Halloween Scene: The Self-Promotion Post

I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis or knows me personally that I love a good scare (as long as its in book, comic or movie form, not real life). Since I don’t currently write for a site with a horror focus, that means I save up a lot of my best ideas for October. Luckily, I had a lot of ones that my editors also thought were good, which means I’ve been busily reading, watching and writing scary things since September. Now that Halloween’s hitting tomorrow, it’s time to toss out all the links for wider consumption!

My biggest project this fall by far was a series of posts at Marvel.com called Marvel Spooklights. Last year I did four of these shout outs leading up to Halloween. This year, I did 22, one for each weekday of the month. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun and I got to check out a lot of books I hadn’t read before. Particular favorites include the Juan Doe-drawn Legion Of Monsters mini, Steve Gerber’s last Man-Thing story and the surprisingly good Journey Into Mystery #1. I read them all on Marvel Unlimited, which is an awesome Netflix-like service for comics.

In other reading news, I went way back to my earliest days with the genre and did a list for Geek.com about the best stories from the three Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books that I got a few months before from my parents’ house. The stories themselves are fairly simple, but those damn drawings still made me wince every now and then when I turned the page.

I also pitched a few lists for The Robot’s Voice that got approved. First, I tackled The 10 Best Stories From The Early Days of Eerie, a companion piece to the one I did about Creepy not too long ago. Reading these books is always a treat, I’d like to get them all. I also watched all the Nightmare On Elm Street movies and did a list of the scariest nightmares perpetrated by Mr. Krueger. Aside from Dream Warriors, I wasn’t much of a NOES fan going into this re-watch, but I actually really enjoyed the franchise for reasons I’ll get into in a separate post probably next week.

Finally, I tried focusing much of my post-NOES movie watching on newer horror movies so I could do a few lists for Spinoff. One focused on new takes on familiar genres, while the other was about the subgenre du jour these days, supernatural flicks. I’m planning on doing a movie roundup post that will get into this in more detail, but Babadook shook me to my core, What We Do In The Shadows reminded me of my all-time favorite show the UK Office and It Follows is problematic…depending on what you want from your horror movies.

And now, with all that out of the way and a super busy month behind me, I’m going to collapse into a little ball and watch scary movies until my kids come home.

Ambitious Summer Reading List 2015

ambitious summer reading list 2015The other day I was cleaning out the garage and came across a few boxes of unread books that I was able to combine, but only if I pulled a few out. I figured that was as good a reason as any to try my hand (and eyes) at another Ambitious Summer Reading list. There’s just something about the warm weather that makes me want to stay inside and read, I guess.

As usual, I’ve got a pretty eclectic selection here. From the top, Ghosts And Things is a spooky anthology from 1962 that includes stories by Henry James, Ambrose Bierce and others. I’m thinking about reading these stories in between other books, but the James story was SUPER boring, so I’m not sure if I’ll stick with that plan.

Below that is the 1979 Avengers novel The Man Who Stole Tomorrow by the awesome David Micheline. In the 90s I read a lot of superhero novels and am curious to see how this early example is. Then there’s Freddy Krueger’s Tales Of Terror #2: Fatal Games. My buddy Jesse sent me this and I’m pretty excited to read it because I love Freddy and this looks like the Christopher Pike novels I read in grade school.

You can also see Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. I’ve heard a lot of different things about this series over the years and made sure to get the pre-revised version of this book, so we’ll see how this goes. Switching gears completely, I’ve also got Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City. I listened to the audiobook version of Klosterman’s IV a few years back and picked this up not long after. I’m a sucker for music related autobios, so I’m sure this will be awesome.

I know absolutely nothing about Twilight Of The Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg other than the fact that it was like a dollar at one of all time favorite discount stores that’s no longer around. But, hey, it’s about superheroes, so it should be in my wheelhouse (I hope). At the bottom of the pile you’ll see another comic-related book, this one Mark Evanier’s column collection Comic Books And Other Necessities Of Life. For some reason I thought this was a collection of interviews, but I must be thinking of ANOTHER book in one of my boxes. Evanier’s one of the best comic historians around, so I’m sure this will be an interesting read.

That brings us to the last three books. Trevanian’s The Loo Sanction is the sequel to The Eiger Sanction, a book I read last year and really enjoyed. There’s also my first Raymond Chandler book Farewell, My Lovely and The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. I must have read about that last one ten years ago and always wanted to check it out, but haven’t gotten around to it until now!

As you can probably tell, there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to these selections. I tried to balance out longer books with shorter ones just to take it a little easy on myself. I haven’t been taking much time to read actual books lately, but I’m hoping that this will push me in that direction. I’m kicking off with The Loo Sanction because I actually started it like six months ago and want to finish it. I’m about halfway through and trying to spend more time with good books, so I’ll hopefully be posting about that one soon!

Halloween Scene: My Halloween Watch List

Goodness gracious! I was looking through my unpublished drafts and found this post about the rest of the horror movies I watched during October. There’s some good stuff in here, so let’s jump back in time a few months and think scary thoughts!

dawn of the dead originalAfter a super busy September and October, I’m still catching up on all of the movies I watched for work and fun. After focusing on new films early on in the season, I decided to go through my movie collection and Netflix to make a list of films I wanted to watch leading up to Halloween. The list had a total of 26 films, though I wound up removing five. All told, I watched 13 plus the seven films making up the original Halloween franchise. I’m saving a few of them for another post, but I did want to throw out a few thoughts about what turned out to be a major rewatch experience.

As it turned out, zombies were a huge part of this year’s list. Dawn and Day Of The Dead easily made the list along with Dance Of The Dead, the Dawn remake and World War Z. I didn’t get to those last two, but I keep seeing more and more things in those two Romero movies that I love. I’ve been seeing a lot of people dump on the zombie genre lately. To them I say, watch those two movies. They are amazing films, not just horror flicks. Meanwhile, I still have a great time with Dance which is just super impressive when you take into account it’s a low budget film that doesn’t look it. This is easily one of my favorite zombie movies from the past few decades. Continue reading Halloween Scene: My Halloween Watch List

Friday Night Fights: Freddy Vs. Jason

*Friday Night Fights presents crazy fight and battle scenes from movies with little-to-no context. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll probably want to skip the clip. *

 Freddy-vs-Jason

In honor of Friday the 13th, it seemed ridiculously appropriate to present the epic throw-down between two of horror’s biggest icons from the 2003 flick Freddy Vs. Jason. This fight is pretty much what we wanted the entire movie to be, but apparently you need scared teenagers for these kinds of things to work and not mutilated monsters trying to murder each other for 90 minutes.

TJ’s Toy Box: Mezco Tiny Terror Freddy Krueger

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got a 3 3/4-inch Jason Voorhees figure that’s part of Mezco’s Cinema Of Fear line. Even though I’m not generally a fan of the 3 3/4-inch scale of action figures (I loved G.I. Joes as a kid, but generally I prefer larger toys), I really dig this line. As of right now it only consists of three figures: Jason, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface. The Jason figure I have is actually an exclusive version Mezco gave out at New York Toy Fair a year or two back, the only difference as far as I know is that the mask on the NYTF exclusive is actually glow in the dark which is pretty creepy.

Anyway, as much as I dig Jason (he IS my second favorite slasher), this post is actually about the Freddy figure which Rickey gave me for Christmas or my birthday (I don’t mean to sound scatterbrained, but they’re only a few months apart). What I really like about these little figures (and am starting to like about a lot of Hasbro’s 3 3/4-inch figures) is the high level of detail and articulation that comes in such a little package. Sure, the face of the figure could look more like Robert Englund, but I really like how the iconic hat, sweater and, of course, knife glove turned out (don’t be fooled by the comparison between the photos below, I think the Freddy photo was actually flipped because all the other pics I looked at have the glove on the right hand, like the figure does).

The articulation is sick too as you can kind of see in the below photo. Freddy can actually be contorted so much that it’s hard to keep him standing on his generic blood splattered black disk-stand he comes with. Freddy’s got neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, waist, hip, knee and ankle joints, all of which come together to offer up some pretty awesome poses. Freddy and his ilk look great on a desk–though I realize that that might not be appropriate for many office spaces–or possible stalking a Christmas village OR hanging out in a shadow box. If they weren’t so creepy looking, I’d even recommend them for kids because there’s such playability here. I don’t think Mezco is still selling these badboys, but you can track them down online. You’ll have to ask Rickey how he got him!

Freddy Krueger & Hulk Together 4 Ever

Hey, wanna watch something really freaking weird? This video comes to the logical conclusion that Freddy Krueger and the Hulk are absolutely perfect for each other and sees them meeting, dating and hanging from clothesline. And hey, that’s not the weirdest aspect of the whole thing. Just as Hulk and Freddy sit down to watch Freddy vs. Jason, Robocop bursts in with an intent to blast them, which ends when a bowl of popcorn lands on his head. And the only logical conclusion? Action figure dance party! It’s like a much tamer version of Topless Robot’s Fan Fiction Friday. Just watch the thing.

 

New Nightmare On Elm Street Trailer

I just realized that I never really talked about the Friday the 13th remake on here. Well, it was the last horror movie I saw in the theaters (the first in over a year I think) and I dug it, which was great, because I didn’t really like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and hated the Halloween one. I’m long past being outraged over these kinds of remakes, I mean, you can always go back and watch your favorites again and we’ve all seen what happens when these franchises go on for too long and, if nothing else, maybe they’ll keep our favorite horror icons in the consciousness enough to get kids to check out those old movies.

Anyway, with all that being said, today /Film linked to the new Nightmare On Elm Street trailer.

A Nightmare on Elm Street in HD

I’m no NOES expert–I haven’t watched one of the flicks since my burgeoning days as a horror fan as it was one of the few series’ that they had all the tapes of–but it seems like they used a fair amount of material from the first flick. I’m looking forward to a mix of both old and new, but hopefully not so much new that I already know all the beats. What I don’t want is too much back story on Freddy, which is what the trailer starts off with. That’s where the Halloween remake went wrong, so hopefully that’s not where we’re going this time around, but we shall see. Plus, getting Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy was a stroke of genius, so that’s at least some early points in the positive column. This trailer adds a few more, in my opinion.