Halloween Favorites

Fright FavoritesHorror scholar David J. Skal has a new book coming out this fall, just in time for Halloween, entitled Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond. Presented by Turner Classic Movies, Skal takes on 31 films ranging from the silent era, hitting a few titles from each decade through the ’80s, and a few beyond that. Most of these everyone will agree are classics, with a few comedies listed in the later day titles. The description in Amazon says they are “family-friendly” but not sure The Exorcist (1973) and The Thing (1982) are ones I would be screening for 8-year old Timmy! Continue reading

Book Review: Shirley Jackson – A Rather Haunted Life

shirley-jackson-biographyShirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Published by Liveright Publishing, 2016. 624 pages.
By Ruth Franklin

I have been an admirer of Shirley Jackson since my very first viewing of The Haunting (1963). When I started to really delve into reading, her novel that film was based on, The Haunting of Hill House, was one that I immediately sought out. The more I discovered about Jackson’s work, the more I discovered that I had already knew of some of it, such as The Lottery and the tale of the boy who has a troublemaker classmate that always seemed to get into trouble. But I had never really known that much about Jackson herself, until now.

I’ve read a few biographies on different actors and directors that I’ve admired but I think this is the first one where I was really given a open book, so to speak, to that person’s life. While at times it was depressing what Jackson had to deal with in her life, it showed me just how human she was, thankful we were fortunate enough that she had the talent to take her life and transform it into incredible personal and beautifully written literary works for others to enjoy and be inspired by. Granted, there were a few that would resonate with the readers, haunting them to their core! Continue reading

Movie Review: The Legend of Hell House (1973)

LoHH Banner

Directed by John Hough
Starring Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowell, Clive Revill, and Gale Hunnicutt, and Michael Gough

Strange that I have never reviewed this on here since it is one of my favorite haunted house movies of all time. This has been a constant battle with me, between this one and Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) for the top spot, but Hell House usually comes in second. This was also the very first VHS tapes I rented after buying my first VCR. I don’t remember when exactly was the first time I saw this, probably around the same time I saw The Haunting for the first time, thanks to my future wife, Dawn, and her mother. But I know I immediately fell in love with it. Continue reading

Book Review: The Haunted House on Film

Haunted House on filmThe Haunted House on Film: An Historical Analysis
Published by McFarland, 2019. 222 pages
By Paul Meehan

The haunted house film is one of my favorite sub-genres so I was very excited to dig into this title when it finally came out. I was hoping to add a multitude to titles to my “Crap! I haven’t seen that yet” list, which is exactly what I did. Even before we get into the thick of this review, anytime a book has you seeking out different titles, that is always a good thing!

The introduction gives a great overview of the not only haunted house in cinema, but in fiction as well, giving the reader a nice background as to where all of this really started. When you consider that the very first haunted house film, Georges Méliès 1986 film Le Chateau Hante (aka The Haunted Castle), was also the very first horror film, makes this sub-genre really the oldest in the horror film category. But we also have early titles discussed such as D.W. Griffith’s One Exciting Night (1922) and Roland West’s The Bat (1926). Meehan covers the early “old dark house” films that really were a combination of mystery/thriller/comedies, giving a good explanation as to why these are really different than what one would normally define as a haunted house film. On many of the movies discussed, where there is a mystery killer, the author leaves it up to the reader to find the movie and watch it to find out who that might be. Since many authors will give away any surprises, which really is a letdown going into the film if you know the ending, it’s nice to know those secrets were left hidden. Continue reading

Horror History: Richard Johnson

Richard JohnsonRichard Johnson
Born July 30th, 1927 – Died June 5th, 2015

Two of my all time favorite films: Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979), which are about as two different films that you could get. And this man, Richard Johnson, stars in both of them. I think I actually saw The Haunting on television one night at my future wife’s house, watching it with her and her mom, amazed at how creepy this old black and white film was. Then finding out that this suave and distinguished gentleman was also the same actor who played Dr. Menard in one of the greatest zombie films ever committed to film! Boggles the mind. 

While Johnson had attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, performing with John Gielgud’s company before joining the navy in 1945. After the war, he was back to acting before making his film debut in the early ’50s. He was actually offered the role of James Bond in Dr. No, before Sean Connery, but turned it down because he didn’t want to be stuck in a 7-year contract! While he really didn’t appear in a ton of horror films, half-dozen or so that he did appear in, he was always memorable and entertaining. Besides the ones I’ve already mentioned, some of my favorites of his work are Beyond the Door (1974) and Island of the Fishmen (1979), but there are a few more gems in there for you to do a little research on if you’re not entirely sure of Johnson’s other work.

End of an Era


No…the show is not stopping. Let’s get that straight right off the top. I don’t want Ken to be emailing me about misleading people! The show will go on, just not with Kitley’s Krypt there vending.

Back in September of 2000, we set up at the very first Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo, in Strongsville, Ohio. 19 years later, after 34 shows, it is still going strong. We were a dealer at that very first show and have continued to set up there since, never once missing one. In my years of going to shows, both as a fan and as a dealer, which is three decades worth, I’ve never known a show like Cinema Wasteland.

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Those Who Walk Before Us Should Not Walk Alone

rue-morgue-170“Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.” Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.

I had mentioned this on my Facebook page a few days ago, but I feel that I need to comment it on here as well, but in a slightly longer detail. In issue #170 of Rue Morgue, they have Shirley Jackson on the cover. Who is Shirley Jackson you ask? I would hope that everyone out there knows who she is, but sadly, that is probably not the case. It is this exactly reasoning that I feel why Rue Morgue needs to be applauded for this. By not just putting something their cover that they know it will draw attention of potential customers and sales, they decide to put the relatively unknown Jackson on it, in tribute of what would have been her 100th birthday this year.

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Films That Made a “Lasting Impression”

Let’s just say that I hate making lists in general. It forces you to chose or narrow down a “favorites” list. I have way too many movies that I honestly love the hell out of, so getting it down to a list of ten is just impossible. And honestly, I really don’t care for these kind of lists that are always going around Facebook, mainly because I just don’t want to spend the time on them and my above mentioned hatred for lists. But since this quest was to name films that had a “lasting impression” on you, I figured I could come up with ten titles that did have a major impact on my life. But instead of just listing the movies, I figured I’d try and expand on why these certain titles affected me the way they did. Of course, this list could change at any time…day or night.

Plus, since a friend tagged me on this, I figured it was the least I could do to reply. Thanks Jessica…this was a nice little trip down memory lane.

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Mystery Photo 6-22-15

It’s Mystery Photo Monday folks! Not going to forget this time. Our last photo was our little tribute to Richard Johnson who we recently lost. The movie is from The Haunting. Not going to say the “original” because as far as I’m concerned it is the only version ever made. Congrats to the following who sent in the correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Gregory Avery, Cate Cameron, Gavin Schmitt, & Scott Stephens. Well done.

Now our new photo is another black and white film, but probably isn’t on the same classic level as The Haunting. No…not even close. But that doesn’t mean they’re not still entertaining, right? So here is our latest photo. Take a look and see what you can come up with.


Rest in Peace – Richard Johnson

richardjohnson-ripThe horror genre has lost an iconic figure today. Sure, this man might not have been as prolific as actors like Peter Cushing or Vincent Price, but the horror few roles that he did appear in, he made quite an impact. At least for me, he did. We are saddened to announce the passing of actor Richard Johnson, at the age of 87. Starting his career as a stage actor, touring with John Gielgud’s repertory once he got out of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he made quite a name for himself on the stage.

But of course, for us horror fans, he will always be remembered for two characters that he played, both being doctors, but each investigating a very different malady. In 1963, Robert Wise adapted Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House for the film version simple entitled The Haunting. Richard Johnson starred as Dr. Markway, a budding parapsychologist who is tryinig to investigate the dreaded Hill House, where the living don’t seem to be welcomed there. Appearing along side other theater greats like Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn, this 50+ year old film is still one of the most effective and scariest haunted house films ever made. Of course the 2nd film is appearing as Dr. Menard, who is frantically trying to discover the cause of the zombie outbreak on the small island of Matul, in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. Even with the outrageousness of the film, Johnson still gave a serious and compelling performance.

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