Category Archives: Editorials

Book Review: “AD NAUSEAM” Is The Holy Grail of 80’s Horror Newsprints

Once upon a time before the wild world of the interwebs, you had to turn to that black and white rolled up bunch of papers that magically appears in your driveway every morning to observe the latest movie premieres and listing showtimes. Plainly speaking, living in an advanced age of technology has spoiled us from giving in that extra effort as any and (almost) all information is literally at our fingertips. And with the entrance of Google, the exit of what is now considered a lost art occurred.

As with horror-based VHS art, newsprint graphics for film announcements became an entity in its own with not only promoting said picture but influencing audiences into seeing the movie with the alluring black and grey art attached to the information. Former Fangoria Editor-in-Chief and presently, one of Rue Morgue’s head-honchos’ Michael Gingold has taken this long-lost pastime and breathed new life into the forgotten advertisements with his new book, “AD NAUSEAM: NEWSPRINT NIGHTMARES FROM THE 1980s”.

I recently had the opportunity to gleefully gawk at the 245-page book and holy Nicolas National Treasure Cage- it is as glorious as the retro sunbeams beaming off a neon synthwave.

Book Review: "AD NAUSEAM" Is The Holy Grail of 80's Horror Newsprints

With all retro advertisements seen within, some extremely rare or never-before-seen all from Gingold’s personal collection, compiled into yearly chapters that range from 1980-1989, this truly is a must-have for not only lovers of 80’s horror, but ALL genre enthusiasts. From a historical standpoint, this nostalgic book certainly serves as an opened time capsule from a time where horror was both beloved and misunderstood by the general public- (If you’re questioning that last bit, check out this little diddy from 20/20). So whether you’re reliving that era or discovering it for the first time, the feeling you get as you flip the pages through these newsprint nightmares can easily be compared to watching your very first horror film. And that my friends, is such a rare experience to come across in the modern days of the interwebs.

Book Review: "AD NAUSEAM" Is The Holy Grail of 80's Horror Newsprints

In addition to the glorious spread of page after page of retro goodness, snippets of reviews are matched alongside select films. It goes without saying this was a time where Rotten Tomatoes and online reviews were years ahead in the future. That being said, in a time where horror didn’t harbor the respect it has accumulated from critics over the years, you’ll find a few of these snippets might just trigger your horror senses into a flight or fight reaction. As explained in the book, these reviews were posted at the time of release, and I’m just taking a shot in the dark here, from a few snooty film advisers.

However, I can overlook those very real reviews with an extensive introduction from Gingold explaining what had compelled him to save all these clippings to begin with. If you hadn’t already taken the hint or looked around at my website here, I kind of really love reminiscing about my journey in and around the horror genre and the influences it had on me as a child; but hearing it from the mouth of someone who is hugely respected here, and around the horror writing community is pure gold. And I highly urge everyone in this business that picks up this gem to resist the temptation and read what Gingold has to say before going balls deep into the ads. VERY IMPORTANT HERE.

Towards the end of the retro 80’s horror ad road, you’ll find an intriguing closing entitled “The Art of the Sell”- which includes conversations with Terry Levine (President of Aquarius Releasing), and longtime partner and artist Wayne S. Weil who dive into the drive of these ads and putting “asses in theater seats” via these said newsprints.

As you may have gathered already, this book is a definite must-have centerpiece for your house of macabre’s coffee table for any collector of physical horror media. It is both highly stimulating for your retro horror senses, and a wonderful journey of film history through the decade where horror shined like no other era. The book drops tomorrow on Amazon Prime and you can pre-order it here at a discounted price, or directly from 1984 Publishing to obtain a signed copy.

Upcoming Book "Ad Nauseam" Highlights Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s

Sight Unseen — The Lasting Images of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Tobe Hooper once said “I don’t believe in using too much graphic violence, although I’ve done it. It’s better to be suggestive and to allow the viewer to fill in the blanks with their minds.” The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is not one of the finest horror experiences ever put to film because of on-screen slaughter, but rather the suggestion of bloodshed. The long-lasting effect of Hooper’s direction was borne from the simple presentation of a scenario, the resulting (and very personal) nightmares were conjured entirely within the headspace of whomever laid eyes on it.

The concept isn’t exclusive to TCM, but certainly applies to John McNaughton’s tense tale of a week in the life of a sociopath, 1986’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Though it made its way around film festivals for years, the Motion Picture Association of America’s inability, or unwillingness to give it a straight R-rating delayed its limited theatrical release for 4 years.

As legendary film critic Roger Ebert noted, however, “This film deserves to be seen,” and over the course of more than three decades, it has become essential viewing for horror aficionados everywhere. And not for overt violence, although like Hooper, it had its fair share, but rather for what wasn’t seen.

Make no mistake, the reasons for suggestion in this case were partially due to budgetary and time constraints. However, McNaughton wanted to truly explore the inner workings of Henry’s (Michael Rooker) mind, as well as his relationship with Otis (Tom Towles) and Becky (Tracy Arnold), which meant that on-screen violence would have to be dispersed carefully, but to offer a true glimpse at the danger housed within the protagonist, the film would need to be littered with other misdeeds.

And that is where the power of suggestion entered the equation, in part through the utilization of brilliant music cues strewn throughout by film editor Elena Maganini. Portrait of a Serial Killer’s main theme is composed of the simplistic yet powerful piano chords of Ken Hale, Steven A. Jones and Robert McNaugton that matched Rooker’s icy glare, begging the question, what truly resided beneath the surface.

The horrors left in Henry’s wake were revealed through a series of pan shots, offering a peek behind a veneer that should never come into focus. Again, the issues of budget and time factored into McNaughton’s decision-making, yes, but ultimately the road followed was that which would make the greatest impact, and that avenue was paved by sound editor Cory Coken and post-production sound mixer Ric Coken. The audible screams of victims blended with Henry’s angry commands to “shup up!” underneath ghastly visuals painted a picture that turned blood cold, as viewers were burdened with whatever terror played before their mind’s eye thanks to the macabre melody dancing through their heads.

All which set up McNaughton’s final stroke of genius.

BeckyAfter Henry returned to the apartment to find Otis raping his sister, and the ensuing scuffle that resulted in Otis’ death, Henry’s instinct took over and he dismembered his friend’s body in the bathtub before hitting the road with Becky.

In a wink to the audience, another music cue foretold Becky’s fate, as “Loving you was my mistake” sprang from the radio before the pair reached their roadside motel.

The following morning, pulling to the side of a desolate road in the middle of nowhere, Henry exited his vehicle and waited for cars to pass before he opened the trunk. When it had reached its apex, it was accompanied with a single, ominous piano chord. To that point, there may have been hope that Becky had already been in the car when the vehicle pulled away from the motel, but in that moment, the audience knew.

Henry waited for another car to pass, then glanced over his shoulder to ensure no others were coming, lifted Becky’s blue suitcase, now her tomb, and laid it at the top of a ditch beside his car. Once again, the terrified shrieks of one of Henry’s victims echoed as the luggage connected with the earth below. McNaughton had cinematographer Charlie Lieberman hold the shot, and slowly zoom to the blood-smeared bag, a grotesque exclamation point on a film that has always carried an unsettling tinge of documentary.

As Henry pulled away and the camera closed in, all that was left were the curdling chords of Henry’s theme, and the remains of the one person it appeared Henry may have had the slightest sentiment for. Uncaptured and unpunished, the sounds perfectly encapsulated the unknown of where Henry, or those like him—who unquestionably exist—would head next.

The visceral images of McNaughton’s masterpiece proved too much for many audience members to endure when it first reared its head at film festivals decades ago, and abandoned it to what Ebert described as “the purgatory between [an] R and X [rating].” The film was too powerful and too well done to be contained for long, but for the violence we witnessed, including the devastatingly difficult to digest home invasion segment, it was the intonations left unseen that made Portrait of a Serial Killer so indelible.

They were haunting in 1986, and haunting today.

Henry luggage

You Just Can’t Keep a Good Guy Down: Why the Child’s Play Franchise is Anything but Stale

All honesty, I’ve never been one for rebuttals when it comes to writing about horror. I respect the opinions of others and understand that we won’t all see eye-to-eye very often, if at all. Who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong?

However, a recent article from 1428 Elm wondered whether the Child’s Play franchise was not only spreading itself thin, but if it was in danger of getting stale.

I cannot abide. So here we go.

Having recently spoken with Child’s Play 2’s (1990) Christine Elise, she used a phrase that struck me, “Don Mancini’s empire.” Though I had never thought of it quite so succinctly, it’s no less true, because it is Mancini who drives the franchise, not Chucky, he’s merely the vehicle.

The man not only created this universe we all know and love, but has written all seven installments, directed the last three, acted as executive producer for Bride of Chucky (1998), and as of this writing, is slated to, at the very least produce the television series.

Child's Play TV seriesAt a glance, it would appear that seven features and an upcoming TV project may appear to be a bit much, maybe even spread thin, but not when you consider that the original film hit theatres in 1988, and we have seen gaps of seven, six, nine and four years from Child’s Play 3 (1991) to the most recent effort, Cult of Chucky (2017).

What’s more, the last two films are the very reason Wade Wainio’s assertions are askew.

Mancini has always possessed perfect pitch when it comes to his franchise, not only in tone and atmosphere, but with what is or is not resonating with the fans. After Child’s Play 3, Mancini felt as though he was beginning to tell the same story over and over, and believed it was time to switch things up. And he was right, 3 didn’t have the same energy as the first two, which led to that first seven-year hiatus. Mancini made the decision to fully embrace the badboy one-liners and humor inherent in his demonic doll, and gave us the thoroughly enjoyable popcorn horror thrill ride that was Bride. And the fans loved it. That Jennifer Tilly entered the equation as Tiffany didn’t hurt one bit because Mancini realized that the time had come to give Chucky a wing-man, or wing-woman as it were. And make no mistake, Tiffany is adored by Child’s Play fans, so that particular call was a stroke of genius. And it wouldn’t be the last.

When Mancini attempted to build on the final frame of Bride with Seed of Chucky (2004), it seemed to fall flat, at least in this writer’s estimation, but as previously stated, I could be wrong, I’m sure there are many who dig the fifth film. That said, the injection of a humor focus worked for Bride, but not so much for Seed, so Mancini again took his time before unleashing the next chapter.

Nine years later, we would find Chucky venturing back to his darker roots with Curse of Chucky (2013), and though we would get our first glimpse of a new Mancini trick – the end credits tease – it wasn’t the hint of Andy’s (Alex Vincent) return that made the film, but rather the introduction of a new character, Nica Pierce. Beyond the rare slasher trait of continuity, something that has always set the Child’s Play franchise apart is the sense of family, not only on-screen, but off. Those who have built this “Mancini empire” truly appear to be a tight-knit group, and what could be more familial than casting Brad Dourif’s daughter to play the human lead? And as we all know, Ms. Dourif didn’t just get the part because she’s Brad’s offspring, she has added layers of vulnerability, strength, emotion and depth that has elevated the entire franchise.

Fiona DourifFrom Curse, the most recent foray was with Cult last year, and pound-for-pound, it may be Mancini’s finest effort yet. Not only was Chucky at his hilariously villainous best, he is now legion, complete with Hannibal references that warm the heart. Fiona again delivered a sensational performance, Tilly was involved, Tiffany made an appearance, and of course, Andy is back in the fold. The story was strong, the writing spot on, it had creative kills, and despite a clinical setting, it was visually pleasing, and the climax had fans aching for what’s next.

Truly think about that last statement. We are talking about a franchise’s seventh film. Typically with such scenarios, we’re off the rails, numerous writers and directors have veered so far from the original vision that it’s almost, if not completely laughable. But Child’s Play is not Hellraiser or Friday the 13th or Children of the Corn, because it’s always had Mancini.

The final few minutes of Cult were eye-bulgingly fantastic. Chucky’s chant finally worked, and when Nica rose from her wheelchair and Ms. Dourif gifted us one of the most spot-on mimics in cinematic history, we felt chills. What is Chucky going to do in that body? Where is he going to go? What awaits down the road?

Fiona as Chucky walked out into the snow to Tilly while Andy was stuck in a cell, most likely to be framed for the slaughterhouse inside the mental health facility, to say nothing of the small army of Good Guy dolls ready to wreak havoc at Nica / Chucky’s command.

The fun didn’t end there, however, because Mancini had one last face-breaking smile left in his bag of tricks. He sent a friend to pay a visit to Chucky’s head, left at Andy’s secluded cabin, and when the sliding door opened and Kyle (Elise) walked in, you could almost hear the squeals of delight from every corner of the country.

Kyle CultEvents, intriguing events, that will lead into the television series, and perhaps the next feature, whenever that might be.

When a franchise spreads itself thin, over-saturation is almost always the culprit. A new movie, shoddily pieced together to make a deadline focused less on quality than a cash grab. And if a television series were to be a thing, it would usually fall sometime during the height of its run, not more than three decades after it began.

Thirty years and seven movies on, that is where the Child’s Play franchise stands. It’s not only alive and well and thriving, but almost incomprehensibly improving the further it wanders from the night we met Charles Lee Ray.

And that’s as far from stale as it gets.

Chucky

Underrated Slashers Presents, Frank Zito of ‘MANIAC!’

Horror takes many shapes and assumes various forms in order to affect us. Be it monsters, killers, or simple catastrophes, horror is there to incarnate both our deepest fears and our darkest sense of humor. By far, the Slasher Genre is my favorite kind of horror to watch, and there are hundreds to choose from out there. So much so that too many of them go overlooked and remain underrated. For that reason I, Manic Exorcism, gladly pull back the tattered veil to shed some sinister light upon these underrated slasher killers.

 

MANIAC (1980)

Why hello again. Come and gather around the hobo fire. Have your pick of any select hooker to scalp (they always come in plenty around this side of town), because today on Underrated Slashers we’re heading into some very sketchy places and getting extra sleazy, my little Nasties. Today we’ll be looking at one of the 80’s all-time best slasher films, William Lustig’s MANIAC!

The world of Frank Zito is a vile one indeed. One of the uncontrollable desires, lust, a cruel obsession for the flesh, and – above all else – murder. Brought to us by the larger-than-life performance of Joe Spinell , Frank Zito’s is a tale of atrocities and tragedy. A man controlled by need and ruled by his addiction. An addiction not for narcotics, no, but for something far more seductive. The addiction for perfection and beauty. The lovely victims who fall prey under his serrated knife are not innocent, at least not in his diluted sight. Afterall, they were told not to go out tonight.

The Midwest Film Journal
image via The Midwest Film Journal

The 80’s were the golden years of the Slasher Genre. Ah Hell, that decade gave birth to the genre. That was the golden age of Freddy, Jason, Leatherface and Michael Myers! When the big baddies wet the screens red with the blood of the innocent, and we fucking loved it! That’s also the decade that was pumping out slashers on nearly a weekly basis, so much so that we could barely keep up with them. Sadly, as the bigger names were given limitless sequels as their box office success rose like the smoke off a cannibal pyre, there were single films that got woefully overlooked in the great crowd of murder and mayhem. And by no means does that mean these lesser-knowns were in any way inferior. Quite the contrary, as in the case of MANIAC, often times they were either equal to or superior to the hell unleashed upon Elm Street or Crystal Lake.

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image via Rotten Tomatoes

In the case of Frank Zito, the blood was realistic and the outcome was gruesome. As a matter of fact, this may very well be one of the most unpleasant films in the genre to sit through. You can feel the humidity of this film. I swear at times you can even smell it. You get that rancid stench of neglected trash filling the undercity’s gutters, and the odor of cheap cologne mingled with heavy sweat just permeates nearly every scene. It kinda smells like Old Spice and spicy sausage with a hint of uncontrollable BO.

Make no mistake, this is a very dirty movie. Every minute of the film makes damn sure you understand that. It’s a film that makes you want to shower after watching it, and fuck it all that’s why I love it! Few movies can have that kind of an effect on an audience.

Life Between Frames
image via Life Between Frames

We do not simply watch Frank Zito’s life, we are thrust into it. We walk the darkly wet streets with him. We sit in the corner of his dingy flat, and we are up close and personal with his obscenities.

ORIGINS

Every good serial killer must have a beginning, thus keeping that ancient riddle of nature vs. nurture alive – are maniacs born or built? In Frank’s case, we learn that he was constantly abused by his prostitute mother, and honestly, there is a wide-open door left here for us to explore the psychology of a killer through studying our nasty friend, Franky.

scumcinema
image via scumcinema

So, with Freddy we have a child killer who was provoked by his alcoholic father’s sadism, in Jason, we have an innocent child who was bullied, picked on, then left to drown, but who also had an overly-loving mother who was ready and all-too-willing to kill for her beloved Jason. Frank Zito was victim to his mother’s sick perversities. Zito had no supernatural powers, but he kept New York City in a grip of scarlet terror and still proves to be just as deadly as his fellow murderers.

I’ve said it before, but really that’s the kind of killer that makes us all squirm. They live in the flat down the hall, just like Dahmer. They aren’t the type we’d want to spend an afternoon with, but we would never expect to find a hidden museum of the macabre waiting behind their locked doors.

bocadoinferno
image via bocadoinferno

And trust me – and without giving anything away – Frank has a grotesque little shrine built out of sin itself. For gorehounds, this is a film you won’t want to pass up! For slasher freaks, this is one underrated hit you have to finally see.

Recently, MANIAC has been enjoying a much-needed revival thanks to my friends over at Eibon Press. They specialize in bringing the crassness of grindhouse classics back to life with new twists and insidious depth. Their first issue of MANIAC is a must-have for any fan of the sleazy classic. And for the truest of sickies, issue 2 promises to pit Frank Zitto against the New York Ripper himself. So holy fuck! It’s a manic dream come true! To read more on the insane awesomeness of Eibon Press please click here and see what you’ve been missing in your life.

Wicked Horror
image via Wicked Horror

So there you have it, my Nasties. Frank Zito is out there in the dark corners of your world. He waits in the shadows and looks out through wild eyes of craven lust. Once he decides to strike there is no escape. So be careful when you walk away from here, and always keep your head turned towards those grimy alleyways, that parking garage you think is empty, or, if you’re really unlucky, outside your front door.

Missing the Jim and Pam of Horror

“For a really long time, that’s all I had. I just had little moments with a girl who saw me as a friend. And a lot of people told me I was crazy to wait this long for a date with a girl who I worked with, but I think even then I knew that, I was waiting for my wife.”

The parallels between the goals relationship of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) from The Office and Ash vs Evil Dead’s Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago) are staggering.

Both had their fair share of flirtation and near misses, laughs, jealousies, and tender moments, and it even took both couples three years to realize that they were perfect for one another. As DeLorenzo told me in an interview before Season 2, “Just make out already!”

The will they / won’t they approach is not a new strategy in television, but damned if they don’t have audiences pining for hook-ups when done correctly. And if we’re honest, what we miss most about the band of merry misfits from both Scranton, Pennsylvania and Elks Grove, Michigan are not Michael Scott (Steve Carell) or Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), but watching and waiting as relationships we rooted for came to fruition.

Santiago played the role of hopeless romantic (aka Halpert) from the very moment we heard him refer to Kelly in AVED’s pilot episode. “She haunts my dreams. Just kidding. She does, though.” Much like Pam, however, Kelly saw Pablito as a confidant, saying “You’re like a brother, so sweet. How could I ever look at you that way?”

ash-vs-evil-dead-season-3-pablo-ash-kelly-second-coming-finale-2So it went over three seasons and thirty episodes, but glimmers of hope sprang up throughout the journey. Both Kelly and Pablo got a little jelly in bookend seasons, when Heather (Samara Weaving) showed near the conclusion of its initial campaign, and with the emergence of Dalton (Lindsay Ferris) for the Ghostbeaters’ swan song. It’s a sensation that can only be generated when one feels a profound connection to another, whether acted upon or not. But make no mistake, both Kelly and Pablo (much like Jim and Pam) felt their relationship unique, that they belonged to one another, and others were only temporary obstacles delaying the inevitable. Albeit, such sentiments were a bit more overt from the men.

For years we witnessed the pair compliment one another. Kelly made Pablo stronger, and he was the only person who could wear down her hardened exterior to reveal the vulnerability housed within. They supported one another from (kinda sorta) afar, not unlike our favorite pair from Dunder Mifflin, but when the chips were down, they never came out swingin’ as when they felt someone, or something, was messin’ with their person.

CXUKWhen she felt that Ruby (Lucy Lawless) wasn’t being upfront with Ash’s right-hand man, Kelly offered pep talk after pep talk to instill Pablo with confidence and the belief that he was, in fact, her powerful vagina, the El Brujo Especial. And for as lovable and hesitant as Pablo appeared throughout most of the series, those times he stepped up without a second thought, were to protect Maxwell.

Think back to a scene at the Elks Grove Police Department in Season 2 when Chet (Ted Raimi) wondered aloud if Baal (Joel Tobeck) hadn’t actually commandeered Kelly’s body, to which Pablo immediately turned to walk toward Williams’ lifelong pal and said “Hey Ash, I think you need to tell your friend to shut the fuck up!”

While Jim and Pam dealt with other suitors and the jealousies that came with them,  they never endured life-threatening situations, but the nature of the Evil Dead universe — that loved ones die — was what kept the two apart for so long, and ultimately what brought them together.

The enemy for Halpert and Beesly was Pam’s indecisiveness and inability to realize she deserved happiness and to take a chance on something that was only five feet from her her desk. What finally pushed Pablo and Kelly over the finish line was not the idea of losing their person to another, but of losing them entirely. So why the fuck not?

KissWe waited roughly 26 episodes to finally see that kiss DeLorenzo had ranted about the season before when she was unsure that Pablo would emerge from a vision, and was so overwhelmed with emotion she pulled him in to express her true feelings. Pablo hummed when their lips locked, because even a patient man is human. Lest we forget, Kelly blamed Ruby for nearly losing her man and growled “Fuck with my Pablo, fuck with me. And I am done bein’ fucked with, Ruby.”

And when Kelly returned from the rift, Pablito believing her to be dead, tearfully hovered over her body and shared “Descansa en paz, mi amor (Rest in peace, my love).” When Kelly jolted awake, thinking she had to fight her way out of another jam, Pablo grabbed her to ensure that she was safe, and offered a tender kiss to calm her fears. The two locked eyes with a smile, and in that moment, we knew there was no going back. It was official. Though Ash and Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) laid the final bricks of a joke the show had been building for three years, “Filthy and not fine.”

Kelly and Pablo made us laugh, they made us cry, they made us yearn for two people who didn’t even exist to get together, because truth be told, there simply aren’t many horror couples that stand out, and damn it, we wanted this one. They began as friends, knowing and trusting one another completely. They cared for one another, they supported one another, and they challenged the other to be the best versions of themselves. In the end, that’s what true partners do.

The magical nature of their on-screen relationship was not lost on Santiago, who took to Instagram after the series finale to say “…my love for [DeLorenzo] and everything you brought to the table will never die. Always a semi in my pants for #Kelly Maxwell!”

Though we won’t be lucky enough to see where Kelly and Pablo progressed from their own version of popping in to interrupt an interview with “OK…it’s a date,” we’d seen enough to know that Pam’s words rang true.

“When you’re a kid, you assume your parents are soulmates. My kids are going to be right about that.”

Stand-up

Dear Mr. Peanut, Where Are My Planters Cheez Balls?

It’s as if for years, I’ve wished and prayed to countless Foodie Gods for the return of my favorite childhood snack only to have it dangled in my face and then ripped away like some cruel joke.

Why you do this to me?

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Last month, I spread the joyful gospel from Mr. Peanut himself about the wonderful, and HIGHLY ANTICIPATED return of one of the greatest snacks from our youths- the greasy, and delectable Planters Cheez Ball! Of course, much like with the limited run of the 2016 Ecto Cooler, it wasn’t readily available anywhere and with that Ghostbusters Reboot publicity stunt, it took a massive effort to get my hands on some. However, my efforts were not in vain and I did manage to enjoy that concentrated childhood relic. Now in the matter of the mighty Cheez Ball that many have attempted to duplicate, and never come close, it seems as if I’ve been duped entirely.

As reported from the Planters website on the whereabouts of said Cheez Balls, there were to be available July 1st at select Wal-Mart stores and through Amazon Prime Pantry. Albeit, you had to buy a case of 12 from Amazon if you went that route, but at $24 for a bundle of twelve, it wasn’t a rip-off and seemed like a good investment for a family of four. Bonus, the spawns would have a treat in their school lunch bags for the next few months. Anyways, with a guaranteed delivery date of July 18th, I patiently awaited once again the joys of orange, dusty fingertips only to be greeted with a dreaded message from Amazon that my order would not be fulfilled with no explanation other than it was not available at this time.

And I’m kind of pissed off about that, Mr. Peanut. Also, you’ve managed to enrage an entire consumer base who had the same experience as yours truly here.

Image result for pissed off gif

 

So what exactly happened here? I’ve made several attempts of reaching out to Planters to get some kind of answer, coming up with nothing but silence from the beloved monocle-wearing mascot that promised cheezy goodness and came up, well, kind of short. It may be the company itself didn’t realize the demand of these suckers and just couldn’t supply enough for consumer needs. However, I have a hard time being convinced this is the case. Seeing as how petitions have been flying all over the interwebs for years clamoring for the snack’s return. I also don’t want to believe this was some sort of PR stunt to get everyone excited only to blue-ball most of America with an extremely limited supply. because really, if you’re searching at Wal-Mart, chances are you’re probably not going to find that wonderful endcap unless you’re extremely lucky and happen to live in the ONE area of your state that is carrying them. In which case, consider yourself blessed. Because the rest of us are totally jonesing over here like a crack-fiend unable to get a fix.

While I’ve yet to get an answer from Planters on whether I’ll actually ever see a delivery or any future plans of bringing these suckers back permanently so we can ALL get a taste of childhood once again, I’ve taste-tested a variety of cheese balls in order to find the closest taste to that wonderful Planters brand. The answer guys are HERRS Cheese Balls. Right hand to the Foodie Gods, these little balls of sunshine are about the closest I’ve ever tasted to the Planters ball of glory. So, if you’re hankering for a decent Cheese Ball, Herrs is the way to go.

In the meantime, I still sit and wait for an answer Mr. Peanut. We’re all waiting.

Old School Kaiju Fans Rejoice! Newest ‘GODZILLA: King of the Monsters’ Trailer and Images Reveal Some Titanic Icons!

When I was like three or four my Granny sewed together a hand-made Godzilla suit. It was AWESOME too! It had dorsal spines and a tail that swayed back and forth with perfect balance as my unsullied imagination took me to far off places where I truly became one with the Kaiju, the very embodiment of Godzilla himself. And it was up to me to battle the three-headed terror from Outer Space, King Ghidorah.

Godzilla Wikia.jpg

Godzilla is probably my very earliest (and certainly among my fondest) memories and was my introduction to the roaring world of monsters! I couldn’t get enough. One Christmas all I asked Santa for was Godzilla movies! I squealed like a maniac when I unwrapped the colorful packaging and pulled away the shoe-box lid (because Santa back in Minford, Ohio was just that kind of classy) and saw Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla AND Godzilla vs Monster Zero! I still own those tapes today, and they continually remind me of happier days.

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I never thought I would get a good modernized Godzilla film. So in 1998, I had my ticket bought and my butt in a seat just dying with anticipation to see a new Godzilla movie…then walked away feeling kicked in the butt. That was not Godzilla, and fuck if we didn’t all know that.

Honestly, didn’t look like we would ever see a modern Godzilla film.

Old School Kaiju Fans Rejoice! Newest 'GODZILLA: King of the Monsters' Trailer Reveals Some Titanic Icons!
image via ComicBook

Then in 2014, Gareth Edwards (dir. Monsters) made the impossible possible! Godzilla, the true-to-life Godzilla we were waiting for, came alive! I loved the movie. Still, though, I was missing my Mothra and Rodan. However, I hoped they may show up in future movies.

You know what? Sometimes life doesn’t suck so bad. It’s those little things that make us smile, and we’re getting one of those moments next May. Michael Dougherty (dir. Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus) is giving fans what we want. He’s bringing the monsters we grew up with to the screen like we’ve never seen before. Dougherty seems like one of us. Judging by his track record I get a feeling he grew up just like we did, watching and loving the same things that made us clap and squeal. So this Godzilla sequel feels more and more like a film made by a fan for the fans of yesteryear.

ComicBook 2
image via ComicBook

Next year Godzilla will be joined by Mothra (Eeeeeeeee!), Rodan, and the4 chiefest of all Godzilla’s deadliest foes, King Ghidorah!

I can hardly believe it. Today the latest trailer dropped and we caught glimpses of these beautiful colossi.

Dark Horizons
image via Dark Horizons

All I can say is this looks like it’ll be a battle of the titans that will bring down mountains. And I can’t wait to relive a little bit of my childhood next May.

Thanks for always checking with us for those warm feelings of yesteryear as we look forward to the future.

Manic, out.

Huge ‘Halloween’ Reunion Happening This October! Come Celebrate the Whole Franchise!

If you’re a fan of the Halloween franchise you’ll want to mark your calendars and plan a trip to Pasadena, CA this coming October! Courtesy of HorrorHound Weekend, fans of the celebrated slasher series will have a chance to meet many of the brave men and women who brought this classic franchise to life!

Cast members from all across this visceral series will be there waiting to meet up with fans who have kept this horror legacy alive and ongoing each and every October. And what luck! Just in time for the release of the newest Halloween movie, what better way could a horror fan usher in the spookiest time of year?

Wicked Horror
image via Wicked Horror

Come out and celebrate 40 years (can you believe it’s been that long already?) of Halloween – a cinematic masterpiece that single-handily kicked in the doors for all sequential slasher films to come – at the Pasadena Convention center between October 12-14th! Fans in the area will not want to miss this historical event, or you’ll regret it. You just know you will.

So start saving up and break open that fat little piggy bank. Plan a trip out to the West Coast and say hi to the men who stepped behind the mask and gave life to one of horror’s most cherished icons!

Huge Halloween Reunion Happening This October! Don't Miss This One!
image via Halloween40.com

This is something horror fans will be talking about for years to come.

If I can please be candor here, this is just awesome. HorrorHound deserves our thanks for making this happen for the fans. Check out the link below and see the guests already planning to be there. And who knows what further surprises are still yet in store?!

http://www.halloween40.com/horrorhoundweekend/shows/H40/default.shtml

The Sinister Origin of CARNAGE!

Welcome back webheads! I hope you’re ready for the grand finale of the three-part look into some of the most dangerous aspects of the Spider-Man comics. We’ve already spent some time speculating on what wonderful villainy we could expect from the fast-approaching VENOM film! Today we’ll be overtaken by the blood-lusting symbiote better known as Carnage!

As his name alone suggests, this is a very violent character and one I’ve waited years to see come to the big screen. Fittingly, the gnarled roots of his twisted backstory are found deep in a cell within Rikers Prison. Here we meet Cletus Kasady, a leering madman with a sick grin as if he alone knows the punchline of a secret joke no one else can guess, one that always ends in bloodshed and carnage. The notorious serial killer was already serving eleven-consecutive life sentences when he was introduced to his newest cellmate – Eddie Brock.

Little did either of them know how destiny would lock the two together in a frenzy of ongoing mayhem with enough behemoth power to rip the city of New York to bleeding shreds! Or at the very least leave New York’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in tatters every time he rushed out to face whatever chaos these two could accomplish.

Marvel Database
image via Marvel Database

Eddie and Cletus were not friends and never became chums. Cletus was a total metal head with one goal – murder. Eddie was likewise driven by a singular focus – revenge! Having had enough of Brock’s bullshit, Kasady planned to shiv his cell-buddy right in the goddam throat… but we’ll cover that in more detail here in a bit.

What Makes Kasady Work?

Cletus Kasady is the lethal combination of what we all fear – the serial killer. Men who walk behind a mask of ordinary, regular faces. They fit in as our neighbors, our coworkers, or our church brothers. They are BTK, Dahmer, and Albert Fish. They remind us of one gravely sobering fact: the devil walks safest behind human eyes.

Kasady is a man who loves to kill and is Marvel’s closest answer to DC’s Joker. He kills without prejudice and relishes the agonized sobs of his dying victim’s slow death. He is the psychopath, without sympathy and certainly void of any remorse, a perfect host to an outside alien mind with a taste for mayhem. Kasady was born in the grimmest alleyways of Marvel.

Bloody Disgusting
image via Bloody Disgusting

Kasady already made up his mind to kill Eddie and bided his time for the right opportunity. However, before he could strike, out of the dark of night the symbiote returned for Brock, melded once again with him, and Venom was newly reborn!

No bars could hold the monstrosity back and Venom was free to haunt New York all over again. However, and possibly the cruelest act Venom has ever done, a small piece, a dribble, of the symbiote lingered behind and melded with Cletus Kasady giving birth to the entity Carnage, son of Venom!

Marvel Database
image via Marvel Database

Straight away Carnage set about killing everywhere he went, random people, victims picked here and there just for the sake of staining the streets with their blood and scarring the very soul of the city.

Carnage single-handily turned Marvel’s comics into a Mature-rated exploitation field of murder and left Spider-Man sick as he followed the gruesome crime scenes left in the psychopath’s wake.

comicvine

That was the Marvel universe I grew up with, not the Disney stuff out there now. I’m talking about spines being torn out, mangled limbs and body parts used as decorations. Signatures left in the blood of the innocent. At one point Carnage announces he’s going to turn a mother into cold-cuts right in front of her children. This was hard-gore stuff and why I’m a 90’s era Marvel fan.

This was right on the verge of the big Marvel breakup, just before McFarlane and Jim Lee left to form Image comics – along with fellow artists, but I’m showing my favoritism here – and we saw the birth of Spawn. Marvel was dark. Marvel was gritty. It was ultra-violent and far removed from what we see today. And leading the blood-soaked parade was Carnage.

Maximum Carnage is a good place to start if you’re curious to see some of the maniac’s greatest hits.

It’s already been announced that Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, Natural Born Killers) is cast for the role of Cletus Kasady in VENOM.

Will Eddie be locked up at some point in the film? Will he be cell mates with Cletus Kasady? Will the events of the comic come to life as a massive prison break gives wake to Carnage?
Be free to share your thoughts with us.

Could Both of VENOM’s Origins Be Featured in Upcoming Movie?

Hey, comic fans! True believers know the iconic badass VENOM has two origin stories. Could the upcoming movie give us both?

First off, this is only friendly speculation because nothing concrete has been announced – yet. Nevertheless, the geek in me can’t help but wonder what all might be in store for us given what we’ve already seen from the teaser.

Naturally, this is an origin story about how Eddie Brock came to inherit the symbiote and together with it became the entity we know as Venom. The interesting thing is though Venom has two different origins in the comic books, and, if I’m correct, they possibly may be in play here.

Alpha Genesis

In the beginning, there was space. That’s where Spider-Man first came in contact with the symbiote and changed to the black Spidey suit. The symbiote bonded with both Peter’s flesh and mind granting him accelerated abilities in strength and speed such as he’d never known before. He was tougher, stronger, and meaner, making him a through and through greater superhero…so we would think at least.

Hollywood Reporter
image via Hollywood Reporter

The suit proved to have a will of its own and began to slowly poison Parker’s psyche for its sinister purposes. Peter was changing due to the symbiotic influence, and became increasingly more reliant on the suit to an unhealthy degree, as though he was an addict. At last, and realizing the deadly impact the poisonous symbiote had over him now, he tore the thing from himself. And after a great struggle was released from the toxic co-existence. The suit hated Spider-Man for being rejected.

That’s the interesting thing about the symbiotes – they are in fact living entities. They have a mind and will they exercise, not to mention they have a telepathic voice that drives (intoxicates) their chosen host. That’s the other thing, they choose which vessel will better accomplish their purpose.

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, a former employee at the Daily Bugle, had been fired and blamed his misfortune on Peter Parker. Together, one hating the Spider and the other hating the man, the symbiote untied with Brock and became Venom, Spider-Man’s most dangerous foe. Venom knew everything about his enemy and swore to kill Parker for the troubles he’d brought upon both Eddie and the symbiote. Worst of all, Venom shared Peter’s memories, and, you guessed it,  no one in Peter’s life was safe.

Greenscene
image via Greenscene

It was only after Spider-Man saved Eddie’s ex-wife that Brock finally realized perhaps Parker wasn’t entirely his villain. Now, wait: is Venom a supervillain or antihero? He has killed, but only killed those he felt were guilty and deserved to die. The Punisher does that much. The reason why Venom was so Hell-bent on killing Spider-Man was because he truly did believe Spidey was the bad guy. Anyway, a truce was made and Venom went on to star in his own mini-series where he battled other symbiotes.

Second Genesis.

In the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series the superhero enjoyed a successful reboot. In this version, Peter was still in high school and he and Eddie Brock were friends. The Venom symbiote was grown in a laboratory and was meant to be a secret weapon, that and their father’s both had something to do with its creation. Tracking the notes of his father, Peter discovered the experiment and bonded with the black suit. The outcome was very much the same as in the original storyline. The suit proved too great a threat for Peter and he shed himself ofit. The rejected symbiote bonded with the other son of the man who helped grant it life and Venom came into existence once again.

Admittedly there was a more epic tone to the original and I liked that it was from space, but getting Parker into space may be a complication for the story. And no, Infinity War is not connected to Venom according to my source, although it is somehow part of the current Spider-Man Homecoming storyline. So…???

So what can fans expect? What do we know so far?

From the trailer, we see a crashed ship, and things being extracted from the crash site. We then see Eddie (Tom Hardy) snooping into a high-security lab where he (I mean he has to) get in contact with the writhing black essence of the symbiote. The teaser perfectly shows how the symbiote whispers to Eddie’s mind and begins to meld with him into a dual entity, a fact proven in how he addresses himself at the end. “We are Venom” because the two have perfectly become one.

So I’m supposing the crashed ship carried some alien thing back to earth, a thing gets harvested and tested in shady experiments in hopes of perfecting the ultimate weapon. Already we know that Venom is set to fight other symbiotes in the movie, something like the comic miniseries aforementioned. We also know that Cletus Cassidy has been cast and Venom’s main threat will be Carnage! Fucking holy shit really?! Venom and Carnage in one cinematic explosive fight?! Listen, this is going to be intense, I just have a feeling. Fans have been waiting for this ever since Sam Raimi first directed Spider-Man. So yeah, I’d be cool with both origin stories in play here.

Weekly Planet Wikia
image via Weekly Planet Wikia

Now as for the beginning of Carnage and his dark origins, well let’s save that for next time. Until then, check out the trailer and let us know what you think.  This has been Manic Exorcism. ‘Nuff said.