Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Writing Horror Part 2: Essential Reading

(This is the second installment in Jeff's series about penning a horror novel. If you need to catch up, you can read the first part here)

I took on some required reading before I began this process.  If you're writing a novel along with me (which would certainly be awesome) you don't have to do this.  I'm just a weirdo that over-thinks something before I do it.

That said, there is a vast quanity of "How to Write" material out there in general, not to mention the selections that are horror related.  Here is a list of texts I feel are important for any aspiring horror writer.

[Click the break to see Jeff's recommendations on essential primers and guides for horror writers! ]

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Calabrese Releasing New Album and Premiere Video

When it comes to horror punk/rock, my (and I bet many people's) go to band is The Misfits. However, I'm not big fan of their current "we're a sort of cover band of ourselves" incarnation. Enter Calabrese.

Maybe you haven't heard of the brothers Calabrese? Bobby, Jimmy, and Davey have been rockin' for over a decade now and released consistently edgy, catchy-as-hell horror rock records. Now this coming January they are dropping Lust For Sacrilege, and from the looks of the first video "Flesh and Blood" it could be an interesting evolution for the band.


I'm using the "evolution" because my guess is a lot of critics will say "a more mature sound" and I hate "mature" because it implies that there was something sub-par about their previous music. This is not the case. Monster masks, ghoulish fonts and black leather jackets are awesome.

Here's a quote from Bobby Calabrese describing a bit about where they are coming from on the new material.

We were listening to a lot of moodier, darker bands when we wrote “Flesh and Blood.” Lots of Sisters of Mercy, early Cure, the droning and atmospheric stuff that builds on being simple and effective. We wanted to go for a kind of somber vibe, a bleak mix of heavy rock and post-punk. Type-O-Negative is a big influence on that straightforward riff. We filmed it during the recording of ‘Lust For Sacrilege,’ something we’ve never done before. We liked the idea of going for something with a Doors-meets-Danzig feel, something to capture loneliness, desolation, misery. We think it caught the attitude of the song perfectly. Turn out the lights and enjoy.”

I'm excited to hear the rest of the album since I think this is a niche that's recently been a bit lacking and this new record could fill that void.
If you're interested in learning more you can visit Calabrese's Facebook page here, or pre-order the album here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Writing Horror Part 1: Introduction and Some Personal History

I love it here at Terrorphoria.

As someone who was bound by the early censorship of a Christian household, Stephen King novels were my first escape.  Reading, being that I could do it privately rather than shared spaces, was harder for my strict parents to regulate.  Reading King quickly led to reading Ketchum, Straub, and Saul.

When I aged into more freedom, that led to gorging on films as well.  When the local video store wouldn't give me a card, I took my mom's out of her wallet.  I'd rent entire series on VHS and marathon through them, watching a franchise like Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween devolve from their first beautiful, creative genesis to cash-grabbery sequeldom. It was awesome.

[Read on to discover more about how Jeff got into writing about horror, and what that means for him posting original works on Terrorphoria!]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"The Pyramid" (Movie Review)

Hoo boy.

Let's just do it.  Like ripping off a band aid.  No, not a band aid.  More like that self dentistry scene in Cast Away.  Let's hit the ice skate already.

Waxing poetic about how terrible a movie is on the internet is more worn out than a cash-grab found footage horror film, but The Pyramid deserves everything it's about to get.  Let's rake it over the coals like a burnt piece of chicken.

The Pyramid, (because it needs a definite article so you don't mistakenly expect Donny Osmond forcing Anubis to guess a subject in a category based on vague clues), is a found footage horror film about a group of poorly characterized victims exploring a pyramid. There's a father/daughter archaeologist team whose "Luddite/TechnoGeek" conflict feels more artificial than the lead paint chips the writers ate as kids. This "conflict" is further stressed by the fact that she's dating adult Will Robinson from Lost In Space.

Remember in Jurassic Park how technology vs. traditionalism played out in Dr. Grant's conversation foibles and also in the main conflict of the film?  "Technology is this wonderful miracle that bring dinosaurs back to life, but it can also fail and let these monsters loose and put us all in a grave!"  That is how you have real conflict and weave it throughout your film.

This goes nowhere.  Dad doesn't like technology.  His kid loves it and wants to revolutionize archaeology. Boyfriend builds a creeper robot so he can spy on his girlfriend while she dresses.  If you skipped the first ten minutes of the film you'd completely miss this being a big deal.

Also, we have a documentary team.  Oh you've heard that one before?  It's 2014.  Even though we don't have the hover boards and flying cars that Marty McFly promised me we'd have by next year, we're doing pretty okay.  Everyone has a million cameras available on phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Do we really have to massage the narrative and populate it with more victims (I'm sorry, characters) that we don't need just so we can force first person camera work?

Another (admittedly far more interesting) conflict that goes nowhere is the discovery of this three sided pyramid is jeopardized by political unrest in its country of origin.  A current events conflict that is sadly just used as an excuse to get them in the pyramid faster and provide an additional victim.

Upon entering the pyramid the found footage verisimilitude is constantly broken by using unaccounted for cameras.  If you're the sort that hates reality television when it's painfully obvious they set up the shot before the inorganic reaction, this movie will drive you crazier than me as I scoured Wikipedia to make a cheap joke that a three-sided thing isn't even a pyramid. (Turns out geometry proves it still is).

My biggest complaint about the film is both easy and difficult to articulate.  The easy part is just three words: NO FREAKING MUMMIES.

And it's only those three words because the editor makes me play nice and only swear intermittently.

When Ben and I were chatting about who'd get the task of watching and reviewing this he said to me, "I hope that this movie makes mummies the new zombies."

And you know, that would have been really cool.

Do you remember when Brendan Fraser had a career?  More relevant: Do you remember when the movie The Mummy came out?  Mummies were suddenly cool and scary again and not just Halloween fodder for colorful breakfast cereal.  The next step was obviously to make an R rated hard horror mummy movie.....and that never happened.

Sixteen years later we're delivered this hot piece of garbage.

Victims die from every crappy CG Egyptian monster you could conjure from zombie cats to Anubis, but no mummies.  Where are the mummies!?


Were you really not brave enough to think you could pull it off, movie!? You were cavalier enough to think you could handle political instability in the middle east for god's sake.

Don't watch The Pyramid.  Just don't do it to yourself.  Watch The Mummy again instead and cross your fingers that someone will finally make a real horror movie about mummies soon.

We don't give review grades anymore, but Rotten Tomatoes currently has this at 7% and, trust me, that's too generous.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book of The Month - December 2014 - "Autumn Moon"

Our inaugural novel for the Terrorphoria Book Club is Autumn Moon by Slade Grayson. Technically it's Autumn Moon (Alpha Wolf Book 1)(Volume 1), but I'm bad at math so I'm editing down the title to just what you see above along with the sexy lycanthrope girl.

We selected Autumn Moon as this month's novel because it brings back werewolves. Not the lame Twlight ones either. The kind that Gary Busey fought, and that got all raunchy in The Howling

Tanneheuk is a quiet, isolated town in Montana that runs a lottery where instead of receiving a giant novelty check, the winner gets sent into the woods to be sacrificed to giant supernatural canines. This is the setup for a story that contains some wonderful character development and some genuinely surprising plot twists.

If you're looking for a monster series that doesn't revolve around zombies or vampires, grab a copy here and get reading. Let us know your thoughts down in the comment section and get the conversation started!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book of The Month Club Announcement

In an attempt to be honest with ourselves (and more like Oprah), we've decided that there are just too many great horror novels and compilations out there for us to handle. If you're an author, you probably noticed we had to put reviews on hiatus a while back because our backlog exploded. It was a little ambitious on our part to think that two dudes with full time lives could keep up with reviewing massive numbers of books for a blog with any kind of regularity. That said, we have infinite gratitude to everyone who felt our opinions mattered enough to review their hard work.


Each month, we'll pick out one particular submission that strikes as something our readers should seek out and consume. Then we can start a nice discussion about said novel/comic/anthology in the comments section. We'll be starting this in December, and submissions for the book club are now fully re-opened. Send us your stuff and see if it makes the cut!

Oh, and you get a free monthly horror book suggestion, and YOU get a free monthly horrorbook suggestion, AND THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE GETS FREE MONTHLY HORROR BOOK SUGGESTIONS!!! (See? Just like Oprah.)

'Lollipop Chainsaw' (Game Review)

I don't know why it took me so long to play Lollipop Chainsaw. This game is tailor-made for reviewing on Terrorphoria. It's an absolutely ridiculous, over-the-top horror comedy title from SUDA 51 and James Gunn that provides plenty of action and gore doused with a healthy dose of humor. Also, there are zombies in it.

Juliet Starling is a popular high school cheerleader who just turned 18. She also happens to be the middle sister in a family of zombie-hunters, and on this birthday she gets the unwelcome present of dealing with a petulant goth kid named Swan who unleashes an undead horde on her high school. Juliette (with the help of her disembodied head of a boyfriend, Nick) must rescue her classmates and stop the Dark Purveyors from spilling tons of evil zombies in from the weird nether evil-verse.

From the very start, the art and music style will resonate with me. The menus have a definite Tales From The Crypt look to them, which I appreciated. The character design is campy, with enemies that range from zombie cops to the Dark Purveyors who take the form of an unholy rock band. Juliet will slash, smash and dismember ghouls throughout multiple locations as she tries to return the unleashed evil back to its own dimension while shopping, scouring for the titular candy treats, and loving Katy Perry.

At its core, Lollipop Chainsaw is a "score attack" beat-em-up that harkens back to the golden days of pumping in quarters at the arcade, and trying to grab that coveted "S" ranking in every level. Although the campaign was fairly short, the story and dialogue were so absolutely insane and entertaining that it I found myself replaying a few levels going "sparkle hunting" in the score attack mode after I had completed my initial outing. Watching rainbows explode from decapitated zombie neck holes never really gets old.

I highly recommend Lollipop Chainsaw for anyone who is looking for a solid button mashing beat-em-up. It has a few camera issues, graphical glitches, and a couple of annoying mini games that you'll probably curse at, but they don't detract from the overall package. Totally worth grabbing on the cheap.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

'Last Year' Gets Kickstarted - 5v1 Slasher Video Game? Count Us In!

Oh man, OH MAN. While all the rest of you are drooling over that much delayed scifi 4v1 game Evolve, I'll just be sitting over in the corner hoping Last Year reaches its funding goal. You guys know we are picky about our Kickstarter projects, but this seems like a genuinely great idea that should have been made ages ago. I saw this on Dread Central and thought you should know about it too.

You know everyone is gonna be calling dibs on the girl with the headgear.

"Annabelle" Review (Guest Post)

(Guest reviewer Stevie Kopas delivers us another great review. This time it's Annabelle, the devilish doll jump-scare follow up to James Wan's 2013 hit The Conjuring. Make sure to click the jump for the full review! You can also read the original post format over on HorrorMetalSounds.com)

Let’s get this out of the way:  I hate dolls.  I hate them with a passion.  Since I was a little girl I never liked puppets, marionettes, or dolls with creepy, painted faces and soulless, evil eyes.  It’s wasn’t my thing, and it still isn’t.

In fact, during my trip to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights this year, I forced myself to go through the evil doll haunted house and oh yeah, it was fun and totally worth it.  Was I extremely creeped out and making a fool out of myself by squirming and squealing throughout the whole house?  Well of course, but so was everybody else.

With that being said, I couldn’t wait to see the film Annabelle.  The Conjuring was so amazing and when I heard that the infamous doll, Annabelle, would be getting her own movie, I was so excited that I practically jumped out of my seat with a big, fat, “NO” when I first saw the preview earlier this year.  I had such a great feeling that it would be right up my alley and scare the hell out of me.

And yes, while Annabelle had its intense moments, the movie as a whole was actually quite dull.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

All Them Witches - 'Lightning At The Door' (Music Review)

It's rare that I am immediately enamored with a band, or that a band who plays a mix of heavy blues rock meshed with occult psychedelic grooves flies under my radar. Nashville's All Them Witches is a rare band then, in my book.

I was just acquainted with their crazy brand of jams thanks to the recently (re)-released album Lightning At The Door. It's an 8 track, 45 minute wallop that mixes heavy riffs, stoned out fuzz, southern drawl, and some Fender Rhodes keys for good measure. From the opener "Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird", each track twists and turns delivering a solid mash-up of new school heaviness infused with classic delta blues. If John Mayall and the guys from Clutch formed a super group with early era Sabbath, you might get something akin to Lightning At The Door.

All Them Witches appears to be onto something special in this sophomore effort, and this release delves even further into strange psychedelia than their last effort Our Mother Electricity which felt like a more straight forward effort. There's a sense of "playing by feel" on this record, and the end result is better for it. It's a very organic sound, and this lends itself to the spaced out song writing. In the course of Lightning At The Door, Coyote Woman gets married AND dies. This is heavy stuff.

If you're at ALL into heavy blues or stoner rock (do people even call it that anymore?) then you need to give Lightning At The Door a spin. I'm willing to recommend it solely on the cover art of that satanic necromancer goat-wizard drawn in Sidewalk Chalk, but the 8 tracks held within are too good to pass up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"TUSK" Review (Guest Post)

(Guest reviewer/author/all-around cool person Stevie Kopas was generous enough to grant us this review of TUSK. You can also check out the original posting here on HorrorMetalSounds.com where she also drops horror knowledge on internet lurkers.)

After a hoax advertisement found its way to Kevin Smith and he devoted a podcast to it, the hilariously twisted film entitled Tusk was put together and finally made its way to theaters last weekend.

I’ve read my fair share of reviews of the film to see what others thought of it, and while I see mostly positive reviews where people are embracing it, I’m seeing people negatively rate the film and I think it’s because they’re not getting it.

The film focuses on Wallace (Justin Long) who is an extremely charismatic yet arrogant podcaster. Wallace and his best friend Teddy (welcome back Haley Joel Osmond) are the stars of the hilarious “Not-See” podcast that unfortunately makes its waves at the expense of others. Wallace travels to Canada to interview an e-Famous guy known as the “Kill Bill Kid” only to find out that…well…the Kill Bill Kid killed himself…so he heads to a local bar where he finds a very strange advertisement in the men’s restroom.

The ad boasts free room and board to anyone interested, in exchange for someone to listen to an old man’s tales of adventure. Wallace, not wanting to miss an opportunity for some great material, contacts the old man, Howard Howe (Michael Parks), and agrees to meet him at his home. What begins as comedic interaction with Wallace and Howard quickly turns twisted. Wallace is drugged and discovers, when he awakes, that he is in over his head. Things will not end well for anyone.

I’m not one for spoilers, so you’re not getting any from me, especially not with Tusk. But what I will tell you is that the dialogue is simply enchanting, the comedy ranges from dark to goofy to downright obscure, and the horror is, at moments shocking, and entirely satisfying.

In a style all his own, Kevin Smith takes Stephen King’s Misery and mates it with The Human Centipede to give birth to the most disgustingly wonderful baby I’ve seen in ages. Justin Long’s performance is his best to date. His portrayal of Wallace is wonderfully detestable, and flashbacks are strewn throughout the film to give the viewer insight into the type of person that Wallace really is. It’s hard to feel bad for him, and I often found myself rooting for Howard Howe. Michael Parks, as always, is delightful, and his Howard Howe makes for one of the finer antagonists I’ve seen on the screen.

The film isn’t just about a crazy guy living alone in a mansion and “torturing” people. And that’s especially evident in the manner that Smith chose to end the film. In my opinion, the movie played out like a fable, and in the end, everybody got what they deserved.

With Smith’s 2011 release of Red State, I’m jumping for joy with Tusk, because he has seriously out done himself. I sincerely believe that he has found his new niche in the horror/comedy genre.

 My last thumbs up to the film, was the magical cameo made by “JD” (just putting initials here, figure it out yourself…I don’t want to be blamed). Guy LaPointe was a fantastic addition to the cast of quirky characters in this cinematic adventure.

So you’ve heard my piece, go watch this masterpiece….or else!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from your frighteningly funny fiends at Terrorphoria!

Nothing says "I care about this event" like generic, holiday-themed ClipArt, so here you go!

We hope you have a safe and happy time out there Trick or Treating, and get plenty of full sized Snickers bars in your pillow case!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

John Carpenter Talks Video Games

John Carpenter holds an esteemed spot in Terrorphoria's "Pantheon of Horror Heroes", and the fact that he is willing to be interviewed about video games only makes him even more rad.

You can and should read this quick interview by Patrick Klepek over on Giant Bomb.

Then go watch They Live, mostly because posting that photo above made me want to re-watch They Live.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why "You're Next" is Important

(This could have been a Now Screaming piece since this excellent film is currently available to us by the mercy of the Netflix Gods who so cruelly giveth and taketh away, but Bossman Ben and I thought it important to elevate the discussion around this film.)

Here's the thing though, Internets, I know you hate spoilers like you love Jenna Marbles, but if we are going to have an earnest evaluation of something's literary or historical merit, we are going to have to put our big kid slacks on and talk candidly about it.  Also, while the Great Old Ones of streaming haven't yet yanked this from your queue, you should just watch it already.  It's really freaking good.

Ben's spoiler free review says as much.

Once you're ready to join out spoiler-filled discussion, click the jump to read more!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Terrorphoria!

Holy cow! One year of horror!

It seems like just yesterday, I started writing a silly news tidbit about Army of Darkness 2 and a horror blog was born. Thanks for all your support, readership, and comments. Jeff and I are looking forward to all sorts of cool things in the coming year, so stay with us!

And now, DETHKLOK.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Now Screaming: "The American Scream" (Movie Review)

I put my wife and (now three) kids through a lot in pursuit of my creative passions.  Luckily, my writing here on Terrorphoria is nothing like the two and a half years I spent on the road pursuing stand-up comedy that left my poor spouse practically a single parent.  Like right now, I'm typing this up while my wife and daughters are carving pumpkins.  Although that isn't ideal, it's way better than when I would be hours away telling jokes in front of an uninterested crowd so that a bar could sell more chicken wings and draft beer.

The American Scream is a documentary about three families in Fairhaven, MA that put on elaborate home haunts for the local trick-or-treaters.  What I found absolutely captivating about it is that it really dove into this creative-pursuit, family tension in a way I haven't really seen in another documentary.  This coupled with the interesting culture of setting up a home haunt and the way the three different houses approached it made this a great watch and had me plotting what we could do in our own backyard.

One of three is an IT professional with a wife and two kids that dreams of putting on haunted houses professionally.  Although the other families are equally compelling television, especially when juxtaposed with the first (both approach it much more as a hobby with far different standards and ambitions), this family is what really drew in my interest.  I could just see my wife in his as she discussed how it would sure be nice if they had room for storage or the kids could have a swing set in the backyard.

The movie is extremely well done, directed by Michael Stephenson who's first film Best Worst Movie about Troll 2 (in which he starred as a young lad) was one of my favorite documentaries ever.  Sophomore film efforts are often terrible and that goes double for documentaries, but this was excellent.  As such, I'm more than a little impressed and excited for his forthcoming Horror/Comedy feature Destroy.

If you are at all a fan of the October scare season, I highly recommend this.  It's also a great watch if, like me, you love to view scary stuff (especially in October) but your wife can't stand it.  Heck, even my daughters enjoyed watching it (which is really weird for a documentary). Give it a watch and I bet you'll enjoy the heck out of it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PT/Silent Hills Trailer is Still Cool

I'm a huge Silent Hill fan.  I think the games (that is to say the early, good ones) really represent not only the best that interactive horror entertainment can offer, but what macabre storytelling should be: high suspense, only earned jump scares, and psychological character studies or societal examinations at the heart of the narrative.

And now, Silent Hill is wrapped up into my personal history in a way that I'll never forget.  Don't worry, I'll back up that statement.

By now, anyone that gives a crap about Silent Hill knows that a new game is coming.  In fact, fans are excited because we have hope that for the first time in a long while a new installment might actually be good.

See, after Silent Hill 4: The Room (a game that was originally supposed to be a new intellectual property but was forced into being another SH game) Team Silent made like The Pixies. The task of producing games in the franchise was then handed around to various developers who just didn't get it. What was once a franchise of ominous character studies and high tension devolved into cheap jump scares and Pyramid Head appearances handled with the sort of subtitle cameo setup you'd expect from Expendables.

Now in what feels like fantasy decision making that belongs buried in internet forums rather than reality, Silent Hills is being created as a joint venture between Hideo Kojima (a video game producer famous for his high production values in the Metal Gear series) and Guillermo del Toro (if I have to introduce him you're probably on the wrong website).  Further, the game will star the best part of the often underwhelming Walking Dead TV show, Norman Reedus.

This doesn't guarantee a quality product, and definitely doesn't mean that Silent Hills will be exactly the same tone and tenor of the Team Silent games.  However, for the first time in a long while, I won't be buying the new SH game pre-geared for disappointment like a long time fan buying a recent
Bon Jovi album.

It's 2014. That joke almost doesn't work because people don't buy albums anymore. Similarly, creating a true mystery in this jaded, savvy, internet culture is almost impossible.  However, during a pretty momentous week for me this past August, a free game called P.T. randomly appeared in the Playstation store.

It was late in the night when I noticed and downloaded it.  What was revealed was an Amnesia style first person horror game.  I wandered around a hallway a couple of times and got pretty spooked but thought, "I really ought to get to bed.  I'll play the rest of this tomorrow."

And then the next day my wife woke me up to say, "It's time," and we rushed to the hospital to have child number three.  The random game I found on the PS store was fairly low on the priority list and I was pretty shocked and excited a few weeks later when my buddy said, "Are you excited about that new Silent Hill game?"

The brilliance of this type of marketing (when done well) is that instead of mass-market trailers being shoved down our throats, all of us that downloaded P.T. had an organic introduction to a new game that we'd already be very excited about. I didn't trigger the Silent Hills trailer at the end of the P.T. that evening (to be fair most people didn't since the thing is set in the kind of convoluted way that only a hyper-curious internet community can solve), but now the new SH will always be something tied closely to my personal history, and that's a pretty cool thing.

The genie is out of the bottle, and it's hard to really recommend P.T. (which just stands for "playable teaser").  It was meant as more of a marketing tool than a game, and like a bottle rocket its inertia is spent.  That said, the first half of it is some of the best survival horror gameplay I've seen on a console in a really long time and it looks absolutely stunning.  If you have a PS4, my recommendation is to check it out but YouTube the ending if your fun erodes to frustration.  In the meantime, I'll be crossing my fingers that when Silent Hills finally comes out it won't be full of cheesy jump scares and Pyramid Head working at Happy Burger.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'Time of Death: Induction' (Book Review)

Time of Death:Induction is a zombie apocalypse novel by author Shana Festa. It follows a nursing student named Emma Rossi who finds herself in the epicenter of a zombie outbreak in Florida. Young Emma must find a way to escape God's Waiting Room along with her husband Jake and purse-dog Daphne before it's totally overrun by the walking dead (not THAT walking dead.)

I'll tell you what I enjoyed about Time of Death:Induction first. It's a well written, well edited piece of horror fiction that doesn't pull any punches in the action or gore departments. There is plenty of guts and splatter, along with a briskly paced story that never really drags. It's the type of book that will appeal to zombie enthusiasts looking for a new book they can get through in a weekend.

Time of Death isn't without its flaws however. My main issue is that the story arc is somewhat predictable, and certain telegraphed events that have been used in various zombie media before. That said, it's REALLY hard to write something original about zombies these days. It seems like it's all been done before simply due to sheer volume of media. Induction did have a few surprising moments and those unique moments served to step up the story overall.

There is some awkward dialogue (generally coming from Emma) that just seems a little out of place for someone who should theoretically be mortified by the events unfolding around her. I see where the author was going with her to create a strong heroine lead, but sometimes the "sass factor" gets dialed up a little too high and feels forced. This happens sporadically amongst other characters as well throughout. 

Induction is a solid first attempt on Festa's part at writing a novel, especially in such an overcrowded sub-genre. Minor complaints aside, it's a competent zombie apocalypse romp that serves as the foundation for a full series. I'm interested to see where the author takes the characters next and hopefully can improve on making Time of Death a standout series for undead lovers!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why We Love Horror (Guest Post)

(Today's post is from guest blogger Christina Bergling. You can and should find more of her writing over on her blog Fiery Pen and Like her on Facebook for some more serious fare then you'll find around these parts. Show her some love down in the comments and let us know why you love the horror genre!)

As young as I can remember, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I loved the costumes, the candy, and, most importantly, things that were scary. I read Goosebumps books through my childhood for the same reason: because they scared me. I was not introduced to horror movies until later in my adolescence (after my parents’ divorce when TV restrictions lifted at one house), but once I saw my first horror movie (Scream), I was irrevocably hooked.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Horror Movie Survival Kit - Sponsored by Man Crates!

The fine folks at MAN CRATES who create epic gift packages you need to pry open with a crowbar, asked us to put together a list of what Terrorphoria would stock in a "must have" horror movie survival kit. We said "we love lists, and STUFF!" so without further ado here is our  

"Terrorphoria Slasher Movie Survival Crate"

There’s a few items I wouldn’t be caught dead (literally!) without in a slasher film. To avoid becoming a statistic everyone was talking about in homeroom or around the campfire the next day, here is what I’d bring.

1.     A multi-tool: How many times has someone been trying to escape and the door/window/panel/grate is either locked, jammed, or screwed shut? A multi-tool could really help, plus it comes with a knife to defend yourself or cut any ropes you might get tied up with. Oh, and a toothpick in case something gets caught in your teeth.

2.     Kinectic flashlight:  Flashlights in horror movies must all be bought at the dollar store, because they are CONSTANTLY giving out at the worst possible time. That’s why I’d bring one of those cool flashlights that you power by shaking or turning a crank. That way you don’t need to worry about batteries running out when you’re sneaking through that dark hallway.

3.    Jumper Battery Pack: Just in case that car decides it doesn’t want to start, even though I’ve been driving it around fine all day and just took it for an oil change last week.

4.    Plastic whistle: Everybody’s always trying to scream and get attention for help. One of those plastic emergency whistles could mean the difference between hanging in there, or hanging in there on a MEAT HOOK.

5.    Blow Up Doll: Seriously, bear with me. So at some point, you’re gonna have to go down that dark staircase into the basement. You know the one I mean! A rubber doll makes a great decoy to throw down first. That way when the killer leaps out from under the stairs and you hear a loud POP you know there is trouble. Also, much easier to carry around than a mannequin or crash-test dummy!

6.    Poncho: Seriously, it’s ALWAYS raining in slasher movies. Even in California! A simple fold up poncho would keep you from getting soaked, slipping around, and sneezing from wet clothes to give away your hiding spot!

7.    Disposable camera: Chances are your cell phone is dead because horror movies so you need SOMETHING to snap a pic of the killers true identity. Otherwise, how else can you convince the bumbling local police department that there’s a crazed murderer on the loose?

8.    Tire Iron: A tire iron can be a lot of things to a lot of people. Flat fixer, door jammer, self-defense implement. A good old TI is a must have!

9.    Spray Paint: Is there anything better to blind a murderer AND scrawl a frightening “HELP” message on the inside of a window in the same can? Not for my money.

10.  Zippo: Inevitably, you’re going to be in a stand off, and there might be something explosive nearby. You NEED a reliable lighter that you can potentially throw while saying a one liner like “Hot enough for you?”

Now we want to hear from you guys. What would you pack into your horror movie survival kit? Let us know down in the comments!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Electric Wizard - 'Time to Die' (Music Review)

Time to Die is the latest occult offering from Dorset Doom outfit Electric Wizard. It finds the band re-tightening its sound and harkens back to some of their earlier work. Does it stack up to some of the greatest moments of their discography? Let's dig a little deeper into the grave and find out!

I'm a big time "E-WIZ" fan. Ever since hearing the much-lauded Come My Fanatics, I've been hooked. However, subsequent releases have been of varying quality and received with differing amounts of enthusiasm from their fans. The band has a historically shaky lineup, but it gelled into a fully outfitted two-guitar riffing monster in 2007 when Liz Buckingham joined frontman Jus Osborn on Witchcult Today. Each Electric Wizard release is slightly different from anything else they put out, while revolving around the central theme of an insanely detuned wall of sound. Of all the bands to rip off Black Sabbath, nobody beats the Wiz (and rightfully so given the origins of their name.)

Time to Die sees the group trimming a lot of fat off compared to their last couple outings, and it's really for the best. From the opener "Incense for The Damned" straight through closing instrumental "Saturn Dethroned", it's all business. Every song has absolutely crushing riffs that roll over swinging drumbeats like evil thunderclouds. It's all tied together nicely with creepy retro soundclips, and gives the album a sense of cohesion. Similar to Dopethrone and Witchcult Today, for every epic slice of destruction that runs over ten minutes, they'll pepper in a few 3 to 4 minute tunes that give you some concise stoner rock jams that leave you wanting more.

The overall cleaner production will definitely be a point of contention amongst fans, especially those who haven't liked their more studio polished works. While I totally dig the monstrous walls of sound Electric Wizard creates, I am a huge fan of Jus Osborn's insane lyrics about death, the dead, Satanism, and the Apocalypse. So the fact that I can actually tell what he's saying on Time to Die was a plus for me. It actually enhances the overall sinister feeling while you listen to it, and certainly doesn't detract at all from the musical brutality.

It's been 4 years since Black Masses left a lot of us feeling flat, but Time to Die is a return to a more focused Electric Wizard, who are intent on suffocating you through sound. It may not be hailed as their greatest work, but for my money it's a bong-rattling doom metal monolith that sits high on the list.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Elaborate Halloween Hangers Make Us Feel Nice

It's almost Halloween, and when it comes to decorating your home you don't want to just keep up with the Joneses, you want to outdo them so badly that they weep bloody tears of anguish (PROVERBIAL bloody tears I mean). So how does one best their neighborhood soccer moms and show that Halloween means more to them than a simple trip down to the Walgreens? With artist Trevor Henderson's INSANE Halloween wall hangers.

I originally caught this over on Dread Central and was all "WHAAAAAT?!" because I couldn't believe how badass these were.

Do yourself a favor and hit up Trevor's ETSY shop to snag one of these. I'm especially fond of Cropsey and the Sludge Zombie. For less than $30, which is comparable to the overpriced junk in a "Spirit Halloween Store", you can support an independent artist and strut around this October 31st with an air of superiority since you have The Fly dangling from your front door.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Music Reviews Are a Thing Now

Exciting news! We're now reviewing music!

I've covered albums and concerts in the past for other outlets, and like 97.4% of people on the internet I'm "passionate about music". Therefore, it made sense to incorporate audio into the mix. We're gonna try to keep it horror-related, but I'm not afraid to dabble in bands that cover freaky topics in their lyrics. By "freaky" I mean the undead, occult, and vampires, not "SUPER FREAK", although I'm a big fan of Rick James and celebrate his entire catalog.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

'Night of The Creeps' (Movie Review)

Here's a blast from the past! I can't tell you how many times I watched Night of The Creeps as a kid. It used to run almost weekly on the "Spine Tingler Theater" weekend horror double feature show (this is back when local cable networks cared about horror movies). Fred Dekker's offbeat tale of parasitic brain slugs attacking a college campus has earned cult classic status in many circles, and is now available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.

The story opens on an intergalactic chase scene involving some tiny naked Muppet aliens, and one of them ejects a tube full of brain slugs into the dark void of space. See? This movie is great already! Apparently this was happening in the 1950's by Earthling time, because the slugs land in the woods a few miles from "Make Out Point" (they don't call it that, I'm just taking creative liberties) and the terror ensues. There's also a psycho mental patient running around hacking people up with an axe, but that comes into play later.

Flash forward to present day, a.k.a. 1986. Chris (Rusty from NL's European Vacation) and his differently-abled comedian friend J.C. are looking to find some ladies and party on campus. In an attempt to impress the gal of his dreams, Chris and J.C. agree to steal a corpse as a prank in order to be accepting into a fraternity, because all women love frat boys. Luckily, there happens to be an advanced cryogenics lab on campus, but unluckily its only cadaver is full of intergalactic space slugs. One thing leads to another and the Creeps escape, quickly killing beloved character actor David Paymer, who played a scientist in this movie AND Howard The Duck in the SAME YEAR. Coincidence? Not likely.

The police are alerted to the gory goings on, and we finally get our first taste of detective Ray Cameron. Cameron is played by the excellent Tom Atkins, whose imdb accurately describes him as a "Handsome, rugged, versatile and charismatic character actor". The movie pretty much becomes the "Tom Atkins Show" from this point because he steals every scene he is in. Cameron is an angry old police stereotype whose main talents are getting drunk and belittling everyone he comes across. He is terribly sarcastic and manages to use his catchphrase "thrill me" roughly 127 times through the rest of the movie. After watching Night of The Creeps I tried to get #thrillme trending on Twitter, but it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped.

As the plot progresses, slugs begin infecting everyone and their pets at the school and it all culminates on the evening of a formal dance, where it's up to Chris, his new girlfriend Cindy, and the angry drunk detective to stop the slug zombie onslaught. I remember loving this movie as a kid because it had a scene with a flamethrower in it, and space aliens HATE flamethrowers. Aliens knew it, The Thing knew it, and Night of The Creeps does too. 

I can't recommend this movie enough if you have 88 minutes to kill. It's gory, funny, and stupid in the best kind of way. It has an amazingly high "1980's factor" that just can't be recreated no matter how hard current throwback films try, and is the superior Tom Atkins vehicle when compared to Halloween III: Season of The Witch. Go add Night of The Creeps to your queue, and let it thrill you.

Reviewed via Netflix Instant. Running Time: 88 MIN.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Banned and Controversial Horror Movie Posters

The fine folks over at Dread Central put together this great list of the Top 13 Banned and Controversial Horror Movie Posters that you really should take a look at.

Each poster includes a nice back story, and while many of them are the typical "too gory for the public's sensitive eyes!!!" scenario, a few (including the Jason Takes Manhattan one above) have some really quirky and interesting tales.

Enjoy this list to usher in October!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NOCT Gets Greenlit; Looks Sick

I love a good indie horror game. So when I saw this top-down horror shooter Noct had been approved on Steam Greenlight, I decided you should know about it too.

From what I can tell on the Steam page, Noct appears to be a multiplayer horror shooter with some RPG-like elements where you blast giant demons viewed through a distorted electric lens. Think of it as a supernatural Smash TV, combined with one of those "You're in the Stealth Bomber" levels from Call of Duty. Either way, it looks rad and I'm excited to see more.

Head over to the Steam Community to peep some screenshots and videos.

Horror Titles We're Psyched For: 2014 Edition

I love October.

I get to watch World Series baseball, and mainstream media always begins to give a crap about horror for 31 days leading up to fun-sized Snickers orgy we call Halloween.

This year the artform known as video games are dropping what appears to be some new hotness on us in the form of Alien:Isolation and The Evil Within.

Let's be clear. Alien has had some terrible gaming translations. The only really excellent titles I can think of are Aliens: Infestation on 3DS, and Alien 3 for the Sega Genesis (although I was too young back then for good taste) so a replay might not hold up well. Isolation looks like it could be a survival horror gem however, and I'm holding out hope it'll give me the Xenomorph terror fix I've been craving.

The Evil Within sees survival horror godfather Shinji Mikami (he made Resident Evil) jumping back into the fray with an apparently hardcore, limited resources style of game. This one I'm cautiously optimistic about, because initial impressions were mixed and said it was treading more into the "psychological horror" realm. I'm fine with that since I was one of the twenty jerks who actually enjoyed Alan Wake. It seems to have some interesting concepts so hopefully they will pan out.

Look for reviews of both games this October, and hopefully I can look back on this post wistfully singing the praises of both titles. Meanwhile, enjoy these trailers that aren't for kids.

The Evil Within

Alien: Isolation

Thursday, September 18, 2014

'Friday The 13th Part III' Has The Best Theme Song Ever

Great theme music, or GREATEST theme music? You be the judge!

After mentioning that rad 8-Bit Jason Mask the other day, SyFy Channel must have been reading my mind because they played Friday The 13th Part 2 and Part 3 back to back last night.

The third installment starts by totally spoiling the shocker ending of Part 2 and then proceeds to assault your ears and mind with one of the most absurd horror film introductions of all time.

I forgot that as the camera fades off Mama Voorhees dessicated head, the intense disco sounds of Harry Manfredini and his group "HOT ICE" inappropriately bombard your senses while the opening credits literally SHOOT OFF THE SCREEN IN 3-D!

Watching the below video will make your life better. I promise.

PS: This is the first Friday The 13th that Jason wore a hockey mask in.

PPS: If Harry Manfredini is still alive, he needs to write a new album.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Try this 8-Bit Jason Voorhees Mask on For Size

This amazing little gem popped up over on Jack's Attic and I had to tell you about it.

Jason's devolved, retro 8-Bit form has experienced a bit of a comeback lately, after NECA released that resin figure at ComicCon in 2013 to celebrate one of the worst NES games ever created. You know, the one it takes every fiber of my being to not to buy off EBay as a totally insane impulse purchase.

Now he's back again, in MASK FORM. You can print out this cool and inexpensive facade, which is guaranteed to score you more "hipster horror-gaming-nerd" points at your Halloween party than that guy in the played out Brainscan costume.

Now I just need to bring a camera to Kinko's, to document the look on their faces when I demand this to be printed and laminated!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Terrortorial Expansion: 'Argento's Dracula 3D'

Along with Nick Cage and Malcolm McDowell, Rutger Hauer forms a "Holy Trinity" of cult horror icons around this blog. In our eyes, he can barely do wrong, even when he played Sookie's whacked out grandpa in those later, off-the-rails seasons of True Blood.

I qualified that using "barely" because of Dario Argento's Dracula AKA Dracula 3D. Check out this great review of it by Alex over on the DOOM GENERATION blog. She hits the stake right on the heart of this low point in the Italian director's catalog.

A giant CGI praying mantis? Really? REALLY?!?

'Terrortorial Expansion' is a series of posts where Ben and Jeff highlight interesting content they enjoyed by others in the horror blogging community. It is also a play on words referencing historical government policies to make us sound smarter than we actually are.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

'Cabin Fever: Patient Zero' (Movie Review)

Zero Redeeming Qualities

The original Cabin Fever is a contentious "love it or hate it" type of movie. Ti West's follow up, Cabin Fever 2:Spring Fever, featured a bunch of scummy high school kids bleeding out everywhere and had some production issues, but this new "prequel" Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is just straight up terrible.

Patient Zero obviously has a much higher budget than the last sequel, and takes place in the Dominican Republic. Marcus (Mitch Ryan) invites his brother and childhood friends down to the DR for his wedding, and a bachelor party getaway on a deserted island. Unbeknownst to them, Sean "I'll star in this project if lunch is free" Astin is being experimented on in a secret lab on said island after being the only survivor of a deadly virus outbreak that struck a bunch of Habitat for Humanity workers. I know I just ripped into Sean Astin back there, but seriously, I'm a big fan of his work and I hate to see the dude who was Samwise reduced to being in such a steaming pile of garbage. His performance is miles apart from anyone else in the film, even if it's just delivering a few lines while aimlessly wandering around with a Ted Kaczynski Unibomber beard.

Back to the story. My first issue is that as a prequel, Patient Zero should exist chronologically earlier than the other two Cabin Fever movies, but the technology, cell phones, and other minor details make it look as if it happens AFTER them. This should have been really easy to not screw up, considering it takes place in the tropics and the other movies are in the woods and a small town high school. There are a bunch of other tiny incongruencies, but I'm not gonna nitpick. The group, who I'll refer to as "The Party Gang" from here on out because their names don't matter, arrives on the island and a couple of them go snorkeling and get infected.

Meanwhile, Sean Astin is concocting an escape plan, and manages to infect everyone in the lab, causing all hell to break loose and a really busty scientist girl to get covered in blood vomit and then take a shower. Worlds collide when the Party Gang makes radio contact with the scientists and think they can find help for their gooey, ailing friends. They make their way to the lab and have to avoid a bunch of virus zombies while...WAIT, TIME OUT...Cabin Fever was NOT a ZOMBIE MOVIE! Patient Zero takes the awful creative liberty of making the virus victims move, act, growl, and attack like zombies. I know they are "en vogue", but it just reeked of someone saying "Hey, zombies are super popular, this will be great!" during a brainstorming session.

By this point everyone is turning on each other and The Party Gang is in ruins, although they are all so unlikeable that you barely care what happens to them. Everyone then races to a small boat that is the only way off the island. Busty scientist girl is the first to make it, but then gets into a chesty zombie girl fight with the only female member of the Party Gang, who ALSO happens to be a chesty zombie girl. So two chesty zombie girls begin tearing each other apart, and it ends with one of them getting their head smashed in by a giant dildo. It's an apt metaphor for the death of the Cabin Fever franchise you've been watching for the past 83 minutes.

It all leads up to a final escape, and without spoilers I can tell you there are massive plot holes in what should somehow tie into the beginning of the original Cabin Fever. Also, there are so many unanswered questions about whether Sean Astin's beard signified evil as cinematic beards often do. The final kick in the crotch from Patient Zero is delivered when they fill all the story gaps from the film via reverse orders clips in the credits. So, the swiss cheese plot gets completed as THE CREDITS ROLL.

If I could make one of those Youtube shaming videos where Cabin Fever: Patient Zero had to wear a sign saying how incompetent it is, I would. This movie wasn't necessary, and if Cabin Fever needed an origin story, this wasn't it. Watch only if you want to feel bewildered, frustrated, and sad for Sean Astin all at the same time. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go shake a Red Box to try and get my $1.29 back.

Reviewed via Red Box. Running time 91 MIN.