Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 091 – Son

Friends, instead of the usual retro horror films or TV anthologies, for this episode of the Saturday Frights podcast we are going to be tackling the recently released Horror/Thriller entitled Son. As pointed out in the episode itself, since this is a brand new movie, the Projectionist and I do not go into full spoilers – in fact hopefully we have given just enough of a breakdown of the synopsis to make you want to head out to the theater or rent Son for yourself. I am going to share with you the trailer for the picture, directed as well as written by Ivan Kavanagh (The Canal) but I personally think it might give just a little too much away, so consider it SPOILER territory.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY RLJE Films.

Son stars the likes of Andi Matichak (Halloween), Luke David Blumm (The Walking Dead), and Emilie Hirsch (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) among other talented actors. It is a pretty dark and intense film, one sure to please all of you Fright Fans wanting something that is not only a little spooky but quite emotional too. And as mentioned on our podcast, we have to thank Leone D’Antonio, Trevor Shand, and Lauren Shand of The Boo Crew podcast for the heads up on Son!

As always we sincerely appreciate you taking time of your busy schedule to listen to the show, especially with the difficulties in the schedule of late. Without further ado, turn down the lights if you are able and join us as we discuss Son.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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Mulder And Scully Crossed Paths With Michael Myers?!

Friends, I highly doubt I am fooling anyone with that header, obviously Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) never actually came across the Haddonfield horror known as Michael Myers during their investigation of the X-Files. However that isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be a thrilling crossover to watch if they had, which is of course why this fan-made trailer for X-Files Case: Michael Myers was concocted by Deformed Lunchbox and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Taking scenes from various episodes of the long-running Fox series The X-Files and splicing them with moments from a number of the films in the equally long-running Halloween franchise – giving us a taste of that alternative dimension where Mulder and Scully crossed paths with Michael Myers.

In fact Deformed Lunchbox provided this description for the video itself:

“It’s Halloween, and Agents Mulder and Scully have a case more deadly than they could imagine… In the small town of Haddonfield, a serial killer named Michael Myers has escaped from a mental hospital and is on a gruesome rampage! Following the trail of bodies (mostly teenagers) Mulder and Scully are investigating to no avail. The two are unsuccessful at stopping the invincible boogie man, and they are failing to stop the bloodbath. Will the two agents be able to put at end to Michael Myers, or will they succumb to his carnage?”

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Deformed Lunchbox.

In particular I think the music that Deformed Lunchbox used in this fan-made trailer is the icing on the cake. I can truly say that I was a devoted fan of The X-Files in the beginning, much of that was thanks to watching The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., which was the show that aired before the former. Although I must also admit that I walked away from watching the series every single week starting around season 8 – which is the long way around to admitting I am not sure what episodes were used for the trailer.

However I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that not only is the original Halloween featured in the fan-made trailer but so is the 1981 sequel as well as Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween: Resurrection, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, and of course 2018’s Halloween.

In closing out this article, if you recognize scenes from the fan-made trailer by Deformed Lunchbox that we missed, make sure you to point them out in the comments sections.

Enjoy This Music Video For John Carpenter’s “Alive After Death”!

Friends, it might surprise you to learn that as much as I adore the work of John Carpenter, we have in fact only covered three of this films on the Saturday Frights podcast so far. To date, the Projectionist and I have managed to discuss The Fog, They Live, and In the Mouth of Madness – although Carpenter’s work has been brought up in the likes of the Halloween specials as well as the Intermission episodes. This is not an oversight on the part of my shadowy co-host or myself – as we always intended the podcast to focus more on the horror films and television shows that fans might not be so familiar with. And in truth, when discussing such films as Halloween, The Thing, and Escape from New York – I am not sure that the Projectionist or I could add to what is already known.

John Carpenter might be best known for creating such cinematic icons as Michael Myers, Snake Plissken, and John Nada – but he is also well known for his memorable film scores. As Carpenter himself has stated in the past, his use of synthesizers in a majority of his film soundtracks was because it allowed him to create a score that sounded much larger than he could afford. Of course it should be pointed out that Carpenter has collaborated with the likes of Alan Howarth on a number of the scores for his films, as well as Ennio Morricone and Shirley Walker to name a few.

And while it seems that Carpenter has for the time being stepped away from the director’s chair – he is killing it now as musician – teaming up with his Son, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies. John Carpenter has even gone on multiple tours thanks to the overwhelming success of 2015’s Lost Themes album, which was followed by Lost Themes II the following year. It turns out that the trio’s third studio album entitled Lost Themes III: Alive After Death is set to debut on February 5th of this year – although you can get a taste of the album courtesy of this animated music video featuring the titular track.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Sacred Bones Records.

The music video for “Alive After Death” was animated by Liam Brazier and features artwork by Boneface. In closing out this article I want to give John Squires of Bloody Disgusting a tip of the hat for the heads up on the release of the video.

Comic Review: Marvel Comics Gargoyles #4 (1995)

Greetings, Pop Culture Retrorama fans, and Happy Halloween! 

I’ve intended to get this post out to you for the better part of a month, but better late than never, right? Today’s review of Gargoyles #4 is thematically appropriate for the Halloween season and has a surprisingly dark ending for a comic aimed at younger readers. Pull up a seat and check out Gargoyles #4, “Blood from a Stone.” 

If you missed my review of Gargoyles #3, you can check it out here

Here’s a full synopsis of Gargoyles #4. While I normally try to avoid doing a full synopsis of each issue, I think in honor of the holiday, we should know the full story. I do spoil the story, so be advised! 

Scan from my comic

Our story opens with Beth Maza, Elisa’s sister, undercover at Sacrilege when she is attacked by a gang. Fortunately for her, Broadway swoops in to save the day. When Broadway tries to talk to Beth, she runs away in fear, not yet being privy to Elisa’s friendship with the gargoyles. Broadway, a bit saddened by the interaction, turns to leave when a hand on his shoulder surprises him. He meets a female gargoyle-like creature, and they fly off together to grab a bite to eat. After an evening of wolfing down hamburgers and hot dogs, they part company, but not before Lavonne, Broadway’s new companion nearly falls from the sky. Broadway catches her and promises to meet her again the next night. 

Meanwhile, Elisa mops up the crime scene at Sacrilege and is shocked to learn that the murder victim didn’t die of the fall as it would have appeared. He was slashed and drained of blood! While Elisa works on that mystery, we get some backstory about Lavonne and her horrifying origins. This is also my favorite panel in the entire book. I love how they framed the storytelling. This is also some of the scariest imagery in the entire book (but not the scariest…that’s yet to come). 

Scan from my comic

Back to Elisa on the case, tracking Glasses back to the scene of the crime. Before she can confront him, they’re both bombarded by…Demona? NO! Lavonne! She vows to return, taking revenge on Glasses for the death of her boyfriend, Price (that’s right, she’s the missing girl Elisa’s been looking for!) and revenge against Elisa, blaming her for not preventing Price’s death. She flies off, but before Glasses can get a jump on Elisa, Goliath intervenes. 

Back at the clock tower, the guys don’t seem to believe Broadway about his lady. He glides off to meet Lavonn just the same. He brings her back to the clock tower, to the shock of all involved, but especially Bronx who distrusts her immediately, growling and barking. The trio and Lavonne fly off, and inadvertently frighten a couple of guys spraypainting a bridge, and one falls off! Lavonne catches him, but the temptation to bite him nearly overcomes her. She resists when Broadway nearly catches her. The guys meanwhile have been fighting for Lavonne’s attention. Lavonne pulls Broadway away saying, “Let’s leave them! It’s YOU I want to be all alone with!” Broadway, of course, cannot resist. They leave and the temptation to give in to her vampiric nature overcomes Lavonne. She bites Broadway, but in the excitement of the evening neither has paid close attention to the time. Lavonne bites Broadway as the sun rises, which is her bane and Broadway’s salvation, as stone sleep will heal him. Unfortunately, the two fall together as Broadway begins to turn to stone with her in his arms. She cannot escape his embrace. They crash land through the roof of a greenhouse, a bed of roses cushioning their fall. Broadway, a stone statue, locked in the embrace of the shriveled corpse that was Lavonne. 

Scan from my comic

Tragic, RIGHT? I was taken aback by how dark this story is, especially that final panel. One other thing I should mention about Lavonne is that she assumed her vampiric state via experiments done by Genutech, a Xanatos operation. She was a failed experiment that should have been dead and tossed to the bottom of the sea. Yet she broke free of her would-be coffin, killed her assailants, and flew off into the night, on the hunt for revenge. 

This story is the perfect vampire tale to round out your Halloween. Too scary for you? Let’s look at some ads that helped to add some levity to the darkest Gargoyles comic we’ve seen yet. 

While I’ve never been a huge fan of Cap’n Crunch, I find this kind of advertising interesting. I have always been a fan of schedules and planners, despite being slightly disorganized, and this is the kind of advertising that would be utterly fascinating to me. 

Scan from my comic

X-Men advertising made a lot of rounds during this time. It was the height of the cartoon’s popularity. I really thought hard about sending off for this, as I consumed a fair amount of Kool-aid in my day.

Scan from my comic

I remember seeing this ad in a few different comic books back then and being mildly annoyed by the bad pun. I do like Nerds candy though, and I suppose you are what you eat. 

Scan from my comic

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the X-Men. If you slapped the X-Men on a snack or some pasta, or pretty much anything, you could bet that I begged my mom to put it in the shopping cart. I definitely got to enjoy some X-Men pasta a few times. 

Scan from my comic

And there you have it. That’s what I’ve got for Gargoyles #4. Stay tuned for my thoughts on Gargoyles #5.

Happy Halloween!

Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 015 – Halloween Special II

Friends, as Halloween is nearly upon us, my fellow PCR contributors felt that it might not be such a bad idea to get together and produce our second Halloween Special for the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. As the Projectionist and myself had no plans for such a special for the Saturday Frights podcast – this sounded like an excellent idea. Besides giving those of us on the site an opportunity to help you get into the spirit of the Season – this second Holiday Special when all is said and done focuses on a lot of spooky and Halloween themed television shows and specials. For example, Rockford Jay not only shares his memories of a time that his Family threw an impressive Halloween party – but catching Trick or Treat – the pilot episode for the Tales from the Darkside series.

In addition on this second Halloween Special we have Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger of Fangirlish – who shares her love for the 1993 animated adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. A Holiday treat that I have shared my love for many times in the past.

Allison Venezio-Preston joins us once again, this time to talk about an episode of Quantum Leap, one that surprisingly wasn’t released in time for Halloween back in the day. But after hearing her segment, I think you will agree that it is a perfect episode to watch during the Season.

Earl Green shares his thoughts on the recently released Doctor Who: Fury From the Deep – a formerly lost episode during the Patrick Troughton era of the television show. A story that involves the Doctor and his companions getting mixed up in an investigation of an odd sort of seaweed – one capable of both mind control and even poisoning it’s victims.

As for myself, I talk a little about Walt Disney’s The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, the 1963 adaptation featuring Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) as the Reverend Dr. Christopher Syn aka the Scarecrow. The character who first appeared in the 1915 book entitled Dr. Syn: A Tale of Romney Marsh by Russell Thorndike.

While the official release of the second season of the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast is still a month or so away – we hope you are enjoying the new direction of the show so far. Without further ado, have a safe and Happy Halloween as you listen to our second Halloween Special.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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John Astin Interview With Dick Clark On Halloween Of 1964

Friends, when I was growing up I was lucky enough to have the option of watching both The Munsters as well as The Addams Family on weekday afternoons – courtesy of WTBS the Super Station. As I have shared in the past, the truth is in my youth, I much preferred to watch The Munsters over The Addams Family. Personally I feel that the reasons are pretty obvious for why a young Monster Kid like myself would be drawn to the former over the latter – but by the time I had hit my teenage years it was quite the opposite. And while I still enjoy watching both, it would be an utter lie if I didn’t admit that I watch The Addams Family a couple of times a week thanks to Amazon Prime. Much of that has to do with the quasi-subversive comedy of the series – as well as benefiting from the likes of John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Lisa Loring, Ted Cassidy, Ken Weatherwax, Blossom Rock, and of course Thing.

The Addams Family of course began as a series of illustrations or cartoons from the late and great Charles Addams – the first appearing in the pages of The New Yorker all the way back in 1938. Although it wasn’t until after the television series debuted on September 18th of 1964 that the characters that Charles Addams had originated would even receive names. Interestingly enough from online sources it appears that William Shawn, the editor of The New Yorker, wouldn’t allow any of The Addams Family cartoons to be published as he didn’t feel the magazine should be associated with a TV show. This started in 1964 and lasted until 1987 – when the editor retired from his post – although I should point out that he did continue to publish other work by Charles Addams.

For what it might be worth, I have always been curious as to how well The Munsters did compared to The Addams Family. They both managed two seasons – with the former debuting just a week after the latter – and thanks to Wikipedia I can at least share that The Munsters tied with Gilligan’s Island for the #18 spot in the Nielsen ratings in 1964. What about The Addams Family though… well, thanks to this short interview with Dick Clark on a Halloween episode of American Bandstand we have the answer – 70% percent of folks were tuning in to watch the delightful John Astin and the rest of the cast every week.

Video and Article Image Provided by NRRArchives2.

In closing out this article I am going to include a second interview with the legendary John Astin from 1964 – which was filmed during a visit to Oklahoma City for a cerebral palsy telethon.

Video Provided by OHS Film and Video Archives.

Halloween Decorations – Keeping The Faith

Growing up in a small town in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, I enjoyed Halloween the way any kid did – picking out and wearing a costume, going trick ‘r treating and getting a variety of candy, having a change of pace at school with classroom decorations and home room Halloween parties during the last hour of the day with passed out treats from home placed gently on a paper towel on your desk, and the general feeling that Halloween was a season that was geared especially at kids. But beyond that, it didn’t have any more or less of a special place in my life or in my memory. It was a part of life to be taken totally for granted, and that’s exactly what I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yDc63h9AnU
Video Provided by Vintage Throwback Classics.

This started to change when I became an adult – when I had my own home and was in charge of my own Halloween season and festivities, when I was the one who was passing out treats to a steady stream of costumed visitors from 5 to 8 pm on whatever night the local municipality designated as “Trick-or-Treat Night”. I started noticing how much had changed from what I remembered. A lot of the same candy was around – Pixie Stix and Ring Pops and Dum Dums – but some particularly memorable things weren’t, like Mr. Bones, the bone-shaped candies that came in a plastic coffin that you could assemble into something resembling a skeleton before you ate it. Why would something that wonderful pass out of circulation? What happened to Ben Cooper and Collegeville boxed costumes with plastic smocks and styrene masks with the string that went around the back of your head? What of Scar Stuff? Fake Vampire Blood? Wax lips and fangs? Plastic spider rings and vampire teeth? Haunted house records with the same sound effects on every release? Crepe paper pumpkins and big blow mold light-up figures for the front lawn? All these mainstays of my childhood Halloweens were missing when I started looking to put together Halloween the way I wanted.

That realization pretty well sparked a love for the Halloween season in me as an adult that I never felt as a child. I understood all these things I remembered with affection were fading into a fuzzily remembered past, and I determined that I was going to try to give myself a fun, colorful Halloween season every October, whether anybody else appreciated it or not. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, witches, black cats, hoot owls, and skeletons became the anchors of my style. I tracked down paper decorations that, while not vintage themselves, easily brought to mind a retro style that I was going for. I found a regional chain of department stores that still sold old fashioned blow mold outdoor decorations, and I bought one of everything they had before they went out of business for good a couple of years ago. I loaded up on vintage Halloween sounds and songs from the “Monster Mash” era of spooky novelty songs. And I allowed myself one indulgence of the “inflatable era” of modern decorations – Sam, the mischievous embodiment of the spirit of Trick ‘r Treat itself. All of this thrown together in a tacky, colorful display that makes me happy. Every year, there are fewer and fewer kids coming to my front porch with an enthusiastic “trick or treat” on their lips, but there’s always one who says “Wow” or “Now THIS is what Halloween is supposed to look like”, and I feel like I’ve done something right to perpetuate a little of the Halloweens I remember.

Vampires VS The Bronx Is A Fun Family Film That Doesn’t Bite

Friends, as Halloween is just a few weeks away, many of the streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and of course Netflix are rolling out films and series to fit the Season. Just last Friday, Netflix debuted Vampires vs. The Bronx, which is a quite fun and teen-oriented family film. While the film earns it’s PG-13 rating due to language – I suppose there are a few jump scares as well as themes that might be considered too much for a younger audience. Although having said that – considering that a lot of pre-teens that I’ve talked to at the arcade are watching The Walking Dead – it will just come down to what types of horror films and series the youngster in your household might have seen.

Vampires vs the Bronx was Directed by Osmany Rodriguez (Saturday Night Live, Funny or Die Presents), who also is credited for the story, working from a screenplay by Blaise Hemingway (Playmobil: The Movie, The Settlers of Catan).

The story for Vampires vs. The Bronx revolves around three friends, who believe the worst threat facing their neighborhood is the gentrification of their area of the Bronx. As one by one the business and familiar locations of their neighborhood get snatched up by… Murnau… properties – the trio of teenagers quickly realize that there is an even greater danger invading their beloved home.

Video and Article Image Provided by Netflix.

While I think it is safe to say that Vampires vs. The Bronx takes a few cues from the likes of The Lost Boys as well as The Monster Squad – the truth is the film totally stands and delivers all on its own. While the film doesn’t ease off the gas once the vampire threat is revealed – Rodriguez wisely gives us a chance to get to know the main characters at the beginning of the film – so that when bad things start to happen we are actually invested in their fates.

The film largely succeeds on the charisma and talents of it’s cast of young actors, led by Jaden Michael (The Bug Diaries), Gerald Jones III (Benji the Dove), Gregory Diaz IV (In the Heights), as well as Coco Jones (Five Points). Buoyed by the adult supporting cast which includes Method Man, Sarah Gadon, Shea Whigham, and The Kid Mero.

Vampires vs. The Bronx has a whole lot of humor and heart, at the end of the day it is a nice holiday treat for this season – totally worth checking out!

Happy 40th Anniversary To Terror Train!

Friends, would you believe that 40 years ago today Terror Train was released to theaters, as well as the fact it marked the third horror film to be released in 1980 that featured Jamie Lee Curtis? While Curtis might have had made her big screen debut in the unexpected box office bonanza that was John Carpenter’s Halloween – 1980 was the year that seemed to cement her role in films as a Scream Queen. Beginning on February 8th she appeared in another John Carpenter film, that underappreciated tale of supernatural revenge – The Fog. Five months later saw Curtis starring in Prom Night – the high school themed slasher – the first in the genre shot in Canada. Then of course on October 3rd of 1980, Curtis starred in Terror Train, which was also shot in Canada – with producer Daniel Grodnik stating on a Scream Factory featurette for the movie that he envisioned the film as being “like Halloween on a train.”

Now for what it might be worth, I was able to see The Fog, Prom Night, as well as Terror Train at the drive-in theater of my youth. Personally I feel that John Carpenter’s 1980 follow-up to Halloween is easily the better film of the trio – having said that though – there is a lot to enjoy about the campy fun of Terror Train.

Personally one of the things I recall the most about watching Terror Train was it was my introduction to the stage magic of David Copperfield. As I understand it, this is the only film or television series where Copperfield plays an actual character, not just as himself. Thanks to the IMDb trivia section for the film, I learned that Copperfield remarked about filming Terror Train:

“Film is a magnifying glass for magic, so I had to be very careful. What you see on screen is exactly what the extras saw during shooting.”

While Terror Train might not be quite as masterful as the likes of Halloween – it does manage to deliver a pretty memorable slasher film. As the central plot is the train is host to a New Year’s Eve costume party – it allows the killer to make use of numerous disguises to not only evade capture once the bodies begin to be found – but get ever closer to the true target… Alana Maxwell (Curtis).

Video and Article Image Provided by ScreamFactoryTV.

So, here is to 40 years of Terror Train – perhaps since this is the Season for things spooky and scary, you might celebrate the anniversary by giving it a watch tonight?

The Wolfman’s Got Nards Documentary Is Being Released On October 27th!

Friends, growing up as a Monster Kid meant that when The Monster Squad was released to theaters on August 14th of 1987 – my Father and I were there the following day for the Saturday afternoon matinee. In fact I touched upon that in an earlier Monster Squad article back in May – which showcased a behind the scenes video on some of the work done on the film by the Stan Winston Studios.

As most of you are no doubt aware – The Monster Squad unfortunately did not find success at the box office when it was originally released. Thanks to home video and of course cable – the film was able to find it’s intended audience and develop an amazingly passionate fanbase – so much so that a documentary about the film’s legacy was produced in 2018. One that just so happened to be helmed by Andre Gower – the same actor who played the character of Sean in the 1987 film. The documentary has been earning more than a fair share amount of praise on the film festival circuit these last few years, but now you can preoder the Blu-ray and DVD for Wolfman’s Got Nards on Amazon before it’s released on October 27th. The Holiday treats being released in October just seem to be getting better and better, right?

Video and Article Image Provided by Gravitas Ventures.

A quick look at the Internet Movie Database shows that besides some of Gower’s co-stars from The Monster Squad, they also talk with director and co-writer Fred Dekker (Night of the Creeps). In addition the documentary also interviews the likes of co-writer Shane Black (The Nice Guys), Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs), Tom Woodruff Jr. (Death Becomes Her), and Zach Galligan (Gremlins) to name a few.

Now before I close out this article, I feel like I really need to thank Shawn Robare of Cult Film Club – for providing the heads up on the Wolfman’s Got Nards documentary being released. Not only is Shawn one of the biggest fans of The Monster Squad that I know, but he apparently is interviewed on the documentary too!