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Introduction

Welcome and, yes, we are still under construction.

This stemmed from the ideas of life imitating art imitating life (yes, a deep dive into the Scream franchise will be happening).

This is just the beginning of many ideas coming to life, many movies about to be discussed, and plenty of history and even some conspiracies.

At times, I will feature interviews from fellow creators, from podcast hosts to haunted attraction actors. Be sure to check those out and check out the podcasts tab here to listen to podcast episodes I’ve been featured on.

Be ready for zombies, slashers, serial killers, urban legends, killer clowns, music, just to name a few of the topics that will come up.

Monster Mash-Up Playlist

“Haunted House” Teenage Bottlerocket

“Being here ain’t very nice, 

keep thinking we’ll see Vincent Price

Hidden rooms and creepy halls, 

blood starts dripping down the walls

Portraits hung with moving eyes 

and what’s with all these fucking flies

I hear the werewolf bark, 

eyes start glowing in the dark

I got to get out of this haunted house.”

One their 2015 album, Tales From Wyoming, pop-punkers Teenage Bottlerocket gave nods to the Vincent Price classic House On Haunted Hill, as well as a reference to the 1999 remake (“Almost twenty years ago, went someplace you shouldn’t go. In a house up on a hill, on a dare and for a thrill), to the Ghostbusters’ character Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray), and subtle nods to Scooby Doo and The Amityville Horror

We Put The Fun in Funeral” Motionless In White

Frankenstein is about to wreck the gate.

A bat is about to eat his tea.

The fires scratching down in the movie soon.

Has Dracula spiked the punch with blood?”

Motionless In White’s debut EP The Whorror was released back on July 3, 2007, and it brought  spooky sounds to the middle of the summer. All of the songs were written by lead vocalist Chris Motionless and “We Put The Fun In Funeral” is the 2000s metalcore version of “The Monster Mash”. 

“Broadcasting From Beyond the Grave: Death Inc.” Motionless In White

“Can you hear the bell toll, little scarecrow?

Radio, burnin’ like a star in a black hole

Did you get the memo?

Pretty typo Romeo

Cutting you up like a Van Gogh”

Motionless In White’s 2019 album Disguise kept with their passionate and aggressive lyrical content with a more notable nu-metal sound. “Broadcasting From Beyond the Grave: Death Inc.” throws in almost every name minus the kitchen sink as part of a ghoulish radio show and samples a clip of Claude Rains in the 1933 Universal classic The Invisible Man, “I’ll show you who I am and WHAT I am.” 

“Monster Mash” Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett

“The zombies were having fun,

the party had just begun

The guests included Wolfman, Dracula, and his son

The scene was rockin’,

all were digging the sounds

Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds”

I mean, this one should go without saying.

The “novelty song” was released in 1962 by Bobby “Boris” Pickett first on a single then on the album The Original Monster Mash. The song reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1962 and even hit #9 on the US Billboard Hot R&B Sides. Believe it or not, the song was banned from airplay by the BBC in the U.K. for being “too morbid” but it was later released and even charted in 1973. 

The song has been covered numerous times, notably it was performed live by The Beach Boys, Vincent Price in 1977, a version performed by The Big O plays over the credits in Return of the Living Dead Part II, the Alvin & the Chipmunks as part of their 1994 Halloween special, and The Misfits as part of their Project 1950 cover album. 

“Dead Stars Drive-In” Stellar Corpses

“Bela Lugosi felt no pain.

Dracula has poisoned the blood in his veins.

Vampira never got what she deserved.

Hollywood has turned its back on her.

It’s not about who you are 

It’s who you know.”

The title track from their 2012 release, Stellar Corpses’ “Dead Star Drive-In” is an ode to the stars of Hollywood’s past that are either remembered fondly or, sadly, ignored in some cases. Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley are names that commonly come up but we can’t forget about our horror actors Bela Lugosi and Maila Nurmi, better known by her character name Vampira.  Hunter Burgan of the Bay Area band AFI lends his voice as part of backing vocals on the song. 

“She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster Man” Screaming Lord Sutch

“When it come to the scene

where the monster should die

My baby broke down and she started to cry

Said ‘this monster I love’

in a strange kinda whisper

‘He’s my kinda guy cuz I’m Dracula’s sister!’ ”

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was the first “shock rocker” in the 1950s. Following him in the 1960s in the U.K. was Screaming Lord Sutch, who was known for dressing as Jack the Ripper and starting shows by emerging from a coffin on stage that was surrounded by daggers and bones. “She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster Man” appears on their self-titled album Screaming Lord Sutch and The Savages after it was released as a single in July 1964.

Pause- Another Update

So, I’ve been doing the music lists (“listicles”) for different Halloween and horror themes and I had a lineup going all the way to the day of Halloween planned.

Things have begun happening in my personal life that are making it impossible to sit at my computer and focus so I don’t think I’ll be finishing off that plan this year. Maybe next Halloween.

On top of that, I have two other contributing writing spots so I’m having to balance time for them, too.

But, until then, happy spooky season.

This is the Spotify playlist I had going with all of the songs/albums mentioned in the previous lists.

Another One For The Fire on Spotify

Songs for Friday the 13th

Artwork for the “Thank God It’s Friday” single
“Thank God It’s Friday” Ice Nine Kills

“A word of warning from beyond the grave that must be understood

Throat’s get slit in this neck of the woods

She raised him rise

And he’ll come out to play

When mother whispers, ‘Thank God it’s Friday’.”

Theatrical metalcore band Ice Nine Kills released the second single from their album The Silver Scream, “Thank God It’s Friday”, on July 13, 2018, one month after the character Jason Voorhees’ birthday (June 13th). The song also got one of their epic 9 minute music videos. As part of the Final Cut deluxe edition for the album, Ice Nine Kills recorded an acoustic version of the song with “first Jason” himself, Ari Lehman, who plays young Jason Voorhees emerging from the lake at the end of Friday the 13th and sings in a band called First Jason. 

For Mother’s Day 2020, the band socially distanced recorded “Jason’s Mom”, a parody of the Fountains of Wayne song “Stacy’s Mom” (RIP Adam Schlesinger) , and released a series of shirts and even baby onesies for the song. “Jason’s Mom” also features a shout out to other Mama’s Boy/Psychotic Mother duo, Norman and Norma Bates. 

Artwork for the “He’s Back The Man Behind The Mask)” single
“He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” Alice Cooper

“But he’s back

He’s the man behind the mask

And he’s out of control

He’s back

The man behind the mask.”

Shock rocker Alice Cooper recorded “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” for his ninth album, Constrictor, and for Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, both released in 1986. Cooper’s songs “Teenage Frankenstein” and “Hard Rock Summer” also were featured in Jason Lives. Most recently, “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” is played during the credits of Friday the 13th: The Game. 

Horror punks Labadie House covered the song for Horrorhound Presents: It’s Only A Movie and it’s been covered live by Finnish metal band Lordi and Warmen, featuring the lead singer of Children of Bodom, Alexi Laiho. 

“Friday The 13” The Misfits

“Flashbacks in nightmare

Revenge his mother swears

Through a faceless hockey mask

The demons eyes they stare”

Friday the 13th is the sixth EP in the extensive catalog of The Misfits. Released in 2016, it features Jerry Only on bass and lead vocals, Jerry Other on guitar, and Eric “Chupacabra” Arce on drums. The cover art features the band’s infamous crimson ghost logo painted up like one of Jason’s masks, in particular the one from Part III.  

“Camp Crystal Lake” Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space

“Like a cold machine 

He marches on

He’s on the hunt for everyone

Who disturbs this peaceful place?

While partying or having sex”

Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space formed in 2002 in Vienna, Austria. To date, they have released nine albums, including an acoustic live album, a Christmas album, and a greatest hits compilation. Their 2014 release Toxic Terror Trax features this song about the behemoth killer stalking Camp Crystal Lake. 

“Welcome to Camp Nightmare” Dr Acula

“Run for your life my friend. 

Obvious this is wrong on all ends. 

It’s getting worse 

they’ve been dispersed. 

It’s a nightmare. 

This is not my idea of a getaway”. 

Opens with a sound clip from the Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives where Lizabeth exclaims, “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly!”

The band Dr. Acula have a distinct party/deathcore/slam sound and sing about horror movies and Goosebumps books. The band broke up in 2012. However, the latest news on the band is from 2019, when the band’s original lineup performed a reunion show at the Amityville Music Hall in Long Island, NY and released a new single entitled “Egg Monsters From Mars”. 

A profile picture from the band’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/thejasonsband
the discography of The Jasons

The description of The Jasons from their Facebook page reads, “four mongoloid brothers pissing people off with their immature antics and playing pure Red-Blooded American Punk Rock from Crystal Lake!” 

The band consists of four members, all wearing a different era of Jason mask. They write songs with titles pertaining to moments throughout the entire Friday the 13th franchise such as “Crazy Ralph (Shut Your Mouth)”, “You Should Have Never Reopened That Camp”, “We’re Going To Manhattan”, “Don’t Send Me To Outer Space”, and even wrote a ballad to another camp killer, Angela Baker of Sleepaway Camp in the song “Camp Arawak”. 

In 2016, The Jasons released their song “I Wanna Be An Asshole” as a response to the band The Mezingers releasing a music video in 2014 for their song “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”, featuring Jason Voorhees feeling remorse for chasing teens at camp and he tries to turn his life around, be more positive, get a job, and even get a date. 

Not shy about their influences from the Misfits and Ramones, their 2018 release Get Sued was made up entirely of the band performing “mash-ups” of the aforementioned bands (and it almost works too well). Their most recent release is the 2019 album, Blood in the Streets.

Creatures Rejoice- 10th Anniversary of Motionless In White’s Debut Album

Motionless In White’s debut studio album Creatures was released on October 12, 2010. 

10th anniversary and, damn, we metalcore kids got old. 

My first experience with Motionless In White was seeing the music video for “Abigail”, the first music video released for the album. Doing a music video that was a modernized telling of The Crucible/the Salem Witch Trials lured me right in. It was the fall of my senior year of high school and I was bit by bit getting into more and more metal, horror, and true crime. Learning about Lizzie Borden, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the Salem Witch Trials appealed to me then and still does. It caught my attention and kept it throughout the entire decade that has since passed.  

Personnel on the album recording were Chris Motionless on lead vocals, Ryan Sitowski on lead guitar, TJ Bell on rhythm guitar, Ricky “Horror” Olson on bass, Josh Balz on keyboard, and Angelo Parente on drums. The song “Abigail” also features Nick Brooks of metalcore band It Dies Today. Motionless, Sitowski, and Olson are the only members still in the line-up today. 

Parente, Sitowski, Motionless, Horror, and Balz photographed in 2011 during the Creatues-era by Jeremy Saffer

“.Com Pt. II” is part 2 of the song “Schitzophrenicannibalisticsexfest.com” from their debut EP The Whorror. “We Only Come Out at Night”  is the re-recorded version of a song originally on the band’s second EP When Love Met Destruction and “City Lights” is a re-recorded version of the song “Bananamontana” from the same EP.

Apart from “Abigail”, “Immaculate Misconception”, “Creatures”, and “Puppets (The First Snow)” were all released as single with accompanying music videos. “Puppets (The First Snow)” was a performance music video done with pieced together clips of various concerts. The video for “Immaculate Misconception” was directed by Cody Blue Snider, director and screenwriter and son of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, who also appears in the video. Dee Snider has been openly supportive of the young band, stating in an interview with AOL Noisecreep that, “”Bands like Motionless in White deal with the same misjudgment and ignorance that Twisted Sister dealt with when we were first starting out. In its own way, ‘Immaculate Misconception’ is the ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ for its generation.”

Motionless In White appeals to classic metalcore fans who also live and breathe Halloween. They’ve released merch with images of their pumpkin logo, crows, Christopher Lee’s portrayal of Dracula, Sam from Trick R Treat, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, The Twilight Zone, and more. 

The album’s aggressive and purposeful opening track “Immaculate Misconception” is a crowd favorite and, for a period, was their concert closing song. It was their closing song both times I saw them at Warped Tour. “Abigail” still gets played as a treat for the fans that have been around for a while. 

The first time I saw Motionless In White live was on the All Stars Tour 2011, while they were still touring in support of Creatures. The stacked tour also featured Chelsea Grin, Iwrestledabearonce, In This Moment, and a handful of others, depending on your city’s stop. That was the first time I was in the middle of a mosh pit, and mind you I’m about 5’5”, and I still managed to get about two rows from the stage. I met Ryan Sitowski and Ricky Horror at the merch table after their set and they signed my ticket and I got pictures with both. I haven’t met any other members of the band but, hey, maybe one day that will change. I did order a signed poster that was released in promotion for Graveyard Shift, and while it’s very cool, it’s not the same. 

I saw Motionless In White perform on the Vans Warped Tour two times, 2014 and 2016, and both times they closed their set with “Immaculate Misconception”. During the 2016 tour, Ice Nine Kills vocalist Spencer Charnas came out to perform “Abigail” and seeing two of my favorite lead singers performing together was a personal Warped Tour highlight. 

All of their albums feature at least one song that is more than suitable for the spooky Halloween season but the entirety of Creatures fits the vibe. Maybe we can contribute that to the murder of crows on the album cover. Some of the songs from Creatures carried over in the form of sequels on following albums. Most recently, “Undead Ahead”, based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman, came back in the form of “Undead Ahead 2: The Tale of The Midnight Ride” on their 2019 release, Disguise. 

Creatures features some of the rawest emotions that the band has put out. With all of the lyrics written by Motionless, Olson, Balz, and Parente, with help from fans on the title song. “Puppets (The First Snow)” was also written by Jason Suecof, a sound engineer and songwriter known for his work with metal bands such as Trivium and The Black Dahlia Murder. 

“This is a love song, a threnody for these years of worthless waste

And now my hatred’s all I fucking have left

I’ve never had the words to say, but I can quote them all

I am human and I need to be loved just like everybody else does”

In a few years, I’ll be turning 30. My Motionless In White shirt that looks like a poster for The Lost Boys hasn’t fit me in years but I would be a liar if I said that “Abigail” didn’t make me automatically want to start headbanging with the same aggressive nature that Kittie’s “Brackish” hits with. 

On October 2nd, Motionless In White posted a teaser video on their social media pages with the lines, “Do we want this? Or do we need this?” growing in intensity, as heard in the beginning of the “Creatures” music video. The band has said they have a lot of big plans for October.

So let’s get ready to celebrate, Creatures.

Interview with Evan of I Love Movies U Should 2 Podcast

This week, I got to sit down via email with Evan, the host of the I Love Movies U Should 2 podcast. You can listen to Evan and guests as they discuss movies of all genres, industry news and trends, and some movies that deserve more credit than they’ve gotten. 

Be sure to check out the new episode featuring yours truly where we talk about the 2014 horror/thriller 13 Sins. 

You can find I Love Movies U Should 2 on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and there’s a link to the Patreon page and social media pages for the show at the bottom of this page.  

What inspired you to start a solo podcast? 

Evan: Years ago I wanted to start a podcast. I had so much film info to talk about that I wanted to share it. I tried my hand at it years ago. It was terrible. I couldn’t edit anything, so I had to write most of what I was going to say down. It only went about 10-15 minutes. I think I posted it on SoundCloud. It might even be still there. 

After that I was asked by someone on Facebook to be a guest on their show. I made one appearance on their superhero episode. Then a year ago my co-worker who is a film fan asked because we used to talk movies all the time if I might want to do a podcast. I was excited to get into it now. We even had a producer. It’s called The Voice Over Picture Show. It was fun. But we would only do an episode a month or two. 

It was hard to get people in person to record. When the pandemic hit, we couldn’t record in person. We tried to do it over zoom. But it didn’t work out. I waited about a month and half because I still wanted to do a podcast. I decided that I needed to do my own show where I could talk about the movies I wanted to talk about. I decided to start mine just for me and hopefully people who love the movies I love. And I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying it. It’s keeping me creative during this trying time.

How do you pick movies to talk about?

I don’t really have a system. I have a list of films that I made before I started the podcast. I pick and choose those sometimes. And sometimes I just get inspiration from sites like Twitter and Instagram. I try to choose films podcast I listen to haven’t covered yet. It is sometimes like a week to week thing unless I have a guest which I try to play in advance. 

I do have planned themed months coming up with spooky month in October being all horror films. I don’t have the list of films yet but I am working through choices. For November I’m doing Noir November. I’m a big fan of classic and neo-noir films. For my main show I want to cover some older films and some newer titles. For the Patreon exclusives I want to cover films that are recent releases only. It’s basically come for the films you haven’t heard much about, subscribe for those new films making the rounds.

What have been some of your experiences and observations as an openly queer horror fan?

There are a lot of us out there. Especially on Twitter. I have come in contact with some very wonderful people. I know there is a toxic side of the horror community that is very awful to queer people. But all the queer people of the horror community I’ve talked to have been open and inviting. It’s nice to be a part of it. Even though I’m not that popular, I feel more on the inside than on the outside looking. 

I definitely think there needs to be more representation. There are queer writers and podcasters. But there needs to be more queer people and queer people of color making decision, hiring others and trying to make sure the horror community stays inclusive. I know that it’s getting better on-screen. But it will be nice when I can see a gender fluid person, a pansexual person be the main character or have a significant role in horror films. 

What do you feel that the horror genre, between media and the fan base, need to do to be more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community moving forward?

We need to have those tough conversations about representation and people who are toxic in the community. And from those conversations actions need to be take to make sure the queer people get a fair shot. Queer people need to be hired from the top down from the talents to the crew. I think we have so many wonderful people talking about horror and writing about horror. Which is needed, we need queer perspective of these films.

When queer people and queer people of color are in significant roles in the community changes will come faster and easier. We need to make sure that we are promoting each other. Yes, many of us are doing the same things whether it be writing, media coverage or podcast but that doesn’t mean we can lift each other up. 

I want us as queer people to get out chance to create stories that are meaningful for us. I’m dying to see a “normal” slasher film or monster movie with a final boy who’s queer. I want the roles and positions that straight people get to be filled by queer people and queer people of color.

What movie trope can you never get enough of? What’s one that can go away forever?

Tropes that I very much enjoy are the constant evil. Giving a film this atmosphere of the unknown and there is just evil everywhere puts me on edge and I love it. It Follows did this well, The Conjuring and Insidious films do this well. Killer kids is another trope I don’t mind. It makes for something that is also unexpected. No one expects the child who is supposed to be good to turn out to be full of evil. When done well it’s really fun. 

There are so many tropes that can go away. The first I can think of sex equals death. This is a form of sex shaming which has to go away. It’s not evil to want or have sex. And it shouldn’t be someone’s downfall because they had it. We need to be more of a sex positive world. Another troupe that needs to go away is that the boyfriend/girlfriend/partner is the killer. It’s been done to death in the best slasher films. Now is the time to come up with something more creative, something inventive. 

The no cell phone signal is another one that has to go. It’s 2020, we can get technology to work almost anywhere. Writers need to incorporate that into their stories. I’m sure there is a way to be tender and suspenseful with characters being able to use their phones. For found footage films, why is it that all the male characters are such horrible people? Can’t we get some found footage characters who are likeable and interesting? I don’t think they all need to be horrible humans. It takes me out of the story when I really don’t like the characters. 

While we’re on movie tropes, it’s fairly lopsided when it comes to male vs female nudity in horror movies. Are you championing for more male nudity in horror?

I’m a huge champion of male nudity in horror. Being that I’m a nudist, I’m very much okay with nudity. And male nudity outside of butts has been so taboo in films. Being around males and identifying for the most part as a male, I know that males are way more prone to being naked and getting naked in general. 

I think there needs to be more male nudity in horror and also full front male nudity should not be taboo but the normal. It’s not equal not fair that women have been full naked so much in films and males have not. Nudity is a part of life. It happens and there should be proper representation in that area. I’ve also noticed that found footage films lack nudity, especially male nudity. If your film is R rated and utilize that rating. The only way to equality is to change the norms. 

Top 3 movie butts

Ewan McGregor is number one. He is my big film crush and he has a great butt. Matt Bomer would be my second because he’s a handsome queer man with a fantastic butt. He’s also a really talented actor. Carla Gugino is one of my favorite actresses and she has an excellent butt. I love her willingness to go all out for a role. 

I will say, being a kid and watching Carla Gugino in Spy Kids then growing up and discovering my own sexuality, she is goddamned gorgeous and always has been. 
Top 3 movies that deserve more recognition

Night of the Demons, it’s a great haunted house/demon horror film with fun moments, great gore and a very cool ending. I’ve covered it on my podcast and wrote about it. I think this film needs more love. 

The Prowler is one of my favorite slasher films. It had excellent gore effects by Tom Savini. The story has a decent history/mythology that you can get behind. And the kills are different and creative. I think the score does hurt the film. But it should be one of the staples of ‘80s slasher horror. 

Underwater is a really fun, tense monster movie with one of the best monster reveals in a long time. Kristen Stewart is my favorite actor and she is fantastic. The film also doesn’t ogle or fetishize women like a lot of films do in this sub genre. It’s thrilling, it’s at times gross and shocking. And it was all done as a PG-13. 

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To Midian and Back- Songs About The Works of Clive Barker

“Hellbound Heart” Stellar Corpses

“Drawn to danger in the Devil’s game

Deadly attraction that we can’t explain

Some call us angels

Some call us demons

But we’re not satisfied ‘til everybody’s screaming!”

“Hellbound Heart” is far from the only song in Stellar Corpses’ arsenal about staples in the horror genre. The 1987 film Hellraiser was based off of Clive Barker’s novella, The Hellbound Heart. 

“Hellbound Heart” is the title track from Stellar Corpses’ 2018 EP release. The song features a guest verse by bassist/vocalist Jimmy Calabrese of the horror punk band Calabrese. 

the Midian album by Cradle of Filth

The fourth album by blackened extreme metal band Cradle of Filth is set around the theme of Midian from the 1990 horror movie Nightbreed, which is based off of Clive Barker’s novella, Cabal. In a 2012 interview with Empire, lead vocalist Dani Filth spoke about the album saying that, “Midian kind of is and isn’t a concept album: as a title, it just made perfect sense. The central song, ‘Tortured Soul Asylum’, is about Midian, and the characters in the rest made up a sort of collective from this mythical place where the monsters live.” Doug Bradley, Pinhead himself, provided the narration on the track “Tortured Soul Asylum”

“Lament Configuration” Vatican Falling

“We have such sights to show you.” 

Do not sleep on the deathcore band from Las Vegas known as Vatican Falling. “Lament Configuration” appears on their third album, 2020’s War. With the title referencing the name for the puzzle box in Hellraiser, the song samples Kirsty (played by Ashley Laurence) shouting, “Go to Hell!” 

“Midian” Shadow Windhawk and The Morticians

“And there’s a place where monsters go 

When the world has crumbled 

When I have lost my soul 

I hear it whispered in my dreams

in the crypts of Midian, forever I’ll be free”

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Shadow Windhawk is backed by musicians known as The Morticians. The epic 8 minute song “Midian” appears on their 2014 release, Casket Spray. 

“Hellraiser” Blitzkid

“Resurrected from centuries gone by

Cenobites traveling through the portals of time…

Some Hell is gonna raise and we shall come with it,

Forbidden pleasures materialized

We’ll torture your body by proportions so mythic

The puzzle box opens and brings us new life.”


Led by bassist/vocalist Argyle Goolsby and guitarist/vocalist TB Monstrosity, Blitzkid formed in 1997 in West Virginia. Their song “Hellraiser” was originally recorded on 2001’s Let Flowers Die, the bands’ first full-length release, then re-recorded as a part of 2008’s Anatomy of Reanimation Volume #1.

Welcome To Hell Fest and Other Haunted Attractions

The U.K. poster for Hell Fest

Hell Fest hit theaters in the U.S. on September 28, 2018. I didn’t go see it during the opening weekend, so it was into October by the time I saw it. I had snuck in some Jim Beam to pour into my cherry Pepsi and I was ready to go. When it got to the first kill scene and they did not cut away from the impact of Gavin’s head exploding like a Gallagher watermelon underneath the hammer I knew I was in for a modern throwback to 80s slashers. I walked out feeling like the Halloween and horror season had officially begun. 

Hell Fest was directed by Gregory Plotkin and written by a team consisting of Seth M.Sherwood, Blair Butler, and Akela Cooper writing the screenplay with the story written by William Penick, Christopher Sey, and Stephen Susco. The soundtrack is full of electronic music that ranges from eerie to party sounds by Bear McCreary, John Massari, Brendan McKian, and Crisis Couture. 

The film stars Amy Forsyth as Natalie, Reign Edwards as Brooke and her boyfriend Christian James as Quinn, Bex Taylor-Klaus as Taylor and their boyfriend Matt Mercurio as Asher, and Roby Attal as Gavin. The movie gets some extra genre cred and a nod to horror fans with Tony-friggin-Todd as The Barker at the show. Stephen Conroy plays the killer, known as The Other. 

Hell Fest was filmed in Atlanta at Six Flags White Water with many of the actors and characters in the beginning of the film are from Netherworld Haunted House in neighboring Stone Mountain, Georgia, one of the Top 10 haunted attractions in the U.S. Many of the set decorations were borrowed from Six Flags Over Georgia Fright Fest in Atlanta. During promotion of the film, the production team designed haunted houses for Six Flags in L.A., St. Louis, and Chicago. 

With the vibrant colorations, interactive setting, and bold music, if you alter some of the dialogue and take out the cell phones, it plays like an 80’s campy slasher at its core. The group of friends planning to have fun at a party or some sort of event then it takes a turn as they’re picked off one by one by a masked killer. We saw this in movies like Terror Train, Prom Night, and Happy Birthday To Me. Most of all, it takes cues from Tobe Hooper’s 1981 film, The Funhouse. In The Funhouse, four friends decide to be funny and secretly spend a night in a funhouse at a carnival where they witness a murder and are then hunted by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask. Hell Fest goes as far as playing off of the tagline for The Funhouse which is “Pay to get in. Pray to get out,” and put “Fun getting in. Hell getting out,” on their posters.

While our characters aren’t shelled out enough to give us a Final Girl by the more standard definition, we do get two survivor girls, including one that’s POC. It’s such a low bar for movies to pass the Bechdel test and have characters of color who survive and yet so many movies fail to reach it.

The haunted attraction industry might only appear for a few months a year (not taking into account the weeks and months of planning and building behind them), but it makes bank. According to Forbes, there’s an estimated 4,000 haunted attractions operating in the U.S. that make up an industry that brings in about $300 million dollar per year. It’s estimated that 100 countries around the world have some sort of haunted attraction that they put on during the Halloween season. Behind the attractions, there’s businesses and groups The Haunted Attraction Association and the International Association of Haunted Attractions, tradeshows and expos, magazines, evolving technologies, and more to this professional industry. 

The opening kill in Hell Fest shows a young teenage girl getting killed inside of a haunted attraction at the Orange Grove Community Fair Horror Night and her body being left displayed along with other dead body props inside the attraction. The main characters later bring this up as something that sounds like an urban legend but “actually happens” because it happened in Orange Grove a couple of years prior and the girl’s body wasn’t discovered for three days because everyone just thought that she was a prop. 

Have people actually been “splatter movie killed”, splayed, and displayed inside of a haunted house? No.

But, it is true that people have died at haunted attractions due to accidents. On multiple occasions, actors have put a noose around their necks, intent on it being fake and scaring patrons, but the actors slip and fall and the rope either breaks their neck or constricts their windpipe long enough for them to die. In 2016, at Disneyland Paris, a worker was electrocuted and died while performing maintenance at Phantom Manor. Later in 2016, in Missouri, a pick-up truck collided with a tractor that was pulling a trailer for a hayride and killed three passengers, including two children. In September 2017, a 21 year old surnamed Cheung was struck by a part of moving machinery at the “Buried Alive” maze at a Halloween event at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Investigators believed that “entered into an area for mechanical operations that was not open to visitors and was hit by a mechanical part” and Cheung was later pronounced dead at the hospital. 

In September 2015, I attended Horrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis. During one of the after hours parties, I met Alice, who was dressed up as Beetlejuice, striped suit and make up and all. In the following years, Alice would be the first to greet me on the convention floor, usually already in full costume. During Horrorhound Weekend 2018, Alice was in her asylum costume that first day and the downtown Indianapolis hotel was full of unsuspecting guests, including the San Francisco 49er’s football team, who were in town for a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Recently, Alice was gratuitous enough to talk to me about some of her personal experiences as a seasoned actor in a haunted attraction. 

How many years have you worked as an actor in a haunted attraction? How many different ones have you worked in?

Alice: I’ve been a haunter for 8 years of my life. I started as a volunteer actor at a local haunt called Barn of Terror or something like that. Then the rest of my career was spent at Indy Scream Park in Anderson.

What led you into working at a haunted attraction? 

I always wanted to be a haunter from my first experience in a haunt with my family. The actors would always ask me to join after we went through. It made me so happy to realize I could scare people as a job.

What sorts of characters have you done? How long does it usually take for you to get dressed and made up each night?

The first year I was a vampire and was responsible for my own makeup and costume. It was very simple and didn’t need much effort to get the job done. My beginning years of Scream Park I worked in Bedlam 3D the clown attraction. There were lasers and dubstep and neon colors. The makeup was blacklight paint which I would do the base for, the makeup team did the rest (sometimes very badly) so i would have to touch it up myself. Getting in full costume, hair, makeup, contacts probably took around 30 to 45 min. When I moved to Brickmore Asylum in my third year costume and makeup was much easier and faster. Instead of multi piece clown suits, we all mostly got a patient’s jumper, sometimes a straight jacket and maybe pants. I of course spruced it up as the people eater with white or red contacts and extra sharp teeth. Over the years I added a certain amount of upgrades like knee pads, joint wraps, and eventually made my own costume so I could take it home and wash it each week. By far Brickmore was where I felt most at home. Turns out going feral was my calling.

How much of a physical toll does it take on your body? 

It is without a doubt the most physically demanding job I’ve ever worked. Each season you were guaranteed at least one broken or fractured bone, one debilitating respiratory infection, and one assault by a customer. Most of the time you’d get more than one. I’ve broken fingers, slammed my spine on a butcher’s block, stabbed my hands with metal or shattered porcelain, been tripped or body slammed by customers. You name it.

The killer in Hell Fest targets teens who make catty and sarcastic remarks to the actors. How many times a night would people come through and be disrespectful to the actors?

Oh yeah, Anderson is mostly rednecks and shitty teenagers so we would get at least 40% disrespectful customers. And our park served alcohol in the midway so you can guess how many of those were intoxicated people. On our busiest nights security couldn’t even keep up with it and we would lose half the customers who had been reported.

Have you or anyone you’ve worked with been injured by the acts of a customer? Is it a frequent occurrence? 

Yeah, everyone gets hurt by customers unless you are in a safe spot like a cage or drop window. There was a girl one season who got punched in the face almost every weekend and had to go home. Drunk rednecks are nasty.

What would you want to tell customers on behalf of haunt workers everywhere?

In a perfect world, the customers wouldn’t drink before the haunt, they would never touch the actors. I never understood why people would pay $30 a pop just to fight actors or insult the park… if you’re not scared that’s fine. Shut the fuck up and keep moving. Don’t touch things or ask the actors for their phone numbers. Stop trying to get the actors to break character. And Dont bring your 3yo into the haunt unless you’ve raised them to handle it.

To see more of Alice’s cosplays and creative works, you can check out her Facebook and Instagram pages below:

https://www.facebook.com/Alicesmonsters

https://www.instagram.com/mysticmothersketchbook/

Maybe we’re not going to have haunts to go through or movie going experiences this fall, but until then, we can watch Hell Fest with a giant bowl of popcorn because this fits right in with campy slashers for the season. 

And when we are able to go back to haunted houses, don’t be an asshole and respect the workers. 

Children Of The Night- Songs About Vampires

“Vampires Will Never Hurt You” My Chemical Romance

“And if the sun comes up

Will it tear the skin right off our bones?

And then, as razor sharp white teeth

Rip out our necks, I saw you there”

The early 2000s were prime for the marriage of emo and metalcore and vampires. 

“Vampires Will Never Hurt You” was the debut single from My Chemical Romance. Released on May 27, 2002, the cover featured a still from Halloween III: Season of the Witch. The song became the third track on their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, released the following July. 

Lead singer Gerard Way had been a comic writer and artist before the formation of My Chemical Romance and still is (see Umbrella Academy). At the time of the recording of Bullets, he had been working on a vampire comic that never got completed but he said it’s part of the reason why vampires come up in the lyrics. 

“A Vampire’s Lament” Atreyu

“I used to be golden, a saint in a time of sorrow

But then the turning came and I kissed the sun goodbye

Don’t you get it? It’s always darker in my eyes”

Metalcore pioneers Atreyu released their debut album entitled Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses in 2002. The album featured some re-recorded versions of songs from their second EP, Fractures in the Reflection of Your Porcelain Beauty. One of the newly written songs was “A Vampire’s Lament”. 

I’d also be lying if I said there wasn’t a period when I was in middle school where I listened to this album on a loop. 

“The Crimson” Atreyu

“And with blood tears in my eyes

I’m an Anne Rice novel come to life

I can’t hide the monster anymore

One can only feel desolate for so long

Until one starts to change

Into something the mirror doesn’t recognize”

The third single from their second album, The Curse, the music video for “The Crimson” received airplay on MTV2’s Headbangers Ball and FUSE. The Curse gave Atreyu more commercial success than their debut album, reaching #32 on the Billboard 200 in and #1 on the US Independent Albums in 2004, where Suicide Notes peaked at only #30. The album art features a woman in a red bra with her mouth slightly open, but the deluxe release art in 2005 gives us a much clearer look at her teeth, which include bright white vampiric fangs. 

Her Portrait In Black” Atreyu

“Can you feel her burning through your veins

She will always live forever

Can you bear the burden?”

The 2006 sequel to vampires vs. lycans film Underworld, titled Underworld: Evolution, followed the soundtrack suit and released a soundtrack full of gothic/electronic/metal/industrial music. Underworld: Evolution Original Motion Picture Soundtrack January 10, 2006, ten days before the wide release of the film. Featured was an original song by Atreyu, “Her Portrait In Black”, which also got a music video featuring clips from the movie intertwined with a performance by the band and glimpses of a vampiric version of lead vocalist, Alex Varkatzas. 

“Bloodbath & Beyond” Ice Nine Kills

“I’ve crossed an ocean of time,

Caused unspeakable crime

But I would not change a bloody thing

Hunted by all mankind but they’re one step behind”

As part of their literary concept album Every Trick In The Book, Ice Nine Kills wrote the song “Bloodbath & Beyond” about Bram Stoker’s gothic horror classic, Dracula. Stoker’s novel was first published in 1897 and introduced us to the characters of Count Dracula and doctor/monster hunter Professor Abraham Van Helsing. 

Looking back at the novel, lead singer Spencer Charnas told Metal Hammer that, “Equal parts sinister and sexy, this novel introduced the world to perhaps the most famous monster of all time.”

“Vampire Kiss” Stellar Corpses

“As the sky grows dark

A fallen star is there to light your way

The Devil knows what we are

And I thought I heard him say

We sleep all day

We party all night

Never grow old

It’s fun to be one of us”

Horror punks Stellar Corpses released their single “Vampire Kiss” on Halloween 2011. The song appeared on their second album, Dead Stars Drive-In, was released in January of 2012. The music video for “Vampire Kiss” stars Alycia Paulsen and features appearances from AFI bassist Hunter Burgan and music producer Joe McGrath. Along with appearing in their music video, Burgan did backing vocals on the songs “Vampire Kiss”, “Evil Dead” and “Dead Stars Drive-In”. AFI guitarist, Jade Puget, also left his mark with the album, doing sound design for the song “Be Still My Heart”

“Lost Boys The 69 Eyes

“We are dead until dark

But that’s another thing

Nothing really matters

Behind the shades of blue”

Forming in 1989, Finnish goth rockers The 69 Eyes are still going strong with their own brand of “Goth ‘n’ Roll”, even referred to as “Helsinki Vampires”. 

Their first CD that was released in the US, and seventh album overall, was 2004’s Devils via Virgin Records. “The Lost Boys” was the first single, with a music video directed by Bam Margera that was recorded between Philadelphia and Rainbow Room in Hollywood. 

“Everyone I Know Has Fangs” He Is Legend

“I’ve been meaning to look behind your smile.

I’ve seen it a half a million times.

So how’d I not noticed that you have fangs?”

If I didn’t sing my praises of He Is Legend enough in my Main To Colorado Road Trip Playlist- Songs Inspired By Stephen King then please allow me to continue. 

In 2008, the band announced in a blog post that they would be taking a musical sabbatical in the woods of North Carolina. On April 24, 2008, they posted four demos on their Myspace page from their retreat, including the song “Everyone I Know Has Fangs”. The album that those songs would be featured on, It Hates You, wouldn’t be released until July 13, 2009. 

“Blood Cave” Argyle Goolsby

“Hey Mike! – You’re changing quick.

Your balmy skin is screeching at the sun.

Hey Mike! – You’re getting sick.

Welcome to this undead way of fun.”

Horror punk musician Argyle Goolsby has been in the game since the late 90s when he was a part of Blitzkid. Along with collaborating with numerous other acts in the horor punk scene, including members of The Misfits and Mister Monster, Argyle Goolsby has released a few solo albums and singles as Argyle Goolsby and the Roving Midnight. His 2017 album Darken Your Doorstep features songs about movies monsters such as The Babadook and the vampires from The Lost Boys as they’re recruiting Michael in the song “Blood Cave”. 

“We Only Come Out At Night” Motionless In White

“We are the children of the night and we are rising from the grave.

To haunt you in your sleep and drink you from your neck.

We only come out at night”

Opens with a sampling of Bela Lugosi in Universal’s Dracula delivering the infamous spooky line, “Listen to them, children of the night, what music they make.”

Motionless In White weren’t hesitant to release merch with images of vampire characters on them, notably a hoodie with Christopher Lee as Dracula in the 1958 Hammer Horror film. 

Featured on their debut album, Creatures, “We Only Come Out At Night” is about vampires, generic and notable, with lyrics that also nod to Joel Schumacher’s 1987 cult vampire classic The Lost Boys- 

“Cry little sister and save these, 

and save these lost boys, 

thou shall not fall, we can’t fall

Be one of us.”

“Your Neck” Alkaline Trio

“We’re the things that go bump in the night that you can’t see

We’re the mishaps that always happen in threes

This ain’t no rocket science, no big mystery

Why the light of day that’s shown to us

Is absolutely meaningless to me”

Dan Ozzi of Differuser wrote that Alkaline Trio wrote lyrics that, “combine the macabre imagery of the Misfits with the clever turns of phrases of Jawbreaker,” and there could not be a more accurate description. Their fifth studio album, Crimson, was released in 2005 and featured dark lyrical content about Susan Atkins of the Manson Family with the song “Sadie”, the trial of the West Memphis Three with “Prevent This Tragedy”, and vampires with “Your Neck”. 

In the fall of 2005, Alkaline Trio toured with My Chemical Romance, so between the bands and the fans in attendance there were a lot of vampiric vibes, for sure. 

“Santa Carla Twilight” Tiger Army

“If you want forever close your eyes and surrender to me

Just remember today was the last that you’ll ever see the sun

In Santa Carla”

Playing their first show in 1996 at the famous 924 Gilman Street venue in Berkeley, California, Tiger Army released their first EP in 1997. Led by guitarist and vocalist Nick 13, Tiger Army has released six albums, four EPS, and appeared on a dozen compilations. 

Known for a psychobilly sound that layers in country, punk, and the blues, Tiger Army sing about love, loss, ghosts, and the occasional vampire. “Santa Carla Twilight” appears on their third studio album, 2004’s Tiger Army III: Ghost Tigers Rise. The song title references Santa Carla, the city in which The Lost Boys is set. 

The Science of Stephen King: Book Review

The Science of Stephen King: The Truth Behind Pennywise, Jack Torrance, Carrie, Cujo, and More Iconic Characters from the Master of Horror by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence

Brought to you by the authors of The Science of Monsters and The Science of Women In Horror, we’re about to dive into The Science of Stephen King. 

From Carrie to The Institute, they work chronologically through Stephen King’s (and Richard Bachman’s) writing career, taking into account King’s personal life experiences at the times he was writing. 

As Meg says in the introduction, “Every ‘constant reader’ remembers the first time they delved into the delicious horror of Stephen King”, and this rings true for me. I was in middle school and it was Carrie, followed soon thereafter by Misery. I would carry the books with me to read when there would be free time in class or at lunch. Middle school seems to be the prime time for young, assigned-female-at-birth horror fans to meet Carrie and rightfully so. Leave it to a book written by women about Stephen King to teach me more about menstruation than health classes ever did. 

Contributions come from interviews with a crisis therapist, a Native American artist, a substance abuse counselor, an art therapist, a survivalist, a beer brewing enthusiast, co-author of Gwendy’s Button Box Richard Chizmar….and more. It’s pretty cool when you can interview professionals in their respective fields who also happen to be fans of King’s work. 

The writing style is where you can fall down a rabbit hole of research but you say, “I have a reason for this, I swear, so stick with me.” But if you’re also interested in research loops of history and how it relates to the topic at hand then it’s very fun. Even if you’re not, it doesn’t feel exhaustive as you’re reading it. Other topics covered include, but not limited to, mental illness, history lessons, technology, past and present medical science, and true crime.

There’s also a timely honesty to the book, not ignoring our current situations with coronavirus pandemic and climate crisis and how painfully similar it all is to King’s novels The Stand and Under The Dome

The Science of Stephen King hits shelves on October 6th.

Here’s a link where you can order this as well as other works by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence.

The Science of Stephen King on Amazon https://t.co/rfZKdB8vAh?amp=1

A Playlist For An Exorcist

“The Exorcist” Possessed

“Unleashed men of sin

Hatred hell within

Sinners hate will die

The Exorcist

I can see the light

I don’t want to burn

Help me save my soul

Let me live”

In 1985, death metal band Possessed recorded and released their debut album, Seven Churches, while lead singer and bassist Jeff Becerra and guitarist Larry LaLonde were still juniors in high school. Producer Randy Burns took Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” (the theme song from The Exorcist), arranged it, and performed it for the album’s opening track, “The Exorcist”. 

The song has been covered by other death metal bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Cavalera Conspiracy, Human Compost, and Death, 

“Communion Of The Curse” Ice Nine Kills

“So round and round I spin my head

Circulate the blood that I have shed

Pass the cup and drink from me instead

Savor the taste and quench your thirst

With the communion of the cursed

Get on your knees and prove your worth

Don’t raise your filth to me

I know you’re in there, Regan

Just continue to breathe.”

Ice Nine Kills took inspiration from literary classics for their fourth album, Every Trick In The Book. Released in 2015, the album hit the charts in the States, reaching #122 on the Billboard 200 and reaching #1 on Billboard Heatseekers Album. 

In an interview with Metal Hammer, frontman Spencer Charnas told fans that, “We wanted this song to pay homage to the brilliantly twisted story, while exposing people to this time-tested literary gem.” The band also released a music video for this song which recreated some of the iconic scenes from the movie. 

“Linda Blair” Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space

“You once really gave me the creeps

Endless nights I could not sleep

Seeing your head spinning around 

Turned my whole world upside down”

Opens with sampling of Father Karras introducing himself to possessed Regan, who responds, “And I’m the Devil”.

Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space formed in 2002 in Vienna, Austria. To date, they have released nine albums, including an acoustic live album, a Christmas album, and a greatest hits compilation. 

“Linda Blair” appears on their album Toxic Terror Trax and the song is a horror punk ballad to Linda Blair and her gruesome portrayal of a possessed girl.

“Nice Day For An Exorcism” Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space

“Can someone call me a priest

Cause i’m already down on my knees

I beg for mercy and salvation

It’s a nice day for an exorcism”

Taken from Regan’s line, “What an excellent day for an exorcism,” Bloosucking Zombies From Outer Space released “Nice Day For An Exorcism” as a single in 2018, complete with a Ouija board. The song was released ahead of their 2019 album All These Fiendish Things

“Love At First Fright” The Murderdolls

“I’d love it if you’d spin your head for me

Or vomit a beautiful pea soup green

So beautifully”

And here we have another ballad for Linda Blair’s grotesque character. 

Horror punk musician Wednesday 13, known for his solo work as well as his work with Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, was approached by Slipknot’s drummer (at the time), Joey Jordison, to join a horror punk/metal band that he was putting together. That band became known as The Murderdolls. 

The Murderdolls only released two albums, the first being Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls in 2002. The album featured fifteen tracks, including this ode to Linda Blair. 

“The Exorcist” Primal Fear

“Strapped and gagged into my bed

An iron crown upon my head

Finger scratch upon the wall

Maggots on my skin – my eyes are red”

German power metal band Primal Fear formed in 1997 and are still going strong, with their most recent album, Metal Commando, being released in July 2020. Primal Fear are known for their lyrics about science fiction and fantasy and they occasionally delve into horror, as they did with “The Exorcist”.

“The Exorcist” appears on their eighth album, which was released in 2009, 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead)