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!

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.

Upcoming Halloween Events in Southern Oregon

(Updated Daily)

WHAT: Circus of Screams (To benefit ACCESS and Maslow Project)
WHERE: 9512 Hwy 62, Eagle Point
WHEN: October 23- 31 7pm – 10pm
COST: $10 ($3 off with non-perishable food item)

WHAT: Nightmare Chamber – Lair of the Zombies
WHERE: 10 E. 3rd St, Medford
WHEN: October 24-25 7pm – 10pm, October 26-27 7pm – 11pm, October 28,30,31 7pm – 10:30pm
COST: $8 Adults ($6 if purchased at Magic Man) $6 Children ($5 at Magic Man) For an additional $2 at the BO you may rent a cap pistol and caps to shoot the zombies!

WHAT: Just Scream Haunted House (To benefit Salvation Army)
WHERE: 711 E Main St, Medford
WHEN: October 26-27th 7:30pm – 10pm
COST: 2 cans of food per person

WHAT: Darkwing Manor & Morguetorium Museum (To benefit Children’s Advocacy Center)
WHERE: 4192 Coleman Creek Rd, Medford
WHEN: October 26, 27, 31 6pm – 10pm
COST: $8

WHAT: Halloween Haunted House & Graveyard!
WHERE: Gold Hill Museum, 504 First Ave, Gold Hill
WHEN: October 26, 27, and 28 6pm – 9pm
COST: $4 for adults and teens, $2 Kids ages 6 – 12, Free 5 years and under
WHAT: One Eleven Theatre Company’s 5th Annual Haunted House
WHERE: Josephine County Fairgrounds, Grants Pass
WHEN: October 26,27,29,30,31

Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days Of Horror- Part 5: Horror Of Dracula (1957)

Hammer Studios/1957/Directed by Terence Fisher

Available on DVD

            There have been many screen incarnations of the immortal bloodsucker known as Count Dracula. Bela Lugosi, the first screen vampire from Universal’s seminal 1931 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, will forever be the prototype for the role. Next to Lugosi (who only played the nefarious Count a few times during his career), Christopher Lee (who holds the record for playing the role onscreen more than any other actor) is the most recognizable movie vampire, and also one of the very best.

            After Universal Studios’ two cycles of now-classic monster movies were released, it seemed as though horror films had run their course. In the 1950’s, science-fiction films came into vogue, and vampires and werewolves gave way to atomic mutants, space aliens, and giant insects. The Atomic Age brought with it monsters born of science, and supernatural nightstalkers seemed passé. All that changed when Hammer Studios started re-imagining the classic Universal monsters, beginning with Horror Of Dracula in 1957, and a new legacy of horror was born. The Hammer cycle would last nearly twenty years, creating franchises and stars all its own, and actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing would become the new Lugosi and Karloff. Horror fans flocked to these color re-imaginings, and audiences were shocked and thrilled by the Technicolor blood, suspenseful storylines, gothic ambiance, and, of course, the bountiful cleavage of their female co-stars.

            Horror Of Dracula is a fairly straight-forward retelling of the Bram Stoker classic, with Christopher Lee portraying the titular bloodsucker, and Peter Cushing taking the role of Dracula’s arch-nemesis, Professor Van Helsing. Where the Universal classic had only hinted at the brutality, sensuality, and bloodshed of Dracula’s curse, the Hammer version puts those subtexts up front, creating a strong “remake” for a more sophisticated audience. Universal’s Dracula and Hammer’s Horror Of Dracula, while sharing many similarities, differ greatly from one another in many ways, and both stand on their own as supreme classics of vampiric film. Horror Of Dracula’s director, Terence Fisher, became a Hammer staple, returning to work on many more monster films for the studio, and creating a pseudo-continuity for their franchises. As with most film series, Hammer’s Dracula films gradually waned in quality and the studio made more sequels, but Horror Of Dracula remains a solid picture, even all these years later. There’s no better time than Halloween to discover (or rediscover) why this film chilled audiences the world over, and made stars Lee and Cushing horror royalty.

Family Fright Number Five... Beetlejuice

Warner Bros.
Directed by Tim Burton
The fifth pick in our family fright series is the classic, Beetlejuice. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who hasn't seen this movie but even if you have you may not think of it as a Halloween movie. It's not. But it does have ghosts and monsters and is a wonderful way to get your horror/comedy fix this time of year. Michael Keaton is brilliant and at his best under the direction of Tim Burton (as evidenced by his portrayals of Batman).  Beetlejuice also stars Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Rider and Catherine O'Hara. It is a hilarious, raunchy, raucous ride I can't imagine anyone not enjoying. The movie is rated PG so it should be safe for most little ones. Put it on and shake, shake, shake senora.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days Of Horror- Part 4: Candyman (1992)

Columbia-TriStar/1992/Directed by Bernard Rose

Available on DVD

            Based on horror master Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden”, Candyman is an interesting spin on the “Bloody Mary”-type urban legend. A former slave who was once persecuted, tortured, and left to die by his masters, the supernatural killer known as the Candyman can be summoned by anyone who says his name five times in a mirror. Once summoned, the imposing entity slays those who dare call him with hooked hand and takes their soul into the netherworld.

            Helen, a young woman who is researching urban legend mythologies, gets more than she bargained for when she starts investigating the Candyman tale, unleashing the hook-handed ghost stalker into our world in the process. A string of grisly murders starts to occur, with Helen at the center of the chaos. Of course, the police don’t believe in legends, and Helen finds herself the prime suspect in the slayings committed by Candyman. She soon finds that her fate and that of the Candyman are inter-twined, and there is no escaping destiny. Together, they shall become legend.

            Candyman, released in 1992, is an excellent, if bleak, exercise in fear. The film is well-crafted, with great performances by its cast. Tony Todd, no stranger to horror and science-fiction (he played the lead character, Ben, in Tom Savini’s 1990 remake of Night Of The Living Dead and turned in memorable performances in several different roles in the various Star Trek shows), portrays Candyman, perhaps his best-known role. Virginia Madsen, also no stranger to the horror genre, plays Helen Lyle, the doomed graduate student who is drawn into the hooked horror’s world. The music by Philip Glass provides a perfect soundscape for the bleak and desolate atmosphere that the film evokes.

            Candyman was successful enough to spawn a franchise, although this first entry in the series is by far the best. Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh, the first sequel, is almost as well-crafted, though, and expands greatly on the mythology of the first film. Candyman is a modern classic of the horror genre, making Tony Todd a star and giving him a signature role, and ensuring that he haunts horror fans for many years to come. Halloween season is the perfect time to revisit (or discover) this haunting fright flick, but make sure there are no mirrors in the room with you as you watch it, and whatever you do, don’t say his name five times!

Family Fright Number Four.... Little Monsters

Little Monsters
United Artists
Directed by Richard Greenberg
Next up in our family frights series is Little Monsters. This was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid. Little Monsters is the story of a young boy (Fred Savage) who discovers a monster (Howie Mandel) under his bed. When the Monster introduces young Mr. Savage to the pranks, laughs, and frights that await under his bed, a beautiful story of friendship and the transition from childhood to adulthood unfolds. The movie showcases many monsters and is as much an adventure as it is a comedy. A fun watch any old time but especially this time of year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Featured Fright Item Of The Week

“Dr. Tongue” Mask

By Bump In The Night FX Studio/$55.50

            Perhaps the second-most well-known zombie from George Romero’s 1985 shocker Day Of The Dead, Dr. Tongue is a zombie fan-favorite character. This amazing mask, from Bump In The Night Studio, recreates the iconic undead creature in gruesome detail! Wearable as part of a costume, this piece is also perfectly suited for any mask collector’s display. The mask has disturbingly real features, with eye holes discretely placed in the face so that the eyes of the mask are fixed. We collect masks and Halloween costumes at Little Blog Of Horrors, and I have to say that this is one of the finest pieces we’ve seen in quite some time!

            The Bump In The Night Day Of The Dead “Dr. Tongue” mask is available through a few different retailers online, but we recommend going through our friends at Halloween Unleashed, as their service and staff rocks and are hardcore haunt fans, as well! Visit their vast selection of all things horror and Halloween at

31 Days Of Horror- Part 3: Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

The Laurel Group/1978/Directed by George Romero
Available on DVD/Blu-Ray

            In 1968, writer/director George Romero released Night Of The Living Dead, which is widely considered to be the first modern zombie movie, and a decade later he unleashed Dawn Of The Dead, his color follow-up. While fans hail both films as classics of the horror genre, Dawn Of The Dead is celebrated for its unabashed violence and gore, bleak cynical tone, and keen wit. It remains favored by fans, despite being stylishly remade by director Zack Snyder in 2004.
            The central story of the film revolves around a small band of survivors during the undead apocalypse who find refuge in an abandoned shopping mall, while the population outside becomes ravaging, flesh-eating ghouls. At first, the survivors perceive the empty mall as a paradise, with every material item they could possibly want at their fingertips. It soon becomes apparent, though, that their sanctuary is to be short-lived. The undead hordes break their way into the mall, along with a few hostile humans intent on taking over the survivors’ refuge, and an all-out war for survival ensues.
            The film itself is bleak and cynical, and underneath the blood, gore, bullets, and zombies is a stark statement about mass commercialism in America, ringing as pertinent today as it was in 1978 when the film was released. George Romero has always put these subtexts in his films, but it seems most obvious in Dawn Of The Dead. Romero had some help developing this movie from none other than Italian horror master Dario Argento (who released his own cut of the film in his native Italy, titled Zombi, while Romero was free to release his version in the U.S.), best known for his surreal shockers Suspiria, Tenebre, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, and Deep Red.
            Dawn Of The Dead is a splatter-filled, gore-tastic orgy of special effects, in no small part thanks to Romero’s frequent collaborator throughout the seventies and eighties, Tom Savini. In addition to creating the effects for Romero’s Day Of The Dead, Martin, and Creepshow, Savini also lent his dark talents to such seminal horror classics as Friday The 13th, Maniac, and The Burning. Dawn Of The Dead was one of the first films to usher in the “splatter” era of horror movies. The film may look very dated, but it revels in showing its’ audience gore and violence the likes of which many movie-goers had never seen before. These things may seem clichéd today, but Dawn Of The Dead was the film that set the standard of zombie horror for all movies that followed. Often imitated but never dethroned, it stands as the king of all zombie films, which is why it needs revisiting often (particularly at Halloween-time).

Family Fright Pick Number Three.... Monster Squad

Monster Squad

TriStar Pictures
Directed by Fred Dekker

Third in our series of family frights is the 1987 classic, Monster Squad. This is one of my all time favorite movies as it incorporates elements I love, and that seem to be lacking from most contemporary movies, e.g. a group of kids saving the day, secret meetings in a clubhouse, and the Universal Monsters! Monster Squad is the story of a young boy and his friends who standup against Dracula when he shows up in their town, along with the recently resurrected Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Mummy.  Frankenstein's monster is there as well, but in this film he is even more of a sympathetic character than we’ve seen, his friendship with a young girl is one of my favorite aspects of this film.  Again, this is an eighties movie so it has definitely aged a bit, but I believe it holds up quite well.  The characters and their relationships are timeless.  The film is rated PG-13 so parents might want to give it a pass before letting younger children watch it.  All in all this is a wonderful movie full of monstrous fun for the whole family.  A must watch for me every Halloween season! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days Of Horror- Part 2: A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

New Line Cinema/1984/Directed by Wes Craven

Available on DVD/Blu-Ray


            Years before Peter Jackson’s excellent Lord Of The Rings trilogy made New Line Cinema a household name, the company was best known for its other “cash cow” franchise- the Nightmare On Elm Street series. The first entry in the series, A Nightmare On Elm Street, came along in 1984, laying the foundation and setting the standard for cinematic “slasher” films for years to come.

            Written and directed by Wes Craven (the same man responsible for bringing us The Hills Have Eyes, Last House On The Left, Swamp Thing, and the Scream franchise, to name a few), A Nightmare On Elm Street may seem like a typical boogeyman tale on the surface, but dig deeper and you’ll find more meaning in this seminal horror classic. Subversive and scary, the film speaks volumes about the nature of dreams, individual inner strength, vigilante justice, and conquering one’s fears. It’s certainly a horror film, to be sure, but it’s a smart horror film, and that may be the main reason why it’s still talked about and referenced today.

            A Nightmare On Elm Street centers around teenager Nancy Thompson, who, along with her group of friends, is plagued by nightmares of a horribly-burned, razor-fingered boogeyman named Freddy Krueger. One by one, Nancy’s friends are hunted, tormented, and killed in their dreams by Freddy, which causes them to die horrible deaths in their sleep. Ultimately, the film climaxes in a duel to the death between Nancy and Freddy, where she must make the choice to give in to her fears or turn her back on them.

            A great film with a stellar young cast- the excellent (and fan-favorite) Heather Langenkamp plays Nancy, leading the cast of teenagers (which also included Johnny Depp in his first film role, as Nancy’s boyfriend Glen).  A Nightmare On Elm Street introduced us to the immortal film monster in the form of Freddy Krueger, the role that actor Robert Englund is best known for. Englund played the maniacal Freddy for six Nightmare sequels, a television series (the short-lived Freddy’s Nightmares), and one crossover (the fan-favorite Freddy Vs. Jason), truly making the role his own. Writer/director Wes Craven is known as the “Father of Freddy”, and this is the film that started it all. He returned to contribute his delightfully deranged talents to two more films in the series, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Part 3- The Dream Warriors and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and his three entries are widely considered to be the best of the franchise.

            A Nightmare On Elm Street is still worth revisiting today. Like all films from the eighties, it has aged, but endearingly well. The same cannot be said for the film’s sequels, however, but we’ll save that for another review. A Nightmare On Elm Street was remade in 2010 (with a follow-up currently in production) and although it was a noble effort and is a good film in its own right, for my money it lacks the charm and scares of the original version, which is a great film to watch during the Halloween season and a worthy addition to your horror film collection. Freddy Forever!


Family Fright Pick Number Two... Ernest Scared Stupid

Ernest Scared Stupid
Touchstone Pictures
Directed by John Cherry

Next up in our series of family frights is the 1991 movie Ernest Scared Stupid. When I have recommended this movie to people in the past I’ve mostly just been laughed at.  However, I really do enjoy this movie and think it’s a fun watch this time of year.  I used to enjoy the Hey Vern, Its Ernest! television program as a kid, but Scared Stupid is the only film I've seen of the Ernest franchise.  Therefore, I cannot speak to the quality of the rest of them, but this film is definitely worth a watch, especially when you need a good horror fix that is family safe.  The film is rated PG but there are a few jump scare type moments and some scenes that may be a bit too scary for tiny ghouls and boos so beware.  All in all though, this is a lighthearted family movie with enough chuckles and chills to make it on my yearly watch list.   

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days Of Horror- Part 1: Frankenstein (1931)

Universal Studios/1931/Directed by James Whale
Available on DVD/Blu-Ray

            There are many reasons why James Whale’s Frankenstein, released by Universal Studios in 1931, remains an undisputed classic of the horror genre. The script, the creepy atmosphere of the set design, the make-up and costume choices, and clever directing and editing all contribute to make Frankenstein the Big daddy of all monster movies. Possibly the biggest factor for its success, though, comes from the film’s star- the Monster himself, played to perfection by the late, great Boris Karloff.
            There have been many adaptations of Mary Shelley’s novel over the years, but this stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Karloff’s Monster, who speaks no actual lines of dialogue in the film, is a sympathetic creature who reaches out through the screen and touches the outsider in all of us. It’s a performance that still resonates strongly with audiences today, and it is Karloff’s Monster that has embedded itself in the popular consciousness as the Frankenstein. As much as Karloff brought life to the role, however, it was make-up artist Jack Pierce who designed and applied the iconic Monster’s frightful features, and much credit must be given to him, as well.
            1931’s Dracula may have kicked off the initial run of Universal Studios’ classic monster movies, but Frankenstein was the first to spin off into a franchise, spawning The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), Son Of Frankenstein (1939), Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942), and House Of Frankenstein (1944). All of these films became classics, with the best-regarded of the sequels being The Bride Of Frankenstein, but Boris Karloff was at his beastly best with the original film. Other notable Universal players were on hand to round out the cast- Colin Clive (as the Monster’s creator- Dr. Henry Frankenstein), Mae Clarke, and fan favorites Edward Van Sloan and Dwight Frye (both of whom also had parts in Dracula).
            While Frankenstein certainly has a chilling tone and quite macabre subject matter, it is by no means scary by today’s standards- creepy and atmospheric, sure, but light on the scares. Some scenes may be too intense for really young audiences, but older children and adults should be able to enjoy this film without having their dreams filled with lumbering monsters stitched together with pieces of the dead.
            As a morality play, the plot of Frankenstein is known to most of the general movie-going public, even if they’ve never seen the film, so I won’t spend a lot of time explaining the movie to you. If you have never seen it, then you must (how can you claim to be a horror fan without having seen the groundbreaking classics of the genre?). If you have seen it, then what better way to kick off your Halloween season than to revisit possibly one of the best films, not just monster movies, of all time

Family Fright Pick Number One... Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf
Atlantic Releasing Corporation
Directed by Rob Daniel

First up in our series of fun family favorites to watch around Halloween time, aka Family Frights, is the 1985 fantasy/comedy Teen Wolf.  Lead by the brilliant Michael J Fox, this movie, while not exactly Shakespeare, is such a fun and heartfelt movie for all ages that I think it deserves an annual visit for sure. The film is rated PG and might be just a tad too scary in parts for the real little ones, but I deem it an appropriate and safe movie for all to behold. Although Teen Wolf is a comedy, at its core it is still a monster movie; and what better time to watch a monster movie than Halloween? 

Beware though, this movie was made in the eighties and is a film very much of that time. While a bit goofy and, at times, cheesy, I love this movie and think it is an excellent way to get your werewolf fix without all the carnage and sadness, you know, for those times when you just aren't in the mood.    

Mr. Brown’s Haunted Field!

October 13th & 14th, 2012
Hanley Farm- 1053 Hanley Road, Central Point, OR
Farm opens at 6pm, Guided Tours 7-9pm
Admission is $3 for children, $5 for adults (proceeds go to benefit the SOHS)
The weekend of October 13th and 14th, Hanley Farm in Central Point, Oregon is hosting a lantern-guided tour through their haunted field! Eerie and haunting, with no gore, this attraction is suitable for both children and adults, and is sure to be full of chilling surprises! Proceeds go to support the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and they would greatly appreciate attendees. We at Little Blog Of Horrors are really looking forward to this event and hope that you are, too! We’ve posted the flyer below with all the extra details, so be sure to add this to your calendar of Halloween Haunts!
Tickets for Mr. Brown’s Haunted Field are available at Renaissance Rose in Ashland, Oregon and through the Southern Oregon Historical Society (541-773-6536, ext. 1002). We hope to see you there!