End of another year. Another decade. I know one thing for sure that this last decade will not be remembered as one that didn’t produce any good horror movies! Just look at 2014 and you’ll find a ton of amazing films, from here in the US to around the world. As a horror fan, I feel pretty blessed with these last ten years of terror. Let’s hope the ’20s bring us another long list of great cinema.
I had thought that this would be a personal low when it came to films watched, only because it didn’t feel like I had watched that many. In fact, there were a couple of months were I only got to a handful of films. With my book coming out, doing another retrospective for HorrorHound, and the usual holidays, it takes time away from being able to sit and watch movies. But once the tally was done, it turns out that I had watched more in 2019 than I did since 2013! The final number was 236, with almost half of them, a total of 115, being first time viewings. There were a few trips to the drive-ins, some movie marathons, a couple of Turkey Days, and other mini-marathons with friends or just by myself. And I intend to do it all over this year! Really going to try and hit 250 viewings in 2020.
And while I got through more movies this last year than I have in a long time, it is the first time since I started keeping track in 2016 that I did not meet my goal of reading at least 12 books a year. Since I started, I was getting through 15 titles a year, but in 2019, I only made it through 9 titles. So one thing I will be trying to improve on in 2020 is getting my nose back in the books! And with print media slowly making a comeback, I see no shortage of volumes I hope to add to my library.
This year saw the release of some more great titles that I had to add to the library. We got to see the publication of the English edition of Dario Argento’s autobiography Fear, from FAB Press, which I would highly recommend. If you could afford it, I would also recommend picking up Rick Baker’s massive 2-volume set Metamorphosis: The Art of Rick Baker, especially if you are a makeup aficionado. Yes, they are pricy (though they are half the original price now on Amazon) they will give hours of just paging through them looking at this talented man’s work over the last seven decades. That’s right, the volume starts in 1950 with the earliest work of Baker.
While on the subjects of books, without even thinking, the biggest highlight of 2019 for me was the publication of my first book, Discover the Horror. In the making for well over five years, it was such a thrill to finally have it done and out. Honestly, it still seems like a dream, that I have to remind myself that it actually exists. My plan of letting people know my experiences in the horror genre, that they could help relate to, seems to be working and people are getting what I was trying to do. There are so many people to thank for help in its creation, too many to list here (see the book for all of them!) but I do want to mention John Pata, Ken Johnson, and of course, Aaron Christensen. These guys are responsible for making it look as good as it does and helping me along the way to make sure the story I was trying to tell made sense.
A big thanks out to those that have help promote it, from posting their reviews on Amazon, to just spreading the word, I am more than grateful. To Mike and Mia and the whole Flashback team, who allowed me to do a Q&A at their show in August, thanks again for not only that, but continuing to put on a great show every years. Not to mention those amazing screenings at the Midway!
Being able to have book release party at the Music Box Theatre made this even more of a surreal moment in my life. Here is a theater that I’ve been going to for close to thirty years and now I not only held a book release there, but I got to host a screening of one of my favorite movies, The Giant Claw. Can’t thank Ryan at the Music Box and their welcoming staff enough for helping making that happen, as well as to all of you that came out for the screening. It is a memory that I will cherish forever.
I know I usually mention this every Year End Review, but it really is one of the main highlights for me each and every year. That is having the chance to hang out with my friends at the different conventions, movie screenings, and other such events throughout the year. It gives us fellow movie nuts to talk shop, discuss recent viewings, or just and watch some movies with great company. It also shows us that we are not alone in our love for the horror genre!
We made our first trip out to Monsterpalooza in 2019 and had a blast. It was an expensive trip and really wish we could set up there as a vendor, but it would be way too costly to do. But seeing all the talented makeup people there, working hard each day to transform models into different creations each day is simply amazing. It was nice to see a variety of dealers that we don’t normally see here in the Midwest, so that was kind nice as well. We didn’t bother with any of the scheduled guests there, mainly because I was there as a fan, not a customer, but that didn’t stop us from meeting a variety of other celebrities that were just there to hang out. From makeup icons like Greg Cannon, Kevin Yagher, and Tony Gardner to the one and only director Richard Stanley, it was a lot of fun geeking out when you would just see them walking by, and we so friendly when we approached them just to say hello. I don’t think we’ll be making this a regular stop on our tour, but I don’t think it will be our last time out there.
While we were out there, we finally got to stop by the one and only Dark Delicacies book store. If this was a local store for me, I’d be in there at least once a week, if not more. Such a cool place and run by two of the nicest people you could me. If you’re ever in Burbank, CA, I couldn’t recommend this place enough.
Then you add all our other convention stops throughout the year, it has been another blast. While we did stop vending at Cinema Wasteland, which was very strange, I still haven’t missed going and still having a great time as a attendee. Hopefully we’ll see you at one of them this year!
Naschy Reign of T-Shirt Terror!
In case you didn’t notice about me or this site, but I kind of am a big fan of Paul Naschy. Yeah, I know… big surprise. Over the last few years, it is so great to see his name and popularity rise in the fandom. With the continuous Blu-ray releases of his movies to now some amazing artwork and T-shirts from the uber-talented Gerardo Moreno and the Paul Naschy Official Art Shop. He has created multiple T-shirts with many of our favorite Naschy characters, such as Alaric de Marnac from Horror Rises from the Tomb, Gotho from Hunchback of the Morgue, Father Dunning from Exorcismo, the devil himself from Vengeance of the Zombies, or of course, Waldemar from Night of the Werewolf. They seem to be adding more and more designs all the time. You can check out the incredible work and merchandise HERE (https://www.deluxepnofficialshop.com). I would highly suggest picking up a couple to wear proudly at the next convention.
Any chance I can see a stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I try to make it. Not only is it great to see different interpretations of the tale, seeing it performed live in front of you is always a good time. This last summer, we went to see this newest adaptation at the Lookingglass Theatre and it was probably my favorite of what I’ve seen so far. Weaving in and out between the characters of Bryon, Percy Shelley and his wife Mary, Polodori, and Mary’s cousin Claire, then having them turn into characters from Mary’s story was brilliant and very effective. With the stage in the center of the audience, it was a magical night, filled with both tears and terror.
I wish I could afford to see more stage plays because they are quite different than seeing a film, seeing different characters come alive right in front of you is something that could never be replaced by film. There is just something really special about that particular craft, and would recommend everyone to try and experience that at least once in their life. So a huge thanks to the members of The Lookingglass Theatre that gave me some very lasting memories of Frankenstein.
Up Next… In Remembrance