Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update Your Bookmarks and Links

A lot of changes are coming up for us here at Gravediggers Local 16.

First off, as of April 01, we will no longer be using the blogger site (gravediggerslocal.blogspot.com) but moving completely over to our current locale, http://www.gravediggerslocal.com/. For those of you who still view the blogger location, please update your bookmarks and links.

The new site will still be renovated while we bring you new content each week. We should have everything fixed and settled over the next handful of months.

With the new format and features, we want to make it easier for you to read and share what we write here at GdL16. You'll notice on the regular site that each new article has a button for all your social media sharing needs. We would be most appreciated if you took the few seconds to click one or more to tell your friends about what we do here.

If you've followed us on twitter (@GdL16) you've seen that we're starting up a podcast. On April 01, we will release the first episode of 6'+, a free podcast of music and more. Every two weeks, a new episode of 6'+ ('six foot plus') will be made available for you to download.

The goal of 6'+ is to provide an entertaining program of music while showcasing some of the music groups, both new and old, that we think you should know about. One of our next renovations is to put more info up under the 6'+ button you see above (on the regular site.)

We're not entirely sure what 6'+ will include but like all things we do, we'll start digging and see what we come up with.

There are plans to increase the content on this website. Strange Jason has actually been roused from his hibernation. We've gotten back into the swing of doing Tuesday uEtsy. N. Oremac has been seen lurking around the shadows. So rest uneasily knowing that the minds of Gravedigger's Local 16 are busy at work.

Remember, you can follow @GdL16, @WeirdJon and @StrangeJason on Twitter. You can also follow 6'+ over at @6ftpls. N. Oremac hopes you don't follow him so he can get away with murder.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Worst of Troma?

While reading through the Wikipedia entry for Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell (aka Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake under a new title), I noticed the following comment:

"In his book All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger, Troma president Lloyd Kaufman lists this film as one of the five worst Troma films ever made (along with The Capture of Bigfoot, also directed by Bill Rebane)." Searching for "worst" in the Amazon preview for the book even backed up this claim. Intrigued, I decided to see if I could find the other four.

It was pretty easy to find Curse of the Cannibal Confederates, also known as The Curse of the Screaming Dead. It's also known as being a gored-up remake of the worst movie ever made, A Night of Horror. Although he doesn't flat-out say that it's one of the "big five," Lloyd Kaufman's numerous comments regarding Big Gus, What's the Fuss? make it very easy to tell that it is.

But after that discovery, the online trail went cold. Troma fans apparently think that Fortress of Amerikkka is the worst, but I could not find anything that indicated Mr. Kaufman felt the same way. Although his comments that The Girl Who Returned is "boring" and that "if you put two monkeys in a room with movie cameras they will make The Girl Who Returned in twelve days" seem to indicate it is one of the worst, his later comment that it's one of the Troma library's "overlooked stars" shoots that theory to hell.

So what is the final film in the list of Troma's "bottom five?" I wish I could say that I knew the answer. Hopefully one of our loyal readers will give me the answer. It will be interesting to see if it was actually made by Troma or if it was an outside production that they bought the rights to (like the first three titles I discovered).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ghost Provokers

Ghost hunting shows are ripe for parody, so it was only a matter of time before someone created a comedy series on the subject. Ghost Provokers offers a humorous look at one group's unique method of dealing with the dead. My personal favorite is the three-part Halloween special set aboard the RMS Queen Mary, which also features music by the Midnight Syndicate. But enough talk, here it is, direct from the show's official channel:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter's Eve

Nox Arcana

Official Site

Winter's Eve, Monolith Graphics 2009

Damn it, not again! Oh well, thank goodness bird poop is white...
Winter can be a time of both wonder and woe. While the falling of snow delights many, others look upon it with dread. The gray skies of daytime, coupled with the bare branches of trees looking like grasping hands rising from a grave and longer hours of darkness, make for a dreary mood. The howling winds don't help, either. But in spite of that, there is beauty in the drifting flakes and virgin snow blanketing everything, with icicles glittering like crystals. Noting both sides of the season, Nox Arcana has released two winter-themed albums, Winter's Knight and the CD I'll be reviewing today, Winter's Eve. All performers save for Michelle Belanger have returned for the sequel, as you'll soon see...

"The Messenger" uses chanting male vocals to start off both the album and this intro track, wherein the voice of the White Queen (played by Christine Filipak) tells of a magical winter season. "Frozen Memories" evokes a nostalgic feeling through tolling bells and light touches that remind me of ice crystals. The medium piano and light chimes of "Magic and Moonlight" make me think of nighttime and wonder, with a pinch of magic. Some aspects of this also remind me of The Nutcracker. String work defines both "The Rose of Winter" and "Enchanted Realm," although that last one is heavier and has more light touches. "The Ides of December" uses a speedy, heavy piano along with female vocals and magic-sounding light touches. It becomes hauntingly beautiful at the times it slows in both speed and tone. The name "Gifts of the Magi" makes me think of both the three wise men and the story by O. Henry, although the Middle Eastern drums and percussion make the inspiration for the song clear. "Season of Wonder" uses a piano, along with light touches and female vocals to create a dreamy feel. The string and ye olde tambourine work of "Solstice Dance" conjures up images of a medieval ball.

Winter's Knight

Nox Arcana

Official Site

Winter's Knight, Monolith Graphics 2005

Do my wings look odd to you?
Sometimes Christmas music can be creepy. There's a version of "Carol of the Bells" floating around out there that, thanks to the tone and speed of the children's chorus singing, always unnerves me a bit every time I hear it. Sensing the connection between Christmas and spooky stuff, Nox Arcana released Winter's Knight in 2005. It might seem odd to review a Christmas-related album at this time of year, but let's not forget that the title of the album focuses only on winter and the flakes are still falling...

For this album, Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski are joined by designer/photographer Christine Filipak, Eric Gustafson and the Gregorian Shadow Choir, and two other guest performers (who I'll name later) to provide vocals.

"Vigil" uses the sounds of wind and bells to create a lonely mood that ushers in the intro narration about a ghostly knight by Joseph Vargo. "Ghosts of Christmas Past" is both eerie and Christmasy, thanks to its tolling bells, heavy piano and vocals. Just as the title suggests, the music has the feel of recalling the past. "Ebonshire" named for the fictional forest setting of the album. It's much less spooky than the last song...for introduction, anyway. The vocals and string work give it an old and dreamy feel. The dark opening piano of "Solitude" reflects the mood suggested by the track's title. In contrast, the light opening notes and vocals "Crystal Forest" set a much lighter tone for this. You could easily play this at a Christmas party without any looks of confusion over using "spooky" music.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Adolph Caesar (1933-1986)

Even if he had not appeared in episodes of The New Twilight Zone and Tales from the Darkside, I would still be writing about Adolph Caesar today. For although his name might not be familiar to you, odds are that you've heard his voice before.

Born in Harlem on December 5th, 1933 (some sources claim it was in 1934), Caesar eventually got into theatrical acting "just as something to do." Before that, however, he joined the Navy after graduating from high school and eventually rose to the rank of chief petty officer. He started learning his craft at New York University. Although he had several television appearances and a feature role in the late sixties, Caesar took to the stage by joining the Negro Ensemble Company in 1970, later working with repertory groups like the Inner City Repertory Company, the Minnesota Theater Company and the American Shakespeare Company. It was around this time that he got into voiceover roles, lending his voice to countless commercials and film trailers. Although he did participate in the English dub for the animated French spoof Shame of the Jungle in 1975, he didn't officially return to the screen until 1979's The Hitter, which was followed by several other film roles while still providing voiceovers for a wide variety of ads and previews. One can easily imagine audiences being bowled over the split second they realized "The Voice" was onscreen. 1984 brought him what could arguably be his biggest acting break, playing Sergeant Waters in the film adaptation of the play A Soldier's Story (a role he also played onstage). Just as how his stage portrayal netted him an Obie award and a New York Drama Desk award, his work on the film earned him an Oscar nomination. He also appeared in the Oscar-nominated The Color Purple as Old Mister Johnson, and made several other film and television appearances until 1986. On March 6th of that year, Caesar was in the process of playing the character Leon B. Little in the film Tough Guys when he suffered from a fatal heart attack. As he had only completed a single day of filming, his footage was scrapped and the scenes were refilmed with Eli Wallach in the role. In honor of his past work with the company, the Negro Ensemble Co. started the annual Adolph Caesar Performing Arts Award Benefit. Although his career was cut short far too early in life, he is survived by his wife, three children and legacy.

I'm not just referring to his acting roles, either. Although it's true that he added a measure of class to schlockfests like Fist of Fear, Touch of Death and Shame of the Jungle and that his appearances will be shown in repeats and various home video formats for decades to come, it is his vocal work that defines him. From the 70's throuigh the 80's, he was the voice of a generation, providing voiceovers in ads for everything from groceries to Michael Jackson's Thriller album. Remember the line "...because a mind is a terrible thing to waste" from the United Negro College Fund commercials? Caesar originally provided that line. He was everywhere, on a scale rivaled only by the late Don LaFontaine. Although he narrated movie trailers (along with TV and radio spots) for both major studios and independents, his raspy, resonant voice provided an extra "oomph" to cult titles (especially horror films). He lent his voice to trailers for the original Dawn of the Dead, The Incredible Melting Man, both Blacula movies and countless others. It's no wonder that when National Lampoon was putting together their
Golden Turkey album, they tapped Adolph Caesar to record the hilarious ad for the faux movie "Prison Farm."

While his work in that area was looked upon fondly by genre fans even while he could still be heard in theaters, appreciation for him only grew amongst horror fans as ads featuring his work often appeared numerous times in the many trailer compilation video cassettes of the 80's. In more recent times, trailers featuring him have appeared on DVDs as special features, which tend to later get uploaded online on video-sharing sites and torrents. Narration from vintage trailers was reworked for use in ads for more recent movies like From Dusk Till Dawn and the Grindhouse edition of the Machete trailer. I even heard a song using samples from his narration from the preview for the original Halloween II trailer last October! I think it's safe to say that fans will continue to hear his amazing voice for many years to come. For a more in-depth look at Mr. Caesar's work on cult film trailers, please visit his entry at the Grindhouse Database.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's Women In Horror Month!

More specifically, it's Women In Horror Recognition Month. Started last year by Hannah "Neurotica" Forman of Ax Wound magazine (NSFW), Women In Horror Month is (to quote the official Facebook page) "...a time set aside to focus on and celebrate all the women in the horror industry. Not just actresses but also fx artists, writers, directors, producers, illustrators, female fans, etc."

As far as we here at Gravedigger's Local 16 are concerned, it's about time something like this has come along. While Zombie Awareness Month is fun and all, it's not like zombies were obscure or in serious need of recognition. But when it comes to horror, women's importance tends to be overlooked. When the discussion comes up, it's usually limited to just scream queens and final girls. But women have much wider and more important influences on the genre than just those two categories. After all, can you imagine what the horror genre would be like if Mary Shelley had never written Frankenstein?

As we suspect that the majority of the other sites participating in the event will be focusing on the professional side, we thought it best to turn the spotlight onto the female side of horror. The common perception of horror is that of a wholly male-oriented field of interest and a visit to many of the online horror message boards seemingly confirms this. But joining Twitter has revealed a countless amount of female fans, from the casual to the hardcore. They are reviewers, podcasters, musicians, authors, home haunters, artists and more. In addition the having to deal with the standard stereotypes faced by horror fans, they also have to deal with the confusion by others over their interest in a "male" genre and the occasional clumsy advances by the manchildren that can be found in any "geek" culture. It's tough, but they still persevere.

No genre could survive without its fans, and all of the wonderful contributions of women in fandom help keep horror going strong. So, here's to all you women in horror fandom! Things just wouldn't be the same without you.

To learn more about Women In Horror Recognition Month, please visit the official website.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nosferatu - Blue Öyster Cult

Not too long ago, a friend made me aware of the fact that Blue Öyster Cult did a song called "Nosferatu" by linking to this video:



Given the massive use of their songs "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Godzilla" in countless broadcasts and CD compilations every October, I'm amazed that "Nosferatu" isn't a Halloween standard.

But those songs aren't the band's only horror connections. Not only did they contribute to the soundtrack for Full Moon's Bad Channels, but they have released songs with names like "The Old Gods Return" and "Monsters." Even some of their albums have spooky names! Given that I'm only a neophyte fan, I'm sure that hardcore fans of the band can name even more spooky song titles by the band...

Tuesday uEtsy Announcement

Due to scheduling and site maintenance, the next Tuesday uEtsy will be on 3/1.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday uEtsy: Mister Reusch

[Etsy.com's tagline is "Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade." Coincidentally, there's a lot of spooky on Etsy, and each Tuesday, we highlight one of the sellers. If you're looking to spruce up your look, redecorate your tomb or get a gift for that special something in your afterlife, Etsy.com is a place for spooky econo.]


Mister Reusch (http://www.etsy.com/shop/misterreusch)




Creepy Zombie Signed Halloween Art Print by Mister Reusch

Spring cleaning means a lot of things here at the Local. It might be a bit presumptuous to think that we’re on our way out of the blistering misery that has been the Winter of ’10-’11 (unofficially called ‘You Cold Bastard!’). But maybe if everyone acts that Spring has sprung, then it’ll actually happen. We think that’s how Freddy Krueger and the Tooth Fairy operate, and you know they’re both real as reason.

So, it’s with optimistic delirium that we start to clean and freshen up the look around the Front Offices here. Doc Killian will soon be around collecting for his Mary Shelly Yardsale, where he stitches together savings from pieces of many people’s clutter. While we rid ourselves of things we’ve outgrown, it frees up the space for something new. Instead of leaving our walls bare and dull, we could not think of a better addition than the works of Mister Reusch.

Grim Reaper on Big Wheel Halloween Signed Print by Mister Reusch

Mister Reusch’s use of vivid colors and bold lines makes his paintings stand out, which helps bring a room to life. With that said, some of his better pieces feature the Grim Reaper, like the work above that has a diminutive(however, still deadly) black rider eschew a skeletal horse in favor for a much more enjoyable ride, the Big Wheel. We spoke with Bernie Freakshow about why this painting is so appealing. Outside of the colors and Mister Reusch’s visible talent, this print displays a strange principle of Creeptomotry. The Grim Reeper is creepy. Children can be TERRIFYING. Big Wheels are awesome. Creepy x Terrifying / Awesome = Appealing. It’s referred to as the Epstead Equation.

Halloween Grim Reaper Riding Low Rider Bike Art Print by Mister Reusch

Here, we see the Epstead Equation again. Grim Reaper x Children / Lowrider Bike = a fantastic print. Bernie Freakshow is working a correspondence Master’s course on Creeptomotry so he was happy to help define the principle here in between using his backhoe to finally dig Strange Jason out of his first floor apartment.
FROSTI Original Holiday Pin Up Painting by Mister Reusch

However, if you are one of the few people left in the Northern Hemisphere who isn’t completely repulsed by snow, then this wonderful pinup will do well for your wall. There are those who are in love in the winter and had the wildest time over the past few months. We can’t say that those here have been too thrilled. We’re used to being six feet deep of earth, not snow. But if snow came with more characters like this one by Mister Reusch, we might not object so much.

Russ Meyer Burlesque Tribute Show 2003 Poster by Mister Reusch

With the recently sad passing of Tura Satana, this poster by Mister Reusch for a 2003 Russ Meyer Tribute show may be a bit bittersweet. But perhaps you can have your own tribute to the incredible woman that has become synonymous with Russ Meyer and overall bad-assery. Seriously, that woman was amazing and if you buy this poster to have a daily tribute to her, we totally are on board.

Frankenstein Monster Playing Guitar Original Painting by Mister Reusch 

What really drew us to Mister Reusch was his style. There’s a real personal touch in his work that makes it distinct. Like this picture of Frankenstein’s Monster rocking out on a six-string. If you look at this, you can immediately point out that it looks like nothing else. That’s an incredible feat for any artist to do, to establish his or her own swagger. Bravo, Mister Reusch.

We’re glad to say that we got word from Mister Reusch. He recently relisted over a hundred items at his Etsy store. There are so many new items that what we’ve shown here is just a small fraction of his talents. You’ll find that he does more than just spooky – sincere holiday painting, canine portraits and numerous spooky pieces that are for sale. Prints and original paintings.

You can find his website here, as well as his facbook page being www.facebook.com/misterreusch. Mister Reusch is also auctioning off some painting and monster toy/horror collection to pay for his dog’s vets bills. Go over to his page to see if you can big to help him out. And help yourself to another Tuesday uEtsy next week, here at Gravediggers Local 16.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valenslime's Day

If you were visiting here one year ago today, then you probably remember this article about The Green Slime. At the time, it was only available on VHS, but now the Warner Archive is offering the remastered edition on DVD-R!

While we're on Amazon, let's take a quick look at some horror-related holiday goodies. First up is this "Attack of the Valentines Zombies" tee-shirt.

The preview for Andy Rash's Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story is very cute and well worth a read.

Speaking of previews, the one for Every Zombie Eats Somebody Sometime: A Book of Zombie Love Songs by Michael P. Spradlin is worth checking out.

These two cards put a twisted zombie twist on traditional romantic phrases.

Although it has no preview, Anthony Giangregorio's Love is Dead: A Zombie Anthology is worth noting due to the subject matter.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's News to Me!

While browsing through Comcast's OnDemand service, I discovered that the "Preferred Collection" menu (found in both the "Free Movies" and "Premium Channels" sections) contains free movies that aren't listed in any of the other movie categories. If you want to see films like Curse of the Demon and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, I highly recommend it!

Thanks to laughingsquid on Twitter, I found out that somebody made a fire-breathing Godzilla snow sculpture.

In other Godzilla news, IDW Publishing has worked out a deal with Toho to publish a comic book called Godzilla: Monster World. The comic, which will be released next month, will also feature appearances by other monsters from the Godzilla franchise! Licensing issues prevented that from happening in the Marvel and Dark Horse Godzilla comic book series, although this will not be the first time an original American comic book will feature other Toho monsters. That honor goes to Trendmasters' one-shot comic book, although it would have happened sooner if Atlas Comics' proposed Godzilla series had ever been realized. Hardcore fans will note that the promotional Godzilla vs. Megalon comic doesn't count since it was a loose film adaptation rather than an all-new adventure.

Your dreams have come true...there is an Alien Pez dispenser.

The Warner Archive has released an official DVD-R of the rare Rankin-Bass/Tsuburaya Productions giant turtle movie, The Bermuda Depths. It's right up there with Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Legends of the Super Heroes in terms of highly sought after video rarities released by the Archive.

Someone is actually making a sequel to The Killer Shrews. I hope they either call it "Shrew Fast Shrew Furious" or The Killer Shrews: The Squeakquel.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, best known to readers of this site as the makers of The Shadow Over Innsmouth audio drama and the "Scary Solstice" CD series, have announced that their film adaptation of "Whisperer in the Darkness" will premiere at this year's H.P. Lovecraft film festival. Those booking a room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel to attend the festival should use the code "HPL" before checkout in order to get a nifty discount. For more information, please visit its official Facebook group and/or the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society Facebook group. Oddly enough, that last group posted a picture of a fungi-infected spider that nicely illustrates the sort of head structure Lovecraft intended for the Mi-Go of the story the film is based on.

Also on the Lovecraft front, Bang! Productions Ltd. and Colin Edwards have completed an audio movie version of Lovecraft story "The Dunwich Horror." Although the concept of audio movies predates this adaptation, it does seem to be the first drama-style audio movie that is in 5.1 sound and plays in theaters (as opposed to "direct to CD/MP3" release). For more information, please visit the official website.

Finally, I'd like to announce that we have some updates coming to the site this year. Gravedigger's Local 16 is in the process of being redesigned and moved to a new server. We're also in the process of adding images to older articles. Although we originally only intended to add cover scans to old reviews, we've also been toying with the idea of putting pictures in other articles. Please let us know what you think of this, or anything else you would like to see here, by contacting the Front Office. While you're writing, please feel free to discuss your favorite podcasts, as we're in the process of creating an official Gravedigger's Local 16 podcast with music, stories and more! More will be posted about this as it develops...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday uEtsy: Intl. Robot

[Etsy.com's tagline is "Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade." Coincidentally, there's a lot of spooky on Etsy, and each Tuesday, we highlight one of the sellers. If you're looking to spruce up your look, redecorate your tomb or get a gift for that special something in your afterlife, Etsy.com is a place for spooky econo.]

Intl. Robot (http://www.etsy.com/shop/dylanS)

Robots.

Here at the Local, we are keen to remember that Robots were once as frightening as any vampire, zombie or monster. Time and the march of technology has reduced the fiction and increased the fact with robot science, making the reality of operational machine men more of a dream of today than that of tomorrow. Most cell phones and laptops have functionality that dwarfs the fantastic ideas of Atomic Age.

Fear, though, is the hardest of emotions to forget. Today, we walk the grounds with the primordial wariness of that which hunted our ancestors, of the shadows that loomed just at the edge of the firelight that we conquered through science and knowledge. While we advance, there looms the fear and distrust that one day, the machines we use will ultimately destroy us.

Which isn’t to say that we can’t get some fine clothing out of it. This week’s Tuesday uEtsy brings us the fantastic artwork of International Robot (Designs by Dylan S) who specializes in clothing that captures both the fantastika and the dread that science can bring.
Robot Invasion American Apparel RED Mens Large 

Though the above red Robot Invasion shirt convey an incoming threat of mechanical proportions, the Robots VS Zombies design displays a time where Robots work for the benefit of mankind (unless you happen to be a member of Rights and Equality for Animated People, who have been cracking down on stereotype depictions of reanimated persons.)  But if you dream of a world where you are kept safe from the Zombie horde by an army of friendly but deadly robots, this shirt is for you.

Robots VS Zombies Army

Not to take sides in the Robot versus Zombie conflict (despite a visible bias in their name,) International Robot (Designs by Dylan S) have a lovely olive green Zombies shirt. Perhaps the color will help you blend in with some of the more chartreuse members of your clan. We recommend it. It might help out Loretta. Last time we saw her, she was a bit green around the gills. Bernie Freakshow says his wife’s just a bit ill. Poinsettia’s a bit worried. She would buy this shirt for her mother but there’s concern that it wouldn’t fit (“She keeps eating,” the youngest Freakshow told us.)  Thankfully, it comes in many sizes so when you purchase it, you’ll look suave and fashionable in it.

 Zombies Olive Green

Intl. Robot (Designs by Dylan S) also have a ufo and Sasquatch bent for those who want to show some pride for our Bigfoot brothers. In this display of crossing the streams, a wandering wendigo finds he’s going for an unexpected trip. Hopefully, those piloting that extraterrestrial Trans-Am will be nice. Yetis are notably laid back but once you start probing, you take your live into your own hands.

Bigfoot Abducted By UFO

Science. It’s scary. But it’s also fashionable. Check out International Robot (designs by Dylan S) here on Etsy. Check out their brand new webpage too! And they're on Facebook. And we're on this site, which we hope to be in a week from now for the next Tuesday uEtsy. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hop-py Chinese New Fear!

In the spirit of last year's in-depth look at the surprisingly monster-related origin of Chinese New Year, I had wanted to discuss the Jiang Shi, more commonly known as the "Chinese Hopping Vampire." But as the lousy winter weather has robbed me of the time to research and write such an article, I'll have to go with my back-up plan and show a movie clip. Thanks to Gerezous, here's a little something from Robo Vampire:



Naturally, you're going to want to know more. In 1985, the Hong Kong comedy Mr. Vampire popularized the use of jiang shi in films and spawned yearly sequels until 1992 while in 1987, RoboCop was a worldwide box office success. In 1988, Filmark International decided to cash in on both with one of its trademark patchwork films. By combining footage from a Thai action movie with newly-shot scenes of a cyborg battling hopping vampires, all connected loosely by a drug smuggling ring, Filmark created weirdest mockbuster of all time. Get this: Although the "Robo Warrior" footage was only loosely inspired by RoboCop, several of the vampire scenes were directly based on scenes from the original Mr. Vampire!

Sun Nien Fai Lok!
Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Monster Channel



Corpse S. Chris of Horror Host Graveyard has been running The Monster Channel for almost a year now. I came across it just recently. It went 24/7 this past January. A lot of public domain and licensed movies, television serials and interesting shows of horror and sci-fi are available for you whenever you want.

You'll find movies and hosted shows (featuring many of the active Horror Hosts seen on Chris's Horror Host Graveyard.) every day. Friday has The Friday Night Monstercast, a special double-feature made for The Monster Channel.

Along with the live stream (which you can watch from your computer, your mobile device or your television) there is a real-time chat. Many of horror hosts and spooky people hang out there. You'll catch me there from time to time. Feel free to stop by (http://100ymm.com) and catch some of the programming.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday uEtsy: Imaginary Trends

[Etsy.com's tagline is "Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade." Coincidentally, there's a lot of spooky on Etsy, and each Tuesday, we highlight one of the sellers. If you're looking to spruce up your look, redecorate your tomb or get a gift for that special something in your afterlife, Etsy.com is a place for spooky econo.]


Imaginary Trends (http://www.etsy.com/shop/imaginarytrends)

Long Sleeve Pima Cotton Brains Shirt-Adult Large

This year, more so than before, will provide a dreadful February with miserable weather and a general yearning for spring. It’s a bit of a cliché to hate on Valentine’s Day and its odd placement. Instead, let us celebrate a different member of the playing deck – hate not the hearts and celebrate the clubs with Imaginary Trends.

There are a few running themes with Imaginary Trends’ store. The first is the classic favorite: skulls. What we like here at the local is the different look of this one Skull ringer shirt. The angle is different and it’s nice that Imaginary Trends remembered that skulls come in blue every once in a while. Gulko came up here to the Front Offices a couple months ago, a blue skull in hand. Wasn’t really human but would you expect it you? He keeps it on a shelf in his shop, keeping it safe for when someone comes to claim it. Such things are never left forgotten for long. Stand out and be memorable on your own with this shirt.

Adult Large Skull Ringer T-Shirt

Along with skulls, Imaginary Trends makes the lovely pun of “I Club Zombies,” building on the I HEART iconography. Considering your stance on Zombies, you might club a baby seal before a zombie. Or you might do both eagerly. Either way, here’s a shirt that’s beautiful, green and displays a skull. Perhaps you can find a bit of masking tape and write TO GO and WITH on two pieces to demonstrate a fondness of Rave Zombies. Either way, this is a shirt for you.

I Club Zombies Adult Shirt

They even have the slogan in a onesie, so your little offspring can join in on the fun. Why should the clubbing be limited to those who have been potty-trained? When we were looking at this, Loretta Freakshow came by and said that it looked adorable and would just spoil any baby that wore it. So not only would it make your baby look tough, it would protect it, since no one likes to eat a spoiled baby.

I club zombies 3-6 month onesie

For those children a little bit older, there’s this rootin’ tootin’ sherrif cowboy kid’s shirt. Lately, it’s largely forgotten that skeletons are big fans of westerns. Usually, when you see a cow-skull or a bleached bones on a panning desert scene in any cowboy film, that’s some skeleton’s brother or sister and the whole family is proud of the shot. Skeletons don’t have the nerves for horror and find that the narrative of a nice western is much more to their liking.

Organic Cotton Baby Skull Shirt

On top of all that you’ve seen here, Imaginary Trends also does illustrated buttons, so you can accessorize every single shirt or hoodie you buy!

Illustrated button set

Check out Imaginary Trends etsy page and find their Fan Page on Facebook. And find your way back here next week for another Tuesday uEtsy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

More Links I Like

As a guy with a wide range of interests, simply one listing of links to websites I enjoy just isn't enough!

Xenorama - Xenorama is "The Page of Heroes and Monsters," along with an amazing article about an alternate version of The War of the Gargantuas.

Side Order of Ninjas - Funny and entertaining reviews of strange and amazing films.

Hauntcast - The internet's premier online radio station for home haunters and Halloween enthusiasts.

Grindhouse Database - The cult movie community's answer to the Internet Movie Database.

Weird NJ - Strange destinations and urban legends from New Jersey.

Home Haunt News - News and reviews no haunter should be without!

alt.horror.cthulhu - One of the few newsgroups out there that has regular, non-spam activity.

Skook - Tons of great artwork, including modernized (but faithful) renditions of Paul Blaisdell creations.

Tomb It May Concern - If Yor Week isn't enough to convince you to read this, I don't know what will.

Tough To Kill - An amazing look at European action flicks by Paul Cooke and the owner of the above site.

Home Haunter's Haven - The name says it all.

The Laughing Reindeer - Back in the day, there used to be a website called "Monster Shindig" that reviewed horror movies, roadside attractions and the like. Although it died, one of its creators set up this blog. Did I mention that he was one of the people responsible for Carnivore?

Monster Shindig - I found this while looking for information about the now-defunct monstershindig.com. It's not related, but still seems cool.

3B Theater - Any bad movie review site inspired by Strange Brew is okay with me!

Pink Tentacle - Crazy 'n cool stuff from (and related to) Japan. The entry about Polish posters for Japanese monster movies is a must-see!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Free (Legal) Download: Werewolf Cult Chronicles

It's been a long time since the Front Office showed how to get a free download of the movie Pig. Too long, in fact. That's why I'm stepping up to the plate with another free movie download. This time around, it's an interconnected series of short films called The Werewolf Cult Chronicles.

Although filmed in Sweden during the early 2000's, the series itself is in English and spans a variety of time periods and countries, from 1916 England to Canada in the year 2019. Although the idea for the series came to creator J. Pingo Lindstrom in 2000, it was not until 2003 that the first installment was released. Said installment, Chimera, pits unsuspecting soldiers against a werewolf during an attempted rescue mission. While its low budget gives the series a rough start, director Mike A. Martinez still manages to deliver some effective and creepy scenes. The opening sequence alone is a must-see and does somewhat balance out the fact that only one of the werewolf's hands (or is that paws?) is seen for the bulk of the creature's rampage. However, later installments of the series do show more of their lupine stars.

According to the official website, where you can also find the downloads, The Werewolf Cult Chronicles is allegedly responsible for the creation of both the first Swedish werewolf movie and the first Swedish Vietnam war movie! And to think, they're kind enough to let you download it for free. As it has a Creative Commons license, it might be worthwhile for budding horror hosts to ask the filmmakers for permission to use the films on their program rather than use the same old (and sometimes legally dicey) public domain films that everyone seems to be using these days. Said host shouldn't let the recentness of the films bother them, as the older hosts they seek to emulate used films that were relatively recent. After all, 1950's horror hostess Vampira showed movies from the 1930's, the equivalent of a modern host showing films from the 1980's. In fact, the legendary Svengoolie played 1999's Ragdoll in 2004!


As always, Gravedigger's Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. Blah blah blah...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Marik Plays Bloodlines

Once upon a time, there was a Youtube user called LittleKuriboh who had an idea. He would reedit episodes of the anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! into shortened parodies. Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series became a smash hit and spawned countless other abridged series, along with some spin-off channels.

Despite not being a fan of the anime, I absolutely love Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series, even to the point where I've occasionally slipped some injokes about it into entries here. So when I found out LittleKuriboh had recently started a horror-related project, I was thrilled. Said project is a humorous play-through of the video game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines by the now-defunct Troika Games, done entirely in-character as the parody version of Marik Ishtar. The commentary by "Marik" (and his friend Bakura) is extremely funny and includes several references that are bound to please horror fans, with only a few injokes about the abridged series scattered throughout. Although it's mostly new-viewer friendly, it should be noted that some of it is somewhat NSFW.



If you liked the above first installment, you can watch the rest of the series at its official Youtube channel. Some might ask "Why doesn't this guy drop the injokes and just play the game as himself?" Thing is, he made a video showing why that would be a bad idea. So please, give this video a chance. I doubt you'll regret it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday uEtsy: Team Welser

[Etsy.com's tagline is "Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade." Coincidentally, there's a lot of spooky on Etsy, and each Tuesday, we highlight one of the sellers. If you're looking to spruce up your look, redecorate your tomb or get a gift for that special something in your afterlife, Etsy.com is a place for spooky econo.]

Team Welser (http://www.etsy.com/shop/swelser)


TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE vintage style movie poster

Winter has been overwhelming this time around. Unexpected snowfalls and negative temperatures have made the ground stubborn and unreceptive to any shovel-ready arguments. Thankfully, we’ve been very lucky this passing time. Haven’t heard of any major deaths or need for digging. Instead, it’s been a time for hibernation. A lot of people are staying indoors to avoid the winter altogether. A lot of movies watched, we suspect.

With that, we’re gland to display Team Welser for the first Tuesday uEtsy for 2011. Featuring the artwork of Mark Welser, Team Welser’s store has a wide variety of Welser’s original artwork of well known movies. These 50’s & 60’s throwback renditions of eighties and nineties cult and horror movies capture the essence even though the art is of a prior era. Take this print of ‘The Return of the Living Dead.’ Those who have seen the movie recognize the character played by Linnea Quigley, and how Welser’s design captures both the sex and the horror of this movie.

The Return of the Living Dead vintage style 5X7 print

Among classics like ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Friday the 13th,’ Team Welser also have covered modern horror flicks (soon-to-be-classics) like ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Zombieland,’ seen below. Poinsettia says that ‘Zombieland’ is one of her favorite movies. We couldn’t say. Our line of business has us deal enough with the departed that any kind of idea of ‘the dead rising from their graves’ indicates a poorly done job on the gravedigger’s part. Poinsettia, after finding out that we remain unaware of the seminal performance by one Woody Harrelson and company, has insisted we Netflix it. She brought it up again when she and the Freakshow family came around for the Union holiday parties. Loretta and Bernie are doing well, fyi.

Zombieland vintage style 5X7 print

Team Welser doesn’t just offer up movie posters and prints. Their store also has portraits of well known comic book superheroes and famous monsters. Along with the lovely soon-to-be Mrs. of the monster, you can find prints of the Wolfman, Dracula and the Frankenstein creature himself.

Bride of Frankenstein poster 11x17

A talented comic artist, one of the specialties offered by the Team Welser Etsy store is the Custom Comic Book Cover ‘Save The Dates.’ Since most weddings occur when the ground isn’t covered in two-to-four feet of snow and ice, the Front Office has received a few save-the-dates, making sure our calendar is well populated before we can escape and say that we had no idea that someone was getting married THAT weekend. Make sure that your wedding doesn’t get ditched like what we do to others by employing Team Welser to make custom Kirby-esque covers that make sure YOUR guests will not only remember the date, but actively count down until you say EXCELSIOR I DO! to your loved one.

Custom Comic Book Cover Wedding Save The Dates

Be sure to check out the Team Welser store for all the items showcased here and more. As well, Mark Welser has a Deviant Art account (markwelser.deviantart.com) and you can find him on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/markwelser. And you can find a new Tuesday uEtsy here next week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tales of Cthulhu

Iä! Iä!
Cthulhu is an interesting case in the world of horror literature. Although easily the most popular of Lovecraft's creations, so much so that the Lovecraftian interconnected literary universe is referred to as the Cthulhu mythos, he actually doesn't make many actual appearances in the bulk of mythos tales. In H.P. Lovecraft's original stories, Cthulhu only appears once in "The Call of Cthulhu," then is only referenced in other stories. The closest thing to another physical appearance is the account of the star-spawn of Cthulhu's battles with the Elder Things in "At the Mountains of Madness."

The reason for Cthulhu's scarcity is most likely due to both Lovecraft's preference to suggest horror rather than show it outright and the phrase "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn." Those who have read the "The Call of Cthulhu" know that it means which translates as "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." As a being who can only awaken "when the stars are right" to destroy the world as humanity knows it, it makes little sense to have Cthulhu constantly awakening. Having a human protagonist repeatedly defeat him would destroy all sense of the Great Old One's menace and having Cthulhu fulfill his destroy would drastically reduce the amount of stories that could be written in the same universe. No, it is far better to have Cthulhu wait silently in the background, as the idea of his rising is far more frightening than a story about it could ever be.

That said, Cthulhu is a very impressive monster and the temptation to use him in a story must be enormous for Mythos writers. Many have picked up where Lovecraft left off, with stories ranging from straight horror to pure comedy. One of the more infamous ones is August Derleth's "The Black Island," wherein an atomic bomb is dropped on Cthulhu! Although that tale is sadly unavailable online, I have gathered a nice little collection of other stories that involve Cthulhu in one way or the other:

"From the Parchments of Pnom" by Clark Ashton Smith is more of a description of the contents of a fictional book than it is a story, but it does offer some insights on Cthulhu, including a family tree!

Although sadly incomplete, the preview for Ian Watson's "The Walker in the Cemetery" is enough to whet the reader's interest. Like all the stories in the Cthulu's Reign anthology, "The Walker in the Cemetery" deals with what happens to the world after Cthulhu rises. However, this story is unique in its depiction of Cthulhu. Not only does it feature multiple aspects of Cthulhu in various sizes, but a seven foot tall one traps a bunch of tourists in a never-ending Genoan cemetery and starts to slowly pick them off. Just keep in mind that it comes off more as a 80's European gore movie (with some Rose of Iron thrown in for good measure) rather than a straight Lovecraft story.

Nick Mamatas' full-length novel Move Under Ground also deals with Cthulhu's awakening, this time done in Jack Kerouac's Beat style. In fact, Kerouac is one of the main characters!

Neil Gaiman takes things in a more humorous direction in "I, Cthulhu." In it, Cthulhu tells his life story to a servant with a very familiar last name.

"A Colder War" by Charles Stross takes us to an alternate version of the Cold War, one where the Russians have a secret weapon from a sunken undersea city...

Although Cthulhu only has a minor appearance of sorts in Bruce Turlish's "The Final Pronunciation," the importance of it cannot be denied and it has dire consequences for everyone involved (although not in the way one would expect).

Did you like the artwork used at the beginning of this article? It's by a very talented artist named Cyril van der Haegen and has been used on the box art for the Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game published by Fantasy Flight Games. Both Fantasy Flight Games and the artist were kind enough to let me use that painting in this and if you like it, I hope that you'll at least visit their websites (if not buy a copy of the game). Interestingly enough, said card game has "story cards" in it, which could potentially let players create their own tales of Cthulhu...

Thanks to Fantasy Flight Games and Cyril van der Haegen for use of the image!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

12 Interesting Things About Gigan

Hailing from Space Hunter Nebula M, the cyborg monster Gigan is one of the odder-looking members of Godzilla's rogues gallery. With his massive hook-claws, visored eyes and chest-mounted buzzsaw, Gigan has made quite an impression on fandom since his first appearance in 1972. In recognition of this popular daikaiju, here's a collection of interesting trivia ranging from basic facts to obscurities known by only the most hardcore of fans:

1. Although his first onscreen appearance was in Godzilla vs. Gigan, the character was originally supposed in the never-realized
Godzilla vs. the Space Monsters: Earth Defense Directive, which was retooled as The Return of King Ghidorah before the project got canned. However elements from those scripts were used in Godzilla vs. Gigan (which is reflected in the film's Japanese title, Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan) and Godzilla vs. Megalon.

2. Despite what some might think, the name "Gigan" was not chosen due to its connection to the word "Gigantic." Although it is true that the term "Gigan" has been applied to giant monsters before, Gigan's name might actually be a play off the Japanese term for "artificial eye."

3. Although Gigan is shown shooting a laser from his forehead in video games and the poster art for Godzilla vs. Gigan and Godzilla vs. Megalon, this power was never used in any of Gigan's film appearances until 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars. The reason for this is explained here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Music to Haunt By: House of Nightmares

Buzz Works

Official Site

House of Nightmares, Monolith Graphics 2010

What's worse than going into a haunted house?  Going into a radioactive haunted house...
While browsing through the ol' Google Analytics, the sheer number of people who read the Nox Arcana and Buzz Works installments of "Music to Haunt By" after searching for "House of Nightmares" convinced me that I simply had to review Buzz Works' newest release.

Given how the above links already give the origins of Buzz Works and its Nox Arcana connection, let's jump straight into the review. The titular track "House of Nightmares" opens with moaning, thunder and theremin-style wailing music. Tolling bells, a chanting male chorus and other sound effects add to the spooky feel created by the occasionally John Carpenter-esque music. Similarly, "Night Closes In" has something of a Carpenter feel to it. The pounding music gives one the sensation of time running out or being chased (perhaps that explains the moaning effects), while the contrasting music box-like chimes add to the sense of unease. I can easily see this track being used in a room setup involving a chase or perhaps even a haunted nursery. The moans that close it out also leads the listener into "Book of the Dead," where moaning and male vocals creepily chant over heavy, pounding music. Haunters should find that this will greatly enhance the feel of a room containing a spooky-looking spellbook prop, especially if it's played so low that it can only be heard when people approach the book. In fact, you can make it even scarier if you use a motion sensor that starts playing the music when people get close enough.