Quick show of hands, how many of you out there in the transom miss the video store? Yeah, streaming is easy, and you don’t have to be kind and rewind. Kindness in general is in short supply this day.
But, who pines for the Friday or Saturday trips to the video store (it could have been Blockbuster, Sun Coast Video, or the local mom and pop like the one I named this column after), browsing the aisle of front facing VHS boxes, carefully making your selection and maybe grabbing a little bag of freshly popped popcorn?Continue Reading
Whether you’re a ho-ho or a humbug, it’s impossible to ignore the holiday season. I know I can’t. As I write this, the threat of having to string up lights outside is looming, which is why I just might take my sweet time getting this done.
After subjecting my wife to watching at least one horror movie a day in October (we hit 55 this year), when December first rolls around, it’s my turn to get the water torture. Yes, we have to watch at least one Christmas movie or cartoon a day until Christmas Eve, when A Christmas Story goes on repeat mode all through the next day. Mind you, I’m not complaining (not loud enough so the wife can hear). First, she never makes me watch any of those insipid Lifetime or Hallmark pieces of dreck. Second, we do throw in some horror movies like Black Christmas, Red Christmas, Better Watch Out, Anna and the Apocalypse, and this year, thanks to Shudder, Silent Night, Deadly Night parts three through five. I never saw them before, and my limbo stick is set on low. Continue Reading
I love the smell of burning candy corns in the morning. It smells like…Halloween!
If you’re like me, you’ve entered into the all-horror, all-the time-zone. I know I watch and read a ton of all things creepy throughout the year, but October (or as I call it, Horrortober) is when folks like us take it up to thirteen. Fuck eleven. That’s for poseur rock bands. Continue Reading
I’ve only been sued one time in my life, and it was for an overdue movie.
This is one time the video store was not my friend.
The movie in question is the Canadian slasher, Humongous. Not exactly Citizen Kane…or The Burning. In fact, it was considered such a schlocky piece of shit, I was surprised the video store didn’t pay me to take if off the shelves. Continue Reading
It could be just a look that we give when someone says something supremely stupid, or the way we tell our recalcitrant teenager that they are most certainly NOT going out dressed like that. It may be the way we sit or walk, the lilt in our voice when we talk. It could be just a few bits and bobs of dear old Dad, or maybe even the whole thing, a younger doppelgänger of the family’s patriarch.
We Irish like to think of March as our month. Sure, St. Paddy’ Day is just on the 17th, but I’ve always felt March, with Spring slipping in, is a great time to be green and tipsy. More so this year, considering the miles of shit we’ve had to trudge through just to get here.
I bet you think I’m going to talk about Leprechaun movies? Too easy. However, Leprechauns are diminutive creatures, kind of like talking dolls or toys, which brings me to…Continue Reading
Like all things in 2020, Thanksgiving will be a little different this year. Uncle Hank who showers only on quarter moons and is addicted to scratch-off tickets is not welcome in the house. Nor is cousin Amber, she of the chronic rhinitis and inexhaustible lineup of failed relationships. We tell ourselves it’s for everyone safety, but really, aren’t you glad they’re not coming?Continue Reading
Look, I know most normal people aren’t like me, setting aside about 50 movies to watch each October. I mean, who has that kind of time and demented dedication? If I think I won’t have time to watch a movie when I get home from work, I’ll set the alarm to wake me up at five in the morning so I can devour Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Hellraiser like a bowl of Count Chocula before heading off to the day job.Continue Reading
Somewhere, a school bell is ringing. The doors are open, the classrooms ready, but the halls are empty.
Funny how it takes a pandemic and a general feeling that Armageddon has its hand in our pockets to make us wax poetic about going back to school. I was a good student, but I hated school the way Leah Remini despises Scientology. Mornings, I wished for some disease that would keep me home (and got that wish in senior year when I came down with mono that had me bedridden for months). In class, I prayed the fire alarm would go off and this time it wouldn’t be a false alarm. Having to stop playing Wiffle ball or street football after school so I could get my homework done was like asking me to hack my legs off with a rusty, blunt shovel. Continue Reading
To be honest, the picture on the VHS cover for Re-Animator didn’t grab me. A geeky scientist-dude wielding a syringe of glowing green fluid made it look like the movie was made for about twenty-three bucks. If I weren’t such a horror movie whore, I would have walked on by. However, what caught me was the caption :
Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders – And another one in a dish on his desk!
You think climate change fear mongering is something new? Well, then you never watched a nature gone wild movie from that gloriously gritty decade, the ’70s. When we weren’t terrified that the Rooskies were going to strafe us with A-bombs, we were pretty damn sure the ozone layer would be gone any day and the end of the world was nigh. The ’70s is when we got woke that we were making a mess of the planet, and the ensuing guilt had to find an outlet, a way to make us pay for our wrongdoing. Or at least pretend to pay, just like Earth Day is when we pretend to be nice to the world. Continue Reading
With the coming of my latest Flame Tree Press book, Slash, I’ve decided to spend the rest of the year exploring the slasher genre that was the backdrop of my youth. Nothing like transitioning from “coming-of-age” to “psychos murdering people in creative and sometimes amusing ways.” Continue Reading
Any horror fan who grew their first pubic hairs during the golden age of the genre in the ’80s has a special place in their cold, dead hearts for slasher movies. How could we not? We were surrounded by game changing flicks like Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (a VHS darling in my neck of the woods), and A Nightmare on Elm Street. And then there were the likes of Maniac, The Burning, Madman, My Bloody Valentine, Prom Night and so many others, good and very, very bad. It seemed like every month there was a new villain hacking his way through scores of pot smoking, beer swilling, hormone raging teens and twenty-somethings. Continue Reading
This will be my sixth Christmas without my father. I miss the son of a bitch something fierce, but the hurt always gets a little more tender during the holidays.
What gives me comfort, especially at night after a long day, is the video shelf of movies he bought for me every Christmas. He was a huge movie buff and liked to pick out offbeat “classics” he knew I would enjoy like The Rounders or Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. He would spend the year curating special movies for the family, but I don’t think anyone enjoyed his staff picks as much as I did. Continue Reading
About six years ago, as my partner Jack and I were waxing poetic about the Halloween season on our Monster Men podcast, I started calling the 31 days of spookiness Terrortober. For some reason, midway through the month, I changed it to Horrortober and it stuck. Now I’m not saying I was the first, but I don’t remember anyone else calling it that back then. Okay, maybe I am saying I was the first.Continue Reading