Saturday, April 11, 2015

Let's Do the Time Warp – Again!

Sacré bleu! First Halloween, then Evil Dead, and now Poltergeist – is no horror classic safe from the reckless carnage of what I call The Age of Regurgitation? Entertainment Weekly reported on Friday that FOX is developing a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 cult classic about the sweet transvestite who enjoys doing the time warp with a blond, scantily-clad hunk. Thankfully it will not be one of those torturous "live" events, and while it will be sticking to the original play it will get a modern-day setting. The big question is casting – who could they possibly hire to adequately fill Tim Curry's glam heels? The point of remakes is give old stories new perspectives and glossy technical makeovers but will the performances measure up (down?) to the classic camp of the original? Hardcore fans know every single nuance of the 1975's cast infamous performance down to Curry's pregnant pauses (an-ti-ci...pation!), Susan Sarandon's wooden line readings, and the knowing glances between Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien), Magenta (Patricia Quinn) and Columbia (Nell Campbell). Let's hope it will succeed at being entertaining, and perhaps the producers will "get" what makes Rocky Horror so iconic.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Blood Moon #3 of 4

In case you missed this morning's Blood Moon, here's a time lapse video. I love the way the moon is slowly devoured by the darkness and then suddenly lights up in red.

If you are a mystical person who enjoys a good apocalypse theory, this third blood moon of four in 18 months signals the end of times according to Pastor John Hagee. Doomsdayers should visit for an ominous scare.

The idea of a "blood moon" serving as an omen of the coming of the end times comes from the Book of Joel, where it is written "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes." (Wikipedia)

Of course science has clearly explained that blood moons happen when the moon travels into the Earth's shadow and the current tetrad of events just happens to be lucky "season". The current century of 2001 to 2100 will have eight tetrads of blood moons. The first occurred in 2003, the second is underway in 2014-2015. The final in the tetrad of blood moons occurs on September 28, 2015 and also happens to a giant super moon (when the moon is closest to the Earth). Mark your calendars now and rent a zoom lens for your DLSR. (See the Blood Moon on the Rise post from April 14, 2014 for a video from ABC news.)

Why no one has made a movie about the blood moon to capitalize on the fear mongering is beyond me! Maybe the upcoming disaster flick SAN ANDREAS will market the blood moon angle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

iZombie Premieres Tonight

Do you LOVE zombie shows but can’t stand all that gratuitous gore or depressing drama – and miss Veronica Mars? Then the CW’s new show iZombie is inexplicably perfect for you. It's based loosely on a short-lived comic book of the same name, but gone are the comic's quirkier elements like a 1960s ghost pal and a were-terrier friend.

In the TV show, the main character eats the brains of the recently deceased, gains their memories and uses them to solve crimes. While the original source material sounds more fun, I suppose TV land needs one more crime procedural – this time with a teen cast. The reviews have been generally favorable and cite Rose McIver's performance as the pilot's bright spot but I would brush up on your millennial speak: teeds, yaaas for sure, but mabs ur fomo should myw.  :: /

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Insidious Chapter 3's Teaser Poster

The once promising INSIDIOUS franchise is unleashing Chapter 3 this May and to build suspense, we get this poster with hard-to-read red lettering saying something Important Loudly – and a vent. A VENT! Look at the way it just sits there on that grimy, grey wall... all flat and stuff... with its two stupid screws. So SINISTER!!!

I've made my own movie poster and I think it's just as good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Boo-Boos Bandages

If you are the kind of person who likes display open flesh wounds for fun – and who doesn’t? – this is for you! A brilliant mad scientist (engineer, actually) from Oakland, CA named $hërwøõd Förlêé has a Kickstarter campaign for Boo-Boos Bandages. While it sounds cute, the adhesive bandages are sure to turn any stomach with seriously grotesque and highly graphic bandages to cover up those pesky paper cuts and dull knife kitchen stabbings that happen when making nachos. So why would anyone wear these?
If you don't mind a bit of attention, like having fun, and/or your real boo-boo smarts to such a degree you wish to convey that pain in a conceivable visual manner, then Boo-Boos are suitable for you!
Below is a sampling of 2 of the 5 sickening designs. This is a limited run available only through this project and there's 25 days left to go.

One of Forlee’s other noteable projects include the Anti-Theft Lunch Bag sure to keep those communal fridge fiends at bay. Sadly these are forever out-of-stock on his website, where you can also check out some of his other inventive projects, novelties, and hilarious concepts.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Salem Season 2 Posters

The posters for Salem, Season 2 are sinister, eerie, and downright breathtaking. Having been raised Catholic, upside down crosses always make me uneasy, but the poster with the upside down village is practically nauseating. Salem, Season 1 was uneven but still one of the best genre shows on tv – and it was actually scary not depressing (ahem, American Horror Story). Looking forward to more witchy horror on April 5th on WGN.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

After the Storm

Typically, I stay away from posting personal anecdotes so look away if you must. The Halloween community is quite supportive of one another and I would bet a severed limb that fellow bloggers and readers do notice when things go too quiet on a blog front.

The truest horror is not serial killers, malevolent entities, or even evil aliens. It's real life problems that take you away from the things you love, like Halloween, watching horror movies, and writing about scary things. Last year, life threw me a curve ball in the form of unemployment – first time ever in my life I'd been without a job. After 13 years at a company, a new boss stepped in and decided that they didn't need our marketing team. Without ever meeting us, we got the boot with very little notice, no gratitude for our years of service, and absolutely no severance. It was a shock.

After struggling for almost six months, juggling mortgage payments and bills, interviewing everywhere and anywhere, and taking odd jobs, things looked really bleak. But then I got a great Christmas present: a fun job in a college marketing department! Over the last 8 weeks I've worked hard, met some great people, and have been having a lot of fun – at work!!  Who could know?!? I finally found the perfect place for me. I even got to spend an evening with one of my idols, Anderson Cooper (the selfie was his idea, really). Looking back, moving on was just what I needed.

After the storm, I'm slowly regaining a state of equilibrium, reassessing my social media, Halloween sites, and blog – and hopefully keeping my scary shenanigans afloat in some form or another. The blog may transition to an occasional or even a seasonal blog (although there are so many scary things to talk about all year long). If you have no aversion to social media, please like MyScaryHalloween's Facebook page
which does get frequent posts.

Here's to a bright, and horribly scary future!

Jerry Diego

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stephen King's Revival ~ Review

Stephen King’s Revival is an odd duck. The book spans over 50 years and is mostly a study of baby-boomer Americana, drugs, rock-n-roll, and religion with some lightning thrown in. It was billed as a return to horror with “the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has every written” (strange since King’s endings tend to be, well, less than ideal).

The book is vividly written but spends most of its time following the uneventful life of Jamie Morton. From the age of 6 when he first meets Reverend Charles Jacobs (the book’s true central character) through decades of petty jobs and bad decisions, there's chapter after chapter of dull meandering. It’s only in the interludes where Morton crosses paths with Jacobs that the book gets interesting – yet the compelling Jacobs and his bizarre shenanigans are constantly kept in the background.

The theme is established early in the book as Reverend Jacobs faces a terrible tragedy and his faith is severely tested. These events set in motion a collision course with God as Jacob’s obsession with electricity, faith healing, and seeking answers from beyond slowly increase the mystery. Yet only in the last few chapters does it truly veer into full-out horror. When it does so, it’s an abrupt tonal shift that goes off the rails delivering an unexpectedly outlandish and hellish ending. It is a very terrifying conclusion after all, but the dull slog to get to it, the bleak and morose tone, and the focus on the wrong character makes this a rather disappointing read for horror fans.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

American Horror Story: Freak Show ~ Season Review

Hit shows have greats odds against them. They have to maintain a fresh appeal, keep fans happy, find new audiences, and explore new territory. American Horror Story reboots each season with a self-contained story and new characters so the fresh part is easy. But dealing with fans is not. Since the brilliant first season viewer expectations seem to have spiraled out of control. It doesn’t help that months of internet speculation, hidden clues in episodes, and unofficial fan art fuel the fire. When it was announced that Season 4 would have a carnival theme, I immediately thought of scary clowns in the sewer, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, and the endless haunted carnival attractions at Halloween. I admit that I had a difficult time keeping my own expectations in check, so perhaps that's why Freak Show seems like an overall disappointment. Or maybe it was the hodgepodge approach of throwing everything on the wall to see what sticks. There were so many characters, so many stories, so much going on, and only 13 episodes – the storytelling got lost. And so did the horror. Instead of being scary, thrilling and fun, it was morose, humorless, and depressing. The Pepper episode was the most sorrowful hour of TV in years. From the technical standpoint, the production this season was absolutely astounding: the circus sets were grand, colorful and gorgeous; the costumes and makeup effects were perfect and disgusting; and the digital wizardry that gave one actor two heads was almost mind-bogglingly seamless. Maybe now that the season is over and expectations have been put to rest, this chapter can be put back on the shelf to revisit later. Maybe time will bring a new perspective and reveal details lost in the first viewing. This does seems to be a pattern with AHS. The third season Coven definitely improved after a second viewing. However, one thing is certain: no matter how “disappointing” this season of AHS seemed, it’s still better than most of the genre shows on TV, and is filled with the best actors on TV – regardless of whether they have three breasts, distracting accents, or musical numbers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Favorite Scary Movies of 2014

It's that time of the year to recap my favorite films from 2014. I wouldn't necessarily call this the best "horror" movies of the year, although there's a strong component of frightful stuff. As a fervent fan of the genre, I believe horror resides in many realms from family to science fiction to drama movies. Horror's many sub genres is what makes it so unique as a category and I enjoy reveling in it's many facets. Below is a list of my favorite Scary Movies of 2014. Unfortunately there's always more movies than time, so I've also included a list of some favorites praised throughout the community – and I will see at some point in 2015!

Mr. Babadook fan art from Eemeling!

1. The Babadook
This Australian film has done what few could do: tell an original story in a compelling way with the perfect amount of surprise, tension, and emotional impact. This is a truly frightening film that takes one back to childhood fears of the dark, and parents to the darkest thoughts of childrearing. It has also given rise the best boogeyman since Freddy Krueger. I dread the thought of three sharp knocks – BA-ba DOOK! DOOK! DOOK! – knowing you can never get rid of Mr. Babadook.

2. Snowpiercer
This post-apocalyptic, sci-fi juggernaut was a limited release and one of the best films of the year. Set on a train that circles the globe continuously after an ice age sets in, the survivors of the planet form all elements of society the ill-fated back of the train to the upper crust at the front of the train. The cast including the marvelous Tilda Swinton is top notch, the action is riveting, and it’s an original and inspired thriller. At 2 hours and 6 minutes, the movie does sag in places but the ambitious storytelling and outright audacity more than make up for it.

3. Under The Skin
Hypnotic, bizarre, and ultimately moving film about an alien putting in long days and trying to get food on the table like the rest of us. Along the way she/it discovers humanity. The mindtrippy visuals, unsettling high pitched score that evoke Kubrick, and the repetitive droning tone is not for everyone, but give in and the black mirror-floor room will haunt you for months. 

2Oth Century Fox
4. The Book of Life
The first major motion picture about Dia De Los Muertos turned out to be charmingly romantic, visually stunning, and highly original take on the Mexican folk holiday. It was entertaining from start to finish and though it relied a little too much of pop culture, it set itself apart from most animated films in dealing with death straight on. 

5. Oculus
This movie dripped with dread from scene one and quickly established itself as a horror movie with no rules, to the dismay of many. Letting go and getting lost in it’s absurdity definitely heightens the tension. If you can’t believe what you see, what can you believe. And where did this haunted mirror come from? Many questions are raised, few answered, and yet it’s one of the best rides of the year with a great performance from Karen Gillan. 

6. Godzilla
As a lifelong fan of giant monster movies, Godzilla is the one that rules them all. Part dino, part kick-ass, the Godzilla movie we’ve been waiting for was finally unleashed. Yes, Godzilla is fashionably late to his own film and didn’t get enough screen time but when he’s here, he’s in charge. I watched the destruction in awe, with amazing production values and dark gloss missing from so many other versions.

7. Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi 
(Released in the US as Witching & Bitching)
If acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar made a horror movie, this would be it. Outlandish, over-the-top, and zany, this horror comedy is an entertaining battle of the sexes involving a gold heist and a coven of witches up to no good. It's wonderfully weird, gratuitously gross, and subversive filmmaking that Hollywood would never dare to make and often reminded me of the young Peter Jackson/Sam Raimi days. Don't let the subtitles deter you! This is perfect example of VOD releases are saving the horror genre and giving these rough diamonds an audience.

8. The Boxtrolls
Trolls are typically monsters that live under bridges, but these trolls live in boxes and “steal children” at night to the dismay of the townsfolk. Thus sets up the battle between the citizens and the monsters in this touching, visually dazzling, and offbeat film. The English accents may deter some audiences in America but those willing to oversee the thin story and unhurried pace will definitely discover its heart and soul.

9. The Guest
The director of You’re Next turns this drama thriller into a quiet home invasion film that morphs into something else entirely by the end. It’s insane and mesmerizing, especially when you realize the lead actor is Dan Stevens - the former fop/pudgy frump from Downton Abbey. Whoa. This guy has piercing eyes that perfectly convey an unhinged mind. Extra credit for being set during Halloween, featuring the official new scream queen of 2014: Maika Monroe.

10. Killer Legends
This documentary explored four urban legends and their possible origins. From poisoned Halloween candy to killer clowns, this interesting documentary (from the makers of Cropsey) all-to-briefly covers the stuff that our nightmares are made of. Interviews with first hand-witnesses, former detectives, and actual crime scene photos add an air of authenticity and mounting dread that leave the viewers wanting to know more. The narrative style and connection with the viewer also keeps the audience engaged and thoroughly unnerved. 

Honorable Mentions of 2014
Mr. Jones
Starry Eyes
The Sacrament
Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead
The Strange Color of your Body's Tears
The Taking of Deborah Logan

Noteworthy in the Horror Community (and in my Queue)
The Houses October Built
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Late Phases
Willow Creek
The Borderlands
The Canal
Cheap Thrills
Big Bad Wolves