75 years ago today, on Halloween Eve in 1938, a brilliant, young Orson Welles wowed the world with a stunning adaptation of the 1898 HG Wells classic, “The War of the Worlds.” Though opinions differ on the full scale of the panic that ensued, the chilling broadcast created a national sensation that we’re still talking about today and the production’s über-clever simulacrum of “truth” directly inspired modern horror milestones like “The Blair Witch Project.” Hats off to Welles and his radio players for this amazing dramatic journey.
Listen today to this landmark broadcast in a darkened room and celebrate with me. Represent! ::
AND… Here’s the ensuing apology from the next day, Halloween, 1938. Look at the performance he is giving here. He later admitted to being totally aware of what he was doing. He plays with the media, toying with the coverage in this footage. Fascinating! ::
This is the sixth installment in a continuing series calling out songs that should be in every horror fan’s running (or exercise) playlist. For this installment, it’s about DEATH — that final oblivion and what lies beyond. I just finished the Rock and Roll Half Marathon here in St. Louis, so running playlists are TOP of mind for me and I felt it was time for another post in this series. These are definitely tempo songs. For these additions to the playlist, I’ve attempted to follow in some way the storybook process of dying here — death, haunting / passage and the beyond.
On with the dark tuneage. ::
“People Who Died” — Jim Carroll
STEP ONE — DEATH — Poet, artist and “Basketball Diaries” author Jim Carroll and his band give us this incredible punk ode to his fallen comrades. This still sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded. AWESOME for pace. So many people dead, so much love. A HUGE RIP to Jim Carroll himself as well.
“The Ghost of You Lingers” — Spoon
STEP TWO — HAUNTING / PASSAGE — I absolutely love these guys and this album was a TOTAL monster. Annnnd… This song was among the best on the album and was one of the best songs of 2007, IMHO. Haunting, bittersweet and driven, this one will drive you through the miles.
“Eternal Life” — Jeff Buckley
STEP THREE — THE BEYOND — One from the great Jeff Buckley. The man was simply taken from us FAR too soon. Perhaps this is a perfect artist and metaphor to represent the final step in this list, for it is through his art, through masterful songs like this one, that Buckley found a true measure of “Eternal Life.” This is a full-on rocker with more punk rumble, reckless abandon and virtuosic punch than you can shake a stick at. Drive that tempo for this one, too. Hard. Feel those chills.
Get out there and do it (he says more for his own benefit than anything)!
OK… So this one’s a weird one, but I felt it belonged here.
Last week, I was at an event at the 27,000 square foot former Mandrell estate, neé Fontanel, outside of Nashville. (Don’t ask.) It was a fascinating location and the peek inside the life of the ever-super-gorgeous and über-talented Barbara Mandrell and her beautiful family was nothing short of captivating. Much of that peek inside was through the myriad family photos throughout the mansion. Really, in many ways, they were photos of life like any of us would have. Perhaps that was the most interesting part — the relatable nature of so many of them.
While there, I did snap a pic of something I thought would be interesting for “The Strange, Far Places.” Check out the Mandrell kids representing the scary side of things on All Hallow’s Eve (below a small tribute I created to Barbara herself and her apparent love for Halloween) ::
Now that’s just awesome to see. How about that Drac tux? Annnd, especially big ups to the truly unnerving Jaime (if I’m not mistaken — am I?) and the extra creepiness that comes from youth in this type of costume. You’ve gotta love a family that embraces the horrors of Halloween!
Welcome to Part IV of my tribute to hollywood (and hollywood horror) legend Roger Corman. I am creating an 8 poster series in tribute to Corman’s early-1960’s “Poe Cycle,” where he brought classic stories from the EA Poe cannon to film. You can read Part I here, with my actual article on Corman and view Posters I and II there as well. Part II can be found here. And… Part III is here. ANNND… Part IV is here.
Without further delay… Poster VIII ::
This poster completes the full tribute to Mr. Corman’s “Poe Cycle.” Again, a big THANK YOU to Mr. Corman for all he has done for film and horror-lovers everywhere.
Welcome to the latest in an ongoing tribute to the master of the calavera, José Posada. His rapier visual wit and penchant for the visual metaphor of the human bone remain stunningly fresh today. Sadly, he died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave. May this series serve as that lasting nod to his incredible legacy.
I wanted to share another great horror short entitled “HELL NO: The Sensible Horror Film.”
The team on this parody trailer have had some real fun. The playful skewering of all-too-familiar horror tropes shows both love for the genre and makes us all laugh as we all know this is how things would be when things went awry with even a modicum of sensibility in the mix. Enjoy!
As you may be able to tell, I love great poster art, but especially posters from the great horror movie cannon. This is the third installment of my countdown of the best of the genre.
Here’s how I selected the list. I used three main criteria to shape my decisions ::
>> DESIGN / IMAGE — This is the baseline. As a designer by trade, I feel strongly that any great or effective poster HAS to start here. Is the poster effective as a piece of art? Is the poster is a strong representative of the art of graphic design? Did it capture a particular spirit or movement in design?
>> TITILLATION / PROMOTION — Though we tend to contextualize film and the associated collateral as “art,” it is ultimately a form of commerce. Any movie poster has to promote the film it supports either through a delicious tease or overt sales pitch. How effective is the poster at selling the film it is tied to?
>> IMPACT / LEGACY — Sometimes even mediocre films get truly great posters. Sometimes, we even remember the image of the poster far longer than the film itself. What was the lasting effect of the poster? Was it iconic or timeless in some way? Was a part of a larger context?
Every poster on this list is a cocktail of the above elements, mixed in different ways. All successful in their own right. Let’s jump in to 40 >> 36…
Welcome to Part IV of my tribute to hollywood (and hollywood horror) legend Roger Corman. I am creating an 8 poster series in tribute to Corman’s early-1960’s “Poe Cycle,” where he brought classic stories from the EA Poe cannon to film. You can read Part I here, with my actual article on Corman and view Posters I and II there as well. Part II can be found here. ANNND… Part III is here.
Again, a big THANK YOU to Mr. Corman for all he has done for film and horror-lovers everywhere.
Without further delay… Poster VII ::
With this post, I also wanted to share this amazing illustration from 1919 capturing the Poe story that the above film was based on. The artist is the great Harry Clarke. I’ll be featuring his horror work in an upcoming post. Stunning stuff. I fear posting it with my work is a huge mistake as my work pales so much in comparison. HOWEVER, it’s a nice juxtaposition.
Just one poster away from completing the full tribute to Mr. Corman’s “Poe Cycle.” Look for the final installment coming up.
This one is pretty dang cool. I just LOVE this sort of thing — taking an existing fictional universe we’re all very familiar with, something from the common pop-culture lexicon, and imbuing it with a new sense, especially something dark. That’s exactly what the creators of “Afterlife with Archie” have done. It officially releases 10 / 09 / 13! Sooooo, get to that comic store today, horror fans.
Here’s what the official description has to say ::
“NEW ONGOING SERIES! “Escape From Riverdale”—This is how the end of the world begins… Harvey Award-winning writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Stephen King’s Carrie, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) and Eisner-winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Batman, Black Beetle) take Archie and the gang where they’ve never been before—to the grave and back! A horrific accident sets off a series of grim events and Sabrina the Teenage Witch must try to repair the unspeakable evil her spell has unleashed. Gasp in horror as Riverdale faces an impending zombie Arch-pocalypse in this brand-new, spine-tingling ongoing series—but be warned, kiddies, this one’s not for the faint of heart! For TEEN+ readers.”
Check out these preview images from the series ::
FUN stuff with an absolutely A-list team at the helm. Definitely one to watch.
Last year, I celebrated this, the spookiest of seasons, with a 31 day art project called “One Foot in the Graveyard.” Really, the tagline says it all: “31 DAYS, 31 WALLPAPERS, ONE SCARY SEASON.” The goal was to give my fellow denizens of the dark something new each day to bring a touch of this most horrific time of year to their work-a-day lives. The site turned out to be something pretty cool, too.
Here are just a few faves at thumbnail size from the collection ::
It’s really worth checking the whole deal out at the site.
I continue to have internet issues, but I’m trying to get back on track here. I’ll tell you, data connectivity is a racket.
I wanted to share another great horror short entitled “Cargo.”
Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke have done something really notable with these 7 minutes — they have created real emotional resonance in not only a short-format piece, but also with a zombie infection story. Their approach transforms the film from something that is very expected into a piece that is truly memorable with a universal message of unconditional love. AND, I love the way it’s shot. Very nice choices all the way around. Enjoy!