected Werewolf In The Amazon as we are both fans of the work of Paul Naschy and Wing Kings was open and we placed an order.  Juliet got Garlic Parmesan wings and I got just Garlic wings, and we shared some gravy fries. The food was pretty good; the wings had a nice garlic butter taste mixed with a crisp tasting wing, the fries were good but I was not a fan of the gravy. Over all they were a good wing place that had some tasty food for a night of watching a horror flick on our laptop. The film Werewolf in the Amazon on the other hand was pretty cheesy and bad, and it was clear it was made at the tail end of Naschy’s career and whoever made it had a good idea but could not put it together to make sense. The film takes place in the Amazon and follows a group of friends who take a trip into the jungle.  There is also a werewolf, Amazon warriors and Dr. Moreau…yes, that Moreau, and in the end it’s no real shock as to who the werewolf is and who survives the night of terror. This film was really lame, and it’s only highlights were Paul Naschy playing Dr. Moreau and the women who are easy on the eyes. The print of the movie was terrible and looked as if it was downloaded off the internet back in the mid 90’s and the source was a VHS tape that sat in a car for a week during the summer. After the film we watched WWE Tough Enough on USA Network and planned out next day of vacation.

Werewolf In The AmazonWing Kings Logowings and a movie

On Wednesday June 25th 2015 we started our morning by putting on the TV, and as we got ready on HBO 2 Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong was on. I felt it was a fitting end for our stay at this hotel as this extra long weekend was all about Monster Bash and that giant gorilla was a perfect send off. We then decided to go to the heart of Mars so that Juliet could get a cup of coffee from Mars Brew House, and when entering the coffee house I was impressed on how welcoming it was with its tables and chairs as well as a living room area with artwork on the walls. The man working the counter was really nice and gave me a small sample of a frozen coffee that was really tasty! We walked around the small town as she sipped on her cup of joe and we chatted about how cool this small town was, as well as checked out the new aliens in some of the business’ windows.  We had two hours to fill before one of our top attractions of this years trip opened so we decided to go back to Evans City Cemetery for a while.  We listened to more chapters of Marvel Comics The Untold Story and then headed to TCBY Yogurt and enjoyed a frozen treat. I had cookies and cream yogurt with whip cream, sprinkles and hot fudge, it was really good.  Then we headed to downtown Evans City for what I would say is the main event of this vacation, something that was really the cherry on this fun and amazing vacation with my # 1 girl!

Mars PA Alien SignMars Brew House PaintingWelcome To Mars

The Living Dead Museum and Gift Shop is in downtown Evans City and is a business that will catch the eye of any monster kid as the front of the store as a sign with zombie eyes in a dead stare and the windows have fake boards on them to keep out the dead. When we first planned this vacation, besides Monster Bash and the Cemetery, this was on our have to do list.  When we first tried to visit it on Monday we found out that it was closed for the day and would open up at noon on Wednesday so we knew before we left that this was our last stop before we made the long trip back to Dayton, and I can 100% say I am glad we did! We came in right as it opened and was greeted by a worker who was super friendly and as she went about her business of opening duties me and Juliet walked around the gift shop looking at t-shirts, comics, toys, cards and DVDs of all thing zombies! I was really drawn in by the T-shirts and bought myself a Return of The Living Dead shirt and got my cousin Stephen a shirt that said Pittsburgh Zombie Capital of the World and while checking out we bought two tickets to the museum, only $3.00 a ticket and I must first start off saying that it was well worth every penny and more! To enter you had to drop the ticket into a booth that housed a zombie who was your gate keeper to the world of the undead. The museum had a screening room as you walked in that was playing a documentary on the making of Night of The Living Dead as you moved deeper the area was plastered with stills, papers and information on Night as well as a statue of the Cemetery Zombie.  That was just the beginning as many more zombie films are covered as is a history of zombies in pop culture. The area also had a wall of bloody hand prints that were made and signed by actors in Romero zombie films as well as so much more statues and props used in films like Dawn of The Dead and Day of The Dead. Some of the highlight statues included the cover zombie to Fulci’s Zombi 2 and Tor Johnson as the zombie from Plan 9 From Outer Space. I don’t want to spoil too much of what treasurers or is that horrors await you when entering The Living Dead as I think if your a fan of Night Of The Living Dead you should do yourself a favor and check out this cool and amazing store and museum. After leaving this amazingly fun Museum we hit the road for home and so ended one heck of a fun time with Juliet and for this year.  I say bye to Mars and Cranberry Pennsylvania, but I know that next year I will see you again. Below is some pictures from The Living Dead with one being the cool as hell Cemetery Zombie statue. And I guess as this is Rotten Ink we really should take a look at our comic based on Night of The Living Dead and the people who made horror movie history.

The Living Dead StoreThe Living Dead ShirtThe Living Dead Cemetery Zombie

George A. Romero was born in February 4th 1940 in New York and was brought up in the Bronx.  His father was a commercial artist and this helped push him to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and start doing his own short films as well as commercials in and around the Pittburgh area including a segment for the popular kids show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  Doing this helped inspire him to get into the horror film industry and he along with friends opened Ten Productions and in 1968 he directed and co-wrote with John A. Russo one of the most influential zombie horror film of the modern times with “Night Of The Living Dead” and this cult classic pushed Romero as a household name for horror film fans and monster kids of the 60’s. Many films followed in the early 70’s like romantic comedy “There’s Always Vanilla”, witchcraft thriller “Season Of The Witch” , bio-nightmare film “The Crazies” and vampire arthouse fright flick “Martin.” While these films did okay, his next huge hit came in 1978 with his sequel to Night of the Living Dead with the mall zombie romp “Dawn Of The Dead”. His next two films he made were the apocalyptic motorcycle knight film “Knightriders” and the anthology Stephen King team up film “Creepshow,” and then in 1985 he made the third in his zombie films and my all time favorite “Day of The Dead” that follows a group stuck underground as the world above belongs to the dead. Many more films followed including “Monkey Shines”, “Two Evil Eyes”, “Dark Half” and “Bruiser.” He also wrote films like “Tales From The Darkside: The Movie”, “Creepshow 2” and “Night of The Living Dead,” a remake directed by Tom Savani. In 2005 Romero returned to the world of zombies and wrote and directed “Land Of The Dead” and other zombie films followed like “Diary Of The Dead” and “Survival Of The Dead” and while he has slowed down he still is active and even traveling the horror convention scene. I really hope that some time soon Romero returns to the world of the undead and makes a film that has the blood, guts and raw energy of his zombie films of the past. George even in 2015 is working on a comic series called Empire Of The Dead for Marvel and here is hoping that he continues to make groundbreaking entertainment as to me he is one of the best do it yourself filmmakers of all time. This update is in honor of you George and all you have done to entertain us all.

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I can remember the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead was when I was a young kid and it was playing on local TV.  I lived in Waynesville and my brother Bryan and I were both hyped on watching as the station ran all types of promos for its showing making this monster kid more and more excited to view it.  While our parents watched TV in the living room, we plopped into their bedroom with a small bowl of popcorn and watched a film that changed my life as for the first time I had a little bit of fear run down my spine of watching a black and white shocker.  The horrors of watching as zombies ate the flesh of characters Tom and Judy who were much like every day people was shocking to me. At this point most of the horror films I had seen were aired on Commander USA’s Groovie Movies, Grandpa Munster’s Super Scary Saturday and classic Monster movies from Universal on VHS, and while people died in those movies and many of them had killers and monsters, for some reason that night those zombies did their job and made for a chilling night of TV watching. I can remember the next school day many kids who watched the TV airing of Night of The Living Dead were talking about the scary moments and the slow moving zombies.  The film has always had a special place in this monster kid’s heart! The first time I owned the film was on a VHS copy that was presented by Blockbuster Video, and later I would go on to buy it on DVD from Elite Entertainment as well as the colorized version on DVD put out by Legend Films, not to mention I have many Horror Hosts episodes of them hosting this classic zombie romp.  The film remains a staple that I must watch every year around Halloween. Night of The Living Dead is one of those films much like the Universal Monster films that is a good way to introduce youngsters to the world of Horror cause while its creepy and does have gut munching, its by no means as extreme as say showing them The Walking Dead or even some of those made for TV horror films that air on SYFY. For me, Night of the Living Dead is a must see for any true horror fan and is a film that will always have a place in my movie collection.

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The Cemetery Zombie played by actor Bill Hinzman is one of the most iconic zombies ever on film and is clearly the grandfather of the undead zombie movie icons. The Cemetery Zombie is the first zombie seen in Night of the Living Dead and is the one to start off our undead nightmare as he is the one who chases Barbra and kills Johnny! Bill would be in many other Romero directed films like The Crazies, Knightriders and There’s Always Vanilla. Hinzman would go on to star in many other Horror Films like Legion Of The Night, Santa Claws, Evil Ambitions, The Drunken Dead Guy, Shadow: Dead Riot and River Of Darkness that he stared along side pro wrestlers Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle and Psycho Sid! Bill also directed two films; his first one was the 1988 slasher The Majorettes and then in 1988 he directed and starred as the main killer zombie in Flesheater. Not only was Hinzman an actor and director, he has also produced and written films showing that he was a man of many talents and loved the art of making movies. I had met Bill Hinzman many times during my convention traveling days and he was a staple at Cinema Wasteland.  But during Scary Camp, the Dayton Horror Convention put on by A. Ghastlee Ghoul, is when I really got to chat and work with Hinzman who acted in a TV show that my brother was working on called Josh vs. that would have had my close friend Josh Weinberg going up against celebrities in goofy events like 20 yard dashes and paper, rock, scissors and Bill Hinzman in complete Cemetery Zombie makeup gave his prediction on who was going to win between Josh and Sid Haig in a staring contest! I was asked to not only get him on board but also was the one to film and direct him and for sure it was one of the highlights of that weekend. Sadly Bill Hinzman passed away in 2012 at the age of 75 from cancer. I just wanted to take my time here and show respect to Mr. Bill Hinzman who was a great person and gave so much to the world of horror.  He is truly missed.

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So now that we have talked a little about the film and the people who made it, I think it’s time that we travel to Evans City Cemetery and once more read some Night of The Living Dead comics made by FantaCo this time it will be the film adaptation. So make sure to beat them and burn them as we once more take a look at the living dead in the cemetery that is holy ground for horror film freaks like myself as we spend an evening with the living dead. I want to thank Lone Star Comics as well as Amazon and Ebay for having this comic series in stock and as Johnny says “The Comics Are Coming To Get You Matty” ….wait he didn’t say that.  Let’s just get to the comics.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 1

Night Of The Living Dead # 1 ***1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price $4.95     FantaCo    #1 of 4

Barbra and her brother Johnny are heading out to a grave of their father for their mom at a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere.  This seems to get on Johnny’s nerves, but his sister who is spooked by the cemetery does it out of respect for her mom. As Johnny starts to tease Barbra about being scared he starts to claim that they dead are coming to get her and to her shock she is attacked by a walking corpse who kills Johnny who tries to come to the aid of his sister as he falls and cracks his head open on a tombstone. Barbra runs for her life as the Cemetery Zombie follows looking to eat this young woman.  She finds shelter in an old farm house, and as she hides she also meets Ben who has also came to the farmhouse in a old truck that’s low on gas and the barn has a locked gas pump. Ben fights off zombies who are trying to enter the house via open doors as Barbra slowly slips into madness and is overcome by fear. As the issue ends, Ben looks outside and sees a horde of zombies heading toward the house looking for flesh to eat.

This is a good solid movie adaptation of Night of The Living Dead that captures the vibe and feel of the film in this first issue and has a very dark brooding mood being set into place as the zombies seem twisted and the main color used in the comic is black. The story so far is that Barbra goes to a small cemetery where she watches her brother get killed by a zombie.  She runs to a nearby farm where she finds the bodies of the homes owners who have been eaten and runs into Ben, a man who arrives in a truck who attacks the zombies and the two strangers in the end must find a way to survive as the zombies are now all around the farm house. Barbra who is timid from the start gets even worse.  As the threat gets larger, she becomes hysterical it’s clear fear has taken her away from reality. Johnny is a smart ass who gets joy in teasing his sister as well as just being a negative person, but when his sister is in danger he snaps into being a hero and dies trying to save her life. Ben at this point is a man with a plan and that’s get the gas pump unlocked and his truck filled with fuel and he is going to try and get Barbra and himself to a safe place and figure out what is going on.  He also has no fear as he attacks many zombies with a tire iron and bashes in many undead skulls. The Cemetery Zombie is one hungry and motivated flesh eater who uses rocks to break a car window and gives chase like a slow animal stocking its prey. The rest of the zombies are used to get their brains smashed but as more come they become more and more dangerous and the numbers are in their favor. The creepy and helpless vibe so far in the comic is what made the film a classic one, and the art done by Carlos Kastro is well done for this style of book. So far the comic has only made small changes from the film as the comic opens with a zombie eating a bug and watching Barbra and Johnny driving into the cemetery, and I should note the comic is in black and white and this far while violence is happening it not a blood bath like most modern zombie comics. Reading this near the site of opening scene made this even more special and is helping add to my vacation, looking forward to reading part two.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 2

Night Of The Living Dead # 2 ***
Released in 1992    Cover Price $4.95    FantaCo    #2 of 4

Ben sets a fire outside the door, and the zombies seem afraid of it.  He rushes back inside and starts to board up the windows and has to be stern with Barbra to get her to help him look for supplies like wood and nails. Ben, as they get one room safe, tells her about how he got the truck and in a flashback a diner he was at is attacked by the living dead and how he took the truck to get away as he watched the zombies attack and kill people all around him. Barbra comes back to reality and talks about the graveyard visit and how she was attacked by The Cemetery Zombie and how she thinks Johnny might still be alive.  She gets frantic and smacks Ben who tries to stop her from opening the front door and he in turn smacks her and knocks her out. Ben places her on a couch and sets another fire out front to scare away the approaching zombies and starts to snoop around and turns on the radio to hear the news broadcasts that are reporting mass homicides around the state as well as the fact the killers are eating parts of the victims.  During his snooping he finds shoes for Barbra as well as a gun and bullets. As Barbra comes to Ben puts the shoes on her and heads upstairs to get ride of the bodies of the owners of the house who had been attacked and killed, but finds that one has be reanimated and attacks him! Ben bashes its skull in as Barbra lets out a scream downstairs as people have come out of the cellar!

This second issue is the major set up to the story as many pages are about the radio broadcast that tells the story of mass killings, people being eaten and the world not sure of what or who is to blame. The plot is that Ben and Barbra share how they ended up at the farmhouse with Barbra slipping even deeper into madness, Ben figures out the zombies hate fires and uses it to keep them at bay as he finds supplies. When Ben is attacked and kills a zombie, people from the cellar appear and our issue takes the next step. Ben, who’s back story is a little more flushed out, is a hitchhiker who stopped at a little greasy spoon dinner for a meal and reacts when we watches the place catch fire and people start to be killed. He is a very much take charge kind of person as from the start he calls the shots to Barbra and has plans to board up windows and doors to make their new base safe. Barbra is a mass of nerves and not much else her mental breakdown is in full swing and she is more like a scared baby rabbit than a human being. The zombies are becoming a horde of killers all around the farmhouse, and while they might be slow moving, their numbers make them a major threat to any living person. This issue is very downbeat as both our survivors at this point have seen death and things that are driving them close to madness.  This is a great issue to set the mood for the rest of this adaptation series. The major changes in this issue show Ben’s backstory of the attack at the greasy spoon and also has Ben being attacked by the zombie of the house owner up stairs. The artwork is done by Carlos Kastro again and while I really do like the style I should also point out that the quality does change and sometimes the characters look a little deformed and their features don’t let them look like the actors who are playing them. But like the first issue I enjoyed this one and look forward to issue three.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 3

Night Of The Living Dead # 3 ***
Released in 1992    Cover Price $5.95    FantaCo    #3 of 4

Ben meets Harry Cooper and Tom who have been hiding in the the cellar along with Tom’s girlfriend Judy and Harry’s wife Helen and his injured young daughter Karen.  Ben gets a little annoyed that they did not come up earlier and help him secure the house, and worse Cooper and he are going at it to what is the safest place for them to hide as Harry thinks they should all go to the cellar and Ben thinks they should protect the ground floor of the house. When Ben is attacked by a window that a zombie is able to bust through the boards, it’s Tom that comes to his aid as Harry watches and finally goes to the cellar after Judy comes up to help them board up the windows better. When he goes back down Harry and Helen fight over them staying in the cellar and not being near a radio to hear the updates of what to do and when help is on it’s way.  They decide to go up and help. While upstairs they find a TV and hear a news report for help stations as well as that the dead are coming back and eating the living and they think that it’s all connected to a satellite that was shot down when it was coming back to Earth as it was covered with radiation. Ben comes up with a plan to get to the gas pump, and he and Tom get to the truck with the help of a torch as Harry throws Molotov cocktails from the upstairs window.  As they get to the truck Judy decides that she wants to help as well and jumps into the truck! When they get to the pump an accident happens as the gas and the torch meet and set the truck on fire, in fear Tom and Judy drive the truck away in flames and it blows up killing them both.

The flesh is hitting the fan as Ben and Harry are butting heads and both are on power trips on who is going to be in charge and what and where and who and so on and this is the plot of this issue. Both Ben and Harry are acting like spoiled kids as they both can’t work together cause they would have to take orders from the other. The death of Tom and Judy is sad and really brings an emotional touch to the already high dooming mood. Ben and Barbra are pretty much acting the same as they have for the past two issues, and Ben seems to have taken on the role of protector of Barbra as he clearly understands she is not in her right mind. Tom and Judy are sweet silly country youngsters who seem to want to stop the in house fighting, and while they could take charge as the house is owned by Tom’s family he still would rather stick together and get the house safe for everyone. Harry Cooper is a pure hotheaded butthole who is clearly un-happy with his life and takes it out not only on his wife but anyone who is around him. Helen is just a normal housewife who loves her daughter but can’t stand her husband who bullies her and treats her like dirt. The tension between the characters are adding more danger to the already zombie threat that is surrounding them. And by this point in the story you the reader should be catching on that the story is not so much about the zombies but that of the humans who are all so different and how they must act together to survive the situation. The artwork is done by Carlos Kastro again and is enjoyable and captures the gloom very well again and the zombies look soulless like the way they should. Next up is the final issue, and let’s see how this one ends and if it has any changes from the film to comic.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 4

Night Of The Living Dead # 4 ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $5.95    FantaCo    #4 of 4

After the truck explodes Ben is left outside with his torch and as he makes his way from the gas pump to the farmhouse, Harry will not open the door leaving him a sitting duck for the zombies who are approaching.  Finally Ben kicks open the door, and he also beats up Harry as he almost got him killed. The zombies outside turn their attention to the burned bodies of Tom and Judy and start to rip them apart and eat the pieces. Ben tries to figure out away to get to a new car but Harry’s is turned over a mile away and Barbra’s is in the cemetery with no keys as Johnny had them on him. After things cool down, the survivors listen to a news broadcast that says the local authorities are out shooting and burning the undead.  When the power goes out chaos breaks loose as the zombies start to push their way in, and Harry instead of helping grabs the gun and shoots Ben, who in turn gets the gun back and shoots Harry who stumbles into the cellar. The zombies attack Barbra, Ben and Helen, and they try to fight back the best they can. Helen is able to escape down to the cellar but finds that her daughter Karen is now a zombie and is eating her father’s guts and then turns and kills Helen with a spade. Barbra is taken by a horde of zombies as she freezes when her brother Johnny is one of the undead. Ben escapes to the cellar and pushes zombie Karen out the door and bolts himself in and hides. The morning comes and so does the rescue party who by accident shoots and kills Ben as he is about to come outside to get help. In the end Ben’s body is thrown into a fire that is roasting the living dead.

This fourth issue is a lot of fun and is chaotic, filled with panic, scares and raw emotion. The plot of this issue is the breakdown of the survivors as Ben and Harry just can’t get along and both want to be in charge and both want the power of having the only gun in the household, and when they stop working together they leave themselves open to an all out attack from the zombies who work as one large flesh eating team all in sync and all ready to consume their prizes. Ben, by the end of this adaptation is a very proud man, who tried to come up with ideas to save the group and himself but sadly his idea fails and gets two people killed. The good thing about Ben is that he is not a selfish person as all his ideas are for the best of the group. It’s really cool to watch Ben adapt to the situation and become more and more of the story’s hero as its goes along. Barbra never does snap back to reality and almost becomes childlike all the way up to her death at the hands of the zombies, but even she snaps to it when the undead are trying to break in and does her best to try and keep them out. With Barbra it’s sad to see her slowly slip deeper and deeper into madness as fear takes over her very soul. Harry Cooper is the opposite of Ben and is a bullheaded loud mouth who has his own butt in mind most of the time, but to be fair he also really cares about his sick daughter. Harry is so consumed with people listening to him and his ideas that he risks the life of Ben to try and get that power.  He is also a chicken as when the threat is turned up he runs and causes more issues when he shoots Ben and gets himself killed in the process. Helen Cooper is your typical unhappy housewife who only stays with her husband for the sake of their child who she loves with all her heart. Karen who is sick by a bite from a zombie is turned into a flesh eater and kills both of her feuding parents. The zombies in this series start out as slow moving terrors who are easily over powered by the living and by the end are in a frenzy and want to eat some human meat and use their numbers to force their way into the farm house. The thing that sticks out both in this comic adaptation and the film is that while he is the most scummy character Harry Cooper’s idea of them hiding in the cellar was the best idea as zombies are unable to get in at the end. This is a great adaptation, and Fantaco did a fantastic job of keeping the story of Night Of The Living Dead going in the 1990’s. Carlos Kastro did the artwork again and while it’s good I did find this issues art to be a little scattered and almost rushed looking, but even with that said the artwork for this whole series is creepy and holds the vibe of the film. In closing if you’re a fan of the film and enjoy reading a good horror comic then check this one out for sure, check out the artwork below of some of the zombies from this series.

Night of the living dead adaptation art 1

This yea’rs vacation was a lot of fun and was packed with many great places and moments and showed me that taking time away from the stresses of the world and relaxing is something that I need to recharge the battery that is my brain. While I am sad to be done with my vacation, in a matter of a day when this is posted as I will miss the hotel room and the wonderful towns all around it I also must say that it’s good to be home with my cats Leslie and Streets J and as well as planing a film shoot with Baron Von Porkchop. Evans City is truly the home of zombies but our next update is about a icon of Cincinnati, Ohio and will focus on baseball player Pete Rose! So stop using that ball bat to crush zombie skulls and lets head to the ball field and play some ball. Until then enjoy life, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and watch out for the living dead.

pete-rose-shirt-t-shirt-80stees

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost Of Dracula

Welcome back, readers!  I know that one of the top questions on your mind is what did I do for Friday The 13th in September 2013…did I go to Cap’n Johnny’s Whiz Bang at Gillys Jazz Club to see bands Nightbeast and Todd The Fox with performers like Sunny Wonderland? Nope. Did I stay home and watch Horror Host Riggor Mortiss on DATV hosting the film Five? Nope. What I did was something I love to do, going to a haunted location in Ohio with friends to see if we can experience anything from the unknown.  That night we decided to go to Fudge Road in Gratis, Ohio. Fudge Road is spoken of as being filled with legend and myth, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either the most haunted road in all of Ohio or is a road that is filled with nothing but B.S. stories. Now before I get into the story of us going there and what we saw or didn’t see, I want to give you all a little run down of all the odd things/creatures/people that are suppose to be on the road.

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Cry Baby Bridge

Every small town has this legend.  The small village of Gratis is no exception, and has a few stories about the bridge. One is that sometime in the 1800’s, a mother tossed her baby over the bridge, and the infant’s spirit is suppose to haunt the cold waters below. Another ghost that is supposed to haunt the bridge is that of a truck driver who drove his rig off the side of the narrow road and into the ditch near the bridge, and he died at the scene. Another legend speaks of the ghost of a woman who was killed on the bridge by a biker gang who beat her with baseball bats even knocking one of her eyes out.  She is said to haunt the bridge and the woods around the bridge. The most famous ghosts of the bridge are those of a mother and child.  When the child passed away, the mother was so struck with grief that she hung herself on the bridge, and now late at night you are supposed to park on the bridge and say “Mama” three times and wait to hear a baby cry and sometimes see the ghost of the woman who in turn seems to be looking for her child. Also some people who have gone to this haunted bridge have claimed that they have seen dead animals such as deer and dogs hung up and gutted hanging by the neck from the rails under the bridge!

White Fur Monster

The Cocker/White Fur Monster

The Cocker is a white furred humanoid, Bigfoot-type creature who is said to have been spotted numerous times around the woods near the “Midget House”. The creature is known to make loud high pitched screams sounding like a woman and seems to not have a pattern on when and what time to witness it. Some accounts say that the creature is more of a killer and is known for killing animals and leaving their mangled bodies as a warning to all those who enter his domain. The creature is said to be about 6 foot tall with long white hair all over and is ape-like in appearance. Some also think that this creature is from another dimension and moves through portals and that’s why it’s seen less than other spooky “attractions” on the road.

Fudge road Midget house

The Midget House

There is a strange tiny house that sits back aways from the road on a plot of land that is said to be a place that houses giant pigs or also sometimes reported dogs that are used in scarifies for witches and or the KKK. The pigs in some stories also are said to be man-eaters, and those who trespass on the land could find themselves in their bellies! The house is said to also be a source of evil, and those who walk around it get odd feelings and feel as if they are being watched. The white furred Cocker monster has been spotted around it a few times making it a major source in spotting it. The house cannot be seen at night via the road as it has no lights in or around it and is surrounded by a barbwire fence. Also around this part it’s said that a barn sits somewhere nearby that was the site of 17 teens who were murdered. The Midget House location is one of the most popular attractions on the road next to Cry Baby Bridge.

Fudge Road Old Lady

Crazy Old Witch Lady

The locals of Fudge Road don’t like wanna-be “ghost hunters” or thrill seeking teens to drive up and down the road, and one of the worst for hating these people is a shotgun carrying old woman who also video tapes everyone that drives up and down and also is known to chase them down the dark and narrow road. She is said to own all the houses on the road besides one and that many of the houses are really empty but she leaves a lamp on in each to make it look as if someone is home. Some reports have her riding around with an older man in a black/red truck and chasing people down the narrow road video taping and firing guns in the air as warning shots. Some reports also have her hiding in the woods and the corn fields on the road ready to call the police or even fire her trusty shotgun at you. Many say that she is a witch and that she is known for killing animals and having large satanic gatherings in the woods and can place curses on those who drive down her road. Is she a witch or just a batty old lady with a shotgun? All that’s really known is it’s not safe to ask her!

Fudge Road Baby on Bridge

So on that Friday The 13th after work around 8:15pm at night Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg and myself decided to go visit a haunted place for the night.  We went through a list of possible locations that included the classics like Carpenter’s Road and Frankenstein’s Castle, but Fudge Road ended up being the winner so we piled into Stephen’s white Lumina and headed out to the famed road in Gratis.  On the ride there, I used Stephen’s smart phone to look up stories to read aloud in the car to help build the mood of the spooky road we were about to visit. We found the road with no issues and turned onto it.  On one side was a farmhouse with lots of land and a shed, while on the other side was a massive corn field.  We made jokes about Children Of The Corn and even killer Scarecrows as we slowly drove down it keeping our eyes open for a white furred monster, ghosts and yes, the crazy old lady with a shotgun! As we reached the bridge, we saw that it was blocked off.  So we turned around all hyped on just how creepy this smaller part of the road was. and we knew we had to find the other end of the road to see what spooky horrors it held. We stopped at a small gas station and filled up with gas and some drinks and headed back out to find the road. After driving a few minutes, we found the other side of the road and traveled down it.  The road was dark, and the worst part was the road was barely big enough even for one car, let alone two! We passed a carload of kids who were leaving the area and clearly were also there to find a good scare, and they were nice enough to pull all the way over to allow us to get past them and get deeper down the dark road. The sites from the road were odd as many of the houses did seem empty with just one single light on in each, making me wonder if the crazy old lady really did own most of the road. We past one house that was boarded up with a big fence around it as well as no trespassing police tape, but it was clear that someone or something had lifted part of the fence to allow people to sneak onto the land. Some parts of the road had some wicked turns and with it being pitch black and both sides covered with deep woods, you had to pay more attention more where you were driving. When we made it to the other side of the closed up Cry Baby Bridge, we parked the car and we all got out.  While Steve and Josh walked over to the bridge, I began snapping pictures around the car wanting to get as much of the creepy atmosphere as I could so that I could share it here on Rotten Ink. The Bridge was covered with graffiti with words like R.I.P and a number of names, and as I snapped pics, a flash of light went off in the woods near the car. I waited and saw it again…it was super fast and almost reminded me of a cellphone being awoken from sleep mode.  So I alerted the guys, and we headed back to the car and got out of dodge! We began talking about what we thought the light could be, and I stuck with my cellphone theory.  As we pulled out of the road we noticed a cop drove by, turned on Fudge Road and blocked it from anyone else going down it.  I truly think that the light was the Crazy Old Woman calling the cops on us! On the way home, we talked about the creepy feel of the road and wanted to find another haunted location to visit.  We ended up not going to another and while we have talked about going back to Fudge Road, we never have made the journey back. While we didn’t see any white furred monsters or even giant pigs in a tiny house, we did, it seems, have contact with the Old Lady of the road, and while no shotguns or car chases happened, it’s clear as day she doesn’t want you around. Below are some of the pics I took that night of the road near the bridge as well as the Corn field straight out of Children Of The Corn.

Fudge Road CornFudge Road BridgeFudge Road Woods

But enough of Fudge Road, let’s talk about Count Dracula also known as TV’s Count Dracula of “Horror Incorporated” that ran from 2000-2002 on Channel 45 in Minneapolis. Count Dracula began his hosting career in 1984 on a show called “Count Dracula Presents” that lasted for two years on Channel 29 out of Minneapolis, and after the show ended, he came back to TV and did a few more shows before landing the host gig on Horror Incorporated that for years was a un-hosted program.  This was in 2000, and for two solid years he hosted the show with his vampire charm. I just wanted to make you readers aware of Count Dracula and don’t want to spew too much knowledge about him just yet because who knows, maybe in the future I’ll do a Horror Host Icon update about him!

Count Dracula (host)

As you all know, I am a video game player and enjoy sitting with my controller in hand and playing the newest Resident Evil or WWE game on a big TV screen. Growing up during the good old days of handheld games, I always found myself not buying a Gameboy, Game Gear or even an Atari Lynx and would choose a console game or even a Tiger Handheld game instead. So this last winter, my girlfriend Juliet’s mom and dad gave us an Apple iPad, and the only thing we use it for is games. Juliet plays a game called Smurf Village, and I play Simpsons Tapped Out and an odd little gem called Zombie Cafe, where you build a cafe and have zombies and monsters act as your waiters! As of June 13th 2014 I have a total of 6 main waiters on staff that include Mummy Fritz, Female Mummy Megan, Zombie Hipster Gary, Female Zombie Eliza, Zombie Construction Worker Jason and my long time staff zombie Alex. This game is silly and a way to waste time on a bored night. The game also allows you to send your workers to another cafe and attack them and some of these cafes are owned by the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster! If you’re looking for a fun, simple and free game to play on your iPad, I would say check this on out. Below are most of my staff minus Mummy Megan as she joined the staff a little later on.

Zombie Cafe Workers

Growing up, for one Christmas I got some Imperial Universal Monster toys for The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, and I loved them and played with them a lot.  I even have them to this day, and then when Juliet and I went to Monster Bash this year I was able to finally get my hands on The Mummy.  With him I was only missing one of the figures from the series so I pulled the trigger and ordered it from Ebay and that figure was for the Vampire King Count Dracula! The figure has a very loose likeness to Bela Lugosi and stands taller than The Mummy. The figure I was able to win at opening bid of .99 due to some paint loss to its fingers and hair, but over all I think its a nice display figure. If you’re a classic Universal Monster fan and collect action figures based on them make sure to check out the Imperial line.  They fit in very nicely with your Remco and Marx figures. Check out the pic below for what the Dracula figure looks like.

Imperial Dracula Toy

Now that we talked about Fudge Road a haunted location in Ohio, iPad game Zombie Cafe and a little about Horror Host Count Dracula, I think it’s time we get to the main attraction, Eternity Comics’ mini series called Ghost of Dracula! Now I have to be honest many years back when I was a teen I had some of these issues from this mini series that I got from Mavericks, but when I could not find all the issues I never fullly read them and they got sold way back when with almost all my comics to pay rent for me and my then girlfriend Misty. So it being 2014 and getting the whole set thanks to Dark Star Books, I can finally read the whole series. Just a friendly reminder I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s sit back and see what kind of Ghosts Dracula has, and if we should also call the Ghostbusters for him!

Ghosts of Dracula 1

Ghosts of Dracula  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #1 of 5

The year is 1925, and the city is London as a man named Mr. Beck is asking for help not to fall asleep from a doctor who in turns makes the mistake of drugging the patient who then transforms and kills his would be savior. Meanwhile in New York, Count Dracula is roaming the streets and snacking on people late at night! In Amsterdam, Professor Van Helsing is dealing with his wife who has slowly slipped into madness and is in an asylum, and returns to London when a rash of murders breaks out that has victims with ripped out throats. Dracula meets Harry Houdini who exposes a fraud medium, and the two exchange stories of trying to contact old loved ones.  Dracula turns into a bat and disappears as Van Helsing finds that Mr. Beck, his old friend, is in fact the killer and is a demon! Dracula barely makes it back to his coffin in time and it’s shown he has a female vampire named Ellen who he does not care for but uses her to keep his coffin safe.

This is a fun issue, and a great way to kick off a mini series based on Count Dracula! I love the way it has numerous stories going at once and not only shows you what Dracula is doing but also shows that a demon killer is on the loose and shows all the crappy stuff that is going on in an aging Van Helsing’s life. The addition of real life magician Henry Houdini is also bad ass and a great way to keep a person like me truly interested in the story. The issue’s plot is this: London has a killer that is a demon, and Van Helsing goes to stop him thinking it to be Dracula, while Dracula himself is in America looking for a way to contact his old love. I also like Ellen who is clearly crazy and wants nothing more than to be a full fledged wife of Dracula, all the while he wants nothing to do with her and treats her like a cheap porn star! The art work is that pure 1990’s independent horror comic look, and Count Dracula has short curly style black hair and a classic 70’s porn mustache and looks like the love child of Burt Reynolds and Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Van Helsing looks like a crazy old man, a perfect look for an aging hero. Over all I dig the art work and think that issue 1’s cover is just okay. I am looking forward to see where this story goes. Oh I should also say that for a horror comic this has very little blood and is more of a story driven issue than a blood bath.

Ghosts of Dracula  2

Ghosts of Dracula  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #2 of 5

Harry Houdini is a mess after seeing Dracula and comes to grips that vampires are real, but in acting strange, he is pushing is girlfriend Bess away! While Dracula himself is hung up on Lucy (from the novel), Ellen uses her blood and charms to seduce the vampire king, but makes the mistake of mentioning Lucy causing Dracula to freak out and set her free no longer in his control or bond.  This leads to Ellen jumping off a cliff to her death. Van Helsing meanwhile tries to get an ageing friend to help him in his Dracula/demon hunt and is turned down and returns home to find Mr. Beck there asking for help! Houdini, after one of his shows, gets information about a person who can help him, but is warned by Dracula not to go and if he does death awaits him. In the end we see that the man Houdini is supposed to meet with his Van Helsing and the threat from Dracula does not work as he prepares to travel to London. Meanwhile at the town morgue, Ellen is alive and well and is now a fully fledged vampire!

Issue two slows the pace a little, and with this much story, it makes sense to flesh out the true missions of each of the characters. I like how it’s clearly showing that Harry Houdini is being geared up to be the mini series’ hero and Van Helsing seems to be spinning his wheels and knowing he is too old to do this alone.  Also I am not 100% sure yet, but I think the friend he goes to and asks for help from was none other than Sherlock Holmes! While the issue does not say the detective’s name, his look and hat are a giveaway, and I hope that this is looked at further in the series. Dracula in this issue seems to be an emotional mess and has Lucy on the brain; he even makes the mistake of giving into Ellen who he hates! Plus love the fact Dracula could kill Houdini but doesn’t because he respects him as a human.  Wow, Dracula must love magic in order to spare his life! Mr. Beck almost seems like a Jeykell and Hyde type character as the good side wants help and the evil side just wants to kill. The art is still great in this one, and this time they add a tiny bit of blood and the cover is a tad bit better than issue 1’s. Over all the story in this one is good but a little crammed making this one a solid issue just not as impactful. I can’t wait to see what issue 3 has in store and hope that these characters all start interacting I mean a Dracula and Mr. Beck demon fight could be epic! So let’s get onto issue 3.

Ghosts of Dracula  3

Ghosts of Dracula  # 3  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #3 of 5

Both Dracula and Houdini cross the sea to Europe to get the answers they seek. Van Helsing takes Beck to a church where there is a young girl named Angelica who has the power to heal anyone she comes across that needs to be saved, but each time the young girl does this she herself becomes more and more weak and even gets the wounds of Christ. Not to be left behind, Ellen also comes across the sea to be close to her beloved Vampire King! Beck is taken to the church’s dungeon where he once more turns into the evil Demon and scares all the nuns as Van Helsing gets a late night visit from Dracula who now has Houdini as his servant after he forces him to do his bidding! Dracula and Helsing meet outside on a cold snow filled night in a epic stare down.

Wow, this issue takes some twist and turns and takes Harry Houdini who you think is going to be the hero of the series and turns him into Dracula’s slave! I didn’t see that coming at all, and in fact, you find yourself cheering for Harry to break the spell. Dracula in this issue is pissed and kills a bunch of sailors and dock workers letting everyone know that he is not to be messed with. Ellen as well shows a little more of a mean streak and kills a young woman who is thinking of suicide and takes a dock worker who has a family as her slave. Beck as the demon is one scary soul stealing creature of hell, and when even being inside a holy place doesn’t seem to bother him, you know Van Helsing has his hands full. Speaking of Van Helsing, old age seems to have slowed him down a little, but he still is a warrior of fighting for good. Angelica is an interesting character that is as pure as snow and seems to be a young woman with such amazing power. The story is starting to heat up, and now all in one place are Dracula, Van Helsing, Demon Beck, Angelica and Houdini so let’s just get into issue 4 and see what big battle is about to go down! Oh yeah, the art work is still good, but this cover is a little lame and has zero to do with the comic.

Ghosts of Dracula 4

Ghosts of Dracula  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #4 of 5

Demon Beck has escaped and has kidnapped Angelica and taken her to a castle that belongs to Dracula! A horrified nun runs out in the middle of the Dracula and Van Helsing stare down and tells them that Angelica is gone.  The two along with Houdini put all their differences aside and decide to team up to save the young girl who is the key to something they all want or need. For Van Helsing, she is the key to saving the soul of his friend Beck; for Houdini she is the key to talk to his dead mother and for Dracula it’s so he can talk to Lucy, his lover who died many years back. Ellen travels to Dracula’s castle and has visions of what, why and how Dracula became the vampire he is to this day, but while there she sees the demon and tries to save the young girl and get this demon out of her master’s house.  She fails as Dracula and crew come in and challenge the demon!

This is a good issue that serves as mostly the back story of Dracula, and while it’s cool and a fun read, I almost feel they just added this all in as filler and to get one more issue out for this mini series so that it would be one issue longer. Dracula and Van Helsing having to team up to save Angelica is a cool concept and makes one wonder what if Universal or Hammer decided to do this in their films, how would fans have taken that idea. Plus it’s nice that already Houdini has broken the hold Dracula has on him and is like yeah, this ain’t happening no more. Ellen once more shows that she is way too in love with Dracula who up to this point uses her and dislikes her to the point of hate, but it is cool to see her try and take a stand against the demon Beck even if she does lose fast. The players are all set for an epic battle of good & evil and something in-between. The artwork is the same as other issues, and Dracula still looks like a porn star of the 70’s mixed with Tony Stark.  The cover this time around is pretty cool and eye catching.  The use of the bright red I am sure helped it get some attention on the stands when released in 1991. So with this let’s move onto the final issue and see how this epic final battle plays out.

Ghosts of Dracula  5

Ghosts of Dracula  # 5  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #5 of 5

The demon Beck is not impressed with the team-up before him, and it’s clear that Dracula is the only one who stands a chance in fighting him. Dracula sends wolves after demon Beck, and Van Helsing rams a stake through its body allowing Beck to turn human for a few moments.  Houdini shoots him in the head killing Beck, but this frees the demon who now is ready for all out war. While Dracula tries his best to fight the demon, Van Helsing and Houdini take Angelica away and try to get her to safety. Dracula puts up one hell of a fight but is no match for the raw evil power of the demon, who then goes after Angelica who in turn awakens and is able to defeat the hell spawn herself. After the battle, Van Helsing goes and rams a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Angelica uses her powers to answer many questions.  For Houdini, she tells him she is truly able to speak to the dead; Dracula even in death in now able to find peace, and Van Helsing comes to the realization that his wife is a vampire and must not be protected but destroyed for his own mental health.

If this issue and even series teaches you one thing, it’s don’t mess with Dracula even if you are a demon from Hell, cause when he’s mad he is going to try his best to kill you! Dracula in this issue is still a a bad guy but he knows that he must team with these humans in order to rid the world of an evil demon that is trying to open the gates making the world a dangerous place for humans and vampires alike. Dracula, while a mean blood sucker, also shows compassion and love as he is shown to care for Lucy, and in death is finally able to find that inner peace and light that he has been lacking for centuries. 70’s porn mustache Dracula is a well written character and is clearly the antihero from start to finish. Van Helsing is still a noble hero, but it’s clear that he is old and broken down and has the stress of the world on his shoulders.  His hatred for Dracula is out of control and consumes him at times. The real cool aspect of the character this time around is that his true love has been affected and now a vampire herself, and he is in denial that she has becomes what he hates most. Plus while Dracula gets a happy ending, Van Helsing only kind of does and he kills his wife and then spends his time in a cell for murder! Angelica is a powerful young woman who has unknown powers racing through her body.  It would be cool to have seen just all the things she could do, and would have been a great ally for Van Helsing if he would have continued to hunt and kill creatures of the unknown. Houdini is a character that adds something to the story that’s hard to place your finger on.  While he doesn’t do anything too heroic nor does he kill any of the enemies at hand, there is just something so cool about this magician’s appearance that helps add a level of cool to this mini series. The demon is one mean sucker who kills and torments anyone who gets in his way.  It’s saying something when you as the reader are worried for Dracula, the world’s most powerful vampire when he has to step toe to toe with this powerhouse of hell fire might. This was a well done series that showed with the right writers and artists, a Dracula comic series can be done well.  I for one would have loved to see another mini series done with Houdini, Van Helsing, Dracula and Angelica going up against another major threat to all kind. The artwork in the series is done by Seppo Makinen and is fantastic and has that classic early 90’s horror comic look to it, and I would like to see some modern Dracula comics done by Seppo. While a horror comic, the series is bloody but not too over the top adding a level of Hammer Horror charm turned up a bit for more shocking aspects. Over all this is one fun comic series and was worth revisiting and completing for sure! Below are some of the artwork from this mini series of Dracula and his ghosts.

Ghost of Drac Art 1Ghost of Drac Art 2Ghost of Drac Art 3

Folklore and magic collided in this comic series that was surprisingly very good! It was nice to see yet another adventure being done around Count Dracula and taking him out of the same old same old element and placing him in a position where he must come face to face with evil that is straight from Hell. Taking an iconic horror character and turning him more good was really cool to read and was way ahead of the Dracula TV series on NBC that was kind of doing the same before it was canceled. And it looked like we didn’t even have to call in The Ghostbusters to help with Dracula and his Ghosts! Well, while May is in mid month, our next update will be about a giant and not just any old giant but that of an icon of the squared circle known as Andre! I want to also remind everyone that Ghost of Dracula was supposed to go up in August 2014, but due to the issues being misplaced before my write up was complete, it was placed on the back burner, and finally Dracula got his time in the sun…oh great I forgot he dies in the sun! So make sure to go out and enjoy this weather, and visit a amusement park or two, read a comic under your favorite tree and watch a big blockbuster movie at your favorite theater and as always support your local Horror Host.

Andre The Giant Logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014 Logo

2014 was a pretty good year for movies, and while I didn’t get to visit the theater just about every week like last year, I still was able to catch many great films at my favorite theaters. It’s odd that after all these years I still feel the excitement of watching a film in the theater with some popcorn and an Icee. But before we get into my lists, I should say that my favorite theater is Cinemark at the Greene in Beavercreek, but man since they bought the theater from The Rave that place has had some issue and cutbacks that have really taken away from the place. The first thing you will notice is that on many days they are understaffed and many of the faces from last year are no longer working there, although my friend Chris still does so that’s a plus. Plus they did away with the flavor powder to put on your popcorn….so no more cheese popcorn for this movie goer. Others issues I have had is that during John Wick they left the lights on.  When my pal Jeremy Hoyt went and told them they turned off all the lights besides the center one that sadly we were sitting under…I felt like I was being interrogated by Dick Tracy! During November Man almost all the speakers besides the front two didn’t work, and worse, they had the front two cranked and it sounded like crap. During some movies, due to them going all digital with no projectionist when the film would start it would have no sound or no picture. Plus one of the most annoying things is the fact that they cram so many Coka-Cola and Microsoft ads at the start of every movie that it feels like your watching network TV! But to be fair for every bad experience, I have had way more good and that’s why it’s still my favorite theater. So let’s take a seat here at the Rotten Ink Theater lobby and let’s talk films of 2014!

Rotten Ink Cinema Lobby 2014Let’s get those bad films out of the way first, the ones that I left the theater wondering why film or even digital pixels were wasted on making them! So let’s take out this stinky trash before it smells up the joint! This year since I didn’t go and see one or two films a week, I was lucky enough to miss many stinkers but here are at least two that left a fowl smell in the theater.

WORST copy

# 2

300 Rise of an Empire

A direct follow up to 300 takes place at the same time and after the events of the first film, and instead of land battles, it’s mostly all about water warfare. Themistocles and his brave warriors go to war at sea with Xerxes and his evil sister Artemisia all for the glory of Greece. The film has some fun over the top boat battles and even a few sword to sword fights, but many times the action is pure cheese and some of the green screen effects look as if it was a made for the Sy-Fy Channel film. The scene that has Themistocles riding a horse from boat to boat and throwing fire is down right silly and mind numbingly bad. Highlights include a naked Eva Green who plays Artemisia. Over all, it’s a very poor follow up to the original and was a bland sword and sandal film. The film grossed $106,580,051.00 at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers.

# 1

Million Ways To Die In The West

This film just plan sucked! I saw it with my pal Jeremy Hoyt with a theater semi-full of people, and hardly no one laughed and many groans were heard at the poor attempts at humor. The film follows sheep farmer Albert Stark, who is a weak man with no backbone and no shooting skills, that is until he meets Anna, the wife of a gunslinger outlaw who has set his sights on killing Albert who has fallen in love with his wife! It’s up to Anna to help Albert get a backbone and survive not only a fight with her husband but that also with his ex-girlfriend’s mustachioed boyfriend. The film was written, directed and starred Seth McFarlane, who is a one trick pony with his gross and pop culture humor. So in other words, if you think fart jokes are top of the line comedy than Seth wrote this one for you. The film’s only real highlights are cameos from celebrities playing famous characters they have played in past Western films like Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown from Back To The Future Part III! At the US box office, this film brought in $43,139,300 for Universal. I hope they don’t make a sequel to this film…as the thought makes my brain hurt.

Those were the only bad films I saw in theater, but I should also note that I saw two really bad ones that went direct to video like Wolf Creek 2 and Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D. But let’s not inhale any more of this stinky trash!

Wolf Creek 2Trash CanArgentos Dracula 3D

Up second, we are going to take a look at action.  While last year we called it 80’s action, this year we are going to add more into it besides films starring aging action stars; plus I am going to add action thrillers into this category. So get your Rambo headband ready because I am about to tell you my top 6 action packed films of 2014!

80s action copy

# 6

sabotage

Arnold Schwarzenegger geared up in this action thriller film that was pretty solid even though it had many plot holes. Breacher is the leader of an elite DEA team.  His wife was murdered by drug lords in Mexico, and he has his team steal money from their busts. When $10 million goes missing from one of their heists, the DEA turns up the heat and disbands the team. But when members of the team are starting to be murdered off, the team must figure out who is killing them and what happened to the money they stole that went missing. The film takes many twists and turns; it also has a solid line up of supporting actors like Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard and Mireille Enos and some great gun play that all help add to the over all action film feel. The film sadly did very poorly at the box office grossing only $10,508,518.00 in the US for Open House Films, but both Juliet and I enjoyed it.

# 5

The Equalizer

Who doesn’t like seeing Denzel Washington kicking ass and taking names? This action drama follows Robert McCall, a retired black ops agent who is now working at a home improvement store after his wife’s passing. He comes out of retirement and takes on the Russian Mafia when his young friend Alina is beaten badly by her pimp who happens to be a Mafia member.  The bodies pile up as Robert takes the war to the streets and to crime that he witnesses. It’s a fun action flick based on the old 80’s TV show on CBS, that has Robert killing scum bags with all types of weapons from guns to hammers. Denzel is fantastic as is Chloe Grace Moretz who plays Alina.  In fact I think Chloe is an actress to keep an eye on because if Hollywood gives her the roles, she will pull them off. If you want to see scum bags get what they deserve at the hands of a man who knows no fear, then check this one out! The film did pretty well at the US box office and grossed $99,306,000.00 for Sony. I saw this film with pal David J. Getz, who was way too hard on it and took the stand of Denzel being to old to be an action star, and to that I say he’s wrong!

# 4

november man

The November Man is an action thriller that stars former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan who plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA agent who must go head to head with his former protege David Mason when a large plot involving a Russian general and a young female witness to crimes he has committed’s life is in danger. Throw in a hit woman who has been hired to kill her and you have a race to find out the truth and who is the real bad guy! One thing I like about the film is the good guy Devereaux is not a real nice guy as he lies and even hurts innocent people to make things go his way, but with that said he has his reasons and over all he truly is a “good” guy. Pierce Brosnan is fantastic in the role of Devereaux, and that’s what makes this over all average film a heck of a lot better. Sadly this is the movie that when Jeremy and I saw it at the theater, only the front speakers were working and to “fix” it when Jeremy told them, they turned up the front ones louder…doh! The film grossed $25,018,119.00 for Relativity via the US box office.

# 3

John WickThis was the surprise action hit of the year for me as I can safely say that I really enjoyed every bullet riddled moment! Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a one time enforcer for a crime family who has retired to spend time with his wife who passes away from an illness. After her death, she leaves John a puppy and together they morn the loss. But when the son of the crime lord makes the mistake of stealing John’s car and killing his dog, they awaken “The Boogeyman” who will not stop till the son is dead. What follows next is nonstop action that felt like a video game come to life as bullets and fights break out in clubs and hotels, all ending in deaths! Plus it was funny to see WWF Superstar Kevin Nash in a small role, not to mention the supporting cast was also fantastic with names like William Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki and John Leguizamo all doing great performances for an over the top action film like this. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US box office, grossing in $40,649,000.00 and bringing them in a profit. This is a movie I will buy on DVD when it’s released to show to Juliet and my parents.

# 2

Expendables 3

My favorite action star of all time, Sylvester Stallone, returns as Barney Ross for The Expendables 3.  The film has Barney disbanding his old crew when he finds out that Conrad Stonebanks, an old teammate turned enemy, is still alive when Hale Caesar is injured by him in a raid. Barney turns to his pal Bonaparte to get a younger crew that consist of such actors as Kellan Lutz, Rhonda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell, and when they go after Conrad and fail and become his prisoners, it’s up to Barney and his old crew to save them and stop Conrad once and for all. This film has a paper thin plot but is heavy on the action! It was nice to see Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger all return for a third time. Plus the addition of other classic action stars like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas (who steals the movie) was a nice way to spice up the cast. The new crew sadly are all forgettable besides Rhonda Rousey, who is a great looking tough UFC chick who can rock a red dress and bash a head in and look fantastic doing it. Not as great as the other two films in the series, but still a solid action flick that sadly did poorly at the US box office for Lionsgate only bringing in $39,322,544.00, but thank God the overseas viewers loved it where it brought in $166,850,000.00! Here is to hoping Sly will give this franchise a break and focus on a new Rambo film…or a sequel to Cobra.

# 1

Walk Among The Tombstones

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a film that mixes many genres together and does so really well; it takes elements from Action, Horror, Thriller and Drama and sprinkles in elements like Noir, Detective and Serial Killer. The film follows former cop now unlicensed private detective Matthew Scudder, who takes a case that involves kidnapping, ransom and murder, and once he’s involved he becomes a player in this sick and twisted game set up by a group of killers. Along the way he meets a young boy on the streets who becomes his somewhat partner and helps him stop the killings and expose the identities of the killers. I really dug this film and enjoyed the fact that it was a Noir Action film that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Plus the film’s killers are true scum of the earth! I saw this film with a pretty packed house and with my friend Jeremy, and you could hear many people talking at the end about how much they liked it. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, and the story has some surprises that are best left for you to discover when you watch it. The film did pretty bad at the US box office bringing in a total of $26,307,600.00 for Universal on a budget of $28 Million, and that’s a shame cause this film was pretty badass!

Liam beating Sly on my top action films, I would have NEVER seen that coming! So we whooped some ass with action now let’s get our nerd minds a good workout as we take a look at my top four Sci-Fi and Fantasy films! So charge up your Lightsaber and set you phasers to stun, we are talking Science Fiction now.

SciFi

# 4

transformers age of extinction

I hate to say it, but I really enjoyed Transformers: Age Of Extinction in the theater while eating popcorn, drinking a blue Icee with my gal Juliet.  That says a lot for me because I was by no means a fan of the other three films in this series directed by Michael Bay. This one’s plot is simple; the people of Earth have turned on the Autobots and have ruled it open season on killing them and taking the bodies away to be studied to see if we could create ones that would become weapons of war. When the Yeager family find and help Optimus Prime, they become the target of the CIA, and worse, Megatron is back in the form of Galvatron! Can Optimus and the remaining Autobots stop them from ruining the world..well of course they can! The film is packed with stupid robot one liners, wall to wall over the top action and the worst cameos for the Dinobots ever, who only have a few minutes on screen and are a waste of film as they really add nothing to the story. The film scored big for Paramount at the US box office bringing in $245,439,076.00 and when adding in foreign gross, it did over a billion dollars! So if you don’t mind checking your brain in at the door and want to see Mark Wahlberg team up with Optimus Prime, then this Sci-Fi Action film is for you.

# 3

Robocop

I generally dislike remakes of classic films, and when I heard Sony was remaking Robocop, my eyes rolled and I thought here we go again another heartless retelling all for the sake of a quick buck. But after seeing Robocop the week it came out, I must admit I was wrong and I think the people who made this film really tried to capture the feel of the original and update it all at the same time. This time around Alex Murphy is a cop on a mission, and when going after a crime boss he is blown up via a car bomb. OmniCorp, who create robots to fight wars, wants to make a super cop and use Murphy as the test subject and create Robocop! And once he gets revenge on those who originally set him up, he also soon finds that Raymond Sellars, the CEO of OmniCorp, is not a very nice man and wants Robocop shutdown for good when he finds he can’t control his mind and looks at him as nothing more than a computer. Can Robocop stop the evil corporation? Will his wife and son accept him? Will Raymond succeed in pulling the plug? All these questions are answered in this fun PG-13 action romp. Joel Kinnaman plays Robocop/Alex and does a pretty good job, but he is no Peter Weller. The supporting cast is also fantastic with such names as Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Jackie Earle Haley. The film did weak in the USA box office grossing $58,607,007.00 making the film a miss for Sony. It’s a shame; I would have liked to have seen a part two.

# 2

maleficent

Maleficent was fantastic ,and when seeing it in IMAX 3D, I felt like a kid again watching a Disney take on a fairy tale unfold before my eyes. My favorite animated Disney film has always been Sleeping Beauty so when I heard they were doing a live action film based around the villain Maleficent my interest was peeked. The film follows Maleficent, who is a fairy, and when a human boy misleads her and cuts off her wings to gain power in the nearby kingdom, she turns mean and waits for her revenge on the day the boy is now King and is going to have his first child.  Maleficent places a curse on the child to sleep forever until true loves kiss awakens her on her 16th birthday. But the film takes a twist as we see that Maleficent ends up befriending the young Princess and wants to try and undue the curse but can she do it? And worse the King has sent his whole army to kill her. This family fun flick was amazing and added so much more depth to the Maleficent character.  Plus Angelina Jolie does a top notch job as the “evil” fairy Maleficent. The special effects are top of the line with the fairy moors being breathtaking, as is the dragon that appears to help her in her fight against the army. The film did really well for Disney at the US box office, grossing in $241,381,217.00 and proving that the classic characters never go out of style. If you have not seen this film, you should check it out.

# 1

dawn of planet of the apes

The Planet of the Apes films have always been some of my favorite Sci-Fi films to watch, and these new films being made by Fox are just as great as the originals! This second film in the rebooted series follows Caesar, the leader of the ape population trying to work alongside the remaining humans who have survived a mass sickness that killed off most of the population.  This team up pisses off primate Koba who was abused by man many years back, and he sets a plan in motion where he makes an attempt at Caesar’s life sparking a war with the humans and apes. But can an injured Caesar stop the war or is it too late? The film’s special effects are top notch and throughout the whole movie, you forget that the apes are CGI! Plus with actors like Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Kirk Acevedo playing the humans, you know you’re getting sold acting. My favorite ape in the film has to be Koba; he is so bad yet somehow I think he really thought he was doing good by starting the war and killing any man or ape that got in his way! This was one of the films I was most looking forward to this year, and it was by no means a letdown as I loved every minute of it! The film was a hit for Fox and grossed $208,532,326.00 here in the United States showing that people still love seeing a world run by primates!

I saw a few other films that fit this genre this year that were entertaining but just couldn’t make the cut for this list: “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson, a film about a drug that allows a woman to use 100% of her brain after she is used as a mule to smuggle it to the USA when it’s surgically placed into her body.  When the bag leaks she becomes less and less human. “Pompeii” is about the town that was covered in lava and ash via an erupting volcano and follows a gladiator who has fallen in love with a young woman of power, and it turns into a tragic love story starring the likes of Kit Harington, Kiefer Sutherland and Emily Browning. “Legend of Hercules” is about a clean cut son of Zeus who is more of a gladiator than the hero we all know and love. All are entertaining movies in their own right but none were strong enough to make the list.

LucyPompeiilegend of hercules

So let’s trade our phasers in for capes as we now take a look at my top 7 Superhero films of 2014, and man I must say that films based on comics are dominating the box office and shows that comics are more powerful money makers then any company could have ever imagined.

SUPER HERO copy# 7

sin city a dame to kill for

This follow up to Sin City was laced with all the same techniques that wowed audiences upon it’s release in 2005 and even brought back many of the actors from the first film. Sadly it tanked at the box office and put the nail in the coffin for this series. The film follows many stories from Marv, who can’t remember why he killed a bunch of rich brats, to Dwight McCarthy falling for a woman who is using him and many others to get what she wants. There is also a story line of a lucky gambler named Johnny who tests his luck against corrupt Senator Roark and stripper Nancy who wants to kill Roark for crimes he committed in the first film. All the stories come together in the end and all ends well for some, while others end up dead.  The film was a lot of fun and not nearly as bad as many critics would have you think, but as I said it bombed and only did $13,757,804.00 at the box office for Dimension Films. The film also has an all star cast like Josh Brolin, Micky Rourke, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Lloyd and Jessica Alba to name a few.

# 6

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I was very lukewarm on the idea of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was a reboot to the series done by those masters of butchering of childhood memories, Platinum Dunes. But I must say the film was way better than I could ever expect it to be, and while it is flawed with a cheesy script and a Shredder who looks more like he should be in Transformers, the Turtles’ banter is well done even if they look like steroid goofy faced mutants. The film follows the Turtles who are going up against the foot clan who are tormenting New York and even have a plan in motion that will poison and kill many thanks to a gas they will be pumping into the air.  Alongside April O’Neil, the Turtles clash with the foot and their leader The Shredder, and of course along the way we learn about Master Splinter as well as a connection they all have to April. Again the film is flawed, but I enjoyed checking my brain at the door and watching a comic book/cartoon inspired film that tried to keep some of the basics of source material and also tried to add more of an update to it for modern fans. For me I would put it on par with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and say while bad, it was fun to watch. The film did pretty solid numbers at the US box office for Paramount bringing in $191,204,754.00!

# 5

Hercules

I am pretty sure many people who went to seen Hercules had no idea that it was based on a comic book from Radical Comics and to be honest, much like my cousin Steve Alexander said, this is truly one of the year’s most underrated films. The film stars WWF Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules, a mercenary who alongside his friends are creating the legend of Hercules, the son of Zeus. But when he finds out that he was hired to help the wrong side in a conflict, he and his friends stand against the odds and leave everyone wondering if he truly is the son of a God. The film is filled with great Sword and Sandal action as well as likable characters; this is one film I would have loved to seen sequels made about. The Rock as well does a fantastic job as Hercules and pulls off the role of being maybe a con man yet maybe not, making the character tough when needed and light hearted when the mood is right. The film sadly did not do as well as it should have and grossed only $72,688,614.00 for Paramount at the US box office. With the film being out on DVD and Blu-Ray, do yourself a favor and check it out.

# 4

Amazing Spider-Man 2

I feel like Amazing Spider-Man 2 was judged way too hard by critics and fans who seemed to want to try and nitpick it to death.  I for one really enjoyed it and found it better than the overblown Spider-Man 2 made by Sam Raimi that I think was praised way too much by fans and critics. This time around Spider-Man is locking horns with three super villains who are all gunning to take Spidey down for the count! You have the Rhino, a man in mechanical suit who feels as if he has been wronged by Spider-Man; you have Electro, a man who was a one time Spider-Man fan who after an accident finds that he has the power of electricity; and Green Goblin, who is really his long time friend Harry Osborne who is slipping into madness! And worse as Peter Parker is having issues coming to terms with the death of his girlfriend’s father to whom he made a promise that has him staying away from her. Action, Drama and Spider-Man one liners help make this one a good Super Hero film! Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Spider-Man, and Emma Stone makes one hell of a Gwen Stacy. The strangest casting had to be Paul Giamatti as The Rhino…his performance is down right silly! The film did pretty well for Sony at the US box office grossing in $202,853,933.00 even though they try and act as if it wasn’t a hit for them. I for one am looking forward to Amazing Spider-Man 3 as well as the spin off Sinister Six movie.

# 3

guardians of the galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy is the Marvel Comic team that showed the world that you don’t have to be a triple A team to have a hit movie! The film is about Starlord, a goofball outlaw who teams up with other misfits of space like the living tree Groot, talking raccoon Rocket, psycho brute Drax The Destroyer and green skinned female assassin Gamora to protect a infinity stone from getting into the hands of Ronan The Accuser, who is an evil Kree alien who is back stabbing the powerful Thanos in order to collect the jewel and become all powerful. The movie has lots of sci-fi action, drama and comedy and has some of the most likeable characters of any movie this year! Plus I really liked Ronan as a bad guy, and he is a prime example of a cold blooded super villain who will kill whomever gets in his way. When Juliet and I went to see this movie in the theater, it was a pretty packed house and it was clear that everyone in that theater that day had a blast watching it.  The overly positive remarks of people leaving their seats when it was over was a clear sign that Disney and Marvel Studios did something very right. The film did fantastic for Disney at the US box office grossing in an impressive $332,309,276.00 making this a huge hit. If you have not seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and check it out!

# 2

captain america winter

Captain America is one of my favorite Super Hereos of all time and has been ever since I was a kid.  This second film from Disney and Marvel Studios was a fun kick butt action film laced with enough drama to make the film feel very important in the over all movie universe they are creating. This time around Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury have became a target by a group controlled by a very high official in America, and they even bring Cap’s old World War II buddy Bucky Barns back from the “dead” and call him Winter Solider, a well trained killing machine. Can Captain America stop this evil group and talk sense into his one time friend? Watch and find out! While the original film was set during World War II, this second film takes place in modern times right after the events of The Avengers and trades in Red Skull for The Winter Solider and does a nice job of making the odds looking against Cap at every twist and turn. I must say Christ Evans makes the perfect Captain America/Steve Rogers and who would have thought that was possible? The film did great for Disney grossing in a massive $259,766,572.00 at the US box office. If your a fan of the star spangled Avenger like myself, make sure to give this film a watch.

# 1

X-Men Days Of The Future Past

The X-Men films, as well as the spin offs like “First Class” and “Wolverine,” are fun comic book action films that make for some amazing popcorn munching theater watches, and “X-Men: Days Of The Future Past” was just that and more as I found it to be my favorite Comic Book film of 2014! I know what those of you who know me are saying, the X-Men beat Captain America? But let me tell you, while Cap was amazing, X-Men was a fun thrill ride filled with some great faces from the franchise’s past. The film follows the future where mutants are being hunted and killed by Sentinels made by Bolivar Trask, and their only hope is to send Wolverine to the past to unite the mutants and stop an event that triggered the mutants’ death sentence. The whole mess is started by the younger Mystique, so can Professor X and Magneto put aside their differences and stop the terrible events to happen in the future…watch and find out. The film is based on one of Marvel Comics’ top story lines for the X-Men and FOX did a fantastic job of making it come alive on the big screen. The film stars all the classic characters from the series rich history with many actors returning such as Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Halle Berry (Storm), Shawn Ashmore (Ice Man), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) and Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) all returning from the first three films as well as actors who played the younger characters in First Class like James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult as Beast. Not to mention the addition of new characters like Bishop, Quicksilver, Blink, Sunspot and Warpath. I don’t want to ruin the end but let’s just say it feels like a High School Reunion, and all the faces you see are ones that make you smile and feel good about the journey you made to get there. The film did pretty well for Fox at the USA Box Office grossing in $233,921,534.00 and even more overseas! While I like the First Class actors, I am hoping that the next film based on The Age of Apocalypse story will feature more of the originals.

So now that we are retiring the cape, let me talk a little about some cool things Game Swap Kettering did this year for me.  They allowed us to have private screenings of Baron Von Porkchop specials. The first one was near Halloween, and we set up a projector, screen and big speaker as well as a buffet of wings, pizza, chips and cookies. Friends in attendance included Juliet, Stephen Alexander, Maurice, Joe G, Garrison, Todd The Fox and V and we all watched Baron host White Zombie as he tried to enjoy a peaceful Halloween that’s interrupted by an ax murdering zombie named Fulci! They also got a sneak peak at an episode for season three that has Baron hosting the film Face Of The Screaming Werewolf. Then around Thanksgiving we did it again, and they got a sneak peek at the new Baron Von Porkchop Black Friday special where he hosted the Independent B Movie film Razor as well as the First Black Friday special whose film was Farmer Joe. Those specials has his feud with a Chicken Man he made that has become a thorn in the Baron’s side. But a big thank you goes to Game Swap in Kettering for allowing us to do these fun screenings. Whenever I get a bigger place to live with a basement I would love to start a Horror Host Fan Club that has meetings once every two months and we project and watch host shows…who knows maybe 2015 will be that year! Below is a cellphone pic from the Halloween episode screening.

Baron Von Porkchop Screening

So while doing a rundown of the films of 2014, I figured I would take a brief moment to give you my top three best Survival Horror Games of 2014 as well as the worst, because those of you who know me understand that I love to play a good solid Survival Horror game! Now I need to state that of the “modern” game systems, I have a PS3 and will soon get a PS4 so all games on the list are ones I got for PS3. I also want to say that the games I buy are on physical disc, and I do not download games so while many horror themed games did come out as digital only games, I have not played them and won’t unless a disc is released.  I like to own what I pay for. So let’s start off with what I found to be the worst of the horror games that came out in 2014 that I have played. And I won’t ramble much I promise…okay, maybe a little rambling.

Worst Horror Video Games

# 1

Escape Dead Island PS3

Escape Dead Island is one of those games that just reeks of a quick cash in with boring fighting mechanics as well as a storyline that is a little weak. This game follows Cliff, a party boy who wants to get his dad’s respect so he goes to the island of a zombie outbreak along with his friends Linda and Devan and finds out that the stories are true and zombies are running wild on the island! Along the way he also meets Xian, a woman who is looking for her friend Rob who went missing while getting intel on the corporation responsible for the outbreak. While the other two games in the series “Dead Island” and “Dead Island Riptide” are first person shooters, this game changed to a third person game.  In the two games that came before you could customize your weapons multiple ways, and in this game your weapons are very limited and barely upgradeable. Plus I can’t help but notice the style of animation is clearly trying to rip off Tell Tale Games’s style with the more cartoonish look. Over all this is not a bottom of the barrel game, but it’s close.

So now that I spoke about the “worst” Horror Game this year that I would more label at “weakest,” let’s move onto what I considered the three best games that helped make 2014 a pretty good year for horror themed games!

Best Horror Video Games Logo

# 3

Alien Isolation PS3

After the complete mess that was “Aliens: Colonial Marians,” Sega redeemed themselves with this fun moody game that allows the player to take control of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen who travels to a space station that has been sending out distress signals.  Once she gets there, things go wrong as she is separated from her small crew and finds that Xenomorphs are on the prowl and hungry for a human host! The game stacks the odds against you, and the player must use their wits in order to survive this terror in space. The downside to the game is that I felt it took forever for the story to really kick in and that slowed the scares from coming in. The game is a first person shooter and plays much like Call of Duty and so many other shooters like this. I must also say that some of the cut scene graphics are really ugly on PS3, and it’s clear that the development team spent more time on the newer generation consoles versions. A major plus for this game comes via DLC that allows you to play as Ellen and has many of the original characters from the first film like Dallas and Ash back, and they are voiced by the actors who played them in the film! While not a perfect game, it was a fun game that helped make 2014 in gaming a little spookier!

# 2

The Walking Dead Season Two PS3

The Walking Dead Season Two is a great follow up to Season One and helps add more to the story it created. This is a point and click adventure game made by one of the best independent game companies, Tell Tale Games, who have made some of my top favorite games of the past 4 years and this game adds another hit to the list. This time around we follow Clementine (who was a major character in the first game), a young girl who is trying to survive this zombie outbreak.  Along the way she meets people and she loses people all of whom are running from Carver, a man that use to lead them in a group.  All comes to a head when she meets Carver herself, a jerk of a man who runs a camp that is held up in a home improvement center and who takes Clem and her friends hostage and makes them work for the group’s needs putting them in danger. Your choices impact the story so when playing make sure to choose wisely. One cool aspect of this game is some returning faces from the first game as well as references to choices you made. The downside is the new characters seem to have less development then those from the original and the settings are a little less impactful as in the first game I truly felt like I could be zombie food at any moment. But with that said, this is a great game and one hell of a fun play.  So if you liked the first or just want to play a fun story driven point and click adventure horror game, then this one is for you.

# 1

The Evil Within PS3Take video games Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Clock Tower and mix them with Horror films like As Above So Below, and you have the new Survival Horror Game by Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the original Resident Evil series as well as Dino Crisis! This game is about Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who along with his partners Juli and Joseph, go to a distress call at the Beacon Mental Hospital.  When they get there, everything is in chaos and the world as they know it has changed and infected people and monsters are wandering the world above as well as below. Can Sebastion get to the bottom of what’s going on as well as unearth the truth of why and who is responsible! The game is packed with great atmosphere and at all times I feel as if the odds are against me as ammo comes in only ones and twos and most the time it’s better to run than to fight. So if you’re not too scared, get this game and beware of Safehead!

It was very hard to pick between Evil Within and The Walking Dead Season Two for the # 1 spot as both are solid and super fun games, but in the end I had to go with Evil Within as I felt that it truly captured what a Survival Horror Game is all about and at all times I felt as if the odds of survival were against me. One game that came out that while I bought I have not played yet is Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2, so who knows where it would have placed.

Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 PS3

So we talked a little about screenings of Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop as well as Survival Horror Video Games, now let’s get to the bloody meat of this update and take a look at the Horror Films of Hollywood!

horror copy

# 11

Tusk

Tusk was so close to being on my worst films of the year list as once more Kevin Smith smoked a bunch of pot and unleashed another over the top film onto the small masses who still watch his films. But then I read some interviews with Smith and he explained that he wanted to make this film because he wanted to and not for a studio or for quick cash.  I began to see that the film is labor of love much like the film The Wolf Hunter is to Matt Hoffman. It’s about a podcast host who travels to Canada for an interview with a kid who is a Youtube sensation after cutting off his own leg with a samurai sword.  When he gets there, he finds the kid has committed suicide, and he then travels to an old mansion to talk to an old man who has a story to tell or so the letter left in a mens room says. The rest of this film has the old man turning the podcaster into a human walrus as his co-host and his girlfriend try to find and save him.  Oh yeah and throw in a dimwitted investigator, and you have the film. When the podcaster is turned into full Walrus, I laughed out loud in the theater and thought to myself what and why am I watching this! I should also note that Juliet and I were the only people at the theater watching this film at the time. It stars Justin Long, Johnny Depp, Haley Joel Osment and Michael Parks and all do fantastic with the silly parts they are given. Again when you see Long, who plays the podcaster, as a walrus you can’t help but to laugh as he swims and grunts around. The film did poorly for A24 and only grossed $1,826,705.00 and didn’t even get a foreign release. If you are to watch this cheesy thriller/comedy horror film check your brain at the door and be prepared for long goofy dialogue and unlikable characters.

# 10

the pyramid

Hollywood horror films are lacking mummies, and when The Pyramid was announced I was hyped believing that we got a mummy film in 2014…I was sadly wrong. I first need to say that I was hyped to see this film and was ready for a creepy Egyptian found footage film taking place in an old pyramid where the viewer was not sure what was stalking our characters.  So when this film was a disappointment, I think it’s because of my own hype I made for it. The hype I made for it was the fact it was the last theatrical horror film of the year and again the setting and the possibility of it being about a Mummy. The film is about a father and daughter team as well as her boyfriend being followed by a documentary crew who are in Egypt during stressful times who find a pyramid that could be the oldest one ever found.  When they are told to leave due to the outbreak of civil uprising, they send in a robot real quick to get a sneak peek and when the bot looses contact, they go in to retrieve it and soon find the pyramid was a place to keep something in and not things out! One by one, they fall victim to the hunter who is a jackal headed god who has been placed there because it went mad after the death of its father. Can any of them survive and can they also dodge the evil cats that are roaming around…yeah the film has evil cats. The characters all seem brain dead with the cameraman and father being the worst two.  The CGI for the cats and jackal god are downright eye rolling, and the film was just kind of boring.  I was not the only one who felt this as Juliet and several others in the theater also expressed these feelings. The film was pulled from wide release to limited, and we had to see it at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek.  Doing this made the film only gross a small $ 2,638,300.00 for FOX at the US box office. No Mummy but a heck of a lot of CGI Cats is what I got in The Pyramid.

# 9

Ouija

Ouija is a film based on the Hasbro board game and produced by those masters of crap Platinum Dunes.  It’s your typical paint by number ghost story. When a young woman commits suicide, her friends don’t believe it and soon find that she was messing with a Ouija Board on her own and had unleashed something terrible, but they only learn this after they themselves use the board to try and speak to her. Now the evil is after them, can they find the answers on how to stop the spirit or will they all become victims? No major gore, some cool spirit effects, some good creepy shots, pretty actresses, released at Halloween time and a fun film to torment my friend Jeremy with as he had to be dragged to this film kicking and screaming! The film did $50,856,010.00 for Universal and is clearly a teen PG-13 horror film that was nothing special and not fully terrible.

# 8

The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones is a Hammer Horror Film that follows a camera man who takes the job of documenting a college professor who, along with his helpers, are trying to cure a sick and possessed young woman named Jane whom they have locked in a room and wont allow her to sleep for any long period of time as well as keep her human interaction to a minimum. But when her treatments become more and more cruel, the camera man must come to a decision on whether to help Jane escape who he has fallen for or stay true to his assignment as the Professor thinks she can be cured. So is she possessed or being abused…watch and find out. The film is a little slow and while well acted for the most part, many decisions characters make are annoying and add to frustration as a viewer. Olivia Cooke plays Jane, the sick girl, and she is fantastic and probably the best actor in the film. I saw the film with Stephen, Garrison, Todd and Josh, and all of us felt the same way about it and that’s it was okay but way too slow and a little too long as a good 15 minutes could easily be cut out of the 1 Hour 38 minute run time. The film at the US box office brought in $8,509.867.00 for Lionsgate.  All I can say was much like Ouija, it was just okay.

# 7

deliver us from evil

A group of soldiers from Iraq have come back and are acting very aggressive and all have strange behavior. New York cop Ralph Sarchie is called in to investigate the crimes and soon learns the truth that demons are real and want to teach him a lesson for butting into their plans. Along with a Castilian priest, he must find faith and save the souls of the infected as well as save his wife who has been kidnapped by the possessed. It also shows that Sarchie is gifted and can spot evil. The film is said to be based on a real case and the real life of Sarchie. The film stars Eric Bana as Sarchie as well as the likes of Olivua Munn, Sean Harris and Edgar Ramirez with music by Christopher Young. The film was nothing special and for the most part is a run of the mill possession film with no surprises and a few gross moments. I watched the film with Jeremy and watching him go crazy with the overly religious tone of the movie made me laugh. The film didn’t do so hot at the box office only grossing in $30,577,122.00 for Sony on a 30 million dollar budget in the US. Not much more to say about this one, besides if you’ve seen one modern possession movie, ya pretty much have seen em all.  It’s not bad and has some good creepy moments – worth a watch to fans of this horror film topic boom.

# 6

Godzilla

I have been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kid and can remember watching the films all the time on TBS on Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grandpa Munster. But when Godzilla is made by Americans, it tends to not be so good; I mean just look at the over blown 1998 film that Hollywood spewed out to the fans that seemed like it was made more to sell toys and Taco Bell Cups than to entertain the movie goers. So when Warner Brothers said they were releasing a Godzilla film, I was stand offish even though in the back of my mind I was scream YES, a new Godzilla film on the big screen,  The more time passed and after seeing the trailer I became very hyped to watch it! The film has an accident that happens at a power planet in Japan that’s caused by a giant monster who is looking for its mate and when it wakes up it causes havoc and destruction.  As this is going on a US Solider is trying to get home to his family, and Godzilla has come from the sea and is on a path to clash with the other two monsters. You see Godzilla is acting as Earth’s protector! The human parts are what they always are in my opinion in giant monster films, and that’s filler. The major flaw I had with the film is more time is spent on the boring solider trying to get home and less on Godzilla who is why we all went to see this film in the theater. I must also say the shaky camera and pull away shots of the early monster fights was annoying and didn’t add suspense for me as much as it added frustration. Even with those small flaws I really enjoyed the film for the most part and am looking forward to part two as well as the announced Japanese Godzilla film in the works. The film did great for WB at the US box office bringing in a whooping $200,676,069.00, making it a hit for them this year.

# 5

i frankenstein

Frankenstein’s Monster was back on the silver screen this year with an Action Horror film called I, Frankenstein that followed The Monster who was a pawn in a war between Heaven and Hell who need him to find the secrets of life created by man and not God. The good side is gargoyles who at first want to protect or kill The Monster, and the Demons who are working for evil and they want him to study and make soulless husks so demons straight from hell can take over the bodies of the newly made soulless bodies. But what none of them counted on is that The Monster is a fighter, and he will be pawn to no man or creature! The film has a real Underworld feel to it, and the action is fun and over the top, plus for the most part is well acted. I think this film is pretty underrated and was judged way too much just by the trailer, the fact it’s PG-13 and that Aaron Eckhart plays The Monster. The film did terrible at the US box office and only grossed $19,075,290.00 for Lionsgate on a $65 Million Dollar budget, and it’s a shame as it’s not at all that bad of a film.

# 4

As Above So Below

As Above So Below is a “found footage” style film that follows Scarlett, an alchemy scholar who wants to find the famed philosopher’s stone that is said to be able to heal the sick and dying among other amazing things. She follows clues and finds that the entrance to achieving her goal is inside the catacombs below Paris, and along with her camera man and friend they hire some local urban explorers and find that this quest is more then they bargained for as they face sins of their past and find the gateway to Hell. This film was packed with some solid acting and atmosphere that was downright spooky and well done unlike The Pyramid that had a very similar type of feel. All the characters are likable and while they do make some dumb decisions, I still found myself hoping they all make it out okay. The film is by no means a bloodbath but what it lacks in the red stuff, it makes up for with heart and mood. I saw this film with Juliet, Todd The Fox and V, and we all left the theater thinking the film worked and was okay. Universal released this film and at the US box office it grossed in $21,321,100.00 on a $5 million budget. If you are a fan of the found footage horror genre then make sure to check this one out, oh yeah liked this one so much even bought the DVD when it was released.

# 3

The Purge Anarchy

The first Purge film was my # 9 horror film of 2013 out of thirteen and while I enjoyed it, I found it lost among many other solid horror pictures. The sequel The Purge: Anarchy in my opinion is a way better film and that’s why it’s locked itself as the 3rd best Horror film I saw in theaters in 2014! The film follows a man named Leo who is going out to purge a man who killed his son in a drinking and driving accident, but he gets side tracked from his task when he saves a mother and daughter as well as a young couple all of whom are being targeted by what seems like a government elite team hired to reduce the population not to mention a rag tag bunch of mask and makeup wearing youngsters who have set their eyes on them as well. Leo does his best to keep them all alive as well as get to his goal. The film is filled with surprises as well as a positive message in the end and that’s why I think I enjoyed it so much.  It was not your typical modern downbeat horror flick. The film is also well acted with actors like Frank Grillo, Cameron Ejogo and Zach Gilford. The film did great for Universal at the box office here in America grossing in $71,962,800.00 and making it that a part 3 is in the works. More action and suspense then the original and a solid good sequel, check it out if you liked the first one. I saw it with Juliet who also really liked it!

# 2

anabelle

The Conjuring was my # 1 Horror film of 2013, and this off shoot titled Annabelle is my # 2 for 2014 showing you that the makers of this film series are doing something right. It’s the 1960’s and satanic cults are all the rage, and a young couple is attacked in their home by cult members that leave the would be attackers dead.  When the female attacker dies in the baby’s room holding the Annabelle doll the odd events start happening. It gets so bad that something seems to be trying to hurt the woman and her unborn baby, even at one point setting the house on fire! After the baby is born, they move and find that whatever it is followed as the doll the cult woman held when dying is possessed by a demon who wants to take a soul real bad! Can they get rid of the demon before it’s too late? The Annabelle doll is the same one used to open The Conjuring and is over all creepy looking.  That’s one thing I really liked about the film, the longer it went on, the more sinister looking the doll became. And while the doll is never seen moving on its own, the dead eyed stare of its porcelain face is what terrified the audience. The demon who is the real baddie of the film is not seen too much, but when he is, it’s effective. This is supposed to be based on a true story and is a nice appetizer for the next Conjuring film that should be out in 2016. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the US box office bringing in $84,273,813.00 making it a hit for them. For some reason the film also seemed to get a lot of hate from Horror fans, but most of the ones I knew who trashed it, I question their taste anyway as they go to see Seth Rogen movies! I saw the film with Juliet, who loved it.

# 1

Dracula Untold

Universal is trying to breath new life into their classic Monsters, and the first on the list was Dracula.  This film, Dracula Untold, is about how Prince Vlad became a vampire! I was really hyped for this film that was set to release in October…yeah finally Hollywood gets that Horror Films and Halloween go hand and hand. The film follows Prince Vlad whose people are being bullied by the Turks and the sultan who want all the male kids to be given to them to become soldiers in the large Turkish army. So Vlad makes a deal with a Vampire that lives in a cave to gain powers to stop the Turks.  By doing so, he is putting his own soul at risk, but he gains the powers to single handedly kick the butt of his enemies. But when things go wrong Vlad goes full vampire, and once he does that, there is no going back. This film is filled with horror and a heck of a lot of action and is really well done. Luke Evans plays Dracula and does so with grace and it’s the first time that I can remember that you find yourself cheering for Dracula as he is not the bad guy and only takes the curse to save his son as well as the sons of all his people. I saw this with Juliet and Jeremy Hoyt, and both of them really enjoyed it as well did all the others in the IMAX Theater as praises were being said as people left. This film ends as well with a lead up to a sequel or to link to another Universal Monster film, and this makes this Monster Kid happy. The film did okay for Universal at the US box office bringing in $55,991,880.00 and did more overseas. If you like your horror mixed with action and enjoy classic monsters, then check this one out, because I really enjoyed it locking it in as my # 1 Horror Film of 2014.

2014 in Horror Films was filled with lots of ghost/possession films, and I have a feeling this trend will continue for awhile as they seem to be films that can be cheaply made and return a big profit. While sitting in the theater this year the two films that I noticed seem to have the audience in it’s grip were Annabelle, that had a few people gasp and jump when the evil things would happen on the silver screen, and As Above So Below where the audience had an eerie hush as the characters went deeper into the catacombs. Ouija had the worse response as people laughed at many of the scares and many of the younger people in the audience seemed to be having a fun time teasing the young ladies with them. 2014 was an okay year for Horror in the theaters, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store to send shivers up my spine. Well the next update is something terrifying as we take a look at another Draculina Photo Comic based on a film of Jess Franco called Tender Flesh! So until then, support your local theaters, read a comic or two and always support your local Horror Host and see you next update.

Tender_flesh_(1998) logo

The 8th Wonder Of Giant Classic Comics King Kong

My mother was 7 or 8 when she attempted to watch the 1933 film King Kong with her mom when it aired on TV.  She watched as a group set out to sea to make a movie and landed on an island, and when King Kong showed up just the sight and sound of the beast scared her enough to make her hide behind her mom’s chair! She would peek around the corner and shiver in fright of the sight of the giant ape. Way before the gross out films of the 60’s made by the likes of Hershel Gordon Lewis became the norm in what’s “scary” about horror films, the likes of a giant ape with a love for blondes paved the way and terrified the young and old. While many not consider it a horror film, I have always viewed it as one as King Kong is a giant ape creature that caused panic not only on his home island but also New York, and he does kill and eat humans so yeah, it spells horror film to me. I saw the film when I was about 7 or 8, the same age she first saw it, and I can remember my Mom telling me about her first viewing and this set the bar very high as I sat down on the couch ready to watch it alongside my parents and my brother on a VHS that we rented from Waynesville’s library. From the moment the film started, I was hooked on every word and when Kong showed up I became a fan, and to me every gorilla toy became King Kong. The watch with my family was a great one and was one of many fun family night of watching a flick on the old VCR while eating popcorn and being entertained. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away of the film as that will happen as we review the Gold Key comic adaptation a little later on so I will give you the cliff notes version. The film is about a filmmaker and some sailors who take a fresh faced new actress to an island were the natives take her to appease King Kong, a giant gorilla who rules the land.  They save her and also take Kong to New York as a stage attraction, and he escapes running wild in the city until he is killed in the end. It’s an amazing classic film with special effects that were way ahead of their time.  If you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it!

King Kong 1933 1King Kong 1933 PosterKing Kong 1933 2

In the 1980’s Ted Turner owned Turner Classic Movies wanted to do something fresh and new to King Kong so they did the unthinkable…. they colorized it! To be honest it seemed like an odd kick Turner was on, taking old classic black and white films and turning them into color films to air on his classic movie station, and on the top of the list that sparked the most debate was what they did to King Kong. I can remember that my mom and dad were not pleased that they messed with a classic film this way, but being so young I was a little curious to see what the classic Kong would look like in color. I seen the color version after the black and white and still preferred the original to the tampered with version. King Kong was the first movie on VHS that I owned two versions of as I had to own them both, and I would say I watched the black and white more than I did the colorized one that I got dirt cheap brand new at Blockbuster Video.

King Kong 1933 Color 1King Kong 1933 Color VHSKing Kong 1933 Color 2

Now if you look at King Kong as a horror film like I do, then you would have to look at Fay Wray as the original scream queen, and she proves she has a set of lungs as she screams her head off at the first site of Kong. She began her acting career making short films and making westerns for Universal but left once she became a WAMPAS Baby Stars meaning she was listed as an actress to watch. As a teenager Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures where she made over a dozen films like the failure 1928 silent film The Wedding March.  Wray was able to make the transition from silent to talkie films and left Paramount to make other films for other companies, the most notable being RKO that hired her for her first horror films like Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game and her most famous film King Kong.  She was proud of her work in Kong and that film saved RKO from going bankrupt! During that time as well she was in a few other horror films like The Vampire Bat and Mystery In The Wax Museum. By the 1940’s, Wray retired briefly from acting but came back to make more films and take TV parts being on such shows as Perry Masson and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Wray continued to act for many years and even turned down a part in James Cameron’s 1997 smash hit film Titanic. Sadly at the age of 96 Fay Wray passed away of natural causes in 2004 while she slept.  After her passing, the Empire State Building shut off all its lights for 15 minutes to honor her legacy. Wray was a true beauty, a talented actress and could possibly be the first scream queen of cinema.

"King Kong"Fay Wray1933 RKO**I.V.fay wray 2fay wray 3

Because King Kong was such a huge hit at the box office, a sequel was made in 1933, coming out only 9 months after the original. The film follows the film director from the first film who is now in hot water for King Kong running wild in New York and travels to find that the giant ape might have had an offspring.  That film was called Son of Kong! In Japan in 1962, they made a film called King Kong vs. Godzilla where they pit the world’s top giant monsters against each other, and in 1967 they made another King Kong film called King Kong Escapes that has our lovable Kong fighting a robot version of himself called Mecha Kong. Paramount Pictures in 1976 decided to make a remake of King Kong and added in more modern touches to the film and even trades in the Empire State Building for the Twin Towers as well as the stop motion Kong for a stuntman in a suit done by FX God Rick Baker. In 1986 the remake got a forgettable follow up called King Kong Lives that had the giant ape getting a pacemaker put in to replace his damaged heart and finding a mate who has also been brought to the USA. In 2005 a longwinded Peter Jackson remake of King Kong was made and besides more minutes added to the runtime, it was a good but unnecessary film. With all these spin off films, sequels and remakes this just shows you how much impact this film had on classic cinema, and I agree with James Rolfe who said that film students should watch the original in film school right alongside Citizen Kane. While none of them are as good as the original film, they are all still fun watches that help add to the legacy of Kong and prove that this primate of fright, this ape of terror, is truly a legend of cinema.

Son Of Kong PosterKing Kong Escapes PosterKing Kong 1976 PosterKing Kong Lives PosterKing Kong 2005 Poster

In 1966 America and Japanese animation studios teamed up to make The King Kong Show, an animated adventure kid show that had King Kong befriending the Bond Family and stopping the likes of Dr. Who (and no, not the BBC version) from capturing Kong for his own evil gain. This animated cartoon was teamed with another show about a tiny special agent called Tom of T.H.U.M.B. and the show would last till 1969 with a total of 3 seasons and 25 episodes. This cartoon also helped Toho make the film King Kong Escapes and also was to be inspiration to the film that became Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, which Kong was suppose to star in, not Zilla. The cartoon over the years did not hold up well and was mostly forgotten until it got released on DVD as volumes a few years back. I never remember seeing the show when I was a kid, and I think it would have fit perfect on early morning Saturday’s back in the 80’s and could have also found a place on the USA Cartoon Express. I saw the show when I was older and in my 20’s found it to be pretty cool but only from a retro standpoint.

kIng kong Cartoon 1King Kong Cartoon 2King Kong Cartoon 3

So as we all know Toho studios made two films with King Kong in them in the 1960’s, but did you know that there are also two others made in Japan way before this that are now lost films? The first was a short silent film called “Wasei Kingu Kongu” made in 1933 the same year King Kong was released and was a team up from RKO and Shochiku Studios. Not much is known about the film besides RKO asked them to make it and that instead of a stop motion Kong, it was a man in a suit.  It was directed by Torajiro Saito with Isamu Yamaguchi playing King Kong and all that is left of the film is one single picture that was printed. Next was a 1938 film called “King Kong Appears In Edo” that made by Zensho Cinema with permission from RKO and was directed by Soya Kumagai and had a size changing King Kong attacking Edo (Tokyo) during Medieval times! Fuminori Ohashi who some 16 years later would make the original Godzilla costume made the Kong costume in this film.  Just think about that, King Kong was really Japan’s first giant movie monster and not Godzilla like we all thought! Both films are believed to have been destroyed during the bombings of World War II and neither ever showed outside of Japan making all master prints being only stored there. I learned about these missing films thanks once more to James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) when he did a top 10 list of lost Horror Films and the Japan Kong films were his # 1, and I agree with him when he said he hopes all the films he picked won’t always be lost films. Below are some pictures of Japan’s King Kongs, the first being Toho’s with the second being the 1933 version and last being the 1938 one.

King Kong JapanKing Kong Missing 1King Kong Missing 2

Tiger Electronics who are best known for making handheld games in the late 80’s and 90’s also made some console games in the age of Atari 2600 under the brand name TigerVision. And would you know it that in 1982 they made a game based on King Kong that was a follow up to their handheld games made about the big ape the year before. The game was a total rip off of Donkey Kong and had you playing as a guy who was trying to get to the top were King Kong was.  The graphics were bad and Kong was a stiff looking pixel mess. I have played the game several times and even own it and I must say that it really is a bad game. Though I do find it funny that Donkey Kong was a clone of King Kong who in turn had a game made about him that was just a bad clone of Donkey Kong. The game on release only sold moderately well and was by no means looked at as a classic.

King Kong Atari 1King Kong Atari 2600King Kong Atari 2

Ideal made a board game in 1976 based on the remake movie that had 2-4 players trying to get to the top of the Twin Towers before King Kong so that they can capture him, or you can win the game by saving the woman from his right hand via a special mission. But Kong won’t make your trip easy as he is flipping all around trying to knock your player back to the start. I own this game and played it with the fellow members of The Dayton Board Game Society who are Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt and Garrison Kane on one of our past meetings ,and I can remember that while the game was not all that ground breaking we all had fun trying to knock each other off the building using Kong as our puppet and it was a blast seeing just how competitive it got. If you get a chance and like classic board games based on movies then I would say check this one out, play time to complete is about 20 minutes give or take a few. I should also share we played this game on February 6th 2013 in Josh Weinberg’s basement and we also played the LJN A Nightmare on Elm Street video game for the NES and we ate Wing Zone.

Josh Playing King Kong Board GameKing Kong Board GameUs Playing King Kong

King Kong not only has been made into many video games and board games but he has also had pinball machines based around him, many comic books, novels, magazines, t-shirts, toys, Halloween costumes, soundtracks, stickers, dolls, drinking glasses and so much more. If you’re a King Kong fan, then there is something for you out there in the world of merchandise. Some of my favorite King Kong merchandise that I owned was my Imperial King Kong action figure that I use to make fight my Godzilla figure and even Kong was wrapped up in my epic Toy Wars, also would be my Crestwood Monster Series Book based on King Kong that gave the history of the film as well as some sweet photos. I also really liked my adaptation novel by Delos W. Lovelace and can remember reading it before bedtime many nights. It’s odd looking back at my youth now being 35 years old and seeing just how much of an impact King Kong has had on my life.  It’s a neat feeling knowing that a giant ape with a love for blondes truly means something to me. And for those of you who listen to Alpha Rhythms on WYSO (91.3 FM) on Sunday nights, I have played soundtrack pieces from the original score by Max Steiner as well as tracks from King Kong Lives by John Scott.

Movie Maniac King KongImperial King KongBen Copper King KongKing Kong Novel

Before we move onto The Gold Key Comic Review I of course have to talk about a ride I have wanted to go on since I first heard about it; that’s the one and only KongFrontation ride at Universal Studios Orlando that opened on June 7th 1990 and became a major attraction at the park. The ride was based on the 1976 remake as well as a ride Universal Studios had at their Hollywood park called King Kong Encounter that opened in 1986. The 5 minute ride would place you and others inside a tramcar but not before you walked down a mock New York street complete with newscasts playing on TVs to build up that King Kong is roaming the streets.  Once inside the car you are treated to explosions as well as giant animatronic King Kong’s that would roar and knock your little car around given the effect that he was attacking. In the end he would attack while you’re on the bridge but your driver would get you out safe and unharmed. This ride seemed amazing to me and just the thought of being close to a life size version of Kong was enough to make me want to go, but being a kid and having parents that didn’t like to travel out of state put a damper on getting to go. The attraction closed in 2002, and two years later a lame ride based on the terrible Mummy Remake took its place, marking the sad fact that I never got to ride the one roller coaster/attraction that I always wanted to. As far as King Kong Encounter, it had guests on a tramcar as King Kong would knock a helicopter from the sky and would end with you being eye level with the great ape on the Brooklyn Bridge as he tries to break it apart.  Of course you would make it off the bridge and would be safe thanks to your driver. The Kong animatronic was at the time the world’s largest and was so detailed that it’s “breath” smelled of bananas!  This ride as well lasted a total of 5 minutes and was one of the main attractions to the park. Sadly it as well came to an end when in 2008 a massive fire broke out and burnt the attraction up, but in Universal Hollywood they didn’t give up on King Kong and replaced it with an attraction called King Kong 360 3-D. I really would have loved to have ridden these attractions and sadly with both of them gone for good I will never get the chance to do so. But I can watch videos of them on YouTube and hear stories from my friends who did get to experience it…sigh.

King Kong RideSo I think our voyage through the sea of King Kong is over and we looked at the movies, video game, cartoon, missing films, merchandise as well as a theme park attraction but now it’s time for us to take a walk on Skull Island alongside Gold Key comics and see what this 1968 adaptation has to offer to the Kong legacy. I want to think Bell Book And Comic for having this comic in stock, and I would like to remind that I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s man up and walk through the giant gates into King Kong’s lsland and hope he doesn’t stomp us into the mud!

King Kong 1

King Kong  # 1    ***1/2
Released in 1968     Cover Price .25    Gold Key   # 1 of 1

Carl Denham is a filmmaker who can’t find a lead actress for his top secret next project.  He even has rented a boat called the “Wonderer” along with all its crew and after an agent tells him that he will not supple him with an actress, the director walks down the streets of New York and finds a pretty thief woman named Ann Darrow who was stealing an apple due to hunger.  Denham buys it for her and hires her to be in his new film. While on board the first mate Jack Driscoll falls in love with Ann, and the two start up a relationship.  They find out that they are to port at an unknown island called Kong Island. But while at the island they find that the natives are worshiping and sacrificing women to an unknown “God” and they have set their sights on Ann who they kidnap off the boat and take to the altar where a giant gorilla named King Kong falls for her and takes her deep into his jungle home! Driscoll and Denham lead some crew members on a rescue mission and while in the jungle they find that Kong is not the only giant monster as dinosaurs and sea serpents all blocking their trail to save Ann from Kong’s grip. Kong finds that he is being followed after he beats up a pair of Triceratops and knocks all the crew members off a log killing them leaving only Driscoll and Denham left.  As Driscoll follows Kong, Denham goes back to the ship for more men and gas bombs. King Kong while trying to grab Driscoll from a cave is attacked by a T-Rex and a major battle breaks out between the giant beasts! As Kong climbs to his cave home he must fight off all types of attackers and during this Driscoll saves Ann, and the two escape via the river below. As they reach the gates Kong is in hot pursuit and it’s here that Denham uses his gas bombs to knock Kong out and then takes him to New York to use the giant ape as a sideshow, but when Kong see’s Ann again he breaks his chains and escapes his cage and takes Ann to the top of the Empire State Building where he is attacked by fighter planes that lead to his death as they use machine guns on him while he is distracted by Ann being saved by Driscoll again and he falls to his death. In the end Ann and Driscoll are safe in each other’s arms, Kong is dead in the middle of the street and Denham learns that it was beauty that killed the beast.

This is another amazingly done comic film adaptation of a classic horror film much like Comic Library International’s Edison’s Frankenstein 1910 that holds just so true enough to the source material but still adds its own flare to spice it up. The plot is your simple Beauty and The Beast and follows a young actress who gains the affection of a tough sailor as well as a giant ape and when the big primate is taken away from his home and placed in the big city, his only comfort when he escapes is his blonde bombshell but even love can’t save him from being slain. Ann Darrow is a sweet woman who turns her misfortune of being poor into fame when she takes the part in a movie that leads her to charming King Kong to be put on display. Even though Ann fears Kong she also still feels some affection for him and wishes him no ill will and even tries to save the beast as the planes shoot him down. King Kong is neither good nor bad and it’s clear he is very territorial of his land and very protective of Ann who he has fallen in love with. I love the fact that he keeps not only the natives in check but also all the other giant beasts that live on the island proving he really is the King. Carl Denham, while a money grubbing rich film making geek, still really shows he cares about his friends as Ann’s safety when being taken is a big priority to him, though he does mistreat King Kong by keeping him in chained up and taking him away from his home to be looked at by New York’s rich snobs and press. Jack Driscoll is your very classic tough guy who only cares about the woman he loves and will risk it all for her. The major changes I noticed between the comic and the film is that in the comic the ship is called The Wonderer, while in the film it’s The Venture; in the comic the island is called Kong Island, while in the film it’s Skull Island. I also noticed in the film Jack is annoyed that Ann is on the ship and it takes awhile before he falls for her, in the comic it happens fast. This was the second time I have read this comic and I found that I enjoy it more and more after each read and find something very magical about the whole reading experience. The copy I have is a classic example of Rotten Ink as the smell of the decomposing ink fills your nose when you flip through the pages, while not a beat up copy, it’s still very yellowed on the pages. The artwork is done by ummm….an unknown artist as no credit is given, but I must say the art is perfect for this comic and while Kong doesn’t capture the full look of his movie appearance it still looks the part enough to draw this comic reader in. The cover as well is very eye catching and I am sure drew kids attention to it by using lots of orange and putting a giant ape crushing planes on the cover. If you like the film or like classic horror comics, than this is for sure one you should check out. I am glad I got it and I am sure a few years from now I will read it again.  Below is a piece of art from the comic just so you can see the style Gold Key went for in this comic.

King Kong Art

Really this is a great comic with great classic artwork and really is going to help us kick off our two month long horror comic countdown to Halloween 2014! So on this update we traveled to Skull Island and got to know King Kong and see what that massive beast was about, but how about next time we travel to a black lagoon and celebrate the 60th birthday of the Universal Monster Gill-Man.  So until then read a comic or two, watch a horror film and support your local Horror Host.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo 2

Xmachina Opens The Gates Of Hell…..

March 21st-23rd 2014 marked another year that Baron Von Porkchop, Susie The DJ and I were guests at HorrorHound Weekend, a convention that we all look at as home and the place that the Horror Host Hall Of Fame takes place at. This year was a little different from the years past as we didn’t even know if we had a table due to some issues brought on by the convention center cutting space, and a rumor was going around that the Horror Hosts were all going to be thrown in a room at the hotel across the street! This was bad news for us as Baron and Fritz The Nite Owl have become hosting buddies and this would have us across the street from them who would be in the convention center because they were having a screening of their hosted version of Trick R’ Treat.  Not to mention, we had the very talented artist Rachel Lare with us and her art would not get to be seen by the mass convention goers if she was placed in the hotel. While we wanted to be at the convention center, we also didn’t want to be so far away from the rest of out host family like Halloween Jack, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Dark, Victor Von Scary, Janet Decay and many others! We meet up in the morning as Susie The Dj drove Baron, Rachel our friend Mike McGraner (who is the main man behind the rebirth of Nite Owl Theater) and myself, and we all packed into the car and were off for another amazing HorrorHound Weekend adventure. The sad part is the fact that Fritz The Nite Owl got sick and was not able to make it, and that’s a shame as it’s always a treat for us to chat with Fritz. When we arrived at the convention we found out that Mike had a table for Nite Owl, but sadly Baron did not…lucky for us, Mike is a great person and friend and he allowed us to share his table! The weekend was filled with good sales, great friends and a great time! The table was in a great spot as we were right next to The Vortexx, the online TV station that is all about Horror Hosts and next to them was The Horror Host Hall Of Fame Table where our pals Halloween Jack and Dale Kay were and on the other side was the lovely Sharni Vinson of the films You’re Next and Step Up 3-D, who I must say was one of the sweetest celebrities that I have ever had the pleasure of being next to at a convention.  The way she treated her fans was top notch, and she truly is a class act. It was really cool getting to spend some time with Susie The DJ and Baron and catch up with them on what’s being going on in New Burlington as well it was nice to get to talk to Rachel about art and life in general. Plus hanging with Mike is always great as he is also a very creative person like myself and also directs a horror host so we both know the hard work that goes into making a quality show for the fans.  Plus Mike is one of those guys thats just so much fun to shoot the bull stuff with. Also at the event were great friends like Jesy and Jermie Anderson, Amber and Bryan Brady, Fred and Shelby Vogel, David J. Getz and so many more friendly faces. Over all once, more the event was a fun one that always makes me look forward to the next one.  Oh, I guess I should say that the year’s big Guest was Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame.

Baron Von Porkchop and Sharni VinsonBaron Von Porkchop Horrorhound 2014 PhotoBaron Von Porkchop and Halloween Jack 

The Horror Host Hall Of Fame 2014 took place at that Horror Hound the Saturday at Noon and was done in front of a packed house, as the auditorium filled up fast with fans of hosts as well as fans of the Evil Dead who had a Q & A panel after our ceremony. This years event was the best yet as everything came off more smooth and organized. This year Jason Hignite placed the event into the hands of Halloween Jack who took the ball and not only got the touchdown but also spiked the ball and did a shuffle much like Bengals player Icky Woods would have. Baron Von Porkchop got the honor of inducting Grandpa Munster into the Hall Of Fame for his work on the TBS show Super Scary Saturday. Baron and Myself were very happy to find out that we doing this as Baron is a fan of The Munsters and I myself grew up watching Super Scary Saturday and it was really a great experience for me to watch the Host I dug up induct a host that meant a lot to me in my youth. Baron researched and wrote a very good induction speech and delivered it well in front of the crowd who also seemed to enjoy it. I was really proud of Baron Von Porkchop and I hope someday that he gets into the Hall Of Fame and a host who inducts him is just as happy and honored to do so as Baron is for those he has inducted. Baron and I really love The Horror Host Hall Of Fame event and this makes the second icon of hosting he has inducted as last year he had the honor of ushering Shock Armstrong into the hallowed halls. If your a Horror Host fan and go to HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio make sure you attend the ceremony as the 2015 Class is being discussed and some major players could get the honor as well as some news on a physical Hall of Fame might just get announced! So as Grandpa Munster would say “Be There Or Be Scared”!

Baron Von Porkchop Inducts Grandpa Munster

At HorrorHound I bought some cool stuff like Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula t-shirts, Return To Nukem High on DVD and lots of CD soundtracks to be played on WYSO’s Sunday night show, Alpha Rhythms.  I spent a lot of money at composer Richard Band’s table and got his score work for such films as Troll, Re-Animator, From Beyond, Prison, Bride of Re-Animator and more. I also got the soundtrack CD for People Under The Stairs from the composer Don Peake, who is one cool guy, and I really enjoyed chatting with him about how he made some of the score music for the original Hills Have Eyes and even the history of the tapes they were recorded on.  Peake was a class act whose music you should check out. One of the things I bought from HorrorHound was a comic book that I had never seen before, a comic that was being sold by two hot blondes sitting behind a table, a comic that was marked $50.00 though they gave it to me for $40.00, and this comic is one based on a film made by horror icon Fulci.  Of course I am talking about the only issue made based on the film The Gates of Hell aka City Of The Living Dead. I was drawn to the comic that was placed on a pegboard behind their table that had a sticker on it that said rare.  At first I walked away from it when they told me the price was $50. I thought to myself, that seems really high for an independent comic book, but as Baron and I walked around, the idea of reading it and reviewing it for you my readers kept popping into my mind and that’s when I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. The comic was made by a small company called Xmachina who only made a very small handful of comics and all were based on popular horror films like Halloween and Phantasm. After buying it, I went over to my pal Pete Bell who owns the amazing comic store Bell, Book And Comic, who was vending, and he had also never seen it before and said he thought I paid a good price for it. When returning back to the table Baron Von Porkchop wanted to give the comic a quick look through and seemed to enjoy what he saw.  So I am really hyped to read this comic for the first time and discuss it with all of you. But before we start, I would like to give you all a little crash course on the director of the film the comic is based on as well as talk about the film and its terrible sequel.  Ao let’s get ready to open the gates of hell and see what’s on the other side.

Baron Von Porkchop Reads Gates Of Hell

When any horror fan thinks of Italian horror cinema directors names like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Joe D’Amato, Lamberto Bava all come to mind as does the master of splatter, the godfather of gore Lucio Fulci who would have to be at the top of anyone’s list of great horror icons to come out of Italy. Fulci was born in Italy in 1927 and grew up to studying medicine in college as well as worked as an art critic. In the early 1960’s he turned his attentions to making films, and his genre of choice was comedy where he made a total of 18 films before moving on to making thrillers like “A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin” and “The Psychic” before also making some Westerns like “Four For The Apocalypse” and “Massacre Time.”  At this time Fulci was also called into court over what viewers thought were real animal deaths in the film A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, and he had to prove that no animals were harmed in making his film. Also around this time he was accused of being anti-Catholic even though he was brought up in that religion, but out of these shockwaves came the boom of Fulci’s horror work that included “Don’t Torture A Duckling” and “Beatrice Cenci”. His main horror hit film came in 1979 when he made Zombi 2, a sequel in Italy to George Romero’s film “Dawn Of The Dead” that was simply called Zombi there.  The film was a hit not only in his native land but also in the USA and England. The film was packed with eye popping gore and to this day is considered a cult classic among horror fans. After the success of Zombi 2, Fulci filled the 1980’s with many other splatter horror classics like “Gates Of Hell”, “The Beyond”, “House By The Cemetery”, “The Black Cat”, “The New York Ripper”, “Manhattan Baby”, “Murder Rock”, “Zombi 3” and “Touch Of Death.” But even while making splatter films, he also directed a few made for TV films as well as a barbarian flick called “Conquest” and wrote many others. During the 1990’s he also made a few films that made impacts on Horror fans like “Demonia”, “A Door To Silence” and “A Cat In The Brain”, but the 90’s was also the time we lost the man as Fulci sadly passed away in 1996 at the age of 68.  His last work was a film called “Wax Mask,” a team up film that would have had Dario Argento helping him. Fulci wrote the script outline for a kind of remake of the Vincent Price classic “House Of Wax,” but he passed away before he could truly be involved with the film that was later made and mostly re-written. Fulci was an amazing director and really knew how to chill the blood of movie goers. I grew up watching many of his films on rented VHS tapes and always found them very entertaining so much so I would always end up tracking them down to buy! Later in his life Fulci found out just how popular he was in other countries and this took him by surprise and I am sure truly made him feel special.  This tiny write up doesn’t do this man’s legacy justice.  Make sure to watch his films and read books like “Beyond Terror: The Films Of Lucio Fulci” for complete information about the man’s life and work. While he might be gone, like the old bumper sticker in honor of the man said “FULCI LIVES” on in our hearts and TV screens. My favorite films by him are Zombi 2 and House By The Cemetery for those of you readers wondering.

Zombie 2 PosterLucio FulciHouse By The Cemtery Poster

The Gates of Hell is the film we are going to break down here as it’s the main focus of the comic book I am going to review.  So here goes nothing. Gates of Hell was made in 1980 and is about Father William Thomas, a man who hangs himself in the cemetery.  By doing so he opens the gates of Hell, letting out evil zombies who all have weird and strong powers and are going around killing people in strange and brutal ways. The only hope we as humans have of closing the gates is a reporter named Peter Bell and a psychic named Mary Woodhouse. She herself died only to come back after being buried alive…or was that dead? The pair of unlikely heroes must find a way to close the gates in Dunwich, New England, the hot spot of the evil before All Saints Day…can they do it? I first saw this film on a terrible VHS copy I bought new off the racks of Suncoast in the Dayton Mall and was hyped to see more bloody good horror from Fulci.  I was not let down! When I first watched the film, I had my pal Jason Gilmore over and we both sat in wonder and watched the mayhem unfold before our eyes.  One scene that stuck with both of us was when one young lady has her eyes start bleeding and proceeds to puke up her own guts.  We both so wanted to figure out how they did the effect so that we could do it in one of our low budget flicks. When the film later came out on DVD via Anchor Bay, it was one the first films I upgraded next to the Halloween and Hellraiser films. It’s a great film with a spooky plot, great gore, likable heroes and evil baddies.  If you have not seen it and are a fan of Italian cinema, then shame on you because you should watch it.

Gates Of Hel 1Gates Of Hell PosterGates Of Hell 2

In 1988, a cheap film that’s real title was “Through The Fire” was made and later called “The Gates Of Hell Part II: Dead Awakening” that was about a woman looking for her missing sister who finds one cop who is willing to help when the plot of a cult that worships a demon comes into play. The film is very poorly made and is not worth watching or really talking about. I also got this film from Suncoast and only watched it once and warned all my other friends about how bad it was.  The acting was blah, and the gore effects were super cheap and to boot it has ZERO to do with the original film and is a sequel in namesake only. I feel like we wasted enough time on this film so I think it’s best we just move on…nothing more to read or see here…okay, maybe some stuff to see.

Gates Hell two 1Gates Of Hell Part 2 dvdGates of Hell two 2

The Gates Of Hell was not a main stream horror film like A Nightmare On Elm Street so it didn’t spawn a mountain of merchandise like toys and Nintendo games but over the ages it did have some cool stuff besides this comic I am about to read.  There were Halloween masks, soundtrack CD’s, t-shirts and hoodies, not to mention many articles in magazines like Fangoria. I for one would love to see a video game based on this film because I think it could really give Silent Hill a run for its money in the creepy department. I also would like to see a full comic book series based around the film and the legends it created, not to mention Father Thomas would make a perfect comic bad guy! If you’re a fan and a collector, try and enjoy what little goods the film has spawned for us.

fangoria 29Gates Of Hell MaskGates Of Hell T-Shirt

Before we fling open the Gates of Hell, I would like to take a moment and talk about a story that has been on the internet for a while now, the Sounds Of Hell legend or myth depending on who you are talking to. It’s said in 1989 a group of Russian scientist lead by a Mr. Azzacov were drilling in a unknown location in Siberia.  At some point in the drilling they got to 9 miles and broke into a cavity where they decided to lower a heat tolerant microphone into the hole that was letting out a temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They were shocked at what they heard as they picked up sounds of fire, peoples screams of pain as well as random evil laughter…they had found Hell and were listening to the screams of those who were damned. They stopped the drilling and were scared of what they heard as now the world had proof of Hell.  The recording was saved and later played on Trinity Broadcast Network, a religious station, to prove the evils and tortures of Hell. Later accounts also reported that a bat like creature flew from the hole as well showing the release of a demon into our world. In 1997 the story was an internet topic and flooded message and chat boards with questions and theories to if it was real or simply a hoax. Even Art Bell of Coast To Coast AM played the sounds live on the air causing more panic and speculation about whether the sounds were real. Over the years, as with most things that walk the line of the unknown, people try and debunk it as a hoax and The Sounds Of Hell as well has come under attack as many people believe that the sounds are really just a mash up of different sounds even one coming from the 1972 Mario Bava film Baron Blood.  Others say that it was made by the folks of Trinity Broadcast in order to go along with a made up story to make their viewers worry and think about the horrors of Hell. So is the Sounds Of Hell real or fake…I for one am not sure but what is fact is that drilling was going on in and around Siberia in 89 as well as there is proof that Mr. Azzacov NEVER excised so this story is one that you will have to make up your own mind about…And if the sounds are real, I sure do feel sorry for Baron Blood because it seems like he might just be in Hell.

Flames of HellThe Sounds Of HellBaron Blood

So there you have, it we took a look at HorrorHound Weekend 2014, the Horror Host Hall Of Fame 2014, the true Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci (Sorry Hershel Gordon Lewis that crown’s Fulci’s), the film Gates Of Hell as well as we talked about the creepy Sounds of Hell.  So now it’s time for us to open the gates and take a stroll around and see what Xmachina has to offer the world of horror comics. So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s go on in and see what we have!

Gates Of Hell 1

Gates Of Hell  # 1  **1/2
Released In 2002   Cover Price $4.95   Xmachina Comics   #1 of 3

Mary Woodhouse is a special woman with special powers.  During a séance she dies a sudden death, but not before she warns her friends that evil is coming back! While this is going on, she is seeing the evil undead priest named Father William Thomas as he has done some real horrific stuff that all lead to terrible murders and even his own suicide that has caused him to be this undead monster! It’s the shock of seeing the suicide and knowing that the Gates of Hell have been opened that kills the young woman. The cops are called to Mary’s house where she is now dead and don’t believe her friends as they talk of the evils that are coming, but when one officer is killer by an unknown force on the steps their eyes start to open! Peter Bell is a down and out reporter who is looking for a big story to make his comeback to.  He had lost his respect in the news world when he became an alcoholic, and he thinks that the sudden death of Mary might just be his key to get back on top! Peter goes to the graveyard to visit the newly dug grave for Mary and hears from inside her coffin screams for help and rushes to save her from being buried alive! After he saves her, he finds that the two of them are now tangled in a higher plan that has chosen them to close the gates of hell for good. All the while, Father Thomas is killing people and sending the souls to hell to make the opening to Hell stronger. We end learning that if Peter and Mary don’t stop it, Father Thomas will unleash an army of Phantom Undead killers onto Earth killing all life as we know it.

I want to say that this comic captures the raw and gloom dark brooding mood of the film, but also adds its own pinch of dread and terror making for a good read for a fan of the film like myself. The downside of the issue is that it’s only part one of three, so this first issue is really more of a set up to the true horrors and terror that were to await us in issues two and three! In the first issue we have the set up for Peter and Mary to be the world’s heroes, and we set up that Father Thomas is one mean S.O.B. who will stop at nothing to open those gates to Hell. Mary Woodhouse is pretty likable even though in this issue she has very little stuff to say as she is dead during most of it, but her first appearance in the comic as well as her “rebirth” into it, you know she is a major player in the story. Peter Bell is okay.  He comes off a little shady, but I truly think that was the plan to make a guy you’re not so sure about a hero (I feel the same way about the film). Father Thomas is one evil priest who loves to kill and brutalize his poor victims.  While most of the people he kills have committed sins, his style of murder is just extreme and includes disemboweling and eyeball removal to name a few. The comic is filled with lots of gore, demons, death, naked women, murder and all other things we horror comic fans are looking for making it a really fun and good read, not to mention the fact it’s tied into a Fulci film! The art is done by Derek Rook, a talented artist who has done other horror comics like “Halloween Returns To Hadenfield”, “Zombi 2” and “Voices From Deadworld,” and his style is very raw and brings out the scary nature of the characters he is drawing.  He makes the scary scarier! The cover as well is very eye catching and well done and drew me in even at a Horror Convention with so much other stuff to see. It’s worth a read, and I wish there were more issues.

Gates Hell Art 1Gates Hell Art 2Gates Hell Art 3

When I bought this comic off the two hotties from HorrorHound, I thought that it was a single comic that was the full film adaptation of the 1980 film.  When I found out it was only issue 1 of 3, I was only slightly letdown because it would have been a challenge to find the others in the set, but when I found out that the other two issues in the series never seen the light of day, I can 100% say I was disappointed as I would have loved to have read them and shared my thoughts of them with you. I am going to place Xmachina with such companies as Fangoria Comics, Northstar Comics, Topps Comics and Dead Dog Comics that went away far too fast and could have given readers many more great issues of things of a spooky nature. I would have loved to see Xmachina do comics based on such films as Demons, Cannibal Holocaust, Baron Blood, Tombs Of The Blind Dead and so many other great European horror films that would have made great comic series. So while I am in the Euro Horror mood, I think that for my next update I will be taking a look at a comic based on a Jess Franco Frankenstein film.  So make sure to come back for my look at that one! So until then, support your local comic Store and Horror Host, read a comic or three and check out HorrorHound Magazine if you want to read a magazine that covers all types of horror. 

Lust For Frankenstein Logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2013

Matt Goes to the Movies Logo

In 2012 I didn’t get to the movie theater as much as I wanted, and while I saw a few films on the big screen like Amazing Spider-Man, Dark Knight Rises, The Expendables 2 and The Avengers, to name a few. I missed many more that I wanted to see, so that’s why in 2013 I decided it was time to see some films, and along side brave friends like Josh Weinberg, Juliet Fromholt, Jeremy Hoyt and Steve Alexander, I made a trip every week to The Rave/Cineamark at the outdoor mall The Greene to watch films and bring you my thoughts and ratings for my # 1 film of the year and more. This year was filled with fairy tale films, super hero films, 80’s action stars and even some great horror flicks, making this a perfect year for me to start doing this style blog, and man I can’t eat anymore movie popcorn! For almost every day I went to the theater, I would buy a medium popcorn that I would add the cheddar cheese powder to and also get my bottle of water, Sprite or a Blue Icee. I would get to the theater as early as possible and get the best seat I could and sit back and watch what Hollywood had to offer me. I have always felt that there is something very magical and fun about seeing a film in the theater, and while watching a movie at home is fun, the theater experience is always better. This blog will be a huge update and I am thinking that my top films of the year will be a returning feature so hope you all enjoy the look back and my opinions of cinema in 2013. So I will have this broken into three stages: one I will rate the Horror films I have seen in the theater, two I will give you a run down, in order of what I think were the worst films of 2013 and lastly I will give you a ranked rundown of super hero films I liked. I am not sure in what order I will do these and don’t be surprised if I throw in some surprises. So sit back relax and let’s go to The Rotten Ink Theater lobby and talk some cinema!

blue icee

This update is also dedicated to some fellow film lovers who have passed away in 2013, one of them I didn’t know personally, while sadly I did know two and wish they were around to share in this blog with me. While 2013 has been a pretty good year for Rotten Ink and in the world of movies, video games and music, it’s been a terrible one when it comes to the fact that two close friends of mine have passed away.  In January my friend, film mentor and independent film maker Andy Copp passed away to the shock to all those who loved him.  Andy was a fun loving person who enjoyed watching films and making films and was always thinking about future film ideas. Andy was a staple at the Brassfield house for holidays and would spend almost every Christmas and Thanksgiving with us. He was my brother Bryan’s best friend, and I use to say he was like our older brother because when the two of them got together there was no stopping them from gabbing about all types of things like hens do. I have many great memories traveling the roads and working conventions with him as he would have me work his table at Cinema Wasteland with him and we would chat the whole ride their about films, girls and life in general. This year Andy was also given an award by FILM DAYTON, who honored him for his work on films and TV. I miss Andy and wish he was here and could have enjoyed some of these films with me. The second friend I lost that year was Max Ervin, a great fun loving guy that I have known for years! Max and I have been co-workers at two stores and have worked on many film and TV projects together. Some of my favorite memories of going to haunted places around town were with Max who loved to do some of the same strange things like this like I do. I looked at Max as a younger brother, and when I got the news of his passing that day I felt like a piece of me died with him.  I will forever look at Max as a dear friend, and I will never forget him. Roger Ebert, famed film critic who was known for his show “At The Movies,” sadly passed away from cancer this year, and while I didn’t agree with all of his reviews, his death is a sad day for all cinemas and film as he was a man who loved his craft. This update is for all of them as well as any film lover who is no longer with us to enjoy the motion pictures.

Andy CoppMax ErvinRoger Ebert

Nothing beats seeing a film on the big screen, and this year it was great being able to get out and enjoy them on the silver screen, the way they were meant to be seen. While I saw many new films at the theater, I also was able to go and see re-released ones as well in IMAX 3D.  I was able to see Top Gun, Jurassic Park and Wizard Of Oz, and let me tell you seeing Oz on IMAX made me feel like a little kid again.  It was amazing to see, while both Top Gun and Jurassic Park were entertaining to see on the big screen with friends. I also got to see a friend’s film I produced on the big screen, as Babysitter Massacre directed by Henrique Couto showed at the Englewood Cinema.  This made me proud to see my friend’s work with an almost sold out crowd. I also got to see at Neon Movies, as part of Film Dayton’s weekend festival, my late friend Andy Copp’s first film The Mutilation Man from a master cut I was able to give them. Englewood also this year let me see films like The Shinning, Blade Runner, Jaws, Back To The Future and Gremlins thanks to Fritz The Nite Owl and Nite Owl Theatre director Mike McGraner! Alsol at Horrorrama at Englewood Cinema, I got to see Hammer’s The Mummy and the Romero Dead Trilogy. Lots of great classic films and local stars and all of them worth watching on the big screen!

Wizard of OZ 3Dbabysitter massacremutilation manJawsDay Of The Dead

So let’s move onto my top three WORST films of 2013, the three I have picked in my opinion were worst of the worst and were a waste of film and digital space…and worse of all a waste of money! So here we go, let’s take out the garbage.

WORST

# 3

a good day to die hard

Bruce Willis sleepwalks through another sequel to his popular action series that all started with Die Hard. John McClane travels to Russia to get his son Jack out of jail and to take a vacation (you will know this as the terrible line Willis blurts out all through the movie), but before he can patch things up with his estranged son, they stumble onto a terrorist plot that forces the two to team up and save the day. The story in this film is weak and is clearly just the recycled, dumbed down script that had McClane team with Jack Bauer of the TV show 24. The dialogue is dumb and laughable, and as I said, Willis seems bored and half asses his performance. In fact two out of the three other people that saw this stinker with me hated it as well, as did others we could overhear leaving the theater. This bland action film brought in $67,349,198.00 at the box office in the US. I should also note I went in wanting this to be good as I liked the other four films in the series. 

# 2

scary movie 5

For some reason Dimension films decided not to make another Halloween film, but they did want to put money into yet another not funny Scary Movie film for the 5th time and this one didn’t even have the “talents” of the Wayne’s Brothers.  This one is just as crappy and unfunny as all the others in this worn out series. The film’s spoofed plot is about actor Charlie Sheen’s kids who go missing and are found in a Cabin in the Woods and are taken in by the Sanders and their smart monkey Caesar as an evil spirit wants the kids back. Because nothing spells spoof fun like the already run down your throat Paranormal Activity rip off films. I watched this terrible unfunny mess of a comedy and found that I did not laugh once as many of the others in the theater laughed like they were seeing comedy gold, yeah I don’t get it. This was a waste of $5.00 and worse, 2hrs of my life. This unfunny mess made $32,015,787.00 at the box office in the US. 

# 1

A Haunted House

A Haunted House was the worst film of 2013, and guess what? Besides being another terrible spoof film, it also starred and was written by Marlon Wayans, one half of the team that gave us those wonderful Scary Movie films….and it spoofs Paranormal Activity.  So this was doomed to suck from the start! This crapfest is about Malcolm and Kisha moving in together and being haunted by a troublemaking ghost/demon, and the pair get all types of odd balls to help them in their quest to rid the house of it. This film sucked so bad that it was the first film I ever considered walking out of before it was over, not once did I laugh, and the crowd I saw it with were hooting.  One guy laughed so loudly at every fart joke…is this what we have become, thinking trash like this is funny…oh well I guess as in all things in life, different strokes for different folks. This pile of smelly trash made $40,041,683.00 at the US Box Office and to my non-surprise, a sequel is set to come out this year.  I won’t be seeing it.

Other bad films I saw in 2013: After Earth, The Worlds End and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

After EarthWorlds EndThe Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Who doesn’t love themselves some good old fashioned 80’s action film stars? Besides Bruce Willis, two of the decade’s most iconic actors had films out this year.  Of course I am talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.  So here is a quick run down of my top 3 80’s Action Star Films for last year.

80s action

# 3

Last Stand

After taking some time away from movies to be the mayor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger flexed his acting muscles once more for his first leading role since coming back to Hollywood. Arnold plays a small town sheriff named Ray Owens who along with his very small force must stop an escaped drug cartel leader and his men who are trying to sneak him over the border to safety. The action is over the top, the jokes about being old are out of control, but over all it’s a pretty good action film to say welcome back to Arnold with. The action stuff Arnold does in the film is not unbelievable for a guy his age, and this helps add to the over all fun feel to this film. I will say that when I saw this in the theater, I was worn out and during some slow parts I did find myself drifting off because of the lack of action. The film brought in only $12,050,299.00 at the box office in the US and that’s sad when looking at what piles of dung like Scary Movie 5 and A Haunted House brought in…shame on you for not seeing Last Stand.

# 2

grudge-match-poster

As every review has mentioned, this Drama/Comedy is like a silly version of a Hollywood Dream Match between the characters of Italian Stallone Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta without calling them by those names. Sylvester Stallone plays Henry “Razor” Sharp, a boxer who had a huge feud with Robert De Niro’s character, Billy “The Kid” McDonnen, and with each winning a fight a piece, the third fight is cancelled when Sharp retired from boxing. The two fighters hate each other and when Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart), the son of a notorious boxing promoter gets them back in the ring for a fight that should have happened years and years ago, the drama and bad mistakes of the past come back to the surface. The film, while a little long, was a lot of fun to see in the theater and as the story unfolds, many of the questions you have in the beginning get answered. The comedy works in most spots, and Stallone and De Niro do great jobs as their characters.  While I’m not a fan of his comedy, Kevin Hart does a great job in the film and is not overused. I saw the film with my girlfriend Juliet, and she thought it was alright as well. The film brought in $29,134,648.00 at the US box office. 

# 1

Bullet To The Head

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Sylvester Stallone fan and have been since I was a kid.  So when I found out he had three new films this year, I was pretty hyped to see them all in the theater, and Bullet To The Head was not a letdown as I really enjoyed it. Sly plays Jimmy Bobo, a Louisiana hitman whose partner is murdered and a hit is placed on his head as well.  He meets a D.C. detective named Taylor who tries to help him figure out who has placed the hit on him and to uncover the dirty cops and bad goings on in the town which all controlled by one man including Keegan, the man paid to kill Bobo. Throw in Bobo’s hot daughter and a fire ax fight, and you have this fun action film. The film also stars Christian Slater, Alfred Gough and Jason Momoa who plays Keegan. The film has a great soundtrack done by Steve Mazzaro, and just like The Last Stand, the action while over the top, is stuff you could see a guy in shape like Stallone do. This film is very underrated and was not given a chance by movie goers this year, even my pal Josh Weinberg like it pretty well. The film brought in a very low $9,489,829.00 in the US Box Office and that’s a letdown. Oh, I also bought this film on DVD when it came out.

Sadly, I missed the Stallone and Schwarzenegger team up film “Escape Plan” because of work, and had to see it when it was released on DVD so that’s why it did not make it on this list.  I wish I would have gotten to see it in theater while eating cheese popcorn and drinking a blue Icee; that would have been a lot of fun. 

Escape Plan

Super hero films based on Marvel and DC comic book characters are big Box Office draws again.  2013 had its share of these type of films, and each did well at the box office.  I love super hero films and will admit I even have a soft spot for the 1990 Captain America film starring Matt Salinger as Cap.  So for this batch of films I am pretty hyped to bring you my ranking as I have four films of super sized action to choose from. So let’s strap on our capes and leap into this one!

SUPER HERO

# 4

iron man 3

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) can’t shake off the effects of the attack on New York as seen in The Avengers film and is loosing sleep and having panic attacks as a result. Worse, this is having a strain on his relationship with Pepper, and he also has gotten the attention of world terrorist The Mandarin. After several attacks by The Mandarin that leave Stark’s house destroyed and his best friend Happy in the hospital, and with the world thinking he is dead and only a prototype army on his back Tony must stop the sinister plot to kill the President and find out who The Mandarin really is. I saw this film twice in the theater, and the first time I had a blast with the action and laughed with the comedy aspects.  Upon watching it the second time, I found it to be riddled with flaws and was more annoyed that most of the film is Tony Stark fighting bad guys and not him as Iron Man. Plus, I have some issue with the treatment of The Mandarin (for those who have not seen it, I will not spoil it) who just so happens to be Iron Man’s top foe. But while flawed and my least favorite in the Iron Man series, it’s still worth the watch and was a great film meant for the theater. This film did an amazing $409,013,944.00 at the US box office alone and was the top grossing film of the year until The Hunger Games: Catching Fire knocked it off the throne. Again, if you check your brain at the door and are looking for a fun action comedy, then Iron Man 3 is a good film to be enjoyed. Oh, I also enjoyed the film’s score, done by Brian Tyler and have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO. 

# 3

man of steel

Superman came back into theaters in 2013 with a re-boot called “Man of Steel,” and while elements of the film were great, it still had some flaws making it not the best Superman film in my eyes. The film shows the destruction and war of Krypton and how his mother and father sent the young Sups to Earth where he is adopted by the Kents and is named Clark. As he grows older, Clark has so many unanswered questions about who he is and why he is so different.  He travels the world and helps those in need and becomes an urban legend. But things get complicated for him when he finds a ship from his birth planet, meets reporter Lois Lane and must face General Zod, a castaway from his own planet. The film takes the darker route like the Nolan Batman films and while it’s nice to see a change, it does lose some of the boy scout spirit of who Superman is. I saw it once in theaters in IMAX 3D and bought the 2-disc DVD and will say it’s a pretty fun film. The film brought in $291,045,518.00 at the USA box office and was the 5th top grossing movie of 2013. 

# 2

the-wolverine-poster

The Wolverine was a great super hero film that I feel was tainted by moviegoers who had a bad taste in their mouths from “X-men Origins: Wolverine.”  While I really liked the first film, this sequel was leaps and bounds better and made me hyped to see more Wolverine films from Fox! The film follows Wolverine as he travels to Japan to visit a dying man that he saved way back during World War II.  The man wants to take Wolverine’s healing gift to save his life and this would allow Wolverine to live and die like a normal person. When he refuses the offer all hell breaks loose as the man’s granddaughter is targeted by the yakuza.  He dies and a sinister plot comes to light. Hugh Jackman does a great job as the razor clawed hero, and the film brought in $132,556,852.00 in the US box office. I bought the movie on DVD when it was released and play some of the score music on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO.  This is one X-Men themed movie I will say is a must see. 

# 1

thor the dark world poster

The Dark Elf Malekith is back after being defeated some ages back by Asgardian warriors, and he wants to take over by using a powerful weapon known as the Aether to destroy Asgard. Unlucky for Jane Foster, as she by accident gets the Aether weapon (it enters your body) and becomes the target of Malekith and his dark elf army. Thor, along with his allies Sif, Volstagg and Fandral, must learn to trust Loki in order to save their home as well as Earth from the doom that awaits them. This superhero film felt like it was mixed with the sci-fi fun of films like Star Wars, and this added even more of an epic feel to it. The action in the film is over the top and watching Thor and Loki team was super cool.  The only down side was that the Kat Dennings character, while pretty to look at, gave way to many one liners and after a while I just wished she would have stopped. Well acted, well directed, well written and to me the best Superhero film of 2013! Thor hammered out $204,674,790.00 at the US box office and did even more at foreign! Thor: The Dark World was the best comic book movie of 2013 and is one that you should see if you have not as of yet.

I would also like to point out that Kick-Ass 2 came out this year and would have been on this list for sure but sadly I missed it in theaters because for some reason The Rave only had it on the screens for 2 weeks! I ended up seeing it on DVD when it was released and must say it was a lot of fun and a great follow up to the original.

Kick Ass 2

Now I am going to focus on three films that I would say were the best of the best that were not in one of these categories.  These films were fun popcorn movies that had me thinking this is what going to the movies is all about. These type of films have you on the edge of your seat and provoke all types of emotions. Some of these films were unfairly judged, while others were hits at the box office. So let’s get to what I am calling “Best” as in best films to see in the theater….that didn’t fit in the already made categories!

Best

# 3

Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger was a big budget film made by Disney that critics and internet bloggers unfairly judged, and many of those who trashed it never even saw it! The film is about John Reid, a lawyer who returns home during the railroad construction in Texas just in time to watch his brother, a ranger, be gunned down.  John is left for dead by the outlaw Butch Cavendish, but with the help of a crazy Indian named Tonto and a white spirit horse named Silver, he becomes The Lone Ranger and must bring the outlaw to justice and stop an all out war between Texans and the Native American Tribes, that is all being put in place over the railroads taking over the tribes’ land. The film is not like the classic Clayton Moore stuff and is done more in a tongue in cheek manor, and while I can see fans of the original Lone Ranger being a little let down by this, I still found the film to be a fun kid friendly action film that was worth seeing twice in the theater. Sadly the film was considered a box office flop even though it brought in $89,302,115.00 in the US. The Lone Ranger has flaws and is by no means a perfect film, but it was one that held a lot of fun action and silly moments making it a perfect popcorn film. If you have not seen it, you should leave your brain at the door, pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the high adventure of The Lone Ranger and Tonto.

# 2 

star trek into the darkness

I enjoyed the hell out of Star Trek: Into Darkness and will say that I liked it better than the first film in the re-boot series done by J.J. Abrams, and that’s saying a lot because I really liked that one as well! The film is packed with epic sci-fi action and even has the Klingons! Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise go on the hunt for a terrorist who has caused many deaths and chaos to the federation.  The hunt is filled with many dangers and many twists and turns, and when Kirk and friends find the truth of who they are hunting and why, all hell breaks loose and it’s a fight to survive. Once more I saw this film twice in the theaters and will say that watching it in IMAX 3D was one heck of an experience, and everyone I saw it with left loving the film and saying how it was once heck of a fun ride. The film is well acted and once more seeing Leonard Nimoy as Spock in a cameo made the inner Trekkie in me nerd out. The film’s score is outstanding as are the special effects.  I would say that for 2013, this was my favorite sci-fi film and has all the elements that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was happing next. The film did an outstanding $228,778,661.00 in the US box office, and a third film is planned in the series. I was a little light on the plot of this film because it’s packed with surprises, and I don’t want to be that blogger who ruins it for you.  So if you have not seen it…you should do so now!

# 1

OZ Great and Powerful

No 2013 film had me feeling more like a kid again than sitting in the theater and watching “Oz The Great And Powerful” on the IMAX Screen in 3D.  While not nearly iconic or loved by me as the original, this prequel was such a fun and magical film that the 33 year old me felt like the 8 year old me watching the original film on TV during the holidays. Carnival magician and conman Oscar Diggs gets sucked into a tornado while in a hot air balloon after a husband finds that he has been putting the movies on his wife and lands in a magical place called OZ! When he gets there,he is believed to be a grand wizard and becomes the idol and savior to the weak who are being tormented by two witch sisters. The film’s characters are lovable, and James Franco, who plays Oscar, does an outstanding job in the role as does Mila Kunis, who plays The Wicked Witch of the West before and after turning wicked. Speaking of Kunis, she is breathtaking beautiful in this film before she turns all green with hatred. The film did well at the US box office, bringing in a gross of $234,911,825.00 and was number 10 for domestic grosses of 2013. While not like the original or even the sequel, Return To Oz, this film was a fun time at the theater and was my favorite film of the year!

I saw many great and fun films this year.  Here is a list of the things I saw: The Great Gatsby, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pacific Rim, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Oblivion, Elysium, Jack The Giant Killer, The Place Beyond The Pines, The Call, Dead Man Down, Admission, The Heat, 42, Pain & Gain, Gangster Squad, Olympus Has Fallen, Now You See Me, Identity Theft, Fast & Furious 6 and Snitch. All these films were entertaining as well and helped add to a fun year at the movies.

gi joe retaliationthe great gatsbypacific rimHansel and Gretel

So now we are at the part of the films of the year that always makes me hyped to go to the movies, and that’s horror films! And before we get to the horrors of the big screen, I would like to cover a few on the TV screen as I take a look at horror films that went straight to DVD in 2013.  While some had a small theater run, most didn’t, so lets take a look at my top 4 horror flicks that went DVD.

DVD HORRORS

# 4

maniac

I Warned You Not To Go Out Tonight was the great tagline to the 1980 horror film and for some reason in 2012, with a 2013 release, someone thought it would be a great idea to remake it. The film’s plot is about Frank, an owner of an old style mannequin store, who goes around and kills and scalps ladies.  But he falls in love with artist Anna and his world changes as the urge to collect her becomes stronger and stronger. The film lacks the dirty raw feel of the original and is filmed mainly in a first person perspective of Frank.  While it works in some spots, in others I felt it held it back. The film has some gore but was not nearly as gross as the original. Over all the film was worth watching if you were a fan of the original or are looking for a film where Elijah Wood plays a serial killer. During its very limited theater release in the US, Maniac remake brought in a gross of $31,081.00.

# 3

Curse-of-Chucky-2013-movie-poster

I was really hyped to find out a new Childs Play movie was in the works and was even more glad to know that it was not a remake which had been talked about for years now. The downside was the film was to get a very small theater release and go direct to DVD. What we got was the 6th film in the series that had Chucky being sent to a house where he torments a family and targets a young woman confined to a wheel chair. The film took a lot of the comedy aspect out of the series and went back for more of the scary horror as Chucky kills the family off in brutal ways. The film also adds some twists and turns and even has a cameo that will make fans of the original very happy. Plus Brad Dourif returns to voice the killer doll, and that’s a plus. The downside is that it’s very slow moving and it takes awhile for Chucky to swing his knife into action. While not groundbreaking, this film was a fun watch and just helps add to the legend that is Chucky.

# 2

Frankensteins Army

Frankenstein’s Army is one of those surprise films that I picked up on DVD the same time I did Curse of Chucky and World War Z.  I found the film to be a fun take on the found footage boom of the horror world. The film follows Russian Soldiers as they travel around and stumble on the hideout of Dr. Frankenstein who has been using the bodies of dead Nazi’s to make killing machine monsters. The whole film is from the perspective of a soldier’s camera and later that of Frankenstein. The effects are great for a low budget film, and the monster designs are pretty dang sweet.  It reminds me a lot of the underrated film called Slashers.  In Slashers, it’s a reality TV show that pits people against killers who all dress up like B-Movie inspired horror killers. While Frankenstein’s Army has flaws, I really think it’s worth a watch for horror fans.

# 1

Hatchet III

The Hatchet series is great throwbacks to the horror films of the 80’s, and it also has Kane Hodder, who is known for playing Friday The 13th killer Jason Voorhees, as the film’s killer Victor Crowley and the lovely Danielle Haris of Halloween 4-5 fame as our hero Marybeth who in this third film is stuck in the swamps of New Orleans to try and stop the Crowley curse once and for all. Along the way, Crowley makes chop steak out of a medical crew and a S.W.A.T. team. The film is filled with over the top gore and is one hell of a fun and bloody ride.  Plus I never skip a chance to see Danielle Harris.The film had a very tiny theater run but really made its money on DVD. If you like your killers unstoppable and mean as hell, then watch Hatchet III and enjoy. It’s very cool series that’s heavy on the blood, guts and gore and even has a classic small town ghost town feel to it. It’s really a fun film and a great direct to DVD horror series.

But now let’s get to the real meat of this update, my ranking of the horror films I saw in the theater this year! While some have a slight sci-fi edge, they still have that horror feel that helped add the chills and spills at Rave/Cinemark to all us who went to see them.

horror

# 13

Dark Skies

Dark Skies was one of those horror/sci-fi hybrid films that kind of creeped in and out of the theater and made a very small splash. The film follows The Barrett family who are struggling as the father has been out of work for three months and the mother is struggling as a relator. But things get very odd and crazy as their sons seem to be getting visits from shadow like people and even the older son seems to be having fits. By the end, the shadows seem to be aliens who have marked one of the family members, and it’s a struggle to save their loved one! The film has a nice pace and almost feels like a generic X-Files episode that’s just lacking Mulder and Scully. Keri Russell plays the mother, and she does a pretty damn good job; in fact the acting in the film is pretty good and standard for this style of movie. The film did okay at the US box office and brought a gross in of $17,418,667.00, meaning that Dimension Films made a profit. I watched the film with Josh Weinberg, and he had the same feeling on the film as I did, “It was okay.”

#12

last exorcism 2

The Last Exorcism Part II started out as being a good solid sequel, but by the end became a very standard generic feeling one. The film follows Nell Sweetzer, who is found in a house possessed by a demon and is taken and cured of the possession that has haunted her for years.  She is sent to a home for troubled girls, and things seem to be going good as she gets a job and even finds a young man she gets a crush on. But her happiness is cut short as the demon is not done with her, and those she trusts are not what they seem. The film is no longer found footage and plays like a standard possession film complete with an eye rolling ending. The film stars Ashley Bell once more as Nell, and it was nice to see her return to the role and once more do a fantastic job. The film is by no means a blood bath but does have a few chilling moments. The film did okay at the US box office and brought in $15,179,302.00 gross giving CBS Films a small profit. I don’t see a part three in the series’ future even though it’s left wide open for one.  Over all I found the film just okay. 

#11

the lords of salem

Poor The Lords Of Salem, which lasted about a week at the theater and when me, Josh & Lisa Weinberg saw it, maybe a total of 6 other people were in the theater. The film follows radio DJ Heidi Hawthorne, who gets a strange old vinyl in the mail that really holds a hidden message from witches who want to get revenge for a slaughter that happened decades before. They use Heidi as a tool to achive what they need and even her own apartment is not safe from the witchcraft. The film has a lot of heart, and I think Rob Zombie, who directed and wrote it, really believed in the film. While it does have some blood, this film is more of a shocking kind of horror with off the wall scenes that are used to try and shock or offend the viewer. Sheri Moon Zombie plays Heidi, and she does a pretty good job. I will say over the years she has grown as an actress.  Plus of course it would not be a Zombie film if we don’t get some shots of Sheri’s butt. This was by no means a great film, but I enjoyed it in theaters and even bought it on DVD when it was released. The film grossed $1,165,882.00 in the US box office and had a very small limited release.

# 10

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies is a cross between a romantic comedy and a horror film that oddly works pretty well. R is a zombie who kind of wonders what the purpose of being a zombie really is.  In fact he even still collects things from his past when he was alive. Julie is a young woman who is alive who catches R’s eye during a raid to try and get food and medical supplies.  He falls in love with her and it becomes a Romeo and Juliet kind of love story about forbidden love and shows just maybe the living can live alongside the dead. This film is cheesy and silly, yet I found myself enjoying it as I drank down my Blue Icee. It’s nothing to special and not quite a throw away Twilight kind of film, but it’s worth a watch on DVD, Blu-Ray or even…Netflix (if you like that kind of poor quality streaming junk). The film at the US box office brought in $66,380,662.00 making Lionsgate a good little profit. Most of my friends who have seen it and are all diehard horror fans like myself also oddly kind of liked this film!

#9  

the purge

The Purge was one of those films that had me at the first viewing of the trailer, and while it was a good film, it didn’t fully hold up to what the trailer made it out to be in my eyes. The US Government has selected one night a year to allow murder and mayhem to go un-punished, allowing people to blow of steam and kill those who did them wrong or just people at random. James is a home security sales man and in fact is the best in the business.  He heads home along side his family to be locked into their house safe and sound, or so he thinks.  Things get out of hand as his son lets in a man running from some masked killers and his daughter’s boyfriend sneaks in with the idea of winning her father over one way or another. It becomes a fight for their lives as the killers outside want in and get in. The film is filled with lots of twists and turns and surprises and makes for one hell of a good horror thriller. Ethan Hawke plays James and is outstanding as is the rest of the cast.  The film has some blood but is by no means on par with a slasher film. After seeing it in the theater, I left feeling entertained and kind of wanting to see a part two.  Guess what – we will this year as “The Purge: Anarchy” hits theaters. The film grossed $64,473,115.00 giving Universal a great profit and proving that horror is where the money can be made. 

# 8

Insidious Chapter 2

Insidious Chapter 2 is one of those PG-13 horror films that delivers some great chills and thrills and shows that horror sequels can be as good as the original! This film follows the events that happen after the first film and shows that the poor Lambert family are not done with the evil spirit that has latched itself onto them. I don’t wanna give to much away about this film, but I will say that the ghost known as The Black Bride is one creepy S.O.B., and this film does a great job of showing his origins. Over all, if you loved the first film, this second one will chill your bones just as fast. The film did great just like the original at the American box office bringing in a gross of $83,586,447.00.  So if you like ghost thrillers with little to no blood but filled with some creepy moments, this film is for you. And oh yeah when I saw the film, the theater had a good turn out and everyone I could hear after the film had ended seemed to really dig it. 

# 7

Mama

Mama is a movie to me that blurred the lines between horror and fantasy and was done really well! Two young sisters travel with their dad on an icy road to a cabin in the middle of the woods right after he killed their mother and had plans to kill them and himself, but before he can kill his children, an unknown creature comes in and saves them and for years acts as their protector. But when their uncle and his rock star girlfriend find them and adopt them, they learn that what the girls call Mama ain’t going to let them go easily. I really struggled with not having this film higher on my list because after seeing it, I found myself really liking it.  For months and months it was ranked as my top film of the year. Mama is a great creepy looking ghost/spirit that is sure to send shivers down many spines and really is worth the watch. The film did good at the American Box Office bringing in a gross of $71,628,180.00 and making it a success for Universal. 

# 6

world war z

Word War Z the film is very loosely based on the book of the same title written by Max Brooks, son of the amazing comedy director Mel Brooks. The film follows retired UN investigator Gerry Lane and his family who are caught in the middle of a zombie outbreak, and he must work once more for his former employer in order to keep his family safe and to hope to find a cure to end the outbreak. Brad Pitt plays Gerry and is a very likable character who I felt connected to and wanted to see him survive and out smart the zombies. The film is filled with CGI, and while some scenes with the mass amount of zombies look a little cheesy, the film for being PG-13 is pretty scary and is a well made zombie film. This is one of those films that when I first saw the trailer I thought it would be a terrible main stream horror film that wimped out when it came to blood and gore, and while very light on the blood, the story was way more intense than I thought and I left the theater really liking the film. In fact I even got this film on DVD when it came out, and my girlfriend, who judged the film before seeing it like I did, also ended up liking it! The film did great at the American box office bringing in a gross of $202,359,711.00.  If you have not seen it yet, I think you should.  

# 5

Evil Dead

When I first heard they were doing a remake of Evil Dead, I was pissed.  For so many years I wanted to see a part 4, and instead all I heard that was coming was another Hollywood pooped out remake. The one good thing was the none attachment of Michael Bay and his band of hacks at Platinum Dunes.  So this gave me a slight hope that it might be good…and to my shock, it was pretty dang good and took the humor out of the series and turned it back to pure bloody horror! The film follows Mia who travels to a cabin in the woods to detox off drugs but gets more than she bargains for when one of her friends reads from a book found in the cabin’s cellar that unleashes demons that infect, possess and kill them one by one. The film is a blood bath and has some pretty gross gory scenes and is very much like a classic horror film in feeling. This film had very mix reviews by friends and family who watch horror films.  I for one had a blast watching it in theaters and it went above and beyond the low expectations I had set in my mind for it. The film did pretty well in the US box office grossing a total of $54,239,856.00 making it a hit for TriStar. I should also note that the film is produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (who also has a groovy cameo) showing that the old are okay with the new being around.  The film’s success also has sparked rumors that a sequel to the original series as well as the reboot series are in the works. JOIN US….JOIN US!

# 4

Texas Chainsaw 3D

Texas Chainsaw 3D is a sequel to the original 1974 film and even has the opening taking place right after the original ended. The film centers around Heather Miller who finds out that she has inherited a mansion in Texas.  She also that she has been adopted and that she is really part of Sawyer family! While in the home, she and her friends come face to face with Leatherface, who wants them all dead, but all is not what it seems as Heather learns the truth about her true family. The film is so cheesy and is by no means a great horror film, but I do think its a fun sequel that packs some fun kills and a silly plot. I will say that it was great seeing a version of Leatherface on the big screen in 2013, and while this film’s version is pretty cool, he really isn’t given much to do and really becomes a kind of anti-hero by the films closing. Alexandra Daddario plays Heather Miller, and I must say she is one good looking lady who does a great job on what she is given in the film. To be honest, much like Mama this film was a hard one to place because while most critics and even friends of mine hated this film, I really do have a soft spot for it and even have bought it on DVD when it was released. The film at the America box office grossed $34,341,945.00 at the box office and making it a semi hit for Lionsgate who at this point is rumored to be working on another one. Chainsaw kills, lots of blood, hot women and a horror character icon are the reasons this film is ranked my # 4 horror film of the year.  While not perfect and flawed, it was one fun ride into Texas.

# 3

Youre Next

You’re Next is a film that sat on a shelf for 2 years before the powers that be at Lionsgate released it into theaters, and I must say, I am glad they did. The film revolves around a family in the middle of nowhere who are being attacked by three killers who are all wearing white animal masks and who are all very brutal. It’s up to the family to try to stay alive and fight back, and fight back they do thanks to one of the family member’s girlfriends who will fight to stay alive. The film has lots of twists and turns and even has touches of black humor. The film is pretty violent and brutal and has one scene where someone is killed with a blender! I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because I really think you should see it if you enjoy 80’s Slasher Films mixed in with some over the top moments. I must also say that at HorrorHound 2014, Baron Von Porkchop’s and my table was right across from actress Sharni Vinson, and she was one of the sweetest actress I have ever met next to Danielle Harris and Dennis Duff.  She treated her fans with so much respect and seemed like a very nice person. The film in the US grossed $18,494,006.00 at the box office and really was one hell of a fun film to see in the theaters with a crowd of fellow horror film lovers.

# 2

carrie

I am a horror film fan who likes sequels over reboots and remakes.  I feel that it’s better to tell new stories about a character than just rehashing the same one with new players and special effects. But I will say that I loved the remake to Carrie, and I know many will disagree with me on this one, but I liked it even better than the original! The film follows Carrie White who is an odd girl being raised by her crazed God obsessed mother who is also tormented every day at school by fellow classmates.  Things get worse when she gets her period and her fellow students decide to shoot a cellphone video of them throwing tampons at her and teasing her for not knowing what a period is. And it goes all down hill for all those who tormented her as Carrie is special and holds certain powers now that all come out when she is asked to prom and while there a prank goes wrong and many people die. This film updates really well and with this generation’s obsessions with cellphones and social media, it was perfect time to show how cruel some teens can be toward each other just to get some hits on YouTube. Chloe Moretz plays Carrie, and I must say she is becoming one of my favorite actress as she does great work in this film as well and Kick-Ass 1 & 2 as well as the letdown film Dark Shadows.The film did only all right in the US bringing in a gross of $35,266,619.00 but did better worldwide. When seeing this film, the theater was kind of packed and when the film was over it seemed that the crowd enjoyed it. I know my friend Josh Winberg also liked it, and I think if you’re a fan of the Stephen King book and the original film than, you should give this film a chance; I am glad I did!

# 1

the conjuring

The Conjuring is a PG-13 horror film that is based on a true story about some paranormal investigators who decide that they are going to help a family that is being tormented by an evil spirit, but this case is like none other they tackled before because this spirit is not going down without a fight. This is your classic spooky haunted house flick mixed with possession film that doesn’t rely on blood, guts and gore to scare the audience, but does so more naturally and allows the viewer to almost scare themselves as they are drawn deeper and deeper into the plot. I can say when I saw this film in the theater I took notice of something: while the more bloody films like You’re Next, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Lords of Salem and Evil Dead had the audiences laughing in spots, The Conjuring had people screaming in fear…now think about that –  a PG-13 Horror film was scaring people while the rated R bloodbaths had people laughing.  It’s a shift in the market for sure as it seems Hollywood is getting away from the slasher and more in bed with the spooky ghost/demon films. I picture the frights The Conjuring dealt out to the people in that theater were the same kind of bloodless frights Universal’s Dracula and Frankenstein delivered in 1931 to movie goers, and that’s an amazing thing for a horror buff like myself to witness. The film did great at the US box office bringing in a gross of $137,400,141.00 and making it one of the biggest money makers in the horror genre of the year and making good profits for Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema. If you like spooky mood movies, then The Conjuring is for you. I am glad I saw it in theaters with a room full of people because the atmosphere of the crowd made it even more enjoyable with the screams and gasps filled the air.

Well I know that this update is a little behind, and to many of you great readers might even be a little dated, but I must tell you all I really had a great time writing this one and had a blast going to the theater and having Hollywood entertain me on the silver screen. Thank you all for sitting here in the Rotten Ink Theater Lobby and talking films with me. I hope you enjoyed our chat.  Next update we will be going back to comics as we take a look at an Atlas Comic “icon” of stunts.  Of course I am talking about The Cougar…come on you know The Cougar, right? Well if you don’t, you’ll learn about him next update.  So until then watch a movie, support your local comic shop and Horror Host and read a comic or two and just enjoy life. 

cougar_2

Should Have Beens From My Friends


Welcome back to part two of the wish list of what should have been made by Star Comics/Marvel.  With my top 10 picks done, let’s take a look at a few others people’s thoughts and wants. This is going to be a long update, so sit back, scroll down and have fun looking at these picks down memory lane!

Bryan Brassfield

First up is my brother, Bryan Brassfield who is only three years older than me and also grew up through the 80’s and 90’s. Bryan is a collector of movies and toys and also enjoys a good comic. In fact, when we were younger he used to make his own comic called “Weird Tales of Waynesville,” a fun horror comedy look at our home town. Bryan has also directed a few no budget films that include Twisted Batman and Nightmare.  He also was making a film called The Kenny Rogers Project that fell into development hell. Bryan also has acted in many Andrew Copp films that include Black Sun, Atrocity Circle and Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain, and played a drunken abusive father for Josh Weinberg in his One Second Too Late series. Bryan now is married and lives peacefully with his wife and daughter in Germantown, Ohio. So without further ado, let’s get on to his top 5!

#5

suckerman logo

Most people wouldn’t give a shit, but I would have loved to seen a Sucker-man comic book with him being a crime fighter!

suckermansuckerman in boxSuckerman 2

#4

AWA

Hey WWF and WCW had their own comic books, why not the AWA! Imagine Sgt. Slaugher, Rick Martell, and Greg Gagne battling the likes of The Road Warriors and Baron Von Rashke.

Sgt SlaughterAWAOfficialLogolod

#3

Garbage Pail Kids Logo

Gross out humor comic that would be a combination of Mad/Cracked magazines with the Garbage Pail Kid gang. This would have been really cool.

Evil EddiePail Kids PackBrainless Brian

#2

Battle Beast Logo

Another comic book that would have a good cast of characters who could have dealt with the mythology and back story. If I’m not mistaken, I think it also had a Manga based on it.

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher BlackThorne had a 4 issue run of Battle Beast in 1988.

battlebeast1BATTLE BEASTSBattle_Beast_Loose_Sloth

#1

Muscle logo

They probably made a Magna out of this, but I think they could have done one for American audiences that would feature Muscle Man and his “Thug Busters” battling Teri-Bull and his “Cosmic Crunchers.”

Muscle ManMUSCLE BATTLETeri Bull

Blood line

Stephen Alexander

The second to share his list is my cousin Stephen Alexander II, who just so happens to also be one of my best friends.  At a young age Stephen lived for Bon Jovi, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Horror Films, and Nintendo, but he was terrified of Chucky from Child’s Play that lead to many pranks that I am sure warped him to this day. Nowadays Stephen is one of the founders of a beard & mustache club in Dayton called the Gem City Gentlemen of the Guided Beard who have been seen on the IFC show Whisker Wars. Stephen also is a no budget actor who has starred in such films as Wolf Hunter 2, Vampire Peeper of Greene County and Bark at the Moon: Oliver to name a few. He also enjoys a fine glass of beer and repairing old smoking pipes. He also is responsible for helping me to find and dig up Baron Von Porkchop to host the show Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. So let’s get to his top 5 list!

#5

gpkn6bi1 copy

To me this is a no-brainer, you have just the right amount of disgusting mixed with a cast of crazy characters to make a great comic.  They could have literally done anything with this (besides make a crappy movie).  A comic would have been a perfect route for this franchise.

adam bombles vegasStuffed Stephen

#4
Pog Logo

This one may take a little bit of imagination, but it could be done. The way I picture it is you follow a main character or several main characters that are on a quest to defeat arena Pog masters all over the world to be crowned Pog king or champion or whatever. While he/she/they are on their quest they run into all kinds of insane Pog warriors. I think it would have made a great series of comics, and hell I probably would have owned the whole set.

pog_classicpog-fire-sticksPOG-The-Game

#3

Creepy Crawlers Logo

I think this was another huge missed opportunity on it’s creators part. This could have been an epic journey through the mind. As a mad scientist creates these nasty Crawlers to take over the world, but one hero/heroes stands in his way. Every edition could have different ways the mad scientists makes new Creepy Crawlers, and the hero/heroes have to find a way to stop him. It would have been comic gold!

creepy_crawlerscreepy playsetcreepytoon

#2

MST3K

I loved this show as a kid, and it would have translated into comics amazingly. They could have just continued the travels of Mike and the robots through space, and we could have caught a glimpse of what happens when they don’t have to watch a terrible movie. Every comic could even be a continuation of one of the shows even. It would have been something I would have owned for sure.

mstMST3K-hoststhe-mystery-science-theater-3000-collection-volume-xviii-20100618033053045

#1

are-you-afraid-of-the-dark-LOGO

One of my all time favorite Nickelodeon shows. This could have easily translated into a comic. They would just take the Midnight Society and make them do what they do best, tell ghost stories. It practically writes itself, and they could do more with the comic that the show maybe wouldn’t allow, effects and that kind of jazz. Drawing it the pages of a comic would be much more cost effective I would think and it would have been a great comic book line for kids of all ages.

areyouafraidofthedarktaleofthelongagolocketAre%20You%20Afraid%20of%20the%20Darkareyouafraidofthedarkthetaleofthefinalwishs02e01

Blood line

Matt Hoffman

Next up is Matt Hoffman a friend of mine since high school and one of the co-founders of our no budget film company Independent B Movie. Matt is a comic fan and some would say a super fan of Superman.  Matt used to have a crush on Britney Spears and is one hell of a good cook.  Matt, known to his friends as Hoffman or Hotch, has been in many no budget films like Teen Suicide, Vampire Peeper of Greene County, Werewolf of Ohio 2, Bark at the Moon: Scars, Farmer Joe and is known for playing The Wolf Hunter in numerous films as well as writing and directing two films so far in that series. Hoffman no longer lives in Ohio but is still hunting wolves in Colorado. He also worked at Mavericks Cards and Comics as an early teen. Hoffman is a great friend and has picked some franchises that have had comics, and some odd choice ones for kid comics, but who am I to cross the Wolf Hunter! 

#5

starcraft_logo

I would have love to see this in a comic book form because it really reminds me a lot of a mix between Starship Troopers and Avatar.  Both has its own merits , but if you took both those concepts and visual graphics, it would have been a cool concept to make as a regular series. Imagine the story would continue from the first game that then leads into the second game where its a terran all out battle. The last remaining of the hive enslaves the photos to destroy the terrans last stronghold before total annihilation.

Note From Matt:  Publisher WildStorm had a 7 issue run of Starcraft in 2009.

Starcraft-2-1starcraft-logostarcraft-2-1216

#4

matrix_logo

The movie left out a lot of details and information as of how things really happened and what happened there after the peace between man and the machines. I would have loved to seen the different aspects of the creation of it to the total enslavement of all humans as batteries. I see the comic story breaking into several different titles given focus on certain characters like Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus along with Agent Smith. I can see one off branch giving the pre-story while others follow each character as it leads into the movies while even finishing the story after the movie series end.

Note From Matt: Small Publisher Burly Man had a 2 issue run of Matrix in 2003.

The-Matrixthe-matrix-neomatrix01

#3

2012

Hear me out on this one. With all the folklore and myths about the end of all supposed humanity and life will never be the same again based off of 1000 years old testimonies of a forgotten tribe, you could really have played with in so many ways. The movie was okay , but the comic could show different parts of the world or even how the world gets destroyed. The story could involve characters from all parts of the globe and how their civilizations and countries are preparing for an unknown disaster and not knowing how to prepare for it. Mass chaos would erupt and violence and devastation would rule the land. And it comes down to the exact moment, and the series ends just like that. 

los-angeles-sinking-ocean2012-the-end-of-the-world-291x300BOOOOMMM

#2

Resident_Evil_logo

Now tell me that isn’t self explanatory . The story is awesome, you can go with different stories, different levels. The action and the graphics are killer and just overall it’s my favorite game of all time. I don’t really have to create to much imagination just to have it continue on where the games and movies have left off. I would love to have known more about Leon and Claire and the town of raccoon city before it got hit with the T-virus to during the initial onslaught of the zombies. Kind of like The Walking Dead but with those characters instead.

 Note From Matt: Publisher Marvel had a 1 issue run of Resident Evil in 1996 that was a free give away. In 2009 Wildstorm had a 4 issue run and then a 6 issue run that started in 2000.

Lickers_resident_evilre legendsnemesis

#1

wolf hunter loo

Now I know you expected this one to pop up. The story behind the movies are so in-depth that they really can’t be translated to film as well as into a comic form. The vast amount of characters and villains would be ample amount of writing material to create a graphic novel/comic series. I see it picking up from after Armageddon to find that The Wolfhunter has been left blind in one eye and one of his hand has been ripped off from his battle with Ravenger. Malice has been killed and Ravenger disappeared.  The government has created a lethal army to hunt down and kill all remaining werewolves and to capture the Wolfhunter. Oliver was able to transform back to human form and is aiding in the capture efforts of the Wolfhunter. Duke and the Wolfhunter guild are in hiding while trying to regain forces to make one last stand against the Werewolves den. The Wolfhunter trains his apprentice to carry on his legacy as he fights his last battle.

MaliceDuke and The Wolf HunterOliver

Note from Matt – In 2008 a Wolf Hunter comic book was in the works and was being worked on by local comic artist Justin Wasson. The series while not fully dead in the water, is on the back burner and has been there for many years now. But never say never that this series might see the light of day, below is some art for the comic, so enjoy!

WH PromoPanthorHeaven

Blood line

A Ghastlee Ghoul

Now it’s time for a dear friend of mine named A. Ghastlee Ghoul, a local horror host from Dayton, Ohio. Ghastlee has been hosting his show “The Ghastlee Movie Show” since 1989 and has tickled the funny bone of late night TV viewers. Ghastlee also has appeared on many other shows such as New Shock Theater, Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, Media Only and many more. Ghastlee is the godfather of the Horror Host Underground, a show trading network that allows hosts to show fellow hosts in their area. He also hosts Weird Web Theater, a YouTube horror host show, and has done Friday Monstercasts on The Monster Channel. He’s also been nice enough to have me on his show to play his “son” or a crazed guy who says he is his son! Ghastlee has also directed movies like “Joe Nosferatu Homeless Vampire” and starred in films Black Sun, Songs in the Key of Satan.  He’s written books and short stories and plays music in two bands! His band Splattertude is also the official band of Cinema Wasteland Horror Convention. Ghastlee also loves a good cigar and is a master of the Karaoke arts.  I call Ghastlee Father and great friend, and a man who has inspired me in ways to create.  So let’s get into his top 5 because I could go on forever on the legend A. Ghastlee Ghoul!

#5

rock_em_sock_em_robots

One of my favorite games as a kid. Robots punching each other until their heads pop off. How cool is that? Long before Robot Jox or Real Steel, the Marx toy company knew how cool it is!”

rockem_sockem_robotstoyrockemartred robot

#4

Here Comes The Grump logo

A bizarre late 60’s/early 70’s cartoon by Dave DePatie and Friz Freleng. Vibrant, surreal art and smart writing. The show only ran for seventeen episodes, but the concept has so many possibilities. In the right hands it could still make a great comic book series today. Maybe they could write in a robot.”

666_500_csupload_36314628herescomesGRUMPchar_27842

#3

forbidden-planet-original

Classic sci-fi. I’m surprised it was never turned into a comic. The Krell, monsters from the Id AND Robby the Robot?! Yes, please!”

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher Inovation had a 4 issue run of Forbidden Planet in 1992.

forbiddenplanetRobbie the Robot, from the film 'Forbidden Planet', 1956.Robby+and+Altaira

#2

academylogo

It’s a concept you could have as much fun with today as we did on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Pre-Power Rangers stories where the kids are heroes…and, oh yeah, there are robots and things blowing up!”

spaceacdemy3SpaceAcademy_l238352618_3713c94062

#1

Shock Theatre logo

A given for me. My childhood hero! I could see Creep as your gentle, wry guide through the world of the macabre, and then at the end of every vignette he shows up and kicks the bad guy’s butt with a mighty HOO-HAH-HAAAAA!!! The best of all worlds! And Big Robot from Clubhouse 22 could even make a cameo!”

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Louie Lerma

Next up is my pal Louie Lerma who is known around here in Dayton for being a founding member of the lucha surf rock band Team Void and for also being Retina on Horror Host show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Louie is one cool guy, and we have worked on many TV shows and concert events together. In fact Louie is also the uncle of one of my friends, Bruce.  So without anymore wait, let’s get to Louie’s List!

#5

RAY!

1960’s – Starting with one of my heroes Ray Dennis Steckler. He was an actor/director/ camera man/writer/ producer. He worked on low budgets. Ray Dennis Steckler was inspired by and used what was around him: friends/ family/ location/ costumes. He believed shooting without a script freed up the storyline which made his movies better. Scripts and props especially crippled movies because once you chase a script and must buy certain props you have stopped the movie’s creativity.

Ray’s Movie List: Wild Guitar. Thrill Killers. Incredibly Strange Creatures Who died And Became Mixed Up Zombies. Lemon Grove Kids. And so many more…

I would like to see this comic based on him as he is making one of his crazy movies. Each movie that he made is the issue title. Depict Ray putting together his movie and convincing other people to become part…. as the comic unfolds you will see the full feature itself. Just like in Ray’s movies such as the “Thrill Killers,” it starts out as an intense thriller and ends as a cowboy chase on canyon roads… wild ride plot twists always surprising and fun!!

One of my favorite Ray Dennis Steckler movie is “The Adventures Of Rat Phink And Boo Boo.” It starts out as a hostage movie, then the characters become superheroes by jumping into a closet to save the day! Leading up to the “Incredibly Strange” issue that would be a monster musical. You never know where each adventure will take you, loose storyline written as we draw up this comic using his stan!

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#4

svengoolie

1970’s – A comic based on horror show host, Svengoolie from Chicago on his show Screaming Yellow Theater. The comic would be drawn in R. Crumb style and follow Svengoolie as he hosts a mondo crazy movie. Each issue would open up with a special guest sneaking over to his coffin -knocking ever so gently to wake the star up!

The comic must highlight Svengoolie’s quick wit one liners firing off to the audience, draw them in left and right directions across the page, go wild with the comic like his style joke delivery. It would have to have him waving around a rubber chicken and having fun while having a blast with his guests, sketches sick parodies breaking out. Include commercial page inserts of products to use during his movies as funny jokes for breaks…

I would like to see this one made because I’m a horror show host myself and love Jerry G. Bishop as the original “Svengoolie” funny cool style.

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#3

reanimater logo

1980’s – A fly-on-the-wall comic based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West” and drawn Brian Yuzna style. Lead character likeness of 80-s actor Jeffrey Combs. The issues would be printed black/white using textured highlights in Re-animator neon green and bloodiest reds.

Issues begin at private research laboratory as Professor Grubber goes all through West’s career coming to experiment at America’s unsuspecting colleges. Feature his curt wit working through daily wicked routines. A day in the life of Re-animator: who he befriends to conduct experiments and his enemies due to his demoralized ethics. Have to feature taking off the Dean’s head; the head becomes a voice for devils advocate to West’s gruesome fun.

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher Adventure Comics had a 3 issue Movie Adaptation in 1991, and a 4 issue run in 1992 followed. Dynamite Comics had a 1 shot issue in 2005.

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#2

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1990’s – Twin Peaks -The Comic Saga. This was one of my favorite shows through early 90s. I love mysteries but I do believe David Lynch and the writers were messing with everybody! In this series the comic will explore Laura Palmer’s death affecting all Twin Peaks neighbors: quirky characters that knew and loved her.

The comic would be taking place in Twin Peaks after Laura’s death, narrated by Special Agent Dale Cooper, FBI speaking into his voice recorder to his secretary, Diane. Interjections by D Lynch via intercom speaker, telephone, one final cameo in front of the camera.

Twin Peaks soundtrack brings the dark mood: reverb resounding echoes of everyone’s life and thoughts. Too bad you cannot hear the music while you read the comic! (2012? Yes, easily the comic cover would have a CD insert/i Phone code/ recommendation for the reader to listen to the score by Angelo Badalementi as you feel this twisted story.)

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#1

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2000’s – Based on true facts for paranormal and supernatural unexplained phenomena. Name this comic “Uncovered True Paranormal; Ghosts, UFO,s USOs, Mothman, Bigfoot, Sea Creatures, All Strange Creatures And Mysterious Landmarks As We Discover Them.”

Each issue would follow three cases/ encounters and their witnesses in regional proximity to each other. Maybe discover links as the comic explores the topics.

Each situation would feature experts to the scenario and bring the reader knowledge about each witnesses experiences. I would really love to see this comic use all new, latest technology invented to investigate these claims. A compelling comic series dealing in facts that keep growing as people learn more about all these phenomena and our world.

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If anybody wants to take on these comics with me, please do. Thank you for reading my thoughts about the 5 decades of my life for comic books. This goes out to my buddy Matt Brassfield who inspired me to write this page.

Yours truly,
Luis Lerma

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Bizcut

Chris “Bizcuit” Corwin is next up, and I have know this man since I was in my late teens when he was one of my managers at Blockbuster Video, and one of my favorite co-workers. Bizcuit nowadays works for a movie theater in the Greene and is also a stand up comedian that can been seen on the stage of The Funnybone Comedy Club! Bizcuit is a film lover and a comic book reader who has also was an extra in the Sylvester Stallone film Driven. So with that in mind let’s get onto the funny man’s picks for his top five should have been comics in his youth.  Oh yeah, and he was a rebel and could not keep his picks to 5.  So he did 8, and I am okay with that!

#8

MacGyver logo

I think this would be great because there were so many more stories that are to be told and situations to get out of using everyday objects, gum, and paper clips. It would be like a “How To” guide if you were ever held hostage or had to defuse a bomb with only 30 seconds left.

 Note From Matt: Publisher Image had a 5 issue run of Macgyver in 2012.

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#7

Sheriff Lobo logo

Crooked small town sheriff and his inept deputy who moves like a jungle cat (watch the show to get that joke) and their misadventures solving crime. With guest appearance occasionally by B.J. and the Bear. I liked Lobo even though he was flawed he tried to do good.

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#6

Magnum P.I. logo

This just screams comic to me. Writers could delve in to Magnum’s history and his time in Vietnam. What is Higgins’ background? He could be a super badass and you would never know. How about Rick and CC? Plus as an added bonus it is set in Hawaii so comic book girls in bikinis.

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#5

Pennywise the Clown Logo

Stephen King’s IT terrified me as a novel but as a movie not so much. IT took the form of Pennywise more than once over its lengthy existence. I want to know what that tale is. What is IT? Where does it come from? Why the clown? I feel there is way more horror to be expounded upon.

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#4

The Shirt Tales Logo

The what? The Shirts Tales. It was a cartoon from the 80’s that starred a panda (Pam), tiger (Ty), mole (Digger), raccoon (Rick) and an orangutan (Bogey- who was voiced with a Humphrey Bogart impression) and were a group of super agent spies with all the gadgets that lived in a tree in Central Park. Seriously, do I have to say more?

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#3

Last Starfighter logo

Aliens use a video game as a test to find the ultimate fighter pilot and then come to Earth to take him back so he can save their world. Spoiler alert: he totally wins. Is that it though? I mean there are a lot of bad guys in the universe. There is as many stories as there are stars.

 Note From Matt: Marvel Comics Did a three issue movie adaptation of the film in 1984.

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#2

Goonies logo

Perhaps the greatest kids movie ever made. My apologies to Surf Ninjas but you know it is true. I wanted and STILL want more Goonie adventures. They live in a coastal town there has to be more treasures find and bad guys foil.

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