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
I grew up obsessed with robots. How I haven’t run off with a replicant is a mystery to me.
When I was a wee lad, there was a particular show I watched with my mother every single day that sparked my infatuation with, as the show’s evil/comedic doctor would call them, “ferrous Frankenstein fiends in tin clothing.” That show was Lost In Space — the original from the ’60s, not the okay reboot on Netflix. Continue Reading
I’m going to be brutally honest here and you may try to take my horror club card away, but here goes.
I’m not a fan of Italian horror. I mean, at all. I am a fan of Italian women, so much so that I married one. But I digress. I know that people wax poetic over the artistry of Argento and the trippy avant garde mastery of Fulci, but at best, their movies leave me scratching my head. Or dead asleep. I tend to sleep a lot when I watch Italian horror. And this from a guy who can stay awake through The Haunting of Whaley House (as bland and uneventful as the actual Whaley House tour) and The Darkness (even Kevin Bacon can’t win them all). Continue Reading
As an early adopter of Netflix, I take full responsibility for my part in the demise of the neighborhood video store. Little did I know that my yearning to get a new DVD each week for a low monthly fee (my first Netflix rental being 1978’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers) would seal their doom. To be honest, I thought they would complement one another. There were just so many titles the little shop near me could handle. Netflix would simply fill in the gaps. And let’s not forget the biggest draw of Netflix back then—no late fees!
I was ten years old when Halloween hit theaters. My friends and I trudged the three blocks to the Kent Theater on an October Saturday afternoon and had our tiny minds blown. The good thing about 1978 was no one cared who went in to see a movie, even if it was four ten-year old boys. Continue Reading
Ever since I heard of the late, great George Romero’s passing, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much he influenced my life. Thanks to Dawn of the Dead, my first foray into Romero’s visionary work, I went from a normal kid who collected baseball cards to one who studied every mall, shop and house, figuring out how to fortify it against zombie hordes. Instead of daydreaming about Karen Marone letting me hold her hand after school, I fantasized about commandeering the sporting goods store, blowing zombie heads into tomato juice and eating Spam every night (because…well, it’s got its own key).Continue Reading
Growing up, humid days and warm nights meant the Westchester County Fair was rolling into town. The fair took over Yonkers Raceway for a couple of weeks, a real hoedown for us city folk. Along with shaky, suspect rides, there were carnival games, artery clogging fried foods, livestock shows, performing monkeys, a demolition derby and my favorite, the freak show. Continue Reading