Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Vacation

Hey all,

You may have noticed the lack of regular posts over the past couple days. Jeff and I are taking a few weeks off to re-charge our batteries as summer winds down, and will be back later next month to fully engage the internet leading up to October; the annual apex for all horror blogs!

Thanks for your continued readership and support!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

'Braineater Jones' (Book Review)

I'm always interested in authors putting a new slant on a familiar idea, and there's few horror themes more familiar these days than zombies. Braineater Jones provides an interesting take on the undead standard by mashing it up with a hard-boiled detective novel to create a "horror noir" mystery, with plenty of gross outs and obscure 1930's slang.

Our main character "wakes up dead", face down in swimming pool with no clue how he got there or who murdered him. All he knows is there's a hole in his chest, and he isn't breathing. He takes on the moniker of "Braineater Jones" and narrates the story via a series of journal entries as he unravels the mysteries of his murder in a strange city populated by the living dead.

Jones soon learns that he'll need to regularly imbibe booze if he wants to refrain from chowing down on human flesh, but it's a little tricky in a prohibition-era metropolis. With the help of his severed-head sidekick Alcibe, our hero provides his services as a Private Eye; encountering twists, turns, and thugs-a-plenty while making enough cash to buy some much needed hooch.

This definitely isn't your typical zombie novel. In fact, I dare say I've never read anything quite like it, and that's a bold statement considering the amount of time I spend on the internet. Kozeniewski injects a dark sense of humor into the entire story, and it was refreshing to see so many original spins on typical tropes. It was also an easy read (even considering the author's forward about the heavy use of time period lingo) and never lagged at any point.

Braineater Jones is appealing in many ways. As a dark comedy; as a fresh take on a well worn horror sub-genre; and as a strangely divisive take on the pulp detective rag. Featuring quality writing throughout, I can easily recommend it to anyone whose looking for something a little different, and isn't afraid to see some classic undead themes turned on their (decapitated) heads.

Grade: A
Reviewed (copy provided) on Kindle. 234 pages.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Terrortorial Expansion: 'Youtube Horror Gaming'

While scouring Youtube for horror movie trailers I came across the Standard Definition Gaming channel and it has plenty of classic horror game footage in ten minute segments.

One of my favorites is the timeless classic Castlevania. It fueled a love of horror gaming and a deep seeded childhood fear of digitized purple bats while perpetuating the myth that vampires hide roast beef in the walls.

Check out the link above for more videos like this including Super Ghouls n' Ghosts and the always entertaining Splatterhouse!

'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, August 7, 2014

Mizfit Tha Menace (Interview)

We had the opportunity to interview NYC gothic horror hip-hop artist Mizfit Tha Menace "Horror Himself" and ask him some pressing questions about everything from his favorite horror film franchises to the state of the East Coast Horrorcore scene. Click the jump to read the full discussion!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Now Screaming: "Birth of the Living Dead" (Movie Review)

In 2005, one of the days that I and my three fellow senior friends were supposed to be in school, we decided we were going to make a movie.  We brainstormed a company name (Krazy Yolk Productions).  We all signed a contract making the company official.  We even commissioned our buddy in CAD class to create us a CG company logo intro.

That was a great night, but that's where the story ended.  I tried to work on the script but I'm not sure if it ever went anywhere.  We all graduated, moved away from each other, and I'm probably the only one who remembers Krazy Yolk or that Josh made us all egg sandwiches with perfect hockey-puck shaped huevos by tossing them in a Tupperware and microwaving them.

I imagine many other creative individuals have similar childhood stories.  Few of these movies are ever made.  Fewer of those made are any good.  Almost none become one of the most important movies in horror, and all of 20th (and especially 21st) century pop culture.  This is the story of Night of the Living Dead; and how a bunch of kids screwing around created a masterpiece.

Birth of the Living Dead is a great documentary, not only because it covers this young creative composition, but because it also dives into the sociocultural impact of decisions young George Romero made.  Things like casting a young black actor in the lead, not changing the script at all once said actor was cast (despite the roll calling for a white woman to be slapped), and the similarities between the roaming, zombie-killing posses and the white purification mobs of the south are all covered.  Even better, George himself is interviewed and able to give his own thoughts at the time as to what was and wasn't intentional in the film.

Honestly, George's interviews are worth the price of admission.  I'd put him alongside Stan Lee and Betty White in the pantheon of kick-ass, influential old people that can dazzle you with charming conversation. Despite being almost solely responsible for today's most popular monster (I realize, internet commentators, that such a statement is rife with debate fodder, but please allow me some hyperbole) he seems like a real down to earth human.

If anything, though, I'd have liked to see more about the production itself.  I loved the bits where Romero was talking about how a random person involved did explosion effects or how the actual local reporter ad-libbed a news report.  This content was all great, and although the snooty English major in me loved all the greater cultural narrative of this piece, it would have been great to get even deeper into the actual making of the film.

If you are a fan of movie making, horror cinema, zombies, or just have an hour and change to kill and have a Netflix account, I recommend Birth of the Living Dead.  It gave me great perspective on one of my favorite films and made me really miss the days of Krazy Yolk productions and the wonderful potential of youthful creativity.  They may be coming to get you Barbara, but you should watch this flick to know why and how.

Grade: A-
Available On: Netflix. 
Running Time 76 MIN.