Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Greetings and welcome to the month of Horror (and Breast Cancer Awareness)! This is the busiest time of year at the Vault and I aim to please this month with the First Annual B-Movie Film Vault HALLOWEEN HORROR-THON! My goal for this project was to watch and review (at least) one horror film a day, right up until October 31st. I've admittedly failed my quest already (not my fault!) but I still plan on packing in 31 mini-reviews until Halloween rolls around. CLICK HERE to check out the first few posts thus far and be sure to keep an eye on that page on a daily basis!

Also, be sure to check out the Vault's popular GENRE WATCH BLOG every week for the latest updates on cult DVD, Blu-ray, and theatrical releases!

And, because I forgot to post about it here before, check out my latest article at the Vault: (SIX) INDIE FILMS YOU SHOULD BE STOKED FOR: VOLUME I!

That's all the new stuff I've got for you at the moment fellow horror fans! Keep checking back at the Vault for new stuff (nearly) every day and start counting down the days to Halloween! (Only 25 days left! Woohoo!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Vault Master is HYPED OUT in his latest article!

I was thinking to myself the other day about movies that are built up with so much hype and end up being less than stellar. I've lost track of how many times I've gone out of my way to see a movie due to its hype, only to be let down, and I'm sure you can relate.

And each time I'm fooled by the evil "Hollywood Hype Machine," I get pissed off, because not only do I lose out on time and money, but I also lose a bit of trust towards the marketers, friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, or critics that insisted I was missing out.

In my latest article, HYPED OUT: FIVE OVER-HYPED FILMS WHOSE POPULARITY BOGGLES MY MIND, I take a look at five films (four of which came out in the last three years!) that have built up a lot of hype. I've seen all five based on the hype, and I have to say that none of them lived up to it.

Please feel free to comment or share your thoughts on films that you don't understand the hype over. Stay tuned for more new content on the site too b-movie fans; Halloween is drawing nigh (only 41 more days as of my writing this blog post! YAY!) and its the most wonderful time of the year for yours truly, which usually results in new reviews, articles, and more!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Egads, it seems like I wrote my tale of adventure about visiting Monster-Mania Con XV weeks ago.... oh wait I did. Yes, I have been sitting on a completed article (complete with nifty photos) for weeks, as well as an accompanying podcast that fills in a few "plotholes" and delivers 25 minutes of John Carpenter soundtracks in the background.

Why have I waited until now to post it all? Well, part of it was pure laziness, but a lot of it also had to do with the fact that A.) I've been splitting tons of firewood by hand on a daily basis, B.) I have a full-time job, and C.) I am just getting over a cold. So I've literally been sick and tired, but I'm on the mend now and feeling great!

So, it is my distinct pleasure to share with you my coverage of MONSTER-MANIA CON XV:
CLICK HERE to read my article.
CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast.
CLICK HERE to share your thoughts (or convention experiences) in the B-MFV Forum.

I may be going to MMCON XVI next weekend. If I do go, you can bet that I'll have another article (and podcast) in the works once I return home.

Have a great afternoon and enjoy the rest of your weekend b-movie fans! Blog ya later!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am a devout lover of the awesome horror t-shirts sold by Fright-Rags; their shirts currently make up the bulk of my wardrobe, and that is in no way a bad thing. Each shirt is a work of art, and these guys and gals REALLY know how to cater to their customers.

Sadly, they are "killing off" 14 of their current t-shirt designs in order to make room for newer ones, including "My Bloody Valentine," "Big Trouble in Little China," "Nightbreed," their amazing Tom Atkins "THRILL ME!" tee, and ten others. (Seriously, this makes me want to weep!)

Starting on Friday, September 3rd and continuing on for FIVE days, each of these shirts will be sold off for 40% off their normal price! ($11.97 apiece with free shipping on orders of $60 or more!)

CLICK HERE to check out the awesome teaser trailer for this Labor Day weekend KILLING SPREE of savings, and prepare to spend some money!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New print of "The Evil Dead" possesses Dryden Theatre in Rochester, NY!

Greetings cult movie fans! My apologies for not frequenting this blog (or my site)! Truthfully I was thinking of putting the kibosh on this here blog because I just don't know what to do with it. But until I figure that out, it shall remain online as part as the ever-growing, and ever-evolving B-Movie Film Vault.

But nevermind that, the important thing right now is "The Evil Dead," Sam Raimi's cult horror classic from 1981. We've all seen this movie numerous times, and many of us have been duped into buying it over and over again by those bastards at Anchor Bay (case in point, the "Limited Edition" Blu-ray is coming out on Tuesday, August 31st), each one boasting something new that the prior release didn't have.

I myself ended up buying "The Evil Dead" three times (VHS, DVD Special Edition, Book of the Dead Edition), which is pretty good considering I bought "Evil Dead II" five times (two VHS tapes, DVD special edition, Book of the Dead edition, and the Blu-ray release) and "Army of Darkness" five times (VHS theatrical cut, DVD theatrical cut, bootleg edition on VHS, then later on DVD, and finally the "Boomstick Edition). Stop raping (me and) the fans Anchor Bay!

In any case, Saturday night I drove up to Rochester, NY (three hour trip mind you) with my girlfriend Tara, and my buddy Greg to see an all new print of "The Evil Dead," made from the original 16MM print. This particular print of the film was lent to the Dryden Theatre (at the George Eastman House in Rochester) by Sage Stallone and Bob Murawski from Grindhouse Releasing.

Joining us for this milestone event was the triple threat of Kristy Jett (of Fright Rags fame), her best friend Laurie, and Bill Adock from Radiation-Scarred Reviews. We combined our forces and feasted at a place called dogTown where I discovered the horror that is the "The Junkyard Plate." (a.k.a. "The Garbage Plate" which is made up of various foods that I would never dare to mix together.)

After filling our bellies with deliciously greasy food, we went to the theater to see, what is in my opinion, the most beautiful print of "The Evil Dead" in existence. (I kind of want to get the Anchor Bay Blu-ray, just to compare the picture quality.)

To kick things off, Kristy got up and did an introduction for the night's feature presentation, and geeked out a bit about Sam Raimi, telling the audience about how he eventually teamed up with Rob Tappert, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, and everyone else who brought this cult gem into existence. She also shared a few fun anecdotes about Sam Raimi that she heard from folks like Fred "Monster Squad" Dekker and Mark Shostrom.

I got a kick out of Mark Shostrom's tale of his meeting with Sam Raimi to do the makeup f/x for "Evil Dead II." He was so embarrassed by his crappy car, that he parked it a few blocks away, and walked to the meeting, only to later discover that Sam himself drove an equally crappy vehicle. (a.k.a. "The Classic")

After Kristy finished her little speech, the lights dimmed, and a series of cult movie trailers were played to get us all in the right mood. My memory is a bit sketchy, but I think this is the full list of trailers we saw: "Maniac," "Alligator," "Phobia," "The X Y Z Murders," "Venom," "On the Right Track," (with Gary Coleman!) and "Dressed To Kill." Bill and I cheered for "Alligator," and the audience as a whole cracked up during the trailer for [in a whispering voice] "Phobia." (a.k.a. "The Nesting")

Here are some of the aforementioned trailers that I managed to find on Youtube:

And then "The Evil Dead" played.... and all was right in the world. For the next 85-minutes, we all gawked at the most beautiful print of "Evil Dead" I think any of us has ever seen. The crowd in the theater was totally in tune, and we all screamed, shouted, and laughed in unison at the demonic antics of the film's beleaguered stars. It is truly experiences like this that makes three-hour drives to a movie screening totally worthwhile!

As for the film itself, I will say that the image was a bit soft, but compared to all the VHS and DVD versions I've seen, nothing comes close. The picture was clear, the movie was in its original aspect ratio, the audio was fantastic, and I think I have finally fallen in love with this cult classic. (To date, "Evil Dead II" was, and still is, my favorite in the trilogy.) Plus, I can tally up seeing yet another classic horror film on the big screen!

After the movie, we bid our fond farewells to Kristy and company, then departed for our (tortuous) three-hour trek back into Northeastern, PA. And while we're on that topic, many thanks to Garmin for making a GPS that likes to mess with its users. The damned contraption decided that the best course to take on our return home was through a toll road, then down Route 96, through Ithaca, NY. Thanks for making our return trip longer than it had to be! (A-holes!)

Saturday was a blast, and I still can't over how good "The Evil Dead" looked! If it's playing in a city near you, I urge you to go out of your way and see this print of the film; you will most assuredly thank me.

You can get the entire schedule of "Evil Dead" movie screenings by clicking HERE and going to the official Grindhouse Releasing webpage! Cross your fingers that it is playing at an independent theater near you!

As for actual website news: Stay tuned for a double-dose of Monster-Mania Con XV coverage with a (lengthy) article chronicling my adventures, plus a podcast (chock full of John Carpenter scores in the background)! After that, I'll return to my original mission of reviewing Gary Ugarek's "Deadlands: Rising" and "Deadlands 2: Trapped," and finally post Holly Hobgoblin's guest review of "Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror."

After that? Well, if I make it to Monster-Mania XVI, you can expect coverage of that event; the return of some ancient reviews from the olde Vault archives, perhaps another podcast, and my two contributions to a remake-themed roundtable at the end of September!

Finally, I know I haven't been posting much on the blog (or site for that matter), but I'm working towards changing that. If you don't see much action around the Vault, feel free to bug me over at The B-Movie Film Vault Facebook Page. (Now with over 260 "likers" and counting!) At the very least, I check out said Facebook page twice a day and post various links, videos, and b-movie news that should be right up your alley. JOIN US.... won't you?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Win a copy of "Death Race 2000" on DVD!

Greetings b-movie fans! I just picked up the amazing Blu-ray of Shout! Factory's latest installment in the "ROGER CORMAN'S CULT CLASSICS" film series, namely "DEATH RACE 2000!" Because of this, I find myself having an extra copy of the film just lying around.

The DVD is the old New Concorde release from 2001 and is from my personal collection. I take great care of my DVDs, so this disc is in pristine condition. Here's all the info about the disc...

Approx. Running Time: 78 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Region Encoding: 1 (NTSC)
Format: Fullscreen

Special Features:
Exclusive Leonard Maltin Interview with Roger Corman
Original Theatrical trailer(s)
Cast biographies
Previews of other Roger Corman films
Collectible booklet / dvd catalog inside

So how do you win this DVD you might be wondering?!
Well first off, you must become a fan (or ahm... "liker") of The B-Movie Film Vault on FACEBOOK. (This giveaway is strictly for the Vault fans on Facebook!)

Secondly, send an e-mail to vault_master[at]bmoviefilmvault[dot]com with "DEATH RACE 2000" in the subject line. Within the e-mail include your name, address, and a short one to two-paragraph essay describing the car you'd drive in a real "Death Race." (The more fun, imaginative, and deadly, the better!) This contest is going until July 1st, so sign up as a Vault fan, and get your entries in ASAP!

The winner will be announced on July 2nd; the disc will be shipped soon afterward! Good luck and godspeed Corman fans!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vault Master's Top Ten Most Ridiculous Shark Movie Moments!

Greetings fellow b-movie fans, and welcome to a very special top ten list. Since today marks the 35th anniversary of JAWS' release in theaters, I joined forces with like-minded online reviewers to pay tribute to Spielberg's 1975 classic and all the films that followed in its wake. While many of my fellow scribes have been focusing on praising JAWS and other killer shark films, I decided that I'd go the different route and glorify the most absurd and stupefying moments in shark cinema history! So let's dive right in and start off with the poppa of all Summer blockbusters.....

Synopsis: A huge Great White dines on the denizens of Amity Island until the police chief, a marine biologist, and an old sea captain, with an axe to grind against sharks, join forces to hunt down the rogue fish.

Most Ridiculous Moment: For a film that relatively stays grounded in reality, it suddenly goes into "ridiculous mode" right at the explosive climax. Chief Brody hangs precariously onto the mast of the sinking "Orca" and fires an old World War II rifle (M-1 Garand?) at a charging Great White Shark that has a tank of compressed air in its mouth. Naturally Brody defies the odds, fires a lucky shot, and blows the offending marine monster to smithereens.

Why It Is Ridiculous: Besides Brody's one-in-a-million shot, there are a few things that just don't add up here. Sharks are known to eat just about anything, hell, they state that earlier in JAWS when Matt Hooper and Brody perform an autopsy on a Tiger Shark. So why didn't the goddamned Great White swallow the air tank? Because having it keel over from a sudden poison-induced heart attack isn't nearly as exciting. (SPOILER: That's how the shark dies in Peter Benchley's novel.)

To further put the kibosh on this scenario, the Mythbusters Team did an episode where they attempted to blow up a scuba tank full of compressed air with a shot from a rifle. Needless to say, it did not create a huge explosion. Check out the full test results HERE.

Still, I would not have the film end any other way. There's something very satisfying about seeing an unexpected hero totally decimate the seemingly unconquerable villain at the end of the film.


Synopsis: A second Great White Shark comes to Amity for dinner. Not only is this one bigger than its predecessor, but it is downright diabolical. After terrorizing, and occasionally dining on, a group of stranded teenage boaters, the villainous shark gets its comeuppance at the hands of Chief Brody. Utilizing a powerline that he drug up from the ocean depths, Brody tempts the shark into chomping on the wire, thus electrocuting the offending fish.

Most Ridiculous Moment: The moment when the shark becomes "SCARFACE-JAWS." Early on in the film, the Great White chases after a water-skier and manages to nab her. Then it goes after the woman driving the boat. In a fit of desperation, said woman douses the shark, the boat, and herself with gasoline, then fires a flare gun at point blank range, into the shark's mouth. This blows her and the boat up real good, but only manages to horrifically burn half of the shark's face, resulting in the first ever Great White Shark in need of a "Phantom of the Opera" mask.

Why It Is Ridiculous: The screenwriters decided to make the shark in this film a horror movie slasher villain. First it is physically deformed in the aforementioned explosion, then it scares a man near to death, murders a killer whale, and begins a campaign of terror against a group of teenagers that are out boating. This movie follows slasher film conventions so closely at times that I was waiting for the shark to don a hockey mask during the third act. Heck, I wouldn't have been surprised if it came back to life and dined on Chief Brody's brains after he electrocuted it during the climax.

Synopsis: A thirty-five foot Great White stakes a claim off the shores of Port Harbor. The Mayor naturally refuses to close the beaches so James Franciscus (Chief Brody-lite) and Vic Morrow (Diet Quint) head out in a boat and attempt to bring the murderous shark to justice.

Most Ridiculous Moment:
Aside from being so derivative of JAWS (and JAWS 2) that it got taken out of U.S. theaters and banned from seeing a legit release in America? How about casting Vic Morrow as Ron Hamer, a dead ringer for Robert Shaw's "Quint" from JAWS? There's almost no disguising who Vic Morrow is supposed to be, and every time he is on the screen, you can't help but be distracted by his presence. ("Hey isn't that....? Nope. Just Vic Morrow. Sigh....")

Why It Is Ridiculous: As if it weren't bad enough that at least sixty percent of The Last Shark was cribbed from Spielberg's movie, the film makers decide to put a prominent mustachioed actor in the same exact role as Robert Shaw. That alone probably sent Universal into a fit of rage. Plus, Morrow's role is made all the more ludicrous by the fact that he is (usually unsuccessfully) aping Robert Shaw's accent from JAWS.

Synopsis: Researchers in an underwater facility, in their crusade for a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases (because shark's are immune to every disease known to man), mix human and shark DNA, resulting in super-smart undersea predators. Eventually the sharks manage to force their way into the facility, and are soon swimming about and chomping on all the members of the cast that weren't top-billed.... or named L.L. Cool J. Eventually, the last of the sharks attempts to escape out into open sea, and its up to a second-rate rap artist, and a second-rate "Punisher" to stop it!

Most Ridiculous Moment: Oy! There are so many moments in the film that are jaw-droppingly stupid and ridiculous, but I think the real show-stopper here is Samuel L. Jackson's big survival speech / pep talk to the terrified scientists in the undersea lab. His speech is so grand, that everyone in the movie (and probably everyone watching the film) are convinced that survival is an option. And then a fig bucking super-intelligent Mako Shark leaps out of the water behind him. The shark drags Sam Jackson back into the water and chomps the everliving shit out of him, thus crushing anyone's hopes of escaping this insane scenario alive.

Why It Is Ridiculous: Few films are ballsy enough to kill a main character off, especially when he or she is making a speech and attempting to get people to cooperate with one another in order to survive, or just overcome an obstacle. Renny Harlin and friends pretty much said "f*@k that" and decided to not only interrupt Sam Jackson's rousing speech, but do so with a huge CGI shark. It's hilarious and totally unexpected if you're a first time viewer, and pretty much lays the groundwork for what you can expect as this goofy action film plays out.

Synopsis: Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid) and company discover that a Great White has snuck into their Sea World theme park and snacked on a few folks. They manage to capture the beast (which is rather small to be the antagonist of the film, dontcha think?) but alas, it dies in captivity. Turns out that they basically kidnapped and killed "JAWS JR." and soon its much bigger, and angrier momma is out and about and creating havoc throughout the park. Eventually, the shark is destroyed because it apparently couldn't swallow a scuba diver that was armed with a grenade.

Most Ridiculous Moment: There's a lot of scenes that really fit the bill, but I think the winner here is at the explosive climax of the film. During the third act of JAWS 3D, a character named Philip FitzRoyce (played by Simon MacCorkindale, a.k.a. Manimal!) attempts to destroy the Great White by tossing a grenade into its mouth while it is trapped. His plan fails, and he soon discovers himself in the gullet of the mighty fish. But rather than getting swallowed (or even chewed), Philip is crushed within the shark's body and remains visible whenever the animal opens its mouth. Oh, and his lifeless body is still clenching that handy grenade. Naturally Mike Brody notices this at the film's finale, and manages to pull the pin on the grenade, causing the shark to explode! Doh!

Why It Is Ridiculous: Because the shark would have chomped down "Manimal" and swallowed the unlucky S.O.B. whole! If anything, the guy should have pulled the pin when he realized he was about to be swallowed before entering the shark's mouth and having its throat muscles pound him into jelly. Regardless, he would have been swallowed entirely, leaving absolutely no "Achilles Heel" in plain site for the main hero of the movie to take advantage of. Stupid movie sharks; start swallowing your damned victims!

Synopsis: Totally ignoring the events of JAWS 3D, this film has the cursed Brody clan coming together in the Bahamas after one of their own is eaten by a poorly constructed robotic Great White. The shark attempts to kill only members of the Brody household but ultimately fails in its unexplained quest and fuels the ire of Mike Brody's mother, Ellen, who goes out to sea in order to challenge, and somehow defeat, her aquatic foe.

Most Ridiculous Moment: This was a tough call because so many things in this movie are one-hundred percent idiotic such as Reggae Mario Van Peebles, Michael Caine as a character named "Hoagie," and of course, the giant, roaring, telepathic Great White Shark! The moment where the movie totally falls apart under the enormous weight of sheer stupidity occurs right at the end when Ellen drives the front of the boat she's sailing into the side of the leaping, roaring Great White. For some inexplicable reason, the shark EXPLODES! (Or rather, an awfully poor miniature of a shark explodes!) No explosives were utilized in this final, desperate attack on the shark mind you; it just blows up real good because a pointy piece of wood was forcefully jabbed into its body.

Why It Is Ridiculous:
There's nothing to explain here. The exploding shark scene (added in because test audiences didn't care for the "shark spews blood and sinks to its death" ending) is completely ludicrous and defies explanation. F*ck this scene, and f*ck this horrible movie!

Synopsis: A giant ape escapes from an exploding toy boat and wades toward South Korea, briefly battles a shark, and then wanders onto the coast of South Korea, where it gets into all sorts of trouble. Eighty minutes of terrible 3D effects and bargain basement city-stomping later, the mighty guy-in-ape-suit flips off the Korean military before it is destroyed.

Most Ridiculous Moment:
For the sake of being on this list, I have to say that the most ridiculous moment of A*P*E is when the Kong-wannabee fights with a "Great White Shark." (i.e. "King Kong vs. JAWS" with next to no budget.) While this may sound cool, it is actually hilariously embarrassing because the guy in the terrible gorilla suit wrestles around with a DEAD SHARK! Even worse, when the mighty gorilla tears the shark's jaws apart, you can clearly see that the poor shark's mouth has already been pre-cut!

Why It Is Ridiculous:

Synopsis: A ginormous prehistoric shark goes on a rampage and its up to two good-looking "marine biologists" to stop its reign of terror. This movie is the pinnacle of bad shark movies, featuring some of the most hilariously bad effects you'll ever see and.... the most infamous line of dialogue ever delivered!

Most Ridiculous Moment: It's a two way tie between the awful scenes where the impossibly huge shark eats people and THIS AMAZING EXCHANGE OF DIALOGUE!

Why It Is Ridiculous: The shark attack sequences are so horribly done; it's hysterical to watch! Essentially, instead of using fake sharks (animatronic or otherwise) or using (i.e. stealing) footage from other films, the effects artists for Shark Attack 3 decided to go a different route: They digitally inserted people into the mouth of documentary footage of a shark! Here is the result of that "awesome" idea:

As for "the line," that pretty much speaks for itself. Watch it again won't you?

Synopsis: I stopped watching Sci-Fi Channel originals a long time ago; life is simply too short to waste on them. Case in point: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. In this aptly titled "epic," a massive shark and octopus, frozen in ice during their last ancient battle, thaw out and go crazy on humanity. Man's weaponry is useless against these two ancient titans, so a plan is developed to get the two creatures to meet up once again so that they can hopefully fight to the death.

Most Ridiculous Moment: Every damned scene that features the shark pretty much makes the cut. It chomps a battleship to pieces, leaps up into the sky to snag an airliner, and takes a bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge! No, I'm not making this up! Here's proof:

Why It Is Ridiculous: I don't care how big a f*cking shark gets, it will never EVER be able to pull off any of the crazy shit this CGI monstrosity does, including leaping 15,000 feet into the air to snag a plane!

Synopsis: A giant, seemingly invulnerable shark begins attacking people near a coastal fishing village. Its up to two kung-fu brothers to stop the giant beast before the village's livelihood is forever ruined! :: Cue Hindi song & dance number ::

Most Ridiculous Moment: Every single frame of this movie qualifies! This is the bizarrest take on the JAWS story I have ever seen and despite the lack of English subtitles, I don't think the film would make much sense anyway. Seriously, during the first hour of watching this epic of insanity, there were three song & dance numbers, two kung-fu battles, one attempted rape, and zero scenes involving a shark. The terribly fake fish shows up around the fifty-minute mark and soon becomes a thorn in everyone's side. Check out the video below to see India's JAWS in action:

Why It Is Ridiculous:
Because it was made in India, natch!

Well I hope you enjoyed my top ten most ridiculous moments in shark cinema! Be sure to read more shark-related articles, reviews, and more as SHARKATHALON comes to a close! To read everything shark-related that was posted in the last eight days, click on the image below:


Friday, June 11, 2010

SHARKATHLON is coming; plus site updates!

Greetings b-movie fans! Just a quick update before I head off the web for the night. First off, June 13th - 20th will be chock full of shark cinema goodness during the massive SHARKATHALON online event, which will be celebrating the 35th Anniversary of "JAWS!" Numerous bloggers and webmasters are uniting to write articles and movie reviews of shark films in celebration of the 1975 classic that spawned an entire movie genre, made Steven Spielberg a household name, and began the yearly Summer blockbuster tradition.

My first contribution is now up for this event. It's an old review for JAWS: The Revenge, fully rewritten and given an all new lease on life! Next up I plan on posting a review for the amazingly bizarre and mind-numbingly strange "Aatank" (a.k.a. Bollywood JAWS), and sharing an all new Top Ten List of the most ridiculous moments in shark cinema history!

But I won't stop there folks, oh no! I intend to celebrate shark movies for the remainder of the month (and maybe longer), so keep checking back often for new content!

Also, I forgot to post a link here a while ago for my capsule review for the insipid remake of Clash of the Titans. I really disliked the movie; it was so terribly put together that it made the 1981 original look ten times better! It's coming out on DVD & Blu-ray in the very near future, but if I were you, I'd either skip by it, or just give it a rental. It is most definitely not worth buying.

Well that's it for now, but keep your eyes peeled for the aforementioned Top Ten List this weekend!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vault Master's Top Ten Ray Harryhausen Creations!

In anticipation of the new Clash of the Titans (in theaters now!), I sat down and watched the 1981 original, and waxed nostalgic about Ray Harryhausen's still fairly impressive stop-motion effects in that film. Then I began to fondly recall all of the other mythological and prehistoric beasts that he's brought to life and thought, hey, I should do a quick top ten list to celebrate my favorite Harryhausen creations! But doing something like this is more fun when you include a friend, so I invited Bill Adcock from Radiation-Scarred Reviews to join me in my mini quest to honor a true special effects pioneer, and all around awesome guy.

Now, choosing ten creatures, aliens, monsters, and/or dinosaurs from Harryhausen's impressive filmography was not an easy task, and I found myself really hard-pressed to limit my choices. So before I kick things off, here are some honorable mentions that didn't make the final cut:

THE MINOTON - A golden, mechanical Minotaur that was created by the evil Queen Zenobia to be her "hired muscle" in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. The poor Minoton does not get to do a whole helluva lot, and ends up getting crushed by a huge stone while serving his creator.

THE DRAGON - Though it defeated the mighty Cyclops in battle, this four-legged, fire-breathing menace from 7th Voyage of Sinbad has since been forever eclipsed by his one-eyed opponent. While the dragon's design is nothing new, Harryhausen's work on this mythical beast is nothing short of fantastic!

THE KRAKEN - Oh yeah, I can hear the complaints now. "The Kraken didn't make it into your top ten? Are you serious?!" Sorry gang, I really enjoy seeing this big boy make his grand entrance in Clash of the Titans, but a huge favorite of mine he is not.

KALI - Egads! Another one that should have made my list, but didn't! This multi-armed menace from Golden Voyage of Sinbad gives the heroic sailor and his crew a lot of trouble, and their battle is one of the greatest sword fights ever rendered on film!

THE YMIR - Yes, he didn't make the list either, though he originally was going to. This has to be the most tragic creature in Harryhausen's filmography, as it comes to Earth only to be poked, prodded, and attacked by just about everyone it encounters, until it eventually flips out and has to be put down. Poor Ymir, we hardly knew ye.

So if those are just the honorable mentions, then what fantastical creatures and beings made the final cut? Well let's take a look!

10. The Flying Saucers
Movie of Origin: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Factoid: Tim Burton mimicked the design of Harryhausen's saucers in 1996's sci-fi comedy, Mars Attacks!

In the 1950s, alien invasion films were a dime a dozen. This era in sci-fi film making resulted in numerous classics like The Thing From Another World, War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Japanese epics, such as The Mysterians, and The Battle in Outer Space. One of my absolute favorites from this time period though is Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, which featured some of the coolest flying saucers ever put on film! The most impressive thing about the alien ships in the film is that they are in constant movement. (Oddly enough the aliens themselves, realized by men in goofy costumes, are far less interesting than their ships!)

These aren't hubcaps or pie tins on fishing line, these are mechanical harbingers of death that rotate in the air and deliver mass genocide with their satellite dish death-rays! While the destruction caused by the aliens' death rays is impressive, the real showstopper is the climax where the alien ships begin to fall out of the air when humanity rallies against them with a secret weapon. Seeing saucers crash into the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument is more than worth the price of admission, and easily earns the film's flying death machines the number ten spot on this list!

9. The Rhedosaurus
Movie of Origin: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Factoid: This movie was based off of a Ray Bradbury short story entitled "The Fog Horn."

When you think of atomic monsters, Godzilla is usually the first cinematic beastie that comes to mind. However, the Big-G and other gigantic atom-age monsters owe a lot of their existence (and success) to the star of 1953's The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms! A (fictional) species of dinosaur known as a Rhedosaurus is awakened from suspended animation after an atomic bomb is tested in the Arctic Circle. Eventually the mighty reptile makes its way to civilization, and throws a prehistoric tantrum when it realizes that us puny humans are now the dominant species on Earth. The dinosaur's rampage finally comes to end at Coney Island, after scientists blast the creature with a gun that fires a special "radioactive isotope."

The Rhedosaurus is one of the first giant monsters from Earth's past to terrorize modern man, following in the footsteps of its forefathers: the totally pissed off Brontosaurus from the original (silent) The Lost World and the immortally beloved giant ape King Kong. The Rhedosaurus was one of Harryhausen's first creations and though it lacked the personality of some of the other creatures he brought to life, it still gets big points for being a huge inspiration to the original creators of Godzilla!

Let that sink in for a minute: Had Ray Harryhausen never created the Rhedosaurus, we may never have had Godzilla! What a frightening idea.....

8. The Giant Octopus
Movie of Origin: IT Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
Factoid: To save money, Ray Harryhausen only gave the aquatic horror from this film six appendages instead of eight.

One of the earliest memories I have from my childhood is watching all sorts of awesome classic creature features during TNT's Summer "Monster Vision" marathons, way before Joe Bob Briggs arrived on the scene with his drive-in totals and awesomely busty mail girl, Honey. It Came From Beneath the Sea was one of the usual suspects, and I loved to watch Harryhausen's "hex-topus" trash San Francisco and violently slap fleeing citizens into the pavement with its mighty tentacles. For the uninitiated, IT is a classic tale of nature running amok, due to mankind's careless attempts to further scientific knowledge.

Atomic bomb tests at sea have polluted the food source of a giant cephalopod, and have chased the creature from its territorial waters. Now angry as hell, with a massive hunger to boot, the tentacled terror begins pulling ships beneath the sea and eventually besieges San Francisco, where it wrecks the Golden Gate Bridge! After its daring attack, the Kraken-sized octopus slumbers in San Francisco Bay where it is killed by a specially designed torpedo. IT features some of Harryhausen's best work, which belies the limited budget he had, and has some amazing scenes of death and destruction.

Decades later, film makers still have yet to create a giant octopus film that comes close to this Harryhausen epic with all their fancy CGI technology. (Ok, I'll admit that I found Deep Rising enjoyable, but seriously name me ONE other giant octopus flick that is even remotely in the same league.) Sorry foolish mortals, but you cannot outdo "The Harryhausen" with your soulless machines! Mwahahahaha!

7. Medusa
Movie of Origin: Clash of the Titans (1981)
Factoid: Clash of the Titans was the last film that Ray Harryhausen and Charles H. Schneer worked on.

Seeing as how the idea for this top ten list was inspired by the remake of Clash of the Titans, you knew that something from the 1981 flick was going to pop up here. Out of all the mythological beasts from the epic original, none impressed me more than Medusa. With her constantly writhing head full o' snakes, her scaly reptilian boobs, rattlesnake tail, and deadly bow & arrow, she was a real terror to behold! Having watched the original recently, I found it to be a bit long and dull in some parts, and though there are all sorts of beasts in this film (a giant Vulture, Pegasus, Calibos, giant scorpions, the Kraken, et al.), Medusa's portion of the film stands out as the most interesting and atmospheric of the bunch. Medusa is one cold, calculated witch, and proves to be the most menacing monster in the film!

6. Talos
Movie of Origin: Jason and the Argonauts (1966)
Factoid: Talos' design was inspired by Sergio Leone's "The Colossus of Rhodes."

Jason and the Argonauts is probably my all-time favorite Harryhausen flick and boasts one of his most famous and memorable creations: The bronze giant known as Talos. This colossus resides on Crete and is, at first sight, completely harmless. But all that changes when a greedy asshole version of Hercules decides to steal some treasures from the pedestal that Talos is resting on. Said treasures belong to the Greek gods, and as soon as Herc grabs a few items, the mighty Talos awakens and chases after the would-be thief and his shipmates. Jason and his crew quickly set sail in the Argo, but are unable to escape in time as Talos blocks their only route and shakes their legendary boat to pieces. With nowhere to run, Jason and his brave men battle and defeat Talos after discovering its (literal) "Achilles Heel," rebuild their ship, and head back on course for the legendary "Golden Fleece!"

Talos is remarkable to watch, but believe it or not, good ole Ray Harryhausen manages to deliver far more impressive stop-motion monstrosities as this film goes on. You'll be seeing some of them further along, so keep reading!

5. Gwangi
Movie of Origin: The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Factoid: "Gwangi" is a Native American word for "lizard."

Dinosaurs and cowboys make for a pretty good combo in Valley of Gwangi, which succeeds where its predecessor Beast of Hollow Mountain miserably failed. Gwangi is a total blast and features a variety of cool creatures, ranging from the adorable Eohippus, to the mighty and vengeful T-Rex. The movie starts off a bit slow, but really picks up once a group of cowboys discovers a hidden valley, blows open the entrance with dynamite, and blindly charges into a prehistoric landscape full of dinosaurs. The biggest and baddest of the thought-to-be-extinct denizens is a T-Rex (or is he an Allosaurus?) named Gwangi, and they manage to capture the ornery carnivore in one of the most astonishing moments in Harryhausen history. (The famous "Roping of Gwangi" sequence!) They bring the dinosaur back to civilization to be put on display, but Gwangi breaks free (of course!) and goes on a rampage until incinerated within the confines of a church.

Cripes! When will people learn that showcasing a giant creature for profit is just a plain old bad idea?!

4. Mighty Joe Young
Movie of Origin: Mighty Joe Young (1949)
Factoid: Though Willis O'Brien gets top-billing for the effects, Ray Harryhausen did nearly all the stop-motion effects in this film!

With the success of King Kong it wasn't too surprising that other giant ape films would follow. Mighty Joe Young differs from most of those though, because this isn't the usual story of a creature kidnapped from its home and exploited for money. (Though that naturally does happen when Joe is put on display at a nightclub, where he plays tug-of-war with a group of circus strongmen.) Joe is brought over from Africa, willingly enough, by a woman named Jill Young who raised the gorilla since it was a baby. He proves to be quite docile, until one night when a trio of drunks abuse the poor ape, causing it to go well... apeshit!

Joe trashes the nightclub, and fights a pack of lions (what club keeps real lions on display?!) until Jill finally arrives to calm him down. Seeing as how Joe could very well be a menace to society, an order is given to have him "put down." Jill tries to sneak him back to Africa with a little help from some friends, but the plan gets botched and soon Joe is on the loose in L.A.! Luckily, Joe comes across a flaming orphanage, and rescues all the children from the burning structure, thus putting him in the good graces of the law. Unlike the primal fury exhibited by Kong, Joe is quite gentle and Harryhausen does an incredible job of giving this tamer ape some real character and emotion.

And though it wasn't a financial success in its day, Mighty Joe Young has definitely withstood the test of time and is, to me, just as much a classic as the original King Kong.

3. The Cyclops
Movie of Origin: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
Factoid: 7th Voyage of Sinbad was the first feature film utilizing stop-motion animation to be in color!

Out of all the monsters in Harryhausen's Sinbad Trilogy, the most memorable one for me is the Cyclops from 7th Voyage of Sinbad. This single-eyed mythical monstrosity resided on the island of Colossa, and guards a magical lamp that contains a genie. Sinbad the sailor ends up crossing swords with the mighty Cyclops because an evil wizard named Sokurah steals said lamp and turns to Sinbad and his men for protection.

The brave sailors escape, but have to return to that accursed island because Sinbad's love, the beautiful Princess Parissa was turned into a Lilliputian, and a major ingredient for the cure resides high in the mountains of the dreaded isle. Sinbad manages to blind and defeat one Cyclops, but luckily there was a spare elsewhere on Colossa. However, this second Cyclops doesn't fare much better as it ends up taking on Sokurah's dragon (one of the honorable mentions at the start of this article) and perishing.

Poor Cyclops... he was probably only one more day from retirement....

2. The Hydra
Movie of Origin: Jason and the Argonauts (1966)
Factoid: Jason and the Argonauts was the first 'A' list Ray Harryhausen film, as all his previous movies were double-billed with other "B" movies.

Out of all the Greek myths, one of my favorites was Hercules' battle with the Hydra! Finding that two new heads grew in the place of each one he took, ole Herc was stumped (pun intended!) until his nephew Iolaus said "Hey uncle, use a torch to burn the stumps after you chop off a head." And thusly, Hercules completed his Second Labour. Imagine my delight when I saw Jason and the Argonauts for the first time and saw the multi-headed nightmare come slithering out of a cave to stop the heroic Jason from claiming the Golden Fleece!

Harryhausen's Hydra is yet another testament to his amazing skills, as all seven heads and the creature's tail are constantly moving in some of the smoothest stop-motion animation you will ever see! Although Jason doesn't start lopping off heads, creating an even bigger threat for himself (not to mention a lot more work for Ray Harryhausen), his duel with the Hydra is still extremely satisfying to watch.

1. Skeletal Warriors
Movie of Origin: 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Jason and the Argonauts (1966)
Factoid: It took Ray Harryhausen a whopping four months to fully animated the skeleton battle in Jason and the Argonauts!

Many of you already "have a bone to pick with me" over some of my choices I'm sure, but very few of you can deny the awesomeness of the amazing re-animated skeletal warriors seen in Jason and the Argonauts and 7th Voyage of Sinbad. In 7th Voyage the evil Sokurah animates a skeleton that was hanging from the ceiling of his dungeon / workshop of mystical wonders.

The skeletal fiend then grabs a sword and shield, and gives Sinbad a lot of grief. However, as it is a skeleton under the control of a magician, it isn't too bright and ends up falling to its doom, off the top of a staircase that leads nowhere! (Ouch, not a good sign when your undead minions die due to bad evil lair designs.)

While that was indeed an impressive display of visual effects for its time (Hell, I still think its incredible!) Ray Harryhausen totally outdid himself eight years later with the "children of the Hydra's teeth," a.k.a. a group of skeletal warriors! Jason and two of his men, Castor and Phalerus, are cornered at some seaside ruins by King Aeetes who suddenly produces a bag of Hydra teeth which he sews across the ground.

The teeth burrow in and seconds later, skeletons armed with swords and shields pop up and begin battling the trio of heroes. Castor and Phelerus fall in battle, and the beleaguered Jason is forced backwards toward the edge of a cliff. Seeing that he has no chance of victory, her takes a leap of faith off the cliff and lands safely in the sea below while his undead attackers simply vanish, never to be seen again.

These bony bastards are my absolute favorite creation by the mastermind known as Ray Harryhausen. Up to this point, Ray's work has been great, but animating over half a dozen skeletons and having them interact on film with flesh and blood actors must have been a daunting task. Thankfully Mr. Harryhausen managed to pull off the effect nicely, resulting in a fantastic battle to the death that will live on in our minds and hearts for many years to come.

For all you who think CGI is the bee's knees, take a look at this awesome display of old school special effects, and respect them! HAIL RAY HARRYHAUSEN, THE KING OF DYNA-MATION!

Well there's my top ten list of my favorite Ray Harryhausen creations! Feel free to comment; share your thoughts and your top ten lists with me. I'd love to see what you have to say! But most importantly, head on over to RADIATION-SCARRED REVIEWS and check out "Bayou" Bill's top ten list! We generally have the same taste in Harryhausen creatures, but I think you'll be pleased to see that our lists remain fairly different!

I'm seeing the new Clash of the Titans tonight, and have my fingers crossed that it doesn't suck, but beforehand I'm going to watch either the original (again) or Jason and the Argonauts in order to get pumped up!

I guess all I have left to say now is..... "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Capsule Review: Dinosaur Valley Girls (1996)

While Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" had its share of rip-offs (like "Carnosaur"), the film also had an effect on the low budget softcore porn / sex comedy market. Movies like "Dinosaur Island" and "Beach Babes From Beyond 2: Cave Girl Island" popped up, as did an often overlooked movie entitled Dinosaur Valley Girls!

In this film, an action movie star named Tony Markham travels back in time to a prehistoric landscape full of stop-motion dinosaurs, comic relief cavemen, and sex-starved cavegirls in order to meet the girl of his dreams. If you're looking for Oscar-winning performances, amazing special effects, or an engaging storyline go elsewhere. However, if you're a fan of boobs and fart jokes, then this just might be the movie for you!

Check back again soon b-movie fans for another new review (for "Bitch Slap!") as well as a co-op article or top-ten list with my main man Bill from Radiation-Scarred Reviews!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Capsule Review: Closed for the Season (2009)

For those of you that frequent the site (and blog), you may recall that I have just recently attended Monster Mania Con XIV and saw the world premiere of Jay Woelful's "Closed for the Season." I didn't go into too much detail about the film on my MM XIV blog posts, (with so much going on, I didn't really have the time) so I decided to take it upon myself to review the rough cut of the movie. "Closed for the Season" is a very surreal horror film and constantly messes with the expectations (and minds) of those who watch it. Keep an eye out for this cinematic oddity as it will be hitting DVD later this year.

Stay tuned for more review action as I attempt to put a dent in this stack of review screeners that has been building up on my desk!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Tom Atkins truly did "THRILL ME!"

Well I've been home for a few hours; got a belly full of pancakes and sausage, and I'm unwinding a bit before I have to get back to the grindstone at work. This past weekend was quite an experience, and I'm finding myself wanting to go to another convention almost ASAP! It was amazing to meet people I've only seen on film, and though I didn't get to greet all the cult celebs I wanted to, I met enough to give me a lifetime of memories. In any case, here's the rundown of Monster Mania Con DAY TWO and DAY THREE:

I woke up bright and early, intent on getting some grub and hitting up an early screening of "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives." However, after getting showered up, grabbing cash and my business cards, and then hitting the restaurant downstairs for some breakfast, I totally missed out on that particular film (though I did get to see Malcolm MacDowell and several "My Bloody Valentine" guests chowing down nearby).

After Tara and I had our fill of the delicious breakfast buffet, we wandered off to find Dan and Bill from Radiation-Scarred Reviews. Since they ran back up to their room after breakfast, Tara and I decided to wander into the main Ballroom and take in the final twenty-five minutes of "Silver Bullet," which was part of a tribute to the late Corey Haim.

After watching Gary Busey get tossed around by a lycanthrope that is shot in the eye with a silver bullet by cripped Corey, we finally managed to meet up with the "R-SR guys" and take in a few movies up on the mezzanine level of the hotel. Movie number one was the awesomely fun "House" starring William Katt. Surprisingly my two fellow internet movie scribes had never seen this movie, so it was a treat to watch their reactions to the supernatural shenanigans of this beloved cult classic.

This was quickly followed up with a screening of "Night of the Creeps" which surprisingly had the original "alternate" ending where Tom Atkins' crispy corpse unleashes some brain slugs into a cemetery. (Sorry if I ruined that for anyone.) Once again, I was shocked to discover that Dan had never seen "Night of the Creeps," and I was happy to be present for his moment of "Thrill Me" cherry-popping!

After "Creeps" ended, our foursome took a break and parted ways for a half hour, then rejoined our forces to take in another screening of Jay Woelfel's "Closed for the Season." I was more than happy to see that this screening was packed with people, and a lot of them stayed put this time. Even better, there were no issues with the film this time, so the show kicked off on time.

The movie was still the two-hour cut we saw the previous night, but this time the picture and audio quality were far superior. (Gone were the "too dark" night shots that were a bit confusing during the film's initial screening.) The film still has a ways to go before it is ready for the general public, (I'm thinking a twenty minute chunk should be cut out... though that would be hard to do since there are scenes that are referenced and re-referenced throughout the film.) but the second screening was far more fulfilling and understandable.

After the movie ended, they did a quick Q&A session and revealed that there were some neat scenes that didn't make it into the current cut (and may not be in the final cut) of the movie, and shed a little light on the strange plot of this mind-boggling independent feature. After all was said and done, Bill, Dan, Tara, and I chatted it up with Jay, and got a few pics with the infamous director of "Trancers 6."

Jay Woelfel photo-op after the screening of "Closed for the Season."

At this point, the various Q&A panels were going on downstairs in the ballroom (sadly I missed out on the "Night of the Creeps" reunion panel amongst others), but instead of heading down there, we all ordered some pizza and convened in Bill and Dan's room to nerd out. After chowing down on some Domino's, Bill and Dan snuck off for a secret Low Budget Pictures screening of "Filthy McNasty 4" and met director Chris Seaver.

With nothing better to do, Tara and I grabbed some seats in the main screening room and caught "Return of the Living Dead." I haven't seen it in years, and truly fell in love with this parody of zombie flicks all over again. After the film ended, we went downstairs and waited outside of the main ballroom to see Charles Band's Full Moon Road Show!

Gary Busey suddenly showed up in his PJs (no ice cream this time) to investigate the area and inquired about what's going on. (Or most likely inquired if that "bastard" Charlie Band was in the room at the moment! Hahahaha.) I said hello to "crazy Busey" as he walked by and got a genial "Hey!" from everyone's favorite mad-man.

Not too soon after Gary's departure, Charles Band arrived and filmed everyone standing in line, then vanished back into the ballroom where Dario Argento's Q&A was coming to a close. Ten minutes later, Tara and I got into the (already nearly full) ballroom and managed to save to chairs for Dan and Bill, who were about a mile back in the line.

Once we were seated, we discovered that things were starting to run behind, and sadly Charles Band had to greatly shorten his usually two-hour long show. You could try and blame Dario Argento but really it was because it took the event coordinators A FULL HALF HOUR TO SEAT EVERYONE AND PACK THE ROOM DANGEROUSLY BEYOND CAPACITY! But you know what? It was all freakin' worth it for this:

The show kicked off with the awesome promo reel seen above and people were going nuts, especially when the guitar solo from Guns N' Roses "November Rain" kicked in. Once that ended, the lights came up and Charles took the stage and WOWED the audience with humorous anecdotes about his career, which included his major breakthrough with "Ghoulies" and how the advertisements featuring the creature in the toilet stopped an entire generation of children from being potty-trained, and some great stories involving Gary Busey on the set of "Gingerdead Man."

He followed this up with a promo for the upcoming "Puppet Master: Axis of Evil" (available on DVD and Blu-ray March 15th - check out for more details!), and then brought BILL MOSELEY up on stage for some fun! (They worked together on a little futuristic cyborg cheapie called "Crash and Burn.") He then auctioned off an authentic "Puppet Master" chest, full of puppets, for $450 and then a custom built electric chair that was onstage for (I believe) $150, then got to the final act of his truncated show.

Charles finished things off with a little "play" up on the stage made up of volunteers from the audience. It would take a while to explain the gist of the play in full detail but essentially a girl in a werewolf costume (Susan) was the villain, sentenced to death in the electric chair for her/its crimes. The hero of the piece was a musclebound dude named Scott who played the werewolf's brother, while the damsel in distress who gets felt up by the "hero" was played by a busty model named Violetta. And oh yeah, there's a naughty nurse (Meelz? Is that really your freakin' name?) up there for good measure.

Charles gives directions to his cast of characters!

So the plot goes like this: Werewolf is getting fried, sees brother molesting lesbian lover, breaks its bonds, kills brother, prepares to leap into the audience to go on a murder spree, and can only be calmed down by the bare breasts of its chesty lover. And oh yeah... there's a naughty nurse there too.

As a newcomer to the onstage antics of Charles Band I was surprised to see this little scene play out THREE times (they didn't quite get things right the first two times) with Violetta unleashing her hooters to a cheering audience each time! I was shocked, enthused, and amused by this, and luckily got it on (grainy) video! (Said video will be available to all the Vault's FACEBOOK fans within another day or two, so BECOME A FAN OF THE B-MOVIE FILM VAULT FACEBOOK PAGE if you want to see it!)

After roaring applause, Charles exited stage left, and headed off to sell Full Moon swag (at 50% or more off!), meet fans, and sign EVERYTHING he could. He was a very personable fellow, and took time out to talk to everyone and sign everything, AND he even went as far as to apologize to the lengthy line of eager fans multiple times.

He apologized to me personally once I got up to meet him and I told him "Hey, no worries Charles... you showed us boobs! We're grateful!" I ended up getting the "Trancers: Definite Collection," "Gingerdead Man," "Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust," "Puppet Master Legacy," and "Laserblast" ALL SIGNED, for a mere $45.00! Wow, what a guy! After meeting Charles, Tara and I parted ways with Bill and Dan and hit the hay.

The next morning I got an early phone call from Bill, wishing me a safe trip, then prepared to hit the road myself. After a hot shower, I helped Tara take all our stuff out to her car, then headed back inside to scope out the vendors' goods one last time. I ended up getting a screener of "Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead Vol. 1" along with bootlegs of "Alligator II" and "Blood Beach." Afterwards, I double-checked to see if maybe, just maybe I could sneak in and see Gary Busey, but the line was once again too damned long. And so, after some debate, we finally left the Crowne Plaza Hotel in search of food.

And that's pretty much the end of the story folks. While I had originally planned on staying the entire day on Sunday, I realized that I (along with Tara) was completely exhausted. Even though we left earlier than anticipated, it was definitely the best course of action, because driving back through Philly is a bitch and a half, especially if you try to do it during rush hour. And somehow, we managed to miss all the tollbooths from Philly to Scranton. As a result, we had to pay a whopping $29.30 to pass into Scranton at the final tollbooth. (F*CK-ING BULLSHIT!)

Once at Tara's, we told our stories to her folks, showed off our swag and pictures, then settled down and watched "Gingerdead Man 1 & 2" before calling it an early night. Now I'm home, and unfortunately have to get ready for work. It's been a crazy couple of days, and I look forward to regaling everyone at the workplace with tales of Gary Busey's insanity, of memorabilia I obtained, and of the kindly stars that I got to meet and greet for twenty bucks an autograph!

Do I have regrets? Well yeah: I missed all the Q&A panels and didn't meet everyone I wanted to, but you know what? There's always next year! (Or this Summer if I can pull together another $800.00 by August 22nd!) I gotta run b-movie fans, so have a great day! I hoped you enjoyed my coverage of Monster Mania XIV, and really hope that I have in some way convinced you to attend one of these conventions! It's expensive, and can be a total pain in the ass, but in the end, its definitely worth it!

Stay tuned for some Monster Mania related movie reviews and be sure to check out my buddy Bill's Monster Mania coverage over at his blog!

Blog ya later b-movie fans!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On the way home from Monster Mania. Sadly did not get to have a one on one with Gary Busey.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

MONSTER MANIA: DAY TWO and THREE coverage coming soon!

I... am... worn... out. Hahaha. Day Two of Monster Mania was incredi-mazing, and I really want to sit here and type out the day's craziness for you, but I'm exhausted. I sat through 4 1/4 movies, met Charles Band after enjoying his insane Full Moon roadshow, got a ton of swag (t-shirts, DVDs, and more!) and just enjoyed geeking out with a veritable army of horror fans, who ranged from casual and normal to freaky and disturbing.

But all those stories and more will arrive on this blog tomorrow. For now, I need to get some rest so that I can enjoy the (sadly) final day of Monster Mania.

G'night b-movie fans!

MONSTER MANIA: DAY TWO.... the Beginning!

Good morning everyone! It's a horrifically lousy day outside, and currently quiet as a tomb inside. I think a LOT of people got super drunk last night and are sleeping off their hangovers. All the better for me because I'm awake and ready to rock. So far my plans consist of getting a hot shower and a hot meal (mmm... pancakes), then either going to track the elusive Gary Busey or take in a movie or two. ("Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives" and "House" are the first two movies to play today! Woot!)

Today is the busiest day of the convention, and hopefully I can take in as many Q&A panels and movies as humanly possible.

Stay tuned for more updates!

P.S. - In a totally unrelated story, I got an e-mail on Facebook from a close friend of mine giving me details about a dream he had last night. Apparently he dreamt that I became THE GUYVER, and helped him battle a town full of Terminators. Afterward, I enjoyed some delicious sloppy joes. How cool of a f*cking dream is that?!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Well it is just about bedtime for yours truly; today has been incredible and I've seen so many amazing things and met so many great people. Here are the details of my adventures from day one of Monster Mania:

A lot of today revolved around killing time as the events, autograph signings, and mass vending did not begin until 5 PM. The morning and early afternoon really dragged on as my anticipation grew. Around 4:30 I met up with Bill Adcock, the mastermind behind Radiation-Scarred Reviews and his good friend Dan. Bill, like my girlfriend Tara and myself, is a convention newb, but luckily it was familiar territory for Dan.

Our first mission was to scope out the swag that the vendors were selling. Everything from movie posters, to DVDs, to t-shirts, custom artwork, and custom sculptures was on sale and I went a bit crazy and spent far more than I had intended. I ended up snagging mini-posters of "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood," "My Bloody Valentine," and "Night of the Creeps," along with a one-sheet of Harry Warden, armed with his trademark weapon of choice; a pick-axe.

I also picked up a gift for my best bud Chris (which I can't divulge on here, in case he were to read this blog post), an awesome sculpture of THE STUFF (made from stone and a dixie cup! lol), and a replica Necronomicon! I also splurged and got the entire WEREWOLF TV series (on DVD-R), Kung-Fu Cyborg, and Evil Dead: The Musical for a mere forty bucks!

After an hour of gawking at the rows and mountains of cool stuff to buy, I made my way into the first room of celebrity guests. My first stop, with newly purchased "My Bloody Valentine" poster in hand, was Peter Cowper, the Canadian actor that portrayed the original maniacal miner himself, Harry Warden.

Peter was a great guy, very interesting to talk to, and shed a little light on the fact that despite IMDB's claim that "My Bloody Valentine" was his final movie credit, he has actually had a steady acting career up in Canada. I had originally intended to have the remaining eight cast members of "MBV" sign my poster, until I realized that it was TWENTY BUCKS A SIGNATURE! (Holy f*ck was I surprised!)

After thanking Peter, I ventured onward to Kane Hodder's line, and let me tell you, this guy is one of the nicest people you could meet. I got him to sign the "Friday the 13th Part VII" poster for me (as it is my most favorite film in the series), talked about his upcoming films ("Hatchet 2" is coming soon, with more of Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley's dad and a much bigger dose of Tony Todd goodness. Also be on the lookout for a small role by makeup f/x and puppeteer master, John Carl Buechler!), and got a picture with the former Jason Voorhees. (By the by, before putting me in a stranglehold, Kane told me that he'd go easy on me seeing as how he once choked a fan until he passed out at a previous horror movie convention! How friggin' awesome is that?!)

After that, I hit up Jake Busey for an autograph. He was kind of cool, but I got the feeling that he didn't really want to be there. (Also, he was the only guy charging for photographs, and was trying to pawn his "Starship Troopers" armor for $7,500!) To be honest though, he was very kind and pretty receptive during our conversation and I think the only reason he felt a little uncomfortable is because his dad, the amazing Gary Busey, was getting lots of love.

Jake told me that he's got a new movie coming out called "Cross," and that he now has a little brother (that's right folks, Gary Busey is BREEDING again!), and that we can expect a reality show that follows the exploits of the Busey clan in the not-to-distant future. During our conversation, Gary glanced over at me, and shouted "That's my son!" I replied, "Yeah I know, he's quite a guy!" Gary's reply: "You're DAMNED right!"

Afterwards, I left the room (passing up the chance to meet several stuntmen, Thom Matthews from the first two "Return of the Living Dead" films, AND Bill Moseley.) dropped off my collectibles in the hotel room, and ventured back downstairs to another room full of celebrities. With my funds rapidly depleting, I opted to seek out Tom Atkins for an autograph. As I waited in line, I noticed that Tom and his "Night of the Creeps" co-stars were getting a good amount of lovin' from the fan community, as were Malcolm McDowell, Dario Argento, and William Katt. However, I glanced to Tom's left and saw a very lonely and obviously bored Bruce Abbott. Seeing the man's plight, I declared to myself that I would pay a visit to his table and get his signature on something.

After some time passed, and I was getting closer to my rendezvous with Tom Atkins, I heard someone say, "Hey look, it's Gary Busey." I turned around and saw Gary stroll into the room with an entourage of five people. He made his way over to Malcolm McDowell's table and chatted it up with the English actor, while Busey's "bodyguards" pushed fans back until the conversation was over. After that, Gary headed our way, and conquered Tom Atkins' table for a few minutes. (They both starred together in "Lethal Weapon.") Eventually, he moved on, but I would see him later on in yet another classic Busey moment.

Eventually I got to meet and greet Tom Atkins and he is one of the nicest guys in the world. He signed my poster, chatted it up about his next big-screen role in a revenge/thriller called "Drive Angry," got a photo with me, and coolest of all, CALLED MY BUDDY RYAN at his comic shop and spouted out a few one-liners! ("Hello? Ryan? This is Tom Atkins. Thrill me... 'cause it's Miller time!")

After that, I cruised over to Bruce Abbot's table and chatted with him. He was a super-nice guy, and his acting career is still alive and well. Sadly though, he claimed that we may never see "House of Re-Animator." After getting a photo and having him sign a bad-ass picture of himself as Dr. Dan from "Re-Animator," Tara and I dropped off our swag in our hotel room, hit up a buffet, and then caught the 8 PM world premiere of "Closed for the Season."

Alas, things were not meant to go well for the first audience viewing of Jay Woelfel's newest film. The movie refused to play, so Jay, stars Damian Maffei and Joe Unger, and two of the films producers (Jay Ellison and... what was that other guy's name? John maybe?) came up front and did an impromptu Q&A session to keep people interested.

About a half hour later (yeah, I felt terrible for these guys) the movie finally began to play and boy was it a doozy. I'm still sort of on the fence about it, as it is two hours of complete insanity that is borderline impossible to explain. Essentially it a film about two people trapped in some sort of limbo (at a creepy, abandoned amusement park), and their attempts to survive attacks from mobsters, alligators, a lake monster, and an evil carny that seems to be running the quasi-supernatural show.

Now, I already felt bad for Jay and company because the film didn't start right up due to technical issues, but I felt even worse when I noticed a good chunk of the audience had vanished by the halfway point. Admittedly, the movie runs a bit long, and doesn't really explain to us what is going on, nor does it give us many hints. I believe that this lack of traditional narrative scared a lot of people off, but truthfully I think they missed out. Big time.

Actor Joe Unger (who was sadly missing by the time the film ended) was AMAZING as "The Carny." His character is hilarious, mysterious, and menacing all at the same time, and its Joe's acting that kept the film moving along and kept us hardcore moviegoers glued in our seats. After the movie ended I promptly went over and introduced myself to Mr. Woelfel and his fellow film makers.

Because I am a smooth criminal and all (wow, I can almost FEEL all those rolling eyes) they hooked me up with a free t-shirt, and thanked me, and Tara, and Bill, and Dan for sticking around for the entire movie. I think that it meant a lot to them, seeing as how everyone else ran off to either get drunk or watch a Dario Argento movie instead. Also, I ran into a film producer/director named David Boorboor who is currently working on an indie supernatural horror feature called "Underground." I gave him my contact info (via my crappy, homemade business card!) so hopefully I'll hear from him in a few months concerning the progress on his latest feature.

At this point it was 10:30 PM and "My Bloody Valentine" (the director's cut no less) was next on the menu. However, I opted to have a few tasty alcoholic beverages with Tara and my new friends, to share stories and just take in all that we've seen today. Along the way we were joking that Gary Busey was probably lurking about, robbing each floor's ice machine until there were no cubes left for the rest of us? Why would we think that he'd do that? Because he is hilariously eccentric, that's why!

Just as we began discussing this Dan says "speak of the devil," and as we turn, we see Gary Busey, at the main desk in the lobby, wearing his PJs, and holding two (possibly even THREE) styrofoam cups full of ice cream! I kid you not! We had a good laugh at this sight, and watched Gary take his prize and rush off to the elevators. (Methinks Monster Mania is quickly turning into BUSEY-CON 2010!)

To cap this already great day of, Tara, Bill, Dan, and I hung out and talked about nerdy stuff while tipping back a few, and now here I am, polishing off a lengthy blog post and ready for bed. Wow.... what a fan-friggin'-tastic day!

Day Two of Monster Mania promises even greater things with multiple Q&A sessions, movie screenings, a tribute to the recently deceased Corey Haim, Charles Band's Full Moon Horror Road Show, and finally a midnight screening of "Rocky Horror Picture Show!" As if I wasn't already suffering from sensory-overload....

Well I'm off to bed b-movie fans; stay tuned for more updates tomorrow, during day two of MONSTER MANIA XIV!