Category Archives: Editorials

Joe Bob Broke Shudder, but Not Our Hearts

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all suffered through dry spells. Droughts of the romantic variety, which led to withdrawals and yearning, and eventually to copious amounts of K-Y, and inevitably, blister cream. We’ve all been there. Then one night everything falls into place and you hop back on that horse affectionately known as tonsil hockey and your brain can’t handle the overload. “This is amazing! Why did we wait this long?! Let’s never do that again!” as you engage in “the sign of the double-humped sperm whale.”

And make no mistake, that’s exactly what happened this past weekend. We all got some after a hiatus that bordered on abusive.

Yes, it was the one-of-a-kind charm of Joe Bob’s twang that had our hearts aflutter, but more than that, it was the communal experience knowing that we were all watching at the same time. The closest we come to that anymore (beyond live tweets) is AMC’s FearFest, but if we’re honest about that, it’s lost a bit of its luster what with those Walking Dead marathons that eat up large chunks of our beloved October tradition, leaving many of us unsatisfied.

Sure, we had the internet when MonsterVision played out on television screens every Saturday night across America and beyond back in the day, but social media wasn’t a thing quite yet, so we couldn’t really share those experiences in real time.

Then Shudder swooped in to cure the horror community of its collective blue balls.

And it was glorious.

JBBMy Twitter feed was littered with Joe Bob Briggs and The Last Drive-In. All anyone could talk about was how long they’d been up, how much they’d missed this, shared laughs and memories, complete with quoting Joe Bob’s latest “Did ya hear the one about…” Not gonna lie, I shared at least three of them, myself.

But it extended beyond social media. It was an event, and how many of those do we really have in the horror community? Yes, there are movie premieres and Twitter explodes whenever shows like American Horror Story air new episodes, but it’s rare for all of us to be all-in on one thing at exactly the same time.

We’d been counting the days since April, were sure to have our Joe Bob tees clean, fridge and pantry stocked with snacks, and our favorite koozies prepped for maximum consumption of brew. I giddily left work on Friday afternoon to pick up a mess of wings and a 12-pack of Grain Belt (only because Lone Star wasn’t available here) and sped to my buddy’s place with one eye on the clock. Two hours early. We pulled up Phantasm IV: Oblivion and added our own running track. “Fuckin’ Reggie, man. Poor bastard can never seal the deal.” My pal’s wife yelped her way through the Tall Man’s extraction of the silver sphere from Mike’s skull, and we all wore shit-eating grins during Reg-Man’s ice cream commando (kinda sorta) montage. And the hour hadn’t even struck 8 (I live in the Central time zone).

All the more smile-inducing because I knew full well, we weren’t the only ones pregaming.

Even the technical issues that prevented many of us from seeing The Last Drive-In from the beginning became a shared experience. Sure, some bitched and complained and harassed Shudder, but the vast majority knew that the Netflix of Horror would make it right and we’d get our Joe Bob fix. And again if we’re honest, it was a lot of fun to see GIFs of cats hammering away at the keys of a laptop or Andre the Giant in the ring trying his best to hold off a rabid crowd, or @richpatine’s tweet that pleaded “Joe Bob broke Shudder! Add 1 crashed app to the drive-in total please!”

We were all-in, and we were all-in together.

Scrolling through message after message of childhoods relived and resurfaced memories was magical.

TealEventually, though, the sun set on Saturday night. Pieces came to a close and Briggs offered his farewell. Tweets of excitement and laughter turned somber at the realization that this was the end, that we would never experience a night like this again, because no one can ever fill Joe Bob’s shoes. A fact we know far too well.

Yes, there were some tears, but more than anything, we were flooded with messages of gratitude and love. For as long as we’d all held onto our memories of MonsterVision from years before, came the knowledge that it paled when held to the neon glow of The Last Drive-In. This would be a night, a marathon, a borderline religious experience that we would never forget.

While the Drive-In Jedi’s send-off touched on the fact that his “goofy little show” was intended to offer laughter and an appreciation of forgotten films, he also mentioned that it was aimed at the “weirdos” and “misfits” who felt “left out” of the mainstream. Briggs went on to say that he hadn’t realized how many of us were out there until the past few years, which was ironic because Shudder discovered that the hard way when us drive-in junkies feenin’ for Joe Bob obliterated their server.

For all the stories and the rants and the laughs and the memories, that is what I’ll take away from The Last Drive-In – the sheer number of Joe Bob disciples who had suffered and waited. The fact that we broke Shudder is not a testament to the number of horror fiends out there, or that we just had to get one more dose of drive-in totals, but that Joe Bob Briggs means that goddamn much to us. It was a communal experience, yes, but that stemmed from the myriad personal connections that we have to someone who was either directly responsible for or augmented our love of horror cinema.

It wasn’t the kills or the gore that were difficult to watch, but rather those last moments as one-by-one, the lights turned out, and Joe Bob sat in his recliner, hat in hand, as the credits rolled, and a sad guitar took us to that final fade.

The last thing Mr. Briggs said was “I have a Dwight Yoakam hat.” Comforting in a way, because even if this truly was the end for Joe Bob, we won’t find ourselves a thousand miles from nowhere, we will carry Shudder’s magical romp in our hearts forever. Because the drive-in, and our love for Joe Bob, will never die.

Hat

 

New VENOM Pic Has Fans Drooling For More! The Comic’s Coming to Life!

Time to discuss one of comic-book history’s most beloved super-antiheroes – VENOM!

A brand new Venom pic has just surfaced and is taking fans by storm. Comic book licenses have never been hotter than they are now. The world we were introduced to by Dick Donner’s Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman has opened up in ways fans never dreamt of. We all wanted to see our favorite heroes and villains match off in colossal battles across land, sea, and air; battles brought to life from page to theater screen. We find ourselves in that age.

Sam Raimi hurled the Marvel property into unexplored territory with his fantastical take on some high octane web-slinging action in Spider-Man! The comic world of the web-head came to life as Spidey (Tobey Maguire) faced off against the malicious might of Green Goblin (Willem DaFoe) and Doc Oct (Alfred Molina). In the first couple of movies, fans pissed and cheered with inhuman rapture as the comic battles of old raged before our wet eyes. The sky was the limit, so where would we go from there?

Bloody Disgusting
image via Bloody Disgusting

To everyone’s sheer delight, it was announced that Spider-Man would face off against his most cherished foe, Venom! Fans dropped their drawers and shat with excitement right as they heard the news. At long-fucking last! VENOM! He was coming to goddam life and people were ready to sacrifice babies to Baal to see this happen.

Then they ruined it by casting Topher Grace in the monster’s role. Cheers turned into jeers as hearts blacked with pustule cists of anger. What in the hell did we just watch? That wasn’t Venom! That was a disgrace. Excitement for the character died an ugly death and the character lost his lethal charm among many.

CinemaBlend
image via CinemaBlend

Not all though. I still loved the character. He’s the reason I began to read the comics back in the 90’s. Marvel will never be as great as it was in that glorious decade. We had the talents of Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee illustrating some of the darkest, most savage, and eye-exploding depictions of our superheroes, the likes of which we’d never seen before. All of a sudden Spider-Man was more bestial, more arachnid than he’d ever been. His body posture was extraordinary, and it felt as if he was literally whipping by as he swung page to page. McFarlane’s Torment still stands as one of the most widely loved Spidey storylines to be published.

nerdtrip
image via nerdtrip

In came Venom, the dark and brutal antagonist to Spider-Man. An alien entity, a vicious symbiotic mastermind who sought to possess the mind and body of the right host. He found his mark with Eddie Brock, and the two of them became Venom! And they hated the Spider-Man with a passion.

With a maul like a cavern of dripping teeth and a taste for Parker’s flesh, Venom haunted the darkened places of New York as a nightmare reflection of the city’s most favored protector.

We wanted him to come to life. Some still had hopes that day would come, and it seems to be finally dawning upon us. Spidey has had two reboots and – now that he’s at home with Marvel – seems to be on the right track, although I did really enjoy the first Amazing Spider-Man. With new praise over the super-hero, it seemed to be the perfect time for his greatest threats to have a revival. The symbiotes have awakened.

Movie Web
image via Movie Web

My sources claim that this Venom movie does tie into the current Spider-Man series, but is not part of the larger MCU. Right now it’s unclear if the two will ever cross into one another. So fans shouldn’t expect any answers or tie-ins with the events of Infinity War.

Venom will be facing off against fellow symbiotes, and this has me very excited! Not long ago the teaser dropped and people lost their heads with excitement! Just from what little has been shown already this movie looks like a superior improvement over the last cinematic incarnation of the character.

The latest pic is keeping that flame of expectations glowing. Look at him! The veins, the teeth, and those eyes! Here’s hoping the movie lives up to the name.

VenomTom Hardy
image via IGN

Celebrate Friday the 13th With These Behind The Scenes Offscreen Death Photos of Claudette!

Here we are friends, with another glorious Friday the 13th upon us. Well, that is unless you’re like me who has to work at a tattoo shop catering to hundreds of people looking for a $13 F13 tattoo. Seriously, tip your artist well on this day. They are tired and deserve it! So yeah, that being my situation, I don’t get to plop my fat-ass on the couch and (fully) watch the return of Joe Bob Briggs or the obvious Friday the 13th marathon. However, best believe I’ll be drowning the shop in the sweet sounds of Pseudo Echo, doing a wicked robotic dance on the floor in-between breaks. Try and stop me.

Celebrate Friday the 13th With These Behind The Scenes Offscreen Death Photos of Claudette!

Anyway, that will be my day. However, before the chaos, I wanted to celebrate the second to best day to Halloween here at Nightmare Nostalgia with a little trivia from the original 1980 film, and most importantly, rare photos (courtesy of Fridaythe13thFranchise.com) of some cool shots of what would have been, Claudette’s death!

You see, what we all know and love about the opening sequence of Friday the 13th- the tense feeling, the first time we heard the music, and the horrific face Claudette makes in her final moment before being murdered off camera was actually a last minute substitution for what was originally intended. The original scripted opening of Barry and Claudette was crafted as a more traditional stalk and murder scene with a lot more gore. And you guessed it, you get to actually see Claudette get nailed, (in the murderous sense perv). Instead of getting frisky in a barn, the scene was set as the pair of lover counselors taking a lovely moonlit walk around the lake after leaving their campfire setting. The killer stealthily stalks her victims and a chase ensues around a boathouse where the duo ultimately ends up being killed. This scene would later serve a purpose at the conclusion of the film and showcased in later sequels. But alas, that never came to pass.

Big thanks to Mother Nature for totally screwing us out of an action-packed opener for one of the greatest slasher franchises in horror history. The story goes, nasty weather is to blame along with Claudette’s death never being seen on camera. Why? No clue as they could have easily done something indoors but hey, I’m no movie maker. And I actually don’t mind the current opener for what it’s worth. It’s just that never REALLY seeing a victim’s fate with being left to guess can sometimes irk us horror fans. Don’t give me that, “use your imagination” bullshit. I want to see her throat slashed dammit. And apparently according to these photos, it looks to be just that.

Celebrate Friday the 13th With These Behind The Scenes Offscreen Death Photos of Claudette!

 

Celebrate Friday the 13th With These Behind The Scenes Offscreen Death Photos of Claudette!

According to the F13-Franchise website, these photos were taken as publicity shots in 1979, however, there’s been a shit ton of contradictory statements from people involved in the film, including Tom Savini and Sean Cunnigham who said the scene HAD been filmed and then later retracting it. So, are these actual still shots from Claudette’s unrealized death scene? Or really just test shots. Who the hell knows and maybe we’ll actually get a definitive answer one day. But for now, all we can do is speculate and enjoy these photos for what they are- CLASSIC HORROR TREASURES.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Why The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a Transcendent Slasher

Look, we can talk about a clever mockumentary, the smile-inducing horror references, Kane Hodder’s cameo, Robert Englund as Dr. Loomis by way of the Overlook Hotel, humorous lines like scaring the “pooooop” out of someone, or that Leslie Vernon’s mannerisms and mask were truly unsettling, but that would be missing the greater point of Behind the Mask.

What set this film apart was its depth, which extended beyond Nathan Baesel’s indisputably brilliant performance, the palpably conflicted emotion of Angela Goethals, or authenticity that forever accompanies Scott Wilson. Three scenes ventured into territory that elevated The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) to a stratosphere that few slasher films have ever reached.

Within that horror subgenre, audiences adore atmosphere and kills and humor, but few delve into the humanity of a character. That is truly rare. Sure, it’s happened before, we can’t disregard the depth of character and performance provided by Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare on Elm Street or Neve Campbell in Scream, or the fact that we are likely to be served a heaping helping of it come October when Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode in Halloween (2018). However, the script pieced together by Scott Glosserman (who also directed) and David J. Stieve, coupled with Baesel’s performance, created a true masterpiece.

Three scenes separate Behind the Mask from the field, but they have nothing to do with kills or gore or one-liners printed on tee shirts, and everything to do with writing, acting and cinematography.

giphyTo begin, we all recognize those moments when we fall in love with a picture. Sometimes it occurs to us as we’re watching, others as we later reflect upon what we’d just witnessed, but the common denominator is one scene where we completely succumb to what is being presented on-screen. For this writer and this film, dinner at Eugene (Wilson) and Jamie’s (Bridgett Newton) fulfilled that romantic moment, simply because of its subtlety and camera work.

This was not a typical get-to-know the characters scene where we are overwhelmed with dialogue intended to convey the notion that “these guys are edgy and cool,” there was no grand monologue about a hidden world we were unaware existed, but rather a gathering of friends, old and new, that felt real – it was believable. Eugene was sharing his thoughts on the way things used to be in the game of creating an evil counterbalance to the world’s good as he chopped carrots for the meal to come. As he went on, he got lost in his thoughts, and past work began to come back to him as he knifed the vegetables with a ferocity that left Taylor Gentry (Goethals) uncomfortable, before he finally slammed the blade into the cutting board that resulted in a yelp from the student filmmaker. Jaron Presant (director of photography) made the decision to film Goethals’ reaction in a close-up of her left profile to showcase how Taylor was now completely immersed in this world, and it was all happening so fast that she couldn’t process it. What made the scene, though, was Baesel’s reaction over her right shoulder. What began as a smirk, turned to a hand over his mouth to stifle laughter, and finally to a glance at Eugene before he covered his eyes because even he thought — this was too much, too soon — and Taylor wasn’t prepared for what she’d just seen because she had yet to grasp the concept of why Leslie and Eugene did what they did.

It wasn’t overt, Glosserman’s direction and Presant’s angle didn’t force feed the audience, they just presented it for what it was, then quickly moved on. It’s rare for a scene to work so well in the slasher genre, to feel so authentic, as though a hidden camera were in the room and we laid eyes on an intimate moment never intended to be seen. And it worked. We felt the fear and the humor, and connected to the humanity of Leslie and Tay.

Which brings us to the most pivotal scene of the film, outside the diner after Taylor had attempted to speak to Leslie’s intended target despite his explicit instruction that Kelly (Kate Miner) was off limits to her documentary.

BTM RenoLeaning against the crew’s van, Leslie asked “You wanna just pretend that we’ve already had the conversation we’re about to have?” Taylor was only able to respond “Leslie” before Vernon grabbed and pulled her alongside the vehicle to ask that she not ruin his life’s work. Presant’s utilization of hand-held cameras, from behind the pair and within the van, communicates Leslie’s instability at this betrayal, as Taylor challenges him not only about Doc Halloran (Englund), but who Vernon really is, before the man who to that point had seemed a bit awkward and giddy turned in a moment. Until that turn, Taylor (and the audience) knew that Leslie was a slasher, but because of his goofy, yet likable persona, didn’t comprehend how dangerous he really was. When Tay brought Reno, Nevada into the equation, however, we discovered first hand that Vernon was not to be trifled with, and in a heartbeat he’d pinned Taylor against the van by the throat. Presant’s cameras once again closed in, highlighting the terror and tears in Taylor’s eyes, and Leslie’s intensity. Hesitating to collect his thoughts, Vernon shared that he would tell her everything that she needed to know, and never broke eye contact as he opened the van door and asked her to please get inside.

The best actors speak with their eyes, and Baesel is next level in that regard. At a glance, one feels his euphoria and confusion and thought process, and in this case, seething anger. Baesel thinks before he speaks, lending authenticity to every line reading, because they feel as though they just came to him before he opened his mouth. In a moment, Leslie Vernon was no longer the quirky guy who wanted to be something that he didn’t appear capable of, transformed into a cold-blooded killer whose mood could turn on a dime.

Immediately after this scene was filmed, Englund took Baesel aside and told him that he reminded him of a young Anthony Perkins, which immediately conjured thoughts of something Langenkamp shared in an interview with this writer years ago. She had mentioned that Englund seemed to be all-knowing, completely in tune with everything around him – literature, music, restaurants, cinema – an assertion cemented with his Perkins sentiment, because that observation was as spot-on as it gets.

BTM That LookFinally, before the events transpired to bring Behind the Mask to a close, Leslie and Taylor shared a calm before the storm moment that Vernon described as his “Christmas.” With the absence of music or sound of any kind, Leslie admitted “I’m so happy.” This was the truest peek behind the curtain at what made a killer tick, as he laid bare his soul, hyper-focused on where he was in his life at that precise moment. Vernon was not just a man who was good at his job, but felt fortunate to be doing it, and broke down at the realization that not everyone was so lucky in life. It’s a moment that we can all relate to, particularly when we share it with someone to whom we have a profound connection, as Leslie did to Taylor. And refusing to break with the theme of the film, Taylor wanted to comfort Vernon, but didn’t make it so far as to put her hand on his shoulder, or hug him, or hold his hand. Despite her affection for Vernon, she still didn’t fully comprehend who he was. That her character stayed true is what made the scene work – even in the happiest moment of his life – Leslie was essentially alone.

And the beauty of the scene was again about the collaboration of Glosserman and Baesel, who had been wandering the grounds in preparation for said scene, which had originally been intended to be lighthearted and funny, featuring the gleeful, excited Vernon we’d seen so much of throughout the film. However, Baesel had come to the realization that he was incredibly happy to be making a feature film that he believed in, doing work that he loved, and it was own feeling of good fortune that led him to the conclusion that Leslie would be having the same epiphany, and that perhaps that emotion would play better. Glosserman agreed to go for it, and Baesel’s talent, and the movie, soar because of it.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is all the things previously stated – it’s clever and funny and gave us a truly worthy slasher villain – but it is so much more than that. The collective talents of Baesel, Glosserman, Goethals, Presant and Stieve produced a transcendent slasher that offered far more than kills and laughs, gifting the world of horror with a beauty and depth of humanity that translated to one shared emotion, love.

behindthemask5_original

Could There Be A Chucky Game In the Making? New Teaser Hints At That!

It’s a very fun time to be a Chucky fan! That little malevolent bastard is popular as ever it would seem. Fans are already anticipating an upcoming TV continuation of the current Chucky lore, while an unexpected Child’s Play remake is also in the works. How this is going to work is anyone’s guess right now. Not to mention the official Child’s Play 2 replica (by Trick or Treat Studios) proved to be a Kickstarter success – and believe me, I saw one of those things face to face and it looks entirely too real – allowing sickos and psychopaths to cuddle up with their very own Good Guy doll! If that doesn’t light your fire your wood’s wet.

Now, thanks to Fireblitz Games, it would seem we may also have a ‘Chucky’ game to look forward to. That’s right, my Nasties, you read that right. However, for now, it’s not being called Chucky, but just from a casual glance – thanks to this newly dropped teaser – we can easily see all the trademark signs of our favorite maniacal doll.

Sadly there’s not a whole lot known about this project and some are calling it a little sketchy. Originally the website offered more pics, some featuring models from the Bride of Chucky, or the stitched-faced Chucky, model. It’s also been claimed that the logo on his snazzy overalls which now reads “Cool Boys” originally said “Good Guys.” Not to mention, Charlie is wearing the familiar shirt, overalls, and by the maniac gods if that’s not Chucky’s face then I don’t know what is. This is Chucky in everything but name. It’s definitely something I want to know more about and it’s teased my curiosity.

This year games like Dead by Daylight and the massively successful Friday the 13th proved the high demand for horror films brought to video game formate. While we were all heartbroken to hear the sad news that halted all new content for any further Jason DLC, gamers are still piling into Camp Crystal Lake’s haunted woods to face off with the grueling might of Jason Voorhees. Meanwhile, Freddy, Michael Myers, Pigface (SAW) and Leatherface are playable denizens over at Dead by Daylight.

This is a new age of horror gaming! Where we the fans are finally given the chance to jump in and match our wits and wills against the dangers and awe of some of our most cherished horror franchises!

Child’s Play would seem like the perfect video game platform. Given what we learned from Friday the 13th – where players are allowed to step behind the fetid mask of Jason and stalk helpless campers to their messy demise – I would love to think we could become Chucky, oh I’m sorry, Charlie and hunt down random dipshits and sharpen our killing skills on their screaming faces.

Let’s get a properly liscenced Child’s Play game. Drop the Charlie bullshit and give us an authentic Chucky experience! Look at the titanic success other games are enjoying. Plus it would only help spread popularity in the property. It’s a clear win-win!

So here’s the teaser. Let us know what you think in the comments. Should this become a Chucky game? Would you be just as fine playing as Charlie?

That Random Car In the Title of ‘Tales From the Darkside’

One of my fondest memories from childhood was staying up late and watching the many glorious horror-themed shows late-night TV had to offer us back in the 80’s. My mom was pretty cool about that back then. I was no more than five and I still recall the greats I spent many nights watching. Twilight Zone, The Hitchhiker, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Unsolved Mysteries – just to name a few, and their themes still ring loud and clear in the shadowy halls of my memory.

One thing these spooktacular shows all shared was a riveting opening title accompanied by a haunting score. You all know what I’m talking about. The Twilight Zone sports a pivotal theme that remains timeless to this day. And who can deny the impact Danny Elfman’s immortal theme from Tales From the Crypt had on our generation? Remarkable!

All of that is to bring us to the subject at hand revolving around one of my favorite creepy shows, Tales From the Darkside!

From horror maestro himself, George Romero came this grizzly collection featuring beloved short horror tales from the mind of Clive Barker and other renowned writers of horror, Tales From the Darkside brought scary stories to life in various comeuppance morality tales.

The opening always gave me the chills as a kid. That eery as Hell music playing over visions of lovely fields, a country farmstead, a rippling brook and a covered bridge. Sights that should convey a welcoming sense of warmth and meditation, something the dark mind of Paw Paw Romero intentionally planned just so he could pull the rug out from underneath our feet. The sights change as the title is revealed and all of a sudden the pleasant world we have been introduced to is malformed into a sinister realm of shadows and dread, just like the genuine dark world which awaits behind the placid world we live in. Darkness is always just only one bad day away.

Right before the title shows, and I mean like a second or so before, we see in the bottom left corner a car that gets swallowed up in the Darkside. It never was anything I gave much of a thought to until an ex of mine mentioned the car was a blooper. Like it was a mistake and wasn’t supposed to be caught on film. Like while the studio was filming the opening shots some random car photobombed the process.

Funny, because I never once got that impression. I told her that too and explained how I always assumed the car was meant to be there. As if whatever family was in that car had just suddenly been sucked into the void. The idea startled her, because that’s how Hell works, right? One moment you’re out enjoying a lovely drive out in the countryside and the next the Darkside consumes you, your day, and possibly you’re entire life.

A flat tire lands you stranded in the middle of the shadowy woods where you can hear a distant banjo playing.

You’re out by yourself hoping to get some sun by the lake when local rapists come zooming by with oogly eyes all over your body.

The Wolfman Cometh
image via The Wolfman Cometh

You get a puzzle box and suddenly awaken the wonders of Hell.

You have a nightmare that lures the dream demon to your helpless state of mind.

That’s what horror has always been about! The normal and everyday world being consumed by the Darkside. That little car in the opening credits epitomizes what we love about horror. I don’t know who was in that car – and that’s part of the charm, it could be anyone of us in it – but I thank them for providing such a wonderful (but underrated) visual for us.

Ok my Nasties, this has been your good pal, Manic Exorcism once again. I’ll be back later to over-analyze even more things no one in their right mind would give a second thought to. But hey, that’s what we do here.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment below? Was it a simple photobomb, or perhaps there was something more sinister afoot?

 

 

 

Bold Return to Retro Gaming – ‘Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon’

Remember back when we were kids and couldn’t wait for the weekend? School would let out and the homework could wait because we had some serious business to attend to! We would rush home Friday afternoon with the high-octane fueled anticipation to take that hallowed trip to the Video Rental of our choice. There our little minds would overload with the colorful options within our reach. Each of those boxes were awash with sights and wonder, tempting our minds and inspiring our awe.

We’d obsess over the video game isle just trying to pick the absolute best one to fill our upcoming weekend with! So many options, always too many for our parent’s wallets to endure. I remember picking out a game and then spending the next 48 hours with my cousin as we battled our wits and will through NES classics such as Ghost ‘n Goblins, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Battletoads, and Castlevania.

ign 3
image via IGN

Castlevania is my favorite game franchise. I have returned to those games more times than I wish to admit just for another chance to traverse the lonely countryside to slay the hellish denizens of Count Dracula. I’m still as spell-bound by the series as I was back then, and sadly, there’s not really been a new game to excel the franchise as it deserves to be.

Thar’s why I’m very happy to introduce you to this Kickstarter success! Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is the perfect combination of all of our favorite 8-bit memories. It’s the soul-successor to the Castlevania series, and honestly, I feel the two exist in the same universe. The game sports some beautiful graphics with a retro flair, a haunting old-school soundtrack, and gameplay that’s easy to learn and proves to be a determined challenge.

In the spirit of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, the game allows players to enlist the support of companions who join your quest to slay demons. Each character is armed with their own weapons and skills which you will need to use interchangeably as you further your journey into the blackening heart of darkness.

ign
image via IGN

I just picked up the game this week and all those old memories of getting lost in a new game flooded over me. If you are a fan of old-school games and if you grew up loving Castlevania, then this is the game for you. With multiple endings to choose from, BCotM boasts lots of replayability.

It’s available now for PS4, Nintendo 3DS, Switch, PSVITA, Xbox ONE, and Steam.

I had to take a break from playing it to let you guys know how much fun this has been. Darkness awaits and it’s time to remind the Night why it should fear us.

For more information please visit their website:

http://curseofthemoon.com/en/

 

 

Manic Presents Underrated Slasher Killers – ‘Uncle Sam’

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.

Uncle Sam (1996)

Yes, the patriotic spirit swept the nation this past week as droves of hard-working men and women piled into cars and made their ways to picnics, barbeques, beaches or to visit friends and loved ones. Bold rockets lit up the night sky and people sat back from Coast to Coast to celebrate how Colonials kicked a whole lot of ass back before any of us were ever born. So why not commemorate that victory with a shitty little slasher film a lot of people have never heard of?!

Fear Forever
image via Fear Forever

 

 

Uncle Sam is a movie that – and if – anyone has actually heard of it, they’ve never really seen it. Now, and thanks to Shudder, you can spend an evening with this star-spangled serial killer and remember freedom as the blood flows out of wounds before your eyes.

The movie is guilty fun. Let’s face it though, Slashers are not known for their acting. We know what to expect here: boobs, blood and fantastic kills. That’s the basic formula, and Uncle Sam is not above that expectation. It does have all three of those tropes here, so seasoned horror fans won’t be disappointed.

imdb
image via IMDB

That said, this movie has some of the worst acting I’ve seen since Twilight. We don’t expect anything of Hugh Jackman’s caliber here, but mother of piss is the acting terrible in this one.

Summary

So the movie is about a mean bastard of a guy named Sam Harper (David Fralick). A fucker so god-awful nasty that his fellow soldiers see him to the grave with a little ‘friendly fire.’ Back home though his now-widowed wife (Anne Tremko) is not really phased, and if anything is glad to be rid of his sadistic abuse. However, his obnoxious little nephew (Christopher Ogden) hero worships the man and can’t wait until he’s old enough to enlist himself and follow in Sam’s footsteps.

So Sam is brought back to life once a group of local morons burns a flag over his open grave, and well, this soldier ain’t staying dead for that kind of shit. His reanimated corpse comes back to inflict revenge on anyone he deems to be unpatriotic or disrespectful to the Nation. He finds some peeping-Tom dressed in an Uncle Sam costume, and after poking the perv’s eyes out (and spouting off one-liners that would make Freddy cringe, things like, “Hope you got an eyeful?” as he digs his fingers into both eye sockets) and then walks about on the 4th of July as our happy killer Uncle Sam.

horrorpedia
image via horrorpedia

It’s a fun gimmicky movie, another holiday-centered horror flick, and honestly, that’s a category all on its own, and one the slasher genre loves to infiltrate. I felt this movie missed some golden opportunities. Like I wish there had been some hilarious Star-Spangled type of deaths. I wanted Uncle Sam to walk around shoving fistfuls of bottle rockets up people’s butts and seeing them burst from the inside out like gooey fireworks. We do get a flagpole death though.

I can’t say this is anywhere near one of my favorite slasher characters/films, but it does have a goofy charm to it. If NECA ever released an Uncle Sam figure I’d be tempted to buy the damn thing. I mean I do collect horror icons, I’m even getting my own custom-made Madman figure! Whoop whoop!

I know the holiday has come and gone already, but the movie is still a perfect choice if you’re looking for a good summer screamer to enjoy.

So yes, without any doubt Sam is worth our attention. We stand and salute you, Sir. We thank you for your service to the history of horror and may you remain obscure no longer.

Manic out.

Shout Factory Just Made My Day – ‘CREEPSHOW Collector’s Edition’ to be Released!

Welcome back my Nasties! Gather close and snuggle up with a corpse because we have some ghastly goodness to discuss. I’m your host, Manic Exorcism, and today I, once again, am being forced to bid farewell to some more hard-earned cash. That’s because our friends over at Shout Factory just gave us some of the best damn news ever, and frankly, I’m a bit shocked. Earlier today the team responsible for giving us some of the finest horror Blu-rays ever just announced that we will be getting a CREEPSHOW Collector’s Edition. It’s finally happening!

It’s about fucking time too! For the longest while, we had to settle for an inferior, bare-bones release of one of the most beloved horror titles of all time. CREEPSHOW is the pinnacle example of how a horror anthology should be done. Certainly, this movie wasn’t the very first horror anthology, but it’s certainly the favorite among many. It’s my personal favorite one.

 

amazon
image via Amazon

 

The masterminds over at Arrow Video did give us a brilliant release of CREEPSHOW 2, and I’m very happy with that edition. Nevertheless, I still wanted the set to be complete (CREEPSHOW 3 can eat shit and die because it doesn’t exist to me) and hoped to see the original movie (FINALLY) get a proper Blu-ray treatment.

The movie deserves it.

The fans deserve it.

Jordy Verrill gave his life to see this finally happen.

And by God, we’ve waited long enough!

“Romero and King have approached this movie with humor and affection, as well as an appreciation of the macabre.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

That’s the charm of this movie. It’s spooky fun, something modern horror needs to be reminded of.

No matter what kind of day you’re dealing with this movie will make you feel better.

Hollywood Reporter
image via Hollywood Reporter

It’s also something you can watch with your kids, just in case you’re wanting to raise them to be proper horror fanatics. It has everything! The dead rising from the grave,  Joe Hill getting the shit slapped out of his face, Leslie Nielsen being a dickhead to Ted Danson, and a drunk Adrienne Barbeau – this movie is fun for the whole family!

I’m curious to see what kind of Special Features we’re going to get with this one too. I’m really hoping it mirrors the UK DVD edition that came out a while ago. Regardless this is the Collector’s Edition and given Shout Factory’s past record I know we can expect some great things.

Preorders are limited right now, and they boast:

EXCLUSIVE LIMITED-EDITION OFFER FOR SHOUTFACTORY.COM – ONLY 1,500 AVAILABLE – INCLUDES:

A rolled 28.5” x 16.5” lithograph of the new slipcase art by Laz Marquez
A rolled 18” x 24” poster of an alternative art illustration by Laz Marquez
– Shoutfactory.com

 

https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/creepshow-collector-s-edition?product_id=6868

Can I Borrow Your Imagination?

“Then you really might know what it’s like,

Then you really might know what it’s like,

Then you really might know what it’s like to have to lose.”

We first met the equally gifted and cursed Will Graham in Thomas Harris’ 1981 novel, Red Dragon, the best-seller that also introduced us to Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Outside of our imaginations, however, it would be almost five years before we would see the purposeful-looking profiler in flesh and blood on screen in Michael Mann’s Manhunter (1986), and another 16 before his last theatrical appearance in Red Dragon (2002).

From the novel, and subsequent films, we understood Graham to possess the uncomfortable and unwelcome talent of pure empathy, an ability to assume the point of view of brutal killers. While it was an ability that allowed him to translate evidence in a way that others simply could not, Harris’ words informed us of the toll it took on Graham, but it was a phenomenon that we’d never truly witnessed on-screen.

Until Bryan Fuller resurrected the Lecter universe with NBC’s groundbreaking Hannibal series in 2013.

Do you see?

After more than thirty-one years, two films and a novel, we were finally given the opportunity to truly observe Will Graham for the first time through the brilliant vehicle that is Hugh Dancy.

Prior to the opening scene of the program’s initial episode, we’d only been offered glimpses of what Graham could conjure through his unique imagination. Be it with William Petersen talking himself through the thought process in Manhunter, or the briefest of visions presented through the lens of Edward Norton’s reluctant voyeur, we never truly delved into Will Graham’s mind.

Hannibal set about changing that, and while this writer will be the first to say that Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecter is the finest portrayal of the cannibalistic caretaker, the reason that the television series soared for 39 episodes was the presentation of Will Graham.

As Damian Swift and Mark Shannon were the first to achieve the feat of penning Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) as not only human, but human being with Friday the 13th (2009), Fuller and company allowed a similar peek behind the curtain. Graham was no longer an edgy, hesitant hero with hundreds of thousands of miles on his engine, but for the first time, the price of Graham’s gift was put on full display.

Dancy’s exhibition of Graham was closer to self-diagnosed Asperger’s and autism than a jaded veteran detective. Interaction was not just difficult, but strained and stressful. Not once was there an I-told-you-so revelation that altered the approach to a case, but rather a sad, reserved interpretation of “the ugliest thoughts in the world.”

The beauty of Hannibal, and of Dancy’s portrayal, was another line from Everlast’s “What it’s Like,” – “God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes” — a lyric that applied not only to Graham, allowing himself into the headspace of a psychopath, but to the audience that embarked on that same journey through Graham’s eyes.

tumblr_inline_ohuslmj6nP1s38ndg_500And Fuller’s Hannibal wasted no time in communicating that we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

That first view found Graham analyzing the surroundings of a crime scene, then rewinding to the very moment he’d summoned the courage to kick the door in and experience the heinous thoughts, actions and sentiments of the perpetrator.

Graham entered the home with confidence, and upon putting down Mr. Marlow (Wayne Downer), emphatically declared “He will die watching me take what is his away from him. This is my design.” Next, he shot Mrs. Marlow (Bernadette Couture) “expertly through the neck,” paralyzing her before she hit the floor, setting up the first true indication that this was not the Will Graham we’d thought we known over the course of three decades.

Graham slowly walked toward the downed victim and said “which doesn’t mean that she can’t feel pain,” his eyes searching for the words, Dancy whispered a tormented “It just means,” before continuing “she can’t do anything about it.”

The empathy of Graham not only allowed him to adopt unwanted points of view, he also empathized with the victim, and the awful thoughts and visions running through his mind.

Graham would go on to point out that the work Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) had recruited him to do was “not good for (him),” as we laid eyes upon the incredibly expensive emotional, psychological and physical tax of Graham’s imagination.

Hannibal’s Will Graham was not a damaged, yet contented family man who didn’t want to look anymore, he was unstable and fractured long before he stepped foot inside the Marlow home. A fragile tea cup whose crevices were sure to weaken every time he opened his eyes. Or closed them.

And it was Dancy who made each new fissure at once agonizing and exquisite, in a beautiful turn that if we’re honest about it, is the very reason fans continue to clamor for a fourth season, almost three years after Hannibal was taken off the air.

Because of Hugh Dancy, there is still a desire, dare I say a need, to borrow Will Graham’s imagination.