Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2015 Guest List

For the fourth year in a row, Atlanta is being invaded by the dead, and I'll be on hand. Days of the Dead is the first convention of it's kind (that I'm aware of) to happen in Atlanta, and I've had an absolute blast getting to meet horror icons like Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and more. It's been held in February every time, with this year falling on the 6th-8th, which also happens to be the month of my birthday, so I'm not saying they put this on specifically for me, but I am saying that nobody's ever told me that isn't the case either.

There are still more to be announced, but the guest list this year is so amazing already, I thought I'd do a post about who's gonna be there. In particular the ones I'm really stoked for, a couple of whom you might notice I've met before. So, in no particular order...

Doug Bradley (Hellraiser)

 Angus Scrimm (Phantasm)

Tony Todd (Candyman)

Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th, Hatchet)

Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp)

PJ Soles (Halloween, The Devil's Rejects)

Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser)

Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, Everything)

William Forsythe (The Devil's Rejects)

Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)

Corey Feldman
Jamison Newlander
(The Lost Boys)

Valentina Vargas (Hellraiser IV: Bloodline)

Simon Bamford (Hellraiser)

Others already announced include Ginger Lynn, Leslie Easterbrook, Mary Woronov, Duane Whitaker, Michael Alcott, and more. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Art of Andrew Bones

There's a lot of great indie art out there. I have a great respect for artists who are doing what they love, creating truly unique, original pieces and making a living at it. I like to spotlight any work that I come across, both because I think it's cool and because I try and do whatever I can to support anybody who is doing stuff that I genuinely dig. I'm partial to the southeast, Atlanta in particular, mostly because that's where I'm located, but there's also been a bit of a boom when it comes to horror art in the area. The past couple of years, I've met several local people who's work I've been really impressed by, but today I'm going to spotlight my buddy Andrew Bones.

Mr. Bones (ha!), makes absolutely beautiful hand painted sculptures based on everything from superheroes to horror icons. While he mostly deals in magnets and wall hangings, he also offers masks, cell phone cases, statues, busts, and other assorted items. There's even an official Andrew Bones t-shirt. Personally, I'm the proud owner of several of his amazing magnets and the shirt, but I'm always adding to the collection, and I've got my eye on a couple of those skull wall mounts.

You can see several examples of his work below, and even more by following him on Instagram (@Bonesart13), visiting his Facebook page, and of course order some for yourself from his Etsy shop. This is quality work, well worth your money and support. Not only incredibly talented, but Andrew is a great dude, approachable and appreciative of his customers. He's been making the rounds at all the horror and comic cons in Georgia and surrounding areas. His next appearance will be at Days of the Dead Atlanta, in February. Make sure and stop by his table if you're there!

Also, if you're feeling eternally grateful for me having brought this amazing artwork to your attention, and want to reward me for it, I'll just take one of these, please and thank you...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tusk Review

Long before it became hip to hate Kevin Smith for no reason, I became a fan of the guy's movies. I'm still a fan of the guy's  movies. Not being one that's particularly into podcasts, I've never really given much of a look to his whole Smodcast thing though. Tusk is an idea apparently born from one of said podcasts, about a guy getting turned into a Walrus. As ridiculous as that concept sounds, knowing Kevin Smith was getting behind the camera again, there was no way I wasn't going to be watching it.

The movie did the usual festival circuit, Toronto, etc. and then almost unbelievably, it got a limited theatrical release. Even more unbelievably, it played in a theater 20 minutes from me, I was gonna get to see it on the big screen. Being that I have work, and responsibilities beyond movie watching, I wasn't able to make it on opening weekend, but I had plans to see it the following Wednesday. The theater pulled it on Tuesday. Disappointed was me. Fast foward to now, and Tusk is finally on VOD, and I got a chance to watch it.

Podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) runs a popular podcast known as the "Not-See Party", a show that pokes fun at internet "celebrities" like The Star Wars kid or Antoine Dodson, complete with one on one interviews. When a trip to Canada ends up being a bust, Wallace is drowning his sorrows at a local pub in Manitoba. He comes across a strange letter hanging on the wall above the urinal, written by a man who claims to have a lifetime of stories to tell and nobody to tell them to. Not wanting the trip to be a total waste, he calls the guy. When he arrives at a mansion in the middle of nowhere, he's greeted by a wheelchair bound man named Howard Howe (Michael Parks), who offers him some tea and regales him with tale after tale from the interesting life he's lead. Things quickly turn sinister when Wallace learns of Howard's affinity for the noble walrus, and just how deep his love for the animals goes. Meanwhile, Wallace's podcast partner, Teddy, and his girlfriend Ally, enlist the aid of a private investigator to try and track him down.

Tusk isn't Smith's first foray into what could be considered horror, his last movie Red State dealt with a religious cult, and also starred Michael Parks. Personally, I thought it was fantastic, so I was more than ready for more of Kevin's darker side. Tusk plays to that a bit, particularly in the first two acts, as things are pretty twisted for the first 45 minutes. After that though, it's hard to describe exactly how I felt about things. While still dark in tone, things almost get lighthearted, especially when the private investigator, played by Johnny Depp, comes into things. If I had to compare his inclusion, and what ultimately ended up being the mood breaker, I'd compare it to when Lin Shaye showed up in Insidious. Everything was going great, and then...BAM, complete shift in tone. Thankfully, in Tusk the transition wasn't as jarring, and even though there was tension, things were so ridiculous that it was almost hard not to laugh at them anyway. Couple that with the fact that Wallace really was a dick in the first place, and it was hard to feel all that bad for him, If Wallace had been in any way likable, the change most likely would have ruined the movie for me. As it stands, Tusk is insanity, but the kind that you can laugh at.

There's not a lot to talk about effects-wise, and what is in the movie isn't supposed to look good, or hell, even feasible, so let's just say it works for what it is. There's not much blood or anything like that, this is more of an atmospheric horror-thriller that's also a comedy but it's not really any of those. If you're looking for a were-walrus on a rampage, you're going to have to look elsewhere. And for God's sake, if you find that somewhere, please get in touch with me.

Performances and dialog are always the strong points of Kevin Smith movies. They may not be your thing, or your sense of humor, but I think Kevin certainly has a gift when it comes to realistic characters and dialog, and his ability to bring out incredibly believable performances from the actors he works with. Tusk continues in that tradition, save for one disappointing exception. Justin Long and Michael Parks of course are the main focal point for a majority of the movie, and the two of them are great together on screen. Things are moving along well until the aforementioned tone shift, when Johnny Depp shows up. I'm not sure if it was just the character, a French-Candaian ex-cop turned private eye, or what, but we've all come to expect better from Depp, and he's just off in Tusk.

When the credits finally rolled, and I sat and thought about how I felt about Tusk, I knew two things: 1, I liked it, and 2, I had no idea how in the hell I was actually going to be able to put those feelings into words that made sense to anybody unfortunate enough to be reading them. This movie just might be the new definition of "not for everybody". In fact, it invents it's own sub-genre, titled "not for every Kevin Smith" fan. I liked it a lot, but at the same time, I totally understand why so many hated it. If you're in the market for something different, not just from Smith, but different than everything in general, Tusk is worth a watch. If you're into horror/comedy/suspense/thriller in the more traditional sense, you'll probably want to skip it. I'm sort of on board for this new, jaded version of Kevin Smith as long as he's producing original, insane concepts like Tusk. While I don't expect Yoga Hosers or Clerks III to be anything even close to what this is, I certainly can't wait to see them, or what Kevin comes up with next.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Days of the Dead Atlanta: Exclusive Hellraiser Poster Signed by Clive Barker

If you're like me, and you're going to Days of the Dead Atlanta, you're more than likely pretty excited about the Hellraiser reunion, and getting the opportunity to meet Pinhead himself, Mr. Doug Bradley, as well as Valentina Vargas, Simon Bamford, and Ashley Laurence. Sure, you could get them all to sign your Puzzle Box replica, but then it would have writing all over it, and you'd likely smudge the signatures when you play with it. As luck would have it, if you act fast, you can score an exclusive poster to have signed instead, and as an added bonus it's coming pre-signed by Hellraiser creator Clive Barker! These are priced at $50 and limited to only 100, so definitely don't sleep on this if you're interested, they WILL go fast. Get your pre-order in here and pick it up at Days of the Dead in February.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Late Phases Review

It took me a long time to finally get the chance to see Late Phases. It was one of those movies that I felt like everybody but me had seen, and being the self proclaimed werewolf aficionado that I am, this just didn't sit well with me. It's finally on VOD, and I sat down to watch it, hoping to add it to an all too short list of great werewolf films.

When Ambrose, a blind war vet, is reluctantly moved to a retirement communtiy by his son, he soon learns that it's residents have been dying off, the apparent victims of wild animal attacks. When he narrowly escapes one of these attacks on his first night there, he begins to suspect that there might be a little more to the attacker than a wild animal. The more he discovers, the more things begin to look more like the work of a werewolf, and he's only got a month until the next full moon to plan his counter-attack.

I've learned over the years that you've just got to let a lot of things go if you're going to be a werewolf film collector. It's just the way it is. There just aren't that may truly great werewolf flicks out there. I applaud Late Phases for trying something different, and mostly succeeding. That said, the ONE thing that you've got to make sure you get right is the werewolf, for me at least. Unfortunately this is the one glaring thing that I just couldn't get past in Late Phases. The first few, dark glimpses gave me hope, especially in shadowy silhouette, but toward the film's climax when everything is out in the light... well, let's just say if I hadn't known going in that this was a werewolf movie, I'd probably have been wondering what kind of "were" these were. Werehamsters maybe? I dunno. But I wouldn't have guessed wereWOLF right away.

Still, if you can get past the look of the creatures, Late Phases is a pretty solid movie. Nick Damici as Ambrose understandably ends up with most of the screen time to himself, and thankfully he does a fine job (although there are moments especially toward the end where you'd swear he can see just a little). Tom Noonan (woo hoo!) also lends his talents to this movie, as Father Roger, and I always enjoy his work. There are a few other notable names in the cast, but they have bit parts at best.

While the looks of the creatures may have left me disappointed, the effects were actually halfway decent. This is a creature feature, and those are usually fun. There's not a lot of blood and guts, but enough to satisfy. Things seemed to lean more towards the practical side too, and if you're into that kind of thing like I am, that's definitely a good thing.

Late Phases is a good werewolf film, not a great one, which ultimately ends up being disappointing. While there is plenty to like here, I just couldn't get past the poor creature design of the werewolves themselves. If you're not quite as picky of a werewolf person as I am, most definitely check it out. If you're like me, and have a pretty specific vision when it comes to the look of your lycanthrope, this probably won't be your cup of tea.