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

['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, is a place for spooky econo.]

Mister Reusch (

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 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

['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, is a place for spooky econo.]

Intl. Robot (


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 ( and catch some of the programming.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday uEtsy: Imaginary Trends

['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, is a place for spooky econo.]

Imaginary Trends (

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.