Thursday, October 31, 2013

Download Southern Psycho Vol. 1 FREE

Music has always been a huge part of my Halloween celebration.  The right All Hallow's soundtrack can really make your celebration.  So, in the spirit of the holiday and in my never ending quest to support my local horror scene, I put together this Halloween treat for all of you.  It's a collection of the best horror music the American Southeast has to offer.  This Frankenstein's Monster was stitched together from parts of a myriad of musical cadavers like horror punk (about 80% actually), horrorcore rap, death and doom metal, and rockabilly.  We've got The Casket Creatures, Crypt 24, Stitch Mouth, Rictus Grim, Tripping The Mechanism, Coffin Syrup, The Funeral Davies, Graveyard Boulevard, Nightmare Sonata, After the Nightmare, Boney Fiend, Dead Rites, Sugar Virus, Dead Dick Hammer, The Creeping Cruds, and more.  The best part... it's ABSOLUTELY FREE!  A big thank you goes out to all of the bands for contributing these songs and to The Grockle himself, Frank Browning, for the killer artwork.  So, follow the link below to download the compilation, and have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Note: I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, because you're all smart cookies, but don't click on any of the ads on the download page.  Just put in the capcha and hit "Download Now."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 30: Russ Streiner and Judith O'Dea

Russ Streiner and Judith O’Dea are literally the first voices I hear every Halloween.  You see, Russ and Judith played Johnny and Barbara (as in “They’re coming to get you…”) in Night of the Living Dead.  Russ was also the producer of the film.  One of my longstanding All Hallows traditions is popping in NOTLD (sometimes a pristine DVD, sometimes my ancient, grainy VHS copy) as soon as I wake up on October 31st.  NOTLD happens to be my favorite movie of all time.  In addition to being an incredible flick, it’s the first horror film I ever watched.  I caught it on TV late one October night when I was 12, and it started me on the journey into the macabre that I’ve been on for the last two decades.  It was a profound experience.  At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I consider the first time I basked in the glow of monocrome flesh eaters my awakening; the moment when I discovered who I really was.  It was also the first horror movie I ever bought, starting my horror collection off right.  That’s why, on the final day of the 2013 What Halloween Means To Me countdown, it is my extreme honor to present to you two of the people responsible for, in my mind, the greatest horror film ever made, a film that changed my life, and a movie without which it just wouldn’t be Halloween.  So, Johnny and Barbara, I mean Russ and Judith, what does Halloween mean to you?

Note: Judith O’Dea will be appearing at the Walker StalkerCon in Atlanta on Nov. 1-3.  If you’re a zombie-phile, it is an event not to be missed!


 “When I think of Halloween, I think of Mary Poppins, my childhood, and that of my children Jenni and John. 

     Why Mary Poppins, that wonderfully supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nanny popularized in film by Walt Disney?  Well, when I was a kid, those magical books by P. L. Travers were my absolute favorites.  One of the stories took place in autumn right around ‘All Hallows Eve’ when the chill London breezes blew leaves off the trees that carried secret messages for the Banks children of Cherry Tree Lane.  Oh, how I loved that story and wished I could have been there to take part in all the magic.

     Another childhood memory was that Halloween signaled the beginning of the whole wonderful autumn and winter worlds of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I could feel summer being pushed aside…could smell it in the air and feel it on my skin!  A perfect time of year!

     I can remember trick or treating using an old brown paper grocery bag.  Baby Ruth candy bars were one of my all-time favorites.  We kids never did anything mean or destructive.  The best we could muster was ringing a doorbell or two and running away like crazy not wanting to be caught. 

     My most memorable costume was as an old organ grinder with a blow-up rubber monkey sitting on top.  My dad made the portable organ grinder out of a cardboard box and an old sawed off broom stick.  I wore the whole contraption around my neck and could turn a wooden crank on the side of the box that I pretended could make music.  My blow-up monkey came from a trip to the circus that happened earlier that summer.  Boy, did I love that little guy!  I also loved wearing my dad’s old clothes and shoes along with one of his fedora felt hats and a glued-on mustache.  No other costume that I can remember ever compared to that one.

     Then, years later, when my own children were old enough to go trick or treating, I can remember making my son what I thought was the coolest costume ever.  We were living in Santa Monica, CA at the time.  I took a paper grocery bag; made a false bottom in it, filled the top half with a variety of empty food cans and boxes…cereal, macaroni, and veggies, then slipped it over his head.  He and my daughter Jenni went trick or treating that night and afterwards I took them to Norm’s Restaurant for a whopping 4-course dinner…salad, soup, entre, and dessert, all for less than $6.00! 

     We were a team back in those days…or so I thought.  Maybe, looking back on it now, it was all more in my head how cool those times were…how cool I thought the kids thought they were.

     It really doesn’t matter though.  The memories are some of the best in the world for me.  I’m sure my kids have their own versions.  But the fact is HALLOWEEN was one of our favorite holidays.  And is to this very day…especially for my daughter and her family who carry on tradition in their own unique ways.  How grateful and happy it all makes me feel.

Thanks for letting me share…"

“When Nathan and Son of Celluloid asked me that question- I must say that what immediately flashed into my mind were my three (now grown) children.  If I am disappointing any Son of Celluloid readers, I apologize- but please bear with me, I may have some juicy memories in a moment.

Although I have wonderful memories of my own Halloween’s from my growing up years and sharing Halloween with my cousins and friends, my most fond (and meaningful) memories come from doing Halloween with my own children.  When my kids were young, the whole concept of helping them pick out what they wanted to dress up as, then buying or helping to make their costumes, doing their make up and then taking them trick or treating hold the most fond memories for me.

Being the romantic person I am, I think Halloween has always signaled the start of the Fall and Winter holidays, and I have always liked the year-end holidays.

Both for me when I was a kid and later when my kids were dressing up there was always this sense of “hiding” in the costume and make up of another character and (almost) no one knew who you were at least for a few hours.  So dressing up in costume was like a walking around hiding place.

Some times my kids costumes were modest and other times they were very elaborate- but they were always fun and the close time spent with my kids are my most prized memories.

On the more juicy side- two Halloween happenings stick out.  The first happened just last October (2012).  John Russo and I were invited to be the co-Grand Marshalls of the 10,000 person Toronto Zombie Walk.  Looking out from the stage of Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square at 10,000 people all gathered together “hiding” in full view in their zombie make was such a RUSH!  That was very memorable.

Another outstanding Halloween memory reaches back to Halloween Night - 1968.  Night Of The Living Dead™ had been release about 30 days earlier and George Romero and I decided we would go to a bar in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.  No, we were not in costume.  We had a few drinks and talked back and forth about whether our newly released movie was going to be accepted by the public.  Now, 45 years later, that question seems to have been answered.”

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 29: Edward Lee

After college, I was so burned out from reading tome after tome of pretentious academic film analysis that, and I hate to admit this, it was a couple of years before I read a book for pleasure again.  About the same time that I discovered horror punk and psychobilly (see yesterday’s post), I got the itch to read again.  I was talking to someone in some long defunct chatroom when I mentioned that I dug stuff by Clive Barker, David J Schow, Poppy Z Brite, and others that often fell under the banner of “splatterpunk.”  They told me that if I liked them, I absolutely had to check out Edward Lee.  I wish I knew who that person was so I could thank them profusely, because they introduced me to my favorite current horror author.  I picked up Flesh Gothic, was blown away, and began to read all of Lee’s work that I could get my hands on.  Admittedly, this was mainly his mass market stuff like The Chosen, The Backwoods, Creekers, and Monstrosity due to the fact that much of his oeuvre had been released in limited runs by small presses and fetched prices that were far too rich for my blood.  Eventually I managed to snag a copy of The Bighead, and the doors to the world of hardcore horror were flung open for me.  Actually, they were kicked off their hinges.  Since then I’ve rabidly consumed everything Lee that I can, and I’m truly excited to have him on the countdown.  So, Edward, what does Halloween mean to you?

German poster for The Black Abbot
”EARLIEST HALLOWEEN MEMORY: When I was about 4 years old, I somehow got to stay up late one Halloween and I watched this movie called THE BLACK ABBOT.  I think it had Klaus Kinski in it, and it’s about this murderer walking around in an old abbey, dressed in a black cloak and hood, stabbing people.  The image of that guy in the cloak haunted me for years.  Has anyone heard of this movie, or did I dream the whole thing? I remember a couple years later in first-grade art class, we’re supposed to fingerpaint something, so I paint this guy in a black hood, holding a bloody knife.  All the other kids paint flowers and trees and dogs and cats.  I paint the BLACK ABBOT.  How’s that for healthy formative imagery?    

FAVORITE HALLOWEEN MEMORY: That’s easy.  I was in eighth grade, Montgomery County, Maryland, circa...well, I won’t say the year, just that it’s when Johnson was running things. (No, not Jimmy Johnson of the Dallas Cowboys, President Johnson).  Anyway, it’s Halloween, about 4:15 in the afternoon.  Like every eighth-grader back then, we’d all jump off the bus and run home fast as we could to catch the last ten minutes of DARK SHADOWS.  Cool show.  But as I’m jumping off the bus, I trip on some kid’s leg–which was probably extended on purpose.  I look to see that it’s this punk greaser kid in a leather jacket named Cois.  (Cois?  What kind of a thug name is that?)   Instead of saying “Keep your leg out of the aisle, you useless waste of space,” I say, “Oh, sorry, Cois.”  Why?  Because Cois is the biggest thug-hood-punk-bully in the entirety of Sligo Jr. High School.  His fat side-kick grins at me.  But Cois ain’t grinning.  Cois looks at me like an executioner and says: “Next time I see you, I’m kicking your ass.”  And the fat side-kick giggles and says, “Yeah.”  So, I figure I’ll just have to avoid Cois for the rest of my life.  Nothing’s going to screw-up my Dark Shadows jones, and I run home and catch the last ten minutes and, of course, it’s cool.  (It was one of the I Ching episodes.)  But I’m doubly excited, see, ‘cos it’s Halloween, and I got invited to a party in Layhill Village, where all the rich kids live, and there’s this hot eighth-grade chick (but with a bosom like maybe a college chick) who’s gonna be at the party–I think her name was Jeri–and word is she’s got a crush on me.  I figure the best way to impress her is make the scene in the BEST friggin’ costume I can devise. 
I’ve planned this for weeks, see, and I already know what I’m going as: a vampire.  But not just ANY vampire.  I’m going as Barnabas Collins–the COOLEST vampire ever.  Mom helps me, of course, (she even got my hair to look like Barnabas’ saw-tooth style bangs), and by 6pm I’m looking damn good; I’m looking about as close to Jonathan Frid as any eighth-grader could hope for, plus I snagged a pair of those foldover glow-in-the-dark fangs that were the rave back then.  I don’t even bother trick-or-treating (aw, that’s for kids!); instead I go straight to the party.  Gotta admit I was a little nervous; after all, I was only in the eighth grade and there’s this chick named Jeri at the party who’s got hooters like– I said.  I stand out in front on the sidewalk for awhile–actually, probably, like, an hour.  Kids trick-or-treating kept walking by, saying my costume was great, so at least that was a confidence builder.  But just when I decide it’s time to go inside...Cois and his fat side-kick come loping down the sidewalk.  Oh, no!  Those soul-dead, spiritless thugs aren’t even wearing costumes; they’re wearing their leather jackets!  They’re clearly not trick-or-treating (and there’s no way THEY’D be invited to the party), they’re just out causing trouble.  At first they don’t recognize me in my great costume, and I feel relieved, but then Cois pauses and says something like “My, my, my, look who’s here.”  The fat side-kick says, “Yeah.”  Cois punches me in the nose–hard!–and the fat side-kick pushes me down.  (That’s an eighth-grade ass-kicking).  Then they lope away, laughing.  Meanwhile, I’m lying there with my nose bleeding like a tap.  I can’t go to the party now!  What a ripoff!  I start to walk home, wondering how I’ll explain a bloody face and shirt to my parents.  But in a few minutes the bleeding stops and...I get an idea.  I wipe off my nose and upper lip with a handkerchief and go BACK to the party.  I’m a vampire, right, and vampires have blood running down their mouth and shirts, right?  I figure I’ll go to the party and say it’s fake blood!  (Pretty smart, huh?)  Anyway, I make the scene, everyone raves about my costume, and as I recall I even won a prize.  Jeri wasn’t there, though–the bitch.  And that’s my favorite Halloween story. 

TRICK OR TREAT: When I was a kid I remember getting these wax figures (bats, witches, ghosts, etc.) that were filled with some kind of juice, and you just bit the heads off and drank the juice.  Those were the days!”

 2 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  2 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 28: Dead Richy Gein (Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space)

The final three days of the What Halloween Means To Me countdown will feature people who are personal favorites of mine and who have greatly influenced my love for horror in some way.  The Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space is one of the greatest bands of all time, so sayeth the Son of Celluloid.  They were also one of the bands responsible for my discovery of the modern horror punk and psychobilly that has become an obsession.  I LOVED The Misfits since I was a teenaager, but as a diehard metal guy at the time, I had never really given a listen to other “horror rock” bands.  Then, in 2006, I was searching for music to play at my (now legendary) Drunken Punkin’ Halloween Party.  I discovered three albums at the same time: Leaving the Tomb by The Crimson Ghosts, 1968 by American Werewolves, and A Night at Grand Guignol by BZFOS.  I was hooked, my life was forever changed, and the rest is history.  The Ghosts and The Werewolves are great, but BZFOS is the band I really latched onto.   I’ve loved everything they've ever put out, but Grand Guignol is still my favorite.  It’s part of my Halloween soundtrack each and every year.  One of these days the horrorbilly psychos from Austria (not Australia, right Maynard?) will storm The States.  Until then, I’ll keep rocking out and spreading the word.  It brings me great joy to welcome BZFOS drummer/singer Dead Richy Gein to the blog and the countdown.  So Mr. Gein, what does Halloween mean to you?

"Growing up during the 80's in the deep Austrian countryside, I gotta say that the word “Halloween” had no meaning to me. Halloween simply didn’t exist to me because it was not a part of Austrian culture at the time. Even if the original “Samhain” festival came out of Europe, we kids here first found out about “Halloween” after watching American movies. Of course we also loved the idea of playing “Trick or Treat” while wearing costumes, so slowly it found it's way into our society as well. It is still not as big as in the US, but in the beginning of October the shops are packed with “Halloween” stuff and the kids can’t wait to get into a costume on the 31st and scare the neighbors.

Being in a band like the “Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space” means

that around Halloween we are always on tour or at least we play the awaited Halloween show, which is always one of our annual show highlights.

Another thing that immediately comes to my mind when I hear the term

“Halloween” is, of course, John Carpenter’s classic horror movie. As a

horror film-nerd and collector, I truly love the whole series and Michael Meyers was, along Jason, Freddy, Pinhead, etc., one of my best buddies when I was a teenager. I have seen Halloween countless times and it is definitely very high up on my list of best films ever made!

So I will spend the 31st of October by watching at least 3 horror movies(in this particular order: “Something classic,” “Something really gory,” and “Something new”) during the day and play the gig and party with my band in the night. Hope you all have a good one too!"

2 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  2 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 27: Micho Rutare

I have been a big fan of The Asylum for years.  In 2013, the rest of the world caught on when Sharknado became a social media phenomenon and set Syfy ratings records.  I’m not one of these bandwagon jumping horror hipsters either.  My love for Asylum is for real.  Since Pep Squad baby!  Anyway, one of the men responsible for unleashing mockbuster and creature feature gems upon the world is Micho Rutare.  Micho is the head of development for The Asylum.  He’s been involved in the development of modern classics like Mega Shark vs Crocasaurus, 2-Headed Shark Attack, A Haunting in Salem, Zombie Apocalypse, Super Cyclone, Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies (which was WAY better than that crappy Vampire Hunter flick), and my favorite Asylum flick, Nazis at the Center of the Earth (which made my top 10 flicks of 2012 list).  Cthulhu bless you Asylum, and Cthulhu bless you, Micho.  So, what does Halloween mean to you?

“Halloween is the last Pagan holiday; we're allowed, for one day of the year, to revel in darkness and excess. I had a wonderful childhood, but in some ways, it was the worst of all worlds: conservative Christianity kept me away from great music and movies; all that was left of my mom's hippie youth was an aversion to anything processed, unhealthy, and delicious. Except on Halloween, I was allowed to read stories of demons and monsters while mainlining Smarties and Snickers (remember when pillowcases were units of measurement?).

My mom was also responsible for my fondest Halloween memory. When I was about ten, I saw The Three Musketeers at a friend's house (the one with Chris O'Donnell and Kiefer Sutherland). I loved it, mainly because the Musketeers carried swords AND guns, but also because Rebecca De Mornay made me feel a funny tingling. Come Halloween time, I had a brilliant idea: to be a Musketeer! I drafted my three best friends--they were D'Artagnan, Aramis, and Porthos, and I was Athos. My mom volunteered to sew our costumes, and the other moms joined in. They made us exact replicas of the Musketeers outfits, and we made sure to arm ourselves with the best guns and swords Toys R Us had. "All for one, and one for all" was our proud slogan. 

Underneath the spooky trappings of the holiday, there's a real sense of freedom. Freedom to do what you want to do and be who you want to be. This is also the ethos of film--and filmmaking. Once you get a taste of that freedom, you never want to give it up.”

4 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  4 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 26: Russell Cherrington

This summer, I had the pleasure of sitting in the Gwinnett Center’s screening room as Russell Cherrington told the story of finding a VHS containing the mythical director’s cut of Nightbreed behind some books in Clive Barker’s house to a spellbound (Hellbound?) crowd.  The long awaited emergence of the “Cabal Cut” has been, without a doubt, the biggest story in the horror world this year; and Russell is the man that made it happen.  An award winning film and music video director, he is the “restoration director” of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut.  With Scream Factory promising a highly anticipated DVD and Blu-ray release in 2014, there’s never been a better time to be a member of the Tribes of the Moon.  Everything is true. God's an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and today Mr. Cherrington has made the trip from Midian to Celluloid Central to tell us what Halloween means to him.

“When I was asked what Halloween means to me I had to think about it, simply because in England Halloween is just not as big a deal as it is for my American friends. Don’t get me wrong I love it as much as the next man. I love old school Universal Monsters, I love Hellraiser, and so much more.

But I have a confession to make; my Halloween film is going to have to be Carry on Screaming! It was one fateful night in my childhood, on Halloween, that everything changed.  I remember like yesterday the sight of Oddbod attacking the couple in the woods. How Oddbod Junior was created. I still smile at the thought of Kenneth Williams as the dead Doctor Orlando Watt bringing Rubbatiti back to life. All of this was carried out with such finesse and old school charm.

Thinking about it today, it was Fenella Fielding as the very sexy Valaria Watt trying to have her way with the many men crossing her path that made it fun. Her character is classic horror chick like Lily Munster and Morticia Adams, and a prototype Elvira if you will, that really made this film fun.

Jump forward 35 years.  Last year I decided to have a filmmaker night at my home on Halloween and I choose 2 movies to watch out of the 100’s if not 1000’s that I own. I choose Carry on Screaming and Hellraiser because they are the first things that come into my head when I think of Halloween.

Hellraiser is my 1987. It is, in my humble opinion, the single most important horror film of the 1980’s. It changed everything for me. The Monsters are twisted humans, bent into new forms on their journey to find pleasure in pain at the far side of human experience. The story of family dysfunction gives it a balance and a human drama to give the film heart.

Like any good horror film that is twisted at its core, the sex is powerful and is the heart of what motivates our femme fatale to commit murder and the un-godly act of reanimation. Blood is spilled, and the twist is epic. The Shakespearian dialogue of the order of the gash is epic and separates the Cenobites from the other Horror characters of that era of Horror.

This year I will be in America, the home of Halloween.  I intend to embrace the spirit of All Hallows Eve as I walk around the streets of San Francisco to celebrate Halloween with a screening of Nightbreed – The Cabal Cut.”

 5 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  5 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 25: Ruby Larocca

Ruby Larocca is the definition of what an indie genre actress should be.  She started with Seduction Studios doing films like Spiderbabe, Mummy Raider, and Lord of the G-Strings alongside Misty Mundae and Darian Caine.  I will fully admit to having seen all of those.  She was in the movie that just might bear my favorite title of all time, Orgasm Torture In Satan’s Rape Clinic.  From softcore beginnings, she has gone on to appear in some outstanding horror flicks.  She appeared in two movies that I think are vastly underrated; The Lost (a killer Jack Ketchum adaptation) and Flesh For The Beast.  She’s in the excellent The Cemetery.  She’s also a frequent collaborator of Jimmy Screamerclauz, and in my opinion her most impressive work to date is a voice performance in Where The Dead Go To Die.  She infuses Sophie with an absolutely heartbreaking innocence, pain, and vulnerability that goes a long way towards establishing an emotional core for the weirdness to revolve around.  With a motto like “I support dangerous art & fearless hearts,” she sounds like my kinda people.  Oh, and for the record, she’s been in two flicks (Porkchop and Bone Sickness) that I really want to see buy haven’t been able to yet.  If any of you Cellmates wanna hook me up on that front, I’d be eternally grateful.  So, Ruby, what does Halloween mean to you?

It means everything to me. A time to be scary, or dark, or funny. A time to be something you're not. A time to be your fantasy.
When I was a kid, we used to chase around the other kids.
I used to dress as a purple unicorn, my mother made the costume for me; probably the only person who would appreciate that is Heidi, side note
Even in my purple unicorn costume I would terrorize the other kids. I guess I've always been evil, but I always went home with the biggest pillow bag of candy... I still do.
But really what does Halloween mean to me?  Scaring kids, ha ha ha!”

6 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  6 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 25: Jim Wynorski

Without Jim Wynorski, the B movie landscape would be a very different place.  This is a man with a true appreciation of the art form and an auteur who taught us all the basics of making a good bad movie; minimal budget, a little blood, and lots of tits.  His career has included bona fide horror classics like Chopping Mall and The Haunting of Morella (mmmmm, Lana Clarkson), Syfy originals like Piranhaconda and Dino-croc vs Super-Gator, softcore horror parodies like The Bare Wench Project and House on Hooter Hill, straight up sleaze like The Busty Cops series, and everything in between.  I freakin’ love Busty Cops Go Hawaiian, by the way.  No, seriously.  E equals MC Hammer, baby!  With a list like that, I’d be willing to bet that there’s more than one Wynorski flick in all of your collections.  He was the subject of a documentary back in 2009 called Popatopolis, which I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of yet (hint, hint) but really want to see.  He has an upcoming film called Scared Topless, which absolutely sounds like my kinda movie!  Keep an eye out for that one.  So Jim, what does Halloween mean to you?

“What does Halloween mean to me? What a question. Thinking about it, I suppose it's the childhood memories of dressing up in costume, watching black & white horror movies on TV and going out door-to-door 'trick or treating' in my small town neighborhood.
I lived in a rural area, and it was not uncommon to see scare-crows guarding pumpkin patches as the Fall season approached. The chill in the air and the colored leaves added to the atmospheric effect. As a kid, I wanted to believe in witches on broomsticks, scary black cats, and hordes of bats flying ominously past a large cold moon.
It's not really a holiday, but I still like to think of it as one. A day dedicated to scary creatures, smiling jack-o-lanterns and things that go bump in the night. Boo!!!!”

 6 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  6 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 24: Allan Trautman

I’m always looking for more brains to pick about Halloween.  Today’s contributor to the What Halloween Means To Me countdown is always just looking for “More Brains!”  As a puppeteer, costume performer, and voice actor, Allan Trautman has worked with Sid and Marty Croft, been a longtime Muppet performer, and taken part in projects like Men In Black, Dinosaurs, and Unhappily Ever After.  What made him a horror icon, however, is his portrayal of possibly the most recognizable and beloved zombie of all time; Tarman in Return of the Living Dead.  His unique performance gave the character that great ability to both creep us out and make us laugh.  I’d be willing to bet that at least a couple of you are wearing a shirt with Tarman on it right now.  Mr. Trautman has agreed to wrack his brains for some all Hallows memories, so Allan, what does Halloween mean to you?

“I grew up in Brooklyn, and my friends and I would canvas the (very dense) Sheepshead Bay neighborhood on Halloween. We didn't have to go too far to fill up our bags.
I didn't have much imagination for costumes back then. I remember charring a piece of cork and rubbing it on my chin and calling myself a Hobo. I must've had an old jacket of my Dad's, and my Mom would help make a Hobo stick, with a little tied-up bag at the end. And that was pretty much it. No zombies back then, in my neighborhood, at least.
So one year one of my friends and I had split off from the crowd. We were working our way down this one block with walk-up stoops in front. Ring door bell, "Trick-or-treat!" Candy. Move on.
Then we approached one particular house and rang the bell. Nobody answered. I rang again. No answer. I rang a third time, and the door flew open. There stood a very intense-looking, almost classically storybook "old woman," for want of a better expression. Dark dress, small eyes, hair in a bun, vaguely old-world European accent. She fixes me with her gaze, and screams, "What do you want from my life?"
I ran all the way home.
I don't remember doing much Trick-or-Treating after that.”

7 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  7 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 23: Westboro Baptist Church

I invited today’s guests to the countdown for two reasons.  First, as a preacher’s kid I was exposed to a lot of those “Halloween is EVIL” programs in my younger years, so anti-Halloween crusaders have always been an entertaining part of the holiday for me.  These folks clearly represent that sentiment.  Secondly, I figured that since the coundown is usually a big Halloween love-fest, it would be interesting to have a voice of dissent.  You know, someone who hates Halloween.  It took a while to think of someone though.  I mean, who could possibly hate Halloween?  Then it hit me; people who hate everything!  The prophets of hate agreed to participate, and to be honest, their response was a little more sedate than I was expecting. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the What Halloween Means To Me countdown… the Westboro Baptist Church.

“Halloween is worshiping the dead, witches, ghosts, ghouls, vandalism, mayhem, drunken parties, excuses for violence. Halloween is dressing your children up in costumes and sending them to strangers homes begging for candy. Halloween is pagan idolatry. What part of that sounds like a good idea?

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ takes no part in idolatrous activities. If we were supposed to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve you would find it spelled out in the Bible. What you find instead is specifically the opposite:

Am 5:21  I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

Ps 115:17  The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

De 18: 10  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

11  Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

12  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

There is no scripture to support an “All Saints Day” or “All Souls Day”. These are simply excuses the Catholics have used to incorporate the pagan traditions of the peoples the Roman Empire conquered and get them to buy into the Catholic Church. By participating in and teaching your children to do so you prove you hate them.

Eph 6:4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

De 11: 18   Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

19  And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

20  And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

The return of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent. We live in a time where all signs point to his return. Should we be focusing our energies on worshiping the dead and celebrating violence or on serving God?

Halloween is not harmless fun, but a shining example of your extreme hatred of God and refusal to obey His commandments.”

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 22: Sean Whalen

One of the things I really enjoy in the weeks leading up to Halloween are the decorated houses.  We all have those few in our area that we look forward to because we know they’re gonna go all out, and apparently Sean Whalen’s place is one of those.  Sean is awesome.  That’s all there is to it.  Honestly, I think he’s often unfairly overlooked as one of the great modern character actors.  Genre fans probably know him best as Roach from The People Under The Stairs.  He’s also had memorable horror roles in Idle Hands, Laid To Rest, Hatchet 3, and many others as well as a hilarious turn in The FP.  His non genre credits include the classic “Aaron Burr” Got Milk ad.  I got to interview Sean at Days of the Dead two years ago.  It was my first day doing on camera interviews, and he was super cool to me.  He also told me that I was the only interviewer who had ever asked him about Python.  He’s got a lot of projects in the works right now, so hit him up on facebook HERE to keep up with what he’s up to.  So Sean, tell us about the Halloween Tree and what Halloweens mean to you.

"Every Halloween we are the house on the street that everyone looks forward to seeing how our house will be decorated.  We always go for it, but not how you think.  We take a bunch of skeletons and a graveyard and incorporate a theme that has nothing to do with blood and gore.  It’s a scary twist on a bigger theme that makes it fun.  For example, we’ve done a Circus Theme (Tingling Bros.), a Winter theme (Walking in a Winter Underland), and a Greek Mythology theme (Mt. Scare-lympus).  But the most important part of the decorating is what we do on the tree in front.  It has a huge branch that hangs over the street.  We always hang a decorated skeleton from it, but the challenge is that it has to make sense that it is flying in the air for a reason.  It’s our nanny’s/good friend/ Halloween decorating partner’s and my biggest challenge every year.  But we always pull it off.  Conquering the tree dilemma every year is definitely what Halloween means to me."

Tingling Bros. Circus  - Man on the flying Trapese

 Winter Underland - Spooky Snowboader doing a stunt

 Mt. Scare-lympus - Hermes the flying messenger God

Scare-Abian Nights - Skeleton on a flying carpet
 9 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  9 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Monday, October 21, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 21: Cleve Hall

From working on movies like Re-Animator, Ghoulies, Dungeonmaster (coming to DVD this month courtesy of Scream Factory), and Terrorvision to creating stage props for Kiss, ICP, and Alice Cooper, Cleve Hall has pretty much done it all in the world of monster making.  He’s also an actor, musician, and fellow hearse driver.  The subject of the Syfy series Monster Man, Cleve is one of the few still championing the cause of practical effects, which makes him a hero in my eyes.  So, Cleve, what does Halloween mean to you?

"What Halloween means to me... Halloween, to me, is the closest I get to feeling the wide eyed innocence of childhood. The sounds of creaking doors and low spooky moans, the smells of Autumn, feel of cool crispness in the air, and the sights of houses lit up with orange and purple lights with Jack-o-lanterns grinning from the porches. These remind me of some of the happiest times of my life... At least until I discovered Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll! As a longtime member of the Goth Subculture, I am now able to share my love for Halloween with others who are like-minded, and to us, Every Day is HALLOWEEN!"

10 more day ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!  10 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock!

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 21: Fred Vogel

There aren’t a lot of bigger names in underground horror than Fred Vogel.  He and his TOETAG INC. compatriots have been turning out extreme cinema and gut-churning effects work for over a decade now.  His infamous August Underground trilogy is still routinely named on “most disturbing movies” lists (particularly Mordum).  I think that Fred’s influence on independent horror is more widespread than he often gets credit for.  I personally know of quite a few filmmakers who picked up a camera at least partially because they were inspired by what TOETAG accomplished, and the influence is obvious in the work of many, many more who won’t admit to it.  I hope to meet the man at Days of the Dead Atlanta in February and maybe ask him a few questions, but for now I only have one… Fred, what does Halloween mean to you?

Fred as the Frankenstein Monster - 1983
“I knew at an early age that Halloween was my favorite holiday. To me it was better than all the gifts you get on Christmas or all the Chocolate Bunnies you can eat on Easter. It was a holiday that let me express my love for the macabre. I was into horror at an early age being influenced by James Whale’s 1931 classic Frankenstein. The Frankenstein Monster was my go to costume. I would spend hours in my bathroom practicing in the mirror making myself up with grease-paint. It was the beginning of me honing my make-up skills. I couldn’t wait to unveil my costume to my friends; I would stay in character all night going from house to house. I might be to old to Trick or Treat nowadays but that doesn’t stop me from dressing up in costume to celebrate my favorite night of the year, Halloween.”

 10 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  10 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 20: Brian Williams

It’s really weird how you meet some people.  Sometime last year, as I sat outside smoking a bowl with some friends, Renee (aka Lyla Sawyer: Chainsaw Chick) told me that she had been talking to some guy on a music app called Turntable who was making a movie and that she had told him about SOC.  Fast forward about six months, and Brian Williams messaged me about his upcoming flick Time To Kill.  Turns out he was that guy.  Small world.  Time To Kill is currently still shooting, but I got to see what Brian and his partner in crime, Ellie Church, are capable of when I saw their short Play Me on The Collective Volume 6.  Have I ever mentioned just how many killer filmmakers I’ve discovered that way?  Play Me is intense, gory, and fun.  Mark Schemanske, who you heard from earlier in the countdown, told me tales of people fleeing a convention screening in disgust.  That’s a good sign.  It also turns out that he’s yet another preacher’s kid.  What can I say? We get out crazy honest.  Go hit up the Mostly Harmless Pictures page to find out where you can see Play Me and the Time To Kill page to keep up with the production.  So, Brian, what does Halloween mean to you?

“I remember feverishly stuffing one of my dad's old button up flannel shirts with that morning news papers, and taping a mask to the top of it, and shoving it into the cardboard coffin I made out of the box my Nintendo came in. I carefully pulled the vial of fake blood I had gotten from an older friend from my pocket, and held it up, watching the way it looked in the light of the sun sneaking through the window in the living room. I remember watching my father drinking the blood of Christ in the church he preached at. I remember the way that blood looked in that glass. I remember the glass being passed from one member to another, and seeing the somber look in each persons eyes as they accepted that cup, and put it to their lips, taking in the blood, holding it in their mouth, and slowly swallowing before they passed it to the next person. I remember spending weeks working on, contemplating, changing, abandoning, and then starting all over again, grand schemes of costumes, props, plays, pieces of art, of music, all for the celebration of a single day. I remember the vhs tape of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead being pulled from the vcr by my father, demanding to know what I was watching. The tape being handed to my mother, and her being told to return it, and to never watch that sort of filth again. I remember designing and printing up tickets to a concert my band was putting on in middle school, writing and recording audio skits, building larger than life models of demons, all to be acted out behind a sheet in between songs at a concert we scheduled for the weekend of Halloween, and feeling the rush of excitement as the days passed getting closer and closer to the day of the show. I remember being chased by the police, as I ran through alleyways, and yards, still wearing my mask, feeling my breath hot, bouncing against the mask, and back into my face as I sweat with fear and excitement, seeing the reflection of the lights on top of the car bouncing against the walls surrounding me.
I remember quitting a job, because they wouldn't let me off for a very special day, and then leaving, wondering if it was one of the dumbest things I had ever done, and then the smile that crept across my face as I saw that special girl in her costume, and saw her beauty, and reached out to hold her hand as we ran all across the town filling our bags with candy, and sneaking kisses every chance we got.
I remember putting my 365 day old son into a costume, and inviting everyone I knew into my home to celebrate, I remember the cake, the trophy we constructed out of bleached bones from various animals, nails, blood, burnt wood, and spiderwebs for best costume, and the looks on the peoples faces as they all admired one another’s work.
I remember all of these things, and I always will. This is what Halloween means to me.”

 11 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  11 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.
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