Having watched Night Of The Comet, I found myself wondering what to watch next for It’s All Connected 2020. Unlike with everything else going back to Return Of Swamp Thing, I didn’t have an instant path I wanted to follow. And then I started going through the excellent Mary Woronov’s filmography and a somewhat new old favorite jumped out at me: TerrorVision!
Immediately after finding my way to the excellent Valancourt Books while reading Paperbacks From Hell, I became enamored with the publisher and their PFH label. I’d missed the first ten entries (though I’m going back and picking them up as I make my way through the series), but I didn’t want to miss out on future installments, so I jumped at the chance to pre-order the next one they announced: the 1988 horror-sci-fi-action-thriller Stage Fright by Garrett Boattman. I mean, just look at that cover!
As soon as I decided to watch my previous entry, Chopping Mall, I instantly knew that I would follow it up with Night Of The Comet, also starring the fantastic Kelli Maroney. Back when I worked at Wizard, a bunch of us would get together for movie nights. For one of them — dubbed Night Of The Living Nights — we watched Night Of The Comet, Night Of The Creeps and Nightbreed, all of which were firsts for me! I’ve seen all three again since then with mixed results. Creeps just is not for me (Atkins’ cartoon detective character is a real bummer) and I just saw the director’s cut of Nightbreed just last year. Now it’s time to talk Comet!
After liking Jim Wynorski’s The Return Of Swamp Thing, one film jumped out to me in his filmography: Chopping Mall! It is befuddling to me that I have yet to write about this film on here, though Mr. Dastardly and I did cover it on our short-lived double feature podcast. It’s an easy favorite from this era that I discovered well after the fact. I’m not sure how hard it is to get your hands on the Lionsgate Vestron Blu-ray, but I recommend it!
It didn’t take much thought on where to go after watching Swamp Thing for my first film of Halloween Scene 2020: It’s All Connected! Just a few weeks ago, I noticed that the sequel, The Return Of Swamp Thing had landed on Amazon Video and it made a perfect next viewing experience, though some might argue that another Wes Craven film (or several) would be more appropriate than a Jim Wynorski joint. But we all make the choices we make in life.
Last year I did this thing where every horror movie I watched during the scare season (which starts in September for me) would have a connection to the previous film. I fully intended to write about all 60-some films and my path from Return Of The Living Dead 3 to the new Halloween, but life gets in the way of our best intentions. At the moment, I’m feeling a renewed interest in blogging, so here we go with this year’s entries. Let’s see if anything can even come close to the horror show of a year we’re living through (it won’t).
As I mentioned when I wrote about Paperbacks From Hell and The Nest, my latest obsession is paperback horror from the 70s, 80s and 90s. After reading the former book and getting the reprint of the latter from the fantastic Valancourt Books, I made my way over to ThriftBooks armed with the list of titles I wanted to check out from PFH and ordered about a half dozen novels. Honestly, I couldn’t remember what most of them were about or what about the initial writing made me want to check them out, but I figured I could trust myself. With a stack of books featuring titles like The Glow, Heads and Obelisk, I found myself initially drawn to T.M. Wright’s 1984 book A Manhattan Ghost Story. It was a great choice, I must say!
Earlier this week, I wrote about how reading the excellent Paperbacks From Hell lead me to the delightfully gnarly Valancourt reprint of The Nest by Gregory A. McDonald (actually Eli Cantor). During the time it took me to actually read the book, I stumbled across the fact that a film was made of the 1980 book in 1988. I was admittedly skeptical as the novel features large, but not movie-humongous insects systematically attacking, killing and stripping humans for parts. I haven’t seen a lot of killer bug films, but the ones I had usually relied on forced perspective to make the diminutive members of Club Earth gigantic. How would director Terence H. Winkless deal with that in a film adaptation?
I’m not sure about anyone else out there, but I’ve always found myself drawn to certain characters in comics and repelled by others based on nothing more than their designs. I’ve read very few Creeper comics, but can say that he’s absolutely one of my favorite characters based solely on design and aesthetics. As a kid coming up in comics fandom in the 90s, I saw a lot of darker themed characters that I did not want anything to do with. One of those characters was Venom. Back then, the large-tongued symbiote muscle man was the king of of the edgy miniseries and I was admittedly a bit nervous about his whole deal (which, as a die-hard DC fan, I only really knew about from looking at covers and reading Wizard). The great thing about being a human, though, is that we can grow past our early thoughts and evolve into new people who are ready, willing and able to read Venom comics (that’s what evolution’s all about, right?).
Do you ever keep hearing about an author so many times that reading their books just seems like a delightful inevitability. That was kind of the case with Grady Hendrix. I remember his early fiction books getting talked about on my favorite horror podcast, Shock Waves, and then he went on to appear on the show a few times (a bonus ep from May 2017 and episode 115 if you’re looking for specifics). Between those appearances and the time he showed up on Teen Creeps (episode 150), Hendrix quickly jumped way up on my radar of authors to keep an eye out for. Luckily, several of his books, including Horrorstor and Paperbacks From Hell soon showed up on the cheap digitally and I grabbed them both. I briefly wrote about the former in my 2019 year end list, but now it’s time to talk about Paperbacks…and what it’s lead to.