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Friday, December 24, 2010


Here's the trailer for Kevin Smith's forthcoming horror film, "Red State." It may not be your typical horror film, but it looks pretty scary to me.

Happy HorrorDays!

Last night I watched something I always try to see around Christmas -- the Tales From The Crypt episode "All Through The House." It's set on Christmas eve, and features a killer Santa -- this time played by Larry Drake, later to evoke both laughs and screams as "Dr. Giggles."

There's a twist, though -- Santa, an escaped lunatic, wants to invade the home of a scheming woman (Mary Ellen Trainor) who's literally just killed her second husband for insurance money. The wife sees this as an opportunity to frame crazy Santa for her husband's murder, but forgets one thing: her small daughter's unquestioning love for Santa Claus.

Originally a comic book story in EC's "The Vault Of Horror," "All Through The House" was previously dramatized in the 1972 Amicus theatrical film "Tales From the Crypt," directed by the legendary Freddie Francis. For a change, the Americans did as well as the Brits with the material, though -- this HBO "Crypt" episode, only the second in the series, was directed by the great Robert Zemeckis. I found it on DVD as part of "Tales From The Crypt: The Robert Zemeckis Collection."

Actually, I enjoy Christmas horror films partly because I'm not big on Christmas -- being bombarded with all the Norman Rockwell family propaganda gets old fast if your own history was not so cheery. I'm also one of those folks who fights with Christmas depression every year. But my partner and my pets are a fine family now, and I am particularly grateful for them at this time of year.

Whether your favorite seasonal film is "Gremlins," "Silent Night, Deadly Night" or something more traditional like "White Christmas," I hope you can find time to enjoy it -- and that you and your loved ones have a joyous, safe, peaceful and prosperous holiday.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Here, as part of the Christmas Week Tod Slaughter Blog-A-Thon masterminded by Joe Monster at From Beyond Depraved, is a glimpse of Mr. Slaughter when you’d expect him to be out of character. The problem is, he apparently never was!

Tod Slaughter, for those who don't know, was an actor who specialized in playing villains on the British stage. He became strongly identified with Sweeney Todd, and went on to play him in the first filmed version of that famous gory story. This "newsreel" introduces movie audiences to Slaughter just as that film arrived in cinemas. You can tell the man really loves his work (just a little too much, in fact, as this luckless "journalist" is about to find out!)

This appeared with other “newsreels” by the Pathe company between feature films at the local cinema. It was, of course, really an ad for Slaughter’s 1936 film “Sweeney Todd, Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.”

Sadly, there are no films featuring Mr. Slaughter as an evil Santa. He would have made a great one, but such an idea would have been way ahead of its time.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The Little Sisters Of Chernobyl always threw a few surprises into their annual holiday production of "The Sound Of Music."

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Stop growling, Wolfie. If you didn't claw the labels off, we'd be able to tell the Clearasil from the Nair!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


"Blood Moon" (2001) -- aka "Wolf Girl" -- is one of the most original and surprising horror films I've ever seen.

It stars Tim Curry as impresario Harley Dune (love the name), who runs a traveling carnival that specializes in freaks. One of them is the seductive and darkly philosophical half-man-half-woman Christine/Christoph, played to the hilt by Grace Jones. The star attraction, though, is Tara the Wolf Girl (Victoria Sanchez), covered in shaggy hair since infancy due to a condition called Hypertrichosis. Otherwise Tara is a normal teenage girl, but the show plays her as a vicious, snarling creature that frightens the audience.

The real surprise in the show is the prominence of musical numbers in a style similar to the decadent jazzy show-tunes of the film "Cabaret." Curry and Jones both perform musical numbers, and there is even a hilarious bawdy song from a dwarf backed by an all-girl chorus line, "Just The Right Height For Delight."

All goes smoothly till a group of teenage bullies cruises into the audience and starts harassing Tara during her act. However, this causes her to bond with a nerdy local boy Ryan (Dov Tiefenbach) who is a favorite victim of her tormentors. Ryan's mom is a cosmetics researcher (Lesley Anne Warren) who is testing a hair removal drug on mice. He tries to use the drug to cure Tara, and, though she starts shedding hair, it has an ironic side effect -- the more normal she appears, the more she becomes like a wild animal inwardly. You can imagine what's in store for the bullies, who just don't know when to quit.

Though it has some horror movie tropes and violence, the film is really more of a cross between a drama and a musical, driven by the complex relationships between the characters. Sometimes it's darkly funny, sometimes it's quite touching -- as in scenes showing Tara's affectionate friendship with the show's gigantic fat lady -- and sometimes it's quite disturbing.

"Blood Moon" certainly addresses themes relevant to gay and transgender people -- being different, being bullied, etc. -- and it prominently features two gay icons, Curry and Jones, who may not be on screen a LOT, but make quite an impact when they do appear. One of Jones's songs ambitiously turns the whole idea of gender identity on its ear. The only female in the bully clique secretly comes on to Tara, and for the guys there's even a scene with full frontal male nudity (though the point of it is to humiliate the character because he has such a teeny willy, so don't get too excited!)

This movie won't make you jump, but it will make you think and feel (and sometimes laugh). It's not all that scary, but it is fascinating -- a very unusual film if you're up for something truly different. The whole cast is superb. The film is directed by Thom Fitzgerald and written by Lori Lansen, and they've really crafted something special.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Please, Sir, can't you spare some change? I need to raise funds to have this hair catastrophe professionally corrected.