The Dismember America Tour


People always say “don’t meet your heroes”, presumably because a lot of people are assholes (like a certain person I once met who I still respect as an artist, but want to punch in the face), but Adam Green is not one of them. With the amount of films, film commentaries, shorts, TV shows, and The Movie Crypt podcast with Joe Lynch, Adam Green feels like someone you’ve been friends with forever that moved to the other side of the country, but you still hear from him often enough to remain friends. He’s so open and honest about his life and nearly everything in it, that you just really feel like you know him.

I have the tendency to freak out around the people I look up to who happen to be famous – I am notorious for having cried too hard to speak when I met PJ Soles. Despite this, seeing Adam Green come to the front of my favorite theater to introduce his new film was weirdly comforting, like “Oh, there’s my buddy Adam, that’s cool”.

Aside from the cool factor, he seems to treat every single person he speaks to like they’re important. He spent more time than was reasonable just bullshitting with my sister and I, considering how many people were still behind us in line, but we never felt rushed in the least.

Unfortunately I can’t go too much into Victor Crowley itself as it’s still touring it’s way across the country and I don’t want to be that asshole, but I had very high hopes going in and wasn’t disappointed in the least. It was the most fun I’ve had in theaters in years and it’s now claiming the top spot for my favorite on-screen kill with some of the wildest shit I’ve ever seen in a movie.

What I’m really saying here is this: please support Adam Green in all of his endeavors because he’s truly an amazing person. He’s great at what he does, and though it means nothing coming from me, I’m incredibly proud of everything he’s acheived.

Sometimes it’s a damn good idea to meet your heroes.


Women in Horror Month 8

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas. It’s Women in Horror Month!

My original plan for this was to write up a list, with little reviews attached, of 28 horror films made by women that are more than worth watching so you could fill every day of February with badass women. Including sequels, which wasn’t something I had initially planned to do, I only made it to day seventeen. Depressing as that is, maybe the simple lack of women in the director’s chair will inspire more to come and claim their thrones. Still, I truly hope you seek out such wonderful films as Near Dark by Kathryn Bigelow, the Slumber Party Massacre series – all three films directed by three different women, and American Mary by my ultimate lady crushes Jen and Sylvia Soska.

Speaking of the Twisted Twins, every year they do a lovely PSA for the WIHM Blood Drive; the sisters truly go above and beyond to make sure you donate blood to those in need. You can find their (and others) PSAs HERE. The blood drive is worldwide so all you have to do is go to your local Red Cross or blood bank to donate.

Not only interested in your blood, Women in Horror Month is about highlighting the work of women with their Ax Wound Film Festival. While it doesn’t actually take place this month, the submissions open up in March, so now would be a good time to work on yours. You can find other events that span the entirety of February (such as film festivals, podcasts, and readings from female horror writers) HERE, and if none of the current events are your thing, you can set up your own event HERE.

indie horror: RWD

A few years back in an issue of Fangoria I read an article about a movie called Triangle in which the characters are trapped in a time loop and must fight for their lives against one of their own. It was a phenomenal film that never really got the exposure or praise it deserved. If you mixed that movie with The Blair Witch Project and watched it with Rod Serling while Goblin played in the background, it’d feel like RWD.

Matt Stuertz’ full length directorial debut is a hell of a ride. While it’s nice to give characters a complicated background so you feel for them, the characters in RWD, Chris (Adam Hartley) and Ricky (Stuertz), are so relatable, they could easily be you and your best friend. Chris and Ricky are just two guys hanging out in the woods to film their ghost hunting show Ghost Goofs (named for one of Stuertz’ Sixty Second Slasher short films).

While trying to interview the descendants of the subject of their ghost hunt, the guys begin to notice strange things like mysterious phone calls, figures in the distance, and interference on their sound equipment. I’m man enough (despite being a woman) to admit it had me feeling a bit jumpy as I tried to figure out what exactly was going on.

Unable to conduct their interview, Chris and Ricky retreat to the woods where they decide to investigate an ominous looking silo. As the two get separated inside and the strange occurrences and noises intensify, the film goes off the rails.

RWD goes from nerve wracking to a fun surprise and, by the final act, it’s a tense survival film. I found myself on the edge of my seat, genuinely rooting for the characters.

While it may not be for everyone, if you like to have fun with your horror, you’re definitely going to enjoy RWD. You can watch the trailer here:

And considering I’d be remiss to write a review of this film without mentioning the glorious 80’s synth pop soundtrack, you can listen to (and even purchase) it HERE.

indie horror: Never Hike Alone

If I were to win the lottery, the first thing I’d do is buy a car that wasn’t a Corolla with squeaky brakes. The second thing I’d do is find some deserving indie film makers and help fund their projects. There are tons of people out there with good ideas, a vision, and a mess of creativity that just haven’t got the money to get their films off the ground. On the plus side, things like kickstarter and gofundme exist to help make their dreams a reality.

One of the projects I’d throw a ridiculous amount of money at is Never Hike Alone. A Friday the 13th fan film that came into being in early 2016, Never Hike Alone was originally just a concept trailer, which on it’s own was terribly impressive. They later launched a kickstarter for the film, but didn’t reach their intended goal. They’ve since released a second trailer, which you can view below, that’s got me even more excited.

They’ve recently returned to kickstarter to raise the funds to finish the short film. Aside from helping aspiring film makers to get their film made, there are some pretty cool pledge rewards available if you need the incentive to donate. You can find their kickstarter page HERE.

Along with making, what appears to be, a phenomenal film, director Vincente DiSanti can be found personally interacting with fans on social media and sites like Bloody Disgusting (who’s recent article is what reminded me this film existed), which if you ask me, is super cool. He seems very grateful for any exposure given to his film and, in general, like a very personable guy, which is refreshing.

From their kickstarter:

Never Hike Alone is a 22-minute short film that follows the story of KYLE MCLEOD (Andrew Leighty), an avid backcountry hiker who, while on a solo backpacking trip, discovers the long lost remains of CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE. Ignoring the campfire ghost stories from his childhood, Kyle’s curious nature draws him in to see what is left of the camp since it was closed after the infamous 1980 Friday the 13th murders. However, Kyle’s innocent search of the camp turns deadly when he is attacked by Camp Crystal Lake’s last remaining resident, JASON VOORHEES. Stranded alone in the middle of the wilderness, with a legendary mass murderer on his heels, Kyle’s survival skills will be put to the test like never before. Will he make it out of the woods alive or become another victim of the cursed camp?

arts & crafts: phantasm christmas ornaments

I was given the task of decorating for Christmas this year. Bad idea. My Christmas consists of watching Silent Night Deadly Night, Black Christmas, Santa’s Slay, Gremlins, and Die Hard. I made gingerbread men that were decorated to look like horror villains. I hung up a string of lights with little ghosts on them instead of red and green bulbs. The pinnacle of my oeuvre, however, was the Christmas tree.

Fresh off the heels of my eighteen year wait for Phantasm 5, I was still excited about it and chose that as my tree theme. Honestly, it came down to Phantasm and Re-Animator, which I’ll probably do next year – glowing reagent syringes for the ornaments and a zombie cat with a broken back for a topper. After I had made my Sentinel ornaments and was still brimming with pride at a job well done, I was scrolling through Twitter and found that they were releasing official Phantasm ornaments. They’re much nicer looking than mine are and the money goes to good people, so I’m not saying that it’s not a good investment, but $15 for one ornament is a bit steep for me. Assuming that you also don’t want to spend $300 to cover your whole tree, I’m here to teach you how to make your own.

Step 1 → I found a tube of plastic silver ornaments at the local dollar store. The plastic kind are harder to find, but they’re easy to slice in to. I’m sure you can find them in other places, like if your town has a craft store or a year-round Christmas store (yeah, that’s a thing), but I’m going for cheap here. I got a tube of eight for one dollar and you can’t beat that. If you can’t find them in silver, just grab the lightest color available and spray paint them.

Step 2 → I used the cardboard from a case of pop to make the blades for my sentinels. I lightly sketched them in pencil, cut them out very carefully, and colored them in with a silver paint marker I had from a previous project. If you’d like something sturdier for yours, I recommend Friendly Plastic sheets, which wouldn’t bend as easily, and you can bust the spray paint back out to fill them in. Make sure you leave the stems of the blades a bit longer than normal so they can easily be inserted into the ornament.

Step 3 → Hold the back end of the blades up to the ornament to see what size cut you should make for them. I just marked the edges with small pencil marks which were easy to wipe away after they’d been cut with an x-acto knife. Now because I used cardboard instead of plastic, I simply bent the back end of the blades 90° before inserting them to keep them in place and get them to stick out at the proper angle. If you’ve chosen to use plastic, simply glue them in with hot glue or whatever type of craft glue you’ve got handy.

Step 4 → Put on some music, decorate your Christmas tree in a way that would make the Tall Man proud, and stand back to admire your work.

Be sure to send pictures of your horror Christmas trees my way, Phantasm themed or not!

Why you should be watching: Holliston

I became aware of the show Holliston in October of 2012 between the first and second seasons when the first was released on DVD. I worked in a video store and my boss must’ve thought it looked good because he took it home with him, he made it through the first episode, shut it off, and brought it back into the store on his day off to give to me, saying “trust me, this is gonna be your new favorite show”. He wasn’t wrong.

After a long day of urging people to rent Popcorn and Phantasm instead of Magic Mike and That’s My Boy, I went home and curled up on the couch to watch Holliston. I was already a fan of Adam Green’s work having been made familiar with him via the two Hatchet movies that had been released at the time, which I’m also telling you right now, along with the third one, are absolute gold. Joe Lynch, on the other hand, I didn’t know anything about and I’m so glad to have been exposed to him because he’s great, he’s now best known for Knights of Badassdom and Everly, though I wouldn’t bring up the former to him. Adam and Joe play characters named after themselves who are an aspiring writer and director respectively.

The show also stars Corri English whos other work in the genre includes After Dark Horrorfest film Unrest and Devil May Call. Aside from being absolutely beautiful, she’s actually very funny. She’s also the lead singer for the band Brokedown Cadillac, and while country music isn’t really my thing, I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty good. Playing her best friend and Joe’s girlfriend, aka my favorite character, is Laura Ortiz who, while you probably don’t recognize, was previously in the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. I also recently spotted her, however briefly, in Guardians of the Galaxy and did that thing where you punch the person with you in the theater out of excitement.

Rounding out the regular cast are Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and the phenomenal film Strangeland as the guys’ boss at a local cable access station and the late Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, of Gwar who plays Adam’s imaginary alien friend.

The entire show is set up like a sitcom complete with laugh track but is specifically tailored for the audience it was aimed at on FEARnet. The show opens up on Adam and Joe hosting their show The Movie Crypt, which has pretty much zero viewers in the show, but is now a very real podcast that covers things like interviews with horror personalities, how-to instructions for making your own films, live commentaries, and fundraisers like the recent 3-day long marathon they did to benefit Save A Yorkie Rescue.

Within the first ten minutes of the show we get to see the two main characters try to “pull a Scanners” on each other, we’re treated to our first glimpse of Laura’s art, we’re reminded of the totally real struggle that we own all of our best horror movies on VHS instead of DVD, and we learn that Adam has broken up with his girlfriend for the best reason to ever dump anyone: she’s never see Gremlins. “It’s dangerous.”

Aside from the characters being extremely relatable (Adam and Joe are constantly having issues making money, the people they went to high school with make fun of them for still not realizing their dreams, and they’re completely obsessed with all things horror), the show boasts a fantastic list of guest stars. Derek Mears, Danielle Harris, Bill Moseley, Tony Todd, Sid Haig, Kane Hodder, Seth Green, Colton Dunn, and John Landis are just a few of the genre favorites to pop up throughout the two seasons available.

The third season has been delayed for a multitude of reasons – FEARnet is no more, the cast and crew are working on other projects and expanding families, the loss of Dave Brockie – but it’s in the works. There was even a live script reading for one of the season three episodes during the aforementioned three day Movie Crypt marathon and it was hilarious. So do what you can to catch up (the series is available on DVD and iTunes) before it makes it’s triumphant comeback.

the pittsburgh zombie tour

I live in the greater Pittsburgh Area. This means I say things like “Yinz goin’ dahn SahSide to watch da Stillers?”, I’ve got a crush on Kris Letang, and I worship George A. Romero.

When I was younger my friends and I made a drinking game out of Night of the Living Dead. We’d get a case of Iron City (Arns) and we’d wait until the people in the farmhouse finally turn the television on. For every safe zone at the bottom of the screen in a town you’d been to, you’d have to drink. It was such a cool thing to be able to pick things out in a film that you knew from home; the hunters at the end of the movie drinking cans of local brand beer, Chilly Billy Cardille from Chiller Theater on WPXI, and, of course, the nearby towns – the whole movie was made right in our backyard.

Every year for my birthday, we go ride roller coasters because I’m an adrenaline junkie with no shame. On our way back to town from Kennywood, I saw the sign on the highway for Evans City and I took the opportunity while my boyfriend was in a good mood and I had that ‘it’s my birthday’ clout going for me to remind him that we’d been meaning to go anyway.

Of the main attractions on the George Romero tour of Western Pennsylvania, I’ve got to say that Evans City Cemetery is the best. It’s instantly recognizable as once you pass the small chapel, the iconic graves featured in the film are only about 250 feet away. The caretakers don’t seem to mind visitors as long as you’re respectful, it’s clearly well taken care of, and as I watched the sun set over the horizon with my boyfriend and sister, it struck me just how beautiful of a place it is, relevant to my morbid interests or not. If you’ve got the time, there’s a Living Dead Museum in downtown Evans City about a mile away that’s definitely worth a look as well.

The Monroeville Mall, while still involved in all things zombie and clearly proud of their place in cinema history (they’ve done a few zombie walks over the years), is no longer the mall it was in Dawn of the Dead. The major landmarks that made it what it was in 1978 – the clock tower, water fountain, ice rink, and the footbridge – have all since been removed leaving it unrecognizable.

Luckily for horror geeks and anyone involved in local history, in July of 2015 after campaigning to save it, some local zombies showed up to the mall to take the disassembled footbridge to it’s new home at Heinz History Center for a future ‘filmed in Pittsburgh’ exhibit. We’ve got Kevin Kreiss, the curator of the Living Dead Museum in Evans City, to thank for saving it.

The Wampum Underground just outside of New Castle, however, hasn’t aged at all. Simply driving by is enough to trigger that feeling of familiarity, the vague “I know that place somehow”, like when you see a stranger at a coffee shop that you were introduced to at a party years back but never caught the name of.

It’s a storage facility for things like cars, which I suppose makes all the sense in the world when you look at the size of the place. From 2011 to 2015 they held an annual 5k race, open to the public, that ran you through the halls of the mines, giving you a good look at the setting for Day of the Dead while you jog along. Here’s hoping they bring the race back in 2017 and that Bub is there to salute me as I cross the finish line.