Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The end of 2013 and the holiday season.

It's New Years Eve and soon another year AND another holiday season will be in the past.  So I thought I'd take one last stab at a holiday themed blog.

First on my mind, Bad Religion put out a Christmas album.  Anyone who reads the comic knows that I love rock 'n' roll almost as much as I love monsters and comic books.  Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands, I even named an entire story arc after them. But  I was still kind of dubious of the idea of a Christmas record.   I mean, was it going to be a goofy set of ironic punk covers ala MeFirst and the GimmieGimmies?

  Still, hungry for holiday tunes more rockin' than the kind played at your local Target I downloaded the whole thing.  It's actually pretty damn good.  Instead of going for humor, the band play the songs fairly straight.  When blasted through their sound, the songs take on an ominous and mysterious quality.  This would be great music for a holiday themed horror movie. Although you'd be about a week late, I'd suggest checking this out if you're a punk rock fan.

So while not directly holiday or New Years related, I did finally catch Gore Verbinski's Lone Ranger last night.  Man, what a mixed bag!  There is a point at the climax of the film, where they fire up the "William Tell Overture" and the Long Ranger and Tonto go after the bad guys.  The resulting action sequence might be the best of 2013.  It's old fashioned, rock 'em, sock 'em violence in the style of Indiana Jones.  But more importantly, it has this gee-whiz charm that really suits the title character.  If the entire movie had that tone, it would have been perfect.

But sadly, the movie undercuts that tone at every point when 21st century snark.  Some of it, I understand.  I grew up watching re-runs of  the Clayton Moore TV show.  You couldn't recreate that and expect modern audiences to respond to it.  But what we're left with is a Lone Ranger who is a dork and a Tonto who is a manipulative whacko.  Which might have been fine if they had overcome their differences and become this great crime fighting team.  But we never see that evolve.  So what we're left with is an unfinished character arc and disappointing "heroes." The movie has it's moments and some of them are great.  Plus, it has style to burn.  I just wish it had more heart.

So I guess that is about it for me this year.  2014 is going to probably be the biggest year ever for "Halloween Man!"  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year ya'll!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What could this be?

Anyone remember those old weight loss/gain/etc ads in old magazines or comics?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Halloween Man at Holly's Horrorland!

Check it out creeps! Halloween Man has been featured at Holly's Horrorland! Click to see how you can get an advance look at the new Monsterverse Halloween Man!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th (2009)

Since it is Friday the 13th, I thought I'd re-post some a few of my old "Jason" related movie reviews.  This is a review of the "reboot" film from a few years back. This was originally for Rockabilly Online.

"I’m a huge Friday the 13th fan. Almost everyone reading this review knows this. I have a hockey mask hanging on my wall, I have a Jason Takes Manhattan poster signed by Kane Hodder, and I own several models in the image of the famous slasher. Needless to say, I’m a junkie for all things Voorhees. So as a fan, I approached this recent film with a degree of skepticism. I didn’t want my favorite franchise to be butchered.

On that note, it should be noted that I also hated Marcus Nispel’s takes on both Frankenstein and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So yeah, I was very, very, VERY cautious when sitting down for this flick. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. Eschewing both the campy trappings of the previous two entries and the nihilistic leanings of the “torture porn” genre, this reboot offers good, no-frills horror. It’s gory, spooky, and above all fun.

The movie isn’t a remake in the traditional sense. It’s more a reinvention of the pop-mythology created by the original series. So, we get a brief look at Mama Voorhees in a short origin tale over the credits sequence. This bit throws in one of the more interesting additions to the concept – Jason’s famous machete is the same weapon used to slice off his mom’s head. Any shrink would love to get the deformed hillbilly on the couch.

 Not much more about this set off my purist buttons. Jason is a little too smart at points, but then they’re starting the character over from scratch. I know the screenwriters used Rambo as an influence and it shows in how Jason stalks his victims. To this end they explain some stuff that probably didn’t need explaining. (IE: Jason is “everywhere” because he has a series of tunnels.) but nothing about it was enough to turn me off the movie.

Derek Mears is in fine form as the man behind the mask. His Jason reminded me a lot of Kane Hodder’s, although this new Jason is a bit of a speed demon. I’d welcome him back if a sequel is made.

If I have one major complaint about the movie it would be the overuse of pop and rock music. It’s hard to build tension when your trendy soundtrack is blaring every five seconds. It wasn’t enough to ruin the movie, but it was just enough to annoy me.

All in all, I’d say this gets a unexpected thumbs up from me. Most of my friends were expecting me to hate it. Hell, I was expecting to hate it. Sometimes life hands you a little cinematic surprise. So there you have it, rent(or buy) Friday the 13th and watch Jason do his thing."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The many faces of Jason Voorhees.

In honor of the upcoming Friday the 13th, I am continuing to post "Jason stuff."  This gave me a good laugh.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"I was a Teenaged Super-Scientist!"

A "photo" of "Teen Lucy" by Sergio Calvet.  For some reason I love seeing my characters in before their superheroic primes.

Freddy vs. Jason!

Since we have a Friday the 13th coming up, I thought I'd re-post some a few of my old "Jason" related movie reviews.  Starting with  "Freddy vs. Jason." This was originally for Rockabilly Online.

"My stance on this much-hyped, highly successful but critically panned monster mash is fairly controversial. Not only do I think it’s one of the better moves in either of the represented franchises, but I think
it’s one of the better horror films of the last decade. A darkly comic update of old fashion monster rallies, Ronny Yu’s film is the “junk culture” film at its finest. Visually stunning, fast paced, and dripping with subtext.

 Early on in the movie, we’re greeted by our first image of Jason Voorhees as he stalks a busty camper in a hellish version of Crystal Lake. Jason stomps out of a foggy scene like Frankenstein’s Monster. Indeed, Karloff’s monster never had such an entrance, nor any other version of the creature. It’s a grand intro you wish ol’ bolt neck would have had. And it cements Jason as a new cultural totem, soaking up all of our left over Frankenstein energy.

Ken Kirzinger who plays Jason in this film is of course taking over for fan favorite Kane Hodder. It’s a disservice to Kirzinger to compare him to Hodder, as he created a lot of the body language that now belongs to the Jason character. He does a solid job taking over for Hodder, teaming with Yu and the wonderful make-up effects to create the right combo of menace and pathos.

 Of course, returning to the role that made him famous is Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. Similar to how Jason has become a modern Frankenstein, Freddy is the modern Dracula. He is a sexual predator who manipulates the less intelligent monster. Indeed, here we have a clash of child abuser and abused child.

 And, in due course, Krueger is  nastier here than he’s been in years – wearing his pedophilia on his sleeve. Englund finally strikes the right cord between the nightmare Freddy began as and the vaudeville showman he became. You can tell he’s having a ball here where he could have put in a hacky performance and collected a large paycheck.

The sexualized violence isn’t limited to Freddy though. In one of the movie/s best show pieces, a dim witted jock is basically “raped” by Jason’s machete – in a bed, no less. One has to wonder how they got that one by the ratings board.

 Having brought up that point, let’s talk about the characters here for a second. One of the typical criticisms of slasher movies is of course the lack of character development. It’s here where I believe some of our more learned critics have missed the point and probably the appeal of these kinds of movies. Slasher movie victims fit certain archetypes. They are relatable enough to the audience, but in the end they exist to die. Whether this is a major flaw in the genre or not is for someone better than me to decide. But I do think it’s a central part of the genres appeal. There’s a nihlism to the slasher genre that can’t be removed lest it fall apart altogether.

 Here it’s represented almost perfectly. The human characters are basically demolished by Jason, while Freddy grows angrier and angrier at his own impotence. The monsters are indeed the stars here, and Yu clearly loves them way more than his teenage victims, who are lucky if they get a snarky remark before they meet their end.

 Of course certain genre conventions are observed and we’re given our “final girl” in the form of Lori, embodied by Monica Keena. She’s serviceable enough acting wise. Easy on the eyes too, attractive and pouty. But she’s certainly not going to make anyone forget Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween – Lori is simply there to move the other teenage targets into Freddy/Jason’s way. right up to the final battle, which is an amazing spectacle.

It’s there that Yu really pays off the rest of the movie. Monsters have battled many times over the years, but here we’re given something that’s visually pleasing in more than just typical gore.(Though that is pretty nice too.) Freddysuddenly becomes Bruce Lee, while Jason is a Sherman tank with legs. Both villains pummel each other within a inch of their lives, drowning the screen in stage blood. Most action films don’t have fight scenes this well put together.

So here’s the part where I always get asked “is it scary?” Well, not really, but it’s not exactly the point here. Was Frankenstein meets the Wolfman “scary?” No. What we have here is a roller-coaster ride with teeth. And, as that, it works really well. A bloody good time indeed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's December again!

Which makes it the most wonderful time of the year!

Pretty crazy to think about.  So....

What are some of your favorite Christmas themed horror movies?

Fashionable Eye of the Beholder Pages from Sergio Calvet!

Map of American Lake Monsters!

Every now and then  you will just run across something you have to share.  This is a map of famous American lake monsters I stumbled across.  Monster hunters can now plan their vacations accordingly.

Monday, December 2, 2013

One of my favorite Dan DeCarlo images.

For those of you who don't know, Dan DeCarlo was a comic book and pin-up artist who famously created the house style of Archie comics.  However, as you can see here he had a more adult...and sexier side to his work.  This is my favorite piece by him, a playful look at what it is like to be an admirer of plus-sized women.  Simply wonderful.  I see a lot of Sergio's revamped Lucy design in this gal.   What do you think?

Dark of the Forest!

While "Halloween Man" is my brainchild, a comic is only as good as it's whole creative team.  Over the years it has been my honor and  privilege to work with my creative soul brothers Russell Hillman and Sergio Calvet.  Two of the most steadfast and talented guys you will ever meet. 

Well, they have teamed-up for a rip roaring and rampaging Bigfoot comic called "Dark of the Forest."  It's everything you'd want out of an early 80's monster movie, complete with gobs of nudity and gore. It has bits of  "the Howling" and "Friday the 13th" in. And by that I mean the choice bits.  There isn't an ounce of fat on this bad boy.

 Like a good creature feature, it's doesn't over stay it's welcome either.  This is a lean,mean, killing machine and well worth a look.Now if this blog has interested you, you should check out this interview with Russell. After that you should try to get your hands on a copy of this comic!