Feb 21 2015

White Enamel

10418925_10152922060573120_5165180759990852234_n White Enamel is an interactive self-guided online journey via image, sound and motion picture through the sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but always powerful and profound corridors of the abandoned Glenfield State Psychiatric Hospital.

The now abandon Glenfield State Psychiatric Hospital has a long history of tragedy and horror. On January 28,1911, over 100 patients froze to death after 2 main boilers broke down in middle of a freezing winter.

For Blair Witch fans, yes – it is the very same institution that contained Kyle Brody, who would be committed here in 1966, after having been expelled from the Reston Hills Sanitarium in Atlanta, Georgia when hospital staff could no longer control Brodykb

“The significance of Kyle Brody to White Enamel is based upon a documentary by the same title that captured Kyle Brody on film when institutionalized at Glenfield’s Psychiatric Hospital at MSICI.

 

Brody’s story is unique.  When as a child in Burkittsville, Maryland in 1941, Brody and seven other children were abducted by an old hermit named Rustin Parr who lived in neighboring woods of the Black Hills.  Parr held Kyle Brody and the seven other children captive in the cellar on his home, having then tortured and killed them before burying their bodies in the cellar floor.

 

Kyle Brody would have been the eighth victim had he not had an opportunity to escape Parr’s clutch.

 

On May 25, 1941, Rustin Parr emerged from the woods, walked into a local market and publicly exclaimed he was “finally finished.”  Police hiked for four hours to Parr’s secluded house in the woods to find the bodies of seven missing children in the cellar. Each child had been ritualistically murdered and disemboweled. Parr admitted to everything, telling the authorities that he had done it for “an old woman ghost” who occupied the woods near his house. This was assumed to be the “Blair Witch” according to Parr and local residents who still believed in such a legend.

 

During the murder investigation of the seven Burkittsville children, Kyle Brody came forth with his story of the events that took place.  He explained to police he was forced to stand in a corner facing the wall while Rustin committed the murders.  Ultimately it was young Kyle Brody’s testimony in court that would lead to Parr’s conviction and execution.”

 

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whiteenamel.com takes you through the building of GSPH with interactive 3-D animation,real pictures of the mildewed walls and rusty equipment,disturbing archive footage, haunting sound clips and a soundtrack that will definitely put a little chill in your soul. It is a cross between a film and a video game where you yourself click on certain objects to activate a film clip,sound bite or any number of things.

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Feb 20 2015

6’+ Episode 140 is Up!

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

“Happy Birthday, Poison Ivy of The Cramps! We celebrate with a tribute to The Cramps with covers of their songs by THE MONSTERS, THE 3-D INVISIBLES, NICOTYNA, GEEK MAGGOT BINGO and more! Monstermatt Patterson tries some Bop Pills and we end up with a hangover called 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.

Feb 19 2015

Mr. Vampire: 30 Years of Fear

Mr. Vampire was released on November 7, 1985 and the world has never been the same. I had originally planned on reviewing the film in honor of its 30th anniversary, but scuttled my plans after discovering both the American DVD and VHS releases are grossly overpriced and it would be cruel of me to recommend a film one can’t readily obtain. As it is apparently no longer available on Netflix, your best bet to see the film is to check local stores or libraries.

Given how Mr. Vampire is a successful special effects driven 80’s comedy, it is often compared to Ghostbusters. Some have even gone as far as to say the film was made solely to capitalize on the success of the American film since it was released a year later. In both cases, I can’t say it’s an exact match. The success of Mr. Vampire resulted in numerous sequels (although all except one were sequels in name only) and countless cinematic imitators over the years (that list is only the tip of the iceberg), while Ghostbusters currently has a single sequel film and two related animated series. But it gets complicated when it comes to imitators. While the VHS releases of the live action series The Ghost Busters were obviously done to cash in on the success of Ghostbusters, the Filmation series predates the film! And while Filmation did do an animated sequel to the series in the 80’s, they only did it after their attempt to do a series based on the movie fell through. Ghost Fever and the VHS-based video game The Rescue of Pops Ghostly are the only imitators I could find that came out when Ghostbusters was still relatively new. Other wannabes exist, but came out years after both Ghostbusters films left theaters while Mr. Vampire had imitators appear only a year after its release. Hilariously, the wannabe I linked to was released on VHS in America under the new name Kung Fu Vampire Buster, making it a rare double rip-off.

Considering how producer Sammo Hung had made comedy movies involving jiangshi long before he did Mr. Vampire, it seems unlikely the film was created solely to cash in on the success of Ghostbusters. That said, the fact the attempted remake targeted at American audiences was going to be called “Demon Hunters” does seem to suggest a desire to ride the ghost busting bandwagon did come up at some point. What I do know is how it not only reinvigorated the use of jiangshi in film, it also influenced the folklore surrounding jiangshi. Not unlike how much of the lore commonly associate with werewolves and vampires come from The Wolfman and Dracula, a lot of the weaknesses and rituals associated with jiangshi are the result of the Mr. Vampire franchise! Although I know the use of sticky rice to repel Chinese hopping vampires is traditional, I cannot say for sure how many items on this list of methods are traditional. It has been claimed the use of a sword made of coins to fight jiangshi comes from the films (although coin swords themselves are not a cinematic invention), but authoritative information on the subject in English is almost impossible to come by. Mr. Vampire also had another interesting effect on the career of Lam Ching-ying. His role as the Taoist priest catapulted the former stuntman into fame and portrayed similar characters in numerous films and television series up until his death in 1997. It did not matter that the characters had different names and didn’t always appear in films officially linked to Mr. Vampire; as long as the priest was played by Lam Ching-ying and fought jiangshi, audiences considered him to be the same character. As noted by film critic Freeman Williams, a close equivalent in English language cinema to this stock “One Eyebrow Priest” character would be Peter Cushing’s portrayal of Van Helsing. Lam Ching-ying’s work in jiangshi films was not limited to acting, as he also directed Vampire vs. Vampire and produced Magic Cop.

But Mr. Vampire was not only popular in its country of origin. It was released in many countries, including the UK and Japan. The series was popular enough in Japan to result in a video game and several board games! The Internet Movie Database claims the film did not receive an American theatrical release until 2014, but it seems unlikely such a popular film did not appear in Chinatown theaters back when it was first released. It can definitely be confirmed the first film received a subtitled VHS by Rainbow Video in the 1980’s. Another subtitled VHS of the film was released by Tai Seng Entertainment in 1998 and the film would not appear in a dubbed American version until 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s DVD release. When Tai Seng released a new VHS of the film previously called Kung Fu Vampire Buster, they retitled it as New Mr. Vampire. I think you can guess why.

Although jiangshi had been introduced to American audiences in martial arts movies like Kung Fu from Beyond the Grave, the greater awareness of them in pop culture is due to Mr. Vampire in one way or another. While the subtitled edition of the film might not have appealed to the bulk of American audiences in the 80’s, the dubbed releases of imitators like Robo Vampire and Devil’s Dynamite. The Japanese video game based on the film was was released in America as Phantom Fighter in 1990. It seems likely the use of jiangshi in games like Darkstalkers and Super Mario Land was due to the film. The Japanese company GAGA Communications seems to have its eye on the United States in the 80’s, given its contributions to The Toxic Avenger Part II and ill-fated attempts at bringing several anime series to America. Perhaps that’s what prompted them to produce the American jiangshi film The Jitters in 1989. Given the success of such films in Japan and the seemingly unexploited American market, the potential profit must have been too good to pass up. As is the case in Phantom Fighter, the jiangshi are referred to as “kyonshī” (the Japanese term for those beings). This, combined with the use of the term in The Boneyard, resulted in much confusion in the cult movie community during the 90’s and early 2000’s. Many would correctly identify the jiangshi’s Chinese origins and unknownly assume “kyonshī” was a Chinese term. Thankfully the correct term is now in use, although opinion seems to be divided over whether to use “jiangshi” or “jiang shi.” This awareness has led to jiangshi appearing in Western literature, role playing games, video games, animation and even artwork. When you factor in its ongoing legacy in pop culture all over the world, you have one amazing legacy from a single film.

Sun Nien Fai Lok!
Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Happy Chinese New Year!

Feb 17 2015

Robert Englund Recalls The Phantom Of The Opera – Now Out On Blu-Ray

 

“We shot Phantom at an old studio outside Budapest. Often on the dawn drive through the countryside we would find ourselves behind nineteenth-century oxcarts lit with swinging lanterns making their way to the village market. it was magical and helped get me in character; we weren’t in Kansas anymore.”

-Robert England, Hollywood Monster

product_images_modal_TPOTO.BRCover.72dpiScream Factory continues to be Horror’s best friend in the Blu-Ray era with a new release. Dread Central posted a review today and I wanted to add a little background from his memoir, Hollywood Monster, that was ghost written by Alan Goldsher, who has ghost written many biographies as well as worked with Tobe Hooper (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame) on his novel, Midnite Movie. I reviewed the novel years ago – check it out

Robert Englund, much like a Bruce Campbell cameo, can often make a garbage movie worthwhile, even when he knows it’s garbage. And there’s probably a reason why Phantom Of The Opera isn’t synonymous with Robert England’s career. Anthony Arrigo of Dread Central had a great write up with the new Blu-Ray release of the movie. I imagine Scream Factory is banking on the top billed star as being a draw, as fans of Robert Englund will probably buy the release just to see him. And you know what – they’re right! Because that’s what I’m going to do.

 

Before filming began, our director, Dwight Little, and I had several conversations about how I should play the role, and the style of the movie. We decided to think of it as a reimagining, a homage to the classic Hammer Film productions…We wanted to bring a similar sense of class, style and not-so-subtle sexuality to our version of Phantom. 

 

I’d also go pick up Hollywood Monster. It’s not a dense read but you get a little background on Robert England’s career up to 2009. It’s definitely a good companion piece to all the Freddy fanatics out there.  So be sure to pick it up and a copy of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Blu-Ray after you read Anthony Arrigo’s full review over at Dead Central.

 

 

Feb 14 2015

Scream Queens Teaser Trailer

Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee and American Horror Story, tweeted the teaser for the upcoming Scream Queens yesterday.

 

According to DreadCentral.com. Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin, Skyler Samuels, and Keke Palmer star. Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande are set for guest roles. As well, DreadCentral says Murphy will be the executive producer along with his “Glee’s” compatriots, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan, and Dante Di Loreto.

I don’t know why he sent this, unless it was to get fools like me talking about his show. The ‘teaser’ is a bit underwhelming. Nameless woman blows a CGI-bubblegum bubble before it gets stabbed to reveal a gush of blood and stock screams of women with a COMING THIS FALL tagline. Okay? This is supposed to be a horror comedy but this ‘teaser’ is neither funny nor scary. It’s a placeholder, which is what most teaser trailers are but when it’s so thin, why bother?

It’s not like Murphy and crew don’t know how to make a decent advert. The campaign leading up to American Horror Story: Freak Show was visually stunning. It’s what got me to watch the show. Granted, I only got through two episodes but at least they got me to watch.

Right now, it’s hard for me to muster up enthusiasm for another ensemble cast based show from Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan, especially after Murphy’s faux pax when he announced the show:

 

“I knew I wanted to work with Brad and Ian again on something comedic, and we are having a blast writing ‘Scream Queens,’” Murphy said. “We hope to create a whole new genre – comedy-horror – and the idea is for every season to revolve around two female leads.”

Emphasis added by me. Every time I read that quote, I want to watch Evil Dead 2, Dead/AliveFrankenhooker, Night of the Creeps, Shaun of the Dead or even Dr. Phibes.

Murphy has said he’s a fan of horror in the past but that statement is such an oversight, it kind of makes me wonder. While it’s not a requirement to have seen those movies to make (or enjoy) horror in 2015. But Murphy’s statement makes me think that this show isn’t going after anyone who HAS. Scream Queens sounds like it’s going to be a horror show for non-horror fans made by non-horror fans.

I might be wrong. They haven’t even started making it so it’s no good to start hating it. Hell, they could get Joe Dante, Stuart Gordon and Elvira to write scripts and it could be the greatest thing ever. We’ll have to see.

 

Feb 14 2015

The Return of Count Spirochete

Love is in the air and we here at Gravedigger’s Local 16 want to make sure you keep it safe. That’s why we’re sharing an animated educational short from 1973 about venereal disease. Syphilis and gonorrhea, to be precise. It’s not for kids or viewing at work. Trust us on this. It’s called The Return of Count Spirochete and comes to us thanks to the US Department of Defense (specifically the US Navy):

The uploader, the US National Archives, notes in their description that “Some or all of this material may be restricted by copyright or other intellectual property right restrictions.” Does anyone out there know anything else about this?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Feb 13 2015

TGIF13: 6’+ Episode 139 is Up!

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

“If you love your hearts beating and bloody, then come on in to our love-soaked celebration, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We’ve got music from THE DROOL BROTHERS, DEMENTED ARE GO, THE GRUESOME, LIGHTNING BEAT-MAN, THE LONG LOSTS and more! Plus, the most romantic gesture you can give is 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 and Twitter.

Feb 11 2015

Thriller Parodies

Parodies are inevitable when you have a music video for a song as popular as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Trying to list them all would take too long, so let’s narrow it down to two. The first is the famous “Indian Thriller”:

Said video is actually a musical number from the movie Donga, which you can learn more about here. Our next selection was sent in by a British friend of mine:

It’s a sketch from The Lenny Henry Show and although that particular series doesn’t seem to have played in America, you might recognize Mr. Henry from his role in the series Chef! In case you’re wondering about the seemingly random “Jehovah’s Witness” line, it’s a reference to a disclaimer Jackson had included at the beginning of the video.

Feb 08 2015

Friday The 13th Merch

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Friday the 13th. A film franchise that has spawned more sequels than Kate Gosselin has kids. Over the years, Jason Voorhees has become quite the marketable character. The developementaly disabled zombified mongoloid has stood as a giant above other famous horror icons of his ilk in the merchandise department. Garnering as many different collectible items as to rival Elvis or the Beatles.So, in honor of the upcoming February Friday the 13th, I thought it would be fun to take a look at just a couple of different Friday the 13th merch items that are available that you might have missed over the years.

MOVIES

Numerous box sets of the films have been released on VHS,DVD and Blu-Ray over the years. Chances are, if you are a die hard fan, you have a few or all of the films already. In 2008 Paramount released an 8 disc box set that included a replica Jason mask and 2 pairs of 3-D glasses for viewing part 3.919ssgyMNcL._SL1500_

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

Aside from numerous t-shirt designs, a few of which I have myself, you can find virtually any item of clothing that adornes the hockey mask of our beloved butcher, Jason. From boxers to beanies to neck ties to socks. You can also find Jason earrings ,bracelets,hair barrettes and necklaces through various online stores. This also includes people hand making items on Etsy.

BOOKS

In the early 90’s, a young adult/teen book series written by Eric Morse was started. The main premise of the series was teens going to the Crystal Lake area, someone finding and putting on the Jason mas and a supernatural power then turning that person into a giant hulking Jason Voorhees. The series was short lived and squashed after 4 books. They have never been reprinted but can be found for a pretty penny on Alibris.com and Amazon.

ericMorse_novels

Since then, books about the making of the films by the filmmakers themselves  and more adult oriented novels have been written and seem to stay in print.

ACTION FIGURES

Aside from Jason mask prop replicas, a great number of action figures,dolls and statues have been made. Each year seems to bring a new high end statue or first of a kind figure. From 8″ to a giant 24″ figure, there is always something new. From the beautifully sculpted figures of McFarlane Toys to the highly detailed statues from Sideshow Collectibles, you too can have the ultimate homicidal momma’s boy in your home. This past year actually saw the release of a Friday the 13th part 5 “Jason” figure. A figure of the guy who pretended to be Jason in order to murder a bunch of people.Who ever would thought that we’d see the day.

THE VIDEO GAME

In 1989, Nintendo released a Friday the 13th video game. And although not popular at the time, a 25 year anniversary  saw a slew of merch from the video game. From 2 different action figures to shirts to beanies to a glow in the dark mask.

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MUSIC

The soundtracks and scores to all the films have been released on various formats over the years. Lasy year Wax Work records released the soundtrack to the original Friday the 13th film of a few different colored vinyl. Including one that looked like blood was swirling around inside the vinyl. It was  released with an exclusive art print by Jacqui Oakley.

friday-the-13th-vinyl23

 

AND THE REST……

From purses to cups to posters and everything in between, there is no shortage of crazy Friday the 13th merch out there. So why not show your inner horror geek this Friday the 13th? Strap on your replica hockey mask and Property of Camp Crystal Lake shirt and  get your Jason on.

Feb 06 2015

6’+ Episode 138 is Up!

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

“Celebrate WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH with a show of female-fueled horror rock. Hear music from DYPSOMANIAXE, THE FORMALDEBRIDES, THE TRASHWOMEN, GHOULS NIGHT OUT and more! Monstermatt Patterson stops by for the MONSTERMATT MINUTE and Kraig Khaos gives us another 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 and Twitter.

Feb 04 2015

Lux, Alice and George

February 4th is an important day in Horror. We celebrate the birth of two important figures and the passing of another.

Today marks the birthdays of both Alice Cooper and George Romero. Two men whose influence is undeniable. Even if you’ve never listened to an Alice Cooper record, one of your favorite artists was likely influenced by him. And without George Romero, the zombie would still be only a part of voodoo and not the worldwide pop culture icon we know today (and that’s not even taking into account his OTHER films like ‘The Crazies’ and ‘Martin.’)

However, Feburary 4th marks the passing of a  music icon: Lux Interior. As the frontman for The Cramps, he was six feet of rock and roll. One of the most charismatic lead singers to set stage, he sadly left this world for a higher rock plane in 2009.

Spend today crankin’ some Alice Cooper and The Cramps while watching some of George Romero’s finest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 04 2015

Producers Insure Horror Patrons Against Insanity

I didn't think you were going to take my temperature THERE!

Europix-International Ltd., the producers of the new triple horror program, ORGY OF THE LIVING DEAD, which opens soon at the Leathbridge theatre, is taking no chances! Because of the terrifying nature of the program, they are insuring the sanity of every patron who enters the theatre. Anyone who loses his mind as a direct result of viewing this avalanche of grisly horror will receive free psychiatric care, or be placed, at the producer’s expense, in an asylum for the rest of his natural life! Everyone who attends a showing of ORGY OF THE LIVING DEAD is advised to take advantage of this unique protection. The insurance forms will be provided, free of charge, at the theatre boxoffice.

It’s no wonder that Europix-International Ltd. has seen fit to make this extraordinary offer when you stop to consider the pulse-pounding content of the three features that make up this gruesome, all-color program, which includes REVENGE OF THE LIVING DEAD; Mario Bava’s CURSE OF THE LIVING DEAD and FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD starring International sex-star ANITA EKBERG – for here you will find your deadliest nightmares brought to vivid, startling life as blood-mad vampires pursue their helpless prey; as a homicidal maniac slashes away at the throats of innocent victims; as strange, distorted monsters prowl the corridors of a hospital, rending, stabbing, strangling; as the living dead return from the blackness of their defiled graves to enact an ancient curse on a helpless and terrified humanity!

If you suffer from a nervous condition, or psychiatric problems which can be activated bu exposure to fear, shock and horror, Europix-International Ltd., in conjunction with the Leathbridge theatre, strongly advise you to take advantage of this incredible insurance policy before seeing ORGY OF THE LIVING DEAD!

[This post is based around a prepared article included in the pressbook for the “Orgy of the Living Dead” triple feature. With the exception of adding a theater name in order to mimic how this would have looked in an old newspaper, the article has been unchanged. You can learn more about the promotion here. You can also read the original pressbook and see what the insurance certificate looks like!]

Jan 30 2015

Follow up: Thoughts on Ghostbusters

In the latest episode of 6ftplus, I rambled a bit about the casting news of the 2016 Ghostbusters movie. Some additional notes:

  • Yes, women have been Ghostbusters but they have been animated. I made note of this as a counterpoint to people who have lost their minds over the idea that somehow, being born without a penis disqualifies you from using a proton pack when there was some kind of evidence, although paltry, that showed Hey, women HAVE been Ghostbusters, why are you being an idiot about this? But I forgot that you can’t reason with someone who decides to publicly complain IN ALL CAPS that women might pretend to shoot lasers at ghosts. Yes, people in 2015 got upset that a MOVIE might show WOMEN pretending to shoot LASERS at GHOSTS.
  • I made note about how I’m reserved about Paul Feig directing, but Ivan Reitman had just as little ‘credentials’ before directing the first Ghostbusters. Ivan Reitman may have been a producer on a couple sci-fi themed elements, but directing wise? He came to Ghostbusters with two major hits under his belt – Stripes and Meatballs, both which featured the same comedian. Paul Feig comes to Ghostbusters with two* major hits** under HIS belt, both which feature the same comedian. It’s my own personal preference that a director with more experience at horror comedy take up this project, but the director of the original didn’t have such prerequisites so why expect them now?
  • I made a sarcastic jab at maybe they might do something novel as having a woman direct the sequel. This, I think, is still a valid criticism. Paul Feig has two recent hits* under his belt, which makes him appealing to a big-budget film. Plus, I’d wager that the studio sees some comfort in being able to add ‘FROM THE MAKERS OF BRIDESMAIDS AND THE HEAT’ to the promotional material as a way to assure people You laughed at these movies, so you’ll love THIS movie. But, are there women who are qualified to direct this movie? Yes! Should they have gone with any of them? OF COURSE. Is it a surprise that they didn’t? NOT AT ALL. The film industry is still horribly imbalanced with representation and so I think that having four women make up the cast of what aims to be a big blockbuster about fighting ghosts with lasers is a GOOD THING– allowing some film representation that indicates that all kinds of people can fight ghosts with lasers and not just one subset of the population–it’s not a knockout blow for equality. It’s just another successful punch in a long, ongoing fight.

So, that’s a follow-up. I didn’t convey these opinions completely in the episode, but I stand by the main points: It’s stupid to argue against the idea of women being able to pretend to shoot ghosts with lasers; while I personally prefer a different director was involved, he comes to the table as qualified as the guy who did the first film; and we need more diversity positions of creative direction to allow for a more diverse range of ideas and perspectives. The world is big enough to share. 

Hopefully, this all was conveyed in the 6ftplus bit, but if not, there you go. Thank you.

 

*Possibly three, as SPY comes out in April
**Or, maybe just one hit with Bridesmaids, as people didn’t seem to keen on The Heat and who knows, maybe SPY will flop and cause Ghostbusters to be put on hold. God, Hollywood. You’re so fickle.

 

Jan 30 2015

6’+ Episode 137 is Up!

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

“We heat things up with a review of ‘Lust For Sacrilege,’ the new CALABRESE album in an installment of SIX THINGS. Plus, Monstermatt Patterson croons out some classics in the MONSTERMATT MINUTE. With music from SICK SICK SINNERS, WHIP BATS, THE PRINCE STREET GHOULS and much more.”

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 and Twitter.

Jan 29 2015

Review: Stuart Gordon’s DOLLS

DollsStuart Gordon’s Dolls is a film that was the staple of any horror section of a video store in the late 80’s and 90’s. And now, 27 years after it’s initial release, the folks over at Scream Factory have given Dolls a blu-ray release with all the bells and whistles.

Charles Band, who would later make films involving dolls such as Blood Dolls and PuppetMaster with his Full Moon Pictures company, executive produced and released Dolls through his Empire Pictures company after the success of Stuart Gordon’s most well known film Re-Animator and his follow up film, The Beyond.

Dolls is a sort of twisted moral fairy tale. When a group of strangers get stranded at the house of a seemingly gentle elderly couple and their house full of toys, the elderly toy maker being another theme that would carry over to the PuppetMaster series, they soon start realizing that not all is what it seems.

Dolls is considered a classic among horror buffs for a reason. Because it IS one of those unique films that isn’t like a hundred other films. Atleast, it wasn’t at the time. And after all these years, the film still holds up. And while some of the films in Stuart Gordon’s filmography are questionable at best, Robot Jox and Space Truckers comes to mind, this is one of his films that is executed to near perfection.

With strong performances by Guy Rolfe as the elderly toymaker and Stephen Lee as the goofy but lovable Ralph, both actors who carry a bulk of the film, and Carrie Lorraine as a child you actually feel for instead just wanting to slap for being annoying, the story comes across as genuinely interesting and engaging. Coupled with great camera work,cinematography and practical special effects, this film is a gem.

The new Blu-ray comes with a Making-Of featurette, cast and crew commentary, a retrospective featurette with interviews of most of the cast as well as Stuart Gordon, trailers and more. The HD transfer is beautiful and the sound quality is excellent.

Jan 26 2015

Review: The Tiki Creeps, INVADERS FROM BEYOND THE SURF

 

 

Kraig Khaos. Kraig has a reoccuring feature on 6ftplus – Killer Kuts from Kraig Khaos – where he shares a song from a vinyl recording. Kraig has a new podcast called Uncommon Interests, where he discusses a wide range of pop culture ranging from the mainstream to deep underground.

a1231735561_2Surf music is a hard genre to break new ground in. People who don’t like surf music generally feel that all surf songs sound the same. People who love surf music generally love the familiar guitar tones and rapid snare drum beat. And instrumental music is a tough genre in which to convey specific ideas. But I’ll be damned if The Tiki Creeps haven’t taken the surf genre and flipped it on it’s ear.

If you dig surf music, then this a band you have to hear. Because Tiki Creeps do that very hard thing of making instrumental music that conveys exactly what it’s supposed to be saying while at the same time, bringing something new to the genre. It’s a little hard to explain, but I’ll try. Because I know just me saying, “Hey! This is awesome. Go listen to it!” isn’t going to make you jump right up and give it a go.

If a 1950’s sci-fi horror film had surf music as the score instead of the usual symphony, then Invaders From Beyond The Sound Of Surf would be it. When you hear a song like “The Crawling Terror!”, the music makes you actually feel like “Yes. THIS song should be titled ‘The Crawling Terror’”. They even soften it up a little with the song “Midnight Stroll” by letting the rhythm carry a smooth sound that you’d imagine would play during a midnight stroll scene in the aforementioned sci-fi horror film.

The Tiki Creeps obviously take a few influences from bands such as Coffin Daggers and Los Straightjackets as well as Dick Dale. But they aren’t afraid to branch out and try new stuff. Imagine what a song would sound like if it were a Mexican surf song. Is Mexican surf a thing? I don’t know, but the song “Mimosa” is exactly what you’d imagine one would sound like.

Invaders From Beyond The Sound of Surf, released in September 2014, is The Tiki Creeps’ first release. Seven songs of surf sonic, monster music madness! I can’t wait to see what they do next. Hopefully they will land on a cool label that will take a chance with them. Because I truly believe this Los Angeles,California band is capable of greatness. They have some shows coming up. So check out their facebook page at www.facebook.com/thetikicreeps for dates. And go to their bandcamp page at www.tikicreeps.bandcamp.com and buy the CD with beautiful artwork by Doug P’Gosh or buy the digital download. And while you’re there, pick up one of their awesome logo tiki mask shirts to let everyone know that YOU are on the cutting edge of great surf sounds. Because in outer space, the surf is ALWAYS up.

 

 

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