Jun 24 2015

6’+ Episode 150 is Up!

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

“It’s the best of the first half of the year, and commemorate a fanastic first six months with music from THE MANGLED DEAD, THE TIKI CREEPS, WANTON, THE OTHER, THE JIMMY PSYCHO EXPERIMENT and other bands who don’t begin with THE. Monstermatt Patterson brings a legendary MONSTERMATT MINUTE and we get DEADLY with another 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 24 2015

Music to Game By V

As was the case last year, I’m going to take another look at the albums I reviewed for my 2014 “Music to Haunt By” article series with an eye on their use in tabletop role-playing games. 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. Listening to Atrium Carceri has made me realize I have been neglecting the use of albums to create a general mood rather than a precise soundtrack to the events. Speaking of which, the founder of Atrium Carceri was also a founding member of Za Frûmi. That group’s dark fantasy tracks will be of definite interest to those seeming music for tabletop gaming. The use of sound in gaming seems to be growing, as evidenced by the availability of character SoundSets. But enough of that, let’s get to the reviews:

Music For Haunts – This album offers a lot of variety for game masters doing horror campaigns. Have an adventure involvong a haunted circus or creepy children (if not both)? You’ll want to use tracks like “The Ringmaster’s Music Box,” “The Karnevil” and “A Child’s Nightmare.” I especially like the low key creepiness of the dark calliope music in that last track. Encounters with cannibals will benefit from “Gonna Make You BBQ.” Said track is heard on what appears to be a malfunctioning player, as it constantly stops and “rewinds.” It sounds happy and innocent at first, but the distorted singers’ love of meat can be off-putting. Hearing the titular line get repeated over and over again and having it sound eviler each time really drives home the double meaning of the phrase. Both “Noise In The Basement” and “The Apparition” work well together. Thee first of the two is a masterful combination of faded moans and spooky violin work while the second brings in a piano and wordless female vocals. It’s perfect for just about any supernatural encounter. The soft buildup of “Satan’s Microphone” leads us to evil effects, the sound of flames and dark tones. The intense buildup and creepy guitar screeches towards end are great touches. haunted boiler room. Being over twelve minutes in length, “Verfelgte” is the longest track on the album. Although there is some music, like brief burst of violins, it mostly consists of sound effects. There’s soft wind, clanking chains, creaking gates, dripping, eerie chimes, crackling flames, storm effects and so much more. One could even get away with using it on a loop for an entire gaming session.

Dulcet Jones – In the titular track “Halloween, I’m Afraid” the creepy organ-style tones and smashed glass beat create a lurking feel. Even the lighter moments and somewhat jaunty piano feel unsettling and odd, which could allow for use in an asylum or circus scenario. Want something with an 80’s horror vibe? Try “Tuckers Brother.” “Urban Crawl” offers subtle scares while the echoing guitars of “Electro Acoustic Lament,” coupled with wind effects, give the track a peaceful sci-fi feel. In situations where calming music is required, I recommend “The Ghost in my Guitar” and “Overmed Daydream.” Things get scary again with the opening track of the next album, “More Halloween, I’m Afraid.” The moody opening buildup and wind effects lead nicely into the electro beats and spooky “woo” noises. Despite the name, “Night Circus” can also be used in a variety of encounters thanks its eerie touches and scary organ work. “Asylum Wedding” offers organ work and strings that are soft, slow and moody. There’s a creepy music box feel at times and drum machine kicks things up. “Release the Bats” would be perfect for the belfry thanks to its use of bells and stylized fluttering wings. Blasts of steam and an oddball music box join other audio oddities in “Steampunk Lullaby.” It’s off-kilter enough for an asylum or steampunk scenario. The acoustic guitars and plinking music box tones “Lobotomy Ward” give it a mildly creepy feel while “Red Narasimha” amps up the scare factor thanks to little touches like wordless male vocals and wind effects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 20 2015

Free RPG Day Is Here!

Does anyone else suddenly feel like crankin' some Zepplin?

It’s time for our annual unofficial celebration of Free RPG Day! If you missed our earlier post highlighting what items will be available this year, you can learn everything you need to know at the official Free RPG Day website. So once you’re finished supporting your local gaming store, be sure to check these out:

Wizards of the Coast has released the basic rules for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition online for free, along with the basic Dungeon Master guide, Starter Characters and some character sheets! One review also reveals an awesome dungeon map. Similarly, here’s a neat freebie from Jared Von Hindman.

Don’t have anyone nearby interesting in gaming? Fear not, as Roll20 lets you run an entire gaming session online for free with people all over the internet. It’s run entirely in your browser, but Syrinscape will require a download to use the free trail (and snag some free Soundsets). Said program acts as a soundboard you can use to enhance your gaming experience.

Erang has some free gaming tracks available for download, along with an illustrated source book of sorts for a mythical kingdom.

In addition to their steampunk albums, Abney Park also has their own RPG called Airship Pirates. To promote said game, they are offering free downloads of things like character sheets and the deck plans for an airship.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group has a bunch of free goodies, including the “Test Drive” rules for Savage Worlds while Vajra Enterprises has a “Lite Version” of Tibet: The RPG.

S. John Ross is a big deal in the world of tabletop gaming, so you can imagine why his website having a free stuff section is a big deal. But in addition to that and his list of RPG plot ideas are his downloads for Uresia:_Grave_of_Heaven. Said game has recently been retooled as a setting for use with any RPG system!

Wikipedia has a ton of links to free adventures (and the compendium) for 7th Sea. This pirate themed game has some Lovecraftian elements…

Google Books is a game master’s best kept secret, as most people have no idea free previews of various gaming books are available there. They’re even less likely to suspect Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies has a free adventure in it, complete with stats! Although the preview doesn’t show all of it, it’s pretty easy for you to fill in the blanks. The guidebook for Neiyar: Land of Heaven and the Abyss offers up stats for creatures like the Clockwork Beetle, Chardara Bird, Chovoo, Corpse-Eater Lily and Fleshcutter Ant (among others) that are perfect for D20 jungle adventures.

The High Adventure Role Playing Lite rules are available for free downloading, as are “Nutshell” rules for Complete Omniversal Role Playing System and various books for Open D6. Exile Games also has a lot of free downloads, including ones for Hollow Earth Expedition!

In need of some old-looking photographs and newspaper clippings for your next Call of Cthulhu campaign? Then Wanokoto Labs and the California Digital Newspaper Collection should be right up you alley!

If that isn’t enough free stuff for you, check out 1KM1KT’s list of free RPGs. The administrator of this site also dispenses some great advice over at the Free RPG Blog.

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 15 2015

Free RPG Day Is Coming!

June 20th is the 9th annual Free RPG Day As you can see from the official Facebook page, they’ve really pulled out all the stops this year. Here are a few examples:

Castles and Crusades
Fifth Edition Fantasy
Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone
Through The Breach
Atlantis: The Second Age
You Iz Kobolds?!
13th Age/Night’s Black Agents
Battletech
Shadowrun
Cosmic Patrol
Pathfinder

On top of that, there’s also a free dice tray (complete with flat dice), a game master screen in addition to the usual cards, dice and pencils.

To learn more about the event and see a list of participating retailers, 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!

Jun 08 2015

6’+ Episode 149 is Up!

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

“It’s Shovel vs. Knives in this new episode celebrating The Nightmare On Elm Street. Music from THEATER ZOMBIES, PHANTOM ROCKERS, ROCKIN’ BONES, ACTION ADVENTURE WORLD, 800 OCTANE and More! Monstermatt Patterson decides to recreate Johnny Depp’s scene from the first movie in a very gory edition of 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.

Jun 02 2015

The King Plays The Haunted Majora Cartridge

“Ben Drowned” is a creepypasta about a haunted Nintendo 64 cartridge with one interesting detail which set it apart from the others. The author created a video of him “playing” the haunted cartridge in order to make he story seem more realistic. Since the game used to create it was Majora’s Mask, it wasn’t long before someone in the Youtube Poop community combined it with the infamous Zelda CD-i games:

The creator notes how this is their Youtube Poop in its description and it does show. But that’s nothing a little trimming wouldn’t have solved. The King shrieking and cursing at Link will never not be funny and the bit at the end was hilarious. Mah boi, this Poop is what all true warriors strive for!

May 27 2015

Famous Nude Statue Featured in Movie

Linda Christian Oh, the time has come...

It took three months for Alvin K. Bubis, producer of “The Devil’s Hand,” currently showing at the Leathbridge Theatre, to convince Linda Christian to allow her famous nude statue to appear in the picture.

Filmgoers will recall that this undraped, lifesize, perfect likeness of Miss Christian was the talk of Hollywood several years ago. Tyrone Power, her late husband, commissioned a famous sculptor to do the nude reproduction of his wife for the garden of their home.

Many Hollywood columnists wrote stories on the remarkable statue, and it was the main topic of conversation at every Hollywood party. One of the reasons that Linda objected to the statue being used in “The Devil’s Hand” was that she feared that the furor would start all over again.

However, audiences can be glad that Bubis was able to persuade her to relent. The statue plays an important part in this story about a voodoo worshipping cult operating in the middle of a big city. Linda is the reincarnation of their love goddess, and her nude statue stands in the center of the cult’s strange temple.

Robert Alda co-stars in “The Devil’s Hand,” playing the part of a man lured into the dangerous and deadly set by the beautiful and wicked Miss Christian.

[This post is based around one of many prepared articles included in the pressbook for The Devil’s Hand. 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. Given the typos and gross inaccuracies about voodoo, leaving this untouched was harder than usual. It’s sad how this was the only article about the film in the pressbook with the most horror connections. To see more, head on over to From Zombos’ Closet.]

May 20 2015

Robert Kinoshita (1914-2014)

Robert Kinoshita was born in Los Angeles, California in 1914. His architecture and design degree in from the University of Southern California prepared him well for his future career in film. Some sources claim the first film he worked on was One Hundred Men and a Girl in 1937, but his earliest confirmed work in the motion picture industry wasn’t until 1954 when he designed the robot costume for Tobor the Great (not relation to the robot of the same name from the Captain Video and His Video Rangers series). I suspect the delay was due to his having spent time in an Arizona interment camp with his wife, including the journey back and other issues surrounding the release of Japanese Americans from the camps in 1945. Getting back to the subject of his film career, 1955 saw him working in the art department for the television series Luke and the Tenderfoot and as an art director for Science Fiction Theatre. He would work in similar positions far a wide variety of films and television shows. His involvement in Forbidden Planet led to one of the most iconic characters in science fiction: Robby the Robot. Part of the robot’s design was based on his design for tubs used in washing machines! The character was so popular that not only did he appear the the film The Invisible Boy, but the costume has been reused in many films, TV shows and commercials over numerous decades. You can even still find toy robots inspired by Robby in stores!

Kinoshita also designed the Jupiter 2 and the B9 robot for Lost in Space (two episodes saw Robby making guest appearances). This robot, which Kinoshita nicknamed “Blinky,” was later reused in the series Mystery Island. He later visited his Tobor creation in the Here Comes Tobor pilot in 1957. That year also saw him working on films like The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent and Pharaoh’s Curse. 1961 saw him acting as an associate producer on the film The Phantom Planet. He officially exited the film industry in 1984, but would still appear in documentaries from time to time. He was also very open to meeting with fans, as demonstrated inn the following videos from famousbots and Thomas R:

I think it’s safe to say the only thing as impressive as Mr. Kinoshira’s legacy is how he lived until the ripe old age of 100!

May 16 2015

6’+ Episode 148 is Up!

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

“Did the hiatus drive you MAD? Well, we’re back with music from NIGHT NURSE, THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING, KLINGONZ and more. Monstermatt Patterson decides to go crazy — and finds out it doesn’t take that long in a new MONSTERMATT MINUTE. And Kraig Khaos putts the crazy cherry on top of this nutzo sundae with 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, Twitter and SoundCloud.

May 14 2015

Free Zombie Music, Volume III

Check it out, one of the victims is copping a feel!

In honor of Zombie Awareness Month, here is my annual selection of 13 zombie tracks arranged in no particular order. I’m not kidding, either. One of my favorite selections from this batch is actually the final track. There’s a lot of great music to be found here and I’m actually a bit envious of listeners who will get to experience some of these bands for the first time all at the same time. 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:

“RadioActive Teenage Zombies”Skattered Union
“Night of the Living Dead”The Renfields
“Dawn of the Dead”The Renfields
“‘Night of the Creeps’ Barrel​-​Chest Burger Combo”The Renfields
“The Graveyard Plague”Anima Morte
“The Revenant”Anima Morte
“Zombie Girl”Shake Jack
“I, Zombi”Gore Obsessed
“Zombiefied”Gore Obsessed
“The Dead Hate The Living”Gore Obsessed
“Don’t Say the ‘z’ Word”Lupen Tooth
“Zombies on Acid”Dr. Slothclaw
“A Priest And A Zombie Rent A Fishing Boat As Friends”DIEMONSTERDIE

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 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 11 2015

SMBC Theater: Zombies

Remember SMBC Theater and their humorous takes on vampires and werewolves? Here’s their warped take on the living dead:

I wonder if they’ll ever do one on ghosts…

May 07 2015

6’+ Delay: Spring Break

Hello, Dear Listener.

As you’ve noticed, there hasn’t been an episode in over week! Well, this remote corner of the Front Office of Gravediggers Local 16 is currently getting renovated. So, me, the Intern, the Atomic Mystery Monster, Monstermatt Patterson, Kraig Khaos and all the other 6ftplus crew are on break!

The next episode will drop sometime next week (of May 11th). Sorry for the disruption as of late. We’re trying to nail this down – honest!

I’ll talk at you soon. Until next time, Dear Listener, stay spooky.

-S. Jason

May 06 2015

Eccentric Pop Records Emergency Sale

unnamed   Eccentric Pop Records. The independent label that has brought such great releases as the Horror Selection/Eaten Back To Life split LP and Groovie Ghoulies reissues needs your help.

Having been slapped with a whopping $7000 bill to fix the dilapidated roof of the ECR house, the guys over there have decided to have a huge sale. 30% OFF your entire purchase. Just enter the code NEWROOF at checkout to get the deal. These guys aren’t asking for a hand-out or a donation. Just a little help. And in return, you can save  a little money on that Kepi Ghoul solo album, or that Jetty Boys colored vinyl you been looking at.

And while supplies last, all orders will receive a Simpsons Kirk Van Houten “Can I Barrow A Feeling” cassette tape insert for FREE!unnamed

So help out this awesome label and get yourself some cool tunes to help kick of your summer. Go on over to http://eccentricpoprecords.storenvy.com/ and have a look around.

May 06 2015

Midnight Syndicate, AXE GIANT: THE WRATH OF PAUL BUNYAN: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

Midnight Syndicate
Official Site
Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Linfaldia Records 2013

I can't wait for the follow-up film, 'Pecos Bull Goes Nutzoid.'

The Dead Matter is not the only project Midnight Syndicate has created a soundtrack for. In addition to The Rage, they have also provided the music for Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan. I have not seen the movie but the reviews make it sound like the soundtrack is superior to the film itself. I’m sure it feels as weird to me as it does to you that I am doing Midnight Syndicate review without it being under the “Music to Haunt By” banner, but I think you will see why I chose to do so once you read the following:

“Axe Giant Main Title” starts off with a opening fanfare reminiscent of King Kong. This is the first of many times Max Steiner’s influence is felt in the album. The pounding provides a sense of something large and dangerous while the lighter notes and wordless female vocals add to sense of mystery. The folksy and calm “Minnesota 1894″ is filled with soft ‘n pretty banjo pickins’ and the use of drums and flutes in “Babe’s Grave” is almost “Asian” in feel (albeit with some menacing undertones at the end). “S.T.U.M.P. Medley: The Adventure Begins/Meeks’ Theme/Sgt. Hoke’s Theme” is divided into three distinct parts, the first of which uses drums to create a feel of laid back adventure. This feel gradually builds up and is joined by horns. The next segment has some banjo strummin’, but is more serious than the last track to feature the instrument. Finally, militaristic drums and a reprise of the adventure music close things out. “Bunyan at Babe’s Grave” conveys sadness with touches of the main theme to show the danger of a mourning monster. The low, slow buildup of “S.T.U.M.P.s Meet Bunyan” leads to another awesome Kong homage. The mix of contrasting heavy and light notes helps the listener imagine humans fleeing from the massive killer. Bunyan’s footsteps are conveyed musically once again in “No Escape,” where percussion and strings create a low key sense of dread as well.

“The Legend of Paul Bunyan” really makes you appreciate the range of the banjo. It can be happy, like it was in the second track, but can be downbeat and moody like it is here. This track is also the longest one on the album and is also a musical roller coaster of shifting moods. Sometimes Bunyan’s musical footsteps appear to give chase, sometimes they combine with the banjo work and sometimes strings and tolling bells appear to add more dread. “Zack’s Last Stand” also has the feel of someone on the run due to its fast paced and frantic music while “Bunyan’s Cave” revisits lots of elements from previous tracks to create a suspenseful and uncertain feel. The fast-paced tone of “Bunyan on the Move” will easily make someone think of a chase and the fearful violin buildup and occasional tolling bells of “Final Showdown” create a feeling of death. The militaristic drums are a nice touch as well. “Legend’s End” is appropriately majestic and mournful while “The Ballad of Paul Bunyan” is a catchy acoustic guitar track summarizing film’s plot. Since I can’t do into detail in order to avoid potential spoilers, let’s concentrate on how this is a great track from Hick’ry Hawkins. He’s a wonderful vocalist and the track reminds me of something from an old Rankin-Bass television special at times. “Meeks at the Cabin” is quite spooky despite its short length and makes for a nice close to the album.

It’s just as weird for me to write a review a Midnight Syndicate album without it being under the “Music to Haunt By” banner as it is for you to read it. But I felt it was the only way to do the album justice. Since most of the album is a mix of spooky and not spooky material, I would be left with a bunch of tracks that are unsuitable for a haunted attraction. I could see “Minnesota 1894″ working in a weird west setting (especially if it’s used in a room based around the area before it became haunted), but that’s about it. And since the spooky tracks are all based around Paul Bunyan, all my suggestions would involve rooms involving chases and rooms with a huge monster inside. That just would not make for a good article and I thought it would be better to approach this strictly from a music review standpoint. And you know what? I’m completely fine with it! There’s so much wonderful music to be heard that any potential use in haunted attractions doesn’t matter. Just sit sit back and enjoy the mix of relaxing and exciting music. Several tracks have already entered my year-round playlist and I’m sure you will make a similar decision.

I asked Edward Douglas for his thoughts about the album and he was kind enough to let me post the following quote: “The ‘Axe Giant Soundtrack represents some of my favorite scoring work I’ve done to date. It was equally challenging and rewarding and gave me the opportunity to spread my wings a bit as a composer.” After listening to the album, I’m sure you will agree with him. The score is also part of the reason he was inducted into Cleveland’s Independent Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame. If all that doesn’t convince you to pick it up, I don’t know what will!

Special thanks to Entity Productions for the review copy!

May 05 2015

El Santo de Mayo 2015!

Are you disappointed that you never got to see El Hijo del Santo in action before he had to retire a few years back? Thankfully there’s a YouTube video featuring him battling the adopted son of his father’s sometimes friend, sometimes rival the Blue Demon.

Since the above match occurred in 2002, let’s look at a match that’s 40 years older featuring the original El Santo:

Unlike the El Hijo footage, this wasn’t from a sporting event. Instead it’s a clip from the movie Santo vs. The Vampire Women (aka Samson vs. the Vampire Women to those in the USA)

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!

May 02 2015

It’s Free Comic Book Day!

It’s that time of year again. Today is the day for all of us to band together and support our local comic book stores. Thanks to the Free Comic Book Day Facebook page, we’ve compiled a list of some of the horror/sci-fi related titles that should be of interest to our readers:

Scooby-Doo! Team-Up – DC Comics
2000 AD – Rebellion/2000AD
Doctor Who – Titan Comics
And Then Emily Was Gone – Comix Tribe
Bodie Troll – Red 5 Comics
Attack on Titan – Kodansha Comics
Terrible Lizard – Oni Press
The Tick – New England Comics

That last one might see, like an odd choice, but a story about the Tick being haunted by the ghost of a previously unknown sidekick definitely qualifies. Seriously.

No participating comic book stores in your area? Fear not! Our unofficial celebrations usually include some goodies for you. Here’s a free streaming comic book from DARKTOP INC.:

It’s also worth noting how the theme music for this comic was created by Verse 13 especially for the series. Speaking of artists who were covered at Gravedigger’s Local 16 with a comic book connection, Michael Hedstrom has reissued his soundtrack for a horror comic and even included some new material! You can stream it for free at his Bandcamp page, but the comic is sold separately.

Happy Free Comic Book Day!

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