It’s that time again. Some horror fans celebrate October by watching a movie or two a day. Others do deep dives into all their favorite franchises. I’m mixing the two up and putting a slightly different spin on it all with The Great Chronological Franchise Project! Because I”m some kind of glutton for punishment, I decided to put all of the original (non remake) films in the Psycho, Romero Zombie, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Scanners, Phantasm, Return of the Living Dead and even Final Destination series’ in release order and watch them. Here’s the list I’m working off of:
If you’re keeping track, and I’m not sure why you would be at this point, I’m still muddling through Stephen King’s The Stand. And yet, I stray away from time to time to check out other books like Jason Zinoman’s Shock Value, which I stumbled across while looking for various horror films in my library’s database. With a subtitle like How A Few Eccentric Outsiders Gabe Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, And Invented Modern Horror, how could I not bite, especially around Halloween! Continue reading Halloween Scene: Shock Value By Jason Zinoman
Back when I was still at ToyFare, I got a pretty epic box of books including the first two volumes of Dark Horse’s Creepy Archives reprints. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that they’ve been sitting in my closet pretty much ever since. I might have pulled volume one out a few times, but never really dove in properly until this year. Not only was I excited to get into these stories as part of the Ambitious Halloween Reading List, but I was also able to make some money off of it by working on a fun list over at Topless Robot called The 10 Best Stores from the Early Days of Creepy.
I talked about some of the history over there, but basically, back in the mid 60s Warren Publishing figuratively picked up the mantle of EC Comics and rekindled quality horror anthology comics with books like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. Many of the old school EC guys came over and did art while most of the stories in this volume were written by editor Archie Goodwin. After reading a few EC collections, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of Creepy, but I’m glad to say I had a wonderful time reading these stories.
The big problem I had with the Tales From The Crypt and Weird Science books I’ve read is that, while the art is often amazing, the stories are hokey, boring or built in such a way that the twist ending is just so obvious it’s not even entertaining. I was worried that the Creepy tales would be along those lines and was delighted to find that that wasn’t the case.
In fact, this book had some incredibly unique stories that I’ve never seen anywhere else which is really saying something. In that regard, these stories reminded me of The Twilight Zone because there was such a variety of stories being told, which is all the more impressive when you think that one guy was writing most of them.
But, the real eye-opening aspect of this book was introducing me to some classic comic book artists that I’m not very familiar with. Classic guys like Al Williamson, Jack Davis, Angelo Torres and Joe Orlando came in ready to rock as did Frank Frazetta whose gnarly style fits perfectly with those vets (not that he was any rookie by this point, but you get my meaning). The one artist that really blew me away, though, was Gray Morrow. His work has such depth and quality to it that you almost wonder if these were more modern stories slid into these others from the mid 60s. I’m so intrigued by him that I want to check out books like Orion and Space: 1999, which both happen to be on my Amazon Wish List if anyone wants to get me a little something.
Anyway, as you can tell, I’m pretty darn far away from reviewing these supposedly Halloween-themed books in a timely fashion, but I’m enjoying this mix of books still and will continue on until I find myself distracted by something else. I’m partway through the Wally Wood book and about a third of the way through The Fall right now, so maybe I’ll actually finish this one out before the end of the year (but probably not).
I knew I hadn’t been doing very well on the most recent Ambitious Reading List, but then I checked the blog and realized I started it back in November of last year and have only since read three and a half of the books. So, with Halloween in the offing, I figured it was about time to toss that one aside and start a brand new one, this time with more of a focus.
So, I now have nine books that I’m trying to read this month. It probably won’t happen because I’m a damn slow reader, but why not give it a shot, right? Here’s the basic rundown.
The Listeners by Christopher Pike. I was a huge fan of Pike’s young adult books as a kid and figured I’d give one of his adult titles a read. I actually stumbled upon this used book store purchase while looking for the next book in the pile, but it felt appropriate to check out this month.
Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice. This is one of two re-reads on the pile this time around. I can’t remember the first time I read this book, probably late grade school or high school, but I’m curious to get back to it and then give the adaptation another watch.
The Shining by Stephen King. You might not be able to see my Kindle on the pile, but I assure you it’s there. I read this book in high school then lent it to a guy I worked with at the bagel shop when I was 16. He got fired and I never saw him again. So, it’s been quite a while since I’ve given it a read. I will follow this one up by watching all of Kubrick’s film version FOR THE FIRST TIME! By the way, it’s only $4 for Kindle right now!
Vicious Circle by Mike Carey. This is the second Felix Castor novel from Carey. I used to interview him all the time for Wizard and really enjoyed the first installment The Devil You Know. The book explores a world where everyone knows ghosts exist and have to deal with them on a regular basis.
The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Since reading The Strain, I’ve actually been able to get my hands on the other two books in the series at Barnes & Noble for less than cover price of one book! I’m really curious to see where this story goes and hope to read all three installments before the TV show premieres.
The Dead Boy Detectives by Ed Brubaker and Bryan Talbot. I read this Sandman spinoff series once before and am a big fan of Brubaker’s. While looking at my trade shelf, it seemed like a good fit for the theme.
Eerie Crime & Horror by Wally Wood. I fell in love with Wally Wood’s artwork after reading Weird Science Volume 2 and have been on the hunt for more of his work since then. I picked this book up earlier this year and figured now’s as good a time as any to finally read it (or possibly just scan it for the pretty pictures depending on how good the writing is).
Creepy Archives Volume 1. Featuring stories by some of the greatest artists in the comics business, I’ve been sitting on this book for years. It’s about darn time I finally sit down and have some fun with it.
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th by Peter M. Bracke. No kidding, I have a whole shelf filled with coffee table books I’ve never read. This oral history of one of the all-time greatest slasher franchises is one of them and seemed like a good non-fiction entry in the list.
Alright gang, so here goes. Hopefully this stack o’ books will get read more efficiently than the other. I’m already working on two of them right now, so I’m thinking it won’t be too long before the first review goes up.
*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. *
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.
Whew, it’s good to be back, but I do admit, I skipped a lot of the news I missed while on our journey to Ohio. I’ve gotten mostly caught up, but here’s the things I saw today that interested me.
First up, some self promotion. I did a piece for Marvel.com about giant collectibles called Muckle Mannequins.
There’s a new teaser for Wimpy Kid 2! (via /Film)
I am very excited about this collection of Carl Banks Disney duck comics I read about on Robot 6. I’ve never read any of that stuff, but have heard great things.
CliqueClack noticed a 50 to 1 countdown on last night’s How I Met Your Mother which had one of the saddest moments I’ve seen on TV in a long time. I didn’t notice the number aspect of the show whatsoever. (via Pop Candy)
Go check out the custom Medusa over on The Fwoosh. You won’t be disappointed.
I really can’t tell you how much I want to LOVE Jason Takes Manhattan. I’ve seen it a few times now, but this was probably the most dissapointing time ever. Why? Well, because I worked in NYC for a few months and there’s nothing I’d like to see more than a slasher taking apart all the assholes I had to deal with on a daily basis from the people who stopped at the top of escalators in the middle of Penn Station to the people who stopped every three feet to take a picture of some huge building that no one cares about, even my 15 minute walk to work from Penn could be a nightmare depending on who else was around. Those are the kinds of people you want to see Jason tear into in a movie called Jason Takes Manhattan. He should be in the middle of Time Square just annihilating everyone from the people trying to get smoking taken out of all movies to the tourists who put their cameras on the table and jump in the air at just the right time for a family photo. Mind you, I used to love walking to Time Square just to swim in the sea of humanity, but that’s exactly what makes it the perfect horror attack spot.
Anyway, as most horror fans know, the F13 8 script was greatly truncated to fit the budget which allowed for more scenes on a cruise boat and less scenes in Madison Square Garden. I will admit that the stuff on the boat is pretty creepy, like the guitar chick down in the guts of the boat getting killed by her own guitar, but the movie really suffers from Jason’s inexplicable tracking and teleportation skills. One minute he’s behind you, then you run down and away from him, then he’s in front of you? Wait how did that–SMASH. You’re dead. All of this gets way worse when the remaining people finally get to NYC and proceed to get annihilatied by a Jason who seems dead set on killing only a handful of people instead of tourist trap fodder and a subway car filled with innocents who deserve his specific brand of supernatural crazy person justice.
See, that’s my other big problem with the movie. Why doesn’t he kill any of those New York people? It’s not like the Crystal Lake kids on the boat did anything specific to him, so he should just be burning off that anit-fun, -drugs, -drinking, -sex thing right? Well you shouldn’t be able to walk a millimeter in NYC without fulfilling that urge to kill, masked man. Instead he zeroes in on the poor kids who have already seen their friends mutilated and murdered.
There is one interesting scene where a kid gets to fight back. We see that he’s a boxer earlier in the flick so he gets to make it to New York and box Jason on a rooftop. Now, don’t get a Rocky image in your mind as Jason–for some inexplicable reason–allows this kid to pummel him for minutes and just takes it. That is until Jason punches the kid’s head off. It’s a weird little scene that I assume is supposed to seep hope out of the audience, but really just makes you wonder when the brash kid’s gonna get the axe.
Aside from that brief moment of fighting back and some pretty cool kills, the overall movie feels like a complete misstep. If you don’t have the money to really set the movie in NYC (and a brief scene in Times Square and some alley and subway scenes do not cut it), then just keep the movie on the boat and go all out. This is the one movie from the original series that I’d like to see get remade the most because there could be nothing crazier or scarier then a full on supernatural slasher movie in the middle of a major city. I know slasher movies aren’t in vogue right now aside from mostly-shitty remakes, but this is the next thing I want to see. Slasher vs. City. Someone needs to make it happen. If you’re interested, I have a few pitches in mind.
As faithful readers might remember from my review of Friday The 13th Part VII, I’d never seen Part VI even though I’d seen the next two and the previous installments. I can’t really account for this occurrence aside from guessing that my local Family Video didn’t have all the movies (I’ve also never seen Jason Goes To Hell, but that’s on the Netflix list for when I finish what’s in the box set).
Anyway, I remedied this embarrassing oversight last night after realizing the copy of Near Dark I got from Netflix was cracked (it looked like someone hit it with a ball peen hammer) and Battle Royale only came with subtitles (I can’t write and read a movie at the same time, so back it went). I really dug this installment in the F13 franchise. It starts off with TV’s Horshack which is already a step in the right direction (Welcome Back Kotter is one of my all time favorite sitcoms). We then get a series of kills that don’t really matter because they’re just random people who happen to be hanging out in the woods for the most part, many of which take place during the day which is kind of a nice change of pace.
Story wise, we’re back at Crystal Lake, though it’s been renamed to try and put the Camp Blood era in the past. There’s a lot of people hanging around without fear. Jason’s been dead for a while, but the timing for these movies has always been really wonky, so I’m not sure exactly how long it’s been. Horshack and Tommy Jarvis head to the graveyard to make sure Jason is dead and inadvertently bring him back to life (which is kind of a classic part of a hero’s journey). Jarvis spends the rest of the movie trying to warn the cops who don’t take him seriously (you’d think they would considering the kid has put Jason down more times than anyone else). The plot revolves around the newly opened camp (not a good idea) and the counselors there trying to make things work even though the bosses haven’t shown up (Jason killed them in an awesome scene early on). For the most part, they’re a very likable group who doesn’t completely treat the campers (yes, there’s actually campers in this one) like a disease. I especially like Cort, a dude who’s never without his walkman and ripped jeans (unless he’s having sex in a camper–the vehicle). His explanation of Native American tracking methods is hilarious. Sure he’s vapid and stupid, but in a likable way.
Though I dug the movie overall, I guess it could have been more violent. I read that there were some more violent scenes filmed but not put into the movie (or at least the box set version I have). Does anyone know if the latest Jason Lives DVD has those scenes added back in? That could make an already solid slasher even better.
HipsterDufus created these updated versions of Captain Power and I’m super pumped. Hopefully Mattel or Hasbro will pick this line up and include the rad TV (or maybe even internet) powered action features.
I really wish there was a group shot form Sillof‘s Gaslight Legion of Doom figures along with their JLA counterparts. Check out all of them here. I really appreciate his ingenuity and imagination, taking these well-known characters and putting a different spin in them. Seriously, how can you not like that adorably dandy Sinestro?
It’s like Mini-Myte designed this set to appeal specifically to me. I love me some Jason and of course, I’m a big MiniMate fan, so this is right up my alley. Get on these Diamond! I need some slashers in my Christmas Village next year.
Again, I can’t resist awesome MiniMates and these black and white Beatles from their movie A Hard Days Night are indeed awesome. Luke Porter has done some stuff for ToyFare if I remember correctly and he always does a great job.
This is but one of the many fantastic Green Lanterns created by The Knights Round Table. Do yourself a favor and click this link to give them all a look. There’s even a Black Lantern in there!
Ending with these Contest of Champions International Heroes figures is kind of funny because I’m honestly not familiar with many of these characters. But, Ibentmyman-thing’s Marvel Legends-style figures are not only really well done, but the painting is spot on and not too shiny. I’ve looked through hundreds of custom figures in the past week and that’s the one big thing that seems to set the great apart from the pretty good.
So, after being steeped in so many customs lately, I’m going to do a couple of my own. One’s a secret because I’m surprised that no one has ever done it, but the other will be a Guy Gardner Warrior figure from when he had the tattoos and could morph and whatnot (hey, that was my jam back then). Hopefully you’ve seen some rad figures and will maybe be giving the whole customizing thing a shot yourself.