All posts by Manic Exorcism

Horror writer and enthusiast.

Cavity Colors! Art For ‘Friday the 13th’ Never Looked Better!

I ran into the fine folks at Cavity Colors while attending Monsterpalooza down in L.A. and have been a fan ever since. Their use of colors against violent and vivid images from the horror franchises we grew up loving are impossible to ignore and are the standard they stand by.

image via Attack on Planet B, art by Cavity Colors

High quality and searing imagination go into each new project they work on, and as result, give the horror community some of the best-looking posters and shirts you’ll find this side of Hell.

For this Friday the 13th I wanted to showcase what amazing things they’ve done with Jason, my absolute favorite slasher killer.

They have so much more to offer fans and you can check them out here.

Happy Friday the 13th!

FRANKENSTEIN! The Imperial Legacy of Mary Shelley’s Immortal Monster

“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.” – Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

The limping Phantasm of a new horror bristled across the dreamscape of a young woman’s darkest imagination. The misshapen Thing beckoned to her, demanding concession for its own hideous sentience; demanding to be recognized, the Creature rapped its corded fist of scars and confused tissues against the smoky glass that separates our waking world from the shadow realm of sleep, shattering the delicate veil, and roaring to be brought through to us. From nightmares, the Thing of death called out to to be brought to life and she granted it entrance. 

image via TriStar, ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’

Much like her obsessed titular character, Mary Shelley was on her own quest to bring life to things wrought from fretful dreams. She admits to having seen a terrible shadow pass along her room one night, a thing shown but only briefly by a searing flash of blistering light. Her Monster, her own very personal demon, was brought to life before her eyes by the lightning. 

That nightmare left an imprint on her soul.

A fitting origin to what would become her horrific masterpiece! 

Bernie Wrightson, ‘Frankenstein’

How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea? – Mary Shelley

A marvelous question, but asked by a writer of titanic skill. Be warned, dear reader, when a writer has a marvelous question many dark little horrors can be given shape from it. 

Example: a young father had moved his small family to a new home, a home just a little too (precariously) close to a busy road. This father just barely caught hold of his young boy who, as little boys do, run very quickly and take little heed to the dangerous world around them. The toddler’s quest to cross the road was stopped and the father held the lad to his chest as a truck, all eighteen wheels roaring, flashed down the road before his eyes. A truck that surely would have made quick and gruesome work of a tiny boy such as his son. 

The father thought, “What would have happened if I hadn’t been quick enough?” Oh, did I mention there was a pet cemetery out in the woods behind their house? 

You see, those are the questions that keep us writers up at night. The only way to expel them is to share them, and I believe that’s exactly why gods and devils disturb our thoughts and rest. We are unwilling ambassadors of the dark world. What scares us shall surely frighten you too. 

It takes a marvelous question and then, with time, a whole lot of obsession. 

The Art of Obsession 

Perhaps it’s the curse of our times but few truly understand the need for wild obsessions. I mean the pang of desperation. I want writers to have a deep-rooted passion for their craft, not to make money (though who can bitch about monetary gain?) but to release demons, horrors beyond time and space, and to break taboos without ever feeling the need to apologize for the black miracles they’ve unleashed upon the world. 

image via dmdave

That’s the kind of obsessions I mean. The kind we’d all be locked up for if we should ever dare explore them in real life, but, vicariously lived through the monsters and madmen we unlock while writing. 

“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” Frankenstein, Mary Shelley 

image via frankensteiniablogspot

Each word is poetry begotten of the macabre, stitched together in such eloquence that we cannot turn our eyes away. Imagine not knowing the story! Imagine the sickening thrill of the slightest twitch of the creation’s finger. Readers howled and screamed upon first reading Shelley’s gothic horror masterpiece. 

A masterpiece about death but brimming with, although nefarious as it may be, life! It’s been told and retold across the generations as new horror fans come to know the name of Frankenstein, a man who dared to play as God. 

Inspirational Evil

Mary Shelley was not ignorant of the questionable practices, or shall we say, abominations committed all in the name of science of her day. It was a well-known secret that educated men blatantly combined alchemy with the practice of medicine, and, most importantly, the Occult was often employed to further their maddening pursuits. Doctors were driven by the devil himself to unravel the mysteries of life by invading the taboo of death. 

Graves were robbed. Cadavers were stolen. Experiments to envy the lectures of Hell were practiced. Such things were not unheard of and became haunted gossip among social gatherings. It all boiled down to this: Could a man create after his own image?

art by Bernie Wrightson, ‘Frankenstein’

Reality and fiction are very thinly divided and sometimes the two cross over. 

So what if it could really be accomplished? Among these bodily pieces of dead men’s tissues, organs, limbs, and bones, what if, out of a thousand efforts, one single man proved more driven than his peers? What if one manic student reached into the shadow of death and pulled something out? 

“If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!” Frankenstein, Marry Shelley

Shelley dared explore this phantasmal taboo and wisely included her own personal trauma to weave together an immortal tale that will outlive us all.

There’s a reason the story stands the test of time.

Shelley’s Grim Philosophy

Another inspiration for Frankenstein came from one of Mary Shelley’s favorite tales, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, an epic depiction of the Genesis account and Fall of Lucifer. Hints to the poem’s immediate influence over her thoughts can be spotted across her own epic tale.

art by Gustove Dore, John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’

God made Man in His image and that image turned to Sin, brother murdered brother, and, in time, wars left corpses outside the guarded gates of Paradise. 

That was the result of a created being made after the image of God. So, what tremendous malevolence can be expected from a thing made after the image of (fallen) Man? 

“I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel…”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

art by Bernie Wrightson, ‘Frankenstein

Victor Frankenstein stood to lose everything for the sake of his creation. The story is a tragic narrative of a weary man whose wick has not long for this sad world. His youth was eaten up by the sorrow gleaned by his own hands. He dared to play God and so finds himself utterly God-forsaken and damned at the story’s end. He is pursued by his Creation to the very end of the world where nothing but ice and barren landscapes are found. 

Frankenstein’s story is a brutal cautionary tale for the ages. Grave robber, thief of death, madman, scientist, and creator of monsters. But who is the true monster in the story? The Creation did not beg to be a new Lazarus. The Creation was given life unwillingly and then abandoned by his own father. 

gettys images, ‘Frankenstein’ by Universal

True, it was the Monster’s hands that ripped, tore, strangled, and left a trail of carnage and tears. But it’s to be argued that such an abomination would never had the chance to lay a single finger against anyone had Frankenstein not created him. 

“It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

The Creation does go on a glorious rampage to punish Victor Frankenstein for the unwanted curse of life. The Monster, as we call it, kills everyone Victor loves until only the graying husk of a man is left of the bright student from Geneva. 

image via McFarlane Toys, ‘Frankenstein’

So it is a story of Ouroboros, the snake ever eating its own tail. And in like manner, Frankenstein is an eternal story that will outlive us all. Even as the worms devour this flesh the Creation of the madman will continue to haunt the world. 

Creating Monsters!

Dear reader, let’s talk about now. If Shelley teaches us anything from her personal life it is to never ignore the germ of an idea. Oh but especially a hideous idea; a creeping, howling, malignant idea birthed out of nightmares! 

How many horror stories are being ignored right now? How many good scares are we being robbed of just because you haven’t written it? Mary Shelley didn’t set out to make a world-wide phenomenon. She just wanted to scare her friends. So that’s a really good starting place. Scare the people closest to you. And never, ever give up.

image via Universal, ‘Frankenstein’

Your idea could happen while you’re on a walk. It could make itself known while you look out the window, or pick up a coffee. You might have to put aside the internet a little bit because writing demands time and attention just like Frankenstein’s Creation. 

Hunchbacks in bell towers, Ghosts haunting Opera Houses, Vampires in Transylvania, men who go invisible, a masked horror that rises from Crystal Lake, a dream demon who haunts nightmares, a puzzle box that opens Hell, a psychopath who invents torture traps and leaves his victims to make the ultimate choice to live or die. 

Monsters are out there, and there are so many of them, but guess what? There’s even more not yet discovered. Are you willing to be possessed by a need to tell a story? I for one would love to read it.

What are your fears and nightmares? What monstrosity might you end up stitching together? Piece by piece, stitch by stitch, nightmares tied to social anxieties, and powered by the engine of your own dark influences what great terror might we expect from you?

Jason and Halloween

When it comes to Halloween and horror icons Michael Myers readily (and rightly so) comes to mind. The impact Myers holds over both the genre and the holiday as a whole now spans the gulf of generations, and, if his 2018 successful return to the silver screen is any indication, will go on to do so way after you and I are finally laid to rest. Michael Myers is as timeless as Halloween itself.

image via Screen Rant

It’s safe to say he is the Halloween Slasher.

There is the expectation for me though. Not to downcast the legacy of Michael Myers but I was introduced to another slasher icon on Halloween and it left an enormous imprint on my (back then) young mind.

It was the night of Halloween and trick-or-treating was in full effect. We ran door to door to glean the sweet goodies friendly neighbors had to give us greedy monsters. We wound up at a friend of my parents’ house and during my boredom of waiting for the adults to shut up so we could rush back out in the twilight to fill my bag with more (so much more) candy my wandering eyes stole a glance at the TV.

image courtesy of Paramount

It was a forbidden thing and out of the warm guilt of taboo a face rose prominently to forever fascinate the darkest regions of my imagination.

Given the title of this, you’re sure to have guessed who I saw on the glowing screen. Jason’s rampage across the TV held me rooted in place, absolutely transfixed on the crimson spectacle before me. I had not seen a single Jason film up to that point, and always managed to admire the covers whenever I was at a video store, but in those brief little moments of viewing, I was enthralled. Given the chance to stay and finish the movie or got forth to trick-or-treat more I probably would have stayed behind. I wanted to see it end! I wanted to see Jason slaughter more!

To me sequels meant nothing. I wasn’t even sure which part I was watching. Plot wasn’t important. To me, there was only Jason and his wrath. That mask was burned into my memory.

image courtesy of Paramount

Back then there was still a whole world of horror movies left in the wild for me to go and discover. Some I saw overseas while living in Russia, some over here, and a few I saw in Finland. It’s been an international adventure for me.

Thanks to VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray I’ve collected most of these series along the way. Like everyone else I have my favorites to watch every Halloween. And still, after all these years later and no matter where I’ve found myself in the world the haunting mask of Jason will be seen in my home come Halloween.

image courtesy of Paramount

Jason is by far my favorite slasher icon. Maybe because I saw him in such a secret way because I damn well knew my folks wouldn’t want me to watch a Friday the 13th picture, believe me, every time I went to the movie store I tried to rent them!

image courtesy of Paramount

Or maybe I just connect with the character in some scary way. But we all have that one evil monster out there that we love and root for.

From all of us at Nightmare Nostalgia to you who help keep horror alive, have a Happy Halloween! And please share with us your Halloween memories and favorite horror icons to watch this time of year.