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 www.fullmoondirect.com 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!
Was just eating lunch, and casually glanced over to my left and saw DARIO ARGENTO! Also, wearing my "Friday the 12th" tee; didn't actually realize that today was Friday the 12th! BOOSH!


Well today is the day b-movie fans; Monster Mania kicks off in approx. six and-a-half hours! I scouted out the area ahead of time last night and know where I have to go to see the movies and meet the guests; most importantly, I know where the bar is. (HA!) I'm freakin' stoked (and hungry); 5 PM can not get here soon enough.

I'm also looking forward to meeting up with my main man Bill from Radiation-Scarred Reviews. Not only will this convention be a first for me, but this will also be the first time I meet a fellow online movie scribe. Together, we shall conquer Monster Mania XIV! Mwahahahaha!

Stay tuned for some bloggage from my cell phone, and expect a few photos to creep up on here at the end of the night.

Blog ya later gang!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just drunkenly introduced myself to Jake Busey. Sorry Jake. Hahahahaha!

The anticipation is killing me: A day early for Monster Mania XIV!

Well I got here at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at about 1 PM, and my mind has been reeling ever since. Even after hitting up IHoP for some delicious pancakes, a quick visit to Wal-Mart (yeah, I come all the way to Jersey and where do I go? Wal-Mart of course!), and seeing (and enjoying) the fairly decent remake of "The Crazies" (it has flaws up the ying-yang, but it is definitely a step up from George A. Romero's low budget classic) I can't actually wrap my mind around the fact that I'm here. I am so excited; this is like a borderline religious experience for someone like myself.

Seriously, I just saw MALCOLM MCDOWELL signing in for his room down in the main lobby, and I swear to God I heard angelic voices sing "Hallelujah!" All I could do, was stand there stupidly with my jaw agape, as he genially checked in. Did I want to rush over and attack him with handshakes and fanboy praise? Oh hell yes! But I didn't; I'm saving all that for tomorrow.

In any case, I'm going to hang out in my room for the rest of the night, though I make no guarantees that I won't sneak downstairs at some point to scope out any other celebrity arrivals.

Well I best be going; stay tuned for more updates b-movie fans!

Malcolm Mcdowell sighted!!!!!
Just saw the remake of the Crazies. Actually liked it better than the original. Back to the hotel for some R and R.
Just about to enter the hive of scum and villainy known Philadelphia. Just kidding Philly; I love ya.
On the road now. Tara nearly took a wrong turn..... WITH A GPS GIVING HER DRIVING DIRECTIONS! I see dark times ahead....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Hey b-movie fans! It's been a while since I posted new content at the Vault, but you'll have plenty to read over the weekend because I am headed to Cherry Hill, New Jersey to get crazy at the 14th semi-annual Monster Mania horror convention! (Visit the official site HERE.) I've never been to a convention of any kind before, so this will be an altogether new experience and I'm extremely excited. If any of you Vault fans / frequent readers are going to Monster Mania, let me know and maybe we could meet up and double our chances of having fun or getting assaulted by Gary Busey!

Well I gotta get some stuff packed and take care of a few things; I want to be able to take off Thursday afternoon with not a care in the world. Keep an eye on this blog because I'll be taking my laptop along (free wi-fi at the hotel!) to bring you updates on all my Monster Mania adventures! So even if you can't be there, you can experience everything vicariously through me!

Stay tuned for reports from the front lines of geekdom this weekend! Blog ya later!