Jul 20 2016

Godzilla Marathon Promos

Godzilla movie marathons were a common staple of 90’s television programming, even before the hype over Tristar’s 1998 disappointment started. Although most of them were promoted by simply combining narration with clips from the films, some stations rolled up their sleeves to create something truly special. Our first example comes to us from WGN, as uploaded by tvbrain:

I actually tuned in during the final day of the “Oh My God-zilla!” marathon after this very same bumper caught my attention while channel surfing. I don’t know what was more exciting to me, the marathon or how I was watching one of those “superstations” I heard so much about. I also remember footage from the promo being recycled as bumpers during the commercial breaks. I just wish I could remember whether it was in 1995 or 1996!

But as fun as WGN’s toy Godzilla trashing a model of Chicago was, only one marathon deserves to wear the crown. The one that immediately sprang to mind when most people read the title of this article: “Godzillabash ’94.” While most of the marathons I was familiar with only used a portion of what was then known as the UPA package of Godzilla movies, TNT showed the whole thing on one glorious Thanksgiving weekend: Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Godzilla’s Revenge and Terror of Mechagodzilla. They even threw in some episodes of the Hanna Barbera Godzilla cartoon for good measure! But that’s not what made the marathon truly special. No, that was due to its special promo. Sure, it was made up entirely of footage from the movies, but its inventive transitions and being styled as some sort of government file on Godzilla helped set it apart. Well, that, and how it was set to the music of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla.” I can’t be the only one whose first exposure to the song was through this promo, as uploaded by vastnessoftheabyss:

I definitely wasn’t the only one puzzled by the ad referring to Gabera as “Baragon,” as later versions of the above video had the offending segment removed. As you can see in the additional promos and bumpers uploaded by TheH-Man, Gabera was correctly identified in the narration for another ad:

I suspect this goof was the result of someone at TNT having consulted one of John Stanley’s Creature Features movie guides or Donald C. Willis’ Horror and Science Fiction Films II, both of which identified Baragon as the film’s main villain. Old school G-fans will remember how an appalling amount of American reference books which contained inaccurate information about Japanese monster movies. I once read one which referred to Gigan as “Borodan” (presumably since they consulted the American publicity materials for Godzilla vs. Megalon rather than actually watch the movie). I think the same book might claimed Godzilla battled “King Baragon” in a movie! It’s hard to say, given the sheer amount of such books I went through looking for information on Godzilla movies before I had regular internet access. Whoever put this together presumably had access to both the internet and footage from the movie where Gabera’s name is mentioned, so their decision to use a movie guide instead is truly mystifying.

As the years went on, Godzilla movies migrated away from location stations and basic cable into the world of premium channels. The UPA package was acquired and expanded by Classic Media, which eventually became part of Dreamworks! The release of Legendary’s Godzilla did result in Turner Classic Movies showing a bunch of the classic Shōwa films and one of the Starz channels occasionally runs marathons of the Heisei films Sony has the rights to. Perhaps we’ll see more Godzilla marathons (and specially made promos) once the Legendary films wind up on one of the major networks. Until then, all we can do is hope the eventual move to streaming and video on demand services doesn’t wipe out this sort of thing.

Jul 06 2016

Movie Review: Tower of Evil (1972)

Tower of evil posterZombos Says: Good

Normally, Tower of Evil, also known as Beyond the Fog and Horror on Snape Island, a Shepperton Studios' budget-minder with process shots (you know them as phony background scenes), get-it-done scene lighting, and enough bare buttocks and breasts to raise an eyebrow's–if nothing else–worth of attention, wouldn't be worth a critical mention. The story, however, does warrant one.

Attractive young people running around au naturel looking for action, then getting more action they hoped for, would become a staple of popcorn-munching horror fans later in the 1970s, when cutting up nubile teenagers in ever more creative ways became the box-office drawing power to emulate. Here we see an inkling of that direction to come, salted with supernatural and Gothic elements, making Tower a notable transitional horror movie if nothing else.

Gurney and his father, John (George Coulouris), are heading to Snape Island in the opening scene. It's late at night, or too early in the morning, with darkness and dense fog obscuring the many rocks aiming to cripple their small boat as they approach the island. They have important business to finish that couldn't wait. On the island, more gory business greets them with one severed hand, one severed head, two dead males, and an understandably upset survivor wielding a mean knife in her frenzied breakdown. The mystery begins, and it's added to when the large, solid gold, and ancient sword used to pin one of the victims to a door, like a bug to a board, perks the interest of the police and archaeologists who believe it's part of a sizable Phoenician burial treasure. The impaled, door-hanging, male reminded me of a similar door-hanging murder seen in Carpenter's Halloween.

The survivor, Penny (Candace Glendenning), is comatose and placed under psychiatric evaluation. The police have to wait for answers as a very progressive psychiatrist rolls out a syringe and flashing colored lights to hypnotize Penny into recalling what happened. Given the long sideburns, bell-bottom pants, and Barrymore-collared shirts worn in this movie, the flashing lights fit right in. Her brief but vivid recollections provide flashbacks that exploit the gore and nudity. Each flashback digs deeper into Penny's mind allowing O'Connolly to cut back and forth between what happened to her and what is happening on the island, now that the archaeologists and Gurney have returned to it to find the hidden treasure. The gruesome deaths, the mystery of the sword, the isolation of the lighthouse, and hints of the former lighthouse keeper's family tragedy provide plot depth that goes beyond simply waiting and watching for people to be killed. Equal attention is also given to male and female nudity, a savvy move that broadens the movie's audience appeal. We get to see John Hamill's tight bum as much as Glendenning's perky breasts. Murderous intent also is equally distributed among the sexes and not driven by the undercurrent of misogynistic contempt seen in later slasher slaughterfests. 

It's easy to forgive the obvious pandering to the audience; many horror movies do it to pad weak storylines while titillating audiences anyway, but the sexual display and tension here works with the movie, not against it, especially when you've written a horny Phoenician god into the subplot. Of course, slasher enthusiasts will reason that lusting and groping is necessary to initiate the morality-righting vengeance of the killer, which brings back propriety and social stability by butchering its flaunters. Bouncing bare breasts and firm derrières do little to bring in box office, of course, so the enthusiasts may have a point. Hard to excuse is the cheap trick of re-releasing Tower in 1981, re-titled Beyond the Fog, in hopes of cashing in on The Fog's success by faking Tower as a sequel to John Carpenter's more studious movie. That's pretty low, even by today's standards of marketing.

I can be fairly lenient with Jim O'Connolly's (Valley of Gwangi) direction. It's tight and sufficient for generating enough atmosphere to move his (and George Baxt's) story along at a no-dawdling pace. He makes good use of his studio-bound frame depth and the few sets where the events take place, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere suitable for terror with his close camera and its angles, especially in the caves running under the lighthouse. Bolstering the ensemble of frisky and bickering characters is Jack Watson's Hamp Gurney. He's steady as a rock while everyone else is being chipped away around him. His heavily-lined face, strong masculine presence, and ability to move effortlessly to the foreground or background of a scene is always impressive to watch. His classy presence benefits every movie he's in. The usual bickering and libidinous undercurrents break out among the boys and the girls, but he's just along for the ride. Or is he? His secret agenda adds a little more suspense and mystery as everyone does what they shouldn't by opening doors best left closed, walking up to rocking chairs that shouldn't be rocking in the dark by themselves, investigating odd sounds alone, and meandering through damp caves after splitting up. 

I must be less lenient with Desmond Dickinson's (City of the Dead, Horrors of the Black Museum) set lighting. Moonlit scenes are shown in bright, full color, and the lighthouse model isn't lit in such a way as to help camouflage that it is a model–and it's not helped by the dry ice haze, either. The lighthouse interiors are overly lit–you can't get that much steady light from paraffin lamps–but the narrow stairway, small rooms, and the abandoned condition they're in, along with the creaky furnishings, provide an adequate level of unease for us as much as it does for the archaeologists and investigator (Bryant Haliday) hoping to either find the gold or the truth. To be fair to Dickinson, using the Technicolor process could have reduced the amount of light hitting the film stock, requiring increased lighting on the set. Given his black-and-white background, Dickinson may have overcompensated with too much lighting for his color scenes given the film stock used. Or he simply had no choice and did the best he could with what he had to work with. But I have no reservations in recommending Tower of Evil to the slasher fan who thinks he or she's seen it all, or any horror fan not satisfied, so far, by 2014's paucity of decent horror fare to scream at.

This article originally appeared at From Zombos’ Closet.

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Jul 03 2016

6’+ Episode 185 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“We’re back and just in time to celebrate the best horror punk and surf music of 2016 — so far. Enjoy tracks from THE TERRORSURFS, THE NIELSENS, THE JASONS, GENKI GENKI PANIC, AARON & THE BURRS and so much more. Monstermatt Patterson busts out his best bad monster jokes and the paradox almost ends the universe as we know it in another MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jun 19 2016

The Poe of the Screen

By GLADYS JONES

When the editor told me that I was booked to interview Henry B. Walthall I was both elated and dismayed. Elated because I was to meet the hero of so many wonderful pictures, and dismayed because I was–well, let’s say a little afraid. My imagination had led me to think that the man was something mighty, a man to be treated as one out of many. So, when I arrived at the Essanay plant, I was surprised to find that Mr. Walthall was considered very easy to interview. When I go to interview a person, I generally get some of the minor details from the publicity department. So I went there first, and as I was still rather timorous, I asked one of the young men there to introduce me to Mr. Walthall.

Together we wended our way through what seemed to be miles of dressing rooms, bearing many prominent names. Little Ruth Stonehouse sat in her dressing room and gave me a cheering hail. On, down past the wardrobe and into the bachelors’ room we roamed. There, seated in the corner, were several men playing cards to while away their leisure hours. Bryant Washburn, that handsome young hero-villain, had just won a hand, the game being pinochle, and the rest of the crowd were having a great time over it. One of these was the man I sought, and though I hated to stop the game, I was going to see him whether the others liked it or not.

My guide called Mr. Walthall from the game and explained to him what I wanted, to which Mr. Walthall assented gracefully. Turning to the others he called, “Going to be busy for a while boys. Go on without me.”

Groans and much peevishness greeted this remark, and Charlie Stein, who, under ordinary conditions, is about as good-natured as possible, remarked, “Ain’t it just like a woman to bust up a game like that. Just as I was getting interested, too.”

“Shut up,” remarked Bryant, in an undertone, “she’ll hear you.”

Charlie promptly subsided, and Mr. Walthall led the way to a couple of chairs near the wardrobe room, and smiling engagedly, asked: “Well, how shall we begin?”

“I suppose I ought to ask you where you were born and when and all that,” I replied; “but I found it all out in the publicity department before I saw you, so you might tell me why you went on the stage in the first place.”

poeofthescreen1

“Well,” laughed Mr. Walthall, “you are an industrious person, aren’t you? Why I went on the stage? I went on the stage because the narrow confines of the bar and legal oratory did not give my dramatic expression room to exert itself. You see, my father had law all picked out as my ultimate occupation, and one of the things we learned in the South is to obey our parents, so I took up law. I guess you might say that I was a partial success; but I didn’t particularly like the stuff, so, when the Spanish-American war broke out, I enlisted and went to Cuba. When the war was over I came back and got a position in a stock company. I succeeded fairly well there, and played in a great many companies in the East.

“One evening in the Players’ Club in New York, I heard of a friend of mine, Jim Kirkwood, who was making a good deal of progress in motion pictures, and although I had always looked down on the picture actor, I looked up Jim, and his enthusiasm prompted me to try my hand at the game.

“My first part was that of a ditch digger; but I guess it was a success, for they gave me a good part in the next picture. I first played with the Biograph Company, where I met David Griffith, with whom I have spent many very pleasant working hours. He is a great director, with a mind that is always on the go. I have often wondered when he slept, for he always seemed to have a new idea ready for any occasion.

“When Griffith went West with the Majestic forces on what was then the newest program, the Mutual, he took several of the Biograph people with him. Mabel Normand, Blanche Sweet and the Gish girls were some of them. Out in California Griffith seemed to be able to do whatever he wanted to, so we got out some exceptional film. “The Avenging Conscience” and “The Birth of a Nation’ were two of the largest, and probably the best I ever worked in out there.

“About that time Mr. Spoor of this company made me a very flattering offer, and I felt that I could not afford to pass it up. Since I came here I have had some exceptionally good pictures to play in, and Essanay have done everything they could to help me make really great pictures. ‘Temper’ was my first Essanay release, and my latest is “The Raven, in which I portray the character of Edgar Allen Poe, whom I consider one of the greatest dramatic poetry writers of our country.”

poeofthescreen2

Mr. Walthall looked at his watch, and then said, “I have an appointment at four-thirty, and it’s nearly that now. Don’t you think you have enough interview for one time?”

I sighed. “I was so interested in all that you told me that I forgot all about it being an interview, but I guess it will make a mighty good one, if I can remember all the things you have said.”

“Good heavens,” he replied, “are you going to write everything I have said?”

“Every word I can remember,” I replied, “and anything else I can think about you. For instance, the world is interested in your hair and eyes, and where you were born and”–

“Enough! enough!” he cried, “when you have written all that you will have told all there is to tell.”

“Just one thing more,” I pleaded.

“Well, if you insist,” he smiled. “I never was good at refusing the last wish of a lady. What is it?”

“Are you married?” I asked, with a catch in my voice.

“No,” he replied, and I thought I caught a touch of sadness in his voice. “Not even married. You see, there’s not much interesting about me.” He looked, at his watch again “It’s a quarter of five, so I must go.”

“But I want some pictures,” I exclaimed.

“Well, perhaps Mr. Washburn will get some for you,” he replied, turning to that individual, “Bryant, get out some pictures for me, will you? I have to keep an appointment.”

“Sure,” replied that good-looking villain-hero, “anything to please the ladies.”

He was very nice and gave me a lot of pictures of Mr Walthall, who was making a grand dash for the door. I guess dramatic expression is part of his make-up, for his face says as much as his mouth, and he has the most expressive eyes I have ever seen. They just seem to talk, too. And the publicity department was right when they said he was easy to interview. It wasn’t any trouble at all, and I hope you enjoy my version as much as I did.

[This post is based around an article included in the January 1915 issue of Feature Movie Magazine (Volume 5, Issue 1). Although as much effort as possible was put into preserving the article as it originally appeared, some aspects of the layout were impossible to replicate. To see the original, head on over to Google Books.]

Jun 18 2016

Free RPG Day Is Here!

It’s time for our annual unofficial celebration of Free RPG Day! So once you’re finished supporting your favorite gaming or hobby store, be sure to check these out:

Did you have you eye on the Quick Start rules for last year’s offerings for Atlantis: The Second Age and Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone but just couldn’t find them at your local store? Than you should be very happy with where those links take you.

Speaking of last year, some of the offers we had in our last free gaming extravaganza are no longer available. Erang is no longer offering free sample tracks of his gaming music. Thankfully several of the free images he had bundled with said downloads are still available on his official Facebook page (at least for the moment). For example, The map for “The Land of Five Seasons” is available in both its original form and a new for 2016 version that shows which parts of the map each of his albums is linked to.

Speaking of maps, Wikipedia has several maps of popular fantasy locations available. It also has some links to free stuff for a game called Time Lord that’s sure to be of any interest to fans of Doctor Who and plenty of information about Dungeons & Dragons retro-clones, like Mazes and Perils.

The Google Books previews for the Wildwood and Gloomland adventures for the Chimera Basic RPG also have a retro-clone feel. Well, that, and plenty of detailed maps and information you can work into your own adventure modules.

Hobgoblin is a far-out game. Adventures hinge on drawing cards, splitting the party seems to be a major game mechanic, and chaotic evil monsters can become loyal friends if you talk to them! At least that’s what we’ve been able to glean from Hobgoblin, an 80’s Dungeons and Dragons panic cash-in novel. Hopefully someone with more experience can figure out how such a RPG would actually be played. But that’s not why it’s being brought up here. No, it’s because stats for a Brobdingnagian are included and could be adapted for use in other games with only some minor adjustments.

The D&D Tips Twitter feed has just what its name implies. It also has a sizeable archive at Sly Flourish. Dungeon’s Master also has lots of great advice for both dungeon masters and players alike.

Dice towers are a fun way to roll your dice. Sometimes they’re even a necessity if you don’t have a big enough gaming space. Both BoardGameGeek and PaperCraftSquare have papercraft versions available for free. But those aren’t the only papercraft gaming accessories we found for you! How does a complete dungeon filled with heroes and monsters (among other goodies) strike you? There’s also dungeon tiles, miniatures, terrain, buildings, maps, and even a kaiju or two waiting for you!

Speaking of kaiju, players of Mecha vs. Kaiju can snag stats for King Ghidorah for use in your next gaming session. Although he’s not a kaiju, you still might want to use the stats for Optimus Prime as well.

Want some games with an old school sci-fi feel? Then try X-plorers (for space travel) or Mutant Future (for post apocalyptic thrills). Hereticwerks even has a bunch of free adventures. Not to be outdone, Swords & Wizardry has a ton of freebies while BLUEHOLME has both its Prentice Rules and character sheets available for you.

Happy Free RPG Day!

As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. Blah blah blah…

Jun 14 2016

Music to Game By VI

As was the case last year, I’m going to take another look at the albums I reviewed for my 2015 “Music to Haunt By” article series with an eye on their use in tabletop role-playing games. But they could also be used while playing certain board games as well. Seeing as how Midnight Syndicate is preparing to release Zombies!!! this September for use with the board game of the same name, it just seemed appropriate to bring up. But said soundtrack could also be used with RPGs like All Flesh Must Be Eaten or Zombiepocalypse. But I digress. The order of the albums once again reflects the order in which I reviewed them and does not reflect personal preference. Although I had to remove some tracks for spacing purposes, you can find the complete tracks in each of the links.

Midnight Syndicate – Whether you’re looking for an album to play continuously or to play select tracks from, The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is perfect for horror and fantasy RPGs. That said, those wishing to play it on a loop might want to avoid the track “Sebed Suite” (due to the use of a dialog sample from the film) and the various rock tracks during the final portion of the album if such things clash with your gaming scenario. The tolling bells, vocals and piano work on display in “‘The Dead Matter’ Main Title” should remind the listener of death and ghosts. “Dangerous Meeting” will enhance encounters with wandering monsters thanks to its unnerving music and roaring sound effects while “Entering the Dusk” is a perfect pairing for encounters with creeping insects and the like. Are your players running away from something? Then play “Unexpected Company” or “Possession,” both of which work just as well as “Hollows Point” does for anything involving a lurking evil presence. But if you need a track which combines both of the previously described feels, then “Trilec Labs” and “Seance” are just what you’re looking for! “Late Night Snack” starts off soft and eerie, but quickly becomes more intense. The occasional footsteps and flapping bats make it a must for dungeon crawls. The menacing “Death is the Answer” will spice up any situation involving a cult, especially since it includes the sounds of chanting in Latin and a woman screaming “stop.” I love the spectral voices in “Sleep” but “You’re So Funny Frank” is my favorite since it combines such voices with soft music and evil laughter.

Jeannie Novak – Things start off with the Horrorshow: Mad House albums. Yes, “albums.” Each of the installments in Jeannie Novak’s “Horrorshow” series are available in synth, piano and ambient versions. However not all versions of each track are the same length. The frantic “Descent (synth)” conveys both nervousness and descending (of course). Naturally, I suggest using this when players have to journey down a flight of stairs or deep into the lower levels of a dungeon. If you’re running a horror RPG and something goes down at a funeral parlor, bust out “Requiem (synth).” “Lament (synth)” creates a sense of just what its name implies and the wordless female vocals and wandering synth work of “Visitation (synth)” create the feel of a visitor from beyond that’s great for séances and summoning rituals. For more specialized scary music, “Phantom (synth)” is quite elegant, “Fugue (synth)” is ethereal and “Solitary (synth)” should remind you of a music box. The next Horrorshow: Mad House is made up of piano music and while most of it is more beautiful than scary, there are a few exceptions. Both “Descent (piano)” and “Nightmare (piano)” would work wonders for a situation where a piano starts playing itself while “Requiem (piano)” is quite mournful. “Descent (ambient)” delivers the sense of unbalance and would work best when paired with a scenario where player characters have to cross a bridge over a seemingly bottomless pit. Ghostly wailing wind forms the bulk of “Requiem (ambient)” and I found “Nightmare (ambient)” to be much more chilling than its synth version. Similarly, “Lament (ambient)” is now less mournful and more chilling. The otherworldly “Visitation (ambient)” could work with an alien realm and “Phantom (ambient)” makes it perfect for any spooky situation.

Horrorshow: Big Top starts off with the (mostly) cheery calliope-sounding music of “Fanfare (synth)” and “Clowncar (synth),” but things become more subdued and slightly mysterious with “Grinder (synth).” “Labyrinth (synth)” has a sneaky feel and “Carousel (synth)” fits in with any situation involving a merry-go-round, scary or otherwise. “Fanfare (piano)” is plodding, yet still happy. It’s like something out of a silent comedy film, so there is potential for use with the Toon RPG. That description also applies for the rest of the piano tracks. Both the synth and piano tracks are neutral enough to work in either scary or normal circus scenarios, while the decidedly scary ambient tracks have almost no musical connection to the circus. The only exception is “Clowncar (ambient)” thanks to both its peppy tone and evil clown laughter. “Grinder (ambient)” is eerie, “Menagerie (ambient)” is very disturbing and “Coulrophobia (ambient)” is otherworldly enough for sci-fi RPGs. “Odditorium (ambient)” is creepy and soft while the similarly soft “Labyrinth (ambient)” has more of a pounding feel. With a name like Horrorshow: Ghost Town, you know you have the perfect soundtrack for a Deadlands session! “Badlands (synth)” offers spooky western piano work, “Rotgut (synth)” brings in the banjos and “Goner (synth)” is a bouncy tune with just a hint of creepy synth tones. “Headless (synth)” is soft and sneaky while “Deadend (synth)” really picks things up in terms of volume. The piano tracks are fairly neutral and sound like something from a saloon or silent movie (just like the circus piano tracks). But there is one exception: the darkness that is “Deadend (piano).” “Badlands (ambient)” is soft and spooky while “Rotgut (ambient)” is made up of winds and distant noises. “Goner (ambient)” is incredibly unearthly and “Venom” has an appropriately slithering feel that’s begging to be used when your players have to fight a giant snake. The wind effects of “Tumbleweed (ambient)” can work in a desert or haunted mine shaft. I love the creeping feel of “Boneyard (ambient).” Why not use it with a situation involving scorpions or spiders? Said creeping also reminds me of rattling bones, so this can also be paired with a skeleton hanging from the gallows. The winds and creaking effects in “Deadend (ambient)” also make it a must, as does its distant harmonica.

Sam Haynes – With its numerous samples and 80’s horror electro feel, The Incredible Dark Carnival definitely brings something new to the world of spooky circus music. You can easily loop it in the background to create an overall feel or use it on a track by track basis. Using tracks with dialogue samples is tricky, but the carnival theme does allow one to play this through a loudspeaker and pass it off as an announcer talking. You could even use the sample on display in “Carnival of the devil” to set the moody of an adventure at a circus or carnival. “At Midnight,” “Death’s Minstrel,” “Nightfall” and “Electric Freakshow” can be used in non-circus horror settings, but the feel of a circus or child’s room is still present in that last one. Even without the samples, both “Here come the clowns” and “Switchblade sideshow” make the presence of evil clowns obvious. The term “eerie” doesn’t even begin to describe “Parade” thanks to its soft lurking tone and wordless female vocals. “Behind the mask” begins with a soft, lurking feel and gradually builds up like a Jack-in-the-box while the buildup in the eerie “Boneyard” is much more restrained. Musical moans form the beat of “Ringmaster” and are soon joined by lighter touches and a circus march you can dance to. The militaristic drums which often appear in this album show up as well. “Funland” has a very soft and slow opening build, but drums kick things up. “Curtain Call” combines a sample with quiet piano music to conjure up an air of sadness. Those who prefer not to use samples can get away with turning down the volume low enough to hide said sample and still get the sense of grief. “Lost Souls” is a must for any situation involving the supernatural. There’s a heavy feeling of dread in the opening, but it does get somewhat lighter when the dance music and chimes put in their appearances.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 09 2016

6’+ Episode 184 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Polish your horns and get ready to sign on the dotted line, because it’s time to go to hell with the rock and roll that’s worth your soul. DAMN LASER VAMPIRES, FLAK BAIT, THE BRIMSTONES, MAZINGA & more give the Devil a run for his money. MONSTERMATT MINUTE gets kicked out of Hell, just in time to listen to the latest KILLER KUT from KRAIG KHAOS.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Jun 07 2016

Free RPG Day Is Coming!

Free RPG Day falls on June 18th this year, so you should start preparing this very instant! Here’s a brief sampling of some of the gaming goodies you can snag:

Call of Cthulhu
Dungeon Crawl Classics/Mutant Crawl Classics
The Dark Eye
Faith: The Sci-Fi RPG
Primeval Thule
Feng Shui 2
Through The Breach
Atlantis: The Second Age
13th Age/Night’s Black Agents
Pathfinder

There are also some nifty free dice (including ones you assemble yourself) mixed in with to the traditional offerings of cards and pencils.

To find out more about the event and see if any retailers near you are participating, check out the official Free RPG Day website. No game stores in your area? Don’t fret, as we’ll be posting our annual collection of free gaming downloads on the big day as part of our unofficial celebration of the event!

May 25 2016

Ghoultown-Life After Sundown

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After what seems like an eternity, horror western punks Ghoultown finally get a vinyl release. Originally released in 2008,Life After Sundown, courtesy of Devils Brew Productions , is 12 tracks of spooky western tales told through the onslaught of that classic western country meets punk gothabilly sound that Ghoultown has perfected over the years.

One of the most interesting things about this album,out on July 31, is the vinyl releases themselves. Released on 3 extremely limited different colored vinyl versions. The most exciting being the colored vinyl/obi strip edition.Not only do all Obi Edition orders come with a 4×4 full color embroidered patch of the cover art, a random inserted mystery item will be hidden behind 3 of the Obi strips. The 3 people lucky enough to receive the copies with the hidden item will not only have their money REFUNDED, they will receive a FREE copy of the colored vinyl Obi Edition of Devil’s Brew Productions’ last release, The Big Bad-See You In The Shadows. That’s 2 awesome records FOR FREE!!

And while Life After Sundown doesn’t mark Ghoultown’s first time on vinyl, it DOES mark their first full length album on vinyl. Ghoultown’s albums are sometimes a little hard to come by, so you don’t wanna miss out on this.

And if you just can’t wait until July 31, then make sure the WiFi in your crypt is working and head on over to Devils Brew Productions  and grab you one of the extremely limited soon to be ultra rare Test Press copies with a special edition sleeve.

Or pick up the original CD from The Ghoultown Shop at http://www.ghoultown.com/shop.htm

 

http://www.devilsbrew.bigcartel.com/

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May 24 2016

6’+ Episode 183 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“A certain legendary horror punk band is reuniting in 2016, so let’s celebrate with cover songs from such devillocked misfits such as ENERGY, VCR, THE BROKEN TOYS, THE CRIMSON GHOSTS, LA BASURA DEL DIABLO and so much more. Monstermatt Patterson will try to convince you that letting Jerry sing was a good idea but that won’t be the biggest laugh you’ll find in THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

May 19 2016

Takeshi Yamada

With roots which trace back to an actual samurai clan, the story of Takeshi Yamada begins in Osaka, Japan. He was born there in 1960 and his passion for artwork started at age 12 thanks to a gift from his father. The early paintings he created at that age led to him deciding on art as a career path later in his teens. Said path eventually led him to America in 1983, where he studied at the California College of the Arts and later at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After obtaining his Bachelor of Fine Art, he went to the University of Michigan School of Art & Design to earn his Master’s degree. His incredible photorealistic paintings, including one of a grindhouse theater in New York, naturally resulted in his work being the subject of many one-man exhibits and displayed in several museums. He is also responsible for several posters, calendar illustrations and even a mural at Six Flags America! But he was not content with mastering one form of artistic expression. That’s when he entered the world of “rogue taxidermy” and sideshow gaffs.

To put it simply, “rogue taxidermy” is the use of taxidermy to create fake animals. Sometimes only actual animal parts are used and sometime other materials are used as well. This is different from a sideshow gaff, which is a completely artificial creation. The concept is hardly new, as the corpses of “baby dragons” were created in medieval times using dead lizards with bat wings sewn onto their bodies. The popularity of such hoaxes even resulted in British scientists initially regarding the platypus as a potential hoax when they were first presented the remains of one in 1798! However, the status of this technique as a valid work of art rather than carnival hucksterism is fairly new. The Rogue Taxidermy website describes it as a form of “pop-surrealist art characterized by mixed media sculptures” and Yamada himself goes into more detail about it in the following videos from IGN and BRIC TV:

His “Museum of World Wonders” is currently spread across three separate Flickr accounts devoted to his creations (in addition to his previously linked personal website). These popular works have also inspired countless others to use his techniques in their prop projects in addition to getting him recognized as one of the biggest names in the sideshow gaff business. Bizarrely, his only film credits appear to be for appearances in a few documentaries. Low budget horror filmmakers should be fighting each other tooth and nail in order to secure his talents for their movies. So spread the word about his work and hopefully we’ll see more of Dr. Yamada on screen. If not, at least we still can appreciate his works in their traditional settings.

Bibliography:

The Michigan Alumnus, May/June 1988. “From East To West: Artist Takeshi Yamada Is On The Move.” Sue Burris.
Takeshi Yamada – Wikipedia
MUSEUM OF WORLD WONDERS 1 | Flickr
MUSEUM OF WORLD WONDERS 2 | Flickr
MUSEUM OF WORLD WONDERS 3 | Flickr
Propnomicon: From Beyond
Propnomicon: The Yamada Texts
Takeshi Yamada – IMDb

May 13 2016

TGIF13: 6’+ Episode 182 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Happy Friday the 13th! It’s the only time in 2016 we can celebrate all things Jason Voorhees, so we get in the spirit with music from THE JASONS, HORROR BUSINESS, ZOMBIE!, PROWLER and a brand new WEREWOLVES IN SIBERIA track. Monstermatt Patterson is the new head counselor at Camp Crystal Lake and that’s almost as frightening as THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

May 11 2016

6’+ Episode 181 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“We unleash MAY-HEM on the world with a hodgepodge weird music podcast full of full of monstrous tunes — such as sweet serenades from NIM VIND, psychobilly blasts from THE NEUTRONZ and EVIL BOBBLEHEAD and horror punk from DEAD STIFF. Monstermatt Patterson proves that mayhem CAN be funny, while his jokes are not, in another edition of THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE. Plus, Kraig Khaos joins in for another tasty KILLER KUT.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

May 08 2016

Free Zombie Music, Volume IV

zombies4

It’s Zombie Awareness Month and you know what that means: 13 free zombie tracks arranged in no particular order. Seeing as how many of the bands made it so the only way to obtain a particular track for free was to download the entire album it was on, you are also getting a ton of other free music as well! Just be sure to click on the link on the left for the free download and the one on the right for the artist’s official website:

“I’m Undead”The Theatre Zombies
“The Planet of the Dead”The Theatre Zombies
“Zombies! Whoa oh!”The Theatre Zombies
“Zombie Crawl”Flak Bait
“Zombie Lake”Ron Hexe and Ghoul Squad
“Zombie’s heart”The Monster Ones
“I Ran With A Zombie”The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies
“The Dance of the Living Dead”The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies
“What’s Eating You?”Zombie Surf Camp
“Surf Zombies R Go!”Zombie Surf Camp
“Now, I Am a Zombie”Zombie Surf Camp
“Surf Zombies on Parade”Zombie Surf Camp
“Zombie Twist (Live)”Zombie Surf Camp

As always, Ray O’Bannon is offering free printable CD sleeves and tons of other zombie goodies for you to enjoy. If you burn this compilation to a disc, I highly recommend using one of his sleeves to store it in. You can even print out the image illustrating this article and glue it onto the sleeve if you want to!

Special thanks to the CDC for offering the open source image (and to Bob Hobbs for creating it)!

As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. We make no guarantees about the future availability of the tracks listed above, so get them while you can. Blah blah blah…

May 07 2016

It’s Free Comic Book Day!

comicbookpanel

Free Comic Book Day is here and once again it’s time for our annual unofficial celebration! Here are but a few of the many free comics that might be of interest to our fans:

The Stuff of Legend – Th3rd World Studios

The Unknowns\Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom – Arcana Comics

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse – Oni Press

Lady Mechanika – Benitez Productions

Mix Tape 2016 – Devil’s Due Publishing/1st Comics

Dark Lilly & Friends – Space Goat Productions

Be sure to visit your local comic book store in order to see the rest! We found a special treat for you today, albeit one that might only be available for a limited time: the band Governor Grimm and the Ghastly Ghouls have made their debut album available as a “Name Your Price” download on Bandcamp! Not only was this the inspiration for a comic book adaptation, but a digital version of the comic is included with the download! But if you want a free download that’s won’t potentially vanish, might we recommend checking out the Uncommon Interests podcast featuring our own Kraig Khaos? It’s a highly informative and entertaining look at comic books, music and films that are often found off the beaten path. No matter what you pick, you’re sure to have a great listening experience as you head out for your freebies!

Happy Free Comic Book Day!

Special thanks to the CDC for offering the open source image (and to Bob Hobbs for creating it)!

As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. Blah blah blah…

May 05 2016

Samson in the Wax Museum

samsonwaxmuseum

Something strange is going on at the wax museum. After a number of patrons vanish, the museum director calls upon the famous hero El Santo (referred to as “Samson” in the English dub) for help. Not only will doing so protect him from harm, but the presence of the legendary “Man in the Silver Mask” should hopefully make people feel safe enough to continue visiting. But since this is a horror movie involving a wax museum, it should be obvious to the viewer who is behind the disappearances (and what they are doing with the victims).

While admittedly far from perfect, “Santo in the Wax Museum” can be a lot of fun and does offer a few chills along the way. There are plenty of wrestling matches scattered throughout the film and they are never boring. Since this is one of the earlier El Santo films, said matches were filmed in front of a screaming crowd rather than on an empty sound stage. Their enthusiasm is infectious and the ring work shows why Santo was as famous as he was. I have never been able to get into watching professional wrestling, but the film’s high-flying lucha libre action was downright captivating. Sadly our hero’s final battle with the wax monsters was something of a let down. Earlier in the film we get plenty of references to the museum having figures of famous horror characters like Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein’s monster. Given the sheer number of wax figures on display, it seems reasonable to assume El Santo will be battling hordes of monsters come to life. Instead he does battle with a handful of generic monsters, including a pig man! They didn’t even try using the same actors wearing different costumes trick! Oh well, at least we still get Santo kicking the crap out of monsters. Although he is pretty ruthless considering how said monsters used to be innocent people. The reason for the focus on animal-based monsters appears to be due to the writer being inspired by The Island of Lost Souls, right down to the villain wanting to create a panther woman. Speaking of the villain, his motivation is bizarre and not something you would ever see in a modern movie (and for good reason).

Although released in 1963 as Santo en el museo de cera (which translates as “Santo in the Wax Museum” in English), the film went directly to American television as Samson in the Wax Museum in 1965. Presumably the name change was either an attempt to make the film seem less foreign or because of potential issues involving use of a direct translation of El Santo’s name (“The Saint”) in the title. Despite being labeled “campy” by some critics, it’s interesting how the Santo films apparently weren’t campy enough for distributors to pick up in order to cash in on the Batman craze the following year. Mainstream American audiences also missed out on his adventures during the superhero media boom of the 70’s. Perhaps a talented wrestler in a mask was just too “normal” when compared to the likes of Superman and the Incredible Hulk? Whatever the case was, we missed out big time. America desperately needs more El Santo.

The now long defunct Beverly Wilshire Filmworks issued this on DVD back in 2000 as a bargain bin title. As expected, it was the barest of bare bones with only menus and a whopping 4 chapter stops. Thankfully the fullscreen transfer didn’t suffer from any compression issues and looked as decent as an unrestored 16mm print could. But there is one point in the film where the action stops, the screen fills with static and then the film starts right where it left off! There has been speculation this is due to a reel change but I can’t make any definitive statement on the matter. All I can say is how it makes determining the exact running time difficult. Let’s just say it was around 90 minutes of El Santo action. There is actually a restored version of the film on DVD from Lions Gate Entertainment under its original title (and coupled with another El Santo film to boot), but it is only available in its original language. I suspect this is the same transfer which occasionally appears on cable. Hopefully the audio from the dub can be coupled with the restored version for a future home video release.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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