Halloween at Cost Plus World Market!

Okay folks, now is the time to get your ass to the Cost Plus World Market!  Over the last few weeks I've been to Michaels, Spirit, Party Galaxy, and a number of other stores, while each place had a plethora of Halloween merchandise, nothing really compares to the World Market.  So what do they have that's so special?  While they have a number of your typical Halloween items, it's the licensed Universal Monsters merchandise that really makes a trip to this place a worthwhile excursion!

Five awesome Halloween foods you can get now!

This time of the year is amazing for a few reasons, the cool crisp air, the influx of horror-related items, and of coarse the great food!

I'll cover Cost Plus World Market's awesome selection of Halloween merchandise a future update, for now we'll concentrate on their officially licensed Halloween snacks!  Creature from the Black Lagoon lollipops, Frankenbites, softdrinks, and more!  Universal Monsters fan will certainly want to make their way to Cost Plus immediately.  

Halloween at Homegoods!

Homegoods (formerly Garden Ridge) has loaded their store full of spooky items to ensure that the Halloween season is off to a great start!  

Halloween at Yankee Candle (2015)

If that cool breeze isn't enough of an indication that Halloween is getting closer and closer than Yankee Candle's annual Witches Ball should have been a dead giveaway.  Every year Yankee Candle adds to their Boney Bunch collection, a series of small skeleton-themed collectibles.  They range in price and style; everything from bride & groom to tart warmers.  Suffice it to say there's definitely something to please every fan of the Halloween season.


This year was my first time attending the event.  Unfortunately I got off to a late start thanks to a broken phone, but thankfully there were plenty of products to go around.  While some of the other local retailers have had a few Halloween items trickling out, this was my first big Halloween "experience" of the year, and it was definitely worth having to trek through a busy mall.

Doctor Butcher MD or: How I learned to quit worrying about the convoluted release history of Italian horror films

Zombies, cannibals, and mad doctors, oh my! Zombi Holocaust might just be one of the weirdest Italian cannibal films ever, however it's odd US distribution history might just rival the film's strangeness.  Directed by Marino Girolami (Violent City), the film was heavily "inspired" by the success of Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 and Joe D'Amato's Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals.



Like most Italian horror films of that period, the film was released in a number of countries and had dozens of titles throughout the 80's; La Terreur Des Zombies (France), Zombi Holocausto (Portugal), and in 1982 the film was unleashed unto US audiences as Doctor Butcher MD.


Blood Beach


Production Year: 1980
Director: Jeffrey Bloom
Review written by Bradley Zybert

Santa Monica, California. Summer, 1980. The surf is pounding, the sun is shining, and the beach surrounding the Santa Monica pier is eating people. A little old woman, a stewardess, a harbor patrolman, sucked into the sand and vanished. A teenage girl from Beverly Hills gets all scratched up, and that's when the police really get moving. (Seems the girl's father gave a lot of money to the current mayor's campaign. Go figure.)  The cops are led by Captain Pearson (horror vet John Saxon, fresh from shooting Antonio Margheriti's PTSD fearfest Cannibal Apocalypse), Lieutenant Piantadosi (Otis Young), and Sergeant Royko (Burt Young), a cigar chomping misanthrope much like Paulie in the Rocky films, the role Young is still most famous for.


The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein

Production Year: 1972
Release Date: 07/28/2015
Studio: Kino Lorber
Director:  Jess Franco


A metallic-skinned monster, a vampiric bird woman, and a skeleton-faced cult...All inside one big gloomy castle. Yes, what I've described could only come from the very strange and eccentric mind of Jess Franco. After the evil hypnotist Cagliostro (Howard Vernon) dispatches Dr. Frankenstein and captures Frankenstein's Monster, an incredibly sadistic plan begins to unfold. In order to create a "master race" of people Cagliostro and a very strange bird lady (Melisa; Anne Libert) start lining up females for Frankenstein's...Ahem..."Disposal."


Terminator Genisys


Production Year: 2015
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Alan Taylor
Review written by DaveB

I’ll start by saying that James Cameron’s Terminator movies are a thing of the past. They are pop culture monuments representing an age of discovery and pioneering in film. However, since the third film, these are nothing more than shadows feeding off the previous films’ lore and audience. They can be fun, for sure, but they always struck me as something that might appear in a comic book sequel, rather than a major blockbuster film. That’s exactly what Terminator Genisys feels like, a decent comic book miniseries that is entertaining enough, but doesn’t exactly take itself seriously or aspire to be a worthy follow up to the first two films.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

It's mid July and while the normal folks are busy planning trips to the lake and having BBQ's we horror fanatics and monster kids are scouring store aisles waiting for that first bit of Halloween merchandise to rear it's orange, ugly head.  The first sighting a grinning pumpkin means the cool, crisp Autumn air is soon to follow.  Aisles full of backpacks and brightly colored markers will get replaced with jack-o-lanterns and skeletons.  It's truly the best time to be a horror nut.

So what have I found so far?  Not a lot.  But what I have seen has been quality which makes me think that we're in for a great Halloween season!

Gordmans

Funko POP! is bringin' the horror this September!

The good people that run Funko must be extremely busy, it seems like I'm getting news on upcoming releases on a daily basis.  The number of properties they have under their belt is astounding, from cult classics like Army of Darkness to modern television shows like Supernatural.  Today the company announced several new horror-themed vinyl collectibles right in time for the Halloween season!

First up are a number of characters from the hit TV show The Strain!


SDCC 2015 Monster toy checklist!

It's mid July which means two things, searing heat and the San Diego Comic Con!  Those lucky enough to attend the event will have the opportunity to pick up a plethora of exclusives ranging from Predator action figures to Vinyl collectibles.  While a number of these exclusives will be limited to the event a handful of the items will make their way into a few specialty stores this week!  I'll have more details on the "whens" and "wheres" shortly, first we must take a look at some of the items getting the convention treatment!

Neca
First up is Neca's Pamela and Jason Voorhees two pack.  This is a must for fans of Neca's retro line and currently at the top of my "must have" list!

WNUF Halloween Special

Production Year: 2013
Studio: Alternative Cinema
Director: Chris LaMartina
Review written by Bradley Zybert

River Hill Township. September, 1967.

Donald Webber murders his parents, decapitating them and storing their bodies in the basement. His reason: The Devil made him do it. He'd been obsessively using a Ouija board to talk to spirits for weeks. Dubbed “The Spirit-Board Murders”, Donald was tried, convicted, and finally executed for his crimes in 1981.  Twenty years after the murders, local TV personality Frank Stewart broadcasts live from the Webber House on Halloween night, 1987. Accompanied by a priest, a team of paranormal researchers, and a cat named Shadow, Stewart hosts an on-air séance, all brought to you live as-it-happens on local station WNUF28.


Texas Frightmare Weekend 2015 recap


What a crazy few months it's been!  In late March I was sent to Albuquerque, New Mexico to assist in the start up of a new campaign (fancy call-center lingo.)  What was supposed to be a short two week stint turned into a 7 week excursion.  Now, months later I'm a few weeks shy of leaving my safe home of Oklahoma and officially becoming a New Mexico denizen.  While I loved my time spent in New Mexico on business I feared my Texas Frightmare Weekend plans would get scrapped due to my hectic schedule.  Thankfully I got the weekend off last minute and made the 12 hour trek to Dallas, Texas as soon as work ended Friday evening.

The trip was pretty crazy, my initial hotel room in Abilene, TX (a city that's not quite as pristine as the song would leave you to believe) was canceled.  I scrambled around the small town trying to find a hotel with vacancy and ended up at a placed called "Royal Inn."  I could go on and on about how creepy and dirty the room was, the weird noises and random knocks at the door, but I leave that to your vivid imagination.

I finally made it to the convention 'round noon the following day.  I've been to nine of the (now) ten Frightmare Weekends and I can honestly say this year's would rank pretty high up there.  Loyd Cryer and his Frightmare crew bust their asses to bring the south one of the best conventions in the region.  Every year it gets a little bigger as hundreds of rabid fans pile into the fancy hotel in hopes of meeting some of horror's biggest actors and directors.

This year the convention gave fans the opportunity to meet some of the cast from the first Scream film, with Neve Campbell making her very first convention appearance with her Scream cohort Skeet Ulrich.  Con regulars Elvira, Brad Douriff, Edwin Neal, and a few dozen others also made an appearance.

Fans came dressed like their favorite slashers, money quickly vanished from wallets due to the numerous vendors, and gallons of (slightly overpriced) beer would eventually get consumed.  It was a fun day and I'm jealous of those who spent the weekend at the Hyatt.  Maybe I can spoil myself next year and get a room at the regency.  I want to thank and congratulate those who make the Texas Frightmare Weekend possible, ten is a big number and I hope to be there for the 20th anniversary as well!

Below you'll find a haul video and a handful of pictures, enjoy!

Mortal Kombat X

Production Year: 2015
Release Date: 04/14/2015
Publisher: NetherRealm Studios
Review by DaveB



Perennial 90’s video game franchise Mortal Kombat is back with a new installment that boasts, as is usual with each entry, more beatings, more blood, and more convoluted lore than you can shake a severed leg at. While not strictly horror, this series has always offered up gore as if it were a Bruce Lee film directed by Sam Raimi. Fans that have stuck with the series since the original game will notice new characters, environments, and story developments that bring the series into new realms while retaining the essential spirit of the franchise.

March & April Cryptocurium unboxing!

For a period of time horror fans yearned for a subscription box that could fill their macabre needs.  Yearn no more horror fiends, we now have more subscription boxes than we know what to do with!  Here we are in 2015 and there are numerous boxes to choose from ranging from the mega popular Horror Block to Dread Central's Box of Dread.  So where does Cryptocurium come into play?

Cryptocurium is a monthly horror themed box with a catch; all of the items are custom made.  From Lovecraft plaques to slasher magnets everything is sculpted from scratch and hand painted.  Take my word for it, Cryptocurium is one horror themed sub box you need in your life!

Clown

Production Year: 2014
Release Date: 03/02/2015
Director: Jon Watts
Review by Matthew Mills




Clowns are nothing new to the horror genre. They have been a staple of the genre for decades, whether as otherworldly demons (‘It’), outer-space-aliens-incognito (‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’,) or straight-up psycho killers (‘100 Tears’). Not merely an essential part of the landscape of modern horror, but also as part of fears and phobias people have in their everyday lives (myself included). There is just something intangibly creepy and inherently unsettling about them.

God Told Me To

Production Year: 1976
Release Date: 02/24/2015
Studio: Blue Underground
Director: Larry Cohen




Innocent people are being murdered one after the other, these violent crimes seem almost random in nature however there is one very strange connection. Each of these criminals claim that God told them to. Detective Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) becomes obsessed with the influx of murders after coming face to face with one of the perpetrators. As the story unfolds and more people hit the payment the detective discovers that things are a not quite as they seem, that the phrase "God told me to" isn't just a psychopath's excuse.

V/H/S: Viral

Production Year: 2014
Release Date: 02/17/2015
Studio: Magnet
Directors: Vicious Circles; Marcel Sarmiento, 
Dante the Great; Gregg Bishop, 
Parallel Monsters; Nacho Vigalondo, 
Bonestorm; Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead



I'm back from my short absence with a positive review of the latest film in the V/H/S Franchise!  Chances are if you've stumbled upon this review you're already familiar with the series, if you're not they're essentially "found footage" anthology flicks; each has also managed to out do it's predecessor.  With V/H/S: Viral things are a bit different, rather than the "shot on video" vibe the first two films had, Viral focuses more on the internet age.  A theme inherently present in the third film's wraparound segment (titled Vicious Cycles).  With the 'Cycles we're following a man who's determined to become the next internet sensation, to become "viral" (ahem).


Funko Pop! - Universal Monsters

Have you had a chance to pick up any of Funko's new Universal Monsters Pop! collectibles?  If not you're really missing out.  Today I'll be doing a  review of four of the releases from this series, The Mummy, The Wolfman, The Creature, and The Phantom. 

Figma - Flyboy action figure review!

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead is arguably one of the best horror flicks of the 70's and it's no surprise that there's been a ton of inspired merchandise released over the years.  Funny considering the film's central theme, fan's have been spoiled with dozens of t-shirts, shot glasses, key chains, and more.  Surprisingly however, the number of action figures based on the film are few and far between.  In the 90's Reds Toys provided fans with four figures (Bald Head Zombie, Motorcycle Rider, Stephen, and Hatchet Head Zombie.)  Years later Neca would give Romero's zombie opus a shot with their cult classics line which eventually produced figures for Flyboy, the Hare Krishna Zombie, and the Plaid Shirt Zombie.  Unfortunately things dried up soon after, thankfully the Japanese company Figma has picked up the slack.

DST - Jay and Silent Bob Select Figures


Hollywood's favorite pot dealin' duo have returned (in plastic form) thanks to the fine folks over at Diamond Select Toys.  These two Select figures are the first in a line of View Askew merchandise featuring banks, Mego-inspired collectibles, Minimates, and a slew of other collectibles.  

Tusk

Production Year: 2014
Release Date: 12/30/2014
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Kevin Smith



On June 25th, 2013 Kevin Smith's Smodcast titled Walrus and the Carpenter hit the internet.  The director and his longtime collaborator Scott Mosier discussed an ad with a homeowner offering a room free of rent as long as the denizin is willing to dress up as a walrus.  No joke.  As the duo spoke about the ad something clicked for the Smith, an idea that would eventually put an end to his early retirement.  Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is a very successful podcaster that travels to the great white north to interview a current internet celebrity known as "The Kill Bill Kid."  Upon arriving Wallace learns of the 'net sensations suicide and is now strapped for ideas and far from home.


Horns

Production Year: 2013
Release Date: 01/06/2014
Studio: Anchor Bay
Director: Alexandre Aja



The French Splat-Pack director Alexandre Aja has returned to give horror fans a slick adaptation of Joe Hill's novel Horns.  Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame) is Ig Perrish, an extremely conflicted twenty-something who's currently mourning the loss of his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple).  With the entire town accusing Ig of murder, the young man finds himself spiraling into depression and battling a lot of demons.  Unfortunately for Ig those internal demons are about to come to the surface.  After a nice bender the man wakes up with a pair of horns sprouting from his head.