Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Jack Sholder

Next up we have Jack Sholder.  He's best known as the director of Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, but his list of credits also includes such gems as Wishmaster 2, The Hidden, Alone In The Dark, and the excellent Tales From The Crypt episode Fitting Punishment.  These days he's at Western Carolina University passing his knowledge on to the next generation.  Instead of telling us what Halloween means to him exactly, he sent along some random thoughts on the holiday.

" *   I wonder what became of those boys who dressed up as their mother on
Halloween.  I tried Mom's high heels once. Not for me.
  *   I remember my son, now in college, putting so much candy in his pockets
that his pants fell down.
  *   Rotting pumpkins.  Is there anything more yucky than the inside of a
pumpkin or better than pumpkin pie. Carving a pumpkin is like making a sand
castle.  Eventually nature takes its course.  Celluloid is still around but I
wonder about digital media. Sent some old floppy disks to have the data saved
and there was nothing left on them that could be read.
  *   I hate holidays with an agenda.  I prefer ones like Labor Day where you
don't have to do anything.
  *   Halloween makes me sad because I see kids walking around in Freddy Kruger
gloves and my lawyer never got me a cut of the merchandising."

 1 more day 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  1 more day 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Nick Principe

I first noticed Nick Principe in his killer turn as Chromeskull in the best slasher flick of the last decade, Laid To Rest.  He also damn near stole the show in the criminally underrated The FP, and I can't wait to see his work in Ryan Nicholson's new movie Collar.  He was also one of my fist on camera interviews.  So, Nick, what does Halloween mean to you?

“Ahhhhh Halloween .... The horror fans holiday.  It just doesn't get any better than the month of Oct; haunted houses and pumpkin.... well pumpkin EVERYTHING! Going to CVS, or any store and seeing monsters and creatures cute and scary next to cheap crap make up and Scream masks. The billboards off the highway of all the haunts and hayrides makes you wish it was all year round.  
In my youth I'd start building my costume at the end of August cuz, like most New Englanders, we were broke !! But that's fine.  Having financial limitations can bring out a creative side you might not have known you even had. As a young boy I'd try to put together at least two costumes so I could hit my neighborhood twice and get double the candy.  If our parents were up for it, and usually they were, they'd take us to the nicer neighborhoods where they'd dish out the FULL sized candy bars and not the "fun sized" ones most houses had (and what's with the term fun sized? Why does that mean tiny??) As I got older the costumes got more advanced, the girls outfits got skimpier (international allowed to dress like a slut day as some call it), and house parties and cemetery parties replaced trick or treating.
In my late teens I was lucky enough to play music professionally, which took me around the world more than a few times and allowed me to experience Hallows Eve MANY diff places. Almost booking our tours around the 31st and making sure we were some place spooky for that amazing day.... like seeing the Cramps in Austin. Or how about the Michael Graves era Misfits in New Orleans? Or even better Paris France one year for Samhain.   But no matter where it was around the globe, the best place in the WORLD for Halloween is only 30 mins away in Salem, Mass. For the entire month of Oct, Salem embraces the evil "witchery " that took place in the fall of 1692 where over 30 young women (and a few men) met their fate by hanging, being burned alive, or being pressed (held under rocks until it crushed all your organs and you bled to death internally).  But now on Halloween it is just a GIANT party.  The cobblestone streets are blocked off from traffic and thousands from all over come in costume to drink and be merry and have fun.  And then the weekend before Halloween is Rock n Shock.  It’s my favorite horror convention in North America because they combine my two fave things, horror films/culture and punk/hardcore/metal music ! At the Palladium, bands are playing from  late afternoon into the wee hours of night and at the DCU center horror vendors and celebs mingle with fans of the macabre ! If you've never been, it's a sight to behold.  
I get asked a lot if, since I play monsters year round and spend countless hours in the make-up chair, why would I want to do that to myself on my days off? Why??? F@$king why??? Because I LIVE for this stuff !!! The entire reason I do what I do is because I'm STILL the lil kid planning his costume in August.   I STILL want be someone else for a night I LOVE a great costume that you can stand in front of someone you've known your whole life and they can't recognize you ! You aren't who you were on Oct 29th.  You're whoever you want to be. It's a silly reference, but I remember an old episode of Beauty and the Beast (with Ron pearlman and linda Hamilton ) where the only night out of the year that the beast could walk freely in the streets was Halloween.  All he would hear back instead of screams was "cool costume." And maybe deep down that's how I feel, cuz any other night I'm considered a freak.  But on Oct 31, I just have a cool costume and it's the freaks night to be themselves. So here's to all the freaks..... Have a great Halloween.”

 1 more day 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  1 more day 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Ellie Church

Ellie Church is a bad ass.  Plain and simple.  This former Tromette is well on her way to cementing herself as one of the queens of the independent horror scene.  This year saw the release of the fantastic Time To Kill, with Ellie in the starring role, and with upcoming turns in Adam Ahlbrandt's Hunters and the Found spin-off Headless, the future looks just as good.  She's also a really sweet chick and one of the people I always look forward to seeing at cons.  So, Ellie, what does Halloween mean to you?

"Halloween to me means shenanigans. Being  mischievous. As a kid, whether your parents were with you or not, you always felt like you were up to no good...and that was ok. I still get that same feeling as an adult, a kind of giddy childish feeling. I mean, I could toilet paper someone's house any other day , and while I would probably enjoy it, still not have the same feeling as I would doing it on Halloween night. You've got to have that smell in the air for it to work. Harmless mischievous fun, that's what Halloween means to me."

1 more day 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  1 more day 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Bill Zebub

There are certain filmmakers who, within a minute or so of turning on one of their films, you can tell whose work it is.  Bill Zebub is one of those singular filmmakers.  His flicks are zero budget, sleazy as hell, brilliantly titled (Antfarm Dickhole, Jesus: The Total Douchebag, Forgive Me For Raping You), and just plain fun.  So, Bill, what does Halloween mean to you?

"I have always loved Halloween. I don't need to explain to people what makes this day, and even season, special. But I am angry about the misinformation that is spread about the origins. Whenever Halloween draws near, mainstream NEWS and other programs erroneously report that the holiday has Celtic origins. False. The ancient Greeks celebrated the FESTIVAL OF DIONYSES which started on October 31. Perhaps the Catholic Church was embarrassed about their holiday being revealed for its pagan origins (All Saints Day). During the FESTIVAL OF DIONYSES jars were broken to symbolize the gates to death being breached. People wore masks to hide their identities from the spirits who walked the earth. Why? Because there was a good chance that some of the dead were wronged, and their vengeance was feared. An episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE stole this idea. Many things, in fact, were stolen from the Greeks. The Christian story of Pontius Pilate was pure fiction, and it can be argued to have been lifted from "The Baccae" a play by Euripides, in which Dionysus allowed himself to be chained by a king and answered cryptically while being interrogated, and then pretty much did things that the Jesus myth is known for. Read it. Consider me to be your launchpad to learn new things. In real life, not the Bible, there was never a Roman custom to release a prisoner during Passover. Pilate would have never catered to a mob. IN fact, he crushed mobs. He was so insensitive and brutal that he was almost removed from office. But yeah, if you read more of Euripedes, you will find that many Christian sayings are just modified expressions of Greek expressions. "The gods work in mysterious ways" is one of them. Sound familiar?
I love Halloween so much that I made a movie called "Night of the Pumpkin." It's my anti-horror horror movie. The hero is a woman. But unlike American movies that feature a female lead, NIGHT OF THE PUMPKIN features a woman who wins by being a woman. What I mean by that is that she doesn't swear, she doesn't walk with a swagger, and she isn't arrogant. Women are almost Eastern in their strategies. They have no problem appearing weak to the opponent, and they can bide their time. Women have a reputation s for being emotional and having clouded thinking as a result, but the truth is that emotion helps, rather than hinders, strategy. So take a chance."

3 more days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  3 more days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock.

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Adam Ahlbrandt

"My name is Adam Ahlbrandt and I make gore, sleaze, hate and death."  Well, damn.  I doubt I could give the dude a more fitting intro, so we'll just go with that.  So, Adam, what does Halloween mean to you?

"Halloween is where most of us horror addicts first became introduced to the genre'... It's supposed to be about dressing up, eating candy, watching scary movies, getting wasted, laid, s'mores, avoiding arrest, satanic rituals, crisp October air and the celebration of death. I know it's been polluted with all the commercialism and political correctness... But it still fucking rules and it's up to you to make sure it stays that way...
So here's what you do:
If you have kids:
BUY THE BIG, GOOD CANDY. A lot of it, don't be a cheap fuck.
Get dressed up in a good costume, make sure your children are warm enough under theirs if it's going to be cold out.
If you DON'T have kids:
BUY THE BIG, GOOD CANDY. A lot of it, don't be a cheap fuck.

Adam also basically sent a press release with his sublission, so what the hell?  Here we go...
"I have several recent releases including the ToeTag edition of my film Cross Bearer, available here: LINK

I also have The Cemetery out on Massacre Video: LINK
As well as German releases of both from Illusions Unlimited: LINK
I also have two films upcoming in Hunters and a The Sadist starring Linnea Quigley, Haley Madison, J.D. Brown, Kacie Marie, Jason Vail, Draven Star, Mel Heflin, Tina Krause, Victor Bonacore, Shaun Paul Costello, Genoveva Rossi, Tiffany Carroll, Scarlett Storm, Jadie Goodpasture, Ellie Church and many more.
Hunters is a violation of the audience's morality. It's the story of a family of killers who lure a group of film students into a remote town to become the stars of a snuff film. The Sadist is a more psychological endurance test but it is equally vile. It tells the story of a sex addict who becomes trapped by a dominatrix into a world of extreme S&M prostitution.
I also am finishing up a new book called Raping The Angels On The Streets Of Gomorrah. It's a collection of short stories that were mostly written while I was living out of my car. The book also features pictures of Haley Madison in various stages of defilement.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Keith Voigt Jr.

Today on the countdown, we have independent horror director Keith Voigt Jr.  I met Keith at Days of the Dead Atlanta last year and had a killer time talking to him throughout the weekend.  I snagged a copy of his dvd featuring the short films Arme and Lust from Toetag's table and was duly impressed.  It's always cool when dudes that make good movies are good dudes as well.  So Keith, what does Halloween mean to you?

"When I was a kid Halloween was just a fun time to dress up and get candy. But when I snuck "Friday the 13th" on VHS around 5 or 6 years old and watched it for the first time it changed things forever. That's when I got introduced to horror films, good ole Jason Voorhees. The next year I watched "Halloween" on Halloween and loved it too. So then like so many people it sort of became a tradition for me to watch "Halloween" on Halloween. In my High School years Halloween was a time to party! I threw these parties all the time and we called them WINKERLANd (hence the production company name) and any time we threw one for Halloween we called it HalloWINKERLANd. People dressed up and got wasted and we had a blast. Some of the best memories of my life. Now Halloween to me is a time when I feel normal around the rest of the world haha. Things that us Horror fans do regularly everyone else does for a little bit. It really is a magical time of the year. The crisp leaves are beneath our feet, the skies are beautiful and the weather is just right. Halloween has a great atmosphere and that's why I love it. Horror flicks are for sale in Walmart and being shown on TV. So like I said it means a lot of things to me. But what's really important is what does it mean to YOU?"

8 more days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  8 more days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Marcus Koch

Independent filmmaker's week rolls on with Marcus Koch.  I first became aware of his work when Chemical Burn sent me a screener of Fell (which I highly recommend), and in doing a little research for my review discovered "Hey, this was directed by the same guy that did 100 Tears!"  His contributions to indie horror don't stop at his directorial efforts, though.  Not by a long shot.  His great special effects work can be seen in a shit ton (yes, exactly one metric shit ton) of the best underground releases from the past decade and a half.  Most recently his skills helped bring the guts and gore to the first installment of the American Guinea Pig series, which will be premiering at the Housecore Festival in New Orleans.  So, Marcus, what does Halloween mean to you?

"Growing up, my parents were always all about watching horror movies, decorating for halloween, and taking my sister and I trick or treating; so Halloween has been ingrained into me all my life.
In Florida, we don't really have a change of seasons.  Its hot and muggy until it's cold for about a month in January, so we don't get to see the leaves change.  No Autumn colors there. But come closer to the end of October, you could feel a change in in the air.  It was less humid, and not sure what flower bloomed that time of year, but the air smelled sweet.  I remember seeing yard decorations going up; lots of ghosts made from pieces of sheets with eyes painted on them hanging in trees and pumpkins and  homemade tombstones filling people's yards.  Every year there was a haunted house at the mall, and I loved checking it out.  One year they had an entire Freddy Krueger House.  NOES 3 had just come out, and it was a lot of fun.  I wanted to do my own haunted houses.  When I was in 5th grade, I started making my front yard into a cemetery and making an enclosed little walk through to the front door with ratty torn sheets.  As I got into middle school, I kept making it bigger and bigger, so much that I built a 12 foot wall extension to the side of the house.  I built my first multiple walled maze to the front door, made all the gory props to go inside, and did bloody make up on my friends helping me run it.  I did a huge skull painting on the front wall.  It was so much that the city code enforcement tried to make us take it down.  (jerks)   
When I was 14, I happened to be in the right place at the right time, I was at the mall, and the store front that usually housed the haunts was boarded up.  It was Oct 3rd, and there was no sign of anything happening at all, but as I was walking by the next giant empty storefront  I saw two people inside taking measurements.  I stood there listening to them, and heard them say "haunted house".... so i went up and started talking to them. Turn out the local Girls Club was going to be taking over the Mall Haunt.  I told them what I do, what kinds of props I make, told them I've done my own mazes at my house, and somehow convinced them to let me make the floor plan and do the decorations and props.  The first year went over really well, and I wound up staying with them for the next 7 years.  Each year it grew bigger and bigger.  
Then about 10 years ago, when I was 27, I managed to get hooked up with a company that builds haunted attractions for Busch Gardens Tampa and some serious other haunts with budgets.  I started working out of town at other theme parks across the country like Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens in Virginia and Sea World San San Antonio.  We even build 3 haunts in Canada and over see all the area themeing,  This is what I do when I'm not making movies. 
Halloween always has and always will be a big part of my life.  When I'm not building them, I love traveling to other theme parks and privately own haunted attractions and going through their mazes"
9 more days'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  9 more days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock.
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