Dedicated to all things spooky and Halloween-centric in Southern Oregon, this blog is
your one-stop reference for horror-themed events and attractions, movie and music
reviews, toy, costume, and prop information, and of course the occasional rant
by our staff of undead lunatics. We slave away day and night (well, mostly
night) to bring you, the horror and haunt fan, the best of the beast in ghastly
fun here in Southern Oregon!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

CONCERT REVIEW: Michale Graves

4/18/2013 at Musichead in Medford, OR


I’ve been a Michale Graves fan since the singer first surfaced fronting horror punk legends The Misfits during their comeback era starting in 1996. Graves took over vocal duties from Glenn Danzig, adding a flair and precision that complimented the revamped bands’ style and, along with his songwriting abilities, helped to elevate them to a new level. The Misfits became an “anthem” band with Michale Graves, separating them from the many other 1970’s punk rock acts also resurfacing at the time. After two records with the band (1997’s “American Psycho” and 1999’s “Famous Monsters”) Graves was released from vocal duties with The Misfits, and wasted no time in putting his own project together. The phenomenal “Web Of Dharma” album was released on his own label in 2002, showcasing Michale’s songwriting with now-classic songs like “Casket”, “Shoestring”, and “Ophelia”, and garnering him a whole new legion of fans. Michale Graves hasn’t stopped making music since, and every release has been full of great songs, terror-ific guitar hooks, and infectious melodies. His work with the band Gotham Road yielded the excellent “Seasons Of The Witch” album, and releases with his own band, “Punk Rock Is Dead” and “Return To Earth” have shown fans that he has no shortage of great punk songs waiting to be unleashed on the unsuspecting world.  In 2006 Graves released an acoustic album in collaboration with Damien Echols (one of the infamous West Memphis Three) called “Illusions” that was a haunting and different musical turn for the artist. A tour followed, which spawned the live CD “Illusions Live/Viretta Park” in 2008. After a break, during which time he worked with Marky Ramone’s band Blitzkrieg, Michale Graves has returned with a new album, “Vagabond”, marking a new musical milestone in his career. Not quite a punk rock album and not just a rock record, the new material lies somewhere in-between, and shows a new evolution in Michale’s songwriting skills.

            On April 18th, 2013, Michale Graves’ Vagabond Tour stopped in Medford, OR to rock the rather small audience with a fantastic, if unexpected, set list. The only Oregon stop on the tour, it was a special night for fans of Graves and his material from all stages of his career. As he and his band (Johnny B. Morbid on bass and Tony Baptist on drums) hit the stage, they treated us to several new tracks from the “Vagabond” album. Opening their set with “All The Hallways”, the first track off of the new release, the band rollicked through such songs as “Hold Onto Yesterday” and “Break Me Out” before playing some older classics like “Shoestring”, “Blackbird” and “Iridescent White Light”. While Baptist and Morbid took a break, Michale broke out his acoustic guitar and treated us to stripped-down versions of “Dig Up Her Bones” and “Cryin’ On A Saturday Night”. Soon the other members returned to the stage and the new Michale Graves Band line-up tore through a set consisting of mostly his Misfits-era material, including “Scream!”, “The Shining”, “Descending Angel”, “Lost In Space”, “Crawling Eye”, “Fiend Club” and “Scarecrow Man”. Michale and his band gave the performance so much energy it was uncanny, treating the smaller audience and venue as though they were playing their last show ever. It was a close substitute for actually being at a Misfits show in the mid-nineties, and the crowd went wild. Moshing, screaming, and singing along to every song, the local punks tore up the floor. It was a diverse and amazing show, with Graves playing songs from every segment of his career. Surely it was enough to satisfy both fans of his Misfits work and his solo career.

            On a personal note, I would have preferred him to play more material from the new “Vagabond” CD as well as a few of my favorites from the “Punk Rock Is Dead” and “Return To Earth” albums in exchange for some of the Misfits tracks. I had seen The Misfits four times while Michale was with the band, so I feel as though I’ve seen those songs performed enough already. A minor gripe, though, as I had a blast at the show and loved every minute of it!

            After the show, Michale and band hung around to meet fans and sign autographs. I had him sign a slew of stuff, and he was nice enough to take a picture with me and chat for a few minutes. This was the third time he’s played Musichead in Medford, and the crowd seems to grow larger each time, so we can only hope that he’ll be returning soon to play his unique breed of soulful horror-themed anthems for us. Until then, We Are The Fiend Club!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Return Of The Living Blog!

            Welcome back, Creeps, Fiends, and Ghouls! It’s been a while since we posted anything new on this Little Blog Of Horrors. We’ve been busy celebrating the holidays, changing jobs, getting engaged, making ends meet, and other mundane things that real life forces us all to deal with. As a result, we’ve had very little time to focus on the blog and bring you, our Faithful Freaks, any new updates. For that we apologize and pledge to double our efforts! We’ve even added some new blood to our talent pool to help bring you the best in local horror and haunt news. So, without further mildew, here’s a quick look at the highlights from this past year’s haunt season! We here at Little Blog Of Horrors hope everyone had a safe, fun, and scary Halloween, and a great Holiday Season!

            The 2012 Haunt Season went very well, with Southern Oregon having more haunted attractions happening than we had time (or funds) to visit. Darkwing Manor and Circus Of Screams, both located in the Medford area, again proved that they are the undisputed kings of local haunts, but a fair amount of smaller attractions caught our attention as well. Just Scream!, of Medford, was a small production in comparison but we were all impressed by the passion put into the haunt and the amount of fun we had. It was a short haunt, but great use of space and a wide assortment of maniacal monsters made the attraction seem much longer.  Their enthusiasm showed through, from their props and actors to the Fiends working outside, it seemed like everyone was enjoying the scariest of seasons to the fullest. ShriektoberFest’s Lair Of The Zombies was also a highlight of the season. Organized and performed by the Randall Theater Company, Lair Of The Zombies started with a short film explaining to guests how the undead infection began and spread before sending them into a maze full of ghouls, hungry and eager to rip, tear, and eat the flesh of the audience. Although promoted as an all-dark experience (guests were permitted to use their cell phones as makeshift flashlights if needed), our band of Night Stalkers had no problems seeing in the low-light situation. It was a very fun attraction, and we hope that the Company puts on a show of equal caliber next year.

            Gold Hill, Oregon transformed its local museum into a haunted attraction for the Halloween season, bringing a small-town sensibility to its scares. Aimed mostly at younger children, it was still a lot of fun and reminded us of Halloween in simpler, homier times. Guests tour the small museum, with props, actors, and tamer scares along the way. Once out of the museum, they’re treated to an old-fashioned baked goods and crafts sale, along with a neat yard haunt display. Very Americana and lots of fun! As a side note, while all the bigger attractions we visited this last season were great, this author didn’t jump once at a scare from them. Yet at the Gold Hill Museum, a teenaged girl behind a false wall gave me a start with a simple jump scare. This grizzled horror veteran was startled by a kid in a costume at an event for children! I haven’t lived it down since.

            The next haunt on our list is an unnamed attraction in Grants Pass, Oregon. It’s an upstart haunt, this year being its first, with a lot of (evil) spirit.  Another small haunt, it was held in an old DMV building, but they made great use of the limited space. With a mini-mirror maze, creepy-good actors, and creative use of everyday props, it was an impressive new haunt, and we’re eager to see what the coming years will bring for these guys.

            Mr. Brown’s Haunted Field was old-school Halloween fun as well. Held on a massive farm in Central Point, Oregon, it was a quiet, creepy haunted field tour. The natural ambiance of the surroundings on a cold, October night really adds to heighten the senses and provides a sense of cool dread to the attraction. It was an all-ages event, with do-it-yourself scarecrow building kits for the kids preceding each tour. I hope that it continues each year, as it kicked off our haunt season with an old-timey Halloween celebration. My only gripe about the haunted field was that it could’ve used one last scare at the end. It ends by bringing the story of Mr. Brown, told by the actors in rhyme and riddle, to a “fooled-ya!” conclusion, taking away the sense of walking away from the attraction excited by that one, final fright. Again, only a small disappointment about an otherwise excellent haunt.

            Now onto the Big Boys of our local haunt circuit…

            Circus Of Screams, located in Eagle Point, Oregon, is a themed haunt with a new-school horror aesthetic centered around, you guessed it, a circus full of insane clowns and psychotic killers. This last years’ attraction was a 3-D experience where the guests wore glasses and the walls and costuming of the haunt were decorated in very disorientating 3-D and blacklight paints, which only added to the insanity. Clowns, murderers, insane asylum patients, and maniacal monsters filled the dayglow-colored maze awaiting new victims to add to the body count. Being a horror and Halloween prop collector, a particular highlight for me was a sort of “hall of infamy”, where standing life-size figures of some of my favorite horror villains (Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Jason Vorhees, and Chucky) and posters from some classic films (Hellraiser, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) were on display. You hardly had time to look at them, though, because you were being chased through the room by some of the Circus’ psycho denizens! By the time guests exited the maze-like haunt they felt like they had gone through and survived a mini-horror film, and the experience was an absolute blast! If time had permitted, I would have jumped back in line to go through it all again because Circus Of Screams delivered on the, well, screams.

            Darkwing Manor & Morguetorium Museum, of Medford, Oregon, is an annual haunt that never ceases to amaze the unsuspecting guests and ghouls who pass through its doors to enter a realm of old-school spooky fun. While waiting in line to get in, visitors are treated to various displays and sideshows to set the mood and pace for the thrills and chills to follow. Fire dancers, ghostly figures appearing in the distance, and a video introduction to the Manor and its history all help to keep guests entertained before entering the actual building.  As its name suggests, part of Darkwing Manor is dedicated to showcasing morbid artifacts surrounding death rituals and burials. As guests enter the Manor, they are greeted and given a brief tour of the Morguetorium part of the haunt, where some of the items on display are explained and a brief history lesson on funeral rituals is given. Guests are then led into the actual haunt. Darkwing is very vampire-centric, from the ambiance of the Manor to the costuming of the actors all the way to the creepy fog hanging low to the ground, guests feel like they’ve been transported to the Old World and have been immersed in a realm of vampires, dark sorcery, demons, and undead ghostlies! The haunt doesn’t end in the actual Manor, however. The grounds surrounding the old Manor is host to a legion of undead pirates, classic monsters, demonic souls, and zombies- all in themed, atmospheric displays that suit the characters themselves. A much longer haunt than most, guests certainly get their money’s worth of scares and jumps as they brave the maze leading out of the attraction. By the time you leave, you will be amazed and inspired.  Darkwing Manor & Morguetorium has received national attention for the quality of their haunt, and have been featured in magazines and podcasts in recent years, proving that they’re the champions of Halloween fright in the Rogue Valley! As an amateur make-up FX artist, I was impressed by the quality of the mostly home-made props and scenery, the level of detail in the costumes and character make-up, and the authenticity of the whole attraction. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I will be back next year, and hopefully for many years to come!

            Most of the haunts that I discussed in this article use their proceeds to raise money for various charities, and I urge people who are interested to visit all of them this next Halloween Season! If you’re looking to have some unforgettable experiences for Halloween 2014, make sure you at least visit Darkwing Manor and Circus Of Screams. Both will win you over with their production values and passion for haunting, and the memories of what lurks within their walls will linger in your nightmares for months, perhaps years, to come…

            We at Little Blog Of Horrors are already busy preparing our haunt schedule for this next year, and can’t wait to see what all of these attractions have brewing for us this Fall. We’ll be posting schedules for local haunts as they become available, so please check back often or, even better, subscribe to Little Blog Of Horrors and never miss out on our ravenous ramblings!

 A big “thank you” to all who organized, hosted, sponsored, and participated in the above mentioned haunts last year- your efforts and enthusiasm keep us inspired, entertained, and always dreaming of the time of year where the veil between the world of the living and the land of the dead is lifted… “Bonfires burning bright, pumpkin faces in the night, I remember Halloween.”

 Be sure to visit and for more information, schedules, videos, photos, and more spooky content!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Featured Fright Item Of The Week

The Walking Dead- “Teddy Bear Girl” Animated Zombie Prop

From Spirit Halloween/$159.99

            For fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead (and who doesn’t love that show?), this is almost a must-buy item, as it depicts one of the most iconic zombies from the first season of the show. This creepy little girl once loved her teddy bear, so much so that she still carries it with her after being transformed into a flesh-eating “walker”!

            This prop is a life-sized animatronic recreation of the “teddy bear girl” and is sound-activated, moving in circles to close in on her next meal, making growling noises all the while. It runs on four AA batteries and is suitable for indoor and dry outdoor use. It’s sure to freak the kiddies out on Halloween night, and makes an excellent addition to any fan’s collection of The Walking Dead memorabilia.

            The only real down-side to this prop is the fact that it runs on battery power and has no optional AC power hook-ups. It would also be cooler if it actually ran in some straight lines when activated, instead of just circling around. Other than those two minor gripes, this prop is A-rated! With realistic clothes, hair, and zombie wounds, the “Teddy Bear Girl” is sure to be a best-seller this haunt season!

            Available at

31 Days Of Horror- Part 8: The Omen (1976)

Twentieth Century Fox/1976/Directed by Richard Donner

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

            In the realm of supernatural horror, few films are as chillingly effective as Richard Donner’s 1976 classic tale of the coming of the antichrist, The Omen. Whereas The Exorcist (the other Satanic shocker from the 1970’s) had humanity fighting the Devil for the soul of a little girl, The Omen has Old Scratch arriving in the form of a seemingly-innocent child destined to bring the world into darkness. It was so successful in scaring the bejeezus out of audiences that it spawned three sequels and was given a stylish and updated remake in 2006.

            American diplomat Robert Thorne and his wife Katherine are excited, expecting parents. As the child is stillborn in Rome (on the 6th day of the 6th month at the 6th hour, no less), Robert makes a fateful and terrible decision, and exchanges his dead child for a live one born at the same time, who’s mother passed away during childbirth. Everything seems fine for a time, but as the child grows he starts to exhibit some scary signs. It’s not long before Thorne is made aware that his “son” Damien is more than a mere child. Damien is the antichrist and is destined to bring about the Apocalypse unless he can be stopped. Thorne is determined to stop the child, without much help (people tend to think you’re just a little crazy when you claim that a cute little kid is Satan himself), and what follows is one of the most shocking and haunting films ever made!

            Veteran actors Gregory Peck and Lee Remick play the Thornes, with Harvey Stephens turning in a chilling performance as Damien. Patrick Troughton and David Warner help to round out the cast of awesome players who breathe much life into this tale of good-versus-evil. Richard Donner’s directing is top-notch (leading him to direct such other classics as Superman, The Goonies, and Lethal Weapon) and never skips a beat. Jerry Goldsmith’s score is still as haunting today as it was in 1976, and is often imitated for other films of a similar subject matter.

            The Omen is another film that horror fans are undoubtedly familiar with, but it’s worth revisiting every once in a while, and there’s no better time for that than Halloween. From the Eternal Sea He Rises…

Friday, October 12, 2012

31 Days Of Horror- Part 7: An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Polygram Pictures-Universal/1981/Directed by John Landis
Available on DVD/Blu-Ray

            This installment of 31 days Of Horror focuses on yet another classic from the eighties, the horror/comedy hybrid with groundbreaking special effects, John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London. Landis, best known for his comedic directorial side demonstrated in such classics as Animal House and The Blues Brothers, has been in love with the horror genre for pretty much his entire life, and it shows in this landmark film that serves as his love letter to monster movie.

            Two American tourists, backpacking their way across Europe, encounter a vicious wolf one dark night on the foggy English Moors, spelling tragic doom for them both. One dies due to the wounds inflicted by the creature, while the other is cursed with a fate worse than death, transforming into a werewolf as the moon becomes full. The basic story is a familiar one, dating in some ways back to the premise of 1941’s The Wolf Man, but Landis crafts a film that is scary, hilarious, and at times bleak and sad. It serves as a decidedly modernized werewolf tale. An American Werewolf In London may have been made in 1981, but the film has aged remarkably well, and is considered one of the greatest werewolf movies of all time by both fans and critics alike.

            Actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne, the two leads of the film, have great chemistry and Dunne (as the ghastly ghost of the deceased Jack) has some of the best dialogue in the film. Jenny Agutter (as Naughton’s love interest) rounds out the lead cast nicely. Rick Baker’s imaginative, groundbreaking, and Oscar-winning make-up FX makes An American Werewolf In London a must-see film for practical effects fans. A loose sequel was released in 1997 called An American Werewolf In Paris, and was not as well-received by horror fans as the original film. An American Werewolf In London is well-balanced, with something for all types of horror fans to enjoy. There’s no better time to enjoy this film for the first time (or hundredth) than Halloween.

Family Fright Number Six.... Gremlins 2

Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Warner Bros.
Directed by Joe Dante
Our next family fright pick is the wondrously funny Gremlins 2. The original Gremlins is without a doubt a classic and one of the first horror/comedies I'd ever seen, but its a bit scary for the young ones. Gremlins 2 isn't as widely loved as the first, but its a super fun ride with just enough thrills and frights to keep any horror craving satiated. Rated PG-13 for bit of crude humor ans gore, this is still a fantastically funny and creeptacular film the whole family can enjoy.

31 Days Of Horror- Part 6: Nightbreed (1990)

Morgan Creek-Warner Bros./1990/Directed by Clive Barker
Available on DVD
            There’s a lot one can say about this little gem of a fantasy/horror film. Often overlooked by horror fans and critics alike, Clive Barker’s Nightbreed has managed to garner quite a cult following over the twenty-two years since its initial release. Dark, twisted, imaginative, and visually stunning, the film transcends the horror genre in many ways. For fans of monsters and practical make-up FX, Nightbreed is stocked with creatures the likes of which have never graced the screen before, as the film depicts a whole city full of fantastical nightstalkers!
            The film’s story centers around Boone, a troubled young man plagued by nightmares of a place called Midian and the monsters that dwell there. His shrink, Dr. Decker (who has quite a dark side himself), convinces Boone that he may be responsible for a recent string of brutal murders and prescribes him some dubious medication, urging him to turn himself in to the authorities. Some major plot twists ensue, and it’s not long before Boone realizes his connection to the mythical city of Midian, and the reasons for his recurring dreams of the place and the creatures that dwell there. He discovers that Midian is real, as are the monsters that dwell there, and Boone inadvertently threatens to bring destruction upon them all as Mankind wages all-out war with the Nightbreed.
            Clive Barker, both as a writer and filmmaker, is known to weave layers upon layers of meaning and symbolism into his work, and Nightbreed is no different. Based on his short novella, Cabal, it’s a film that fell victim to censorship and poor marketing in its day. Neither fully fantasy nor horror, the story melds the two genres, making Nightbreed a very unique film during the slasher sequel-heavy era of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Growing up during the eighties, I had begun to get bored with the countless sequels to fare like Friday The 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare On Elm Street. As good as some of those films were, it started to seem like these franchises were nothing more than cash cows for their respective studios. Films like Barker’s Nightbreed and the original Hellraiser (which he also wrote and directed) seemed like breaths of fresh air in an increasingly stale genre.
            While some of the computer-generated effects seem a little dated, Nightbreed’s impressive menagerie of monster make-up effects are as striking today as they were in 1990. Anyone who is familiar with Clive Barker’s novels and paintings knows he creates creatures that are, well, weird, and the FX team working on Nightbreed (a great many of whom also served to create FX for the first two Hellraiser films) did a fantastic job of bringing these horrors of Midian to life. The film is a visual feast for any monster fan.
            Craig Sheffer portrays Boone, and does a great job at playing the human-turned-monster. The real treat of the cast, though, is horror director David Cronenberg, who in a rare turn plays the evil Dr. Decker with such cool, creepy charm that it’s no surprise the character has become a fan favorite. Doug Bradley (“Pinhead” himself, from the Hellraiser franchise) turns in a fine performance as Lylesberg, the ill-fated leader of the Nightbreed. Danny Elfman’s score to the film is chilling and evocative, and perfectly fitting to bring Barker’s vision to life.
            The story and script remain strong and valid, and at the heart of this deluxe monster film we find a great morality tale that examines our fear of people and cultures that are different from us. Midian’s creatures turn out to be the heroes of this story, and the real monsters turn out to be… us. Nightbreed speaks to the outsider in all of us, and by the end of the film, you may find yourself wanting to pack your bags and move in with the Tribes Of The Moon.
            It’s worth mentioning that there were huge segments of footage omitted from Nightbreed, and that fans have been clamoring for a Director’s Cut of the film for years. A few years ago, at a HorrorHound Weekend convention, a full version of the film was screened for a packed house (with Clive Barker, Doug Bradley, and numerous other Nightbreed luminaries in attendance) and to rave reviews, so hopefully audiences may be treated to this rumored restored edition in the near future. British extreme heavy metal band Cradle Of Filth managed to write and record a whole album based off of Nightbreed (“Midian”, released on Halloween, 2000) with Doug Bradley doing narration for the opus. Bradley has gone on to collaborate with the band on nearly every release since then.
            If you’re a horror fan and you’ve never seen Nightbreed, you’re certainly missing out. If you haven’t seen it in quite some time, then it’s a film worth revisiting, especially around this time of year.