I know as horror fans we watch these films all year round. But there is something about October that we seem not only double our efforts when it comes to scary screenings, but I know there are a few titles that we all have that we bust out each and ever October. Could be a childhood favorite? One that really hit home with us around holiday? Or one that just fits the mood of Halloween and is something you need to watch at least once a year.Continue reading
Our first real convention since October of 2019 is only 2 weeks away, and it looks like it is going to be HUGE! Moving to a new location, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, this place looks to be not only a much bigger location, but is going to allow for even more fun. I can’t wait to be able to hang out with all our convention friends and family once again. It really has been way too long.Continue reading
It looks like we will be returning to the convention circuit (if all still goes according to plan) at the end of July, for the Flashback Weekend, taking place in Rosemont, IL, from July 30th to August 1st. It’s been a long time coming, so we are very excited about it.
As usual, Flashback Weekend has come up with a wide variety of guests that should make all horror fans happy! They have Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith from the Saw series appearing, Mark Rolston and Jenette Goldstein from Aliens (among many other roles), a Friday the 13th: A New Beginning reunion with Melanie Kinnaman, Deborah Voorhees, Dick Wieand, Ron Sloan, and Carol Locatell. Also on hand will be Kane Hodder and Nick Castle.Continue reading
Taking Shape II: The Lost Halloween Sequels
Published by Harker Press, 2020. 600 pages.
By Dustin McNeill & Travis Mullins
With all the information packed in their initial book, Taking Shape, how could authors McNeill and Mullins put out yet another massive 600 page book on this series that fans have been following for over 40 years? That’s just it… it’s not about the films that were made, it is about the films that were not made. In fact, Taking Shape II: The Lost Halloween Sequels covers 24 sequels(!!!) that never got off the ground for a variety of reasons. You get to read about each of these proposed storylines, with interviews with the people directly involved, like the writers and directors. You also get a good look at inside the studio systems and just how screwed up the industry can be, and the poor creatures that have to work in there! Imagine turning in a screenplay that is exactly what was asked for only to be told that another executive hated it and you’re now off the project. Or being notified (over the PA system, no less) that the whole project itself was now cancelled just weeks before shooting was to start. It shows that with multiple bosses / executives, guiding the writers and directors in different directors, at the same time, while others not even caring about anything but the potential box office receipts, the scariest part of these films were trying to get these films made. Continue reading
Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter
Published by WK Books, 2020. 460 pages.
By Troy Howarth
The latest volume from our buddy Troy Howarth is on one of my favorite directors. Next to Romero, you’d find at least two John Carpenter’s films in my top 15 films of all time. So how could I not dive into this once I got it? Yes, Mr. Howarth is a friend of mine, full disclosure here, but I think you know me by now not to pull any punches, no matter what I’m reviewing. But honestly, I never have to worry about that with his books because they are always so enjoyable to read, always feeling like a conversation with an old friend. Filled with wonderful stories, great information, and just an easy-going way of telling us this information that it just sinks in.
After a couple of chapters introducing us to Carpenter, giving us his upbringing and background (which really shows the impact on his later life, with his love of film and music), we start to go over his film career. Starting off when he is in film school in California, we do get a lot of information about each of the projects, while Howarth throws in other information about other things that are going on at the same time. It doesn’t just cover the films he directed but the scripts that he wrote, as well as the films he almost made or was even the slightest involved with. It really does show the range that Carpenter had in the different projects that “could have been”. Continue reading
One of the positives for 2020 was the resurgence of the drive-in theaters. With all the social distancing, a drive-in theater is the perfect place to go see a movie, staying safe by not having to be in a large group of people. In fact, we made more trips to the drive-ins this year than we normally do, and had a blast each and every time. It was just a magical return to somewhat of our normal convention or movie viewing get-togethers, even though everyone was very good about keeping our space and wearing masks. But even with that, it was so much fun, and a little resemblance of the much-missed conventions. Continue reading
Since I just started reading Troy Howarth’s latest book, Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter, I thought it might be an interesting (though probably an easy one to call) question to see what your favorite John Carpenter film is. Now, as I said, I know there is going to be a lot of answers for the obvious choice, which would be Halloween (1978), which is fine because you can’t be wrong in what is your personal favorite. I’m sure The Thing (1982) is going to be up there as well. But I am curious to see if there will be any other titles named, such as The Fog (1980) or maybe even In the Mouth of Madness (1995). Continue reading
Today is the day we’ve been waiting for all year. The day where we fit in with the rest of the “normal” people! Where we can wear our usual horror t-shirts and not get the look we get when we were them the same around Christmas time! What? A Maniac T-shirt that says “I Warned You Not to Go Out Tonight” isn’t appropriate for midnight mass? Granted, for us, we all know that every day is Halloween and our love and passion for the horror genre is not something we celebrate once a year, but every single day. Hopefully everyone has still be able to enjoy this season, even with all the craziness going. I do miss the parties and get-togethers, but I really feel those will come back soon enough. Continue reading
Earlier this year, I posted my review of Taking Shape: Developing Halloween from Script to Screen, by Dustin McNeil and Travis Mullins. It was not a book I thought I would be interested in because I thought I knew as much about the early Halloween films that I need to or when it came to the later sequels, as much as I cared to. But I found the book fascinating and ended up loving it. Well now McNeill and Mullins are back for Taking Shape II: The Lost Sequels.
If you think this covers a couple of films that never got made, think again. This volume covers 24 (!?!?!) lost Halloween sequels that never made it past the script stage and onto the big screen. You’ll get to read about these from the people directly involved, some being heard publicly for the first time. At 600 pages and priced under $30, you can bet that this will have so much trivia and information about these films that never came to be, hearing insights and ideas of what some wanted to do. That alone seems pretty intriguing if you’re a fan of the Halloween series.
Here is some of the subjects covered in this volume. See if this doesn’t wet your whistle… Continue reading
Author Troy Howarth, in his free time between all the amazing and informative audio commentaries he’s been cranking out, has finished his newest book, this time focusing on the one and only John Carpenter. Few directors these days can have more than a few titles in their filmography that are considered classics, not to mention damn good films, but Carpenter is definitely one of them.
This book “charts Carpenter’s trajectory from screenwriter-for-hire to director of low-budget oddities like Dark Star (1974) to his meteoric rise and fall within the very system he came to distrust. All of Carpenter’s films are analyzed in detail, including his forays into made-for-TV fare, and his various sideline projects as a writer, a composer, and a producer are also examined.”
It also contains brand new interview’s with actor/director Keith Gordon, Carpenter’s wife Sandy King-Carpenter, as well and Carpenter himself. It also features guess essays by Matty Budrewicz & Dave Wain, Lee Gambin, John Harrison, Randall D. Larson, Robert Russell LaVigne, Francesco Massaccesi, Paul Poet, and Nick Smith.
The book is now available on Amazon in the color edition, but soon will be available in a black and white version as well. I can’t really see how this could not be a welcome edition to any film fan’s library. I know it will soon be in mine!