Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: The Creature from the Black Lagoon




He first showed his webbed and clawed hand on screen back in 1954 as just a quick, chilling glimpse of what was to come. Then, a little later in the story, we saw the entirety of him in all of his glory. To this day the monster design fully realized and put on display in The Creature from the Black Lagoon is still one of, if not the, most elegantly beautiful creature suits to every grace the screen. Six decades have come and gone, yet there are still few creations in horror that match the total craftsmanship put on display with that suit.

31 Days of Halloween: Every Other Day is Halloween




It was a different age of television. Channels were far more often than not locally run, and most stations had their own smaller studio production facilities where actual programming was made for broadcast. This wasn’t simply your six o’clock news either. Back in the day you would get local morning shows, children’s game shows and programming, and special event presentations starring the local talent and geared for the regional audiences. But the favorite amongst the local programming in many areas was whatever show featured a horror movie and a horror host. Back in 2009 C.W. Prather’s labor of love, Every Other Day is Halloween, looked at a slice of this bit of television history by focusing on Dick Dyszel, a man known throughout the DC area and beyond as Bozo the Clown, Captain 20, and, most importantly, Count Gore de Vol.

Friday, October 30, 2015

31 Days of Halloween - Devlin's Domain - The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)



All Hallow's Eve is nigh upon us and here in Devlin's Domain I am celebrating with more vomit inducing fare. Last time I covered Martyrs, which was a dead serious type of horror film. On this edition I'm going to lighten the mood a bit with the close of a disgusting trilogy. I mean Halloween should be a little fun, right?

31 Days of Halloween - Needless Things Podcast 79 – The Evil Dead

Phantom Troublemaker, Beth V, Richard Davis, and Arian talk about the greatest horror franchise of all time – The Evil Dead!


31 Days of Halloween: Dead of Winter Board Game Review



I have raised my family to be very…unique.  My oldest was quoting the Green Lantern oath at the age of seven.  My middle child sleeps with a Batman pillow.  My three year old roots for Harley Quinn.  I’m proud of my geek children.  So, while watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop channel, I felt my pride swell when my teen decided that a game that they played during one episode involving surviving the Zombie Apocalypse not only seemed fun, but a moral imperative to own.  I have raised my children well.  Her birthday this October granted her dearest wish, and we rang in the Halloween month right by surviving zombies, frost bite, raiders, and a colony traitor out to destroy us all.  Welcome to my review of the survival horror game, Dead of Winter.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: The Perfect Halloween Creature Feature




This weekend is Halloween, so, of course, almost everyone picks Halloween (1978) as their ultimate Halloween movie. Not me. Don’t get me wrong here. I love John Carpenter’s slasher classic, I just feel like Halloween is as much about goofy fun as it is about horror. As such, one of my favorite Halloween night fright flicks is another tale of terror set on All Hallows Eve. This would be 1988’s goofy horror spectacular Night of the Demons.

31 Days of Halloween: Numb To the Horror- Movie Ratings And How They've Changed For The Genre






When I was a kid I was allowed to watch Rated R movies.  For the people that write on this blog, the terms “Liberal” and “Conservative” weren’t thrown around often in our childhood, but Liberal my parents were.  My mother was a punker and in her later years a modern goth.  Heck, I was sung to sleep as a baby to Alice Cooper and cut my teeth on Motorhead, Bad Company, and GWAR, so naturally Rated R movies were not something they hid me from either.  There was only one movie that my father ever kept me from for reasons I never understood, and that was Harlem Nights.  It was an F-Bomb laden twenties-era romp, and it later became one of my favorite movies of all time!  But Dad would never let me rent it.  I thought, “Dude, I am TEN, and you let me watch Basic Instinct.  I can’t watch THIS?  What is wrong with you?”  Granted I don’t let my kids watch Rated R movies, but I look back and inventory many of my favorite R rated horror/thriller flicks and realize something horrible; half of them my teen can watch now legally.  PG-13 is the new R.  What the heck happened?


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky Toy Review – A Nightmare on Elm Street 30th Anniversary Freddy Krueger from NECA

Apparently this is “Old Toy Month”.

NECA’s “Ultimate” Freddy Krueger came out last December and I just never got around to reviewing him. Sometimes even though I might really dig a new toy, I have trouble getting motivated to do a review. I sold off all of my Pacific Rim toys recently and barely reviewed any of those. Although to be honest I think it was a lack of excitement over them. I love that movie and the toys were beautiful, but I think that NECA might not have been the best company to make them. Pacific Rim is about monsters and mechs beating the shit out of each other, but those were some “toys” that were equally fragile and dangerous. You could kill someone with the sharp points on the Kaiju and if you did more than blow gently on the Jaegers pieces would fall (or break) off. I would much rather have had toys that could actually be played with from Hasbro or Mattel. Or heck, even JAKKS probably could have offered up some kickass figures. They would have been huge, at least.

31 Days of Halloween - 30 Years Later-The Horror Movies of 1985

Ah 1985. What a great time to be a child with a penchant for horror and permissive parents. (I know it seems like all I do is watch and talk about horror movies. I swear I have other interests. Just not many that can get me going on a long, drawn out diatribe like scary movies do.) A lot of really good (and really bad) horror movies came out in 1985, and I thought it might be fun to take a look at a few to see how they've held up. Some are still great, a few haven't held up as well, and several were pretty terrible to begin with. There are definitely more that came out that year than I have time or inclination to talk about. I'm pretty much just going to cover the ones I liked, were the most memorable, and of course the very worst of those that I've seen. Let's go with alphabetical order since the seems most fair.

Monday, October 26, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: The Phantom Channel Listings for October 26, 2015

This is it!

The last week of Halloween and the final installment of this series that I accidentally came up with. And boy, am I glad that I did. I was sick of writing about SyFy’s schedule.

For the last two days of programming, go here and here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Know Your Monsters - The Blemmyes




In this hyper-political age we’ve seen what seems to be an almost unending debate among the political class of this land over the highly charged topic of immigration reform. Countless hours are spent arguing whether this person or that person should be allowed citizenship for this country, whether still others should even be allowed into the country at all, and of course whether or not we’re giving some “a free pass” to citizenship. But what we have not seen, my friends, is the much more important question addressed. Should these people be able to bring their monsters with them?

Because, let’s face it, until this is addressed they will continue to come and eventually you will be faced with a kill or be killed situation with a creature that doesn’t follow the rules as you know them. Since we can’t count on legislation, we’ll have to turn to education. To that end, this series will give you the basics on the monsters that you only think you know but in fact play by other cultural rules. Today we look at the Blemmyes.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Know Your Monsters - The Romanian Vampire




In this hyper-political age we’ve seen what seems to be an almost unending debate among the political class of this land over the highly charged topic of immigration reform. Countless hours are spent arguing whether this person or that person should be allowed citizenship for this country, whether still others should even be allowed into the country at all, and of course whether or not we’re giving some “a free pass” to citizenship. But what we have not seen, my friends, is the much more important question addressed. Should these people be able to bring their monsters with them?

Because, let’s face it, until this is addressed they will continue to come and eventually you will be faced with a kill or be killed situation with a creature that doesn’t follow the rules as you know them. Since we can’t count on legislation, we’ll have to turn to education. To that end, this series will give you the basics on the monsters that you only think you know but in fact play by other cultural rules. Today’s monster is the Romanian Vampire.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Seen That? Try This – Pontypool (2008)




Is your Halloween film rotation shaping up to be just more of the same films you watched the rest of the year? Can’t seem to make a play list that’s not just the latest hot films mixed in with the well worn classics? Maybe you need try a few of these for a spin in your home entertainment setup’s player of choice.

Seen your favorite zombie films 100 times or more already? Maybe it’s time to check out Pontypool.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

31 Days of Halloween - Devlin's Domain - Martyrs



Halloween is fast approaching and I've decided to make the most of it this week. I've got a trick or a treat, depending on your level of mental stability, in store for you on this edition of Devlin's Domain. This won't be for the faint of heart, so I'm giving fair warning to those with weak stomachs or weak minds. If you find films like Saw, Hostel, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Last House on the Left to be horrifying or disturbing, turn back now. If you find films like those to be tame and are searching for something to push things to a true extreme, look no further. This is your unlucky day.

31 Days of Halloween: Goosebumps and More!

I took the family to see Goosebumps on opening night. I never watched the show or read the books because I was older when they came out, but my wife is a fan because of her niece and nephew and she and my son have watched a number of episodes on Netflix. I love it when we can all go and see movies together, so this was in the cards for a while.
All I really knew about the franchise was that it was basically kid-friendly versions of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Darkside.

31 Days Of Halloween - Archie Vs. Sharknado Comic Review



Archie Comics has taken yet another gamble at mixing Riverdale's favorite teenagers with something that nobody saw coming. I mean really, can you honestly sit there and tell me that you could have seen this one shot starring the SYFY phenomenon coming. That's right, straight from your television screen to your comic book pages we have Archie vs Sharknado. With the popularity of Afterlife With Archie and Archie vs Predator it was inevitable that we would get something just as odd from the publisher. However, I don't think with a hundred guesses I would have selected Sharknado as something that would crossover into the Archieverse.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky Toy Review – Marvel Select Zombie Magneto from Diamond Select Toys

It took me a while to check out the original Marvel Zombies miniseries because, quite frankly, I didn’t see how it could be any good. Also because it started in December. If it had launched in October I probably would have bought it just because.


31 Days of Halloween - Horror Movies and Mental Health

I recently read an article about horror movies that really offended me. It claims to be about the movie The Babadook which is the only reason I checked it out in the first place. It wasn't really about The Babadook, but it had other things that kept me reading. Other things that pissed me off. You can read the full thing here, but if you can't be bothered I'll sum it up for you. Horror movies are stressful, and you're more likely to be a bad person if you like them. I mean, okay I may not be the best person, but I don't think I'm a bad person. I'm certainly not the kind of bad person that this article describes. The writer goes on to make several pseudo-scientific points so I'll address them each in turn.

Monday, October 19, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: The Phantom Channel Listings for October 19, 2015

We’re well into 31 Days of Halloween and I wanted to check in with some spooky updates, as well as another day of fantasy Halloween programming to hopefully prompt you guys to put together your own dream viewing schedules.

If you missed my listings last time, you can check them out here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Why the Zombie is an Evergreen of Horror




It’s 2015. That means we’re 13 years into the pop culture zombie explosion that began (more or less) with 2002’s 28 Days Later. When you look at the various creatures that populate horror fiction, the zombie was barely crawling out of its infancy when it finally started clawing its way to the top of the popularity food chain. The zombie as we know it now was just hitting 34 years of age since its birth in Night of the Living Dead. Sure, we had the voodoo zombie for years before that, and, sure, an argument can be made that the ghouls of Night of the Living Dead were largely built on the blueprint of what came before them in both the form of the classic voodoo zombie and the tweaks to the concept found in Plan 9 from Outer Space and Invisible Invaders. You can even argue, as I have pointed out in the past, that the “zombie” of NotLD was largely just the hungry dead of ancient legend. But, hey, let’s face facts. The thing we now think of as the zombie was basically birthed in 1968 by George Romero.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: They’re Not Bad, They Were Just Filmed That Way- Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971)



The month of October is upon us. This means it’s that time of year again when every major magazine, television special, and entertainment news show rolls out their own list of the best horror movies (EVER!) that should be on your required viewing lists in the run up to Halloween. This series will not be looking at the films that would end up on those lists. No, we’ll be looking at the movies that, while still kind of good, didn’t quite live up to the expectations of the creators involved. These are the films that might be best served at your next Halloween get together by viewing them only after copious amounts of your favorite adult beverage has been consumed. Yes, these are the films that are so bad that they’re good(ish) and often only enjoyable for how spectacularly they failed to live up to their potential.

Today we’re looking at Dracula vs Frankenstein.

Friday, October 16, 2015

31 Days of Halloween - Needless Things Podcast 77 – Demons of the Ring: Supernatural Gimmicks in Wrestling

Phantom Troublemaker, Sean Reid, and the one and only Johnny DANGAAAAAA discuss the biggest and spookiest gimmicks from the colorful history of the greatest sport of them all – professional wrestling!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Children of the Stones (1977)



Today we’re going to look at something enjoyably chilling for the younger horror geeks out there. Now, before you older horror geeks tune out, 1977’s Children of the Stones, unlike many other other younger viewer productions made for scares, isn’t a story that the older set will have trouble viewing all the way through to the end. It never dumbs down its content. The direction and music are still quite effective, and the story could very easily have been only slightly retooled and recast in order to be passed off as a more adult series. Indeed, I’ve heard the thing referred to by some British horror critics as The Wicker Man for the pre-teen and teenage set. As a matter of fact, I still see people who are familiar with it referencing it as still being one of the scariest TV experiences they ever had.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Devlin's Domain - The Sacrament


As promised, I'm diving into the world of psychotic, brainwashing, religious cults. It's an ironically perfect topic to celebrate Halloween. I grew up in a religion that condemned the celebration of the holiday and it was known to me for a long time as "the Devil's holiday". Coincidentally it was the only holiday that ever appealed to me. I found that the Devil is a tame, ficticious threat in comparison to what I see as a true evil, religion itself.

31 Days Of Halloween - Fat Vampire Book Review



I first discovered author Johnny B. Truant a few years ago. Even though Truant is a writer, that is not how I first found him. Oddly enough it was through podcasting where Truant is one of the hosts of the Self Publishing Podcast and the Better Off Undead Podcast. SPP as it's commonly called is for aspiring writers which includes tips and interviews with other authors. On that show there are three hosts which include Johnny, Sean, and Dave. All three are authors that collaborate with each other and Sterling And Stone is their company. They also do solo projects as well. I have followed the podcasters for years but have never read any of their work which has been a mistake on my part. Well, due to one of the books being free on iTunes, I finally changed that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

31 Days of Halloween - Please Scare Me

Dear friends, I have a problem. I have not been really and truly scared by any movie in my entire adult life. Why is this such a problem? Mostly because I love horror movies, and miss the feeling of fear I had when I was a kid. It's that exciting thrill that makes you feel alive. It's that endorphin rush you get from the fight or flight response. And it's also fun to be a little scared of something that you know can't really hurt you. I've been creeped out, unnerved, and uncomfortable but that's hardly the same thing. I have friends who are scared of zombies and zombie movies. I'd like to have something like that. I'm scared of large hairy spiders, snakes and alligators (I spent some time in Florida when I was a kid; they kind of force you to be scared of snakes and alligators), and of adult things like unexpected bills. The point is, I want to be afraid of fun stuff again. Not "the GPS went out while I'm driving out of town for work" crap, but well and truly "can't we just leave a light on tonight?" afraid. Maybe this vast network of people can help.

Monday, October 12, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Creepy Toy Review - Critter from Monstarz

First of all, I have to clarify that this is not a toy. It says so right on the box:

I suppose that makes it an “Adult Collectible”, which is a term that I will never be entirely comfortable with because of the connotations of the word “Adult”. Not just because “Adult” so often means “pervy”, but also because when it doesn’t mean “pervy” it tends to mean “shit that I don’t want to do/think about”. And I like pervy an awful lot more than I like any of that. But I tend to stay away from pervy in the context of Needless Things.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: They’re Not Bad, They Were Just Filmed That Way- The Loch Ness Horror (1981)




The month of October is upon us. This means it’s that time of year again when every major magazine, television special, and entertainment news show rolls out their own list of the best horror movies (EVER!) that should be on your required viewing lists in the run up to Halloween. This series will not be looking at the films that would end up on those lists. No, we’ll be looking at the movies that, while still kind of good, didn’t quite live up to the expectations of the creators involved. These are the films that might be best served at your next Halloween get together by viewing them only after copious amounts of your favorite adult beverage has been consumed. Yes, these are the films that are so bad that they’re good(ish) and often only enjoyable for how spectacularly they failed to live up to their potential.

Today we’re looking at The Loch Ness Horror (1981)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Seen That? Try This – Blacula (1972)



Is your Halloween film rotation shaping up to be just more of the same films you watched the rest of the year? Can’t seem to make a play list that’s not just the latest hot films mixed in with the well worn classics? Maybe you need try a few of these for a spin in your home entertainment setup’s player of choice.

Seen your favorite vampire films 100 times or more already? Maybe it’s time to try Blacula.

Friday, October 9, 2015

31 Days of Halloween - Needless Things Podcast 76 – The Horror of the Batman!

Phantom Troublemaker and Mike Gordon talk about the horror-infused history of the Dark Knight Detective in the newest Needless Things Podcast!


31 Days of Halloween: How To Survive A Horrow Movie Book Review


Has anyone seen that hilarious Geico commercial with the idiot teenagers running from the psycho killer?  They see the still-running car, and the kids says "Are you crazy?  Let’s hide behind the chainsaws!" And that’s exactly where the little morons go.  Even the psycho killer stops, stares, and shakes his head.  He's even ready to just say, "This is pathetic and no longer fun for me.  Next."  I could watch that commercial over and over again until I pee my pants from laughter because it outlines why most horror movies don't hold suspense for me anymore since all the morons behave this exact same way.  My husband and I have come to predict who will die, in what order, and how (with the exception of the Friday the 13th reboot with Jared Padalecki.  The last few minutes of that movie total went against horror movie formula!)  But this book, ladies and gentlemen, will help you to fight against the horror movie stereotype.  If you are ever trapped in your own horror movie, this book shall help you get out the other side alive.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: The Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival



For ten nights starting tonight (October 8, 2015) the Spooky Movie International Film Festival will bring audiences at the American FilmInstitute's AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Springs, Maryland a veritable smorgasbord of the best in new horror cinema from around the world. Fans of spooky movies will be able to choose from more than 40 short films and feature films on this year’s slate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

31 Days of Halloween – Aliens Are the Worst

I am more terrified of aliens than I am of anything else. I discussed this a bit on Episode 34 of the Needless Things Podcast, but I felt the topic warranted a little more in-depth investigation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dragon Con 2015 - Final Thoughts

Here are just a few final thoughts that didn't really fit in with my recap stuff, but I feel like it should still be said somewhere.

31 Days of Halloween - Movie Review - It Follows

 I know It Follows has really good reviews and meta-scores and all that, but I don't know that many people who've actually seen it. And some of those people didn't "get it" so I feel like I need to put my two cents in here. I've seen it twice now, and would totally see it again. If you haven't seen it yet go to your nearest Redbox or On Demand to watch it now! I thought it was a brilliantly understated work of art that took me back to John Carpenter's Halloween or Last House on the Left or any of the other great classic horror movies of the 70's and early 80's. It was done that way on purpose. It was an homage without being tongue-in-cheek or giving the audience a knowing wink. It was totally serious, and that's what made it great. Well, that and just about everything else in the movie.

Monday, October 5, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Ancient Toys of Yesteryear – Resurrection of Monstress Franken Steela from Yellow Submarine

I wanted to do something special for the first toy review of this year’s Halloween coverage. While there are plenty of new horror toys on the market thanks to companies like NECA, Mezco, and Funko, you can find reviews of that stuff everywhere (which is not to say that I won’t be reviewing some of that stuff here – after all, nobody else is me). I decided to dig into my toy archives and review an old favorite.

Sort of.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: New Music for Your Old Halloween Playlists




Look, we’ve all faced one of the truest horrors of this time of year more times than we care to count. Every party we go to, every radio station getting into the Halloween mood we tune in to, and every store we go into tend to play the same Halloween music pulled from a very limited playlist. Unless you have a buddy who’s really into the local indie music scene throwing a party, odds are you’re only around 15 days into October before you’ve heard pretty much every song you’ll hear on every playlist you’re near at least 100 times. So, in the spirit of keeping Halloween horrors to the more enjoyable kind, I want to help you avoid doing the same thing with your playlists by offering some song suggestions that you might want to track down before your Halloween bash.

31 Days of Halloween - Needless Things Podcast 75 – The Films of Wes Craven

Phantom Troublemaker and the Needless Things Irregulars talk about the career and impact of Master of Horror Wes Craven in the newest Needless Things Podcast!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: The Haunting (1963)




There are ghost stories and haunted house films aplenty in horror cinema, but only a few over the decades have really stood out as head and shoulders above the crowd. Fewer still set the bar at a higher level than what came before them. 1963’s The Haunting sits somewhere near the top (or, in my opinion, at the top) of that list.

31 Days of Halloween: The Phantom Channel


Welcome to Needless Things’ month-long celebration of the greatest time of the year!
From today through Halloween, me and the rest of the Needless Things Irregulars will be sharing the spookiest, creepiest, and most fun content we can to help get you in the Halloween mood.